Croton-on-Hudson, NY (Friday, 5/31):
The day started with Denise going for a run along the path that follows the Hudson River north for about 1.25 miles. She then turned around and ran past the marina and along the path in front of the condominiums that align the shore until she ran out of path. She turned around and headed back to the marina only logging a little more than 3 miles; something is better than nothing.
We spent the rest of the day working on cataloging pictures, writing the last blog, handling work items, and helping clients. Denise prepared some notes for our Looper friends heading up the Hudson and into Canada and published it to them. We also had to deal with some financial decisions related to Denise’s retirement funds, and finally got them resolved this afternoon. However, one of the items required us to have a document notarized and mailed into them with a short deadline. So, tomorrow we will have to add this to our list of “errands” to run.
In the meantime our friends Jackie & Jim (“Dona Pacem”) came into the marina, as well as several Looper boats whom we did not know. As we encountered each one, we introduced ourselves to them, swapped boat cards and discussed our mutual itineraries. In the afternoon we were invited aboard one of these boats; “At Ease” – a boat we had heard of and had not yet met, but for whom we have mutual friends. Ben & Chantale were great hosts and on their boat we had a chance to meet other Loopers. However, everyone we met today were first-time Loopers and all heading up the Hudson to take the Erie Canal like we did 4 years ago. None were doing the Down East Loop like us and all were anxious to make their way north and into the Erie Canal.
We however, were not in any hurry because the route we are taking through the Champlain Canal is still closed. The rains north of us have caused high water levels on the lake and the Army Corp of Engineers (ACOE) won’t open the canals if it is not safe for boaters. The Erie and Oswego Canals are ok, but not the Champlain Canal. Fortunately, we have 2 weeks before we will be trying to get up to Lake Champlain, and we agreed we would take it slow to see a few new places as we make our way north.
We finished the day with a quiet dinner on the boat and watched another episode of Game of Thrones.
Croton-on-Hudson, NY (Saturday, 6/1):
In the morning we took care of a few boat chores, then Mark went and picked up the rental car from Enterprise; just a ½ mile away. He was able to get a van which enabled us to take more than just another couple to dinner. We had already made plans with San & Lisa (“Panacea”) and invited Jackie & Jim (“Dona Pacem”) to join us.
But first we had some errands to run. We drove to the nearest Walmart Supercenter (not just any Walmart) which was 25 miles away. Mark had a few things he wanted that only a Supercenter would likely carry, and this gave us options for other shopping. The UPS store near our marina did not have a notary available on Saturday, but we were able to find a Credit Union right near the Walmart and they were able to help us out.
On the way back to Croton on the Hudson, we took a different road that enabled us to stop at a Macy’s in Yorktown Heights. Mark needed an extra dress shirt to take on his business trip in a few weeks as it will be a longer trip than what he had packed. This adventure took us on the Taconic State Parkway and past the Donald J. Trump State Park. It was a beautiful drive and allowed us to see a part of New York we otherwise would have missed.
On the way back to the marina, we stopped and visited Croton Gorge Park and the New Croton Dam; a place we had put on our “must see” list while visiting here. The dam is very tall and is fed by the reservoir that is a source of water for NYC. This is a very cool place and you can learn more about it here.
After a full day out and about, we returned to our boat and stowed our purchases. As we were getting our things put up, Loopers and other cruisers started to gather on the dock behind us for an impromptu “docktails” event. Here we got to meet some new people who came into the marina while we were out. The event didn’t last long as people had dinner plans, including us. Jackie & Jim decided not to dine out with us, but San and Lisa (“Panacea”) were still up for it. So the 4 of us drove to Croton Grill, located in the village up the hill from the marina. Although more of a pub then restaurant, we had good food and a fun time getting to know in this couple from California a little bit better.
After dinner, we went back to our boat where Denise worked very late into the evening to update our latest blog post.
Croton-on-Hudson, NY (Sunday, 6/2):
Because we had the car we drove with Jackie & Jim (“Dona Pacem”) to mass at Holy Name of Mary Catholic Church. It was nice to be able to share our faith with another fellow cruiser, especially ones from our home state.
After mass the four of us had breakfast at the Croton Colonial Diner and Restaurant where we had eaten on Father’s Day, 2015. The food was just as good, the price was reasonable and the company was terrific.
Instead of going directly back to the marina, we went to the Shop Rite grocery store. It is a large grocery store with a full bakery, and good-size deli, meat, and seafood counters. They also had an amazing selection of cheeses, many from New York dairies. We picked up a few items and then headed back to the boat to stow our items.
