Old Fort Niagara
Even if you have no interest in military history, it’s worth continuing a few miles further north from ArtPark to Youngstown and Old Fort Niagara (off Robert Moses Pkwy., 716/745-7611, www.oldfortniagara.org, 9 a.m.–5 p.m. daily Sept.–June, 9 a.m.–7 p.m. daily July.–Aug., adults $10, children 6–12 $6). Strategically located at the mouth of the Niagara River, where it controlled access to the Great Lakes, the fort is a strikingly handsome place with commanding views of Lake Ontario.
Fort Niagara was originally established by the French in 1726 and was occupied by American soldiers as late as the early 1900s. Its oldest standing structure is the 1726 French Castle, a rectangular stone edifice equipped with a bakery, guardhouse, living quarters, and chapel. Nearby plunges a well, purportedly haunted by a headless ghost searching for its missing body part.
During the summer, the fort stages frequent daily events such as military musters and fife-and-drum drills. Surrounding the fort is Fort Niagara State Park (716/745-7273), offering easy hiking trails, playgrounds, and swimming pools.
© Avalon Travel and Sascha Zuger from Moon New York State, 5th Edition