The summer of 2015 was filled with canal boat cruises, a summer camp for kids, Get Your Tail on the Trail events, and the opening of a new exhibit gallery in the National Canal Museum.
Children attending Kids Canal Camp in Hugh Moore Park sailed the old Lehigh Canal aboard the Josiah White II, rode bikes on the D&L Trail and discovered hidden geocaches in ruins of the 185-year-old Abbott Street Industrial Park. They even caught fish in the canal using Huck Finn-type bamboo poles.
The Josiah White II hosted thousands of passengers on weekly rides, but also became a floating eatery and stage on several Saturday nights for themed dinner cruises. Women in poodle skirts and saddle shoes and men in chinos and white T-shirts danced to 1950s hits during an August sock hop. A week later, the boat became a tasting room for 70 wine lovers who sipped estate grown vino from Bucks County’s Sand Castle Winery.
Other Conversations on the Canal included a Canal themed cruise, an Irish cruise, a beer-tasting cruise featuring craft beers from Easton’s Weyerbacher Brewery, and an Italian cruise with a four-piece band. Prudie Potter, a retired volunteer, organized a group of 42 people who braved rainy conditions to enjoy local Italian history, an Italian buffet and music of the Lou Pettinelli Band of Alpha, NJ. “Everyone had a fabulous time,” Prudie said. “The two women walking with the mules deserve an extra star.”
Two Get Your Tail on the Trail events, done in partnership with St. Luke’s University Health Network, attracted more than 200 participants to Hugh Moore Park and the Saucon Rail Trail that highlighted local businesses involved in outdoor recreation, exercise, and nutrition. St. Luke’s Rodale Institute Organic Farm, St. Luke’s Physical Therapy, Cycle Fitters of Easton, Aardvark Shoe Store of Bethlehem, and Easton Outdoor Company participated.
A rainy Fourth of July didn’t stop people from visiting the D&L’s first exhibit in the National Canal Museum’s new gallery room. “An Untryed Enterprise: Forging America’s Industrial Independence,” opened 175 years to the day after the first cast of anthracite-fueled iron was made at the Crane Iron Company in Catasauqua, marking the beginning of America’s Industrial Revolution.