100 miles up the Hudson River; A small town embraces the Dream
Nearly one-hundred miles from New York City is a small town at the base of the Catskill Mountains. The Impossible Dream has been winding her way up the mighty Hudson River to Kingston, NY for the past three years. What keeps bringing us back is simple, a community that is passionate about getting people on the water and making it accessible to everyone.
The Impossible Dream was first drawn to Kingston in 2016 where she began her relationship with the Hudson River Maritime Museum, a small community-based organization located on the banks of the Rondout Creek, a tidal tributary of the Hudson River.
In the past three years, the Dream has seen the museum enthusiastically expand to offer many opportunities for members of the community to access the water. From a thriving all-woman sailing group called Woman on the Water, a new sailing school, active rowing and sailing clubs, to an after-school program that teaches disadvantaged area youth boat building and rowing, the Hudson River Maritime Museum impresses us every year with a new offering.
This year was no different as we were surprised by a newly built accessible ramp to the museum’s docks. The permanent aluminium ramp was installed to specially coincide with our arrival so that our passengers, guests, and crew would have safe and independent access to the Impossible Dream. Not only was this a wonderful gift to us but, it will positively affect the lives of many disabled people in the area, a truly meaningful addition to Kingston’s waterfront for many years to come. It is this kind change in communities, however seemingly small, that we strive for in all ports that we visit. We give the museum and its staff a big nod of gratitude for recognizing and making this transition.
Eager to break in the new ramp, the Impossible Dream began its week of sailing in Kingston with a memorable family and friends cruise on the Hudson. Our loved ones came aboard for a gorgeous night drifting past historic lighthouses with the peaks of the Catskill Mountains looking over us. One of our guests, who is a talented photographer, took advantage of the perfect lighting as the sun set and the moon rose above us to capture the moments on his camera.
The next morning, mother nature gave us overcast skies and rain. But, a little-wet weather could not deter the super fun group from Helen Hayes Rehabilitation Hospital. The coordinator of the Adaptive Sports and Recreation Program at Helen Hayes, Peter Giraldi, brought a group of past and present patients onboard who seemed unphased by the rain and lounged on the bow the entire sail! We were amazed to learn about the variety of sport and recreation opportunities Helen Hayes makes possible for its patients. Offerings included adaptive video gaming, fishing, hockey, yoga, and even glider flying to name a few!
We started the following day with an ebullient crew from The ARC of Ulster-Greene, a non-profit community organization devoted providing support and opportunities to local individuals with varying disabilities. Another cloudy and damp morning had no apparent effect on the ARC group’s ability to produce smiles and laughter the entire sail.
That afternoon, the sun finally broke through the grey skies in time for our first of two sails with Cerebral Palsy of Ulster County. With the sun, came a fresh breeze allowing the crew to set the jib with the wind at our backs for a nice and smooth run down river. The collective quietness and expressions on our passenger’s faces never get old when we turn off our engines and let the Dream do her thing. It is easy to see in moments like these how sailing on the Dream can be universally freeing to everyone, regardless of a person’s abilities.
Our final sail was topped off with the lively ladies from W.O.W., the all women’s sailing group, Women on the Water. Captain Will hardly had to do any work due to the number of eager sailors itching at a turn on the wheel! Only in it’s the second year, the WOW fleet has grown to include over a dozen keelboats and over sixty sailors. It has been simply amazing to watch the growth of sailing and passion for access to the water grow in this small community.
We look forward every year to returning to Kingston to witness more positive growth in accessibility and access to the water for its residents. When departing the docks to head back south we always feel like a little part of us is left behind. But, leaving this time around we are comforted to know there is a new accessible ramp and supportive community behind it to continue changing the world for the better!
The Dream is headed back towards Miami after nearly four months voyaging the entire East Coast. We have a couple of pit stops on the way back, so stay tuned for our latest happenings. Please reach out if you are in town and want to visit. And like always, to help us keep sailing and making differences in people’s lives, please donate to Impossible Dream below. We hope you enjoyed our stories from Kingston and do not forget to scroll further down to see more pictures from our time in the Hudson Valley.