Friday, July 24, 2015

Hermione in Castine, Maine

It was an overcast, cool morning in Castine; typical Maine weather. But this was no typical morning at all. There was a buzz brewing beneath the calm throughout our seaside town. Welcome banners and festive flags lined the streets, punctuating this gray morning with pops of color. And down at the dock - which had been strung with brilliant lights - tents of all sizes were popping up everywhere. Something big was coming!

Our historic town was preparing for the arrival of l'Hermione - a replica ship of General Lafayette's 18th-century frigate that aided the Americans against the British in the Revolutionary War. Like the first Hermione, this one had sailed from France to America, and she was coming to Castine just as the 18th-century ship had done. Actually, Castine would be her last port of call in the U.S. - a 'grand tour finale' after stops in Alexandria, Baltimore, New York, Boston, etc. 


Adding to the excitement, it was Bastille Day, France's national holiday celebrating independence. Castine was occupied by France more than once, and is named after French Baron Jean-Vincent de St. Castin. 

To welcome the Hermione, a parade of ships would escort her into the harbor. Tom and I, along with our friends, Bill and Rosie decided to partake in this meet-and-greet at sea. We ventured out with about 100 other boats. Here's our little adventure. Click on photos to enlarge. 
Leaving the dock, we noticed boats, ships and vessels of all kinds headed out to the rendezvous point. We also noticed the weather turning dramatically. Dense fog quickly engulfed everything in sight; one by one, vessels disappeared... We found ourselves alone and, quite honestly, a bit disoriented. Then signals from foghorns started flaring from every direction, creating more confusion. Occasionally something big would creep into and out of visibility, and we would wonder.....
 .....is that the Hermione? Nope.
Wait, something HUGE with a very loud foghorn was in the distance. Other vessels started approaching. Finally, there she was under sail: L'Hermione!!
The fog started lifting, but not knowing what would happen weather-wise, we headed home. I turned around to this sight (below) of the Hermione leading the fleet - pretty unforgettable!
We made it back just in time to catch the Hermine sailing into Castine Harbor. Thank you, Kevin and Roxanne - that was awesome watching the arriving flotilla from your place!
And look what we have: blue sky and sunshine. The harbor glistened with sailboats, powerboats, rowboats, kayaks, dinghies, etc. 
Castine had the distinguished honor of hosting l'Hermione on Bastille Day. Thousands came to join in the festivities. I chatted with a French Canadian from Quebec, and learned the following:

From the moment that I heard the name of America, I loved her. From the moment I learned of her struggles for liberty, I was inflamed with the desire to shed my blood for her!   
~ General Lafayette
I mistakenly called those ropes, and was swiftly corrected. Those are lines!
ABOVE: The hand carved lion figurehead at the beak of the bow. 
BELOW: The stern with a bay of cabin windows. Note the "Betsy Ross" flag featuring the thirteen colonies, which would have been flown during the American Revolution.
Tom and I had the opportunity to tour l'Hermione, which was an incredible experience. The sheer number of lines was dizzying. The masts towered over everything. And those cannons!
B O N J O U R !
Check out this papier-mache replica of the replica. With the guidance of artist and gallery owner, Goody-B Wiseman, children and adults created this impressive model that greeted the Hermione. 
A festive gathering of characters, personalities and pooches of all sizes :)

Many thanks to the organizers, supporters, volunteers, and all who made this historic event such a huge success. A very special thanks to the Castine Historical Society! Castine truly is a special place with an overwhelming sense of community.

Cheers,
Loi

48 comments:

  1. Hello Loi
    How privileged you are to have experienced the welcoming and arrival of L'Hermoine to Castine. Your words describe beautifully the enthusiasm and joy of the residents. A most memorable day. The images addict the fog are hauntingly beautiful.
    Thank you for sharing this special once in a lifetime event.

    Helen xx

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  2. How fun how utterly fascinating! Those pictures are AMAZING, they belong in a coffee table book, seriously! What a wonderful day to have celebrated, thanks for taking us along:) Enjoy your weekend.

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  3. It's so easy to pick up on the excitement of the day. So wonderfully written and I feel as though I was there!! Gorgeous pics too Loi!! Thanks so much x

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  4. Wonderful photos, Loi! You have truly recreated an amazing experience here. And what a fabulous turn out for the event - Castine seems like a very special place. Have a great weekend!
    xo
    Phyllis

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  5. Did you and Tom 'dress up' in historic costumes by chance Loi? So, this is what kept you in Maine - no wonder you are having a fabulous visit this Summer. Capturing the arrival of the L'Hermione in those amazing sea conditions was perhaps a once in a lifetime experience, and you certainly made the most of the fog with these photos. They are so beautiful - you should definitely have a large print made for one of your gorgeous antique frames - perhaps the very first photo you show, I love the angle of the ship and the foam on the water in the foreground.
    What a fun time it must have been, and with the sun coming out later everyone obviously had a memorable day celebrating July 14.

