Wine Country Classic Boat Chapter – 2022 Fall Trip
Written/Submitted by: Dave Bornholdt, Wine Country Classic Boat Chapter
Photo credits: Kent O. Smith JR (KAOS Imagery) and floatographer John “Kadi-Camera-mik” along with other assorted shots from Pam Gratzer and Dave Bornholdt.
Members from the Wine Country Classic Boat (WCCB) Chapter of ACBS based in Hammondsport, NY gathered for its Annual Fall Trip, this year to Lake George in the Adirondack Mountains of New York State. Allowing us to also participate/visit the ACBS International Boat Show in Burlington, Vermont (Sept 8-10th).
For the past 30+ years WCCB has coordinated a trip throughout the Northeast US and Canada every September. These trips draw participants from numerous other ACBS Chapters and are eagerly awaited. Commodore Pam Gratzer did most of the leg work to prepare for the trip and it paid off. We had 45 people and 12 boats, including new friends from the Blue Ridge Chapter. We had fabulous boating with stellar weather and no mechanical break downs.
Day 1 – Thursday, September 8
The entourage departed from a variety of home ports, but soon convened on major roads such as the NYS Thruway and Northway. Occasional encounters between travelers occurred and strange looks were given to fellow club members until recognition kicked in. No real problems were encountered such as careening tires, bouncing boats or flat tires. Pam did manage to loosen the starboard load guide and it waved for a few miles until it could be cinched up with rope and half hitches. The day was glorious and the gang arrived at the Trout House Resort in the Hague without a hitch. Some launched their boats, others stored the boats in the domain of Sasquatch and planned to launch later.
Dinner by some was at Seymour’s (restaurant of the Ticonderoga Golf Club). Great food! Great drinks! Great Friends! After dinner we returned to the Trout House and our very rustic, well-appointed rooms. The almost full moon shown across Lake George and provided the perfect ending for the first day.
Day 2 – Friday, September 9
For most of the club this was the first day at the ACBS International Boat Show in Burlington, VT. The road trip up was very scenic with the view of the Adirondack High Peaks on the port side and Fiddlehead Brewery on the starboard side. Navigating through Burlington amid construction and college kids was a challenge with real kudos to those that did it earlier in the week while trailering boats.
The array of boats at the waterfront in Burlington was staggering. Our own John Vyverberg was busy judging boats while others like John Kadimik, and Bob Fletcher had boats on display. As usual some things fell into the category of “I’ve never seen anything like this before”. Like this unique trailer with springs on the axle and the third(?) wheel.
The Gar Wood display at the end of the pier was impressive with several large boats and gleaming Liberty engines. Bob Fletcher’s NEW 28’ Garwood Streamliner Perfect Pitch (A-440) at the very end.
We ran into Janice Miller from the Finger Lakes Chapter and friends when trying to find a seat to enjoy perch tacos at the waterside hot truck. We also ran into Reuben Smith (Tumblehome) on the grounds of the show with boats from his shop (our stop on Wednesday). Neil Satterly from the Adirondack Chapter (and Chris-Craft Club) was doing his usual sales pitch make sure everyone was a member.
After a day of boat ogling, we returned to the Trout House and several folks got together for dinner at Eddie’s Restaurant.
Day 3 – Saturday, September 10
In addition to viewing all the fabulous boats docked at the Boat Show for another day, other options for people to pursue included: the Shelburne Museum, Lake Champlain Maritime Museum and a cruise on the Carillon at Fort Ticonderoga.
For those who went on the Carillon ride (Carillon was the French name for what is now Fort Ticonderoga) it was a real treat. The boat has been rebuilt using the lines from the original vessel and reminded me of Pat II (1924 tour boat restored by the Finger Lakes Boating Museum) only 20’ longer. We cruised near the Fort and up the bay while listening to the fascinating history of Fort Ticonderoga and the many changes in power that occurred when our nation was young. The Fort is in a state of constant reconstruction, but the period costumes of the staff added a nice flair.
