Sunday, June 15, 2008

Haverstraw, Kingston, and Catskill

Tuesday, June 10th, we left New York City and in about an hour finally reached calm waters. What a relief! We had been in the midst of a terrible heat wave (88 degrees at 9am--simply awful at 4pm!) and we were happy to be leaving all the water turbulence, water traffic congestion, heat and haze. Besides, "Buddy" said there just wasn't enough grass and bushes for him to be happy either! So, being "highly motivated", we came out of our marina early in the morning, took a left, and headed north.

The current was stiff--and we would fight it most of the day--losing about 3 knots in speed--but waiting a week for the tides to change was truly just out of the question. Very quickly, we passed Central Park and Grant's Tomb--it was something I didn't realize we would do. Having been in Central Park several times, I naively didn't realize the Hudson ran right along beside them both! Cruising on up, we passed, on our port side, The Palisades--huge, tree-lined, dramatic cliffs that run for many miles. There was hardly any traffic on the water, and all 3 of us were very happy to be moving and in some breeze. We had finally out-run all the crab pots, and sadly, the ospreys. We were still very hot, but thrilled to be in the calm Hudson River. We passed Sing Sing Prison on our starboard side and waved to all our former best friends!

Mid afternoon, we arrived in the town of Haverstraw for the night, tied up in the marina there, turned on the AC's inside and cooled off. There was this wonderful restaurant nearby (Noel's) that came and picked us up for dinner (thanks for the recommendation Liz & Bob!) and we had a great/delicious evening--returning to the boat only seconds before a huge storm came--which would finally cool everyone off. TYJ.

Wednesday, June 11th, was a beautiful, sunny day with low humidity. 73 degrees at 10:30am. The thunderstorm the night before had really been a blessing for the whole northeast, we're told. We were on the move again, and as we continued north, we came upon our first waterfall--what a pretty sight. We also crossed under Bear Mountain Bridge, which is the crossing for the Appalachian Trail. Now, how many of us can say we have crossed UNDER the Appalachian Trail? Pretty neat! Most of the day, we were in a very narrow section of the Hudson, between steep hills, a beautiful, meandering river--with train tracks on both sides for many, many miles right down at water's edge. Often there would be trains on each side of us at the same time--the ones on starboard being commuter/passenger trains and the ones on port being freight. What a unique stretch of water--I have always loved the sound of trains and their whistles, and I will surely miss that as we get further north.

At "World's End", the deepest part of the Hudson River (at one point, Louis saw 156 feet on the depth finder), we came to West Point Academy. An impressive, grey-stone fortress, high up on the hill, it was opened in 1802. Having just toured Annapolis a couple of weeks ago, I asked Louis which academy he would have liked to have gone to when he was of that age. Without hesitation, he responded West Point. Interesting. You'll have to ask him why.

Also along the way, we saw Hyde Park--the huge, four-story, rectangular, brick mansion of former President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Tour and school buses were everywhere--lots of activity. And somewhere up in the hills was another massive Vanderbilt estate--although we missed seeing it--I must have been fixing lunch below and Louis must have been asleep at the wheel! We did, however, see one spot high up on the hill that looked just like the resort hotel in "Dirty Dancing". Had I not known the movie was filmed in the mountains of North Carolina, I would have sworn it was filmed there. Yard and all--fun to see.

We arrived at the town of Kingston, NY for a two night tie up--along with "Sonsie", "Prime Time", "Wanderin' L & M", and "Going There". We found another restaurant that would come and pick us up from the marina, and all of us went into town for dinner--a nice treat for all of us. In addition to "Old Town" (where we had dinner) being so quaint and full of special little shops(which don't open for business until 11:30 am!), the town of Kingston has a particularly interesting heritage--which I'd like to remember here. Before the Revolutionary War, the town of Kingston put 2 large, heavy chains across the Hudson to keep the British from using the river to their advantage. The chains were strategically placed at opposite ends of the "Narrows" part. The British--without any problem--quickly dismantled both chains, sending each to Gibraltar to protect their own port there. In retribution for putting up the chains, the British promptly burned the town of Kingston to the ground. Nasty!

Thursday, our second day in Kingston, was a marathon of grocery shopping--what a story that was and too long to mention here, and that evening we all grilled out together-- Louis made his second batch of ice cream (the first being in Portsmouth, Va.-- which I failed to mention earlier--thanks sooo much Mike & Barbara! ). "Loopers" are great cooks and resourceful too--simply delicious. What fun!

