Welcome to The Victorian Village on the Erie Canal - The Village of Brockport, NY
One of the prettiest towns in the United States is only a 2.5 hour drive from the Niagara Border. After crossing the Lewiston-Queenston Bridge, we picked up Highway 104 East and started our lazy, 100 kilometre (60 mile) drive to Brockport. You might wonder why it takes 2.5 hours to get here. The average speed is about 70 kilometres an hour, and, more importantly, we stop for yard sales. Highway 104 is dotted both ways with yard sales (especially on weekends).
One must check out Brown and Daughters Barn on your right before Brockport. This 18th century barn contains items as old as the barn. Donna Brown will gladly tell you the story behind the opening of the barn. (We very rarely buy anything at these sales but we know it's a great way to mingle with locals.)
Along the way, we passed corn fields, fruit stands, farms, and plenty of old homes and churches. It's exactly the type of ride we like.
Keep your eyes peeled for Clarkson N.Y., where you take Highway 19 South to Brockport. Oddly enough, there is no sign at the intersection posted for the town. If you see a sign for Parma Corners, like we did, you'll know you missed the turn.
As we neared the town, sunshine streamed through our windshield as we passed over a steep bridge that crossed the old
Erie Canal. On the other side we were rewarded with the site of lovely small town U.S.A.
Brockport's main street (Main Street) consists of about 25 buildings. However, we easily spent two hours exploring these Victorian buildings that now have new life as unique shops (many antique shops) and restaurants. We enjoyed looking at the 1906 Strand Theatre. This three-screen theatre was completely renovated in 1946 and continues to operate as a movie theatre.
If you like to read, the Lift Bridge Book Shop has two floors of books, magazines and innovative toys. Nearby, Jill's Antiques and Collectibles was located in a Victorian Village storefront with leaded glass. Inside under a tin ceiling, a few things I spotted were Depression glass, kitchen kitsch, old bottles and photographs.
We arrived on Sunday and were fortunate to find a Farmer's Market just off Main Street, open 8 am until 1 pm every Sunday. Without hesitation, locals recommended the Stoneyard Bar and Grill at One Main Street beside the Erie Canal. The Cubano sandwich was recommended so we ordered one, dinner size for $8.95 which we shared. It was excellent, but I managed once again to spill sauce on my shirt. Claire, our amiable server, told me about the Smarty Pants-Gently Used Clothing store across the street. My newly purchased $3.50 shirt looks just as good as my soiled expensive linen shirt.
We decided to climb the stairs of the Lift Bridge located at the end of Main Street to have a closer look at the
canal that opened in 1825. At the time it was considered an engineering marvel of the 19th Century. Today, pleasure crafts, fishing boats and cyclists and walkers use the former towpaths along the canal that mules once trod.
If we'd made arrangements before we left we'd have made an appointment to visit the
Brockport Fire Museum at the south end of Main Street. Their website says they were opened in 1967 and they have three different types of pumpers. The museum is dedicated to firefighters, past, present and future.
Brockport is a university town.
The College at Brockport, a Campus of the State University of New York (SUNY) has been here since 1841. The beauty of Brockport is that it hasn't yet turned into a "touristy place." It's pure hometown U.S.A.
Where to Stay in Brockport
Gingerbread Manor Bed and Breakfast
6590 Lake Road, Brockport, NY 14420
"A relaxing home with sheep in the paddock
and breakfast courtesy of our own hens."
George Bailey contributes to Sun Media's 43 paid-circulation newspapers across Canada as well as numerous magazines. George has appeared on CNN, Good Morning America, Canada AM, the Discovery Channel, and Live with Regis and Cathy Lee. He has published five books on Niagara Falls.
The Victorian Village on the Erie Canal - The Village of Brockport, NY
Located in Western New York on the scenic Erie Canal, Brockport has a great past and an even more promising future. From our Main Street lined with quaint shops to the campus of State University of New York at Brockport, our village is both inviting to tourism and business.