Kingston, NY – Wednesday, 6/9
We left Shattemuck Yacht Club and headed north up the Hudson, passing Croton Point and entering Haverstraw Bay, a wide body of water. To our right was Half Moon Bay Marina were we have stayed twice before, and to our left the town of Haverstraw, with no docking facilities but a reportedly well-protected anchorage. We didn’t go very far before we turned into Panco Fuel Services and filled up on the cheapest diesel we will find in all of NY.
Once we were fueled up, we headed out of Haverstraw Bay, passing the recently decommissioned Nuclear Power Plant at Indian Point.
From there we headed north along the winding Hudson and eventually coming to Bear Mountain and the Bear Mountain Bridge. This is one of the prettiest areas along the Hudson and there is an anchorage on the western shore at which we have considered staying, but it never seems to work into our schedule.
A short distance further up the Hudson we cruised past the US Military Academy at West Point. Its massive complex hugs the western shoreline and is visible for miles before you come to it. The bend in the Hudson took us past their athletic fields on our left and Constitution Island to our right. During the American Revolution, this island was used by the Army to anchor a chain that was strewn across the Hudson from the shores of West Point, providing a barrier to enemy troops attempting to progress down the Hudson to NYC. It ended up sinking several boats and contributed to the US winning the war.
After West Point we cruised through the mountain region known as Hudson Highlands with mountains and state parks on both sides, as well as a few small towns. However, there is no real place for transient cruisers to stop, so we continued on. This trip we spotted the remains of the old aqueduct that was built to channel fresh drinking water from the upstate reservoirs to the eastern shore residents. It is right near the trail head to Sugarloaf Mountain and where NYC residents come for weekend hiking adventures.
In this same vicinity we pass by Pollopel Island with the ruins of Bannerman’s Castle. We have written about this in our previous blogs, and we always look forward to this landmark with its interesting history. You can read about it here.
After Pollopel Island, the Hudson River widens for a period of time, and the channel took us past the town of Newburgh. Although there is city marina and several waterfront restaurants, it has never given us a reason to stop; the docks are exposed to river wakes and winds, and there is reportedly a large homeless population that makes it unpleasant for visitors.
We went under the Newburgh bridge and continued north, eventually passing the town of Poughkeepsie and its two bridges; one a pedestrian pathway converted from the old railway. Poughkeepsie is home of Vassar College where our nephew (Ryan) recently graduated with a degree in economics. Now he is off to start his career as a business consultant based out of Washington DC. Unfortunately, our schedules could not be timed for us to participate in the graduation activities.
We left the town and just before coming up to the Poughkeepsie Yacht Club (where we stayed in 2019), we passed the Hyde Park area. Here from the river you can see the CIA (Culinary Institute of America) and the Vanderbilt estate; both of these we visited in 2015.
We continued north along the winding Hudson, passing the Esopus Lighthouse. This is a landmark we knew that told us we didn’t have much further to go before reaching Kingston; our destination for the night. We came to Rondout Creek, identified by its lighthouse at its entrance. Both of these lights are typical of the unique lighthouses found along the Hudson River.
We entered Rondout Creek and pulled into the designated slip behind the Hudson River Maritime Museum, our dockage for the night. Here the first-time dockage includes entrance to the museum and is located right in the heart of downtown Kingston. This is a highly desired location and we felt fortunate to be able to get in as we have tried twice in the past and they were already booked. Right next door is the Wooden Boat School where the actively hold classes on building, repairing and restoring old wooden boats.
Shortly after our arrival another boat pulled in behind us. Come to find out first-time Loopers Mike & Karen (“Seven Turns”) were from Sebastian, FL, just a few miles south of where we keep our boat in Merritt Island. They also are part-time residence of Bryson City, NC where we visited in 2016. We spent some time chatting and with them off and on over the course of the afternoon.
Mark had a conference call, so Denise went for a walk around the downtown. We have not really explored much beyond a two block radius and wanting some exercise she used this as an opportunity for reconnaissance. She stuck to the main street and walked up the hill where she found a few more restaurants and the Reher Center; an immigrant cultural center. Here she viewed one of their outdoor displays before moving back to the waterfront.
Later that afternoon we got to witness a local crew team put their skulls in the water and race up and down Rondout Creek. Even though it was their practice workout, it was fun to see the teams working together to make their boats fly across the water.
In the meantime, Mark had been messaging with our friends Jody & Louis (“Wanderer”) who were at the city docks, and had scheduled a Happy Hour for 5:00. We had a very nice time socializing with them and getting to know them. We invited them to join us at the Old Savannah Southern Table and Bar for dinner, but they had other plans. Once they left, we walked down the street to the restaurant and had a simple but delicious meal. Again here, however, the lack of help was apparent and we waited a long time for everything. Our waitress (who was a long-term employee) explained that they literally are hiring anyone they can find, even without experience because no one wants to work. She shared that this particular restaurant was one of the best employers, paid well, and they don’t usually hire inexperienced staff. Ah the sign of the times!
