Friday, June 5, 2009

Sail-By

As you might have heard, next week Clermont will be getting a sail-by from the Quadricentennial flotilla. On Thursday, June 11th, the three historic flagships (the Clearwater, Half Moon, and Onrust) and many other assorted boats will parade by our site at noon.

Even though it's a Thursday, it's a perfect opportunity for picnic if you can get away from work. The weather is looking good so far, and I am already hunting for pasta salad recipees and charging up my camera batteries.

This isn't Clermont's first time participating in such a big event as the Quadricentennial. One hundred years ago, in 1909, New York held a Hudson Fulton Celelbration, and John Henry Livingston was an honored guest. A decendant of Chancellor Livingston, who partnered with Robert Fulton on the project, John Henry was invited to ride aboard the replica of the steamboat (popularly misnomered as the Clermont, though its historic title was the North River).

The boat, full of costumed passengers, docked within site of Clermont's mansion and spent the afternoon being toured by the public. I can only imagine that John Henry's wife Alice, toting an infant Honoria, was among those to climb aboard and investigate the boat.


Although access to Clermont's dock was cut off by railroad tracks years ago, there is no doubt in my mind that watching three large sailing vessels gliding up the Hudson River with the Catskill Mountains will still be an amazing picture. To explain the boats, their history, and the 1909 celebration, Clermont's Curator of Collections, Ashley Hopkins-Benton, will be delivering a short, family-friendly talk at 11:30. With nearby Germantown residents already calling for details and telling us about their picnics, I imagine that it will be quite the carnival atmosphere. I hope we'll see you there!

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