Later in the afternoon we walked into the Village of Croton on Hudson to celebrate their “Summerfest 2019”. It was a small town event and we enjoyed all that it had to offer. In addition to tents for food and drink offerings by the local restaurants and bars, there other businesses as well including: dance companies, insurance companies, real estate agencies, home building or remodeling firms, jewelry, and other such places. A Cub Scout troop had a tent where they had a grown-up version of “Operation” – a project put together by the scouts.
There was even a travel agency specializing in Walt Disney World vacations offering a chance to win a free trip. We laughed with the owner and offered NOT to participate in the drawing.
And there was even a parade with a drum and fife group and the town EMS and Police force represented. We had arrived just as things were getting under way and stayed about 2 hours until it got crowded too hot. We walked back to the boat to cool off and enjoy a relaxing afternoon. Here are some pictures from this outing:
While we were gone new Looper and non-Looper boats had arrived at the marina. One such boat was “Osprey” from Barnstable – Cape Cod who were parked across the dock from us. We had a chance to meet Sue and Pete and discuss cruising the New England waters. We also encountered Cate on “Steadfast”, (and husband Bill) whom we had met at the MTOA Rendezvous in Fort Pierce in April 2018. It always amazes us how we run into other cruisers in faraway places.
In the early evening we invited Jackie & Jim (“Dona Pacem”) and Sue & Pete (“Osprey”) to come to our boat for docktails. A few other cruisers also stopped by but only briefly. It was a fun way to end our time at this spot. We had a quiet dinner aboard and tried to watch some tv, but the winds turned fierce and rocked all the boats in the marina. While there is a protective barrier, it is not a full breakwater and a large west wind creates a surge that builds as it moves across Haverstraw Bay. Unable to go below without getting sick, Denise fell asleep on the settee in the main salon; it was just too bouncy in our stateroom. Around 11:30 it settled down enough and she was able to move where she finally fell back asleep.
Here are some other pictures of the areas around our marina:
Poughkeepsie Yacht Club – north of Poughkeepsie, NY (Monday, 6/3)
The high winds of last night brought in a drop in temperature and when we woke it was in the low 50’s. We literally went from hot and wearing shorts to cold and wearing long pants in under 12 hours.
Denise wanted to take advantage of the cooler temperatures and went for a run following the path along the Hudson that she ran two days before. Here she separately encountered fellow cruisers Sue (“Osprey”) and Cate (“Steadfast”) who were also out for a run/race-walking, respectively.
Although calm initially, the wind picked up again as morning wore on. Everyone in the marina was complaining about the surge and how no one slept well the previous night. We were glad we were leaving and moving on to another destination. Half Moon Bay is a nice place to stay and convenient to many things. But if the wind is bad, or if there is a lot of boat traffic (jet skis, etc.) on the bay, it can be an uncomfortable place to stay.
In mid-morning Mark returned the rental car, but not before dropping Bill & Cate (“Steadfast”) to pick up one they had rented. Denise went with him to go back to Shop Rite for a few items, he then dropped her back at the marina and then went on to return the car. Enterprise gave him a ride back to the marina.
We then prepared our boat and left our slip at C Half Moon Bay marina. But first we went for a pump-out, where Mark had to deal with docking the boat in the ever increasing winds. Once done with this chore, we cruised 4 miles across Haverstraw Bay and stopped at Panco for a fuel stop. Because it was in a protected cove, it was easier to pull up to the dock.
We left Panco after filling the tank full and headed north, right into the cold North wind. We cruised past the Stony Point Lighthouse to our west and passed the Indian Point Energy Center (aka Nuclear Power plant) to our east.
We then headed up into the most beautiful parts of the Hudson River. It was very windy, but we knew eventually the high mountains of the Hudson Highlands would eventually block the wind. Soon we rounded the bend at Jones Point and spotted the Bear Mountain Bridge ahead and passed by Bear Mountain; a beautiful mountain covered in granite rock and lush greenery.
Immediately afterward we came into the area of the US Military Academy at West Point. Its large buildings sitting high up on the western cliffs overlooking the Hudson should be enough to intimidate any enemy. It is an impressive site and we were in awe of it, even though we have been here before.
After rounding West Point to our left and Constitution Island to our right, we continued up the Hudson.
Here there is beauty in the mountains on both sides and continued to block the cold wind. We passed the town of Cold Stream to our east and Storm King Mountain to our west. Here this mountain peak reaches 1355 feet above river and is at the northern end of the area known as Hudson River Highlands section.
From there the Hudson opens up to a large bay and the wind was once again cold and on our nose. We rounded an island known as “Bannerman’s Island”. Frank Bannerman was a munitions dealer who built a replica of medieval castle in the early 1900s as a summer resort. In the 1960’s it became part of the NY Park system, but because of deteriorating conditions it has since been abandoned. Today all that remains are some remnants of the old building.
