Going Places, Near & Far
"Going Places, Near & Far" is a travel series by Karen Rubin featured on the Long Island online news source, TheIslandNow.com. In 2015 she featured several articles based on her experience cycling the 400-mile trek from Buffalo to Albany along the Erie Canalway Trail. Photo credits: Karen Rubin
The Erie Canal was the marvel of its age when the 353-mile "Clinton's Folly" opened in 1825 just eight years after construction began and on budget of $7.7 million. At long last, the Atlantic Ocean was linked to the interior of the Continent by water, by way of the Hudson River.
The 600 cyclists who have joined the 17th Annual Cycle the Erie tour, organized by Parks & Trails NY in July, get to visit several fascinating museums in small canal towns which each contribute to our understanding of the significance of the Erie Canal as a technological marvel and a force propelling the United States as a global industrial power.
Here I am, swinging a small sledgehammer, quarrying for diamonds – Herkimer Diamonds, that is, extraordinary quartz crystal nuggets that emerge (even pop right out) of their rocky prison with 18 facets, as if they had been cut by a jeweler.
We are in the Finger Lakes, and off the Erie Canal trail which is not restored in this area and we ride on roads through the beautiful rolling countryside (and hilly). In fact, this, the 17th Annual Cycle the Erie bike tour is organized by Parks & Trails NY, a nonprofit dedicated to raising funds and awareness of the need to complete the trail.
Seneca Falls is regarded as the birthplace of the Women's Rights Movement for having held the first Women's Rights Convention here in July 1848, but after visiting the Women's Rights National Historical Park, I felt I learned more about the Women's Movement from the women themselves in the Women's National Hall of Fame.
It is Day 6 of our eight-day, 400-mile bike tour from Buffalo to Albany following the Erie Canal trail except where it no longer exists. This is the 17th annual Cycle the Erie bike tour offered by Parks & Trails NY, which uses it as its major fundraiser to raise funds as well as awareness to finish the trail, presently about 70 percent complete. Once finished, the Erie Canalway would become one of the longest multi-purpose trails in the country.
Seneca Falls is the birthplace of the Women's Rights movement and for the longest time, had been a sort of mecca in my mind.
The Cycle the Erie bike tour, 400 miles from Buffalo to Albany organized annually through Parks & Trails NY, takes us back to the very beginning of the United States, to its colonial days and its emergence as an independent nation. It is 400 miles and 400 years of history.