Day 4 – Sunday, September 11
Most boats were in and tied to the docks at the Trout House and we departed to the Bixby Estate in Bolton Landing. The Greek Revival Mansion and accompanying pillared Boat House is on a magnificent old estate and many thanks to Henry Caldwell (W.K. Bixby descendant) for arranging a visit for us. In the Bixby Boat House is an 1896 Elco powered launch named Saint Louis which still cruises the waters of Lake George. After a couple loadings most were able to have a ride on this magnificent boat. Of note, WK Bixby by the age of 42, was president of American Car and Foundry, a conglomeration of rail car manufacturers that made St. Louis, in his words, “the principal seat of the rail car manufacturing industry in the world.”
From the Bixby estate we cruised south to the Algonquin Restaurant. The restaurant had great docking and we took over the outside seating. From the Algonquin we headed north to the Trout House. Some people still needed to launch boats and so we completed the flotilla by Sunday evening. Dinner on Sunday was catered by Emerald’s II and we included our new friends from South Carolina and Georgia (Nauti Buoy and Golden Gal).
Day 5 – Monday, September 12
Beginning at 9:30, after a slight delay we got everyone pointed in the same direction, and proceeded to our destination Hall’s Boat facility, a 30+ mile journey from the Northern end of Lake George to the South End.
Docking at Hall’s was a bit of a challenge but thanks to Thor (from Hall’s) we managed to fit everybody in.
We spent quite a while at Hall’s looking over their inventory, as well as customer boats stored in and out of the water. Many enjoyed speaking with Thor who has a very long history in boat building and restoration in the Adirondacks and can trace his family’s participation back to the early days of boat building in the Lake George area. Many fabulous boats were in the shop as fall and winter approaches.
After departing from Hall’s we made a bee line for lunch at the Blue Water Manor. Dockage was pretty good and we climbed the stairway to heaven with more than a little grumbling. After ascending several thousand feet on a rock staircases (or so it seemed) we had a nice meal overlooking the Lake.
After descending the steps (mostly not nose first) we departed for cruising towards the Trout House.
We all enjoyed Fabulous Cruising back to our home port at the Northern end of Lake George.
Perfect ending to a PERFECT DAY!!!
Shortly after our return, we went down to the Marina dock where Mike Turcotte had brought Not Forgotten (1930 40’ Hutchinson commuter) for our rides the next morning. We hung out on the dock and boat sharing munchies and libations, all marveled at the fabulous boat and Turcotte’s work.
Day 6 – Tuesday, September 12
As promised, we assembled at the marina next to the Trout House for rides on Not Forgotten. In a departure from our usual good weather the radar showed rain for most of the day, a dozen of us took shelter on the porch of the marina. During a short break in the rain before the boat ride Larry Turcotte, Tom Turcotte and Eddie Bobowicz swabbed the decks and got everything ship shape.
Not Forgotten is absolutely unbelievable! The first cruise was without rain and when we started to return to the marina Tom Turcotte asked if we wanted to see what the twin 250 hp Yanmar diesels could do. Naturally, we all did, and the boat – all 40 feet of it raced across the lake at 36 mph as clocked by the “Go-Fast Brothers” in the stern.
Since the Algonquin was so much fun the first time we went back again. Some were transported in Not Forgotten in the rain while others drove their cars.
A few of us stopped by the Hacker Boat Company marina in Silver Bay. We got to see some great boats being prepped for storage including two Fay and Bowen launches.
Next stop for some was to Mark Harrison’s Boat Shop in Ticonderoga. Mark had stopped by the Trout House twice while we were hanging around the docks in our classic boats and invited us to come visit his shop, we were pleasantly surprised that he had several nice boats including one his staff was restoring for his use.
Day 7 – Wednesday, September 14
By 9:30AM all loaded into cars and drove to the Tumblehome Boat Shop in Warrensburg. Reuben Smith and his wife Cynde were very gracious hosts, welcoming us with a delicious continental breakfast. Reuben gave an overview of the various boats which were either in the restoration process or were complete.
Reuben gave us a short talk on the shop and some of the amazing steps he has taken to assure period correct restorations (he did all the work on St. Louis at the Bixby estate).
After a great time at Tumblehome, we headed for lunch at Sagamore Resort. The Sagamore is a grand fixture on Lake George with international recognition. We had a nice lunch on the deck overlooking Lake George.
Day 8 – Thursday, September 15
Time to head for home with the fondest memories of spectacular Lake George and the marvelous camaraderie of Antique and Classic Boaters!