    Thanks for sharing this historic occasion. Sorry we didn't catch up in DC this time but happy you are having such a great time up north!
    Hugs - Mary

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  6. What a great post and the photos are exciting. How lucky you all were that she came in under sail. We were there in Yorktown, which was her first stop, she came up the James River under power with no sails. Actually Yorktown was the location that she helped us in the Revolutionary War ... Blocked the British at the mouth of the river, which kept needed men and supplies from the battle. We won the war there.

    Her first stop was exciting. The Gov spoke, the French Ambassador ... And several others. But you meeting up with her entrance to Castine in the fog ... Exciting and dramatic. Thanks for the post.

    Karen in VA

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  7. Hello Loi - I know that feeling of being adrift at sea shrouded in mist - the same thing happened to us whilst whale watching off Nova Scotia. The replica of L'Hermoine must have been a wonderful sight to see once the sunshine appeared and revealed her in all her glory.

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  8. I AM FINALLY HERE! We went for our morning walk and I had remembered that your IG post mentioned a new blog post...still didn't receive it in my email, but I just came by Google....oh Loi, how fabulous is THIS!

    There is so much lushness here. Your storytelling, the perfect gray tones of your photography, the SHIPS! These could be paintings in oil! I remember our days in Mass. and the on-the-sea summer celebrations. The feel of our history can be witnessed in these spectacular events, and you captured them beautifully. I am so happy to know you and Tom are enjoying Castine. We rejoice in your success to allow you to enjoy this wonderful second home, and in your generous shares. I hope you will be up there in the fall....will you be? I hope so! Maine is outstanding in the autumn!

    Have a perfect summer weekend dearest Loi! XOXOX

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  9. As exciting as it is to have the l'Hermione come to Castine on Bastille Day, I have to say your photography, especially in the fog, was amazing! It was similar to an epic movie, maybe from a Gérard Depardieu movie, the l' Hermione in the distance and at the Castine Harbor- Beautiful! What a historic and fun day! Rié

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  10. you are blessed + live in a beautiful place. xxpeggybraswelldesign.com

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  11. Dear Loi,

    The photographs of the Hermione's progress paint an exciting story and take us right there with you. I agree with Castles, Crowns and Cottages that your photography could be wonderful oil paintings as well. And each posting you do from Maine makes me more charmed by Castine and its inhabitants. You've picked a lovely spot.

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  12. Loi, how wonderful to be there for this event, and right in the thick of things so to speak. I think I would have been a bit nervous sitting in all that fog among that mass of boats. ;-) Your photos are incredible. They made me feel I was right there taking it all in myself. Love the photo of the little boy in costume standing with his dog. ;-)
    We saw the tall ship parade in NYC harbor on July 4, 2000. It was an event to behold. Thrilled you and Tom were there for this special time!
    Happy Summer!

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  13. I almost feel as though I was a part of this day, Loi - your images are beautiful! Thank you for taking us along!

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  14. Loi this was truly a historical event and adventure you will never forget!!
    What an impression those tall ships make! Then to actually tour Hermione!!
    Thank you so much for sharing this with us!!

    xoxo
    Karena
    The Arts by Karena
    Ceramic Artist Leah Bowring

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  15. Fantastic Loi - I felt like I was there - thanks for the great tour and getting me lost in the fog with you. How scary!! How exciting to see it emerge from the mists. I love all the history here - what a fascinating place you and Tom are living in! What a rich history and so much beauty.

    xo Terri

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  16. What a gorgeous, once-in-a-lifetime sight! Thank you so much for sharing with us!!!

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  17. Wow! Those pictures are amazing. I would like to have that first one framed and hanging on a wall. Just beautiful.

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  18. This absolutely gave me CHILLS down my spine!!! How wonderful to live vicariously through your lens!! I just traveled a road that the Marquis de Lafayette rode on near "Boswell's Tavern"....I must stop, next time, and read the historic marker. franki

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  19. Dear Loi thank you so much for sharing this marvelous day with us! Seeing it through your eyes and your "voice" was priceless.
    You have found a beautiful place for your summers.....Enjoy it to it's fullest!
    xo
    Patty

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  20. History and beauty captured in your lens and words that so makes me long for a vacation to Maine, perhaps a knocking at your door as well :) your ship photos could be printed on vine lithograph paper turning them into framed art in your home of neutral tones of greys, creams, and whites.
    You could even sell them in your shop In D.C framed in assorted frame work, they really speak to me in the most of the greyness of fog.

    Love this post.

