Posts filed under ‘Genesee River’

Turning Point Park: Walk on Water

In the heart of Northwest Rochester, as you enter the town of Charlotte, there is a magical trail that allows you to walk right OVER the Genesee River!

Tucked right off Lake Avenue,  Turning Point Park has a 3,572 ft-long boardwalk over the Genesee River, at the “Turning Basin.” The  boardwalk section of the park features a pair of nesting swans, on display each year, famous rail hopping herons, turtles, ducks, Kingfishers, and many other water-loving creatures. Bring your binoculars!

The trail is also part of the 16+ mile Genesee Riverway Trail.  Continue north, once back on land, and you will wind up in Ontario Beach Park (Home of the H2O Hero). If you bike the trail south you can pick up the Greenway Trail in Genesee  Valley Park, and go all the way to Mt Morris, and beyond.

The easiest way to reach the boardwalk is to park in the lot at 260 Boxart St, right off of Lake Avenue.

October 23, 2013 at 1:53 am Leave a comment

Seneca Park Zoo: Kids Can Go Wild!

See the zoo with a child for maximum fun

See the zoo with a child for maximum fun

The best way to see The Seneca Park Zoo is through the eyes of a child. So bring a 6-year old with you and you won’t miss a thing!

What we really liked about Seneca Park Zoo was the great views. The exhibits are constructed to allow you circle around the outside of the animal’s habitat, as well as pass through the center making for up close viewing of monkeys, otters, lions, penguins, rhinos and many others.

Best fun was feeding time at the Baboon House

Best fun was feeding time at the Baboon House

Plan on a 2-3 hour visit. You can certainly find enough to do to stay longer, but this is a manageable sized zoo, you can see the whole thing in a few hours.

Pick up a map on the way in. The map has a schedule of all of the animal enrichment activities for each day. Don’t miss feeding times with the baboons.

The Zoo is open all year long. Closed the first Saturday in June for Zoobilation, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.

The Zoo is located at 2222 St. Paul Street, Rochester, NY 14621.

Open  April 1 to October 31: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. You may stay on grounds until 5 p.m. Zoo opens at 9:30 a.m. for our Zoo members. Click here for Open Late Tuesday hours. November 1 to March 31: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. You may stay on grounds until 4 p.m.

July 14, 2013 at 5:41 pm Leave a comment

Genesee Brew House: Enjoy the Sparkling Waters of the Genesee

View of Beer House from Pont de Rennes above High FallsHigh above the “sparkling” waters of the Genesee River in Rochester NY, is the Genesee Brew House, once a century-old packaging center, the  Brew House has transformed the 9,200 square-foot space into a beer destination, featuring interactive exhibits, multimedia content, gift shop, pilot brewery and pub-style restaurant.

Pilot BreweryThe Brew Pub offers all the classic Genesee Beers plus a changing array of delicious microbrews, I loved the Expresso Porter. The bar upstairs was built from old beer barrel boards. It was opened in September of 2012, after a LONG restoration process which is well documented.

Genesee Brew House StoreThe  retail store sells irresistible “Beer Gear,” the great selection of vintage t-shirts, with the full “Brew-story”. We were not wowed by the food, but the beer on the terrace with this fabulous view was well worth the price.

View from the TerraceHours: Mon-Wed 11am – 9pm Thurs-Sat 11am – 10pm Sunday Noon – 9pm 25 Cataract St. Rochester, NY, 14605 Get Directions 585-263-9200 Check out their reviews on Yelp.

May 13, 2013 at 11:05 am Leave a comment

The Bank Street Café in Geneseo: Where Breakfast Bears Notice

The view down main street from the cafe

The view down main street from the cafe

Geneseo is a charming upstate town that enjoys preserving it’s history along with it’s sense of humor. Legend has it that Seneca Indians called it jo-nis-hi-yuh, meaning the pleasant or beautiful valley. This evolved into Genesee, the river which carved out the beautiful valley containing the town of Geneseo.

The bear holds a working lantern

The bear holds a working lantern

In the center of Geneseo, right in the middle of the street is a large round fountain, with a bronze statue of a sitting bear, holding a lantern. This is the Wadsworth Fountain. It was built for Emmeline Wadsworth, an animal lover, and the fountain was intended as a watering trough for horses.

