Can you believe it? Another whole year has passed us by. We’ve had some great times at our events, The Wheels and Waves re-opening event and Pirate Invasion in the spring were followed closely behind by many other weekly, monthly, and annual events, including our annual Folk Festival, Oyster Roast and Chili Cook-Of. Our summer programs, school field trips, and weekly visits from Point Option and Montessori schools ensured we were immersed in laughter, learning, and youthful curiosity all year long. Oyster aquaculture projects by Lafayette High School and Williamsburg Montessori School continued to be living and growing reminders of the learning taking place along our shores. And the visits from our dear friends at the ARC of Greater Williamsburg continued to be high points in our year. We worked with our teammates to establish Watermen’s Heritage Tours on the York River (coming this spring). And we led the efforts for the York River Scenic River Project, Cornwallis’ Sunk Fleet exploration plan development, and creation of a National Maritime Heritage Sanctuary for the colonial shipwrecks.
Sadly, we also lost some members. Two of these losses were within our volunteer staff; Maurice “Whitey” Laurier and Richard “Dick” Lane. Whitey was a longtime volunteer and member, serving in many capacities such as curator, docent, and event manager. His vast knowledge of boats and marine topics will be impossible to replace. Dick, was also a member for many years and served as a docent and volunteer in many capacities. He also served faithfully as a pivotal member of our Board of Directors. To our departed friends, “Fair winds and following seas.”
As we look ahead, we see a year filled with great promise. Initially, the Museum galleries will be closed for a few months, re-opening on April 1st. But, that doesn’t mean that all activity here has ceased. We have Literary High Teas scheduled in our Carriage House for January 13th and 27th, and again in February through April. We will continue to hold our monthly events like the Folk Jam (2nd Wednesdays), Swing Dance (3rd Mondays), and Storytellers’ Story Slam (4th Mondays), and Member TGIFs (4th Fridays). And, we will be performing exhibit upkeep and building/grounds upkeep throughout the cold, bleak winter. So, if you’re looking for something to do with you free time, look no further. There’s plenty of winter things going on right here. Come join us.
On April 1st, we’ll open the Museum doors with a flurry of activity which will build and build as the year progresses. I’d love to list all of the things that will happen besides museum tours, school field trips, ongoing support for school projects, etc. But, if I did, this would become a novel instead of a news article. So, please take the time to browse our web site. Two good places to start your browsing are at these links: https://watermens.org/fun-events/ and https://watermens.org/summer-fun. And, teachers should explore all 13 educational field trips we currently have available (https://watermens.org/education-programs/) by looking at the pull downs from our Field Trips sub-menu.
So, come join us for lots of fun and learning. You can be a pirate and see cannons being fired, enjoy folk music and dance or listen to an orchestra concert, see antique cars and boats, experience great fish and shellfish meals our Watermen provide for us, or come to our member’s TGIF parties. And, amidst it all, you’ll even learn a bit about our local Watermen and life on and along the Chesapeake Bay.
Now, let me leave you with a short poem we came up with that is based on the old familiar Irish Blessing;
An Irish Sailor’s Blessing?
May the seas lie smooth before you.
May a gentle breeze forever fill your sails.
May sunshine warm your face,
And kindness warm your soul.
And, until we meet again,
May God bless you and keep you safe.
Happy New Year to you all!