What's River Romance?
The City of Rochester is in its third decade of celebrating our Genesee River through the River Romance weekend's full schedule of activities and events. As our river water revives ecologically it also is playing an increasingly important role in reviving our economy through sustainable economic development. We love the time of year when River Romance puts the Genesee into the community spotlight.
The Genesee in Rochester has been a catalyst for development for hundreds of years. Long before the City was founded, the Iroquois upstate empire was anchored in the Genesee region and included many settlements along the river in our area. In the early 1800s, Rochester arose around the first mills on the river's High Falls, signaling the end of a remote western wilderness and the explosive growth into the country's first boom town, the "Young Lion of the West." The Genesee was literally a lifeline for African-Americans escaping slavery in the South, as they journeyed via the Underground Railroad, often finding way to safe houses in Rochester near the river and crossing the finish line, the Canadian border, via boats launched from Kelsey’s Landing. Frederick Douglass embodied Rochester's fearless leadership in the anti-slavery cause by publishing the influential North Star paper from downtown Rochester. Susan B. Anthony led her world-changing fight for women's rights from Rochester, and others less famous but similarly committed moved the progressive agenda of the country forward from this city on the Genesee. The Erie Canal bridged the river via a unique downtown aqueduct, speeding the development of a young nation both east and west.
To commemorate this illustrious heritage, River Romance this year will feature a focus on the City's new Heritage Trail, which takes pedestrians through the center city to impressive heritage sites, engrossing them in the city's important history. A ribbon-cutting to formally open this Trail will launch this year's River Romance festivities, on Friday, October 5 at 2 pm at in front of the Blue Cross Arena on Broad Street. And of course we will again educate, celebrate, and commemorate the River through River Romance's extensive [remove series of] offerings: walks, talks, paddles, bike rides, boat rides, tours, and more. And yes, we're doing Renew Your Vows at High Falls again!
Read on for the full schedule, and see you on the river!
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River Romance 2012 Schedule
Friday, October 5
2:00 p.m. River Romance Opening Ceremony. Ribbon Cutting for the new Heritage Trail. Meet at the front of the Blue Cross Arena at the War Memorial on Broad Street. Come and explore history in downtown Rochester on The Heritage Trail, a 1.25-mile long walking path that leads visitors to 27 points of historical significance between the Susan B. Anthony House and Erie Canal Aqueduct Bridge. This self-guided tour follows an 8” wide line of either granite or blue paint on city sidewalks, along the way visitors will find historical markers, plaques, and interpretive signs telling some of the stories that make up Rochester’s rich history. See www.cityofrochester.gov/heritagetrail/ for more information about the Heritage Trail.
3:00, 4:00, 5:00 p.m. Walking Tours of the Heritage Trail. Meet in front of the Blue Cross Arena at the War Memorial, at the corner of Exchange and Broad Streets, for a one hour walking tour of this new urban trail.
Additional October 5 activities:
6:00 a.m.- 7:00 p.m. Fall Salmon Run. Daily until November, for avid anglers and spectators. Seth Green Drive and Norton St. off St. Paul Blvd.
10 a.m.-7 p.m. Center at High Falls, 60 Brown’s Race. Explore the 1873 Rochester water works building, and see modern Rochester at the same time. Take a ten minute virtual ‘Taxi Tour’ of contemporary Rochester, and look back ten thousand years at area geology. Models of a flour mill, a forge, and a room- sized super map help recall the city’s birth, and dependence on water power. One floor up is a vibrant gallery of local art. Also open Saturday and Sunday. Admission fee. For more information call 585-325-2030 or visit www.centerathighfalls.org.
12:00–1:30 pm. University of Rochester Arboretum Tour. Meet at the west side steps of University of Rochester’s Rush Rhees Library to explore the University Arboretum with noted horticulturist Dan Schied. The River Walk, designed by famed landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, is public parkland showcasing 197 oak trees of 15 different species. The University’s campus was awarded Tree Campus USA in 2010 and 2011, as well as the Grand Award for Urban University Campuses in 2011, Professional Grounds Management Society.
