'Yates Freedom Journey' beginning soon

Yates County History Center

PENN YAN — There is still time to register for the Yates Freedom Journey, the Yates County History Center's virtual educational experience about the Underground Railroad. This event begins Tuesday, Feb. 1, and registration is open now. 

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Yates Freedom Journey is inspired by a Penn Yan resident, John Thomas. In 1835, Thomas ran from slavery in Leesburg, Virginia to freedom in Penn Yan. As you move through 300 miles of history, you can log all your traveling miles and learn facts about the Underground Railroad along his escape route.

Yates Freedom Journey is inspired by a Penn Yan resident, John Thomas. In 1835, Thomas ran from slavery in Leesburg, Virginia to freedom in Penn Yan. As you move through 300 miles of history, you can log all your traveling miles and learn facts about the Underground Railroad along his escape route.  ["A Ride For Liberty - The Fugitive Slaves," Brooklyn Museum]

We all know the Underground Railroad wasn't a real railroad. But freedom seekers used any form of transportation they could to escape a life of slavery. Track your miles in any way you travel – walk, bike, drive, run, etc. – on our virtual online map, and learn along the way what a freedom seeker may have encountered and what he or she may have had to avoid or seek out to reach freedom safely. Historic facts and stories presented along the way will illustrate how dangerous it was to seek freedom. Log miles you travel in any form, and move along Thomas’ route, learning along the way.

The virtual experience will run through June 19 and costs $50 per person to enter. You can register at www.runsignup.com/Race/NY/PennYan/YatesFreedomJourney. Registration will end May 15.

 A portion of the money raised will be donated to Safe Harbors of the Finger Lakes. They provide confidential services, at no charge, for individuals, children, and families who have experienced sexual assault, domestic violence, and human trafficking in Yates, Ontario, and Seneca Counties.

This event is sponsored by:

  • Marble's Automotive
  • Weaver's Bicycle Shop 
  • East Bluff Harbor Marina
  • Trimmer House Bed & Breakfast
  • Cobblestone Springs Retreat Center
  • Finger Lakes Bed & Breakfast at Hutton Farm