Thursday, August 24, 2017

Blue Mountain Lake Flotilla Recreating 1882 Event

On August 27, the Blue Lake community will come together to celebrate a time when guests arrived by steamer, stage coach, and train to spend summers in their idyllic Adirondack town. In 1882, the original flotilla glided from the shores of Prospect Point House to the sounds of a cannon salute and orchestra while Chinese lanterns showed the way. Now, 135 years later, Prospect Point Cottages is welcoming all antique and non-motorized boats to participate in a similar flotilla for a glimpse back to the Adirondack’s Gilded Age.

According to Prospect Point Cottages owner and Blue Mountain Lake Flotilla organizer David Oestreicher credits the idea to recreate the Blue Mountain Lake Flotilla to his mother. Though she presented the idea over 25 years ago, the timing just didn’t seem to fit. Now, 135 years after the original event, the enthusiasm to recreate the flotilla is palpable.

“Our whole area is so rich in history and we also have two significant anniversaries to celebrate,” says Oestreicher. “The Adirondack Lakes Center for the Arts is celebrating is 50th anniversary, the Adirondack Experience [Adirondack Museum] is celebrating its 60th anniversary. To add to that, The Hedges and Prospect Point Cottages have undergone restorations. The idea to share our history through this historical flotilla is a fun way to pull everything together.”

This year’s Blue Mountain Lake Flotilla is scheduled to mirror the original event as closely as possible. The 3 pm Blessing of the Fleet begins at the Church of the Transfiguration leading to a tour and reception at The Hedges. Participating boats will be towed behind a steamboat, winding along the shoreline. People do not need to bring a boat in order to participate. Individual tickets are available that include the historic tours, food, world-class musical event, and evening fireworks.

“The cost for the event is $25 per person and that includes the historic The Hedges tour and refreshments as well as the chicken BBQ at Prospect Point,” says Oestreicher. “All US veterans are free. The musicians will be aboard the steamboat and accompany the flotilla around the bay. Upon returning to Prospect Point, an incredible concert is set for the stage right at the beach. Pianist Nicole Wang, folk musicians Karen Whitman and Rick Pantell in addition to chamber musicians and singers directed by George Cordes. We are so excited to share this event will everyone.”

Fireworks will culminate the evening activities. Oestreicher encourages any antique non-motorized boats and “boats in an antique style” to join the Flotilla. The cost per boat, including all passengers, is still the $25 fee. Participants are encouraged to participate in the floating 1880s period dress competition as well as best boat, dock, and boathouse decorations. Oestreicher hopes people will come and enjoy the peaceful surroundings and embrace this community event of friendship and harmony.


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Diane Chase is the author of the Adirondack Family Activities guidebook series, Adirondack Family Time. She writes about ways to foster imaginative play through fun-filled events and activities in the Adirondack region.

From her home in Saranac Lake, Diane also writes a weekly family-oriented newspaper column for the Adirondack Daily Enterprise and keeps her own blog Adirondack Family Time. Her writing and photography has appeared in numerous newspapers, magazines, marketing companies and advertising agencies.

She even finds time to assist her husband with Adirondack Expeditions guiding families and young adults in the High Peaks.

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