Walking 15 Miles on the Erie Canal (Well, more like 4. But in flip-flops. So practically 15.)

July 19, 2013


This is my last post for my Erie Canal Week Series on my blog. Which only took me three weeks.

But, seriously, who’s counting?

Obviously, not ME.

I have this thing I like to do when I arrive in a new place.

I walk.

But I don’t walk like a normal person might walk.

I walk like a crazy person walks — the kind of crazy person who looks all bedraggled and blistered and like she just walked a million-billion miles in flip-flops because she did just walk a million-billion miles in flip-flops.

Yep, that’s me.

I always say I’m just going to go for a little walk. You know, just to check things out a bit. Get the lay of the land. Maybe take a few pictures.

And then hours later, I find myself covered in sweat, road-grime and toe-blisters, about five miles away from civilization, being barked at by scary dogs, and one of my flip-flops just broke, and I can’t get the GPS on my phone to work, and OMIGOD, I’M NEVER, EVER GOING TO DO THIS AGAIN. DO YOU HEAR ME, SELF? NEVER EVER AGAIN!

And then about two weeks later, I do this again.

I did this when I was in Toronto the other month. While wearing flip-flops. And dragging my luggage through the sweltery city streets. Because apparently public transportation is bad and giving myself blisters and heat stroke is SO MUCH better.

Then, exactly two weeks later, I found myself with a few hours to kill in Lockport after a pleasant day of cave-boating and mini-cupcaking and peanut-butter-ice-creaming.

And I thought to myself, “Hey, why don’t I go for a little walk down this towpath right here.” This, of course, was the exact same towpath that I could see perfectly well from the canal boat that I’d taken only a few hours earlier.


The towpath

But, hey, I reasoned, maybe I’d missed something.

To give myself credit, I did see a few things on my walk that I hadn’t seen while on the cruise.

Like, this oddly specific graffiti.


And this sign for a drawbridge. (Sadly no signs for moats or dragons followed.)


And I stumbled upon this band of Canadian geese. Who instantly started coming at me in an aggressive manner that made me suspect they were not Canadian at all.


And then when I finally decided to turn around and head back, I managed to get lost and ended up wandering aimlessly through some people’s backyards. Because that’s always a good idea.

I eventually ended up back at my car some two hours after I’d started, just in time to head to dinner at some place in North Tonawanda along the Canal.

I was covered in my usual sweat, road-grime and toe-blisters, but I wasn’t too concerned. After all, the place I was going to dinner at had the word “tavern” in the name. I was imagining it would be, well, really taverny. I didn’t think it would be a big deal if I showed up covered in gross.

I was wrong.

Really wrong.

As usual.

Remington Tavern and Seafood Exchange turned out to be a super-duper classy joint despite its use of the word “tavern” in its name.

At least, it was definitely not what I was imagining a tavern would be like. I was picturing plywood tables and greasy, overcooked hamburgers and drinks with names like “Rusty Foot-To-The-Head.”

I was not picturing exposed brick walls.


And mussels in a tomato-garlic sauce.


And cocktails with dainty slivers of cucumber floating in them. Which I’m pretty sure counts as both a drink and a salad, right?


Admittedly, I felt a little bit out of place when I arrived in my sweaty t-shirt and grubby flip-flops.

It didn’t help that everyone else in the place looked exceedingly well-scrubbed and shiny and like they hadn’t just spent the last two hours hiking the Erie Canal.

Is it just me or is everyone really CLEAN here?

Is it just me or is everyone really CLEAN in here?

Even the restaurant’s staff members were all beautiful and shiny in a way that makes you kind of want to stare at them a lot, even though you realize you probably shouldn’t add staring to the list of Reasons Why You’ll Probably Get Kicked Out of Here.

Luckily, I didn’t get kicked out. Which is good because I would have been really sad if I had missed this  fancy-pants salmon dish.


You guys, this is how you know you’re in a classy joint.

When your meal arrives at your table better dressed than you are.

Have you ever gone somewhere you thought was going to be really divey and it turned out to be surprisingly classy?
Thank you to Niagara Tourism & Convention Corporation for sponsoring my trip to Lockport and the Erie Canal, and thanks to Remington Tavern and Seafood Exchange for a super classy meal and for teaching me that cocktails totally can double as salads.

I've blathered on long enough! Now it's your turn!

  1. On July 19, 2013 at 7:37 am Selly said:

    Thanks for giving me a “good” idea for my Wuhan adventure. I’m going to do loads of walking to explore my neighbourhood. Considering that the city is sweltering hot at the moment that’s probably the most amazing idea I’ve ever had in my entire life 🙂

  2. On July 19, 2013 at 8:52 am Janice said:

    Our geese do tend to be more aggressive than the rest of us. =)

    Shortly after arriving in Korea, my director invited us to go ‘hiking in the woods’ to see the cherry blossoms. I wore old jeans, sneakers and a sweatshirt. He came to pick us up wearing a suit, tie, and very shiny shoes. It turns out the ‘hike’ was actually a casual stroll down a fancy, paved tree-lined path. Everyone else was dressed super-nice so they’d look great in their cherry blossom photos.
    Janice recently posted..Adventures in Concentration

  3. On July 19, 2013 at 8:55 am Jenni @ Traveler for Good said:

    I’m pretty sure this is how my leisurely stroll along the beach in Aruba became a 4 mile uphill hike to the lighthouse. Without taking sunscreen or water, of course. So glad there was a restaurant at the top that sold cold beverages…and that the walk back down was faster, thanks to gravity.
    Jenni @ Traveler for Good recently posted..Great Coffee Shop Views – Estes Park, CO

    • On July 27, 2013 at 6:33 am Sally said:

      Oh yeah, I’ve totally done the “Let’s walk to that lighthouse — it can’t be THAT far away” walk. It’s like we’re soulmates.

