Sunday, October 21, 2012

Great Bridge, Virginia

Simple Life at the dock Great Bridge
    After the excitement of our trip from Norfolk and completing the final challenging task of locking in at the Great Bridge Lock, we eagerly looked forward to a rest at the dock.The Great Bridge dock offers a secure tie up (no electric or water) near numerous town amenities. It is considered the last good provisioning site before Beaufort, NC. There was space available and as we made our approach cruisers who had already tied their boats assisted us in tying to the dock. Everyone was friendly and offered tips and information about the area. One cruiser informed us about a weekly farmer's market held in a field near the town dock every Saturday.
     After settling in Joe got off the boat while I tidied up, planned dinner. I could hear his laughter as he made new friends with the other cruisers. Occasionally, after spending so much time together we need the company of someone other than ourselves.

     Saturday morning dawned with crisp air and bright blue skies. Perfect weather for a farmers' market! Most farmer's markets that I've been to have been heavy on the fruit and jam side and light on the actual farm produce side. When the actual farmers are there in overalls selling out of the back of their pick up trucks, that's an indication of authenticity! Everything from fresh turkey eggs to a large selection of seasonal vegetables and apples were for sale.


One man with whom we stopped to have a chat had only sweet potatoes on his truck bed. He told me to pick some out for no charge. I think he was at the market more for the social aspect than a monetary mission. He also told us to be sure to visit the Great Bridge Heritage Festival that was taking place across the canal. With that advice our plans where in place for the afternoon.
     Before heading over there I wanted to squeeze in an hour or so of guitar playing time. Poor Joe has had to listen to me playing the same repertoire of classical pieces for months now and I'm sure he's grown tired of my practice sessions. He decided to check out the festival while giving me some undisturbed playing time. When he returned he told me of meeting a man named Bert Berry at he fair who was a builder of dulcimers. In fact he told Joe that Bruce Hornsby had commissioned four of Bert's dulcimers! Joe said, "I think you'd enjoy the fair, there are a few musicians playing on the grounds and Bert hopes you'll come back with me and bring your guitar." The cajolery worked.

The fair was a perfect example of down home authenticity. Folk musicians playing, corn husk doll making lessons, a local beekeeper with a real bee hive, people dressed in period costumes from the Civil War era and numerous  historical based tents.

     We headed over to meet Bert Berry and listen to him perform. It wasn't long before he handed me one of his beauties to try. The dulcimer is stringed instrument with frets similar to a folk version of a slide guitar. I caught on quickly and Bert and I played a folk tune together. This was such fun and the highlight of my day! I think Bert enjoyed it as much as I and he asked me to come back on Sunday.

     By mid afternoon a cocktail party was planned for 6:00 PM. This kind of event gets skippers and crews to mix and mingle while swapping information and itineraries. The party lasted well after dark. Laughter subsided, cruisers dispersed. It was nearly 9:00 PM and great fun, but after was "cruisers' midnight."
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