Sunday, September 12, 2010

Waterford Tugboat Roundup

Waterford, N.Y. is at the junction of the Erie and Champlain Canals, and the waterfront is a popular place for many water related events. Every fall we make it a point to attend the annual Tugboat Roundup. Tugboats from up and down the Hudson and Mohawk Rivers are on display, and several even invite the public to come on board and take tours. Some are huge with pilothouses that go up and down to enable them to fit under the low bridges on the rivers. Others are small, privately owned replicas.Dave wanted to be captain of the museum tug Urger, even if only for a few minutes.A few others are also historic museums, and two barges were there depicting what life was like living on board.

Yesterday was a gorgeous autumn day for this festival. It was very well attended, and even a seniors bus on an outing from Bennington arrived. Food, nautical items, and arts and crafts vendors were set up all long the waterfront. One couple had a display of antique outboard motors, which included this 1929 engine that is almost identical to one that Dave owns.

Every year there is a different tugboat featured, and this year's was the Cornell, built in 1949. The crew gave detailed tours and we were able to see this work boat inside and out, including the engine room.

There was also a steamboat on display that used coal as fuel, and the captain was even dressed in period garb.

When there are no events going on at the Waterford docks, this is a popular stop for cruising boats to tie up for a few days, since this is the crossroads of the two canal systems.

Some boats continue on north to Lake Champlain, while others head west on the Mohawk River/Erie Canal system. Many of these boaters are actually doing what is called the 'Little Loop', where they go northwest to Lake Ontario, up the St. Lawrence River to Montreal, and then back down south through Lake Champlain, the Champlain canals and locks, ending back up in Waterford.

When going west in the Erie Canal, the first locks are called the 'Flight of Five', which are five locks, one right after the other. This introduction to locks starts right at Waterford.
Here is a picture of the original canal before the new, wider locks were built.

I went kayaking around the waterways surrounding this area a couple of weeks ago. It was very interesting to see the backwaters with its dams and waterfalls, which are the reason the locks and canal system were built to make the river navigable. I was surprised to see herons, ducks, and geese 'fishing' right in the waterfall.

The city itself is very old, with many quirky houses and buildings. The process of revitalization is ongoing and evident though, and events such as the Tugboat Roundup really add character and prestige to this city.

P.S. I like being able to easily change my blog backgrounds. I thought this was appropriate for all the diamond plating decks and walkways we were on this weekend. Of course if you are reading this after I have changed the background to fit a different subject, it won't make any sense! LOL

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