The Hudson River, June 2009

Kingston to Troy:

From Kingston we continue up the Hudson River to the town of Troy. We have another easy day of cruising. IT is proudly flying her pirate flag in honor of our nephew Stormy.

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He is crazy about anything having to do with pirates. For the most part, the Hudson is wide and deep with little boat traffic. Big barges with tows do travel up and down the river so we always have to keep a lookout.

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There is also lots of floating debris which we must keep an eye out for. We have seen several huge logs floating down river today. The Hudson is tidal all the way to Troy so the current must always be taken into account. Today we are on a flood tide and have the current pushing us along. This river reminds us of the TN River with its densely wooded shores and mountain backdrops.

As we reach the town of Hudson, we are treated to a special sight. The 60 foot Dutch ship “Half Moon”, replica of Henry Hudson’s boat, is anchored in the Middle Flats Channel.

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This was not our intended route but we quickly detour and take this side channel up to view this famous boat. It is a treat to get a view of this special ship. I can’t imagine sailing across the Atlantic in this boat. This year marks the 400th anniversary of Henry Hudson’s voyage up the Hudson. There was a flotilla earlier in the week which departed NYC for travel up the Hudson River in celebration of this special anniversary. We have seen a variety of unique boats during the week. The “Half Moon” set sail from Amsterdam in 1609 in search of a passage from Europe leading to Asia. On September 12th, 1969, Hudson and his crew entered the Hudson River, six months after departing Amsterdam. In 1611 a mutiny occurred aboard his ship and Hudson, his son, and several other crew members were set adrift in a small boat in Hudson Bay (Canada) with very few provisions. He and his mates were never seen again.

On our way to Troy, we also pass the trawler “Legrace”. We met “Legrace’s” owners while docked in Kingston. They are proudly flying their Gold Looper flag after having completed the loop last year.

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This year they are heading back to the Great lakes to explore areas they did not get to visit while doing the loop. Everyone says the Great Lakes offer some of the best cruising to be found in the U.S. We also pass the tiny looper boat “Quotidian” who was docked near us in Kingston.

As we pass through the capital city of Albany, the serenity of the Hudson changes into a very commercialized port with sea going ships unloading their cargo. The Troy city docks are just a few miles north of here. These docks consist of one long floating dock along the Hudson River. It is about 1000 feet long floating dock anchored to a 10 foot high concrete bulkhead. There are very few boats here and we have an easy docking. We will stay here for a few days.

We spend the afternoon exploring Troy with the kids. The town seems to be the nicest of all the towns we have visited along the Hudson. All of these towns have relied on an industrial base in the past and seem to be struggling. They are now trying to entice tourist to this part of the Hudson Valley. We enjoy some great hamburgers at Brown’s Brewery, on River Street just beside our boat.

The day is soon upon us when the Kids have to return home to Chattanooga. We are sorry to see them go. Sebastian has become especially attached to Stormy. The night before is a flurry of activity with packing, showers, and a surprise homemade birthday cake celebration. Stormy turns seven in a few days and we baked a chocolate cake for his birthday.

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He was very surprised with this and enjoyed a huge piece. While the kids were packing, we discovered they were attempting to smuggle Sebastian out in their luggage.

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Sebastian seemed to be in on the plan also. We are up at 4:00 AM the next morning for the kid’s flight back to Chattanooga. Stormy gets one last piece of chocolate cake for breakfast before leaving. Jeff flies back home to Chattanooga with the kids and is back on the boat in a couple of days. Courtney and Stormy we miss you. Sebastian especially misses snuggling in bed with you two each evening.

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While Jeff is back in Chattanooga, there is a lot of excitement on the docks. A 175 ft. yacht, “The Lady Christine”, arrives one evening.

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Everyone in the town comes down to the docks to get a look at her. She is very impressive and even has her own helicopter on the back deck.

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Jeff is now trying to figure out how he could add a helicopter pad aboard IT. The owner of this yacht is flying in tomorrow for a cruise down the Hudson. She can not go any farther north than Troy due to bridge heights. Just ahead are several bridges with only 21 feet of clearance. All of the sailboats heading north have had their mast steeped by now also. Some of the loopers on sailboats have their mast shipped to Mobile, Al. Sailboats heading for the Great Lakes are carrying their disassembled mast on their boat.

