This online document is a means of sharing the adventure of traveling on America's waterways with friends and family. Last Dance is continuing to take her crew to historical, natural, beautiful, and interesting places. Enjoy the ride.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Massachusetts

Cuttyhunk


First stop in Massachusetts was the harbor at Cuttyhunk, the end of the chain of islands off the west end of Cape Cod.  There are 16 Elizabeth Islands.  Fourteen are owned by the Forbes family, one is a wildlife refuge, and the last is Cuttyhunk.



It is a quaint community, with 18 year round residents and a summer population of up to 300.  The island is an incorporated town, with its own government.







As is custom with New England churches along the water, the Cuttyhunk church has a wind vane on the steeple.  Appropriately, for an island that was once a fishing camp, and still has a fishing industry, the wind vane indicator is a fish.











Lynda Krueger photo


Martha's Vineyard


Gay Head, Martha's Vineyard. Now called the Aquinnah Light, this lighthouse has alternating red and white flashes.  Although Martha's Vineyard is a tourist destination, with the requisite loud bars and t-shirt shops, there is much natural beauty remaining.  Gay Head Point is one.



Traveling across the sound from Cuttyhunk involves heavy ferry traffic.  Ferries come from multiple ports to bring visitors to the island.








































In the 1830's, the Methodist Church set up a conference center on the island.  Interesting houses, with pointed windows, as in some churches, were built around the center, creating a quaint community.











































Other areas of Martha's Vineyard have some grand homes.











And, there are beaches to comb . . .













and critters to watch.












Woods Hole




There is a pass between the mainland of Cape Cod and the Elizabeth Islands, called Woods Hole.  It has some fast currents making passage difficult.  Having ferries squeezing through at the same time makes it even more interesting.








Getting through Woods Hole with the proper current, puts the boat up Buzzards Bay and into the Cape Cod Canal with the wrong current.  So, a stop in the nearby Quissett Harbor was made to time the currents.  It is a protected harbor, filled with racing dinghies.








A good stop it was.  The spit between the harbor and Buzzards Bay was a park with a nice beach.  More beach combing opportunities.








Onset



At the head of Buzzards Bay and the south end of the Cape Cod Canal, lies the small town of Onset.  This was the far end of the journey for Erika Lin.  The town has a few moorings that the crews were able to snag for an evening,.






Onset provided an opportunity for a Great Loop Rendezvous.  Joe and Pat Apicella completed the Loop on a Maninship 40, Glory Days, often crossing paths with Erika Lin and Last Dance.







Leaving in the morning with a favorable current, Last Dance was fortunate to make it through the railroad bridge just before it closed.










Having to wait for the bridge would not only be a delay, but would require running in the opposite direction just to remain in place since the current was running over 3 knots.










Newburyport






The downtown of Newburyport is alive with thriving businesses and a definite lack of tourist traps. They have a town dock and moorings to encourage visitors by boat.  Located on a river that has current reaching 6 or 7 knots and an inlet so rough that the Coast Guard has installed a large stop light to indicate when the inlet is too rough to be used, they need to add some encouragement.


The town is filled with interesting architecture, including a church that has been converted to a restaurant.









Much interesting architecture has been preserved in Newburyport.  This Institution for Savings Building still houses the original tenant.










It is a great town for the crew to walk and meet new friends.  The streets are always filled with people and there is a large, well-used park at the town dock. The Bull Mastif/St. Bernard/Hound dog's person suggested a an Italian restaurant, Enzo.






One way to sample the regional cultures of the country is through food.  Enzo is an Italian restaurant that does not have red sauces and blends local foods into their recipes.  Lobster over fresh home-made pasta and little neck clams on spaghetti were delicious.






Enzo's special dessert of the night was fresh strawberries marinated in a strawberry sauce over meringue with whipped cream and strawberry ice cream.  It was amazingly full of flavor.  Exploring can be very enjoyable.









Thursday, July 4, 2013

Rhode Island



LyndaBob joined the cruise east aboard Erika Lin.

Landfall was not made in Rhode Island, a state so small that even at 7 mph you can miss it.  But, the boats were in the state, passing between the mainland and Block Island.







Last Dance cruising the waters with some bigger boats.  (Look to the left to find Last Dance.)  Lynda Krueger photo.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Connecticut


Thimble Islands

First stop in Connecticut was at a mooring among the Thimble Islands, rock islands with some interesting homes.












A good dinghy ride away was the town of Stoney Brook, with a town dock filled with small boats.  Those with homes on the islands shuttle from town to the islands on runabouts.  Stoney Brook has some interesting homes, but only one retail store - an ice cream shop that closes at 4:00 pm.




