The Mohawk Towpath Byway has been described as the short byway with a long history. In fact at 26 miles ours is one of the shortest of America’s Byways, but we have many stories:
– Natural history of the Mohawk Valley and the only water level route through the Appalachians,
– Native peoples of the region for many generations before European influences,
– Early European contacts and trade at the early frontier,
– Construction of the 1825 Erie Canal …by hand tools and horse power,
– The Cohoes Falls and geologic Mohawk River that made the Erie Canal a necessity for transportation, then the harnessing of water power,
– The role our communities played in westward expansion of our country and the Empire State,
– The 1842 enlarged Erie Canal and transportation during the early Industrial Revolution,
– The seat of innovation and the people from many cultures who contributed, and
– Thousands of individual stories that comprise our genealogical history.
Add another dimension to the layers of history. It seems every week there is a festival, special event, or celebration that involve one or more of these stories somewhere within the Byway corridor. The Erie Canal opens for navigation generally the first part of April.
Waterford celebrates with Canal Festival featuring all things related to the Erie Canal from local crafters and not-for-profits, to watercraft and rides through the locks, food vendors, to fireworks. The next Saturday is the Cohoes Heritage Day with a signature 15 k run through every park and recreation way within the city.
The Apple Blossom Festival in the more historic, rural Clifton Park celebrates the new growing season with the beautiful blooming fruit trees, folk dancing and children’s games, nature hikes, spring trail cleaning, bee keeping, food, and music. The festivals and events continue Canal Festival, Tugboat Roundup, Farm Fest, Pancake Breakfasts featuring local foods, locally prepared. These continue through the summer and fall and then the snow flies. During the winter there are family moonlight cross country ski outings.
No matter what your destination within the Byway corridor the journey to that destination provides the memorable experience.