  4. On July 19, 2013 at 6:33 pm Christy@SweetandSavoring said:

    I *always* end up walking ridiculous amounts when I’m traveling alone. It’s like ‘wait, how did I not bring snacks on this 4 hour sojourn??’. But it looks like you had a nice reward at the end of your walk! 🙂
    Christy@SweetandSavoring recently posted..Friday Gratitude: 10 Things I’m Loving This Week

  5. On July 19, 2013 at 7:05 pm nicole said:

    What is up with that uber specific graffiti? LOL’s literally.
    nicole recently posted..Does “Off the Beaten Path” Even Exist?

  6. On July 20, 2013 at 1:51 am Brittany @ Paws for Beer said:

    I went to a restaurant in Walla Walla Washington last year and although I did not think it was going to be divey – I was shocked at how fancy it was. It was the middle of no-where Washington. I felt like a dirt bag sitting at the chef’s table in my typical travel clothes and everyone, including the chefs were in fancy outfits.
    Brittany @ Paws for Beer recently posted..Photo Friday 7/19/2013

  7. On July 20, 2013 at 9:50 am Tom @ Waegook Tom said:

    OK, so:

    1) that total counts as drink and a salad.
    2) those geese were probably from the border closest to Detroit.
    3) that graffiti is amazing. And reminds me of the ‘Taco Flavored Kisses’ song from South Park. If you haven’t seen it, YouTube it.

    Also, I do EXACTLY the same thing when I have time to kill. Although not in flip-flops. I just walk and walk until I get barked at or wander down a path that turns out to be overrun with stinging nettles and thistles. Ouch.
    Tom @ Waegook Tom recently posted..Czech Food: Prague’s Must-Eat Treats

    • On July 27, 2013 at 6:30 am Sally said:

      Ooo, stinging nettles and thistles. I haven’t tried that. I should add that to my repertoire of Things That Almost Kill Me While I’m On a Walk.

  8. On July 23, 2013 at 12:54 am ChinaMatt said:

    I often find myself in restaurants that have better dressed food than me. I also keep saying I should use public transportation when I travel instead of wandering for hours. I think I might have broken my foot…
    ChinaMatt recently posted..Quiet, Cold Iceland

  9. On July 23, 2013 at 5:52 pm Carmel said:

    There’s a really old school restaurant in downtown Portland called the Fish Grotto. We went there for a special dinner with my family a few years ago. The menu looked good, but the outside looked so run down…then we walked inside and it was super dark and decorated like a 60s steakhouse. Turned out to be awesome. It was the strangest thing and I never would have expected it to be like that inside. I guess there was a good reason for all the positive reviews.
    Carmel recently posted..INTRODUCING…

  10. On August 1, 2013 at 3:22 pm Montecristo Travels (Sonja) said:

    We always walk a lot. But because we travel with dog we at least always have water. 🙂 Hey best adventures are unplanned right? But flip flops? I don’t do flip flops.
    Montecristo Travels (Sonja) recently posted..When Travel Plans Go Belly Up!

  11. On August 2, 2013 at 2:54 pm Ceri said:

    Hahaaaa, oh yes, I know that feeling of being completely disheveled and underdressed for a fancy schmancy place. I love doing the walking around and getting lost, hot and sweaty too. 😀
    Ceri recently posted..NY Bucket List: #7 – Catch a Yellow Cab/Use the Subway

    • On August 3, 2013 at 10:51 am Sally said:

      I’m thinking I should start a tour company — no plan, no proper footwear and all the tours are just aimless, sweaty wanderings.

      • On August 8, 2013 at 10:08 pm Teresa (@TTs Trippin) said:

        I would TOTALLY sign up for an aimless walking tour with you! I do it ALL the time too 🙂 Only difference is I don’t wear flip flops (don’t like the thingy in between my toes) so my feet are usually not blistered. After 20 years in the military and wearing the MOST uncomfortable combat boots for hours on end, my feet took some abuse. I wear comfy shoes all the time now and also usually always have a package of crackers or some other form of nourishment in my purse. I could be like the den mother/soccer mom that always has the snacks for the group 🙂

  12. On September 11, 2013 at 2:12 pm Alana said:

    I had a friend who stole some geese from the zoo. (Bad friend, I know)

    Then he discovered that geese are the spawn of Satan.

    So now the geese are his guard “dogs”.

    That sounds humorous, but let me tell ya, it’s terrifying to have those evil things chasing you.

  13. On September 20, 2013 at 10:29 pm Uncle Ed said:

    North Tonawanda, Remington Tavern and Seafood Exchange. Just had to write it for myself. I wonder what they exchange? And does it grow in the canal?


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