Located on New York's historic Erie Canal, Fairport today is what every old canalside village aspires to be. With its historic character, modern amenities, and friendly atmosphere, it's no wonder Money magazine named it one of the 100 best places to live in the country.
A suburb of Rochester, the village of Fairport is the business and recreational center for an area including the village, the surrounding town of Perinton and the hamlet of Egypt. References to the town and hamlet are technically important for historical and operational reasons, but outsiders are typically most familiar with the village and its name; for example, the area school district and postal zone are both named after Fairport.
The area has been inhabited by native Americans of the Seneca Nation since at least the 12th century. Europeans began settling as farmers here during the 18th century. The construction of the Erie Canal added modern forms of commerce in the 19th century. Today, the area is an "outer ring" suburb of Rochester. A wide range of commercial activity is present, including farms and wineries, education, restaurants and retail shops, entertainment and recreation, small to mid-sized factories, and office facilities for traditional and high-tech products and services.
The village is about 10 miles from downtown Rochester, at the intersection of New York State Routes 250 (Main Street) and 31F (Church Street). Even so, the true center of the village—conceptually and practically—is at the canal where Main Street crosses on an historic lift bridge.
Boaters can reach the village via the Erie Canal and moor between the Main Street and Parker Street bridges. Find the latest information on docking procedures (especially overnight docking) at the village web site.
The nearest major airport is the Greater Rochester International Airport (IATA: ROC), about 15 miles away.
Once you're in the village, many attractions are located within walking distance. Free parking is plentiful. Driving in upstate New York is usually stress free. Drivers should note that villages like Fairport with dedicated police forces are heavily patrolled. Buses operated by the Rochester-Genesee Regional Transportation Authority are available. Some primary attractions, such as the Casa Larga winery, supermarkets and the Perinton recreation center are not within walking distance of the canal.
- Fairport Historical Museum, 18 Perrin St, ☎ .
The canal is of primary importance for tourism and recreation, attracting boaters and others from around the state.
The town is proud of its Crescent Trail hiking and cycling trail system, having been designated a Trail Town USA by the National Park Service.
Over the last decade or two, the summer festival scene around Rochester has grown to the point where there are multiple festivals practically every weekend from May to October, featuring arts and crafts, food, music, and anything else that can be celebrated with a festival. Fairport Canal Days usually takes place during the first weekend in June, and the Fairport Music and Food Festival takes place in late August.
The Casa Larga winery is just south of the village and is a well known player in the Finger Lakes wine industry.
Retail centers are located north and south of the village, with an upscale shopping mall to the south, near Victor. The city of Rochester is the cultural and economic center of the region.
Fairport is a haven for independent restaurants. Chain restaurants can be found south of the village at Perinton Square, or you can venture farther afield, north to Penfield or south to Victor. But don't lightly bypass the many tasty options available in the village; while there's nothing really 'exotic' available, there's still a good variety.
- Compané, 80 N Main St, ☎ . M-Sa 5PM-10PM. Decidedly mixed reviews for this restaurant, but if you want Italian food in the village, it's pretty much your only choice. Some have found the service friendly and welcoming, others cold and lethargic. The food is generally good; few describe it as truly bad, and some find it outstanding. If you're in the mood for Italian and willing to take a chance, you could certainly do worse. $11-30.
- Fairport Village Inn, 103 N Main St, ☎ . Tu-Sa 11:30AM-10PM (dinner menu after 5PM), Su M noon-10PM (lunch menu only). Basic, tavern-style comfort food, with a heavy emphasis on meat and potatoes. Some complain that the atmosphere is a bit provincial, but the food is solid and it's a popular gathering place for locals to watch the game. Despite the TVs, it's not really a sports bar, just a nice local hangout. The Buffalo wings are surprisingly good. $11-30.
- Moonlight Creamery, 36 West Ave, ☎ .
- Towpath Café, 6 N Main St (in the Box Factory). S 8AM-5PM, M-W 8AM-10PM, Th-Sa 8AM-11PM. By turns a popular coffeeshop and a charming modern bistro, the Towpath Café is another hit-or-miss affair. Some patrons have had bad experiences with the food and the service, but that's by no means universal. And the outdoor patio sits right on the canal, so it's hard to beat the location. Open Mic every Thursday, with live music Fridays and Saturdays. Free Wi-Fi, and lots of books and games you can borrow while you're there. $11-30.
Restaurants and bars are present along Liftbridge Lane on the north side of the canal, and in the Packetts Landing area on the south side. Nightclubs and restaurants can also be found on Main Street. Small grocery and other food stores are present in the village, especially in the Village Landing area. Larger stores are located south of the village near the intersection of New York State routes 250 and 31.
- Casa Larga Vineyards, 2287 Turk Hill Road, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Mon-Sun 10-6, Th 10-8. Winery tours and tastings
- Fairport Brewing Company, 99 S Main St, ☎ . Small brewery with a comfortable taproom and a large outdoor seating area, complete with fire pits. In addition to its own beers, Fairport Brewing has a rotating selection of guest beers, many of which are from other New York breweries.
There are hotels and motels in Perinton, but not within walking distance of the village of Fairport. A concentration of lodging facilities can be found a few miles from town near Exit 45 of the New York State Thruway (Interstate Route 90), and a few are found along Route 31 south of the village and north of the village along Route 250.
- Twenty Woodlawn B&B, 20 Woodlawn Ave, ☎ .
The village and town have over a dozen Christian churches of various denominations, as well as a Jewish congregation. The iconic village church with the tall steeple is the First Baptist Church (pictured).
Penfield is just to the north, with widely spaced retail strips and lots of residential areas; start at Lloyd's Corners, where Route 250 meets State Route 441. The other nearby canal communities are Bushnell's Basin and Pittsford to the west. Off the canal, East Rochester is to the northwest. The village of Victor is to the south with its upscale shopping mall; take Route 250 to State Route 96. For urban attractions and amenities, the city of Rochester is about nine miles away; take Route 31F west to Interstate 490.