Great Lakes Scenic Trail National Byway
- Ready to get out and go this winter? Here are 10 good reasons to visit the Great Lakes Seaway Trail National Scenic Byway along 518 miles of freshwater shoreline in New York and Pennsylvania.
For quiet season walking experiences
The winter season offers an opportunity to enjoy walking along quiet waterfronts, through historic neighborhoods decorated for the holidays, and on winter trails. Through November 30, there is time to complete the 9 self-guided Great Lakes Seaway Trail 1812-theme Walks to earn commemorative pins or American Volkssport Association and International Volkssport Federation credits; www.seawaytrail.com/volkssports.
For the snow
The byway includes two perennial record snowfall leaders: Buffalo and the Tug Hill region, thousands of wilderness acres with hundreds of miles of trails for snowmobiling, skiing, snowshoeing fun and competitions; the Winona Forest Stonewall Classic Snowshoe Race is January 27, 2013; www.seawaytrail.com/winter
For photo opps
Bring your camera to capture a spectacular frosty Niagara Falls, and naturally-formed ice mountains and bridges along the byway's big waters; http://www.seawaytrail.com/
For the War of 1812 history
Experience Flames Through Lewiston December 15, 2012 as the burning of this historic village is reenacted or the Battle of Ogdensburg along the St. Lawrence River with Forsyth's Rifles reenactors February 22-24, 2013; www.seawaytrail.com/warof1812.
For ice fishing
Try Chippewa, Three Mile, Sodus and Irondequoit bays, Lake of the Isles, Sandy Pond, Henderson and Wilson harbors, and many other great spots for winter angling; www.seawaytrail.com/fishing.
For lighthouses in winter
The winter season creates unique viewing of the 30 Great Lakes Seaway Trail lighthouses: watch for ice sailors at Presque Isle Lighthouse, Erie, PA, Charlotte-Genesee Light, Rochester, NY, and Old Sodus Lighthouse, Sodus Point, NY; www.seawaytrail.com/lighthouses.
To be inspired to quilt the Beauty of the Byways
Let a favorite byway scene or site inspire you to join American and Canadian quilters and fabric artists entering the March 16-17 & 23-24, 2013 Great Lakes Seaway Trail Quilt Show, www.seawaytrail.com/quilting
For only-here winter birdwatching
Ornithologist Gerry Smith writes about hundreds of birding hotspots in the "Birding the Great Lakes Seaway Trail" guidebook; for example: "In years when Little Sodus Bay at Fair Haven Beach Park remains open (in winter), the area is packed with diving ducks and gulls, white-winged gulls are frequent, and Bald Eagle regular. . . a marvelous place to watch waterfowl," www.seawaytrail.com/birding
For winter wine weekends
December 1-2, 7-9 collect ornaments at the wineries of the Niagara Wine Trail, while Lake Ontario Wine Trail vintners offer a holiday tasting tour December 8-9. January 18-20, Lake Erie Wine Trail wineries ‘Bare the Barrels' for bargain shoppers. February 15-17, Webb's Candies sponsors the Lake Erie Wine Trail's Wine and Chocolate Weekend at five sites. March 9-10, ‘say cheese' and wine on the Cayuga Lake Wine Trail, www.seawaytrail.com/wine
For events - here's a Trailwide sampling:
- November through April - Every second Sunday of the month Erie Art Museum, Erie, PA, offers free admission with a 2-4pm gallery-based art-making activity that is cool enough for kids and fun for adults, too.
- All winter - Encourage your kids to hop, skip, jump and climb at the National Museum of Play at The Strong during their "Let's Move!" initiative with hopscotch, hula hoops, walking the Yellow Brick Road and more
- November 24 - Olde Tyme Christmas in Medina, NY, with horse-drawn sleigh rides, Santa parade, Holiday Idol and Elf contests, crafters, and entertainment
- November 24 - Don your best disco duds and get down with the music at the World's Largest Disco at the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center in Buffalo, NY
- December 1 - Celebrate Christmas in the 1000 Islands with Clayton's 50th annual Christmas Parade and fireworks at 6pm, Santa Central, cookie sale, Thousand Islands Arts Center artisans' open house, a Dickens Christmas Festival, and holiday food fair. Nearby, visit the Kris Kringle German-style Market at Thousand Islands Winery in Alexandria Bay, NY or the Holiday House Gift Shop Weekend in Cape Vincent, NY
- December 9 - Auburn, NY's historic and cultural sites open for free admission noon to 5pm with entertainers, exhibitions, and refreshments
- December 15 - Snowmobile Hill Drags at Brantling Ski Slopes, Sodus, NY - spectators can enjoy the warmth of the lodge & observe the race hill top to bottom
- December 15 - Experience "Flames Through Lewiston" as historic War of 1812 reenactors recreate the December 19, 1813 burning of Lewiston, NY
- December 15-23 - Marvel at Lights on the River along the mighty St. Lawrence in Ogdensburg, NY
- February 1-2: Warm-Up Oswego chases away any winter blues with games, bonfire, fireworks over the Oswego River, entertainment, food and free admission sponsored by the Oswego, NY YMCA
- February 15-17 - Presidents' Day Winter Weekend Festival at Lakeside Park along Chautauqua Lake, Mayville, NY, hosts bonfire and fireworks, ice and snow events, horse-drawn rides, crafters and more
- March 16-17 & 23-24, 2013 - Find Maple Weekend open house events at sugarmakers Trailwide.
For 50 festive, fun and fresh reasons to visit the Great Lakes Seaway Trail National Scenic Byway this winter, go to www.seawaytrail.com/winter
Mike Bristol, Great Lakes Seaway Trail President and CEO, 315-646-1000 x202
Publicist Kara Lynn Dunn, 315-465-7578