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Wednesday, June 27, 2007

TAHITI QUEEN ON THE HUDSON

You wouldn't think that a vessel named The Tahiti Queen would ply Hudson River waters, but if the name Tahiti conjures up visions of beauty, the Hudson River is the place to be. Berthed in Peekskill at the Charles Point Marina, the Tahiti Queen's snug harbor is easily accessible, and its growing list of event cruises make a voyage very tempting.

The Tahiti Queen resembles an old fashioned paddle wheeler—the kind you see along the Mississippi. Its two enclosed decks offer plenty of seating. On the day we board, tables on the top deck are set for our Father's Day Brunch cruise but also insure that everyone has a good view of the river. The windows slide back, and Capt. Bob Consiglio, who we've known forever, tells us that fans are also used when the weather is warm. On this deck, throughout the entire cruise, coffee and juices are available at no extra charge. Today the DJ is aboard playing a broad range from 1950's rock 'n roll to today's salsa. There's a dance floor, and among the many dancers are fathers dancing with their daughters to Rednexs’ Cotton-Eyed Joe as well as a couple doing a mean merengue. Looks great.

The lower deck has the bar, and the brunch buffet is set up there. The boat’s caterer for the event,
Country Courtesy Caterers does an excellent job. The variety: quiche, sausages, eggs, potatoes, french toast, sandwiches, fruit platters, smoked salmon, bagels, muffins and more. Whatever a person's taste, there is something to tempt it. I'll add here that Capt. Bob's organization prevents long lines at the buffet. Everyone is served promptly. There is plenty of food, and, indeed, offers of seconds.

Some passengers stay on the lower deck, perhaps for the bar, perhaps for the lack of sound speakers, perhaps for the close proximity to the water. There is a niche for everyone on the Tahiti Queen as she cruises for two and a half hours up the Hudson.

I can only imagine the gasps of early explorers sailing up the Hudson marveling at the magnificent, wide river at this end, dwarfing, by comparison, other famous rivers of the world. The palisades rising up the west bank as well as the mountains on the east are breathtaking. Looking north, the river winds through clefts revealing nature's creations at her finest. It is one experience to see these sights from above; it's quite another to see them from the river.

The Tahiti Queen backs out from the dock onto the river proper, and Capt. Bob gives instructions on emergency procedures. Then we're off. The river is alive with activity--other boaters and ski-doos. There's lots of friendly waving back and forth. We head up to the Bear Mountain Bridge, a link between Putnam and Orange counties, and continue up toward West Point.

No one who visits West Point doubts its stateliness, and from the river looking up at the Military Museum, the Thayer Hotel, and rows of homes overlooking the river, and the buildings of the installation seem grand from the Hudson. As we look at the river from West Point’s strategic location, we can imagine the chain that helped keep the British from sailing right down to NYC.

It's at West Point that the Tahiti Queen turns around for the trip back to port. The trip back allows us to spend more time looking at the things we've missed.

The Metro North railroad tracks run along the east shore of the river past quaint stations and interesting homes. The silver streak of railroad cars seems miniature from the middle of the river, and it adds to the moment.

There are more boats and watercraft, and it is all so nice that we are a bit sorry when the Tahiti Queen's Capt. eases her next to the dock.

The Tahiti Queen offers a lovely afternoon with a friendly accommodating crew. At one point when we are on the lower deck, a little girl came down to purchase a bottle of water. She was holding a five dollar bill. The bartender gave her the bottle of water but told her to give her mommy the money. That's how nice everyone is on The Tahiti Queen.
I'm placing a permanent link to the Tahiti Queen in the link list in the left-hand column. Check them out to see the Calendar of Events.
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