Rochester Skyline from Changing Scenes

ROC the Riverway: Rochester’s Genesee Romance

Rochester’s ROC the Riverway Weekend (previously known as Genesee River Romance) is held every October.

It is a celebration of life along the river, with City-sponsored activities, tours, and events centered on the Genesee. Take a look at the full schedule to plan your weekend.

Saturday, October 6, 2018

ROC the Riverway events at Maplewood Rose Garden, Lake Ave. & Driving Park

Maplewood Park Middle Falls Dam
Middle Falls

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.

Maplewood Park Guided Tour of Lower Falls
Maplewood Park Guided Tour of Lower Falls

Tours of the Lower Falls and Gorge

Docents from the Maplewood Neighborhood Association will treat visitors to the beauty and history of the Lower Falls of the Genesee.

Tour takers will also learn about the five bridges over the gorge, the rivalry between Carthage and Rochester and the river’s transformation from a place of industry to recreation. Tours are about 45 minutes long with the last tour starts around 1 p.m.

Maplewood Park Lower Falls
Lower Falls

A Single Guided Tour of RG&E Hydroelectric Power House Facility at Lower Falls

Learn how renewable electric energy is produced along the Genesee River. Tour the RG&E lower falls hydroelectric power house facility. Please note the plant is down for maintenance. The guided tour will be conducted by RG&E staff and is subject to cancellation. Please be at 1 Seth Green Drive parking lot by 1:30 p.m. Parking is limited. The tour will last approximately one hour.

Other ROC the Riverway events along the Genesee River

genesee valley park regatta
Genesee Valley Park Regatta

30th Annual Head of the Genesee Regatta


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.

Sam Patch exiting Lock 32
Sam Patch exiting Lock 32

River Romance Glide and Ride Adventure


Put your bike on the Sam Patch boat at Schoen Place and 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: $25 per person, $12 children 12 and under. Registration required. For more information visit Sam Patch. (Tip from Day Trips Around Rochester: If you don’t want to ride a bike, park a second vehicle downtown and drive back to Pittsford after your day in the city. Or Uber for about $15.)

30 day trips within 30 minutes of Rochester: Turning Point Park Rochester NY
Turning Point Park

Genesee River Guided Paddle

Join the City of Rochester, Genesee Waterways Center and Genesee RiverWatch for an enjoyable and educational row along the Genesee River- from Seth Green to Petten Street.

Paddle trip is $20.00 per adult; $10.00 for kids under 18. Canoes available through the Genesee Waterways Center. Maximum two adults per canoe. All children under 18 must be accompanied by an adult.

Participants will park at Petten Street (where Petten Street meets the Genesee River Trail) and will be shuttled to the launch site at Seth Green. Pre-registration required.

Sam Patch Erie Canal Tours Corn Hill Landing
Sam Patch Erie Canal Tours departing from Corn Hill Landing

Introduction to the Genesee River Boat Tours

Climb aboard the Sam Patch for a guided tour on the Genesee River from Corn Hill Landing to Brooks Landing, and back. See some wildlife and learn a bit about local history.

Tours leaving every hour on the hour from 12’noon to 3 p.m. $10 adults, $5 children under 12.For more information visit Sam Patch.

Genesee Gateway Park skyline view
Genesee Gateway Park

Genesee Gateway River Fest

Located at Genesee Gateway Park, next to Spectrum on Mount Hope. Connect with the Genesee River and join together with local environmental and community groups for an afternoon of exploration focused on the “South River” ecosystem.

This family–friendly event will feature guided hikes, nature activities and presentations by local experts. Come learn about the Genesee River, local wildlife and the health of the river’s ecosystem- and have a little fun as well! Participants are encourage to bike or walk to the event; parking available on side streets off of Mt. Hope.

High Falls Genesee River Rochester
High Falls Interpretive Center and Museum

High Falls Interpretive Center and Museum


Located in a refurbished 19th-century Waterworks Building overlooking the Genesee River’s majestic High Falls, the museum has an interesting selection of hands-on, multi-media exhibits to engage children, as well as interpretive displays, artwork, photographs, and artifacts for adult audiences. Learn something new about your city! The museum and visitors center is located at 74 Browns Race.

River R.A.F.T.: Restoring A Forgotten Terrain Project

Participate in a hands-on clean-up of a residential parcel with vacant land bordering the river. The health of the river is linked to the vitality and safety of its neighborhoods. Gain practical experience for vacant lot reclamation. Tools, gloves and refreshments provided. Youth volunteers must 12+ years old and accompanied by a responsible adult. Parking on side streets. Meet at 1169 St. Paul St. (opposite RCSD #8 Roberto Clemente School).

Fall Sip & Shop @ Stutson House

Join vendors and neighbors for the annual Fall Sip and Shop Handmade Goods event @ 34 Stutson Street! Come out and support local artists and makers while having an amazing time! Activities include: art from fifteen local artists, live music by Amanda Ashley, Trick or Treat Candy Bar, yummy eats from East Coast Toast food truck, Boo-zy Cocktails & Killer Bloody Mary’s, and much more. This FREE event is family friendly. For more information visit Roc Made Goods.

