by Tom Larsen
When the planning for a tour starts in the depths of winter, we reach out to communities that we may have missed the last time we came through a place, or to communities that have specifically requested a visit. Unfortunately, there are so many places that fit well with the mission of the Lois that there is no way we can stop at all of them. Each year, we end up going by places that we would love to stop and are unable to fit into the schedule.
This year, however, the mayor of St Johnsville asked at the perfect time – we had just looked at the travel times for our next transit (Fort Plain from Little Falls). When he inquired if we would be able to stop, having received a lot of requests from the community, we were able to work out an afternoon stop at the St Johnsville Marina.
The marina is a place that we’ve during the previous two Erie tours, and each time someone in the crew has made the comment “Hmmm, I bet we could stop there.” It’s that kind of place. A small harbor on the side of the channel, it’s a wonderful place to stop for the afternoon. The community quickly embraced us, and the turnout would have done an organizer with months to plan proud. The fact that it was a last minute stop made the response astounding.
Ports like this are what make the tour so special. Being able to connect with people who are truly excited about the history of their region and bringing them a tactile experience to relate to is something that is rare in this time and age. Working a visit in at the last minute, and providing a new experience for people who have lived on the canal their whole lives, while tough, is worth it when you realize that you’ve connected people to history in their own backyards.
Special Thanks to:
- New York State Canal Corps
- Village of St. Johnsville
- Mayor Bernard Barnes
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