Rochester’s Genesee River Romance weekend is held every October. It is a celebration of life along the river, with City-sponsored activities, tours, and events centered on the Genesee.
Unfortunately, for 2017 I don’t see the Rundel Library River to Roof Tour listed. I know they did it as a part of Fringe Fest this year. Gone are the days of subway/aqueduct tours as well. Surprisingly, I’m not seeing tours of Mount Hope Cemetery, either. Alas, there is still plenty to do! Here are a few of the standout activities; take a look at the full schedule to plan your weekend.
Saturday, October 7, 2017
9- 11 a.m.: River Romance Glide and Ride Adventure. (HINT! Park a second car near Corn Hill if you aren’t planning on using a bike to get back to Schoen Place.) Enjoy a 2.5 hour cruise that travels through 2 locks on the Erie Canal, and the site in Genesee Valley Park where the River crosses the Erie Canal. The Sam Patch will dock at Corn Hill Landing where passengers are welcome to enjoy the myriad of River Romance activities taking place throughout the City of Rochester. The bike ride back to Schoen Place is approximately 10 miles on flat terrain, along the Genesee River Trail and Erie Canal Trail. Tickets: $20/adults; $5/youth under 12). Registration required. For more information visit: www.sampatch.org/events/.
12 noon – 4 p.m.: Sam Patch Cruises along the Genesee. Cruises leave from Corn Hill Landing every hour, on the hour with the last tour leaving at 3 p.m. Tickets are $5 per person (under 3 years old free). Food and drink are available for purchase. All purchases are cash only. For details and reservations please visit www.sampatch.org.
9 a.m. – 3 p.m.: Guided Tours of RG&E Hydroelectric Facility. Learn about how renewable electric energy is produced along the Genesee River. Tour the RG&E Hydroelectric facility located along Middle Falls including the dam and spill gate operation, river intake/rackhouse, and upper level of gate control house. Please note these are guided tours conducted by RG&E staff and are subject to cancellation. Tours will start at the Middle Falls dam located at the SE end of Lower Falls Park (access off of Driving Park, parking available at Maplewood Rose Garden). Contact Ivette Torres to learn more: Ivette_Torres@rge.com or (585) 724.8742.
9 a.m. – 1 p.m.: The Underground Railroad In Western New York History Tour. Rochester is emblematic of the strong efforts for freedom that New York has represented throughout history. Rochester was the home of Frederick Douglass and significant work done by other leaders in the Anti-Slavery Movement. Join the Lower Falls Foundation for an educational tour that goes beyond the symbolic nature of the advocates for fairness. Learn about the hard work and powerful stories of the people who defied laws and the cultural perceptions of those times to develop a system which was an integral part of the Underground Railroad to deliver fugitive individuals and families to freedom. Registration required. Visit: lowerfallsfdn.org/event to learn more.
6- 8 p.m.: Live Music Sunset Cruises on the Sam Patch. Enjoy a scenic cruise on the fabled Erie Canal while sipping your favorite beverage. Sunset cruise features live music provided by local performers Greg Kremer & Mike Boucher. Cruise leaves from Corn Hill Landing. Tickets: $13/adult. For more information visit: www.sampatch.org/events/.
8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.: 29th Annual Head of the Genesee Regatta (Sunday as well). The Regatta will take place at the Genesee Waterways Center,149 Elmwood Avenue (behind the Genesee Valley Park Sports Complex).The two-day event is one of New York State’s premier rowing regattas and is expected to draw more than 350 racing entries. Viewing on the foot bridge over the Genesee River and along the east river bank is ideal for spectators.
9 a.m. – 2 p.m.: Guided Paddle Along the Genesee from Seth Green to Ontario Beach Park. Join naturalists from the Seneca Park Zoo Society and the City of Rochester for an enjoyable and educational row along the Genesee River. Paddle trip is $20.00 per adult; $10.00 for kids under 18. Canoes and Kayaks available through the Genesee Waterways Center. Maximum two adults per canoe. All children under 18 must be accompanied by an adult. Pre-registration required. Call 428-8820 to register. Meet in the Port of Rochester parking lot off of Corrigan Street.
Sunday, October 8, 2017
11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.: Guided Walk in Turning Point Park. Meet tour guide, Mike Parker, in the parking lot at the end of Boxart Street. Enjoy a guided walk that will highlight the wooded oak forest called Bullock’s Woods, the award-winning boardwalk along the cattail-lined shores of the Genesee, and the industrial history and footprint still present in Turning Point Park. This hike will feature some hills and moderate grade changes; not recommended for young children. This walking tour is free.
2-3 p.m.: Tour of Corn Hill Neighborhood and History. Join Corn Hill Historian Jim DeVinney as he shares colorful stories about sisters who talked to the dead, the man who put Mercury into our skyline, Jazz at the Pythodd Club and much more! Tour begins at the Water Spirits sculpture where South Plymouth Avenue joins Exchange Street. Bring water and wear good shoes.
Highlights from past years
River cruises aboard the Sam Patch packet boat from Corn Hill Landing
There’s no better way to appreciate river life than from a boat. It’s the best view of the city skyline, with a great narration by the captain of the river’s history, and why Nathaniel Rochester chose this place to create the new frontier town, Rochesterville.
1822 Charlotte-Genesee Lighthouse Tours
Climbing the tower, which overlooks the Genesee where it empties into Lake Ontario, is a great way to end the day. You’ll learn about the history of the Charlotte-Genesee Lighthouse, and of commerce arriving by boat from the St. Lawrence Seaway, across Lake Ontario and up the Genesee River.
Genesee River Regatta
A modern look at recreation and competition on the Genesee. Exciting views from the stone bridge spanning the river in Genesee Valley Park.
Guided walking tours of Mount Hope Cemetery
These tours are lead by expert volunteers, sponsored by the Friends of Mount Hope Cemetery. There is an incredibly rich history here among the rolling hills and arboretum.
Riverside walking tours
In 2016, we did a 7-mile walking tour that started at Maplewood Park, detoured onto the pedestrian bridge connecting Maplewood to Seneca Park, and finished at Ontario Beach Park at the Port of Rochester. Our guide was incredibly knowledgable of the history and terrain. It was sponsored by the Lower Falls Foundation.
River to Roof Tour at the Rundel Library
Among all of the events each year, this has been my favorite. In 2015, I went on this tour with my family and it was an outstanding look inside the history, architecture, and inner-workings of our Central Public Library. We saw the stacks of archives, a trap door in the floor revealing an access to the water below, plus a rooftop view of the city’s best skyline buildings and bridges. They even shared the story of when Ghost Hunters came to investigate.