Girls Only!

Vergennes Middle School Girls Summer Rowing Adventure
Vergennes Girls out on Lake Champlain for the Girls Only Summer Rowing Adventure

This summer, six Vergennes Middle School Girls teamed up with Vermont Teacher of the Year Jen Lawson and LCMM Champlain Longboats trip leader Jessica Frank on a four-day outdoor rowing adventure on Lake Champlain. They started in pilot gigs (six- and eight-oared boats built by high school students in our Champlain Longboats program) below the site of the Crown Point Bridge, camped at DAR State Park, Barn Rock Harbor, Kingsland Bay State Park and finished this challenging adventure at LCMM’s North Harbor.  We congratulate all six participants for their hard work and perseverance. But don’t just take our word for it…

Keyanah Smith,  Grade 9, Vergennes Resident:
It really wasn’t that bad, it was kind of fun, but the food has gotta go. I never would think I could row that much or go to the bathroom outside.

Brook Kilburn, Grade 9, Vergennes Resident
Um, it was disgusting to drink lake water with the tablets in it. Jumping off the side boat was fun. We all didn’t like each other in the beginning but by the end we had bonded. And we even saw a shooting star.

Vergennes Girls on Lake Champlain
Vergennes Girls practice boating skills with Lake Champlain Maritime Museum staff

 

Emily Weber, Grade 8, Ferrisburgh, VT:
I really enjoyed the trip. It was really fun and I got to know people that I didn’t know from my school. It also encouraged me to try another sport and this year I am on the school’s rowing team. I didn’t think I could last for the whole trip because I thought my arms were too weak but they are okay and I still have my arms today.

Tea’  Kiefer, 8th Grade, Addison, VT:
I really enjoyed meeting all the other girls that went because even though they went to the same school as me I did not know them. I never really thought I could row that much and I learned how to row because I had never rowed a boat like the long boats before. It was a good first experience because I had never slept in a tent before much less go to the bathroom outside.

Homecoming

By Art Cohn

When last we left you, the crew of Lois McClure was steaming home, anxious to return to our families.  We were finally back on beautiful Lake Champlain, through the narrows of the South Lake, dropping anchor at Fort Ticonderoga before the final leg that would bring us back to the museum’s North Harbor.

Anchored by Ticonderoga
Anchored by Ticonderoga (photo: Tom Larsen)

The lake at this time of year is so spectacular with color and is largely quiet; the final leg was both contemplative and exciting as we reflected on our accomplishments, and looked forward to reunion with family and home. I particularly enjoyed these last runs with Church Hindes as my mate aboard the C.L.Churchill and the opportunity for conversation about a wide variety of subjects.

Upon our arrival I think it is fair to say that although we were not rats deserting a sinking ship, the crew quickly scurried with their packs, duffle bags and sleeping materials to their respective rides home.  Homecoming is such a special event and we all seemed to be caught up with the transition from boat adventure to our loved ones and dry land.  I know I for one could not wait to get home.

The Lois under her winter cover
The Lois under her winter cover in Burlington Harbor. (photo: Tom Larsen)

But we have by no means been relaxing! In the weeks that have followed we have moved the schooner back to her winter berth at Perkins Pier, taken the rig off and put her winter cover on.  Ship’s Carpenter Kerry Batdorf has begun a series of repairs, the typical wooden boat issues around rot and damage.  The Churchill has been moved to its winter quarters at the Shelburne Shipyard where Mary Griswold and crew continue to support our efforts by providing hauling, storage and launching as an annual contribution.  The wonderful folks at Lake Champlain Transportation used their crane to remove our sailing rig, which is stored in the same shed where the Lois McClure was built.  It really is fair to say that we could not do this operation without the extraordinary support we continue to receive from the community.

Art Cohn reflecting upon the Churchill
Art Cohn reflecting upon the Churchill (photo: Tom Larsen)

As I reflect on these past three months and look forward to the busy winter ahead, I continue to be convinced that the traveling Lois McClure is one of the most special programs that we have been privileged to develop. The five years of tours have directly engaged thousands of people in the history and archaeology of our region.  I am hopeful that a new publication entitled Lois McClure: The First Five Years, a compilation of images and logs from our journeys to New York City, Buffalo and Quebec, will be published in the coming months.

Lois and Mac McClure and their family have helped us create a time machine for engaging the young, the old, the history-minded, the jaded, the digital generation, canal lovers, anyone and everyone, in this extraordinary story.  I never cease to be amazed at how a visitor walking up our ramps steps aboard and is immediately embraced in historical connections, and wants to know more.  What a privilege, what a treat.  I thank the crew, our wonderful sponsors and you the reader, all of whom share an interest in the ongoing saga.

Although Lois McClure is snug in her winter berth, these logs will continue all winter, bringing you up-to-date on our youth boatbuilding programs, nautical archaeology research, the Conservation Laboratory projects, and new programs and exhibit developments. Stay tuned!

Signing off,

Art Cohn
LCMM Executive Director