Well, our wait for the New York Canal System to open, stretched way beyond the scheduled time. We thought when we came on the 11th that we would have a six day wait. We heard by the 16th that we would have to wait longer. The only locks to open open on the 17th were the Flight of Five starting in Waterford. Since there isn’t a lock 1, that meant Lock 2 to Lock 6 were open and a couple days later, they opened two more. This was all due to high water and an inability to get their buoys in. Also, Lock 19 was being repaired so that was a problem too. Even when they opened up to Lock 7, we decided it would be better to stay here where we had lots of amenities. Everything is so close to the dock. The laundromat is a 5 minute walk and the eateries are all close too. Some of the locks don’t have walls to tie up on and they are out in the middle of nowhere. To make matters worse, the Oswego Canal that we need to go through is not open yet. It is closed due to high water in Lake Ontario and dangerous currents. The Champlain Canal has not opened yet either, for the same reasons.
We are fortunate that here at the Hurst Harbor Center, we have hydro and water. As I mentioned before, it is only $10 for hydro for the duration of your stay. And we get the use of the washrooms and showers as well for $10. You pay the $10 for the key and when you pass it back in you get your money back or donate it to the center which we will do.
Our first few days here were wet and cold. We are so thankful for hydro and our ceramic heater. The local diner, Don and Paul’s Coffee Shop, is only a three minute walk away so an umbrella and warm jacket is all we needed for a get away from the boat. And speaking of the local diner, it is a great place to eat. We had been there a couple times last fall on our way south. One of the older volunteers here at the Center told us that it used to be a general store when he was young and it had loads of penny candy on the shelves. That’s what he remembers the most. 🙂 Actually, a lot of their decor in the diner is from the general store. Don and Paul bought the store and opened the diner in 1982. Don took it over from Paul the following year or so but kept the name. Don’s daughter and son both work there and are so friendly. Actually, their whole staff is lovely. They are lined up outside waiting to get in at lunch and sometimes dinner. We went for coffee last week with Jim and had to sit outside on the chairs. And is it any wonder? Look at their prices. I don’t think they have raised them since 1982! And their coffee is a bottomless cup. The waitresses are always on the run and the cooks bring your meal to your table.
Jim ducking down in our booth so I could get the photo. Here is a close up of what was sitting on the ledge. Now that’s from bygone days.
And note the wood carving of “Don Paul” on the ledge.
This picture was on the wall too. Mike’s grandfather had a collection of antique cars, some of which are still in the family. One of them being a Maxwell; a 1916 though, not a 1911.
Here is their menu.
Now, you can see why folks line up to get in. 🙂
We walked …lots! There were many days when we got over 12,000 steps. The grocery store is a 15 minute walk across the bridge and we walked to Peebles Island State Park one day. There are lots of cruisers here that we had seen in the Bahamas. More than 90% of the boats tied up here are waiting for the Champlain Locks to open. Most are from Quebec and keep their boats in Lake Champlain. Alan and Bev on the sailboat Dagny, is one of them.
Below are photos of Peebles State Park. The bridge in the first photo, used to be a railway bridge but now is a vehicle bridge over to Peebles Island State Park and then another old railway bridge takes you off the Island to the Town of Waterford to the left or to Cohoes on the right. And the next photos are of an old factory complex that now houses New York’s federal and state preservation, conservation, and heritage programs.
There are beautiful views of the Mohawk and Hudson Rivers. This one is of the Mohawk River.
Here is a photo of Persuasion and Blossom II taken from the bridge going to the Island.
On May 19th and 20th it was the Canal Festival Days to celebrate the opening of the Erie Canal. They even had a pontoon boat that would take folks up and down in the lock. There were all kinds of booths set up on the promenade and lots of people out enjoying the day. Saturday was beautiful and hot but on Sunday, it rained all morning. Later that day though, the sun shone and a few people came out. I mentioned in the last blog that there were five boats on the dock when we arrived. So counting Blossom II and us…seven. There were 26 here last week. The number is still growing! You can see the boats and canal festivities in the photos below. The Hurst Harbor Centre is the building in the photo and the bridge to Peebles Island State Park can be seen too. Lots of people at the opening. You can see Persuasion in the second photo. 🙂 These photos were taken up on the bridge by Lock 2.
This guy showed off his skills for the festival. He owns a business called Hydro Flight.
They had pony rides for the kids too.
