Tuesday, October 23, 2007



Cruising on the Hudson River

Old Kingston Lighthouse from 1838

Sailing on the Hudson River

Last year I was the high bidder on four tickets for the Rip Van Winkle Hudson River two hour cruise. Well, the forecast for Sunday was SOOO incredible that we decided it would be then that we four would take our trip. In addition to myself was my Father, my sister Karen and my brother-in-law Boby. I was very prepared. I mapquested the directions in both map form and type form. It would take 2 hours and 47 minutes to make the journey.

I will say this in my defense - I did mention that it seemed odd that when we finally arrived in Kingston three hours later, that the directions on the map took us 9 miles inland. We drove through the deep country passing small farm stands, tractors, and oddly no signs at all for a boat ... After what seemed to be about 30 minutes, we arrived at a dead end .... and the only thing in site other than farmland was a boy mowing a lawn. He didn't know about any Rip Van Winkle ship and certainly one was not docked in the nearby cornfield. So we retraced out steps .... I was truly dying. When Boby checked the brochure that I had in my hand, he noticed that I mapquested the Rip Van Winkle MAILING address NOT the directions to the boat.

We hit just about every traffic light. When we arrived at the correct destination, with only seconds to spare, I jumped out of the car, ran to the window to exchange my four vouchers for tickets. The girl slid the glass window open and said 'I'm sorry but we're all sold out'. Nooooooo !!!!! I explained that we drove three hours from Allentown, Pa and brought my Father along and I just COULDN'T disappoint him!! I told her that I did call for reservations, but the woman in charge said that I wouldn't need them. Well, 75 degrees and not a cloud in the sky with peak fall foliage and every person in a 50 mile radius wanted to be on the Rip Van Winkle two hour cruise.

Kindly, after seeing the desperation in my face, she passed over four tickets. We were the last to board and off we went. If you're ever in the Kingston, NY area, it's a really pleasurable experience to relax and cruise on the Rip Van Winkle. They serve a micro beer - Old Capitol - brewed right there in Kingston. They also have cold wine on draft (?), a couple of 'standard' beers on draft and mixed drinks to boot.

They also have a grill and serve hot and cold sandwiches. It's a real treat for sure. The captain narrates the whole cruise, pointing out who lived in the opulent mansions dotting the hillsides. The Vanderbilts, the Roosevelts, the Mills' mansion and the Wilderstein mansion - home to Daisy Suckley, whose letters, found in a suitcase under her bed, revealed an intimate 'friendship' with Franklin Roosevelt.

So, if you go, give yourself plenty of time, don't mapquest the mailing address ... and even though the woman on the other end of the phone tells you that reservations aren't necessary, make them anyway. Bon Voyage!!

Oh, and needless to say, Boby has informed me that he is never NEVER going to let me live this one down. I should've pushed him overboard when I had the chance.

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Thank You!

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