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There is no way they could fit under any of the upcoming bridges with their l masts up. Another looper boat came in earlier in the day. “Sea La Vie”, with owners Jerry and Lynn, are from Knoxville, TN just north of our hometown, Chattanooga. It is good to see a fellow Tennessean and we enjoy chatting with them.

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Saturday was a busy one in Troy. The town hosted both a farmers market in the morning and then a river festival downtown in the afternoon. We enjoyed both of these events. The town seems to be very active and has many local events. We have enjoyed Troy but it is now time to continue north. The Erie Canal is just a few miles ahead. The first of many locks to come will be greeting us first thing tomorrow.

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Total Miles Traveled Kingston to Troy: 62
Total Miles Traveled Year to Date: 1750

Newburgh to Kingston:

We are all tired this morning but happy to be leaving Newburgh after a terrible night of listing to really bad rock music until 1:00 AM. We continue up river and soon spot the impressive Vanderbilt Mansion perched high on the eastern bank.

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We hope to visit here later in the week. The Esopus Light House is our next landmark.

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We see several of these old lighthouses marking the shoals along our trip up the Hudson. Today is another beautiful day of cruising. The Hudson is a lovely river. Time goes quickly and we soon see the Rondout Lighthouse which marks the entrance to our turn off the Hudson River into Rondout Creek.

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We travel several miles up this creek to the Kingston City docks. It was a short but good day of travel.

We are docked at the Kingston City Docks which are in lower Kingston in an area known as Rondout. There is a farmers market today in upper Kingston. The dock master says that it is too far to walk so we decide to get a taxi. Luckily they allow the dogs to ride. Daisy and Sebastian have experienced a variety of transportation modes during our trip but this is their first taxi ride. They seem a little puzzled as we load them in the back seat but are happy to be with us. The farmers market is small but nice. We purchase a homemade berry pie for desert tonight along with some fresh vegetables and fresh dairy farm milk in a glass jug. We next stop for an ice cream before returning to the boat, again by taxi.

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Several other loopers are here in Kingston also. We meet both “Lady In Red” and “Quotidian” who are also doing the loop. “Quotidian” is a tiny 21 foot trawler.

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Maurice, owner of Quotidian from Florida, is single handing his boat. It is hard to believe he is doing the entire loop in this small boat. “Legrace”, a Gold Looper, is also at the marina. I am sure our paths will cross with these loopers many times in the next few months.

We spend the next few days using Kingston as our base while we rent a car and explore the Hudson River Valley. Kingston is one of the oldest Dutch settlements in the US and the first capitol of New York State. The town was burned to the ground during the Revolutionary Wary on October 16th, 1777. Just a few feet from our dock is the Kingston Maritime Museum. This small museum, with a big red tug boat out front, recounts the maritime history of the Hudson River.

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They have a nice collection of maritime boats and nautical artifacts. The small village of Lower Kingston, where we are docked, is known as The Rondout. Along the riverfront is a nice small park, several restaurants, and a few shops housed in refurbished old buildings. Kingston was a major shipping town during the 1870’s. Coal was shipped from here to Philadelphia on the D and H canal.

During the day many people are out enjoying the small park next to our dock. Everyone seems to like feeding the ducks and looking at the different boats docked along the wall. Several people stop and ask us about our trip and how we got here. They are all amazed when they discover we cruised here from Chattanooga.

We rent a car the next day to explore the Hudson River Valley. Our first stop is for breakfast at Diesings Bakery. A fellow looper said not to miss this bakery. It was a good suggestion and we have a great breakfast. We can’t resist purchasing some of the homemade pastries and cookies to take with us.

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We drive across the Rhinebeck Suspension Bridge to explore the eastern shore. Our next stop is the Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome in Rhinebeck, NY. We follow a windy small country road to this little museum. They have an impressive collection of antique airplanes dating back to the Wright Brothers.

