Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Leaving New York

We are under way westbound along the south shore of Lake Erie, bound for Erie, Pennsylvania. We had a nice two-night stay in Barcelona (really now part of Westfield), but it's more of a one-night stop. Westing on Lake Erie is a two-steps-forward, one-step-back process, where we grab what little window we can, race along to the next harbor, and then get pinned down.

Vector on the breakwall at sunset last night. This was our private patio.

After my last post, we made our way ashore for dinner. The tender was already in the water from my earlier recon mission; we came into the harbor with it hip-tied to the starboard side. We landed at one of the half dozen or so finger piers on the west side of the public pier. No sooner had we tied up than a local came by to ask if we were from the big boat in the harbor. When we said yes, he allowed as he had never seen anyone tie up there in his 20 years in the area.

Barcelona Harbor with Vector on the breakwall. Tender is at one of the docks center-frame. The sailboat mid-harbor is on a mooring, we assume private, and the only one in the harbor.

We strolled up the hill, around past the historic stone lighthouse, and stopped into the convenience store before heading back down to 1st Street. We ate at the relatively new When Pigs Fly BBQ joint, which had a full bar including draft beer, and a nice lakefront patio. The place was flying a Texas flag and sporting a five-point star on the front, but we nevertheless ordered the St. Louis style ribs, which were excellent. We split a single meal between us and still took some ribs home.

A longer view of our breakwall. "Weeds" in the foreground are Concord grape vines.

Yesterday morning the wind whipped up to 20 knots and we watched the waves crashing over the west jetty in the morning. We were nice and comfortable on the inside of the east breakwall. While the lake was miserable all day, in the afternoon the rain let up, and I took the e-Bike ashore for the two mile ride up the hill to the main part of Westfield.

Nothing about this motel near the Thruway exit says "holiday" except the sign.

We are in Concord grape country, and the central fixture of Westfield is the enormous Welch's plant. Down the road a bit is Mogen David. The industry here is enough to support a vibrant downtown, a couple of blocks of historic buildings now home to a half dozen trendy restaurants and some shops. I explored the downtown and central square, peered over the bridge at historic Chautauqua Creek, and stopped in the Chautauqua County museum.

The older C.E. Welch building downtown, now home to the Grape Growers Co-op. Here on the back side the old Welch logo (lower left) is prominent, along with a faded painted sign.

I ended my excursion at the Tops grocery store for some much needed provisions. I really need to get a rack for the e-Bike; as it stands I had to load everything in a single backpack, which was just large enough for our relatively short shopping list. With fresh milk and some other cold items, I made the two mile trip back to the dock without further stops. I did stop on the overpass to snap a photo of the abandoned railroad station.

If we had gone west instead of east on the Lakeshore Limited, we would have passed this well preserved station.

I managed to come and go from the docks relatively unnoticed, but when we returned ashore at dinner time, the harbormaster was outside his office chatting with some locals, and one asked, again, if we were on the big boat in the harbor. We chatted for a few minutes; the harbormaster wanted to know why we had not tied up to the end of the pier. We explained about the fendering, omitting the second reason, which would be the high looky-loo factor there.

Quaint downtown Westfield, looking west toward Chautauqua Creek.

We walked over to Jack's Drive-In, across the street from the BBQ joint, for dinner, it being the only other choice in town. It was a more casual menu but quite good, and we both enjoyed beers from the nearby Five & 20 brewery just up the road. They were out of the brown so I had the stout, and Louise had a lager with a hint of (you guessed it) grape in it.

On our way back we stopped in the park to admire the small stand of Concord grape vines planted as a visitor exhibit. A large sign explains the history of Barcelona Harbor. Later, on an evening stroll on the breakwall, we discovered the grapes had taken root there, too, in some crevices where sediment had accumulated. Later in the season we could have had some grapes to ourselves.

Lots of history here, due, in part, to the Chautauqua Portage.

Speaking of the breakwall and having it to ourselves, it ranks among our top five weirdest mooring experiences to date. Some of the others include tying to a rusty bulkhead outside a casino in Harvey, Louisiana, stringing between a widely spaced pair of dolphins on the Okeechobee, tying the whole boat to a single bollard on the Erie Canal, and tying off to recessed bollards on the wall in Troy, New York (twice).

We should have the anchor down in Presque Isle Bay right around cocktail hour this evening.

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