Monday, July 2, 2012

21st Annual Woodenboat Show, Mystic, Conn. 2012

Hey everyone,

My Dad, Uncle Rich and I had a great time at the Woodenboat Show this year in Mystic.  Overall it was a lot of fun but a wee bit on the warm side.  We did get lucky by knowing where to set up our gear at the show under the trees, so it was nice in that our spot in the shade was 15 degrees cooler than the other exhibitors.  The sun does take it's toll on ya even when you aren't in it too.  We were all a little beat by the end of it, but maybe that is because I insisted that we go enjoy Mystic's nightlife.

I worked until 1:00 AM Thursday on the board and we left 10:00 AM.  I was a little tired to start with, but not terribly so.  I was finished with my board so I was happy and relieved to have all my affairs in order and to be on the road.  We arrived in a timely manner, checked in to our hotel (Best Western, Groton, CT- clean, less expensive, good service and breakfast) easily and then went over to the Mystic Seaport Museum and checked in.  We unloaded our gear in our spot in the trees and Patty Hutchinson was showing concern that we would be blocking a driveway for folks to get their gear into the "I built it myself" area.  We really weren't blocking anything and I pretty much refused to move from the spot.  I wasn't trying to be rude, but I knew that if we moved our stuff that we'd never get that spot back and someone who showed up late would get the best spot.  I've been in situations like that before and have gotten burnt.  In my world the early bird gets the worm.  So I told her that if she needed to get someone by, we would move our stuff and put it back.  Patty is a nice lady and if it wasn't for her I doubt that the "I built it myself" part of the show would have been such a great success this year!  The turnout was incredible!  Great job Patty!

Afterward we did our usual and went for our Thursday dinner of bangers and mash and shepherds pie at the Harp and the Hound in downtown Mystic.  The food is always the same, good!  We had a mess of pints and BS'd with Alan the manager for a while.  I really like that little place, great atmosphere!  We got a good buzz and walked around for some ice cream and went home.

It was a bit difficult early Friday morning.  Waking up was no problem.  The difficulty was being awake.  Rough.  After wolfing down brekkie at the hotel, we did some food shopping at the Stop and Shop next door to the hotel for future lunches, etc...  Saved ourselves a penny or two doing that.  The seaport has average food at the stands, but the on site restaurant is really good, but we were trying to save a little bit at least.  The show went well Friday as it did all three days.  Lots of talking to people about building of the boat and the surfboard.  So much so that on Saturday I lost my voice.  My larynx still hurts!  Friday night we went to the Daniel Packer Inn for dinner and I had the best gluten free pizza that I have ever had to date.  The crust was thin and totally not flaky.  It was moist and just like a normal pizza's crust.  It was topped with steamed asparagus and roasted red pepper.  Neither of which were overbearing in flavor.  I was astounded that it was so good!  Along with it I also had a stuffed portabello mushroom which was creamy and drizzled with trouffle sauce.  To drink I had a beer from Blue Point Brewery called Rastafarye Rye Ale which to me was very much like an IPA only dialed back one notch in hoppiness.  I loved it and decided to drink a few!  The Daniel Packer Inn, contrary to my earlier belief, is NOT wicked expensive.  My pizza was 14 bucks, my dad's steak was affordable and the bill at the end was 150 for all three of us and we were drinking and eating, so don't shy away from them on the price issue.  Again, we went for ice cream after.  yum... fresh strawberry.

Saturday was less humid than Friday, but if you were out in the sun you really had to have a straw hat.  There certainly was interest in the I Built it Myself section!  Maybe because of the trees, but whatever the reason it was non stop questions and answering.  I tell you, the patrons, the folks that work at the event, the townspeople all make this one nice show.  Everyone is completely genuine, helpful and friendly.  I love the town of Mystic.  I really do!  It reminds me of some of the towns on the Oregon Coast like Lincoln City, Newport and Florence.  All places that I recommend visiting.  Saturday we stayed a little late to avoid the traffic on rt. 27 which can be a bother when the show opens and when it closes.  If you need to get into town around those times sneak in on Allyn Road which comes into Mystic from the back.  Saturday night was sushi night for me.  The place next to the Voodoo Grill called Zhang's is really good.  It's really good because the sushi is wicked fresh and prepared excellent as well as that they have other items on the menu other than sushi so I am able to bribe my dad and uncle along.  Otherwise, they'd complain.  Good marketing on Zhang's part!  I had the Crazy Paper Spicy Tuna.  It.  Was.  Fantastic.  Picture your typical spicy tuna roll with little crunchies in it topped with avocado and extremely thin sliced tuna again drizzled with two varieties of home made hot sauces.  Perfect!  That and a few Sapporo's was one tasty dinner.  My dad had a mai fun dinner which he didn't rave about.  It was good, but I think he felt left out because Richie was raving about his spicy teriyaki chicken and I was raving about mine and he was like "mine is just normal"  LOL.  I wanted party.  So I made the lads go to the Harp and the Hound for a drink.  We had a few Guinness there and moved on as the crowd was very college like.  We checked in on the Voodoo Grill and it was karyoke and crowded.  Not our scene.  Then we went to John's across from the ship's mast in the center of town.  John's is a real bar.  It was refreshing!  I didn't feel like a grandpa like I did with those college kids!  Alan from the harp and hound was there and introduced us to the owner of the bar, and we just had a good time and drank well.  I was drinking Smithwicks for most of the trip.  That or Guinness.  I only got to try the Blue Point here and there.  Blue Point also had a roasted beer of sorts, but I forget the name as I only had a few tastes of my Uncle's beer.

