Newfane And Olcott Beach, NY - Where Lake Country Fun Begins!!
Published: Saturday, September 1, 2018
Awash in timeless charm, the town of Newfane and its waterfront hamlet, Olcott Beach, provide everything travelers need to explore history, experience community, and enjoy an authentic American Seaway Trail town! Located on the western edge of Lake Ontario, the port town is in the heart of the Niagara Wine Trail, 42 NM from Toronto, and in the backyard of two national heritage areas — Niagara Falls and The Erie Canal Basin. Newfane/Olcott is a four season destination — where lake country fun begins!
Newfane and Olcott have everything today’s tourists and water enthusiasts treasure. A hefty dose of the small town vibe combined with taverns, pubs, restaurants, year-round festivals, a vintage amusement park, a road side open air popcorn stand, charming cottages and historic inns, car shows, open air concerts, quaint village shops, award-winning wineries and microbrewery, disc and traditional golf courses, farm markets, a free 325 acre park, a public beach, a deep water harbor, a yacht club, and world class freshwater lake- and stream-fishing with plenty of resident charter captains!
Visitors may come by land or water and, once here, they quickly see why Olcott was named “America’s Ultimate Fishing Town” by the World Fishing Network. If by water, guests can head under power or wind into Olcott’s deep water harbor and dock at a slip in the town marina. The marina services over 50,000 anglers a season and has three double launch ramps that are capable of launching everything from row boats to large cruisers. The Marina also offers fuel that is modified specifically for marine use, children’s life jackets (free of charge), access to a pump out station, a pressurized boat wash facility, public restrooms with handicap accessible showers, laundry facilities, sheltered picnic tables with charcoal grills, and a fish cleaning station. Boat repair and maintenance yards and bait shops border the marina.
Charter captains are plentiful at the marina for those seeking deep water fishing, and the harbor piers are perfect for those who want to cast their line from shore. And, no one wants to miss the chance to head a mile upstream to Fisherman’s Park on Eighteen-Mile Creek for renowned fly fishing.
Having earned multiple Junior Olympic gold medals in the 420 class, members of the Olcott Yacht Club sailing program pass their skills along by offering adult and youth sailing lessons to the community and to visiting sailors in training. Stop and learn — members of yacht clubs from far and wide are offered reciprocity at the Yacht Club, including two free nights dockage, use of the full restaurant and bar, and access to power, rest and shower rooms.
If by land, travelers of all ages can spend the perfect lakefront day, heading out to the Niagara USA Wine Trail, enjoying the rides at the Olcott Beach Carousel Park, strolling the boardwalk of the Lakeview Village Shoppes featuring unique local artisans, visiting the public beach, and finally pulling up to Bye’s for a bag of fresh popped corn.
Locals and visitors alike can always be found in Krull Park, New York state’s largest county park. Enter and park for free, and find pavilions with tables and outdoor grills, lake observation platforms, cross-country and hiking trails, outdoor ice rinks, playgrounds, tennis and basketball courts, baseball, soccer and lacrosse fields, an exercise circuit, horseshoe pits, and a splash park.
Travel Back In Time
History lovers can stop first at the visitor’s center, housed in a 1940 Phillipsburg Railroad steel class N5C cupola caboose, before visiting Ye Olde Log Cabin, a replica of an 1888 cabin used as a museum honoring Newfane and Olcott’s pioneer families. Across town, the nautical history of the port town is on display in a replica of the historic Olcott Beach Lighthouse. A little further inland is the Van Horn Mansion, built in 1823 by Newfane’s founder, Judge James Van Horn. The mansion has been preserved and offers guided tours on Sundays, an annual Victorian tea party, and Haunted Candlelight Tours every weekend in October.
And, no trip to Olcott is complete without a visit to The Olcott Beach Carousel Park; a not-for-profit amusement park that stops time in every good way. Park for free, enter for free, and buy a 25 cent ticket to ride a 1928 two-row Herschel-Spillman carousel or one of five other vintage kiddie rides. While you’re there, listen to the 1934 Wurlitzer Band Organ, play skee ball in the vintage arcade, and watch a real magic show!
The town’s busy event and festival calendar clearly shows why the town slogan is ‘Four Seasons of Reasons’! Spring brings the Apple Blossom Festival, the onset of fishing tournament season, and the Van Horn’s Victorian Tea Party. Summer sun shines on the Olcott Beach Jazz Trail, Independence Day Fireworks, Old Olcott Days, the Pirates Festival, food truck rodeos, free car shows, and free open air concerts. Fall is in full bloom with the Niagara Celtic Festival, the Van Horn Haunted Candlelight Tours, and the Apple Harvest festival. Last, but not least, the Living Nativity, the Light Up Newfane Christmas parade, Santa’s visit to Ye Old Log Cabin, an outdoor skating rink, and the nation’s oldest charity Polar Bear Swim and 5K fun run give everyone a reason to get out during winter!
Whether you visit to stroll and shop, sail and sip, or fish and frolic, find everything you need to plan by visiting www.olcott-newfane.com. You can also find, like, and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
This article first appeared in the Fall Issue (Sept/Oct) 2018 of Great Lakes Scuttlebutt magazine.