Saturday, June 29, 2013

A day in the Catskills

Our Florida neighbors and friends Alice and Henry have a retreat in the Catskills during the hot Florida summers.  Since it was within an hour and a half drive from Kingston, we rented a car and took a day trip.  They have a lovely place on a Tennanah Lake.  Their home was once one of the cabins at a camp, but it has been in Alice's family for years.  Their garden, grounds and boathouse are lovely.  Not only was lunch provided, but they took us on a boat tour around the lake.
Jan, Alice and Henry
Our tour boat

boat trip around the lake

On the way back to the marina, we drove through Woodstock, NY which is now a haven for artists and filled with quaint shops and bistros.

 A great day!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Waiting for the Erie Locks to open

Our next destination: Kingston, NY (57 miles).
West Point (view from the river)

 We had a lovely cruise and arrived in Kinstson at the Hudson Maritime Museum Dock at 1500. By 1700, we had become acquainted with several other loopers and were invited to attend docktails. Because the Erie Canal is still closed at Lock 13, some of these loopers have been in Kingston for 14 days.  Each marina north of here also has loopers who are awaiting the reopening, so there is no use moving until that happens.
Ron...a great volunteer dock hand at the Museum

The museum offers a $25 one year membership and then discounts the marina fees to $1.50 per foot....very reasonable for this area.


Kingston offers a good bus service;  however, it does not run on Sundays.  We decided to attend Immaculate Conception Church which was about a mile (uphill) from the marina.  We had hoped to attend the 9:30 Polish mass, but it was only offered one time a month on a different Sunday, so we settled for the 11:00.  Hot, hot, hot walk to and from church!!!  When we returned to the marina area, we decided to have lunch at Ship to Shore.  The chef was a graduate of the Culinary Institute and the restaurant served food made from local farms.  Very good.

Just down the walkway from the marina, we attended a free city-sponsored outdoor movie, When Harry Met Sally, under the light of the supermoon.  A third of the way through the movie, it stopped working and people gradually drifted back to their boats.

Last year we used a Verizon WIFI hotspot for internet access, but we sold the hotspot and arranged to use our phones as a hotspot instead.  Big mistake!  Internet service here had been spotty, so we agreed to change back to the hotspot coverage.  The Verizon store at the mall was a few miles away, so we hopped on the A bus.  This took us to a Hannaford Grocery Store where we caught the K bus.  The K bus took us to the Mall Loop bus and the Mall Loop bus took us through several small shopping centers before arriving at Verizon.  (This took 2 hours!)  I have such sympathy for those who are dependent on bus service.
While Ron went to Verizon, I  went next door to Olive Garden and ordered our lunch so that we could catch the next bus on time.

Many stores and businesses here have closed (apparently from the economic downturn a few years ago).

The loopers were given a key to the barn (part of the museum), so we took our copy of When Harry Met Sally and watched the remainder of the movie with Linda, Eddy, Cindy and Mike.

In addition to meeting loopers at our nightly get-togethers, we've made friends with Linda & Eddy (MV Spiritus) and Cindy& Mike (Inventurer). They invited us to join them for a lunch at a local pizza place (Sammy's) which happened to be up the hill about a mile away.   Although it was in the 90s, we hiked uphill to the restaurant.  The pizza was worth it!  Both couples had discovered a great bakery a few blocks further, so we agreed to go along, but found the store had closed an hour earlier.  Then we headed for the Burger King for 50 cent ice cream cones, but they had sold out.  After a stop at Walgreens, we headed back to the marina.  This walk ended up being 5.2 miles in very warm weather. 

Ron toured the Museum (while I napped).

We must decide today whether we plan to stay in Kingston or move up the Hudson.  Marinas are filling up for the upcoming 4th of July weekend and we want to find a place we can stay for the holiday.  The Erie, as far as we know, is still closed to river traffic. 

Ann and Ken (Charis) arrived (by car) for a surprise visit today.  They are staying at Shady Harbor about 40 miles upriver from here.  Rick and Leila (Sun Gypsy)
Rick and Leila (not at Mole' Mole')

pulled into the slip right in front of us about the same time, so we all had lunch together at Mole' Mole'.
We had a great potluck with a number of loopers.  How can all of these boaters be such good cooks?  Some have deluxe galleys, but others are very limited in amenities;  however, the food is always delicious.

