The Erie Canal was started in 1817 and completed in 1825. I know this, sans Google, because as a Central New Yorker I believe we are duty-bound to know something about this waterway that courses through our region and that we drive over in any number of places, plunk our boats in at any number of spots, and bike, walk, or run along for long stretches.
It is a fluid history lesson still in use today, and its impact on the region and on the state as a whole can’t be underestimated. One of the towns that seem to have capitalized on the canal to its fullest is Baldwinsville.
Wife L, Aunt L, and I had just finished a great walk at the Beaver Lake Nature Center on Saturday and, as always, felt that nourishment was required. We drove into the bustling village northwest of Syracuse and immediately went prowling for somewhere interesting to eat. We drove through the busy downtown core and turned south on Syracuse Street, crossing over the broad Seneca River. A little further along was the beautiful Red Mill Inn, which is on Paper Mill Island, sandwiched between the river and Erie Canal Lock No. 24.
It’s a wonderful spot. There is a band shell for concerts at a nice park that offers great views of the river and the dam, and on the other side, the canal lock that lifts and lowers boats as they travel through the village.
A little past the Red Mill Inn is Water Street, and that led us to the Lock 24 Restaurant and a walking path that was being used by a few dog-walkers. The restaurant, though, is where we landed.
The restaurant has a huge deck that offered great views of the lock. Inside it is nicely appointed with dark wood booths and bar, and a funky sea-green ceiling. The Syracuse football game was being projected onto a huge pull-down screen, but nobody seemed all that interested in the proceedings. We were interested in food.
Wife L enjoyed her three Maryland crab cakes that were served with a nice remoulade sauce, while Aunt L had a huge salad topped with perfectly cooked pieces of steak. They both enjoyed their French onion soup, as well. It was a very good meal, and we were well served by our waitress.
I took a walk as my companions finished their meals and chatted, and strolled through the Red Mill Inn. A party filled one of its banquet rooms, and the historic structure seemed lively and inviting.
I will make a point of visiting the restaurant again during the summer months to watch the boats work their way through the lock and to take that walk along the Seneca River. Maybe even stay at the Red Mill Inn and do a little more exploring along the waterfront and in the village’s historic neighborhoods.