CHAPTER 26        JULY 2010 to mid AUGUST 2010



July 2010 – Left CT, cruised across Long Island Sound stopping in Mattituck and Northport NY.  After an amazing cruise through NYC on the East River, we anchored behind the Statue of Liberty.  Next day we start up the beautiful Hudson River stopping in Croton-on-Hudson at “Half Moon Bay Marina”; wonderful gourmet grocery store in town.  The following day, we passed by two tugs hauling an entire swing bridge loaded on two barges welded together (see photo) headed for NYC! Continuing on, we passed Dunderberg Mountain which marks the southern limit of the Highland section of the Hudson River.  The next ten miles is some of the most beautiful river scenery in the US.  Next we pass West Point, Storm King Mountain (see photo), Bannerman Island, and stop in Kingston NY where we visit the interesting “Hudson River Maritime Museum”.  Next day passed under the “Rip Van Winkle Bridge”, and later anchored at Houghtaling Island.

ERIE CANAL - NY (7/15/10 – 8/6/10, weather was mostly in upper 80’s & 90’s, hot & humid)
The original Erie Canal, completed in 1825, was designed as a ditch filled with water.  Mules or horses would walk beside it on a towpath and pull the boats through.  It was four feet deep and 40 feet wide.  Present day Erie Canal was completed in 1903, follows the natural rivers and lakes, is 340 miles long, 12 feet deep, and traverses 35 locks from TROY to BUFFALO.  We bought a seasons pass for $75 which pays for passing through all 35 locks.  Most of the towns also provide free, or $5-$10, daily dockage including power – what a deal!  The towns were filled with lovely historic murals; many including a mule pulling a boat on the adjoining towpath (see photo).  Since there are one or more locks to go through every day, boats routinely run with fenders down at the sides throughout the whole Erie Canal.  We also cruised with our mast down in order to pass under the many low bridges (see photo).  Local kids love to jump off the bridges (see photo) to cool off!  On the Erie Canal we saw lots of herons, kingfishers, snow geese, Canadian geese, ducks, a llama farm, turtles, minks, muskrats, tons of wildflowers, and lots of corn fields.
After passing through Lock #1 in Troy, we stopped in WATERFORD at the free town dock(see photo).  It’s a good place to provision (see photo), and meet up with friends and fellow “loopers”.  Next day we went to AMERSTERDAM after doing Locks 2 – 10.  We had a great visit and dinner with Ray’s cousin Janet and George (see photo) who live nearby.  CANAJOHARIE was an interesting stop.  We toured “Arkell Museum”; a wonderful collection of maritime paintings, and memorabilia from the town’s headquarters of the “Beech-Nut Factory”.  Also, took a walk to see “Boiling Pot” (see photo); a local swimming hole of flat bluestone formations and waterfalls.  Next day we stopped in LITTLE FALLS and shopped in “Canal Place”; old factories turned into restaurants, antique shops and other stores.  Next port was ILION, where we were given an hour and a half guided tour of the “Remington Arms Factory & Museum” (see photo) which was very impressive!  We’re up to Lock 18 now.  Next day we did Lock 19 & 20, and then tied to the wall of Lock 21 for the night (see photo).  Next up was a stop in BREWERTON at “Winter Haven Marina”.  Borrowed the courtesy car and stocked up at Wal-Mart!  BALDWINSVILLE, at Lock 24 was a fun stop for a couple of days.  We found a great hardware store, and enjoyed a great free concert.  SENECA FALLS was a wonderful stop.  We visited the “National Women’s Hall of Fame”, “Seneca Museum of Waterways & Industry”, farmers market, craft show, antique car show (see photo), and “Bailey’s Bridge” (made famous by Jimmy Stewart, it’s the bridge George Bailey was going to jump off in the Christmas classic “It’s a Wonderful Life”). (see photo)
From SENECA FALLS, we took a side trip through SENECA LAKE to WATKINS GLEN.  The whole lake is lined with vineyards (see photo) on both sides.  Watkins Glen was spectacular (see photo)!  Water created the glen as a stream that eroded the gorge, and Ice Age glaciers created a giant staircase of waterfalls.  Next day we headed back to SENECA FALLS.  Next town was LYONS, famous for growing peppermint.  Then we stopped in NEWARK (great free town dock & even has free laundry machines), where we explored the “Hoffman Clock Museum” & the “Arcadia Historical Museum”, and did a little shopping.  In PALMYRA we visited 4 extremely interesting museums: “Palmyra Historical Museum, Print Shop, William Phelps General Store and Home, & Alling Coverlet Museum”.  Also, walked part of the old Erie Canal trail.  After doing Lock 30, we went to FAIRPORT for a few days (see photo).  Our friends Dick & Lynne on “Ladyhawke” stay here for the summer.  They have a car here, and were kind enough to take us for a tour and shopping.  FAIRPORT has many interesting shops, and one of the best farmers markets I’ve been to.  It featured the locally famous “carrot dog”; a large carrot that’s roasted, BBQed, and served in a bun with all sorts of toppings – it was delicious!  In BROCKPORT we enjoyed an “Arts Festival” and “Duck Derby Race”.  Then made a brief stop in HOLLY to see the water falls, then on to MEDINA, featuring the terrific “Medina Railroad Museum” (see photo).  In MIDDLEPORT we had a very nice dinner at the famous “Basket Factory” restaurant.  After doing Locks 34 & 35, our next port was TONAWANDA for a few days.  We enjoyed free concerts, and the “Herschell Carrousel Factory Museum”.  We loved the locally famous “beef on weck”; thin, juicy slices of roast beef served with horseradish in a roll coated with sea salt & caraway seeds – delicious!  During our stay in TONAWANDA, we rented a car and drove to NIAGARA FALLS - just as breathtaking as I remembered from many years ago (see photo)!  Our last stop on the Erie Canal was BUFFALO.  It’s been a grand 3 weeks on the Erie Canal!

