Feature

Getting the flavor of...Western New York’s sleepy canal

Piloting a 12.5-ton vessel along the Erie Canal can be a fine way to “put on the mental brakes.”

Western New York’s sleepy canalPiloting a 12.5-ton vessel along the Erie Canal can be a fine way to “put on the mental brakes,” said Debbi Snook in the Cleveland Plain Dealer. The 19th-century New York state waterway, once the main artery linking the Midwest to the East Coast, is now plied mostly by recreational craft, including the 34-foot canal boat that a friend and I rented one weekend last fall. The Lockmaster, from Mid-Lakes Navigation (midlakesnav.com), maxed out at 6 mph, which felt like plenty when I had to captain it through tight U-turns, but pokey enough to change our rhythm. Heading east from a point south of Rochester, we passed backyards, fields, and forest, stopping occasionally to explore a friendly town or cook dinner in the boat’s “darling knotty-pine kitchen.” Sitting at the bow on the final day, I watched the scenery “unfold in royal time.” As light flickered between the trees, the water lapping the hull “fell away like petals from a flower.”

L.A.’s small-screen shrineAny fan of television will feel a flush of nostalgia when visiting Los Angeles’s Paley Center for Media, said Rob Owen in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “Television: Out of the Box,” an exhibit on display at the center through next year (paleycenter.org/perspectives), gathers together so many props and costumes from past and present Warner Bros. television hits that a visit is “like cracking open a pop-culture time capsule.” Sit in a booth from Seinfeld’s Monk’s Diner or in a re-creation of the Central Perk coffeehouse from Friends. Have a photo taken that’ll look like you’re sharing an animation cel with Bugs Bunny. You can even work in some karaoke onstage at the Theme Song Theater, where visitors are encouraged to sing the intros to The Dukes of Hazzard and The Flintstones. If you’ve ever spent more than 10 minutes watching TV, “there’s bound to be an artifact or costume that brings back memories.”

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