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Story & Photos by:  ROBERT STOPPER, LYONS

On May 9, 2015, Bob and Linda Wolter from Hastings, Minnesota began their “first ever” trip on the Historic Erie Canal. They spent their first evening on the canal as the first boaters of the season to dock overnight in Lyons, NY.  

The blowing winds, the thunder storms, the floating debris, and the rising water level of the canal did not stress Bob and Linda. They have a combined boating experience of over 70 years. They have spent many years boating the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway and the mighty Mississippi River, most recently  in their 36 Gulf Star Trawler. Now, however, they were “cruising” in a small rental boat, the Nimble Nomad, from Hibiscus Harbor.

Hotchkiss Museum tour conducted by "Peppermint Patty"
(Mrs. Patty Alena)
After exploring several communities of the western Erie Canal, Bob and Linda returned to Lyons on Wednesday afternoon for overnight docking and a tour of the Historic Hotchkiss Essential Peppermint Oil Museum. They were not disappointed. 

Peppermint Patty (Patty Alena) gave a lively and informative tour of the museum.

The tour of the Hotchkiss Museum, built in 1841, was authentic history- artifacts and original equipment and exhibits more than 100 years old.  The  tour included the reception room, the main office, the bottling line and packaging room, the museum store, the local community history room,  the “lecture” room, the loading dock, the dark room,  the chemistry room, the artifact room, and the concrete walled “secret” peppermint oil storage vault- peppermint oil was liquid gold and also very volatile!
Dock visitors, Bob & Linda Wolter with museum guide,
Peppermint Patty with peppermint harvest tools.

Before the tour, Bob and Linda were familiar with Peppermint Oil. According to Linda, “Peppermint oil is our favorite mosquito and bug repellent. On the boat and through bug infested areas, it works when no other repellent does!”

After the tour, as Bob and Linda sat on a chair from yesteryear while inhaling the peppermint vapors of past history, Bob stated, “Lyons- Peppermint Capital of the World! This place is a fabulous story, filled with so many authentic details, and located right on the banks of the Erie Canal- you have it all right here! Absolutely amazing!” 


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