A few of the cooks
Looper boats
More looper boats

Good news....the Erie Locks are supposed to open on Friday.  Our plan is to wait a few days and let the rush subside before we try to go through.  We're not sure where we will spend the 4th of July.

Friday, June 21, 2013

History and Food, but no West Point Visit


An early morning car trip to Hyde Park, NY took us to the Vanderbilt Mansion.  This mansion was owned by  Frederick, grandson of Cornelius Vanderbilt who made all of the money (the grandchildren are the ones who spent all of the money).  Frederick's brother George built Biltmore in Ashville, NC.

Louise Vanderbilt's bedroom (copying European royalty)....had a rail around the bed.  In Europe this served two purposes.  #1  When a birth occurred, 40 observers were required to be in the room to document the birth.  #2 The rail kept servants from approaching.  Servants were required to remain at a distance.

Lunch at Bocuse, the French restaurant at the Culinary Institute was fabulous.

 There were 15 waiters in the room...all seniors who graduate within a few weeks.  We were served an apertif (a sparkling wine with a capsule of Curacau liquor and sugar in the bottom).  For lunch, Ron had sea bass and I had black truffle soup and arugula salad with strawberries.  Ron's dessert (very small but excellent)consisted of several types of chocolate.  One was a small, warm chocolate/raspberry it was great!
I forgot to take pictures of the food...the presentation was unbelievable!

After lunch we toured FDR's country home which actually belonged to his mother.  Both FDR and Eleanor Roosevelt are buried on the property. 

Bronze of Winston Churchill (he's the one on the right)

Instead of going to West Point (which is just a bus walking tour allowed), we drove through Cold Spring, a quaint town between Hyde Park and Croton..

Laundry, groceries, dinner at a local BBQ in Croton and a movie rental (Hyde Park on the Hudson) completed our day.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Croton on Hudson

We were placed on the pumpout dock on the outside of the marina because all of the dog-friendly slips were taken.  The pumpout is broken, so it should be quiet here. 

Because this is a dock-a-minium complex (very pricey condos, reportly selling for 1.2 million) and dogs are not allowed on the grounds, there is a separate dock for dog owners.  The dogs only have access to the adjacent public property.  What we do for our pets!
Half Moon Bay Condos

There are 10 looper boats here, so we had a dock party to get acquainted. Our friends Ann and Ken on Charis are here, too.   Most of the loopers have been here over a week because the locks on the Erie Canal are closed due to high water from recent storms.  All of the marinas north of here are also full loopers waiting for the canals to open.  No one is moving! We have a great view of the sunset since we are on the east side of the Hudson River).

I was awakened by Duke at 0250...he needed to go outside.  Because he was not feeling well, he jumped too quickly and fell in the water.  I was half asleep but called Ron and we got him up to the dock.  He needed to go out again at 0500...still sick.  This time he made it to the dock without the trip into the water!

We walked in to town (a few blocks) with Ken and Ann and had lunch at the wonderful gourmet food store. 

This evening, we received a notification that the Erie Canal is open...loopers will begin to move tomorrow.

Today we will visit West Point and have lunch at the Culinary Institute of America.  More later....

We scheduled an early lunch at the Apple Pie Bakery Cafe at the Culinary Institute of America because no reservation was needed

 This allowed us plenty of time to get to the tour at West Point.  Well, the best laid plans of mice and men do not always come to fruition.  Following a wonderful lunch (Ron had Mac and cheese, 1/2 of my BBQ pork sandwich, and 1/2 piece of apple pie.....I of course had the other 1/2) we set our GPS for West Point Academy.  After an extended period of time  as we approached the NY/NJ border, we knew we were too far south and checked the GPS again..  It was directing us to West Point Academy in GEORGIA, not West appoint Military Academy.  Instead, we toured Bear Mountain State Park and the lookout at the top.

Tomorrow we will go back to Hyde Park for a home tour, lunch at the French Restaurant (culinary institute) and the tour West Point MILITARY Academy:)

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Hello Hudson

After a great Fathers' Day Breakfast buffet at GKYC, we headed for NY Harbor.  It is an awesome sight whether it's your first time or you've been there before.  In our case, we had gone through there twice last summer on our way to and from Long Island Sound. 
 (swan family in Great Kills)

Entry into the harbor is under the Verrazano Bridge. 

