Not much beats a fall day in New York State. I mention the blazing leaves, the fiery hills and the crisp air any chance I get. But this past weekend I had the opportunity to experience those things from the deck of my grandparents’ sailboat, Lorraine, and I can’t help but appreciate the fall on a whole new level.
It was kind of a chilly day, so we weren’t out very long – maybe an hour or so. Typically, a good sail on Lake Ontario is what we aim for whenever I’ve been out on the boat. This time, however, the water seemed like it might be a little cold to try and brave the whitecaps in our 40-foot Morgan. We decided to take a turn the other way and go up the Genesee River.
I’ve been up the Genesee before, but it was over the summer a long time ago. I didn’t fully understand how simply pretty it was going to be. Our day was a little bit gray, and a little bit chilly, but the winds and turns of the tree-lined river were still breath-taking.
We even started off the trip feeling excited for Halloween thanks to the retired “Spirit of Rochester” cruise ship that’s docked just before the marinas. From the 80s, it’s currently vacant and waiting for someone to buy and restore it. To my mother, it seems like it could be a really cool venue for some cruise-style dining or event rentals, but now, in the spooky month of October, it is the perfect ghost ship.
Of course the main attraction of the Genesee is the foliage. From the water, looking at all the leaves was an almost surreal experience. If you had taken the Genesee River Trailway, which pops out right over the water in some places, you would get the gist of the natural beauty of the area. But from the boat, you could see the reflections in the water, feel the currents and breaks of the river itself, and smell the leaves via the funneled breeze.
By the time we ended our trip, we had motored past the old Kodak cleaning plant, had seen the tops of Rochester’s skyscrapers peak out behind the trees and had decided to turn around at a charming, rusty red bridge. My grandfather, who used to own Braddock Bay Marina and is jokingly referred to as a former River Rat by his old boating buddies, seemed to know every bit of history about the area. He stood at the wheel, pointed out special spots and guided us through the world that he lived in way back when – the perfect picture of a captain.
Sure, my sister got a little chilly, but we all bundled up well and my grandma made some awesome hot chocolate to keep us warm. The sun broke through a couple times to warm the backs of our coats and the smoothness of the river made for a very pleasant trip. I can’t even describe how grateful I am for the opportunity to see NY in a whole new way.