Tall Ship Madeline made a stop at Fairport Harbor, Ohio, as part of a weekend festival July 11 and 12, 2015. Based in Traverse City, Mich., the Madeline is a replica of a ship built at Fairport in the 1800s. Not enjoying crowds, my husband Jack and I decided to head up to see if we could catch a glimpse of her on Friday; she wasn't open to the public on that day, but she was taking pre-booked groups out to Lake Erie. Maybe, we said, we can find her in between voyages.
On the way up, our drive takes us past the scenic LaDue Reservoir, and because it was a beautiful day, we pulled in a boat docking area to get some photos. Then it was on to Fairport Harbor; when we stopped at a parking place just outside the boat launch area (where there's a fee for parking), the attendant told Jack that since all we wanted to do was take photos, he could pull the car on in at no charge - the lot wasn't full and virtually no one was around. Much appreciated by both of us!
Just before we did that, I got a backlit photo of the Old Fairport Harbor Main Lighthouse that overlooks the docking lot. We'd hoped that the huge flag painted on the lawn would still be there, but the grass was being cut as we watched. It's still visible, but barely.
Once in the lot, we were delighted to see the sails of the Madeline off in the distance on the Lake Erie side of the breakwater. Good thing we brought cameras with healthy zoom lenses, we said to each other. Then, as we headed out on the pier to get a bit closer - and much closer to the privately owned Fairport Harbor West Lighthous that stands at the mouth of the Grand River - the Tall Ship suddenly fired off a canon round and started moving in. She picked up speed as she passed the breakwater and, to our great delight, past the lighthouse and into the river channel where she would be docked for the festivall!
Needless to say, we snapped dozens of photos, and then drove a couple of football fields down the road to see her come into shore (where, needless to say, we took even more photos). We couldn't believe our luck - a few other photographers had been waiting on the pier for quite some time for the ship to return, whereas we weren't there much more than 15 minutes.
To celebrate our good fortune, we stopped for lunch at Pickle Bill's, one of our favorite seafood retaurants in Grand River, Ohio. We sat outside where we could watch the hungry Canada geese and ducks beg for food tossed over the railing by diners and drool as we watched boats move up and down on the Grand River past the restaurant. The food was excellent as always (I had my favorite grilled walleye).
Category:Travel and Places
Subcategory Detail:United States of America
Keywords:Bill's, Fairport, Grand, Harbor, Madeline, Ohio, Pickle, River, Ship, Tall
© Monnie Ryan