Last Tuesday, the Town of Waterford had a picnic at the Hurst Harbor Center on the promenade for us. (The Center and waterfront docks are in the village but the Town of Waterford is in charge of it. There are a few paid employees but the welcome centre is mostly manned by volunteers. They came by each boat and gave us the flyer that is in the photo below. They barbecued hot dogs and hamburgers for us and had different salads. It was wonderful of them. They said it was their way of saying thank you to us for being here with them and enjoying their village and town. Take note of the small print. It says “even though you didn’t have any choice”. 🙂
Last Wednesday night at 7pm there was a Memorial Day Parade in the village. They have it early so the folks are able to participate or attend the parades in other towns. It was lovely and the bands were awesome to hear.
Last Friday, Jim, from Blossom II had his wife come from Hamilton, ON. He has to go back to Canada every 2 months because of the insurance plan he has for the US. He only has to be home for more than a day for it to take effect again but he will stay a bit longer. He will keep checking the NY Canal System website to see when the Oswego will open. We had met his wife, Barb when we were in Spa Creek last fall. It was good to see her again. Of course, we went to our favourite diner, Don and Paul’s for supper with her and Jim. That evening, Chris, one of the volunteers brought his piano down to the waterfront promenade here and set out chairs and tables and played lovely music, especially touching was when he played O Canada! Also later that evening, we found out that all of the Erie Canal was open. We need to get to Lock 23 on the Erie Canal before we turn to go through the Oswego Canal. There was a 54ft trawler here from Alexandria Bay and he wanted to go earlier when only some of the locks were open but the marinas that were in the area were all full. He got a call that there was a cancellation and he was happy to get going. That is another reason to stay here until the Oswego opens. The marinas are full of boats waiting and the long walls where you can tie up and wait are few and far between. Jim and Barb left to go home on Saturday morning.
The first two Sunday’s we were here, it was pouring rain but yesterday it was 30C/86F. So we walked to the Waterford Wesleyan Church. The church was over in the Town of Waterford. It was a half hour walk and was pleasant on the way there but much hotter coming back. The folks were nice, the music and band was great and the pastor had a good message. We got there early and I snapped a photo of the sanctuary
We passed by some beautiful homes
Yesterday, on Memorial Day, it was another 30C/86F day. I walked to the laundromat with our laundry and it was nice seeing families out walking along the promenade and playing in their backyard. We had hoped to be home by May 24th or 25th as I have an ophthalmologist appointment on the 30th It was booked in December after my optometrist did my eye exam and found the cataract. Another sign of getting older, I guess. I knew that eye was giving me trouble but just thought I needed a prescription change for my glasses. I don’t want to cancel it and then have to wait another few months to get an appointment. He needs to see me before scheduling the surgery. We also have a family commitment that we want to be home for. But alas, Mother Nature had other plans.
Even if we had left on Saturday, we would still be waiting somewhere along the Erie Canal for the Oswego Canal to open and wouldn’t make it home in time. So, we arranged for our daughter, Rebecca to drive here and pick us up today. It is about a four and a half hour drive. And it is raining here today and giving rain for the next couple of days. Just what we don’t need for the water levels in the Oswego Canal. 😦 We are fortunate that they will allow us and Jim to leave our boats here. There are cameras and although they can’t be responsible for our boat, there are volunteers here all day and evening and we have other boaters that will keep an eye on it for us.
Below are some more photos of Waterford:
Button Park where the Hurst Harbor Center is
Horse statue on the promenade on the waterfront
Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Park
Looking across the Hudson River from the Memorial Park
Signs on the hill on each side of the bridge
Mike and Jim walking across the bridge to Troy. We walked over for groceries and Burger King. 🙂
We walked up the hill to the lock
There were two boats in the lock. They will be raised 33.5 ft
A muskrat sunning himself on a log beside the dock
Waterford Flight of Locks sign
The signs across from Persuasion and Lock 2
Lock E-2 in the Village of Waterford marks the entry to the Erie Canal. This is the first lock in the Flight of Locks; E-2 through E6. This flight of locks bypasses Cohoes Falls to the south and is the largest lift in the shortest distance on any canal system in the world. The set of five locks lifts vessels 169 feet in about a half mile. Wowzers!
And hopefully, on our return next week, we will be heading up those locks and the rest of the Erie Canal to the Oswego Canal, that will take Persuasion home.
I hope you’ve enjoyed our Waterford adventures. If you ever feel like you’d like to get away; take a trip to Waterford. Dine in the village at Don and Paul’s, go down to the Hurst Harbor Center and see the friendly volunteers on the promenade, take a leisurely stroll over to Peeble Island State Park and meander along the trails by the locks, I’m certain that you will enjoy your visit. I know that we have. 🙂
Stay tuned to our blog for new posts after we return to Waterford for the last leg of our adventure. 😀