Corn Hill Navigation (CHN) recently closed its best season ever, hosting 14,717 passengers on daily tours and private charters. And we hosted 2,500 students from the Rochester City School District and other local schools on tours that support New York State’s 4th grade history curriculum. Both sets of numbers represent annual attendance records, and set the stage for a great 2018 with a new downtown vessel added to the mix.
Noteworthy trips this year included the “Evening Out at Home Dinner,” benefiting the Rochester Area Community Foundation – we decked the boat out for an evening “white tablecloth dinner” for more than 20 people. City of Rochester Recreation Department trips allowed young people to learn about the region’s history, while most experienced being on the water for the first time. And the recreation department partnership included a program for young mothers.
Special events included: a 90th birthday party private charter; live poetry slam charter; and our first “Beer School,” where folks learned Erie Canal history and facts about local beer, general beer brewing, and sampled several different local products. Nazareth College took tours as part of new student orientation, Via Girasole wine tastings allowed people to sample local varietals, and we hosted a nature journaling cruise with the Seneca Park Zoo. We participated in the 200th anniversary of Erie Canal construction – activities will continue in 2018. And we participated in VoteTilla, which was a series of canal-centered events celebrating 100 years of women voting in New York State.
We were also a great location to view North American Brewery’s “beer can flotilla” – the procession of brewing tanks traveling along the Erie Canal and Genesee River to their new home in a state-of-the-art environmentally sustainable system. Cheers to another of Rochester’s historic businesses, the Genesee Brewing Co., for a successful cruise on area waterways.
As a catalyst for activity on the Erie Canal and Genesee River, CHN always seeks partnerships that bring together many entities to promote tourism in our region. The Genesee River Romance in September is a prime example. This annual event that connects Rochesterians and visitors with the water allowed us to connect boat passengers to our bike trails. CHN hosted a “Glide and Ride” tour from Pittsford to downtown Rochester. Twenty -five cyclists enjoyed a two-and-a-half hour tour through two locks, and a trip down the Genesee River to Corn Hill Landing. Passengers disembarked and toured the city before heading back to Pittsford on bikes along the river and canal. We also provided 45-minute ($5) public tours that day for full boats of passengers – most of whom had never been on the Genesee River before. The day concluded on a sold out live music cruise with members of Backyard Chemistry.
As one passenger said, “it was like being on vacation in your own city.”
The Sam Patch hosted passengers from 48 states and 34 countries in 2017, including destinations from Pittsford to Patagonia, and every continent but Antarctica. Make plans now for your 2018 private charter, or be sure to check out one of our special public cruises that provide a chance to experience local waterways while listening to music, tasting local beers and wines, or just learning about Erie Canal history – all of these experiences make a great holiday present, so purchase your gift card today!