A Travel Guide to Rochester, New York
by Ryan Morris
Spring training is slowly winding down, Opening day is in less than 15 days, and soon the kids will have to leave camp. If they’re not on the Nats’ 26-man roster, chances are they’re headed to AAA Rochester to continue their development in the minor leagues. But how do they get there? And what is there to do? This is a guide to answer all your questions, whether you’re a top prospect, or a fan looking to explore the Nats’ farm system.
Rochester, NY is either a 6.5 hour drive, or an hour long flight. While most would opt for the short trip by air, the drive to the Flower City is beautiful and scenic. Taking you through the fields of Northern MD, the rolling hills of PA, and the Finger Lakes of NY. Along the route are a variety of baseball sites to visit, including the Nats’ AA team the Harrisburg Senators, and the Little League World Series complex and museum in Williamsport, PA. Alternatively American, United, and Southwest Airlines all offer flights to Greater Rochester International Airport from National, Dulles, and BWI respectively. The 8 am flights offered daily by American and United, as well as the American red-eye, are available for $207 round-trip. There are a few afternoon options which cost slightly more. Southwest meanwhile has 3 flights daily out of BWI, the lowest of which being the middle slot costing $208 round-trip. Of course these are all the standard fares, prices may vary based on whether it’s a weekend or not. Fares have been low at the moment but once the pandemic has been quelled further, expect prices to rise to their standard rates. Once you get to the city, there’s a variety of chain hotels to stay at such as the Hilton, Hyatt, or Holiday Inn. If you’re looking for more regional lodging however, the Inn on Broadway is a Rochester mainstay. Founded in 1929, the Inn has remained a classy and refined hotel in the heart of downtown, conveniently only 1.7 miles from Frontier field.
First and foremost, the number one destination. Frontier Field has been the home of the Rochester Red Wings since 1997, with a seating capacity of nearly 11,000 it is a major attraction for baseball fans and non-baseball fans alike. Seats along the Right Field like are able to see a view of the iconic Kodak building past the river. Every few innings the rumble of the CSX trains past the RF foul pole can be heard. Be sure to keep an eye out for theme nights, as well as every Thursday where the Red Wings become the Rochester Plates. Frontier Field is a beautiful ballpark and a great place to see future Nationals.
George Eastman House
If you’re tired of seeing Yasel Antuna hit massive home runs, you can go check out the George Eastman House. The medium is the oldest film and photography museum in the world. Named after the founder of Eastman Kodak, the mission of the house is to collect, preserve, and present the history of film. Containing more than 400,000 pieces of film, the museum is one of the most interesting sites Rochester has to offer, and is a must see if you’re planning an extended stay.
An often overlooked component of the city of Rochester is Lake Ontario. Ontario Beach is located northwest of downtown, and is one of the best beaches in the Great Lakes. The park boasts 39 acres of beach and recreational facilities. Some highlights include the historic carousel and the Charlotte (pronounced Shar-lott, they get touchy about that) pier. If not in the midst of dreaded upstate New York winters, the beach is a perfect scenic getaway from downtown Rochester.
The Strong Museum
The Strong Museum of play is an amazing visit regardless of age. It features dozens of interactive exhibits featuring the many different types of play. From matchbox cars to video games to the room of 100 year old dolls, there’s so many different forms of entertainment that it’s impossible to be bored at the Strong museum. Fans with children or children at heart will all be encompassed with the joy of play that encompassed all of us in our youth.
The National Baseball Hall of Fame
While not directly in Rochester, the Baseball Hall of Fame is Mecca for a baseball fan. Just a 3 hour drive from Rochester, Cooperstown is a necessity if you have the time. The Hall of Fame itself takes up an entire day, and the town is filled with baseball memorabilia, history, and merchandise. With its impressive collection of baseball artifacts, the history of the game, and of course the hall itself, it’s maybe the best place on earth for baseball diehards.