1:00–5:00 p.m. Charlotte Genesee Lighthouse Tours. The Charlotte-Genesee Lighthouse, second oldest lighthouse on the Great Lakes (1822) will have tours of the Tower and Keeper’s House. The gift shop is also open. $3 admission. For further information call 585-621-6179 or visit www.geneseelighthouse.org. There will be volunteers interpreting the recently opened War of 1812 International Peace Garden which celebrates 200 years of peace between the United States, Canada and the British.
5:30-7:00 p.m. Buskers on the Bridge. See and hear local talent at the scenic High Falls Pont de Rennes Bridge, off State St. at Platt St., adjacent to Center at High Falls.
6-7 pm. History at High Falls Guided Walk. Experience the High Falls interpretive tour with local historian Cynthia Howk as she brings alive the fascinating history of the area. Learn about Rochester’s earliest history andhow we became the “Flour City” and then the “Flower City.” Meet at 60 Browns Race, in front of the Center at High Falls.
7:00-7:30 p.m. Renew Your Vows on the Banks of the Genesee. Join your loved one on the Pont de Rennes Bridge (off State St. at Platt St.) for a romantic ceremony in the 19th century setting of the High Falls Historic District, with the 98-foot waterfall as backdrop. Please arrive no later than 6:45 pm. Enjoy a free reception in honor of those renewing their vows. No registration or fee required.
Saturday, October 6
Events at Maplewood Rose Garden, Lake Ave. and Driving Park
10:00-11:00 a.m. Rose Workshop in Maplewood Rose Garden. Make sure your sweetheart’s favorites are protected from the cold. Workshop will feature local rosarians teaching the secrets of successful overwintering. No registration is required. Maplewood Park page
11:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. Tours of the Lower Falls and Gorge.Docents from the Maplewood Neighborhood Association will expose visitors to the beauty and history of the Lower Falls of the Genesee. Attendees hear about the five bridges over the gorge, the Underground Railroad, the rivalry between Carthage and Rochester, the industrial past and the recreational future. Tours leave approximately every 45 minutes, Last tour starts approximately 3 pm, free.
12:00-3:00 p.m. Jazz Jammin’ in the Garden. Enjoy live jazz with The Darryl Parker Trio amidst the beauty of the Rose Garden, along with light lunch fare offered for a fee by the Deacon’s Table.
7:30- 9:30 p.m. Haunted Gorge Tours, Lower Falls Park. A pre-Halloween scare-fest! A perfect end to a romantic day along the river, this family friendly descent into the depths of the Lower Gorge features creatures and spirits sure to scare. Take the tour aboard a tractor drawn wagon. Pre-registration required. Fees: 12 and over $5, children under 12, $2. Tickets available at City Recreation Administration Office, 400 Dewey Ave or at the Maplewood YMCA, 25 Driving Park Ave. Park in Maplewood YMCA lot, Driving Park Ave. Sponsored by the Maplewood Neighborhood Association (www.maplewood.org) , Maplewood YMCA and Edgerton Community Center (www.cityofrochester.gov/edgerton). All proceeds benefit the Association, the YMCA and the Edgerton Teen Council. 585-428-6755.
Other events along the Genesee River
9:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m. Head of the Genesee Regatta Day #1. The 2012 Head of the Genesee Regatta will take place at the Genesee Waterways Center, 149 Elmwood Avenue (behind the Genesee Valley Park Sports Complex). The three day event provides a competitive and fun rowing event for Masters and Open rowers on Saturday, and high school crews on Sunday from 9 am-4pm. The collegiate crews and corporate/club challenge racing will be on October 13 from 9 am-4pm. Once again this event will bring people to the banks of the Genesee River to celebrate the sport of rowing in a magnificent natural setting. Attendance for spectators is free; refreshments and fan gear are available for purchase. Entertainment too! Free parking in Genesee Valley Park East, off Moore Road. Volunteers needed! Call 585-737-0069.
9:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Mary Jemison River Shuttles. Departures every hour from Brooks Landing heading downtown to Corn Hill Landing. Return trip from Corn Hill Landing every hour from 10 am-4pm. Tickets are $2 round trip. www.samandmary.org
10:00 a.m.–3 p.m. One-hour Walking Tours from Corn Hill Landing to the Broad Street Aqueduct and back to Corn Hill. Departures every hour, presented by Corn Hill Navigation. Free.