Friday, mid-morning, we made a short run (20 miles) up the river to the small town of Catskill, NY--we would be there for two nights. Our marina was just two short blocks to the three block town! I will always remember that special little town for its' many artfully adorned cats--sitting on their own special poles all along both sides of main street. Each cat had numbers and titles below them to identify the various artists. All the "Cats" will be auctioned off later in the summer--and I would love to see it too. Having only three molds to choose from, each cat was decorated differently, by very talented artists, some more "special" than others, but each one truly unique enough to be a prized piece. I'm told even the "lessor" ones will easily go for over a thousand dollars. Wow! I particularly liked #29?--A Starry Night in the Catskills. Did I have my camera? No!

Friday night we all grilled out again, this time there were 6 Looper boats--us, "Prime Time", "Sonsie", "Maya Lisa", "Going There", and "Endless Summer". The marina offered many picnic tables, lots of chairs, and a great grill. After the huge and delicious spread of dinner, a campfire was built in the wonderful, old, stone fireplace--their stackable plastic chairs were brought out--and everyone had smores. No one had any graham crackers, so we made them with ginger snaps--interesting! (With only our one-quart mixer, there were just too many people to make ice cream!) After dark, when we finally gave up and went to bed, there were still many folks sitting around the wonderful campfire with a bella luna high in the sky.

Saturday, two cars were rented and eight of us drove off into the Catskill mountains to explore. We traveled about an hour away from our town, climbing and weaving the whole way up--what a pretty area to be in and a nice change from being "flat' since mid May. We stopped at a really neat, locally famous store and had lunch, and all of us bought freshly made pies, local maple syrup, and breakfast breads to bring back to our boats. Yum. After lunch, we found an old, original, open-car train--a "side-trip"--that we took for a 2 hour ride. "All Aboard!!" We saw a busy fly fisherman, who looked exactly like he had stepped out of the Orvis/L L Bean catalogue and lot and lots of "tubers"--people lazily floating down the mountain stream. Both Louis and I wondered if they were cold--we bet they were! After an "almost home" stop for gas, Wal-Mart, Auto Zone, and Lowes, we emptied the car and went to a Thai restaurant for dinner. Our first experience at one, and very delicious. Thanks Hank and Ceci!


The Fishin Optishin said...

Well, if no one else will fess up, I will. I've missed your posts and have been wondering what in the world you've been up to all week! No posts, no letters, no calls, flowers....sigh.

When you first told me about this trip I thought you were just going for a long 'boat ride'. I had no idea that you would be able to get SO much out of it with the waterway adventures, your fun & interesting 'co-travelers', your inland experiences and the new found acquaintences and friendships that you continue to meet and form daily, yet will remember for a lifetime

And no, I'm not exactly blaming it ALL on you, but I've put on about five pounds since I've starting reading this blog...well, yes...I am going to blame it on you.



Jay Stockard said...

Glad to catch up with y'all and read more of your many exploits! What's this about Louis making ice cream in Portsmouth? I was in Portsmouth and didn't get any! What's up with that? Just kidding! COntinue on, have fun, and keep up the great work on the blog!


Doug and Terry said...

This sounds like a dream come true trip. You are taking lots of pictures, right. We would love to see them especially if there are any of the fly bug adventure. Things are great at the beach. We think they have really fixed our roof leak. We mean really this time. We have been using this summer to get our kids settled in their new homes and did we tell you our grandson will be born in late October! We are beside ourselves with excitement. Stay safe and keep writing.

Jan and Kim - The Sassy Sisters said...

Hey y'all,

We'll be on Champlaign tomorrow (Thursday) and for a bit on Friday morning. If you're around, call my cell (not that I'll have service!) or drop me an email. Hope to get to see you - we are having a blast on our trip, too!
Loving your blog - keep up the good work!


Pud and Betsy said...

Diane and Louis,
We're loving every minute of your trip! Thanks for the updates! We miss you at the Crystal Coast...Annie hasn't missed a beat though, apparently, there are still lots of crumbs to be had at the Wades' house!
Our baby should come this week..we're so excited!!!
Wishing you calm seas!
Pud and Betsy