The Wadsworth brothers built their homes at either end of Main Street, then recruited others to move to the town and assisted them in building their homes.

Note the dead squirrel draped across the bears nose. Heaven forbid anyone should go hungry in Geneseo.The bear which remains  remains the iconic symbol of the town, holding it’s  $15,000  lantern — a working replica of the original — has inspired an annual teddy bear parade.

While visiting Geneseo stop for breakfast at the Bank Street Café and Grill.The Café is easy to locate — right across from the famous fountain bearing the Bear.

Most wonderful Blueberry Pancakes

Most wonderful Blueberry Pancakes

The Bank Street Cafe & Grill is no ordinary eatery. Nothing at Bank Street has been pre-processed. Everything is home-made from scratch. Breakfast is served all day long, and I enjoyed the best (and biggest) blueberry pancakes ever. They are also known for their angus beef burgers.

The village is making a proposal to widen the sidewalks at the three sides of the Bear Fountain and create a small outdoor cafe spot with tables and chairs opposite his restaurant. That would give the town even more character.

The Bank Street Café is open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays

March 24, 2013 at 8:00 am 1 comment

Rochester’s Four Corners — A Present From the Past

Finger Lakes Summer

Ornate exterior of the Powers Building

If you want to learn about the rich history of Rochester, NY — tag along with a walking tour by the Landmark Society of Upstate New York. I joined an “architecture for lunch” speed tour of the famous Four Corners of Rochester. But first, what are the Four Corners?

The intersection at Main Street (of downtown Rochester) where State Street becomes Exchange Street. It was located where the first two streets crossed, then called Buffalo Street. (Main Street) and Carroll Street (State Street). That intersection is still commonly called by its original name, The Four Corners.

The tour began inside the Powers Building — a building so vast and ornamented, it swallows the sky for a city block.

Finger Lakes Summer

Looking up inside the Powers Building

Entering the atrium my eyes scanned upward, enjoying the vast expanse of multi-tiered interior space, bathed in natural light. How could I have lived in this city for 50 years and NEVER seen this gorgeous space? (I think our educational system needs a little more emphasis on local history — this is worth learning about.)

Quoted from “

“Construction of the building utilized steel framing with a cast iron and ornamental stone façade. This revolutionary method of construction was employed to create what was then billed as a fireproof building. The building was the first in upstate New York to have a passenger elevator (then called a vertical railroad), gas illumination and marble floors. In 1861 it became the first commercial structure in Rochester to have electricity, utilizing its own power generating boilers.”

Mr Powers built several of the buildings in this small footprint, but he did not want any other structure in Rochester taller than this his masterpiece, continuing to add to it’s height in 1874, 1880, 1888, and 1891 as others vied for the top spot in the sky.

Case and point, here is an excerpt from “The Flower City: 1850-1899”


Powers Building completed


Ellwanger & Barry Building is erected to a height of eight stories. Daniel Powers adds a third Mansard roof to the Powers Building, adding two additional floors, reclaiming again the title as Rochester’s tallest.

Wilder Building erected to a height of thirteen stories. Daniel Powers adds to the height of the tower on the Powers Building, recapturing the title, for another five years.”

It is difficult to believe that less that 100 years prior to this building’s construction, this same area is unsettled and described as ” a swamp with dense forest, and swamp fever (malaria).”

Finger Lakes Summer

Glassed in atrium inside the County Courthouse

Finger Lakes Summer

Inside the County Courthouse

Other fabulous examples of architecture in this same area are 39 West Main St, which is the County Courthouse, Two Saints Episcopal Church, 17 Fitzhugh St S, and The Rochester Free Academy, 13 Fitzhugh St S..

Finger Lakes Summer

Gothic Revival Style displayed by the Rochester Free Academy and the Episcopal Church

Designated in the National Register of Historical Places, “The City Hall Historic District, tightly clustered in two downtown blocks in Rochester, is one of the most architecturally compelling nineteenth century civic complexes remaining in a major New York State city.” (More info)

Each building in this provides diverse examples of architecture. The church and academy stand side by side representing the early and later phases of Gothic Revival in the nineteenth century.  Across the street is the courthouse backed up to the City Hall.

