Canalway Trail Provides Inspiration for Erie Canal House

The Erie Canal House in Canajoharie is recent addition to bike friendly lodging choices along the Erie Canalway Trail, however the B & B’s foundations lay deep in the heritage of the Canal and the future of the Canalway Trail as a recreational destination.

Located directly on the Canalway Trail in the village of Canajoharie, the Erie Canal House offers cyclists the exclusive use of the entire property for their stay. With 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, plus a furnished kitchen and laundry, it serves as a luxurious base for visitors who want to explore the beauty of the Mohawk Valley and the Erie Canal National Heritage Corridor. The location also makes it convenient to visit historic sites along the NY State Path through History bike trail.

Built before 1855 as a barn for mules working on the Erie Canal, it was converted to a private home around 1905, when there was no longer a need for mules, or a barn. In 2015, the current owners began a historic restoration, uncovering and restoring the exterior while installing modern updates such as marble baths and solar panels.

Erie Canal House After Front Entrance FB Brochure Good

The owners, John and Michele McGlone, targeted cyclists traveling the ECT in designing the Erie Canal House and are proud of their Bike Friendly New York Certification from PTNY.  The Erie Canal House has a dedicated bike repair and service area, including wheel truing and professional mechanic stand, as well as a supply of spare parts and tools.

“We are one of three Bike Friendly-certified businesses in Canajoharie,” says John McGlone, “We’ve had cyclists traveling the ECT this year tell us that by being a bike friendly business we provide them with an extra level of assurance on their journey. We are very pleased that PTNY offers this program.”Erie Canal House Bike Room

Besides cyclists, the Erie Canal House will welcome paddlers enjoying the Mohawk River by offering pickup at the village boat launch and transfer of kayaks and equipment for overnight guests.

More information on the Erie Canal House, including availability can be found at www.eriecanalhouse.com.

Erie Canal House Air BNB comment

Check out the Erie Canal House and 79 other Bike Friendly New York businesses at ptny.org/bikefriendly.

 

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New Report reveals that Canal Events and Tours Generate $1.5 Billion in Annual Economic Impact

A new study of the economic impact of events and tours in the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor calls attention to the power of tourism along New York State’s iconic canals. An estimated $1.5 billion annually is generated by events, boat tours, bicycle and paddle-sport rentals and historic site/museum tours along the Erie, Champlain, Owsego and Cayuga-Seneca Canals. Events and tours drew 3.3 million visitors in 2017.

“Not only are these events and recreational tours a fun way to experience what the canal system has to offer, they provide a significant return on investment for host communities,” said Bob Radliff, Executive Director of the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor. “In partnership with the National Park Service and the NYS Canal Corporation, we are proud to consistently support and promote many of these endeavors and are now pleased to see the impressive economic impact revealed in this report.”

Over the last 10 years, the number of events in the Canalway Corridor has increased dramatically to include concerts, arts festivals, cycling and paddling events, celebrations of local foods and beverages, and events that focus on history and heritage. According to the NYS Canal Corporation website, the 2017 calendar held more than 470 events.

The recent opening of the NYS Canal System also marks the 100th anniversary of the Erie Barge Canal in 1918. This year’s event highlights include: the 20th Anniversary of Cycle the Erie Canal bike tour, organized by Parks & Trails New York, and the cross canal journey of the Corning Museum of Glass GlassBarge, traveling with Lake Champlain Maritime Museum’s canal schooner Lois McClure.

Read the full Canal Event Analysis and Visitor Research Study here.

The overall impact of the NYS Canal System measured in this report is impressive and marks the most recent look at the value this historic waterway provides to the more than 200 communities located along the corridor. In 2014, Parks & Trails New York and the NYS Canal Corporation released an economic impact study of the Erie Canalway Trail that revealed that the 1.6 million annual visits to the trail generate an economic impact of more than $250 million. 

The Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor spans 524 miles across the full expanse of upstate New York, encompassing the Erie, Cayuga-Seneca, Oswego, and Champlain canals and their historic alignments, as well as more than 230 canal communities. Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor Commission and the Erie Canalway Heritage Fund work in partnership to preserve our extraordinary heritage, to promote the Corridor as a world class tourism destination, and to foster vibrant communities connected by the waterway.

Hittin’ the Trail

2017 Bicyclists Bring Business Events Head to Utica

Parks & Trails New York and the New York State Canal Corporation hit the trail to Utica for the annual “Bicyclists Bring Business: Canalway Trail Tourism for Your Downtown!” events. The evening program and community bike ride generated healthy discussion and excitement about how Utica, Oneida County, and the Mohawk Valley can further develop as cycling destinations.

This year’s events were sponsored by the City of Utica, Oneida County Tourism, Oneida County Health Department, and Utica Bike Rescue, Homegrown Bicycle Adventures, and Mohawk Valley GIS.