10:00 am.–.12:00 p.m. Guided Bike Tour of High Falls Neighborhood. Meet at the Pont de Rennes Bridge, behind the Centers at High Falls. Travel along the Genesee Riverway Trail and by road into the community. Ride through downtown Rochester, Genesee Valley Park, Corn Hill, Susan B. Anthony neighborhood which contains the Frederick Douglass Museum site. A 10-mile ride on flat terrain, city roads and paved trail. Helmets required.
10:00 to 10:30 a.m. The "Early Days Walking Tour" before Rochester was Rochester. Meet in front of the original Rochester Public Library Building on South Avenue and join local historian Hal Schuler for a guided walk through downtown, including the location of Indian Allen's 18th century mills, the 100 Acre Plot purchased by Nathaniel Rochester and his partners in 1803 for $17.50, and the location of the Hamlet Scrantom's 1812 cabin. It is the 200th anniversary of downtown Rochester's first log cabin, constructed before Rochester became Rochester. Repeated on Sunday.
12 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. Historic Aqueduct Guided Tours. Short presentation and tour by members of the Canal Society of New York State. Meet in the lobby of the Blue Cross Arena.
12 to 3:00 p.m.Historic Aqueduct open. Enter on Broad Street next to the Blue Cross Arena. Get a glimpse of Rochester’s historic underbelly. Volunteers from the Canal Society of New York State will be strategically placed in the Aqueduct to provide history and insights about this unique downtown aqueduct. Also hear about proposals for future redevelopment. www.newyorkcanals
12 p.m. and 6 p.m. Harbor Town Belle River Cruises. Daily cruises by reservation until November. Call 585-342-1810 or visit www.harbortownbelle.com. (See 10/5 listing.)
12:00-6:00 p.m. Center at High Falls, 60 Brown’s Race. Explore the 1873 Rochester water works building, and see modern Rochester at the same time. Take a ten minute virtual ‘Taxi Tour’ of contemporary Rochester, and look back ten thousand years at area geology. Models of a flour mill, a forge, and a room- sized super map help recall the city’s birth, and dependence on water power. One floor up is a vibrant gallery of local art. Also open Saturday and Sunday. Admission fee. For more information call 585-325-2030 or visit www.centerathighfalls.org.
1:00-5:00 p,m. Charlotte Genesee Lighthouse Open. $3 admission. See 10/5 listing.
1:00-3:00 p.m. Mount Hope Cemetery Walking Tour. Meet at the South Cemetery Entrance, 1133 Mount Hope Ave., opposite The Distillery restaurant. Tour is $5, free children under 16 and for members of the Friends of Mt. Hope Cemetery. Learn about 19th and 20th century Rochesterians buried in the oldest municipally-owned Victorian cemetery in the country. For more information: 585-461-3494 or go to www.fomh.org.
2:00-3:30 p.m. 150th Anniversary Celebration of Camp Fitz-John Porter, a Civil War training camp, Flint Street just off Exchange Street, by the Genesee River. This free, family friendly event will feature re-enactors, story tellers, children’s games, period music and more! Attendees will travel back to the early 1860’s - a time of historic change in Rochester that reverberated throughout New York State and beyond. Canal enthusiasts, Civil War buffs, Underground Railroad fans, and urban neighbors will gather for a commemorative living history event along the Erie Canal Extension of the Genesee River. The banks of Rochester’s waterways will come alive with costumed historical figures including Fredrick Douglass and other Freedom Seekers, military re-enactors representing the regiments that trained at Camp Fitz-John Porter, a live cannon fire demonstration and light refreshments for the whole family to enjoy. Funding provided by the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor.
3:00-4:00 p.m. Walking Tour of the Heritage Trail. Meet in the Susan B. Anthony Square Park (between King and Madison Streets) by the statue of Frederick Douglass and Susan B. Anthony, for a one hour walking tour of this new urban trail. .
