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New 'Waterways of War' 1812 guidebook invites travelers to national scenic byways

by jmaloni

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Wed, Sep 18th 2013 07:00 am

Travelers interested in America's War of 1812 history now have a new 72-page, illustrated guidebook to lead them to historic sites in New York and Pennsylvania. Seaway Trail Inc. (Sackets Harbor) has published "Waterways of War: The War of 1812, A Traveler's Guide to the War of 1812 Forts, Battlefields and Historic Sites along America's Byways in New York and Pennsylvania," by Steve Benson and Ron Toelke.

The book highlights sites on two federally designated National Scenic Byways: the 518-mile Great Lakes Seaway Trail along the St. Lawrence River, Lake Ontario, Niagara River and Lake Erie in New York and Pennsylvania; and the 225-mile Lakes to Locks Passage along Lake Champlain and the Hudson River in New York.

"History underpins a major economic tourism engine for New York state. This new guidebook from Seaway Trail Inc. prompts consumer interest in visiting our fabulous heritage sites. New York's National Scenic Byways create unique pathways for travelers to discover sites from one of the oldest (1797) homes in Plattsburgh to the storied War of 1812 battlefield in Sackets Harbor, well-kept forts in Oswego and Youngstown, and the Watervliet Arsenal," said New York State Sen. Betty Little, chair of the Senate committee on cultural affairs, tourism, parks and recreation.

Sixteen community-specific chapters highlight historic 1812 sites in Erie, Pa., as well as Buffalo, Lewiston, Youngstown, Rochester, Pultneyville, Sodus Point, Oswego, Sandy Creek, Sackets Harbor, Clayton, Alexandria Bay, Ogdensburg, Massena, Plattsburgh, Troy and Greenbush, N.Y.

"The journey to open fields where battles were won and lost, to the waters where brigs and sloops of war volleyed cannon fire and created shipwrecks for today's scuba divers, and to the cities that sprang up in a free and independent America is what byways are all about - unique, it-only-happened-here experiences that must be enjoyed in person," said Great Lakes Seaway Trail President and CEO Mike Bristol.

Walter P. Rybka, senior captain of the U.S. Brig Niagara based at the Great Lakes Seaway Trail port of Erie, wrote the introduction. Early chapters offer a 16-page overview of the war and the Great Lakes Seaway Trail and Lakes to Locks Passage byways.

Written in easy-to-read vignette style, "Waterways of War: The War of 1812" includes many stories, e.g., a description of the real "Uncle Sam" and the battle fireworks behind the Star-Spangled Banner, plus a timeline, how-to tips for historic re-enactors, and a books and websites resource section.

Noted maritime artist Peter Rindlisbacher provided his painting of "The Oneida off Sackets Harbor" for the cover. War of 1812 artifacts collector Robert Bodnoff contributed many of the historic images among 132 colorful illustrations and photos and 11 maps. The guidebook retails for $14.95 and is available at historic sites and through www.seawaytrail.com.

Seaway Trail, Inc. has just released the second printing of a companion book, "Waterways of War: The Struggle for Empire 1754-1763, A Traveler's Guide to the Forts and Battlefields along America's Byways in New York and Pennsylvania." Federal Highway Administration funding administered through the New York State Department of Transportation to Seaway Trail Inc. supported the development of the heritage theme guidebooks and a series of War of 1812 and French and Indian War Great Lakes Seaway Trail "Outdoor Storyteller" interpretive panels installed at historic sites along the byway.

For more information, call Seaway Trail Inc. at 315-646-1000, ext. 203, or visit www.seawaytrail.com.

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