Most drivers can negotiate the Byway in less than an hour. But to really discover the stories of the Byway we need to get out of the car. This is the challenge that brought me into the Byway community and made me a Byway enthusiast.
One of the most heavily used bike routes in Saratoga County includes Riverview Road in Clifton Park. When traveling at 10 to 20 miles an hour one sees much more detail and are more aware of your surroundings than in a car. There’s also a greater appeal to stop take a photograph, investigate a historic detail, or experience an unfolding natural phenomena.
Perhaps one of the best kept secrets in the Capital District is Peebles Island State Park in Waterford. There are miles of trails that pass through forests, wetlands, high cliffs overlooking rapids, even desert like areas with emergent vegetation all on an island where the Mohawk feeds into the Hudson River. There is also the Visitor Center for the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor in the the historic textile bleach works not far from the defenses built under the direction of Thaddeus Kosciuszko in 1776.
There are several self guided tours in the City of Cohoes which interpret the city’s textile industrial past or unlock the 1842 enlarged Erie Canal as it traversed the City. These tours even link to the original Erie Canal or Clinton’s Ditch as it was often called, built in the early nineteenth century. There are similar self guided tours in Schenectady two of which use a cell phone platform to provide interpretation as you walk through the historic neighborhoods.
The Byway’s own self guided tour is designed to get visitors out of their vehicles at historic or other points of interest along the Byway corridor. With smart phone technology the user can compare what he is seeing today with historic photographs displayed on the devise.
Perhaps the biggest attraction to get visitors out of the car are our many family owned and unique businesses. From the Waterford Clock Works, to Riverview Orchards, to the General Store in Vischer Ferry, and the New York Folklore Society and other shops on Jay Street Each of these offer unique items, many lovingly handcrafted. If you know of other unique businesses within the Byway corridor please leave a comment below.
Sure you can do the Byway in less than an hour, but take your time. Discover our stories and build an experience that is memorable and something you can share with others.