Sunday rolled around and our arses were dragging.  That previous night I even got my dad to have a few drinks!  He was dead set against having any, but as we started having fun he started drinking Richie's rum while he wasn't looking. ha ha ha 

We got to the show and settled in and talked with our neighbors at the show.  I gave away my card hoping that everyone would read my little blog about the show.  And really the highlight of the show for me was the section that we were in.  Sure all the big ships and yachts are really nice, but to me,  they are unattainable and not worth gawking at.  I learned a lot from the nicest people in the show.  Down to earth people who'd give you the shirt off their back. Their works of art were fantastic!  I hope they enjoy reading this as much as I enjoy writing it.

There is a ton of stuff that I am leaving out about the show.  In fact, much of the show is like any other trade show with vendors and such.  There are some incredible boats there.  I'm not a photographer nor did I have interest in yapping about some of those boats.  I would so love to have one of those 30 foot cat boats and sail the coast.  OMG you don't know!  It sure is an attractive thought!  It's a very romantic thought for me, a dream.  That is why I love this show.  I guess that is what attracts most people to this show.  I hope that the show is around for a very long time and retains all of the arts and educates future generations on the arts of living at sea, etc...  It needs to be saved and not lost like so many traditions and crafts have been.  Great work Mystic!

And now for some pictures:
A sharpie.  Very Nice.
 My dad reading about the boat.
 Here's a beauty called Roberta!  
The owner/builder of her and his family have been at many of the same shows as us and are great folks!  He told me that I won a prize at the Tuckerton show last year that I never knew about because we left early.  Weird.  I thought they would have told me.  Oh well, I will see them this year!
 My Uncle Rich.
 Kindred Spirit and The Piney
 Again.  Looking good!
 What it is all about.
 The Boatercycle.  One crazy contraption.  
Hey sorry for yelling at ya dad, you didn't ruin the photo!  ha ha ha
 Deck view of The Piney.

 Mesingw.  Lenape Keeper of the Game.
Keeps a balance between the humans and nature.
I thought befitting because of the use of the reclaimed timbers.

 Gently Downs inlaid wheel wells!
She's certainly gonna win.
 Gently Down's inlay. 
So much inlay!
She has a guitar as the back seat, a guitar neck down the centerline and tuning keys!


A fellah named Chuck and his lovely wife drove this up from Louisiana.  What a great boat they had!  The brightwork is from sunken cedar.  The cedar was sunken in a bog for well over 100 years and soaked up all the iron and color of the bog.  Sooooooo beautiful!  What cool people there are.  I hope I get to see them again or that they email me.  My dad got along with them great.
Look at that color in the sunken ceder!
My favorite little sailboat of the show.  Merlin.  I forget the owner's name.  I didn't get contact info from him unfortunately.  She's a boat that I would enjoy having!

Electric and solar powered boat.

I would have enjoyed going on board and checking her out.  Maybe next time.
A cannon is shot off at the beginning and end of every show.  This cannon's bore size was like 3/4" and the sound was huge.  Very loud.  I got lucky with the timing of this pic!

The show winner.  Had to be!

David Lazauski and his boat.
This boat was my favorite paddle boat.  I really would like to try that boat out!

Great little details!
This guy paddled up on Saturday and paddled away that night.
Great inlay work too!

Sweet paddle!
This Wee Lassie of David's was a nice boat as well!  He's got some really nice woodwork going on that were some really nice touches!  Great inlay's as well!  I see what I am going to have to practice this winter!  Anyway, David was a really cool dude and I hope he reads this too and gets in touch.
Great work David.

He's pretty proud of his work and like most others here rides his boat regularly.
I hope to hear from all of you in the future.  The time my dad, uncle and I had with you all was a lot of fun!  Thank you for being so cool!

Thank you Patty Hutchinson for giving us all the opportunity to show our boats off!  It was a lot of work for you and we all appreciate the superb job that you did in organizing, from what I have seen, the best "I built it myself" show in the last five years!  Well Done!

Woodenboat Magazine, thank you for this event.  I'm sure Mystic thanks you, but let the rest of the country thank you because this year brought in so many different attendee's and exhibitors from distant lands.  It is always an enjoyable learning experience that elicits a romantic insight into the maritime past,  innovations and creativity of the present, and fantastic dreams of the future.  
Thank you!

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