Thursday, June 4, 2009

Commemorating Henry Hudson's Momentous Voyage of Discovery

If you didn't already know, this year marks the 400th anniversary of the discovery by Henry Hudson discovery of a certain river and the valley at its shores. Celebrations throughout the Hudson River and Hudson Valley include replicas of Hudson's Half Moon and another historic Dutch vessel, the Onrust, north from New York City to Albany.

The big kick-off is River Day 2009, in New York City, on Friday, June 5, 2009, but it's really more like several days, as the flotilla sails past some of the most important cities and towns in New York State, including Tarrytown, Yonkers, Peeskill, West Point, Beacon, Newburgh, Poughkeepsie and Kingston -- each which has a historic link to the original Dutch settlers of the Hudson Valley, the Revolutionary War, or both.

Along with a replica of Hudson's Half Moon -- pictured above -- the flotilla includes a a full-scale replica of the very first ship built in this new world, the Onrust, built by the Dutch in Manhattan in 1614 after a fire destroyed their original ship. The replica Onrust was built by volunteers at a historic site along the Mohawk River, just for this Quadracentennial celebration.

River Day 2009 begins with a blessing of the fleet, Friday, June 5 in New York Harbor, and sets sail the next morning from the Statue of Liberty for an eight-day journey north. It's quite a parade of sailing ships.

Besides the Half Moon and the Onrust, the flotilla includes these historic original and recplicas of sailing ships --
  • Sloop Clearwater
  • Schooner Mystic Whaler
  • The Woody Guthrie, a wooden replica of an 18th-19th century Hudson River Ferry Sloop
  • The 1890s-style Pilot Schooner Adirondack
  • The Manhattan, built originally for the canals of Amsterdam
  • The Shearwater, a classic Maine Schooner
  • Modern vessels and recreational boats will also escort the historic ships.

Several of the river towns along the route are celebrating with parades (on land), fireworks, and more. Quite a celebration!

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