Donovan’s Shady Harbor Marina, New Baltimore, NY – Friday, 6/11
The morning had us working feverishly to get our tasks complete so we could have fun the rest of the weekend. Denise finished up the laundry and catalogued many pictures while Mark worked on a few boat chores. He also was bird-dogging the return of the loaner car so we could jump on it as soon as it became available. Just after lunch he went up to the office to see if it was back, only to discover that it was and that Herb (“Phantom”) had signed it out and taken 2 other Looper couples with him. His reservation was on a previous page in the log and was not initially seen by staff. Unfortunately, because there were so many in the party, they were able to keep it for longer than the usual 2 hours, which means there would not be time for us to get it, go to Walmart, and then get back in time for the festivities.
Since the loaner car was not available, we took Bob & Diane (“Journey”) up on their offer to use their car. As it was an SUV, we were able to take new Looper friends Rick & Christie (“Inked Mermaid”) with us. They too needed provisions and this gave us an opportunity to get to know them a little bit. It took close to 90 minutes for the round trip, plus shopping time, and we got back just in time for quick showers before the evening activities began.
Around 5:00 pm people had started to gather around the picnic tables, with docktails officially beginning at 5:30. Tonight there were many more people here, so we got to meet even more new Loopers. We visited with everyone for about an hour, but then left as we had made reservations for dinner at the Boathouse, the restaurant at the marina. We knew from previous experience that many locals visit this restaurant on the Friday and Saturday nights, so we made advanced reservations for a party of 6; we had invited Jody & Louis (“Wanderer”), and Marcia & Pat (“Boyle in Water IV”) to join us.
Together we all had a great time enjoying the comradery of our new Looping friends and had a terrific meal at the restaurant. The chef (Brian – not the owner), came out to our table and we had a chance to chat with him as well as Kathy (owner Brian’s wife). Of course we also got a serving of Little Beers (an after dinner cordial topped with whipping cream to make it look like a beer). This is a known entity at Shady Harbor and a special treat they give to all Loopers who come to their marina. It was lots of fun and a great way to kick off the weekend.
Donovan’s Shady Harbor Marina, New Baltimore, NY – Saturday, 6/12
All night long it rained and it was threatening to continue. Eventually, there was an opportunity for a break for a few hours, so Denise went for a run in the neighborhood just south of the marina. The streets in this area are very hilly, and although a small part (1/4 mile) was on a busy two-lane highway, the rest was along streets surrounded by houses with little to no traffic. The main road paralleled the Hudson River and provided nice scenery and with modern and old homes intermixed, bordered by forested lands filled with wildlife. She even spotted a few deer.
Denise returned a bit late, but in time to see the ending ceremonies for the Blessing of the Fleet; a planned event sponsored by the small Awenke Yacht Club located at Shady Harbor. After the overall ceremony was concluded, the priest walked up and down all the docks and provided a blessing for each boat. It took a while for him to get to our boat, but eventually he did, and we were presented with a certificate.
During the blessing of the fleet, the weather cleared up and we ended up having a beautiful day. Once this was done, it was near time for the barbeque, which was also sponsored by the Awenke Yacht Club. They provide this barbeque for no charge, but they offer a raffle (prize is LOTS of bottles of alcohol and wine), and a 50-50 drawing, both of which raise money for one of their charities. We of course had to buy tickets, but it still was cheaper than buying the hamburger, hotdog and steamers we had.
The rest of the afternoon was spent socializing with other Loopers. First we went to the rum tasting event. This was another “free” activity and included an opportunity to play one of the many games (bocce ball, corn hole, etc.) in which we did not participate. We are not fans of rum, so after our tasting we refrained from buying drinks or purchasing a chance on a guitar signed by a country-western singer whom we don’t know (the fundraising component).
As we were walking back to the boat, we stopped off at the “Twisted Prop Container Bar” where quite a few people had gathered. We were offered free beers (real ones not the little ones) and had a chance to speak with our friend Michael Hale and his wife Erin. We met Michael in 2015 in Coinjock when he was crew for Brian Donovan’s boat (“Corporate Approved”). In 2019 when we were here he was the commodore of the Awenke Yacht Club, and offered us the use of his car. We have stayed in touch (via FB), so it was nice to spend some time with him and Erin. They now live in New Baltimore, in a house just south of the marina and not too far from where Denise ran this morning.
In the evening, there was a big bonfire to chase away the night air. It was cool, but not cool enough for us to break out chairs and sit around it. However, they were playing the movie “Captain Ron” on the outdoor screen, and that captured us for awhile. We stood around talking to some Looper friends and then retired to our boat. It was a fun day, but we were tired and ready for some quiet time.
Donovan’s Shady Harbor Marina, New Baltimore, NY – Sunday, 6/13
We had secure the loaner car early, and headed out to mass at St. Patrick’s in the nearby town of Ravena. We had attended this church in 2019 with our friends Jackie & Jim (“Donna Pacem”) and looked forward to attending again. The priest is very animated, and gives great homilies. Despite there being a baptism of a young girl, the mass ended within an hour and we were back at Shady Harbor in time to return the loaner car, and for Denise to help out in the next event.
Denise had worked with Kathy Donovan to help lead the Looper Ladies Networking Event with “bottomless mimosas” and champagne. This was a sharing of ideas, concerns and overall helpful hints from women to women, who are “Looping”, or who have extensive cruising experience. Denise had participated in it in 2019 when at that time it was led by Susan Costa (“Lucky Me”). She was unable to attend the Pig Roast this year, but Denise had been in contact with her to glean suggestions and guidance. It was fun listening to what women have to say about what they have learned, what they can’t live without on their boats, and what their particular challenges and goals are or have been.
Afterwards Denise went back to the boat, ate a quick lunch, and began working on the blog that would end up taking several days to finally publish.
Soon it was afternoon and time for the big event: the pig roast. Although officially it started at 3:00 pm, the band began playing around 2:00 pm, and people started gathering soon afterwards. The food started being served around 3:30 after most of the “pot luck” dishes had been assembled. How the pig roast works is that everyone brings a side dish to share, and a $10 donation per person for the food. The donations go to support the American Cancer society Hope House in Nearby Albany, NY; a charity near and dear to the Donovan’s heart and for which they give generously.
The band continued until 6:00 pm and there was a lot of sitting around and talking to others, along with a little alcohol consumption. We got to spend time getting to know our new friends Jayne and Steve (“Sabbatical”) a couple from Gainesville, FL who we met briefly at Great Kills Yacht Club in Staten Island. It was so fun to hear everyone’s stories of how they came to be either full-time live-a-boards, or just part-time cruisers like us. Some have sold everything and others (like us) have “dirt homes” to return to when their adventures are over.
Finally, around 8:00 pm we headed back to the boat and retired for the evening. In the morning we were headed back down the Hudson River (a first for us), hoping to get to Haverstraw Bay and then eventually making our way to Long Island Sound.
We had a lot of fun this weekend, and (as always) enjoyed our time at Shady Harbor. Here are some other pictures that didn’t make it into our narrative: