Lake Champlain Maritime Museum & Sea Planes

Lake Champlain Maritime Museum, s/v Philadelphia II one of the exhibits

The weather forecast for our likely last full week in the Lake was a mix of sunny & calm and windy & chilly.  A few miles further south than where we anchored for Otter Creek was Mile Point and there you could dinghy ashore to visit the Maritime Museum on Basin Harbor Rd, Vergennes. Tuesday was the day.

A classic

The LCMM comprises five exhibit buildings, a working replica 1776 gunboat Philadelphia II, several large outside displays and workshop sheds. A program called Lake Adventure Camp is offered too. The campus layout is comfy and the buildings don’t appear large at first but boy they are packed full of just about everything you’d want to know about Lake history, heritage and happenings of old.

Not easy trying to work as team when all are newbies!

At the welcome center we learned that a teacher group was here today, so that explained who was in the row boats.

Portion of Lake Champlain Maritime Museum campus

At the Watercraft Center the 1902 ice yacht Storm King stole the show and the entire two stories! She is the centerpiece in a large collection of dugout and bark canoes, kayaks, rowing skiffs and other small watercraft used over the years on the Lake.

Storm King is too huge to fit into a camera shot


Storm King; the velvet seat made her very fancy for this type of vessel


Lovin’ the CT- VT connection


 This looks to be one way to hunt for Champ!!


Boats, docks and the teacher group who got to row, row, row your boat!

When you step aboard the Philadelphia II you are back in 1776. The man who awaits you dressed in period clothing is worth the price of admission (although the museum cost is low). He has more knowledge about the Revolutionary War era in this area especially, than 50 people combined. Just fascinating to listen, ask questions and try to absorb even a smidgen more than the brain can hold.  The topic of how people slept was very interesting and something I hadn’t ever fully considered although I knew people didn’t always sleep in comfy beds back in 1776.

While aboard, the men slept in shifts- ok they take turns got that. But they would sleep basically sitting up and leaning back into the guy behind them, sorta like fallen dominoes. When people were traveling – rebel colonists, regular citizens, etc, it was common to sleep at the base of a tree or better yet in the space where two trunks were joined, put your wool blanket under your butt and fold it over and around you. Even when at home, the sleeping position was only a partial recline. Beds were smaller back then, plus the typical diet often caused acid reflux, so best not to be fully reclined.


Gunboat kettle pot cooking

Wednesday we fueled up, got pumped out and thanked again for calling about s/v Sunset Breeze, and learned why this marina chooses to pump the fuel for you. Basically, it’s the liability and the fines assessed for a spill or for not reporting a spill.  If they pump the fuel there’s no question as to who is responsible. Good timing, as the price was going up with Friday’s delivery, thanks to Harvey.


Wednesday, at the fuel dock I got a close look of the sunken barge in the still waters

The prior marina owners used sunken barges to protect the outer floating docks that lie left and right of the long fuel dock. Warning buoys mark the area but accidents do happen. Not sure what course of action will be allowed once they more fully break up and fall apart.


On the other side of the fuel dock is another sunken barge that has become more visible since we arrived

Sea planes were a regular event and every time, even with less-than-perfect conditions, no crashing into the dock.

Here we go again. Another day another seaplane

Fueling up. See the man sitting on the wing?

Incoming! At bit more wave action for this sea plane

All aboard! Very fully loaded, liftoff took noticeable effort

One time the plane had to back off from the end and I missed a good shot of the pilot standing on a float, paddling to get far enough off the dock so he could turn.

Stay tuned for just a bit more of our Lake Champlain visit.




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