The Quadricentennial Flotilla on the Hudson
It’s hard to say which is the more iconic ship for this region—Henry Hudson’s Half Moon (left) or the Hudson River sloop Clearwater, which we tend to think of (erroneously) as Pete Seeger’s boat. Luckily, next week, from Tuesday the 9th when they arrive in Poughkeepsie to a chorus of cannon fire, we get both boats, and a slew of others, all part of the Hudson River flotilla that celebrates the 400th anniversary of Henry Hudson’s discovery of the river that bears his name.
From June 5 - 13, the flotilla will travel from New York City to Albany, led by the Half Moon, the sloop Clearwater, the windjammer Mystic Whaler and the Onrust, a replica of a Dutch ship that sailed on the East River and into Long Island Sound in 1614. Boat owners will be joining the flotilla along its journey and up to 200 boats are predicted at any time. In our region there will be celebrations in Poughkeepsie, at Hyde Park, at Clermont in Columbia County, in Hudson-Catskill-Athens, finally culminating with a day-long celebration in Castleton, just this side of Albany, on Saturday, June 13th. Surely, not since the Revolution, will the sound of so much cannon fire fill our air.
There are any number of places in our region from which to take in the spectacle. For a detailed schedule, visit the Explore NY 400 website. As for ourselves, we’re torn between two options. As 2009 is also the 200th anniversary of Chancellor Robert R. Livingston and Robert Fulton’s co-venture— first practical steamboat—which was launched literally off this house’s front steps, we’re leaning toward a picnic on the beautiful grounds at Clermont. But if, closer to the moment, comfort trumps a sense of history, we’re likely to end up, glass in one hand, fork in the other, at the Rhinecliff Hotel, where we can take it all in from the comfort of the patio or the riverview porch.