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From Rhinebeck we travel to Hyde Park where we tour the Vanderbilt Mansion. While waiting on our tour, we walk the expansive grounds which are perched high above the Hudson River. This was the estate of Frederick Vanderbilt brother of Cornelius Vanderbilt. They used this huge mansion for only a few weeks in the spring and fall. Their summers were spent at another home in Newport. We have guided National Park Service tour of the 60 room home. It is quite impressive.

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Just a mile from the Vanderbilt Estate is the home of Franklin Roosevelt and also the FDR Presidential Library. We briefly drive through the estate on our way to the Culinary Institute of America or CIA which is just a few miles father south. We have a wonderful tour of the CIA campus.

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Several cooking classes are in session and we can watch through the windows as the students prepare bread, cookies, and cakes. We are treated to several samples of pastries which the students are cooking today. We learn that the instructor for the cookie class was at one time the chef for the Queen of England and he also introduced Crème Brule to the U.S. While we were sampling some cookies, this instructor noticed that Stormy was not eating his cookie. The chef sent a student out with a special chocolate cookie just for Stormy. Wow! Not many people get a cookie from the chef who cooked for the Queen! After our tour, we enjoy a fabulous dinner in the Catarina de Medici. The CIA has three different restaurants on campus all of which are staffed completely by students. It is very difficult to get reservations at any of these restaurants. We made our reservation almost a month in advance. We have a wonderful Italian dinner along with great service. Courtney, Jeff, and I all try different homemade pasta for our first course followed by a delicious meat entre. Even Stormy was on his best behavior while enjoying his fire roasted pizza. The CIA is well worth a visit and was the highlight of our stay in Kingston.

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Total Miles Traveled Newburgh to Kingston: 31
Total Miles Traveled year to Date: 1688

NYC to Newburgh, NY:

Our week’s stay at Liberty Landing Marina went very quickly. We could not have found a better location for visiting NYC. The marina is part of Liberty State Park. The ferries run from here to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty every hour.

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From our marina it is only a 10 minute water taxi ride in the cute little yellow checkered taxi ferries across the Hudson River into NYC.

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The dogs enjoy having some nice grassy areas to run and play.

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The dock master highly recommended that we take our bikes across on the ferry and ride the bike path along the NY side of the Hudson River. From downtown Manhattan, we followed this busy path as it meanders up the river up to the George Washington Bridge. Just like everything else in NYC, the bike path is wall to wall people. We ride the 25 miles dodging the maze of traffic. There are walkers, joggers, roller bladders, bicyclist, and bicyclist with dogs in tow, bicyclist with roller bladders in tow, and roller bladders with dogs in tow along this congested path. It is a Sunday and everyone is out taking advantage of the nice weather. It feels like we are biking on an interstate for bikes. After finishing the bike path we decided to ride over to South Street Seaport. We find ourselves riding the streets of NYC. As we peddle down Wall Street, it is hard to believe that we are riding our bikes through the financial district of NYC. Being a Sunday, there are actually very few cars in this section of Manhattan. On a weekday this would be one of the most congested areas on the planet. We are happy to arrive back to the boat without breaking anything.

Our niece and nephew, Courtney and Stormy, flew into JFK the following day for their visit with us. We are very excited to have them aboard. Somehow we managed to navigate the confusing subway system and were early to the airport for their arrival. While here in NYC we have constantly been amazed when we ask someone for directions. No one knows how to get anywhere, even the locals. Everyone seems to live in their own little world and has no idea where anything is. Before the week is out, Jeff is giving directions to other people. This is Courtney and Stormy’s first visit to NYC. We take them to the Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building, Times Square, Madame Tussauds Wax Museum, and Central Park.

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Each day we would be reminded of 911 as we cross over the World Trade Center construction site for our trip on the subway. We enjoyed lunch one afternoon at the famous Carnage Deli. The sandwiches were huge. Even Jeff could only eat ½ of his. We ended up with a to-go box which fed us lunch for the next three days. We did manage to find room for a piece of strawberry cheesecake, probably the best we have ever eaten. This was real NY cheesecake. Courtney especially enjoyed the Broadway play, Mary Poppins. Stormy’s favorite was FOA Schwartz where he picked out his birthday present from Uncle Jeff and Aunt Susie.

