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Story & Photo by:  Robert Stopper, Lyons

Before boaters even finish docking in Lyons on the Erie Canal, they are frequently welcomed to the community by a special group of volunteer “Meeters & Greeters”.

The “Meeters & Greeters” know the location of all the basic needs- free lavatory and showers at the fire station, ice, fresh fruit, fresh vegetables, fresh steak, ice cream, and local eateries. Many visitors are directed to the local hardware store for rain gear, bicycle parts, corks, and “knick nack” boating items. Boaters are encouraged to attend the Saturday morning Farmer’s Market and the Wednesday evening Music Concerts in the village park.

Lyons' Erie Canal Meeters & Greeters
Pictured left to right:  Patsy Hewes, Jack McCranels, Mary Ann Bartley,
John Hewes and Les Bartley
Absent: Larry Ann Evans, Eric Lewis, Keith Bridger, Kevin Stoeps,
Mark DeCracker, Vickie and Bob Stopper
The “Meeters & Greeters” also encourage the boating tourists to “register” at the fire house: registration supplies an accurate count and description of visiting boater tourists, and secondly, it advises the local police that “a visiting boat” is docked down at the canal.

The visitors are presented a brochure giving photos, addresses, and phone numbers of the historical attractions in Lyons. If visitors wish to tour the Historic Hotchkiss Essential Oil (Peppermint) Building, the Historic County Museum, the Historic Ohmann Theatre, the Historic Erie Canal Drydocks, or even Lock E 27, the tour is usually only a phone call away- a “Meeter/Greeter” can make that call!

The “Meeters & Greeters” also know the canal. They advise boaters about the swift currents. When a severe storm is forecast, they advise boaters about the sudden rise in water depth- the Canandaigua Outlet truly floods the canal. They also advise boaters about the “tricky” swift currents between Lock 27 and the Outlet.

The “Meeters & Greeters” are truly tourist oriented to the boaters. In the past, they have arranged for car rentals, emergency trips to the Rochester and Syracuse airports, emergency transportation to the local hospital, transportation to local golf courses, and even postal addresses for long term international boater tourists planning to return on the Erie Canal.

The goal of the “Meeters & Greeters” is simple: Meet the tourists…. Greet them to the community…. Assist them in any way possible to have a most wonderful visit…. Provide for them the most unique and fantastic memory of Lyons on the Erie Canal…. And if the tourists leave with fresh Peppermint from the Canal Bank Peppermint Garden, that is wonderful! …. If they tell all their boating friends about Lyons in a favorable blog, well, that is even better!


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