Dinosaur BBQ
Dinosaur BBQ

ROC The Riverway Guided Bike Ride

Meet at the Pont de Rennes Bridge (at Platt Street) and travel along the Genesee Riverway Trail and by road to highlight the future ROC the Riverway enhancements along the Genesee Riverway. This ride will visit three projects associated the ROC the Riverway project: High Falls, downtown, and the south river area. This is a 12-mile ride on flat terrain, city roads and paved trail. Helmets required.

Charlotte-Genesee Lighthouse
Charlotte-Genesee Lighthouse in Rochester

Charlotte Genesee Lighthouse Tours


Tour the oldest active surviving lighthouse on Lake Ontario (1822); climb the Octagonal Tower for great views of Lake Ontario, explore the Keeper’s House, see the new 4th Order Fresnel Lens, view the display of Ontario Beach Park from the 1870s to 1920s, and take a walk through the War of 1812 International Peace Garden. The gift shop will also be open. Admission $5.00 (18 years & older); $2.00 (5-17 years old), and FREE (4 and under). For further information call 585-621-6179 or or visit their web site.

Roc City Skatepark Pop-Up Event

Join the City of Rochester and Friends of the Roc City Skatepark for a demonstration and pop-up skatepark event along the Genesee River. Live skateboard, BMX and scooter demonstrations from 2 p.m.-2:30 p.m.. Free, open ride session with games and prizes from 2:30 p.m.-4 p.m. Curious to learn more about skateboarding? There will be a few extra skateboards available for the event (limited supply). Bring your family and friends- and your own bike, board, or scooter to this awesome pop-up event! Safety equipment required- so please bring your helmets and knee pads/wrist guards. This event will take place in the Bivona Child Advocacy Center parking lot, 1 Mt Hope Ave, Rochester, NY 14620, next to Genesee Gateway Park/Spectrum.

Sam Patch interior
On board the Sam Patch

Full River/Erie Canal Boat Tour

Enjoy a leisurely cruise on the Genesee River and along the Erie Canal w/live narration detailing Rochester’s history highlighting the role that these waterways played in the development of the City of Rochester. Registration required. For more information visit Sam Patch.

Live Music Sunset Cruise on the Genesee River

Come aboard the Sam Patch and enjoy the groovy tunes from members of local favorite -Backyard Chemistry – while basking in the sunset on the glorious Genesee River. Sip your favorite beverage as you experience a scenic river cruise. Registration required. For more information visit Sam Patch.

Sunday, October 7, 2018

ROC the Riverway events in Charlotte, Ontario Beach Park and Turning Point Park

Ontario Beach Park Port of Rochester marina
Ontario Beach Park Port of Rochester marina

Celebrate the Port of Rochester

Enjoy the fall views of the new marina and enjoy a day of family friendly fun including: performances by CirqOvation amazing acrobats and aerial performers (free shows at 1pm, 2 pm and 3 pm), live music from the Daryl Parker Trio, the U.S. Coast Guard’s latest ships and equipment on display, fire equipment, hayrides, wood carving demonstrations, free pumpkin decorating, Rec On The Move, musical entertainment, wine and craft brew tasting in a huge outdoor tent. Events will take place at Ontario Beach Park and inside/around the Port of Rochester Terminal.

Turning Point Park Rochester NY
Turning Point Park

Guided Walk in Turning Point Park

Meet tour guide, Mike Parker, in the Turning Point Park parking lot at the end of Boxart Street. Enjoy a guided walk that will highlight the forests, overlooks, and award-winning boardwalk along the cattail-lined shores of the Genesee. Learn about the industrial history and footprint still present in Turning Point Park while enjoying the beauty of this urban wilderness. This hike will feature some hills and moderate grade changes and is not recommended for young children. This walking tour is free.

Charlotte Cemetery Tour

Explore the Charlotte Village Cemetery, burial place for many of the area’s earliest settlers, including famed daredevil, Sam Patch. Meet on River Street at the corner of Lake Avenue near the firehouse. Guided tour will be led by Jack Kemp. Additional parking is available at the former Ira Jacobson Post Home on St. John’s Park. This event is free and sponsored by the Charlotte Community Development Corporation.

Seneca Park Maplewood Park Pedestrian Connection Bridge
Seneca Park-Maplewood Park Pedestrian Connection Bridge

Guided Bike Ride from Seneca Park to the Port of Rochester

This scenic tour with spectacular views of the river gorge will take riders along the Genesee Riverway Trail, through Turning Point Park on a 4,000-foot boardwalk, and under the O’Rorke Bridge. This is a 12-mile ride on a paved trail with a few moderate hills. Helmets required. Meet at Seneca Park Zoo parking lot.

Corn Hill Landing October
Corn Hill Landing

‘Nathaniel Rochester’s Battle To Create a City’ Walking Tour

In 1803, Nathaniel Rochester and his partners bought a 100-Acre Tract of land along the west side of the Genesee River. It was a small seed that grew into the city we know today. For the next twenty years, that success was far from certain. Join Corn Hill historian Jim DeVinney for walking tour that highlights the story of men who challenged Nathaniel Rochester’s goal of creating a city in the wilderness and the dramatic events that determined the outcome. This tour starts on Corn Hill Landing by the Water Spirits Sculpture where South Plymouth meets Exchange Street.

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What is your favorite activity during ROC the Riverway Weekend?

Share with us in the comments. Your insight and experience is invaluable!

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