Couldn’t wait to get away from the high prices and poor services of Cayuga lake but had to wait out morning storms at the marina. The boat kept slowing down and we had to clear weeds off the prop and rudder multiple times. At the north end of the lake we turned west on the Seneca river and tied up at the public dock in Seneca Falls a couple hours later.
We felt instantly at home here. Some places just have a good vibe, and this is one of them. The dock is long and clean. Water, power, pump out, showers, and all free! We received a friendly greeting while registering the boat at the local history museum, where we learned why the vibe is what it is.
Seneca falls is the home of the Women’s Rights National Historical Park. It’s here that the first convention for women’s rights was held in 1848 and The Declaration of Sentiments was signed. It’s here that Elizabeth Cady Stanton met Susan B. Anthony in 1851. It’s essentially the birthplace of the women’s suffrage movement which lead to the 19th amendment, which ostensibly gave women the right to vote in 1920, but not without many more years of additional struggle.
There was significant Underground Railroad activity here; a long history of industry and riverside mills growing up alongside social, civil, and religious reform movements; Gould’s Pumps manufacturing headquarters; and of course the relatively recent additions of wineries, breweries, and distilleries. It’s also the town where the movie “It’s a Wonderful Life” was filmed in 1946. All of these things help support the local economy in a community that appears, at least on the surface, to be diverse and inclusive.
I walked into the town-funded facilities reserved for boaters only, by and large a privileged class, feeling at odds with the history I had just learned at the women’s rights park. It took 72 years of focused struggle to earn women the right to vote. It may feel like pushing on a rope, but change only comes from constant agitation.
Second morning in Seneca Falls was spent chasing after the boats water problem. Found a cracked fitting and loose connections making the pump suck air instead of water. Local hardware store had the parts needed to fix it. Hot and cold water flowing out of the spigots now after 2 hours of wrench work and a sweaty walk into town for supplies. Life will be a little easier now on the boat – well, at least doing the dishes will be easier.
If you enjoy this, and you have younger readers in your life, please check out my book, “The Biggest Bear”, it’s a great story!
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