June 18, 2012 at 5:30 am Leave a comment

Letchworth State Park: Grand Canyon of the East

Letchworth State Park, renowned as the “Grand Canyon of the East,” is one of the most scenically magnificent areas in the Finger lakes Region. The park comprises 14,350 acres, along 17 miles of the Genesee River, 35 miles South of Rochester, New York and 55 miles East of Buffalo, New York.

Continue Reading November 20, 2011 at 5:39 pm Leave a comment

Genesee Riverway Trail: Bridging the Best Part of Rochester — Part 2

Genesee Riverway Trail

Turning Point Park Causeway

Part 2 — 2011 Bike or Die:  Maplewood Park to the Port Of Rochester

The Genesee Riverway Trail:  an urban off-road trail along the Genesee River through the scenic, historic and cultural heart of Rochester, linking the (statewide) Erie Canal Heritage Trail, the Genesee Greenway Trail (Erie Canal to Pennsylvania), downtown Rochester and the Port of Rochester on Lake Ontario.

“Over 100 years ago, Frederick Law Olmsted, the designer of Central Park in New York City, designed a park system for Rochester. He suggested two parks both located on the Genesee river, South Park, now Genesee Valley Park, had broad meadows and North Park, now Seneca and Maplewood Parks, featured the nearly 200 foot deep gorge of the Genesee River. Rochester’s first park.”

The ride on the Riverway Trail from Maplewood Park to Charlotte is quite lovely. The trail winds behind homes through a wooded area until you rejoin the sidewalk along Maplewood Drive and Bridge View Drive. (You will ride by another beautiful pedestrian bridge, that will take you across the gorge, and through Seneca Park — another great ride.)

A short stretch on Lake Avenue is punctuated by some lovely architecture, as well as several cemeteries.

Genesee Riverway Trail

Entrance to Holy Sepulchre cemetary

“Holy Sepulchre Cemetery – (another worthy detour) This cemetery was an early project of Bernard J. McQuaid, the first bishop of Rochester. Installed as bishop on July 16, 1868 he decided that having five smaller cemeteries was impractical and planned for one large Catholic burial ground. In early 1871 he purchased 110 acres of land spanning Charlotte Boulevard (now Lake Avenue). One east side section was consecrated on September 10, 1871 and the first burial took place eight days later.”

Genesee Riverway Trail

Turn right after Riverside and head downhill

Genesee Riverway Trail

Turning Point Park resident

Right after Riverside Cemetery look for a turn off the road that will take you through woods, down a long hill to the best part of your ride. Turning Point Park allows you to ride at river level with a lengthy boardwalk that spans a long section of marsh. You can see turtles, a pair of nesting swans and LOTS of fishermen, while riding over the river.

Genesee Riverway Trail

Busy Marina near the Port of Rochester

As you approach the Port of Rochester, you pass by several very colorful boat yards and get to observe the teeming water city that sets up when good weather arrives.  We continued all the way up to the pier so we could stop for drinks and a snack at Pier 45.

Rochester Bike Rides

This is where I'll park to watch the world end.

If the world was GOING to end, and it was a lovely sunny day, you might want to find an outdoor cushion on the second floor of Pier 45. Order a Bloody Maria, some calamari, and set back to watch things unravel. From here you get a great “big sky” view of the boats coming in and out of the river.

Genesee Riverway Trail

Port of Rochester Bridge takes you over the river to the Seaway Trail

Our journey on the Riverway Trail was over, but we were still about 10-12 miles from home. Fortunately, the city has built several great trails that helped us get most of the way back home. The Seaway Trail took us from Charlotte to Sea Breeze in less than 20 minutes. The stretch along Durand Eastman Park, and the Ontario Lake shore was the most scenic as much of the ride is on a sidewalk through suburban neighborhoods.

Rochester Bike Trails

Seaway Route from Charlotte to Sea Breeze

Rochester Bike Trails

Durand Eastman Beach along Lake Ontario

Before we go to al the way to the end of the trail at Sea Breeze, we headed south on Culver Road. It is marked as the “Seaway Trail” and much of the road had a wide shoulder which gave us a bit of space from the traffic. Crossing Titus Ave and Ridge Road still no picnic, but the remainder of our ride home was simple, so I thought

Somewhere before we crossed Empire Blvd, I was still having fun. but Charlie’s legs went dysFUNctional. When I told him later that he had ridden 30 miles, he told me that he had 25 mile legs. Maybe I’ll remember that — next time.

