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Posts Tagged ‘War of 1812’

Greenport Tall Ships Challenge

Ahoy there matey!

This past Memorial Day weekend, my son and I visited the Village of Greenport on Long Island to check out the Tall Ships.  The TALL SHIPS CHALLENGE® Series is an annual series of tall ship races and maritime port festivals that educate the public about tall ships, maritime heritage and the power of sail training.  This series is just one of the many events sponsored by the American Sail Training Association. The race itinerary was selected to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812.  This year the tall ships travel the Atlantic Coast.  The challenge started in Savannah, Georgia, and then to Greenport, New York in May.  In July the Tall Ships will be in Newport, Rhode Island and in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Baltimore will also host the tall ships this coming week, June 13th-19th at the “Star-Spangle Sailabration” along the Inner Harbor and Chesapeake Bay.

Pride of Baltimore II

As you will see from the pictures it was a beautiful day when we went aboard some of the ships.  We toured the Pride of Baltimore II and the LYNX.  These ships are living museums and the crew on board was excited to share their knowledge of the roles that their respective ships played in the War of 1812.  Of course the highlight was the celebrity ship, the HMS Bounty.  The HMS Bounty was built for the movie “Mutiny on the Bounty” in 1962, but most would recognize this ship from “Pirates of the Caribbean”.  Even though my son and I were only an hour from home, we had to act like tourist and get a picture with “Jack Sparrow”.

HMS Bounty

We had a great time boarding the historical sailing vessels and spending time at the Tall Ship Festival.  The festival took place at Mitchell Park Marina.  There was no shortage of things to do, so we spent our time checking out the museum civic exhibit displays, shopping and watching families on the carousel.  My only regret was that we were not able to sail away on one of the Roseway excursions.  Of course the lobster roll at Claudio’s and live music on the main stage quickly had me forgetting our missed excursion to Bug Lighthouse.

Delicious Lobster Roll at Claudio’s

Carousel

Where to go in Greenport!

Do you plan on seeing the Tall Ships this week in Baltimore or checking out the TALL SHIPS CHALLENGE® Race Series and Maritime Festivals in Newport and Halifax?

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I have a whole new appreciation for our national anthem when I sing along at a baseball game since visiting Fort McHenry a year ago.  Not wanting to miss a history lesson opportunity, I took my son and his friend to Fort McHenry when we had visited Baltimore for a Oriole and Yankee game.

When we arrived at this massive five-pointed star shape fort, our first stop of course was the visitor’s center where there was a exhibits and a short film, The Defense of Fort McHenry.    We learned about the Battle of 1812, why the flag was so large and the song which became our nation’s anthem.  We discovered the reason for the size of the  flag was because Major George Armistead, who was a commanding officer in the War of 1812 wanted the flag to be “so large that the British will have no difficulty seeing it from a distance”.  The flag was 30′ x 42′! Normally  a replica of the over sized flag is flown at Fort McHenry (we saw the original in the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C.), but the day we were there the flag was flown half-staff for the civil rights activist, Dorothy Height. The large flag couldn’t be flown at half-staff because it would have touch the ground.

We soon learned it was the 30′ x 42′ flag that Francis Scott Key witnessed in the “dawn’s early light”of September 14, 1814.  He was moved by the sight and was inspired to compose “The Star-Spangled Banner”.

After learning about the flag we really had fun taking in everything from the tunnels to the cannons in the fort.  There were exhibits in the barracks that gave us the history outside of the War of 1812.  We were really surprised to find out that Francis Scott Key’s grandson, Francis Key Howard was arrested and imprisoned at Fort McHenry during the civil war.

The boys in the cell where Francis Key Howard was held during the Civil War.

I really love visiting historic landmarks that are run by the National Park Service.  We spent hours on a beautiful day that offered an educational experience.  Like many of the National Park Services we visit, the entrance fee was inexpensive, $7.00 for adults and free for 15 and younger.  Of course a junior ranger program is also available for the kids, but plan on allowing two hours to complete the program.  I also recommend going early or late, so you can witness the change of the flag at either 9:30 a.m. or 4:20 p.m. Another tip is to check the calendar at www.nps.gov/fomc/index.htm for events, especially in the summer.  There are usually events where you can experience the daily life of a War of 1812 soldier, sailor or citizen.

The best part of  our historic adventure was that the boys had fun and it didn’t really seem like learning. As a Mom, I am really excited that I can provide my son with opportunities that allow him to see the bigger picture.  In the future, I know when he sings the National Anthem at a school function or a ball game, he will be reminded of the true meaning of America’s triumph and endurance.

            

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