Antares Tribe

Monday, February 23, 2015

New England into the Chesapeake

Calypso and Maite sliding through the C & D Canal
Calypso rafting on the Tuschick's mooring ball in Block Island
We turned to head home from Plymouth in early September. Our path took us south out of Plymouth Harbor, direct to the Cape Cod Canal. The sun set on us as we pulled into an anchorage in Cuttyhunk before reaching Block Island the next afternoon. Beth Tuschick was gracious enough to allow us to raft up to her boat on mooring ball in Block Island harbor allowing us to explore for about 3-4 days. Thanks Beth! The island is perfectly positioned half way between the eastern end of Long Island and Nantucket. They both are visible from the southern light house on Block Island. Most of our time was spent eating and riding bikes.
Approaching the southern light house by bicycle

  The tour from the harbor to the north light house then back to the south light house then home was perhaps about 15 miles. 

Maite, Tyler and Nala leisurely 
lunch on  Block Island
We sat and enjoyed a leisurely dinner in town that Sunday afternoon, we could overhear all the mainlanders that had come over on the ferry for the weekend scurrying back to the boat in time to get home for work Monday morning. How good it felt to sit on that sunny porch on Block Island and read, sip on a beer and realize we had nowhere we had to hurry off to. I think the concept of retirement is dawning upon us...slowly. 
Back to the bikes heading home.

a little fetch before lunch in the ferry terminal bay

The Griswald Inn Essex Connecticut

Essex Connecticut is a beautiful quaint town on the north shore of the Long Island Sound. As a "Pratt" I was truly amazed. There were more Pratts in this little town than in the rest of the country I think. When we made reservations for dinner at the "Gris" (Griswold Inn) they hostess remarked "Pratt...ah that's a good Essex name!" There were only two doctors named Pratt in Memphis and only one other in my high school in Los Angeles. Mayors, ship captains, and house after house built by my ancestors. The high school, the main street and numerous historical buildings all carried the name. The Pratts of Boston and Plymouth spread rapidly apparently. So many more people to research and learn about! 

one of the main streets in Essex
the Essex Historical Society was headquartered
in the "Pratt House"
Essex Train Station
Maite and Ed in front of Engine #2
Essex Dinner Train
 A very complete maritime museum near the water, depicts the shipbuilding heritage of Essex. Essex also boasts of a 1920s style dinner train that takes you up the Connecticut River while providing a gourmet dinner in 1920s luxury. I would not miss this if you have time.
Maite on the Essex Dinner Train

After Essex, we pushed to get to Baltimore in time for the 200th anniversary celebration of the writing of the Star Spangled Banner by Sir Francis Scott Key. It was worth every gallon of diesel we burned. We passed down the East River and this time, timed our currents perfectly, moving  about 14 knots and passing most of the cars balled up in Manhattan traffic. 

Ed, Maite Lorraine and Harry supper in Sandy Hook 
We spent two days in Sandy Hook visiting friends then took off down the Jersey shore. Unfortunately, it was headwinds and head seas and after a day we decided to tuck into Atlantic City for the night before continuing on to Cape May. From Cape May we spun around and up the Delaware sound to the C & D Canal that joins the Delaware River with the Chesapeake. It was a full day motoring from Cape May to the Baltimore inner harbor, and we pulled in about 10 pm anchoring about 25 yards from one of the fireworks barges set for the big celebration.

Fell's Point Baltimore, MD Center of 18th century
Chesapeake ship building and general debotchery.
Maite with Eric and Carla (Live Wide).
They let us use their dock for weeks. Thanks guys!
The Baltimore inner harbor is a crazy amalgam of history and present day. Some of the bars and eating establishments have been open since the Clipper days of the late 18th century. One of our favorites was "The Horse You Came In On". The back door entrance was the "The Horse You Rode Out On".

Baltimore Clipper
The inner harbor is protected by Ft McHenry, famous for repelling the English attack on Baltimore during the War of 1812. Turns out it really wasn’t the fort that repelled the attack, but the regular citizenry of Baltimore who, after hearing of what had happened in Washington marched out, entrenched and engaged the British southeast of town thwarting their advance. The shelling of Ft. McHenry was largely for show.
Panorama of the interior of Fort McHenry 

View of Ft. McHenry as the British Saw It
An interesting side note regarded the Key family. Francis Scott Key an able lawyer, who watched the shelling from an American Frigate after negotiating for the release of an American physician taken prisoner during the British attack on Washington. It was then he wrote the poem "The Star Spangled Banner" and recommended that it be set to the tune of an old English drinking song that had been put to lyrics countless times before.
Baltimore Fireworks (the best ever!)

Blue Angels over Ft. McHenry
Two  generations later at the outbreak of the Civil War, Sir Francis Scott Key’s grandson, Francis Key Howard was still living in Baltimore. He was a well respected journalist, newspaper editor and southern sympathizer.  Howard later became the namesake of Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald (F. Scott Fitzgerald).

1861 Baltimore largely sympathized with the South and when war broke out Ft. McHenry turned its guns on the city of Baltimore itself to keep it in Union hands. Southern “sympathizers” such as Francis Key Howard were imprisoned in Ft. McHenry assuring that Baltimore stayed within the Union. In a display within the fort's museum, Howard's letters written during captivity juxtaposed his grandfather’s words written in 1814 during the attack upon the fort flying the "stars and stripes", proclaiming freedom for all, with his own sense of betrayal and loss of liberty at the hands of the same government under the same flag within the same fort in 1861. 

From Baltimore it was an easy 2 hour motor past Ft. McHenry to Eric Maynard’s beautiful home and dock from where we prepared Calypso for the Annapolis show.

We had one final side trip before the boat show to the Gettysburg Battlefield, the grand daddy of all civil war historic sites. I had read extensively about the battle and had my own ideas as to how and why it went down as it did, but to see it with your own eyes gives one a whole new understanding and appreciation for the ingenuity, heroism and suffering on both sides of that conflict. 
View from the Little Round Top facing Gettysburg

Northern extreme of Pickett's Charge as seen from the Union lines.

Tree line from which Pickett launched his charge. (The battlefield is out of view to the left)

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