When we returned to the boat we saw the fire department was across the creek. They were pumping water from the creek, through the fire truck pumps and hoses, and then back into the creek. We later learned they were testing out equipment and did this in a way to use the water from the creek and replenish it back to its natural source. It provided our entertainment for the evening, until it got dark and they left.
Donovan’s Shady Harbor Marina, New Baltimore, NY – Thursday, 6/10
There was no hurry to leave this morning as we only had a short distance to go. Mark thought he would sleep in; that was until at 5:30 am when a women’s crew team started launching their skulls right off the docks near the bow of our boat. Already up, Denise went for a run and discovered a part of town that included houses (some old and some new) as well as where the park entrance was at the top of the hill in town. Unfortunately, it was closed; an apparent Covid-effected venue. However, she did see deer near the Catholic Church in town, and discovered a Children’s Home not too far from the boat.
One of the other reasons for staying a little later was to see the Hudson River Maritime Museum. With our dockage came free admittance and they were closed when we arrived. Since they didn’t open until 11:00, we only had a limited amount of time to spend. However it was just enough time to hit the highlights and to see the importance of this great river in our country’s founding, and in continuous economic development over time.
We left the museum and immediately made the boat ready and left the dock. It was just before noon and we could see new boats were coming into Rondout Creek and some would most likely want our spot. The other boats around us had already left, except “Seven Turns” who were staying another night. As we passed the channel entrance we noticed the pontoon boat that had run aground when we arrived the previous day, was now hard aground as the tide was extremely low. We wondered how long it was going to be like that; probably until the next highest high tide.
Our plan was to head towards an area known as Middle Ground Flats where the Hudson is very narrow and is bordered by two small towns; Athens on the west and Hudson on the East. We had thought we would stay in Athens anchorage and then use the dinghy to see Hudson as well. We had also considered going to the town of Catskill; a place we had also considered in 2019. It is home to artist Thomas Cole, an iconic landscape artist, as well as the setting for the story of Rip Van Winkle.
However, once we got underway we started thinking about the weekend activities and decided to go straight to Shady Harbor Marina directly. We had a few minor boat repairs, and we knew there were a lot of Looper boats behind us heading up for the weekend festivities. We had lots of laundry to do, and the 2 washers and dryers at the marina would not be available as easily on Friday through Sunday as they would be now. We also needed to make a grocery store/Wal-Mart run and had hopes of securing the marina loaner vehicle for such an outing. We called ahead to make sure we could arrive a day early, and once confirmed we adjusted our itinerary and headed to Shady Harbor. Along the way we passed a fuel barge, a tow and many beautiful homes that line the shore of the Hudson River.
Once we had docked and settled the boat, (on “Sin Dock Lane”) we were immediately met by Brian (owner) who greeted us with big bear hugs and lots of smiles. We chatted for a bit with him and then checked into the marina office. We reserved the loaner car first for Sunday morning to make sure we could go to church, and also requested it for Friday for the shopping adventure. That’s when we learned it was going in for its annual inspection in the morning and most likely would not be available until the afternoon. We reserved for our 2-hour block on Friday, hoping the inspection would not take as long. Brian had told us they were expecting 16 Looper boats on Friday and we knew they all would most likely want to use the car too.
Once back at the boat, we got down to our chores for the day. Denise plowed through several loads of laundry, doing email, and handling office things. Mark had work to do for clients, and had also become friendly with the people in the boat next to us. Bob and Diane (“Journey”) are Gold Loopers (like us) and they have a dirt home in the Albany area. They offered us the use of their car on Friday, should the loaner car not be available. This is the type kindness we always see when cruising and yet we still get surprised by the generosity of others.
We did take a little time to enjoy some of the fun sights that were new to the marina since 2019. One such addition was the gator (or is it a croc?), carried aboard “Corporate Approved” on their return from FL. We first saw it in Beaufort, NC when we had pizza together. See here.
Another addition is the new “Twisted Prop Container Bar”. It is still being set up due to shortages of needed components, but it was made “usable” for the weekend events.
As anticipated, at 5:30 the Loopers in the marina began assembling at the picnic tables under the tent at the marina for “docktails”. Here we got to reconnect with old friends like Dorothy & Terry (“Magic”) whom we met in Atlantic City in 2017, as well as previously-met new friends Ken & Karen (“Island Girl”), Jody & Louis (“Wanderer”), and Marcia & Pat (“Boyle in Water IV”). We also met many others, collecting a handful more boat cards (business cards for those who cruise) and giving out ours as well. We stayed until about 7 pm and then headed back to our boat for a dinner of Fajita’s cooked up by Capt. Mark. It was a great day and we were looking forward to the rest of the weekend.