The Niagara Tourism and Convention Corporation, in partnership with I Love New York and various tourism agencies across New York, will welcome several United Kingdom-based journalists and tour operators on Sunday to explore Niagara USA's steeped Underground Railroad history.
The six-day New York State Underground Railroad Familiarization Tour will bring these media members from Niagara USA to New York City making stops at key Underground Railroad locations along the way. On Sept. 11, the group, which includes writers from The Yorkshire Post, The Voice Newspaper, Essentially America and Arena Travel, among other UK-based publications, will arrive in Lewiston, where they will tour the Freedom Crossing Monument, which was one of the final stops of fugitive slaves escaping to freedom in Canada. The group will then visit the First Presbyterian Church (469 Plain St., Lewiston), which was known as a station on the Underground Railroad. Local stationmaster Josiah Tryon is interred in its cemetery.
Following lunch at Water Street Landing, the group will take a hardhat tour of the future site of the Underground Railroad Interpretive Center (2243 Whirlpool St., Niagara Falls), which will be housed in the 1860s-era U.S Customs House. The group will then be afforded the opportunity to walk to the center of the Whirlpool Bridge, offering them a perspective that fugitive slaves, including Harriet Tubman, might have witnessed as they crossed into Canada. The tour will conclude in Niagara Falls State Park, where the group will have one hour to explore the sights and attractions inside of the park.
The itinerary for the familiarization tour was created by I Love New York, the state's official tourism promotion and marketing agency. The NTCC is providing lunch for the group and will also be on hand Sunday to answer any questions and provide the writers with a media kit detailing all of the offerings found in Niagara USA.
"This is a unique opportunity for Niagara USA to educate an already captive audience on the unique and powerful Underground Railroad history we have in this region," said John Percy, president and CEO of the NTCC. "Not only do we have the Freedom Crossing Monument and the future Underground Railroad Interpretive Center, we have an array of Underground Railroad-related offerings, including those recognized by the National Parks Service 'Underground Railroad Network to Freedom' program spread across Niagara USA. The international exposure this tour will provide the Underground Railroad offerings in Niagara USA will, in turn, aid in extending the stays of visitors coming to the region."