Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Best Pizza in the Hudson Valley/Everything Old is New Again

(Sorry no photos, connectivity problems today.  But check Facebook for your image fix!

Dragonfly enjoyed a bit of sun on her solar panels yesterday. The whole day had a sunny mood. We stopped in a couple of canal towns, Canajoharie and Fort Plain.  One highlight in Fort Plain was talking with local folks who are working to re-energize their town.

To give you a little history first: Fort Plain gets its name from an actual fort, important during the Revolutionary War.  And here's a cute story: Those colonial women were a spunky bunch.  When a group of Indians and Tories attacked the town while the Fort Plain menfolk were away fighting the war, the women jammed men's hats on their heads, grabbed guns and poles, and positioned themselves atop the fort walls to give the impression of a large armed force.  Seeing so many "soldiers," their attackers gave the town a pass. Since then, Fort Plain's fortunes have bloomed, then ebbed. In the early 20th century, this was a bustling canal town. But cargo vessels no longer pass through. Times are tough.

But the women are still spunky, and still defending their town.  As we tied up on the wall above Lock 15, we were hailed by a smiling reception committee bearing a gift of pizza. These "Friends of Fort Plain" are working hard to bring back the lively, economically vibrant town they remember from their youth.

Back on April 1, I posted a "news item" about the nation's new re-commitment to canals.  I was kinda kidding . . . but also kinda thinking,  "Hey, this could work!  Barges are the ultimate energy efficient way to carry cargo, local goods are trendy, add those two ideas together and we could make better use our canals for local transport of durable goods.

Apparently NY governor Andrew Cuomo read the SlowBoat post (and didn't note the date).  The local headline news item Tuesday: A new push by the gov and the State Canal Corporation to bring back commercial traffic on the Erie.

And here's an example of an enterprise that could bring jobs to the region and make a product easily shipped by canal: This afternoon, docked at Lock 19, we got a visit from Monte Gisborne and Ray Hirani, entrepreneurs who are about to open a solar-boat assembly plant in Rome, NY (right on the canal).

The pontoon-boat-like vessel, named "Best New Electric Vehicle" at the 2010 "Future of Electric Vehicles" conference, is designed such that four boats fit neatly in a standard shipping container. Perfect for delivery by barge! 

1 comment:

  1. Hi again, We have stayed overnight at Fort Plain several times and someone always came down to the dock to see if we needed anything and brought us a paper, which was so nice. Glad to hear the have an official reception committee, sort of like Elizabeth City, NC.