Harbors are those wonderful shoreline indentations that are both beautiful and mostly protected from the wind. Here, people and boats find refuge—people from the stresses of daily life, and boats from punishment by storms.
A variety of shops and restaurants, along with their patrons, populate their docks and surrounding streets. Small harbors are the best since they shelter mostly leisure craft as well as a few working boats. However, one does not have to own a boat to enjoy a harbor. Watching boats come and go can be just as rewarding. It is also fun to watch the gulls flying about in search of their next free meal, and other people relaxing about.
Maine’s coast is the home of many of these small harbors, some of which I photographed almost two years ago. I went to Rockland in late September. Most of the boats had disappeared from their moorings and slips by then. Windjammer cruises had ended; I found one of these boats in dry-dock being maintained before winter’s start. I returned to Rockland just a couple of weeks later to find nearly all the
boats gone, as shown in the pre-dawn photo to the right. Rockland’s harbor brings in more than lobster and fishing revenue. The town, like so many others, has been able to market its harbor to attract visitors to its restaurants, art galleries, puffins, and Farnsworth Museum.
In my hometown of Rochester, New York on Lake Ontario we don’t really have a harbor. Instead, we use the mouth of the Genesee River that, with occasional dredging, can accommodate moderate size Great Lakes shipping. Although poised for change, the river is underused since our fast ferry service to Toronto failed several years ago because it was not
economically viable. Two yacht clubs, the Rochester and the Genesee are the home of many boats.
Located on the west side of the river is Ontario Beach Park in the Charlotte section of Rochester. People come here to be near the water, attend summer concerts, go to restaurants, swim, and picnic.
An aerial view of Cleveland’s leisure boats harbor was afforded on an Angel Flight my copilot and I were conducting a few years ago. Here, we were on final approach to runway 27R at Burke-Lakefront Airport. There is a small WW II Naval museum next to the airport at its 11:00 position. Just beyond and within easy walking distance is the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Mystic, Connecticut is a wonderful harbor with several upscale restaurants
and museums. The Charles W. Morgan, was in dry-dock for a five-year restoration when I was there in 2011. Built in 1841, it was hard to believe that the ship survived to this day. The harbor’s namesake on a contemporary boat is shown in the photo to the right.
Harbors were once seen as dumping grounds for sewers, industrial and maritime waste. Fortunately, there are now strict state and federal regulations preventing harbor pollution. As a result, fish and other aquatic life have returned to many of our harbors.