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There has been a constant stream of traffic in and out of the marina during our stay. We met four other loopers while here. Two of those are finishing the loop so we probably will not see them again. “The Golden Lilly” finished the loop her in NYC and we watched as they exchanged their white looper flag for the gold looper flag.

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We are looking forward to the day when IT gets her gold flag. A 40 foot sailboat docked next to us left for his solo Atlantic crossing back to Germany. He made the trip from Germany to the USA two years ago and is now headed home. He ran into a really bad storm on his crossing from Germany and said that at one point he did not think he would survive. His wife is anxious for his return. We wish him good luck. We were surprised one morning with a knock on our door by fellow Krogen owner Mike Warren. He is crewing on a new 44’ Krogen along with the owners helping them deliver their new boat to their home in Newport. We enjoy meeting them and catching up with Mike.

New York is a great city but after a week we are ready to leave this hectic pace. It is nice to visit but I don’t think I would enjoy living here. From NYC we continue up the Hudson River to Newburgh. As we exit the canal for our marina, we once again post a sharp lookout for all the fast ferries going back and forth. The tall buildings of NYC are hidden from view today. We are almost completely socked in with fog. It is a little tense as we watch the radar screen filled with tiny dots going in all directions. As we reach the George Washington Bridge the ferry traffic is reduced. The fog is also beginning to lift and it looks like we will have a nice day for our trip up the Hudson. We spot the tiny Little Red Lighthouse sitting at the base of the GW Bridge.

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The NY metropolis quickly dissipates and is replaced with the rock cliffs know as the Palisades. These columnar basalt cliffs rise 300 to 500 feet from the shore banks.

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We soon pass the town of Yonkers and then travel under the Tappan Zee Bridge. Just north of this is the town of Tarrytown, home of Washington Irving and “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”. The name is derived from Dutch farm wives’ complaining references to their husbands tarrying too long at the village tavern. We next see the town of Ossining which is home to the Sing Sing state prison. The Appalachian Mountains begin to appear as we continue up the river. The river cuts through this chain of mountains for the next 10 miles and is absolutely stunning.

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We cross under the Bear Mountain Bridge which was the world’s largest suspension bridge at its time of completion in 1924. The Maine to Georgia Appalachian Trail crosses the Hudson River on this bridge. Someday we hope to hike the entire 2100 miles. During the Revolutionary War, the Americans stretched a huge chain across the Hudson River just north of her to prevent British warships from passing. Unfortunately, the British seized the chain (sending it to Gibraltar to protect their own harbor) and then sailed up the river and burned the town of Kingston.

As we round the bend of Bear Mountain, the massive United States Military Academy of West Point immediately comes into view ahead.

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Unfortunately since 911, visitors are not allowed at their docks and moorings. Just past West Point, we see Pollepel Island. Here we spot the ruins of Bannerman Castle which was the home of Frank Bannerman, an ammunitions dealer.

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The castle is in disrepair but tours are available from Newburgh which is four miles north which is our stop for the evening.

Newburgh was a 19th century seaport and home of many whaling ships. George Washington also had his headquarters here from 1782 to 1783. Our marina is located along Front Street which faces the water.

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There are about 10 restaurants lining the river bank along this street. Soon after we dock, Izzy R, a fellow looper pulls in behind us. They were also at Liberty Landing Marina.

We decide to walk up the big hill to explore the town of Newburgh. It is a long walk up a very steep hill. We are a little disappointed in the town. It appears to be quite run down and there doesn’t seem to be much here to attract visitors. We quickly retreat back down the hill to our boat.

As the evening progressed, we quickly realized that Newburgh was not the best choice for an overnight. The restaurant just behind our dock hosts a live rock band every Friday and Saturday evening. Today is Friday and just as we are drifting off to sleep the band cranks up and we endure their horrendous non stop music for the next five hours. Nobody slept soundly that night. We will not come back here ever again on a Friday or Saturday.

Total Miles Traveled NYC to Newburgh: 60
Total Miles Traveled Year to Date: 1657

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