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The venue for Tuesday’s Evening Roundtable was thINCubator (326 Broad Street, Utica), a shared work space that demonstrates that innovation and creativity are alive and well. After light refreshments, the evening’s presentations provided an update Utica’s growing urban cycling network and future connections to the Empire State Trail, and some background on bicycle tourism on the Erie Canalway Trail. The heart of the program, as always, was robust discussion and a bringing together of various public agencies and resident groups around issues related to the bike/ped network.

All Attendees received a copy of the handbook, Bicyclists Bring Business: A Guide to Attracting Bicyclists to New York’s Canal Communities.

On Wednesday, as a follow-up to the presentation, staff from Utica Bike Rescue led a Community Bike-a-Round, a relaxed ride on Utica’s stretch of the Erie Canalway Trail and through several of Utica’s vibrant downtown neighborhoods.  Along the way, the group was able to see new recreational loop routes from the perspective of a cycling tourist. We’ll make stops to discuss connection to local points of interest and opportunities for improved infrastructure, programming, and promotion. After the ride, the group talked over what they saw over lunch at Aqua Vino.

Despite a great evening event and a

wonderful ride that reinforced Utica’s beauty, history, and great potential as a cycling destination, much work remains. However, all agreed that the enthusiasm generated and connections made at this week’s events will provide a boost to local efforts.

Media Coverage

Coverage of the evening event is available here, and bike around clips here.

Economic Impact of the Canalway Trail

According to a 2014 study, the Erie Canalway Trail experiences more than 1.58 million visits per year, and spending by ECT visitors generates approximately $253 million in annual economic impact. Oneida County’s 25 miles of existing Canalway Trail feature scenic views of the Mohawk River and connect the cities of Rome and Utica to the statewide trail network. With the County’s remaining gap section scheduled to be closed by 2020 as part of Governor Cuomo’s Empire State Trail vision, and the region’s unique combination of big-city amenities and access to the Mohawk Valley and Southern Adirondacks, Utica is well positioned to become a premier destination for cycling tourists and other recreationalists.

Bicyclists Bring Business, or B3, is presented in one Canalway Trail community each year by Parks & Trails New York and the NYS Canal Corporation. Communities interested in hosting B3 should email b3roundtable@ptny.org.

Thanks!

Thanks to all the great event sponsors and partners in Utica that made this year’s event memorable and successful!

Great Flats Brewing: Serving Schenectady’s Bike Scene

Great Flats Brewing makes great beer, and as a meeting point for Schenectady’s growing cycling scene. And it’s all just blocks from the Canalway Trail!

Great Flats Brewing opened in March, 2017. Using ingredients grown in New York State, they serve fresh beer, cider, and wine.

Great Flats organized a clean up event as part of the 2017 Canal Clean Sweep, and they have recently become certified as a Bike Friendly New York business. “We like biking ourselves. Also, beer and biking go well together.”

Every Sunday,  Bike Old Dorp and Great Flats Brewing invite cyclists to go out for a night ride, and to join them for a beer afterwards.

Being close to the trail means lots of business. “It’s a big open space for people to hangout and rest, while drinking a beer or soda. It’s a great place to start a ride or take a break.”

Great Flats occupies a prime, trailside location in Schenectady – just blocks from the Erie Canalway Trail, know locally as the Mohawk-Hudson Bike Trail. They are also a quarter mile from the Electric City Bike Rescue and three miles from Plaine and Son Bike Shop.

Check out their website for more information on their beer list and new flavor releases.

Bicentennial Rides

2017 not only marks the 200th anniversary of Erie Canal construction. It’s also the 200th birthday of the bicycle, invented in Germany. Celebrate both by cycling these bicentennial routes on the Erie Canalway Trail:

  • Cycle from Rome to Syracuse in the Old Erie Canal State Historic Park. Start in Rome and you’ll be at ground zero for canal construction. Dignitaries turned the first shovel of soil in Rome on July 4, 1817. Why Rome? To ensure early success, workers started first on the easiest, most level section. Canal surveyors laid out the “Long Level” extending in both directions from Rome. This 66-mile section, from Frankfort in the east to the outskirts of Syracuse to the west, was completed without a single lock. You’ll see a number of aqueducts and bridges as you ride along the old canal—and it will be just as level for cycling as it was for canal construction 200 years ago.
  • Cycle in the Capital Region and visit Cohoes Falls. The steep climb out of the Hudson Valley around Cohoes Falls at the eastern end of the canal was one of the biggest obstacles to canal construction. Engineers designed 18 locks in Cohoes to climb 165 feet of elevation and circumvent this barrier to westward navigation. View the 75-foot cataract from Falls View Park and look for the remains of the stone locks that operated here in the 1800s adjacent to the parking area for the park. Follow the trail west for a scenic ride along the Mohawk River/Erie Canal.
  • Cycle from Lockport along the Erie Canal in Western New York. In June 1825 one of the final sections of the Erie Canal was completed in Lockport. The Lockport Flight of Five was a staircase of five locks that solved the challenge of helping boats climb the 60-foot Niagara Escarpment. Start your trip at the locks and visit the nearby Erie Canal Discovery Center, which showcases the building of the famous Flight of Five. Cycle east from Lockport; the trail is adjacent to the longest section of the canal that still follows its original path and retains its historic relationship to the communities and landscapes along its banks. You’ll discover historic Main Streets, lift bridges, farm fields, and 20th century locks alongside historic lock ruins, canal engineering marvels, and cobblestone and local sandstone buildings.
  • Go End-to-End. Cycle from Buffalo to Albany and, like thousands of canallers before you, connect Lake Erie with the Hudson River. When you do, you’ll get a sense of the Erie Canal’s impact as the longest artificial waterway and the greatest public works project in North America.The canal gave rise to villages, towns, and cities, opened the interior of North America to settlement, and put New York on the map as the Empire State.