June 4, 2011 at 7:00 pm Leave a comment

The Genesee Riverway Trail: Bridging the Best Parts of Rochester

Genesee Riverway Trail

Panoramic View from Pont de Rennes

(Part 1 of 2) “Bike or Die 2011”  Roch Trails Map 2010

It was a sunny 80-degree Saturday and we had just suffered through 5 days of continuous rain. After taking a scythe to the lawn, we were ready to play. I pumped up the bike tires, got our water bottles filled, and stood panting by the door until Charlie was ready to go on my loosely described “fun ride.”

My desire was to ride out to the Genesee Riverway Trail, and show him the newly completed (2010) sections. What I realized en route, is that Rochester has GREAT bridges, many of which we crossed while on the trail, and that the Genesee River perfectly reflects the varied geography that makes this area so gorgeous (literally). (Oh, I also learned that 30 miles is about 5 miles too many for Charlie.)

The Genesee Riverway Trail is an amazing (ongoing) effort which will connect the Barge Canal Path (east/west), with a new trail going north/south along the Genesee River, to Lake Ontario.  It extends through the scenic heart of Rochester, from Genesee Valley Park to downtown, and continues up to Lake Ontario.  It provides pedestrian access to the Genesee River, including its scenic gorge, three waterfalls, eight pedestrian bridges, and eleven parks.

Genesee Riverway Trail

Pedestrian bridge from Brooks Ave area to University of Rochester

The first section of the trail starts in Genesee Valley Park, where the river meets the canal. This first section forms a scenic figure 8 around the river, starting in the park and heading north to the Court Street Bridge (Dinosaur BBQ), with the Ford Street Bridge in the center of the 8. This (9 miles) looping section makes a great beginner ride, as it is relatively free of traffic, and loaded with great spots to enjoy scenic bridge views, colorful restaurants, bars and coffee shops.

The first section is a great beginner ride..

Red route we took, green route might be safer.

At Court Street, you are in downtown Rochester. Here is where we lost and found the trail several times as it winds back and forth across the Genesee River. The views from the bridges downtown are quite spectacular, but trying to follow the trail (as of 2011), requires some knowledge of the local roads or a map.

Genesee Riverway Trail

View of the Court Street Bridge, looking south

Going along the west side of the river on a pedestrian path, we were able to get a close-up view of the Erie Canal Aqueduct, a unique 1842 stone arch canal structure used as subway, railway and roadway.

If you could stay on Saint Paul and go north, you would be taking the most direct route, but it is a one-way street flowing south and not friendly for northerly travelling bikes. One more street east is Clinton (very heavy traffic), a one-way travelling north, and over the river lies State St. either of these would be better than this short section of St Paul.

We relocated a trail sign at Platt Street, via St Paul, and crossed the pedestrian bridge (Pont de Rennes) at High Falls. We continued zigzagging north to cross back over Smith St, Bausch Memorial Bridge, back to St Paul (which is now a 2-way street), and continue to ride north.

Genesee Riverway Trail

Bridge at Lower Falls park

Crossing the most unusual bridge yet, we veered left off St Paul on a steep and winding downhill to the RG&E Station #5, a hydro plant, which spans the river and (during the day), you can ride right across the river on a pedestrian/bike-only bridge, through the power plant. This was the part I wanted to show Charlie — the newest section — Lower Falls Park

Genesee Riverway Trail

Rainbow at Lower Falls

The river water levels were spectacularly high and the falls created a beautiful rainbow. There is an actual park area created in this tiny space, with a picnicking area and several scenic overlooks of the 86 high falls (Rochester’s highest). “Casconchiagon” is a Seneca word describing this area, meaning “river of many falls”.

Genesee Riverway Trail

View of Driving Park bridge from Lower Falls Park

As you ride up a steep slope out of the park, you cross the Driving Park Bridge (also sports scenic views) to arrive at Maplewood Park.

The Driving Park Avenue Bridge was constructed in  1890, by the Rochester Bridge and Iron Works. The bridge is 717 feet long, spanning the 200-foot-deep Genesee River Gorge.  At the time the bridge was built, many mills were located at the Lower Falls as they had been from the early days of settlement.  The quickly flowing water was used for power in gristmills and other types of manufacturing.

(Part 2 Continued next week)

May 30, 2011 at 6:30 am 2 comments

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