    Xx
    Dore

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  21. Ooop's not vine but Fine Lithograph paper.

    Xx
    Dore

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  22. Hi Loi..........This is amazing. A glorious day and what a welcome. xoxo Mary

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  23. Wow, the arrival of the Hermione was so dramatic. The thick fog made it look like a ghost of a ship made its appearance then suddenly it clearly appeared. Your whole town came out with so many festivities.

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  24. Hello Loi, Although owning a larger boat or even spending a lot of time on the water is not a fantasy of mine, I still love the regatta atmosphere of lots of boats and a beautiful day on the water, especially as depicted in photos like yours.
    --Jim

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  25. Hi Loi!!! Your photos were great and I was at the edge of my seat-or keyboard wafting to see what appeared from the fog! Thanks for sharing the day with me I almost thought I was there!! Have a great week! Leslie Sinclair

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  26. Loi, what a wonderful post to wake up to...that must of been so much fun...I cant believe how many lines there are on that ship. Can you
    imagine trying to keep that straight! Thanks for sharing...I almost feel as though I was apart of your day!

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  27. How fortunate to be a part of and witness history at its finest! Thank you for sharing! So proud to be an American!

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  28. Loi,
    I saw a detailed account of the remaking of this great sailing vessel on TV. How lucky to actually get to see it sailing into the bay. Your images are beautiful. I love the one with Hermione sailing in the fog. What a fun weekend!
    xo,
    Karen

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  29. LOVE THAT TOUR!
    DO you know my antique shop was in LAFAYETTE, CALIFORNIA!
    The FOG just added to all the POMP & CIRCUMSTANCE!
    HAPPY SUMMER...........LOI.
    XX

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  30. It must have been something to have been a part of that day. The fog just added to the drama, but it seems fitting that the sun came out in all it's glory! Thanks for sharing the highlights of this special day!

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  31. What a magnificent day that must have been and do to have been a part of the festivities and tour of that historic ship must have been the most incredible experience. Great, great photos Loi and love that terrific replica of the l'Hermione. General Lafayette was a brilliant man to know that helping America gain its independence was the noble thing to do. Thanks for making us feel part of this wonderful celebration!

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  32. What a memorable day for all, Loi, and how breathtaking it must have been to see this beautiful ship come through the fog... Thanks for sharing your story with us!
    xxoo
    C + C

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  33. what dreamy photos Loi....I feel like I went of vacation!

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  34. You have a wonderful way of journaling these spectacular events and intimate details. She is beautiful! Thanks for sharing with us and hope you have the most glorious summer. Miss you xo Nancy

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  35. Wow! what a treat it must be to see the ship in person, thanks for taking us with you.
    Have a nice weekend.

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  36. What an amazing experience! I would have called them ropes too!

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  38. Wow! Thank you for these amazing photographs. I wish we could have been there. There is nothing quite like being on the water (in a small boat) and see one of these tall ships pass by!

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  39. Oh my goodness this looked like so much fun! We have got to get to Maine again soon! Every time I see one of your posts I literally drool !!

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  40. This is absolutely fantastic Loi!!!! Thank you so much for taking us along! So much fun and what a great ship!

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  41. Stunning photos Loi - there's something about the old ships, they're just so majestic under sail. Looks like a fabulous day and thank you for sharing.

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  42. Wow, looks like a fabulous day out on the water!

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  43. Wow, looks like a fabulous day out on the water!

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  44. Wow, looks like a fabulous day out on the water!

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  45. Loi,
    I'm catching up with blogs I've missed while on my blogging break. I loved your photo essay and your storytelling on this fog filled Bastille day 2015. I think you and Tom were brave staying out in that choppy water to meet and greet the ship in the fog. I once got caught up in a storm at sea ... Very scary!
    Summer is ending and will usher in Autumn and you will soon enjoy once again all the beauty of Maine. So appreciate and enjoy your posts.
    xo,
    Vera

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  46. How beautiful, and what an experience! I'm glad you got to be there. Hope you're doing well, Loi.

    Keri

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  47. On a foggy morning, we left Rockport to meet up with the frigate and follow her to Castine. What an adventure that was and I, too, did a post on the experience: http://lulumusing.wordpress.com/2015/07/21/what-a-day
    I'd enjoy meeting up with you sometime when we are both in Maine.

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  48. Hi Loi,
    What a beautiful pictures you have clicked,I feel this places is the best for stressful life off break,I can't believe the photos you have clicked are so rare and the best clicks my eyes could see and feel,
    Great Job, i must congratulate for the same,Singapore is also a destinations which equally beautiful and if someone wants to try out singapore packages from bangalore, they must try this

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Many thanks for your visit! If you have a question, please leave a comment and I will do my best to answer. Loi