21 May 2011

A turn in mid-stream

After a third exceptional supper we docked last evening on Rondout Creek for a one day, two night stay to visit the Kingston area. Our historian, Sam Ladley, has been talking since the tour began about the North American westward migration and the development of crucial water routes to the west.

The earliest settlements were established at portages, Kingston being one such town – the second oldest in New York state, only Albany being older. The village of Rondout and the city of Kingston are nearly a mile apart, the distance involving an elevation change of about 400 feet, Kingston on an easy-to-defend promontory. Once one town, Kingston has grown into a modern city, since eventually the road went there. Rondout has remained much like it was a century ago, a quaint, run-down, charming district.

Rondout Creek
Our boat will end up between the large
vessel to the left of the bridge support
and the small white boat to the right
of that support.
Now, a word about our actual arrival. We were in the dining room when out vessel made a turn to port into Rondout Creek, there the person at the helm fashioned a U-turn before reaching the bridge, the array on our stern too tall to pass under. The 185-foot Grande Mariner turning in a creek not much more than 200-feet wide proved to be a tense move, one made with many people aboard and ashore watching. Reminded me of my refusal to learn to back Tal’s fishing boat and trailer with an audience at a launch site one afternoon! The current (the Hudson to the dam at Troy is tidal) was strong making the stern obstinate to come about, but the maneuver was a success.

I have to say I do feel oddly privileged, even conspicuous when the Grande Mariner draws a crowd. We are so lucky to be doing this. How often I’ve seen people doing things I’ve dreamt of, watched and wondered what it must be like. Now I know …

We spent this morning in Kingston. 
The Old Dutch Church has been part
of the town's fabric for 350 years, its
churchyard a roll call of the influential.
Some of the very old markers have had
added to them a protective edge
to slow the deterioration of the stone.

During the afternoon we were bused to the
Delaware & Hudson Canal Museum in High Falls.
This is a detail of one of the five locks built
in 1847 showing the tight, skilled masonry work. 

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