After waiting out a big storm at the town dock gazebo, a bouncy dinghy ride brought the crew back to Last Dance.  Though the storm passed, the winds picked up, creating a swell that rolled in between the islands, hitting Last Dance on the beam as the current held her perpendicular to the islands.  It was the roughest time experienced aboard, in what was expected to be a somewhat protected anchorage.


Connecticut River

After a violently rough night, the crew aimed for the protected waters of the Connecticut River.  Two lighthouses mark the entrance to the river, one at the end of the jetty.












And a second on a point of land at the mouth of the River.  An old, exclusive community of homes are located on this point behind the lighthouse, including one where Katherine Hepburn lived.








Another objective for traveling the Connecticut River was to visit two other famous residents, Jean Quigley and Miss Ruby.  Jean's husband Wes and their son, Three, built Miss Ruby over a period of seven years.  Miss Ruby has completed the Great Loop and cruised New England.










Sadly, Wes passed away a few months prior to Last Dance's visit.  His skill and craftsmanship are displayed in the beautiful, seaworthy boat with the ruby red hull.

















The Quigleys' began with a lobster boat hull mold, laying the glass by hand.  They created a pilot-house style superstructure that has interesting lines and functionality.

The woodwork is a work of art.  The soles are alternating 3/4 inch strips of mahogany and maple.









The cabinets and drawer fronts all have artistic wood inlays . . . and there are many cabinets.













Jean took the crew on a tour of the area, including a visit to the town of Essex.  One landmark there is the Griswold Inn.  Continuously operated as an inn and tavern since its opening in 1776, the Inn is filled with history.  The tavern includes a fine gourmet restaurant, but notes that coat and tie have never been required because they cater to yatchsmen.






The tavern walls are filled with an amazing collection of nautical art and artifacts.  One of the events hosted by the Inn is an art tour of the tavern.










Yachtsmen, or maybe boat bums, depends on your point of view.  Whichever, the Gris welcomed the crew and served a delicious meal in a wonderful atmosphere.









Hamburg cove, a small, very protected harbor off the Connecticut River was selected since more storms were in the forecast.  The marina that rented moorings in the harbor was about a mile dinghy ride up the creek.  (Hamburg cove is filled with private and rental moorings, leaving no room for anchoring).

The storm did come, bringing the river up past flood stage (note the water over the dock in the above image).  The trip to Cove Landing marina to pay for the mooring turned into an adventure.  They specialize in wooden boats and a tour of the marina is like a museum tour.  During our stay an old cruiser, which has undergone a two year restoration, was launched.




Launching a wooden boat is a different process.  It is left in the slings at least overnight since the hull has dried allowing water to seep in between the planks.  The forward port bilge pump can be seen pumping large amounts of water.  As the planks wet, they swell and eventually seal the seams.








Mystic

The large, and somewhat unprotected, harbor at Mystic, CT, is marked by an interesting lighthouse.  The house behind was surely not the original lightkeepers house.








There were multiple reasons to visit Mystic.  Friends, Lynda and Bob Krueger, who completed the Loop the same year as Last Dance, have their boat in Mystic.  And, Mystic is home to the Mystic Seaport, an amazing maritime museum.  LyndaBob, the affectionate nickname we have applied, are members of the museum, qualifying for discount tickets.

Since it was founded in 1929, much earlier than most U.S. museums, it had access to many artifacts before they were lost to neglect.








Mystic Seaport, known for wooden boats, is much more than a boat museum.  It is a complete 19th century seaport village.  Original buildings, some from Mystic, others from elsewhere in Connecticut, have been moved to the museum.  There is a working blacksmith shop, a clock shop, bank, printer, drug store, and more.





Seafood processing was an important part of the economy and oysters have been a large part of the harvest.











An interesting description of oysters.












An original rope making factory is a part of the village . . .















with the machinery used to construct the rope.













The building was 1000 feet long, but only 250 feet of the building was moved to the site.










For boaters, the highlight, of course, is the reconstruction of old wooden boats.  A staff member was working on a Beetle sailing skiff.










The Beetle Cat boats were named for the designer and first builder, John Beetle, building the first boat in 1921.  His design has remained unchanged.













The museum builds boats, using traditional methods and tools, and restores boats, from small rowing skiffs to . . .

















very large boats.  The museum's major project is restoring the Charles W. Morgan, the only remaining whaling ship.  A 113 foot wooden boat, with a 28 foot beam, is a huge undertaking.











This radio controlled scale model provides a view of the sail plan of the boat.












 One building is filled with a display of ships' figureheads.  These bow ornamentations were used on Viking ships to scare away evil spirits.  Ships in the 18th and 19th centuries had figureheads to denote the name of the vessel to a largely illiterate population and to indicate the wealth and importance of the ship owner.  Art and history combined.







Observed in Mystic



Mystic, with an economy once focused on sailing ships, has found some practical additions for its churches - weather vanes.

























Why would you want your sportfish painted white like all the other boats?