Photo by Kerry Batdorf
We arrive at the Fairport dock at 12:15 p.m., in view of ~30 town residents. Decorated with half-circle red, white and blue bunting, it has the feel of a bustling train station. That sensation is soon confirmed as a passenger express train zooms by, some 100 yards from the dock, across a parking lot. It reminds us yet again of the evolution of our transportation system, as railroads, then highways, paralleled the canal. A freight train passes an hour later, one of 67 trains that go through town each day.
Fairport's Mayor Fritz May, in a bright red shirt and crisp white shorts, comes aboard to welcome us, and helps to unload boxes for our Ship's Store, about to be assembled on shore.
We open the boat to visitors at 3:00, many of whom tell us how grateful they are that we are here. Two local residents, Helen Post and Fran Kidder Stiles, come aboard. Both women, originally from Burlington, share that they remember Lois (Howe) McClure from their childhood, recalling her nice family.
The boat is full of visitors until shortly after 7:00, when we hear bits of a concert from a nearby gazebo, as an award-winning fireman's band entertains a large and enthusiastic audience.
As often is the case after showing the boat, those of us signed up to prepare dinner do so quickly, as we all are hungry. After dinner, most of us use donated coupons at an ice cream shop nearby.
At 9:00 PM that evening, museum executive director Art Cohn gives an impromptu lecture about the boat to a class studying English as a second language. Countries represented include Armenia, China, Cuba, Japan, and Ukraine.
The next morning, we leave Fairport at 9:45 AM, headed east for Palmyra. We are joined by Fairport Mayor May; Palmyra Mayor Vicky Daly and her husband Bob Daly; Scott Winner, Director of the Fairport Village Partnership and his son Ian, and Betsy Lewis. On shore, we see a familiar site: Charlie Copeland biking on the canal's former tow path, now a bike path, taking pictures as we travel.
Our trip takes us through the canal lock at Henrietta. We stop at Macedon shortly before 11:00 AM to get diesel fuel, then proceed through the Pittsford and Palmyra locks.