3:30-5:30 p.m. Sam Patch Cruise from Corn Hill Landing to Pittsford. Depart from Corn Hill Landing, 290 Exchange Blvd. in downtown Rochester on the 1800s packet boat replica Sam Patch. Cruise the Genesee River Extension of the Erie Canal past new and old Rochester landmarks including Camp Fitz-John Porter and the University of Rochester River Campus before turning eastward onto the Erie Canal at the crossing of river and canal in Frederick Law Olmsted- [add hyphen here] designed Genesee Valley Park. Enjoy the signature canalling experience by going through a canal lock – a water elevator that will lower the boat 25 feet - at Locks 33 and 32. Arrive at 12 Schoen Place in the beautiful and historic canal port of Pittsford. Tickets are $15 for Adults, $13 for Seniors 65+, and $10 for Children 3-18. Children 2 and under are free. Reservations are recommended. 585-662-5748 / email@example.com. Passengers are responsible for providing their own transportation back to Corn Hill Landing.
5:30-8:00 p.m. Twilight River Romance Cruise Dinner Cruise. Depart onboard the historic 1931 Mary Jemison boat from Corn Hill Landing, 290 Exchange Blvd., for an elegant dinner and romantic views of the Rochester skyline and history along the Genesee River. Navigate a canal lock and the intersection where the River meets the Erie Canal in Frederick Law Olmsted designed Genesee Valley Park. Seating limited, preregistration required. $50 per person (cruise, dinner, one complimentary champagne cocktail.) 585-662-5748/ firstname.lastname@example.org
5:00-7:00 p.m. Family Skate at Genesee Valley Ice Rink.131 Elmwood Avenue. Open skate fees: 17 and under, $2; 18 and over $5.College students $2.50 with ID. Skate rental $3. For more information, call 585-428-7888.
Sunday, October 7
Events in Charlotte, Ontario Beach Park and Turning Point Park
9:00 a.m.–3:00 p.m. Open Non-motorized Boat Launch. Turning Point Park boat launch. Canoe/Kayak rentals from 10:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m., fee. See 10/6 listing.
10-11:30 am. Guided Walk in Turning Point Park. Meet in the Turning Point parking lot at the end of Boxart St. off Lake Avenue. Tour the Red Falls, Bullock’s Woods and the spectacular boardwalk over Turning Basin. Moderate grade changes; not recommended for children under 10.
10 am–12 pm. Guided Bike Ride, Seneca Park and Turning Point Parks. Meet at Seneca Park Zoo parking lot. We cross over to the west side of the Genesee River to ride on the Genesee Riverway Trail north to the Port of Rochester. Spectacular views of the river gorge, ride on the 4,000 foot boardwalk in Turning Point basin, and under the O’Rorke Bridge. A 12-mile ride on a paved trail with a few moderate hills. Helmets required.
12:00-12:45 p.m. Charlotte Cemetery Tour. Meet on Lake Avenue at River Street. Tour the historic pioneer cemetery of the Village of Charlotte. This is the final resting place of the first customs collector of the port, early lighthouse keepers and daredevil Sam Patch. Established before the city of Rochester, this cemetery is home to many early pioneers and veterans from the Revolutionary war, War of 1812 and the Civil War. Sponsored by the Charlotte Community Association and the Charlotte Village and Transportation Museum .Additional parking available at the Ira Jacobson Post Home.
11 a.m.–4 p.m. Autumn at the Lake. Ontario Beach Park, Lake Avenue at Beach Avenue. Free family fun featuring hayrides, pumpkin decorating, children’s activities, Recreation on the Move mobile recreation center, free historic Dentzel Carousel rides and the Grease Paint Alley Clowns doing face painting and balloon animals. Refreshments available. Sponsored by the Ontario Beach Park Program Committee of the Charlotte Neighborhood Association. The Greece Historical Society and the Charlotte Village and Transportation Museum will be also have exhibits on the history of Northgate Plaza, the Manitou trolley and Charlotte. Come hear about the War of 1812 from the Canadian point of view, through the eyes of a descendant whose family barn near Fort Erie, Ontario became a field hospital. Greece and Charlotte t-shirts, books and memorabilia will be on display and for sale and a new book on Charlotte in the war of 1812 will be unveiled. In addition, the Charlotte Community Association will have a display on the Bill Davis Overlook and the Charlotte High School murals. Refreshments available for purchase.
