Have you ever wanted to sell everything you own and just "take off?" Travel the country's back roads, paddle down a meandering stream, experience breath-taking mountain views, walk among 100-year old trees, and just marvel at America's beauty? That is the dream that my partner, Betsy, and I decided to make a reality. This blog describes our adventure. The food we eat, people we meet, sights we see, and the enjoyment we find in traveling.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

WINDJAMMER DAYS

We purposely scheduled a trip to Boothbay Harbor, Maine to coincide with the 49th annual Windjammer Days. The town was a buzz in nautical excitement and celebrates the two-day event with pancake breakfasts, waterfront concerts, art & craft fair, hometown street parade, and an antique boat parade. The event pinnacles with fully rigged windjammers sailing into Boothbay Harbor followed by a fireworks display lighting up the harbor.

The schooner "Heritage" built in Rockland, Maine in 1983 entered the harbor
under full sail.
To kick off the event we toured the U.S. Coast Guard station and learned the ins and outs of what the “Coasties” in Boothbay Harbor do. After touring the station, we headed to the boats where we were able to sit in the driver’s seat of a 47-foot rescue boat and image what it is like piloting through 30-foot seas to help troubled mariners.
The Coast Guards 47-foot rescue
boat which is capable of rolling
over and righting itself in rough
seas.
A little Coast Guard humor.


After the Coast Guard tour, we headed back to the harbor to watch the antique boat parade. While the organizers tried to structure the event with a formal registration and information about each boat, it turned into a New Orleans-style parade where everybody jumped in. All of a sudden, more and more boats jumped in the parade line and motored right by the reviewing stands. Despite the new additions the parade was over in 20 minutes and we left laughing at the townspeople’s good nature and lack of seriousness.

We decided to find a picnic table at a lobster pound as our viewing stand for when the windjammers sailed into harbor. The schooners gracefully glided into harbor proudly displaying their sails and jibs. After the schooners paraded through the harbor and dropped anchor it was time to stake out our spot along the parade route. There is nothing like the humor and simplicity of a small town parade. The dump truck pulled the band, the fire engine whaled its siren, the Shriners drove their little cars, and the EMT’s passed out Popsicles. There was no pushing and shoving to get a spot and no trash left on the streets after the parade. The parade was over in about 40 minutes but provided great entertainment for all.

Kora cars were zipping around and provided great entertainment for the kids.
Included in the parade was a "lighthouse" - where else does that happen?
We decided to take an evening cruise on a tour boat to get the best view of the fireworks. The boat pushed away from the dock early enough to take us on a sightseeing cruise before the fireworks began. As we cruised along the coast we were treated to the natural beauty that typifies Maine. There were seals lounging on rocks, lighthouses standing guard of islands, and waves crashing on rocks. Our captain positioned the boat as close to the fireworks barge as allowed and we watched the night sky dazzle with brilliant colors and felt the booms shake the water below us. The fireworks were a great end to a wonderful two days as we drove our car back to the campground and motorhome fully exhausted and with smiles on our faces.

The finale to a great event.
They used to shoot the fireworks off from an island but it caught on fire one year.
Then they switched to shooting the fireworks off from a barge but that caught on fire too.  Thankfully,
nothing caught on fire this year.
More pictures from Windjammer Days.....

Ram Island Lighthouse built in 1883 to guide mariners through Fisherman's Passage
and into Boothbay Harbor.
Sailors standing attention on the U.S.S. Oak Hill as it glides into Boothbay Harbor.
1932 boat displaying proudly in the antique boat parade.
Antique boat parade participant.
Watching the schooners coming into Boothbay Harbor.
 

Windjammers in the harbor.
The band being pulled by the dump truck.
More parade participants - the local kayak company.
Entertaining Kora cars.
Even the thrift store had a float (and yes they were pulled by another dump truck)!




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