We continued north and cruised past the town of Newburgh (west side) and under the Newburgh-Beacon Bridge.
We then made our way to Poughkeepsie and under the Mid-Hudson Suspension Bridge and the now Pedestrian Bridge that was formerly a Conrail railroad bridge at 212 feet high. Too bad our nephew Ryan wasn’t in town, he attends Vassar College but has already gone home to Winter Park for the summer.
After leaving the town of Poughkeepsie, the hills on both sides of the river turn rural, containing religious retreat centers, small hamlets, and even some mansions; the most famous being the Roosevelt and the Vanderbilt estates on the eastern shore. These appear shortly after the monstrous main building on the campus of the Culinary Institute of America (CIA).
Along the river’s shoreline we passed by a few boat clubs and small boat marinas, and eventually we came to the Poughkeepsie Yacht Club; our home for the next two days.
We had called several days ago and attempted to make reservations but they don’t take them; it is a first-come first-serve marina for transients. We were assured there would be room for us as most of the members boats were still waiting to be put in the water for the season. As we approached the club we contacted them on the phone and as luck would have it, we were able to actually pick our desired slip. We chose one that was several slips in from the river hoping the sailboats in the end slips would help to buffer from the passing boat traffic headed up and down the river. As we approached the dock we were helped by several club members; it was welcomed assistance as the wind was really blowing.
After we got the boat settled and met a few of the members, we walked up to the PYC clubhouse to register. The people here were so inviting and friendly and not like your typical east-coast stuffy clubs. It is a very friendly place and their warmth and hospitality reminded us of the generosity of those at GKYC.
One of the benefits of this club is that they offer free laundry. After we got a tour of the place we put together two loads and managed to get them washed and dried before the weekly club meeting in the evening.
Like GKYC this club has no formal dining room and only hosts catered dinners for specific events. It is also in a remote area and is not easy to walk to any of the Hyde Park or Rhinebeck restaurants; it would require a cab. However, we were more than happy to eat dinner on the boat and just enjoy the scenery of the place. The wind eventually died down and it became very calm. We were the only ones on our boat and the only ripple we felt was when a tow captain and barge went by ever so slowly. It truly is a beautiful place and we got treated to a spectacular sunset…. and of course the horns from the passing trains
Poughkeepsie Yacht Club – north of Poughkeepsie, NY (Tuesday, 6/4)
Today we barely left the boat, and never left the marina. First of all it was really cold this morning; 44° at 5:30 am. Secondly, we got to do another load of laundry in the morning pretty much before anyone showed up.
But also because it is really a pretty place, and there are lots of friendly folks at the Yacht Club to talk with, which Denise spent a good amount of the day doing.
Our “host” yesterday and one of the friendliest club members is a guy named Rob. He helped us in yesterday and kind of acts as the manager of the place. He is a retired navy pilot who owns real estate here in NY, and has some property in FL. We had a lot in common as we were in Jacksonville at the same time; as when he was stationed at Cecil Field.
Denise also met Frank, another member who was doing some welding on the club’s travel lift. He is a structural engineer and works in Manhattan usually, but was taking a “paperwork” day. Not only does he help design the skyscrapers in Manhattan, he loves climbing up on the steel to solve the problems they encounter. He also used to rock climb in his earlier years. (Sorry no picture).
Almost all the work at the club is done by the members, including grounds keeping and necessary repairs. The docks are taken out of the water for the winter as the River ices here, and then they are put back in for the spring. Many of the members’ boats are still on the hard and we watched them put a few in the water yesterday. They also use a small barge to remove the large pieces of debris that accumulate in the water around the marina during this time of year. This year is especially heavy due to the large amount of rain and now the canals have opened and all this debris flows right into the PYC.
Around lunch time we started to see the “Looper” boats pass by us. Many had been at Half Moon Bay and were headed to Kingston or parts north of us for the night. It was fun to see them all pass, and we took pictures of a few of them, including “Panacea” and “Dona Pacem”.
The rest of the day was spent working, cataloging the many pictures taken, doing office work, conference calls with clients and associates, and ordering s few boat spare parts. Mark also ordered us another desktop server for the home office as the one we use as a backup is on its last leg and has shut down twice in the last week. We are grateful for our neighbor Mark M, who has gone into our house and restarted for us while we have been gone. This is a reminder to us that we could not do this if it wasn’t for the generosity of our family and friends, and for that we are truly grateful.
Tomorrow we will leave for Kingston and Rondout Yacht Basin, which is a short 8 miles away. Therefore, we probably won’t leave until noon when the river current is in our favor and all the Loopers that are leaving have cleared out.
Here are a few more pictures from PYC:
Stay tuned for more of our adventures on Island Office.