Goodbye Cedar Point Amusement Park, hello heading home. A friend recommended a couple hotels in Batavia, NY so we called ahead and booked one, intending to get halfway home Sunday afternoon so we could enjoy some more adventures along the way on Monday. With a little research at our hotel, we discovered LeRoy, NY was just right for our next stop.
On the way to our hotel we passed Cleveland and wanted to visit the International Women Air and Space Museum but couldn’t find any parking nearby. Word to the wise, check when the Browns are playing. If they’re playing when you want to be in town forget seeing anything in the immediate vicinity unless you can park and take public transportation. I added the Museum to my “must see another day” list.
Travel Tip: When planning a road trip to cities that have sports teams make sure you check the game schedule and how it may affect your plans.
Disappointed, we left Cleveland and headed to the Comfort Inn in Batavia, NY for the night. We felt confident it would be a good stay since my friend made the recommendation and she proved right. They were so friendly and the room was beautifully appointed and clean with fresh air. After the way our family road trip started that was a relief. On a side note, Batavia is a great place to go for a family vacation because it is just close enough to many attractions without being in a congested area.
That evening my husband and I ordered takeout from Alex’s Place Restaurant in Batavia. Dave had a burger and I ordered Danish Onion Soup, a twist on traditional French Onion Soup with blue cheese instead. I love blue cheese AND French Onion Soup so figured it was worth a try. It was satisfying but I think I’ll keep the 2 separate from now on.
We sat in our hotel room and plotted out the next day’s activities. My husband came across the JELL-O Gallery. Subsequently, that discovery led him to the Underground Railroad driving tour (starts in front of the JELL-O Gallery Museum) and Transportation Museum (in the basement of the JELL-O Gallery). Who knew there was so much to do in such a little town?!
Underground Railroad Driving Tour – LeRoy, NY
After a complimentary hot breakfast at the Comfort Inn Batavia, we headed to LeRoy, NY. We decided to follow the Underground Railroad Driving Tour first using this guide from the LeRoy Historical Society.
The drive took around 30 minutes and we talked about each leg of the journey as we went, branching out into a discussion on the moral and ethical issue of slavery, why people thought it was okay, the risks to slaves who escaped, and the townspeople who played key roles in helping aid their escape.
It still boggles my mind that people could rationalize slavery based simply on skin color. I highly recommend your family make it part of a stop in the area and have those tough conversations with your kids. There’s something about seeing the geography and houses used as stops that brings it home in a new way.
We also stopped at McPherson Orchard and Tree Farm after this trip to get some New York apples and fresh apple cider.
JELL-O Gallery Museum
Switching the conversation from slavery to JELL-O was a little odd for us but we ended the Underground Tour back at the beginning – the same site the JELL-O Gallery Museum is housed.
JELL-O got its jiggly start in LeRoy, NY in 1897. While the museum looks small and unimpressive at first glance, you soon find the small space is full of facts and history of JELL-O…and a stuffed giraffe head?! Tickets ARE $4.50 for 12+, $1.50 for 6-11, and FREE under 6. Don’t forget to check out the fun gift shop and weigh in on your favorite JELL-O flavor while you are there. What is YOUR favorite Flavor of JELL-O?
I liked how the displays were varied – nostalgic with ads from days gone by, the history of JELL-O from Peter Cooper in 1845 to Pearle Waite in 1897 to Kraft/General Foods, current day. They even had a gelometer – an old machine that measured the bloom or texture of the JELL-O.
As all families know, when you are on a road trip it is important to take advantage of all opportunities to use the bathroom when stopped so we went downstairs to the bathrooms before we left and took a few minutes to visit the small Transportation Museum in the basement. There is no additional cost and it is quite small but it was a nice educational addition to our day. Who wants to ride in “a one-horse open sleigh”? Now they really know what one looks like.
As I said at the start of this day, you could make a whole week’s vacation out of a stay in Batavia, NY as it is an easy distance from Buffalo, Niagara Falls, and Syracuse. You could spend a day doing activities in each of these areas.
Don’t forget to check out the rest of our RTKB Travels family road trip from New Hampshire to Cedar Point, Ohio and if you’re looking for more things to do in Western, NY see our guide to things to do in Rochester, NY and free things to do in Rochester, NY. Plus, get the scoop of what to do at Niagara Falls.