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Maritime Heritage | Journey to New England’s Seventh State

Maritime Heritage | Journey to New England’s Seventh State
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Aloft in the rigging of the Joseph Conrad at Connecticut’s Mystic Seaport museum. Built in Denmark in 1882 as the Georg Stage, this square-rigger has been a training vessel for most of its life. Today the Conrad is an exhibit as well as a training ship for the Mystic Mariner Program.

Photo/Art by Carl Tremblahy
Aloft in the rigging of the Joseph Conrad at Connecticut’s Mystic Seaport museum. Built in Denmark in 1882 as the Georg Stage, this square-rigger has been a training vessel for most of its life. Today the Conrad is an exhibit as well as a training ship for the Mystic Mariner Program.

From the moment the first Pilgrim stumbled onto dry land and turned back to gaze at where he came from, New Englanders have been enthralled by the sea. The Atlantic has been our constant companion, carving our culture as surely as it has our coastline. The ocean is a character in our most enduring literature, a model in our most striking art, and the source of our traditional cuisine. Its charms have seduced generations of our ancestors into forsaking their homes and seeking their fortunes on the waves.

At the height of our maritime power, New England’s oak-ribbed ships cruised every corner of the world, trading for silk in Canton and chasing whales along the Arctic Circle. And although in recent years our ports have begun to catch more tourists than fish, that briny legacy survives in our blood, threatening to capture our imagination and pull it out with the tide.

Every harbor in New England tells a story, and our coast is littered with curators and historians ready to tell them. So if the waves are still too cold for your liking, dip into one of the many maritime museums, sites, and ex­hibits that celebrate our rich seafaring heritage—maybe even board a ship or two—and hear the tale of New England’s seventh state: the fickle and powerful sea.

Please Note: This article was accurate at the time of publication. When planning a trip, please confirm details by directly contacting any company or establishment you intend to visit.

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Justin Shatwell

Author:

Justin Shatwell

Biography:

Justin Shatwell is a longtime contributor to Yankee Magazine whose work explores the unique history, culture, and art that sets New England apart from the rest of the world. His article, The Memory Keeper (March/April 2011 issue), was named a finalist for profile of the year by the City and Regional Magazine Association.
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