Mohawk Towpath Scenic Byway

Return to Another Century

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You’ll feel like you dropped into another century. Traveling a busy highway to get to the Byway, you wouldn’t know such wonderful serenity awaits. Yet, as you leave a very busy intersection of trade and commerce in New York state, it appears time has stopped. When you travel this beautiful, quiet, rural corridor, you wouldn’t know the Interstate exists. Settled by the Dutch in 1661, the land on which the town of Halfmoon sits was purchased directly from the Mohawk tribe in 1667. Walking the streets of Waterford, you’ll pass buildings constructed as early as 1770. The Old Military Crossing was a ford across the river guarded by Generals Enoch Poor and Benedict Arnold (he was an American general before becoming the famous turncoat) during the Revolutionary War. The beautiful homes that overlook the Mohawk River in the Crescent-Church Hill Historic District have been reigning over the riverbanks for more than 200 years. Much of the landscape along the Mohawk Towpath Scenic Byway still looks like it did when mules piled the original Erie Canal in 1825. Many thought building a water route for commerce through New York State was a reckless idea. Instead, it became the major trade route through the Appalachians, establishing New York City as a major seaport and enabling settlement further west. Historic districts with buildings from canal days still stand proudly in towns that have not changed significantly in centuries. One hundred years later, the New York State Barge Canal replaced the original locks which add even more interest to the trip. Today, sites that reveal several eras of history in the region punctuate the route in numerous places, intertwined with natural areas and scenic beauty. After you experience the loop that includes Cohoes, Waterford and Halfmoon, take the rest of the journey slowly. Views of the river ebb and flow, all the while blessed with lush greenery. You’ll grow to truly appreciate the meandering route nestled within the trees. It’s peace and serenity at its finest and one of the best escapes from the bustle of life you’ll ever find.

Journey to Another Place in Time

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You have your train tickets. You’re heading for Grand Central Station. Amidst the hustle and bustle, you’re curious about where you are going, not having explored the countryside surrounding the state capital before. It’s been described as a return to another century. Two centuries ago, for that matter. As you board, get ready to travel to a different place in time. Within the fast-paced triangle between Albany, Schenectady and points north, it appears that time has stopped. When you travel on the Mohawk Towpath Scenic Byway, a beautiful, quiet, rural corridor, you wouldn’t know the Interstate or the city exists. Settled by the Dutch in 1661, the land on which the town of Halfmoon sits was purchased directly from the Mohawk tribe in 1667. Walking the streets of Waterford, you’ll pass buildings constructed as early as 1770. The Old Military Crossing was a ford across the river guarded by Generals Enoch Poor and Benedict Arnold (he was an American general before becoming the famous turncoat) during the Revolutionary War. The beautiful homes that overlook the Mohawk River in the Crescent Church Hill Historic District have been reigning over the riverbanks for more than 200 years.