May 27, 2012

2012 Greenport Tall Ships Festival

Memorial Day Weekend! Those 3 words herald the commencement of summertime activities. It was no surprise to me that, after about three weeks of drizzly days, I woke up to a sunny Saturday morning with temperatures that would rise up into the 80s by mid-afternoon. It was a perfect day to ride to Greenport for the 2012 Tall Ships Festival that is making its way up the Atlantic Coast.

Driving to eastern Long Island is always a pleasure. It is like a trip into the country with all of the farms, fruit stands, and vineyards that dot the landscape along Sound Avenue. I drove slowly to savor the sights and, by the time I reached Greenport, I found the entire town roped off and the streets overtaken by pedestrians. Greenport is a quaint nautical town that boasts lots of novelty shops, fine restaurants, and historical sights all centered around the waterfront Mitchell Park and its antique carousel pavilion. At the piers just beyond Mitchell Park, visitors wait on lines for a chance to hop aboard the Tall Ships that will be on hand until Monday. Two of my favorites are the Barque Picton Castle (a classic square-rigged sailing ship famous for its trips around the globe and its stops at tropical ports such as Pitcairn, Fiji, Bali, and Madagascar) and the Bounty. Construction of the latter was ordered by Metro-Goldwyn-Meyer Studios in 1960 for the filming of the movie "Mutiny on the Bounty" which starred Marlon Brando. The new Bounty was built according to the blueprints of the original Bounty that are stored in the British Naval Maritime Museum. It is a beautiful ship and it was fun to slip below deck on the narrow stairs to see the cabins. Also stationed at the piers are the Lynx, the Roseway, the Unicorn, and the Pride of Baltimore II. I really love stories of seafaring adventures and being able to climb aboard these vessels made me feel for a moment like a was part of the action.

Also located at the docks is the East End Seaport Museum. Before enjoying a lunch of brick-oven pizza in town, I slipped into the museum to check out its many nautical treasures. I am always impressed by the sight of a Fresnel lens.

After driving back from Greenport, I stopped off at a party with a few friends from work. Great food. Great conversation. Great unofficial beginning of summer. And this was only the first day of a three-day holiday weekend. Life is good. Cheers!

"Jesus looked at them and said,
'With man this is impossible, but not with God;
all things are possible with God.'"

~Mark 10:27