A Tour Through History
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Miller Hill and Seneca Point
Next comes the climb of Miller’s Hill. This climb once challenged the ranks of cycling pros in the now forgotten Canandaigua Cup. At over 1 mile at 10-12% grade, this too is nearly as perfect a climb as can be found. At the top, the course turns toward the fabulous Bristol Harbour Golf Resort, one of the hallmark rest stops of the tour. Here the riders are treated to assorted refreshments, and a beautiful view of
Canandaigua Lake. Just below the resort lies famous Seneca Point. Being a distiller by trade, Gamaliel Wilder was drawn here to the Indian’s apple and peach orchards above the point. A hundred plus years later the point became a summer retreat for families out of New York City. Future celebrities Humphrey Bogart and Catherine Hepburn spent youthful summers here on the lake.
Canandaigua Lake Shore and Bopple Hill
From Bristol Harbour, veterans of the Highlander know what lays ahead, a descent to the lakeshore, again at speeds exceeding 50 mph, and on to Miller’s Landing. This brings the Highlander rider to the foot of the unbelievably steep Bopple Hill. Bopple Hill is the Highlander’s version of the famous Le Alpe d’Huez from the Tour de France. Bopple reaches a 22% grade at one point and has been known to reduce the rider to walking. First built in 1935, the road is a true test of
strength, a badge of courage to all who attempt it, and a medal of honor to those that conquer it. There is a cemetery at the top dating into the 1800’s, made famous in the movie, The Lady in White, which makes for a fitting backdrop. It is rumored that bagpipes can still be heard in this part of the Bristol Highlands. Those that attempt this course will find a reward on this hill with their name sprayed on the road ala Tour de France style. A fitting tribute.
Immediately following is the 2-mile long climb of Gannett Hill, Gannett stands at 2,256’ the tallest peak in the region, a relentless 15% grade nearly the whole way. As a footnote, Frank Gannett, newspaper businessman who owned several newspapers in the Northeast United States, was born just to the south of Ontario County Park. The riders pass this spot as they head south.
Frank’s legacy is the Gannett Group, which publishes USA Today. The property here was donated to the U of R by the Gannett family, and is the home of Mees Observatory. A little further down the valley you’ll pass Powell Hill Road. Powell Hill is named after Shotwell Powell, abolitionist legislator and inventor, who settled on land at the south end of the Gannett Hill Road.
“Humphrey Bogart and Catherine Hepburn spent youthful summers here on Canandaigua Lake.”
“original home of Frank Gannett, founder of the Gannett Group, publisher of USA Today.”