On our way in, we met a large container ship heading out to sea.  Since it was Sunday morning, water traffic was light with only tour boats, ferries, barges, and pleasure craft out for a sail. During the week it is loaded with people heading to and from work.   On the west side of the river, we saw the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.

 Just across the river on the east side we saw a beautiful view of the Empire State Building with the new One World Trade Center building in the foreground. 

A few miles up river, we noticed a strange looking marina.  There was a center dock with 4 story high net surrounding the entire dock. We were puzzled until we saw the building in the background.  There were cubicles 4 stories high with golfers hitting golf balls.  It was a driving range!

About 40 miles up river from Battery Park, we arrived at Half Moon Bay (town of Croton on Hudson). This was the weekend we had planned to attend the Clearwater Festival here.  Pete Seegar, Joan Collins, Kris Kristofferson and others were scheduled to perform.  As we passed the festival, we could see the huge turnout.  Once we docked, we were able to hear music from across the bay....not quite like attending, but still good!

In the next few days, we will tour West Point and the Culinary Institute of America.

A Whale and a Heart Attack

We finally left Viking Marina this morning at 0630 and headed for the tricky Little Egg Inlet.  After getting local knowledge from a Sea Tow Captain, we were assured that exiting was doable.  Just a couple of problems:  we ran aground once and were flagged off of a shoal by some boaters who were stuck on it......but we made it!  The weather was bright and sunny and the winds and waves were no problem. 

(You know it's calm when Duke is this relaxed)
We had just passed Barnegat Inlet when saw a disturbance in the water about 30 yards in front of the boat.  Once we realized what it was, Ron quickly shifted into reverse and the 30+ foot whale went right under our bow.  I looked out my side of the helm and looked down and swear I saw a baby whale down under the mother.  WOW...What an experience.  By the time we found the camera, the whale had disappeared. 

On our last leg of the trip, we were rounding Sandy Hook and a mayday call came through on channel 16.  Because it was an emergency, the entire call was transmitted on 16 for all to hear.  Apparently, a passenger on a 50 foot boat had just had a heart attack and they were seeking help from the Coast Guard.  We realized that the boat was in our vicinity by the description of its location.  The boat flew past us heading for the Sandy Hook Coast Guard Station where EMS personnel were waiting.  The Coast Guard did a great job helping these boaters. 

Our destination today was Great Kills Yacht Club (Staten Island) where we had stayed twice last summer.  What a nice group of members they have.....we alway feel welcomed there.
They have recovered quickly from Hurricane Sandy because the members did the work of replacing docks, fences etc.  Other marinas in the area have not recovered.  This was evidenced by the absence of boats in most of their slips.

This is one of hundreds of boats washed up on shore.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

We were going to leave New Gretna earlier this week but had to wait for the Atlantic to calm down after Andrea passed off-shore last weekend. We did manage to get a few projects done and spent time with my mom, my sister Denise and her husband Brian.  On the day Denise & Brian were to leave on a long planned trip to Virginia we wound up taking our mom to the hospital.  She’s home now, doing better.  One of the highlights of our month here was a visit from NJ Senator Robert Menendez’s office staff.  They presented our mom the Bronze Star earned by her late husband (our step-father) during WWII.
Our Mom with John Chencharick's Bronze Star Citation.  Staff Sgt., North Africa, Sicily, Normandy

SeaMax Dual Fuel Filters

Kayak racks, 1" SS tubing

Adding AIS transponder

New SeaWater Impeller (775 engine hrs.)


Monday, June 10, 2013

June 10

Today was supposed to be our scheduled departure, but the weather is keeping us in the New Gretna.  We doubt that the weather will improve before next Sunday.  Our tentative plan is to make a 75 mile run from here to Staten Island on the outside, but we need west winds and calm seas.....not in the forecast this week.
We are glad we were here last week, because Ron's mom was in the hospital a few days.  She is back at Denise and Brian's and doing better.
We've been looking for teak furniture since last year and finally gave up and bought something else.  Today we drove 30 miles south to get a part at West Marine.  On the way we saw a sign at a store that said..."teak sale". The store had exactly what we were looking for. Is anyone interested in buying the powder-coated table and two chairs (white) that we originally purchased?