I was surprised when I stopped in Woodville (click here) which is near Naples, NY the other day. I pulled over at The Department of Environmental Conservation’s boat launch to take a few pictures and there were a few boaters already out on Canandaigua Lake. Not the pleasure kind of boaters but these folks were fisherman who braved the cold winds for a chance to catch some fish. Ice fishing (with the exception of some local ponds and a few small lakes) never began this winter.
Historically Woodville is interesting as it was the site of a steamboat landing on Canandaigua Lake in the hay days of steamboats which was from 1827 to 1935. The steam boats on Canandaigua used to stop a Woodville to take on goods and passengers and also some wood for their steam boilers which propelled these boats. According to the South Bristol Historical society, the Ontario I and the Ontario II were built in Woodville in 1845 and 1867. While these steamboats added a lot of color and excitement to Canandaigua Lake as well as providing transportation for people, animals, and produce, most eventually caught fire and burned.
The attraction of Woodville today is the Department of Environmental Conservation boat launch which provides boaters’ access to Canandaigua Lake for free. At this time of the year, only those dedicated to fishing are using the access, but when the weather warms up, there will be more and more pleasure boaters.
Commercial boating has mostly died out in the Finger Lakes. One exception is the Canandaigua Lady at the north end of Canandaigua Lake which serves up a brief tour of the northern end of the lake for the summer tourists. I think it’s too bad as it’s probably the most relaxed and lowest cost way to see the Lake. And if there is a good historian aboard, one can really learn something about the Lake while viewing all of the homes which line the shores of Canandaigua Lake.