1:00-5:00 p.m. Charlotte Genesee Lighthouse. $3 admission. See 10/5 listing. The Excelsior Brigade Fife and Drum Corps will perform at Ontario Beach Park from 1:00 to 2:00 p.m. and then march up Lake Avenue to the Lighthouse where they will do an additional performance from 3:00 to 4:00 p.m. The Corps will be dressed in uniforms from War of 1812. The Lighthouse will have docents describing Charlotte’s role in the War of 1812.
9 am–4 pm. Head of the Genesee Regatta Day #2. The 2012 Head of the Genesee Regatta will take place at the Genesee Waterways Center, 149 Elmwood Ave. (behind the Genesee Valley Sports Complex). High School crews race from 9-4 pm. The collegiate crews and corporate/club challenge racing will be on Oct. 13 from 9-4pm. See 10/7 listing.
10:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Mary Jemison River Shuttles. departures every hour from Brooks Landing heading downtown to Corn Hill Landing. Return trip from Corn Hill Landing every hour from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Tickets are $2 round trip.
11:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. One Hour Walking Tours. from Corn Hill Landing to the Broad Street Aqueduct and back to Corn Hill. Departures every hour. Presented by Corn Hill Navigation. Free.
12:00 p.m.-3:00 p.m. Walking tour of “Rock Park.” One of the nation’s only urban kayak facilities. Park at the Seth Green fishing access lot, near the corner of Norton St. and St. Paul Blvd. and walk down Seth Green Drive to the Kayak Adventures tent. Join Kayak Adventure’s Director and Olympic Coach Art Miller on a walking tour of this urban treasure. View the river’s rapids and the Lower Falls up close. Learn how city kids are learning to whitewater kayak in the middle of their neighborhood while gaining an appreciation for nature and the environment. Tour will include kayak demonstrations by program participants.
1:00-5:00 pm. Center at High Falls. Explore the 1873 Rochester water works building and see modern Rochester at the same time, including an art gallery. Admission fee. 60 Browns Race. For more information, call 585-325-2030 or go to www.centerathighfalls.org. (See10/5 listing.)
2:00-4:00 p.m. Mount Hope Cemetery Walking Tour. Meet at the North Cemetery Entrance, 791 Mount Hope Ave., opposite Robinson Drive. Tour is free. Tour includes both paved roads and uneven terrain. Learn about local history, famous Rochesterians (including Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass), horticulture, geology, physical geography, architecture, symbolism, and more. For more information: 585-461-3494 or go to www.fomh.org.
2:30–3:45 p.m. Family Skate at Genesee Valley Ice Rink. 131 Elmwood. Avenue. Fees: 17 and under $2; 18 and over $5, college students $2.50 with ID. Skate rental, $3. For more information, call 585-428-7888.
3:00-4:00 p.m. Walking Tour of the Heritage Trail. Meet in the Susan B. Anthony Square Park (between King and Madison Streets) by the statue of Frederick Douglass and Susan B. Anthony, for a one hour walking tour of this new urban trail. Extend your tour by joining the Early Days tour which begins at 4pm from the downtown end of the Heritage Trail.
4:00-5:30 p.m.The "Early Days Walking Tour" before Rochester was Rochester. Meet in front of the original Rochester Public Library Building on South Avenue and join local historian Hal Schuler for a guided walk through downtown See 10/6 listing.
2012 Sponsors & Community Partners
Rochester River Romance is coordinated and sponsored by the City of Rochester and MVP Health Care in partnership with City Newspaper (www.rochestercitynewspaper.com), VisitRochester (www.visitrochester.com ) and a host of community organizations.
Take Transit to River Romance Events and Activities
Use the Rochester-Genesee Regional Transporation Authority's Trip Planner to get a bus to River Romance activities
For More Information
Contact the Department of Recreation and Youth Services at (585) 428-6755, or call 311 (if you're outside the city, dial 585-428-5990).