There’s a lot to celebrate in 2017! Head to the Canalway Trail and let the fun begin!

Hilton Garden Inn: Bike Friendly in Bushnell’s Basin

This month’s Trailside business, the Hilton Garden Inn Rochester/Pittsford, has served cyclists on the statewide Canalway Trail system since 2013. This year, they will become the first bike-friendly certified business as part of Parks & Trails New York and the NYS Canal Corporation’s Bike Friendly New York program, set to launch in May.

Situated right along the Erie Canalway Trail, in the historic district of Bushnells Basin, Hilton Garden Inn Rochester/Pittsford has offered cyclists convenient and relaxing accommodations since its debut in 2013.

The 107 room property features the Garden Grille & Bar, complimentary Wi-Fi, heated indoor pool with whirlpool spa, and outdoor patio with fire pit.There are also several eateries and shops within a short walking distance, or guests may take the complimentary shuttle to Eastview Mall.

The Hilton Garden Inn’s bike-friendly credentials are strong, with the hotel providing indoor bike storage, free overnight parking and keeping bike repair tools and supplies handy. It’s no wonder the Hilton was voted number one for lodging in the Greater Rochester Region on TripAdvisor. Find out more by visiting www.rochesterpittsford.hgi.com.

“Our close proximity to the Erie Canalway trail makes the Hilton Garden Inn the perfect spot for cyclists to refresh and relax during their travels,” said Jessica Conley, Sales Director for the Hilton Garden Inn Rochester/Pittsford. “We continue to see an increase in cyclists along the trail and the Bike Friendly New York program will allow us to make their stay more comfortable and convenient.”

Bike Friendly New York 

Bike Friendly New York (BFNY) is a bicycle friendly certification program set to launch in 2017. Administered by Parks & Trails New York (PTNY) and the New York State Canal Corporation, BFNY aims to recognize and promote businesses that provide special accommodations for bicyclists. A wide range of businesses can apply for bike-friendly certification, including restaurants and bars, lodging, shops, and museums. BFNY was conceived with businesses located along the statewide Erie Canalway Trail (ECT) in mind; however, eligible businesses across New York may apply and be certified.

More information, including the program guide and application link, can be found at www.ptny.org/bikefriendly.

 

New Transportation Service Ready to Roll on the Canalway Trail

Erie Canal Bike Shuttle (ECBS), a new shuttle service on the Erie Canalway Trail, is gearing up for our very first season!

The service was designed especially for cyclists. ECBS will operate 3 shuttle buses, each accommodating up to 24 cyclists, and have enclosed cargo trailers that will haul the bikes and gear.

Buses with trailers in tow will operate out of a Syracuse hub,  providing daily out and back shuttle runs to Buffalo and Albany.

Beginning Memorial Day weekend (May 25, 2017), ECBS will provide cycle shuttle service along the entire 360 miles of the statewide Erie Canalway Trail. In addition to daily shuttle services, ECBS has a great website loaded with helpful planning information such as free multiday trip itineraries, maps, trip & packing guidance, and so much more.

“We’ve done a lot of planning and outreach, and really tried to design our services around the needs of cyclists using the Canalway Trail.”, says Diane Kolifrath, owner of Erie Canal Bike Shuttle.

ECBS will also offer several supported-ride packages, from posh “Inn-to-Inn cycle & stay” trips, to bike & camp trips. These packages include your overnight accommodations and gear and luggage transport (optional bike rentals can be arranged as well).

To celebrate its first operating season, ECBS is offering some great discounts.  The grand opening special allows rides between May 25th and June 1st for only $45 for the West or East Shuttle, or only $75 for full Erie End-to-End. All summer trips booked before May 1 save 20%;  book before June 1 to save 10%.

“The Erie Canalway Trail offers so much, “ offers Diane Kolifrath, “great local flavor, rich history, beautiful scenery, and attractions for both kids and adults. Our goal is to make it fun and easy for people to plan an exciting vacation on the awesome Erie Canalway Trail.”

Find out more about ECBS’s services at www.GoBikeErie.com, or call (949) I-BIKE-NY.

Best of luck Dianne and the whole ECBS crew. Dependable and convenient transportation is a critical piece in attracting more visitors to the Canalway Trail, and ensuring a high level of service for trail users.