LAKE ERIE (8/7/10 – 8/19/10, weather continued to stay hot and humid)
Back to big water and waves again after the calm canal.  The lake is 240 miles long and very shallow, so when winds pick up, short vicious waves can form quickly.  Weather delays were frequent.  We found it was best to cruise Lake Erie close to shore.  The clean aqua colored water was in the upper 80’s and great for swimming.  One side of the lake is US, and it’s about 20 miles across to Canada.  Erie perch and walleye pickerel are really good eating.
In DUNKIRK NY we stayed at the yacht club a couple of days, and enjoyed the small town.  In ERIE PA, we went to the top of “Bicentennial Tower” and had fabulous views of the city.  Also, enjoyed the antique cars parading around town.  Next stop was GENEVA OH.  The state park marina was really nice, and we had fun at GENEVA-ON-THE-LAKE, a cute old fashioned honky-tonk beach town.  In CLEVELAND OH we had a blast at the “Rock and Roll Hall of Fame”.  We met our friends Dave and Carol (see photo) in VERMILION OH.  They showed us the local sights, including the neighborhood of houses that are all deeded to stay white with black shutters and roofs!  We had an enjoyable visit and dinner with them.  In HURON OH we met our friends Jill and Jon (see photo) who were kind enough to lend us their jeep for a few days so we could do some shopping and buy a new laptop.  We had a wonderful visit and dinner with them, and had fun at the “BBQ Rib Fest: and “Arts & Craft Show” at the marina.  Next port was KELLY’S ISLAND OH - a definite favorite!  We rented a golf cart (see photo) and toured the island; beautiful beach, winery, spectacular glacial grooves (see photo) left by Ice Age glaciers, Camp Patmos, and Inscription Rock (engravings made by Erie Indians long ago).  Of course, we also went to the famous “Village Pump Restaurant” for delicious Erie Perch, followed by their famous Brandy Alexander made with ice cream – decadent!  PUT-IN-BAY OH (on South Bass Island) was next – another favorite!  The “Tour Train” (you can get on and off) takes you to the different attractions around the island.  We stopped at “Perry’s Cave”, “Crystal Cave” (20 people fit inside this giant geode surrounded by spectacular celestite crystals), Heineman Winery, and the 352 foot tall “Perry’s Monument”.  The monument commemorates Commodore Perry’s defeat of the British in the Battle of Lake Erie in the War of 1812.  When Perry was asked what to do with the captured British, he responded: “put them in the bay”.  PUT-IN-BAY is definitely party central, so many boats come here that rafting four boats deep along the docks is mandatory during weekends!  As we leave the island, we are able to see the “Benson Ford House”.  It’s the first 100 feet of the “Benson Ford” Great Lakes freighter cut off and set into the side of a cliff overlooking the lake to make a summer house!

After finishing LAKE ERIE, it took a couple of days on the DETROIT RIVER, LAKE ST CLAIR & ST CLAIR RIVER before arriving at the next Great Lake.  We stopped in downtown DETROIT MI where the marina is surrounded by a 12 foot fence.  We decided to take the hint and stay inside that night, but we were able to hear a Herbi Hancock concert playing right next door!  Our last stop before entering LAKE HURON was in ST CLAIR MI.

So far, we’ve travelled 15,649 miles aboard SUMMERTIME.

We look forward to hearing from friends and family – please keep the calls and emails coming!