Even if you don’t know the history of various locations around the 518, you should at least know that the area you live in is historic even if you find yourself taking it for granted, like myself. I recently went to Eric Canal Lock 7 for a BBQ with some friends of mine, in Niskayuna. Not only have I never been there before but I’d never heard of it. On my drive from Schenectady, I got lost. Sure, you think that since it’s on “Lock 7 Rd” you can’t miss it, well if “Lock 7 Rd” doesn’t have a sign, it’s incredibly easy to miss. If you plan on driving there and have never been before, I recommend looking up the name of the street or two before “Lock 7 Rd” so that when you come to the red barn on the corner, you know it’s the right red barn.
As for a bit of a history lesson, the Erie Canal runs from Albany, NY on the Hudson River to Buffalo, NY at Lake Erie. The canal has 36 total locks and was officially opened in 1825 (Wikipedia, don’t judge). Niskayuna is Lock 7, note the name. The point of a lock is to raise or lower boats or other vessels by raising or lowering the water underneath them in that section so they can get to the part of the water that’s higher or lower because of a dam, etc.
So if you’re not coming in on a boat, no worries, there’s plenty for you to do. There are quite a few permanent grills for you to cook yourself some lunch paired with picnic tables for you to eat your food on & port-a-pottys (*Make sure you bring garbage bags because each station does not have a garbage can, at least not that I saw). On a beautiful day, there’s tons of space to play frisbee, bocce ball, run around, take a walk or even ride your bike along the trail. After we were done eating, it was really cool to walk up to the lock and watch the boats come in. It’s a great little area to spend the day that’s away from chaos and not as busy as Lake George gets in the summer. I loved hanging out here and if it gets hot, you can stand by the water and get cooled off by watching the boats. I recommend bringing the kids, even if you don’t barbecue, because it gets them outside and watching the lock, something so historical practically in your backyard is pretty cool!