Cruisin' Down the Erie Canal

Monday, April 7, 2014
Ok, so it may only be April but you and I both know that we are all daydreaming about warm weather and things to do once that warm weather finally arrives.  I like to be spontaneous, but some things require planning and maybe even reservations, so I decided to share this fun excursion with you now so that you'll have time to book it before the summer rush.

Last summer was my first summer as a "retired" person.  I'm fortunate that my husband enjoys driving and will go anywhere I suggest, so the idea of a bus trip wasn't exactly in the forefront of my consciousness.  But one day while looking for ideas for day trips, I was browsing the Wade Tours schedule.  I came across a cruise down the Erie Canal that included lunch at our newly discovered - Beardslee Castle!   What a delightful day it turned out to be.

The trip begins in Herkimer - right off Exit 30 of the thruway. (You can actually see the exit sign behind the building).  The Lil Diamond II and Lil Diamond III are docked at the Official Mohawk Valley Visitor Center.   Once boarded, you will travel down the beautiful Erie Canal on a scenic 90 minute trip through history.   Your Captain will deliver an award winning narration of the past, present and future of the Erie Canal. Your United States Coast Guard licensed Captain entertains with tales of the canal: why it was known as Clinton’s ditch, how it was constructed, how it opened our western lands and help create the America we know today, how and why it was expanded and why it’s still important to upstate New York culture. (Taken from their official website).

As you cruise down the canal, you'll travel through a 100 year old lock where you are raised and lowered 20 feet.

Along your trip down the canal, you'll pass the Fort Herkimer Church.  Built between 1753 and 1767, Fort Herkimer is one of the oldest churches in New York State and is the oldest building in Herkimer County.  Having functioned as both a fortress during the French and Indian War and the American Revolution, as well as a place of worship for valley settlers, it serves as a reminders of days gone by.

Your Captain has an “open pilot house” policy where passengers can come into the pilot house and visit (except when maneuvering around docks or locks). This provides you with great photo opportunities. The cruise is 90 minutes of history, entertainment, humor, calm cruising, and pure family fun!
In addition to regular daily cruises from May 17-October 13 at 1:00 and 3:00, they also host a number of special themed cruises, including a Mother's Day Brunch Cruise, A Father's Day BBQ Cruise, A Pirate Cruise, and more.  Tickets are $19.00 for adults, Children 4-10, $12.00.   The Lil Diamond II and Lil Diamond III are clean, and comfortable vessels.  You can either sit inside on either deck or if you're adventurous and looking for photo ops like me, you can find a seat up front in the open air.

Our Captain


This is the smaller boat, which we used on our June 2014 cruise.
Since this original blog was written in April, I've added a few photos from our trip yestereday (6/22/14) where took the smaller boat.  Just as lovely a ride, awesome Captain with great narration and stories to tell.   Since we didn't go with a bus trip this time, we pre-ordered our tickets by calling the cruise line directly.  Warning.....don't contact Zerve as recommended on the website as it will cost you an extra $2.00 per ticket.  Instead call 315.866.5989 and reserve there.  

So, if you love the water and are looking for a relaxing and breathtakingly beautiful trip back in history, schedule your trip now.      I promise,  you won't be disappointed.  And to make the trip complete - schedule dinner at Beardslee Castle on your ride home! 


  1. You make it all look so beautiful!! Fantastic cruise! I just may have to look into it!

  2. I'm hooked! It's going on the summer wish list ;-0)


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