Lois McClure sails into NYC
08/22/05 12:00AM By Lynne McCrea
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(Host) The crew of the canal schooner Lois McClure is calling its journey to New York City a great success.
The nineteenth century replica canal boat sailed into Manhattan on Tuesday, kicking off an event promoting Vermont and many of its specialty products.
VPR's Lynne McCrea was on hand as the New York trip wrapped up, and she has this report.
(McClure) The Lois McClure sailed into lower Manhattan and over the course of the week the crew welcomed almost 1,500 curious visitors on board.
Hilton Dier of Middlesex is a volunteer member of the crew. He says New Yorkers have been intensely interested in the old-style wooden boat, which is surrounded by sleek white yachts and tall buildings made of steel and glass.
(Dier) "We're on this very textured, hand-made artifact lot of rope, and wood so to come on this boat for people who live in this world of steel and glass I think it's refreshing for people."
(McCrea) Among the visitors today: Two middle-aged men in tee shirts who are curious about a tool that's being used to knit some heavy rope.
(Man) "So it's a multipurpose device!"
(McCrea) There's a young mother who has just returned to New York from a vacation in Vermont.
(Mother) "This must be the Vermont marble."
(McCrea) And of course there are children. They seem drawn to the captain's quarters. Like everything on the boat, it replicates mid-19th century living.
(Adult) "See the stove behind you that's where all the food was cooked.
(Kid) And no TV around!"
(McCrea) Art Cohn of the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum is director of the Lois McClure project. He says New York's response to the lake freighter has been just as strong as in Vermont.
(Cohn) "Most people have no idea that Lake Champlain is connected to the Hudson River through a canal that wooden ships once were out here by the hundreds, and the thousands and people find that interesting, and informative. It's been very gratifying to see how much they appreciate it."
(the sound of kids calling out in distance )
(McCrea) The positive response to the Lois McClure is evident even after the schooner leaves New York. Shortly after getting underway, a group of children on shore notice the boat as it travels by. The McClure gives a toot on its horn and the children shout out goodbye, and thank you .
(McCrea) The Lois McClure spent the weekend at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, New York. With ten more stops scheduled over the next two months, the boat and crew will be heading back to Vermont in mid October.
For Vermont Public Radio, I'm Lynne McCrea