State #18 & The War of 1812

Did you know that Pennsylvania touches Lake Erie? I didn’t. (It borders the lake for 45 miles, at its northwestern tip.)

Did you know that the U.S. tried to conquer Canada? I forgot. (It was the main objective of the War of 1812, when the U.S. declared war on Great Britain. Canada was a British outpost then.)

Did you know that the U.S.-Canada border is the longest undefended border in the world? Not me. (It’s been so since 1870.)

These are the things I got to learn — yay — while we are stopped by weather. We’re spending our 3rd night in Erie, Pa., awaiting better winds to continue westward on the smallest and most shallow of the five Great Lakes, which can also be one of the the most challenging for boaters. (Explanations on why coming up, as we continue west.)

At first glance, Erie, Pa. seems like nothing special. But as with many cities and towns, you discover more as you get below the surface — especially when you have a great museum and gorgeous beaches nearby. Photos and captions of our continuing stay here, at both marina and anchorage, below.

My Navy buddy (and fellow Antarctica veteran) Mel Sundin, who lives in Erie, took us yesterday to Presque Isle State Park. Here’s a relatively calm Lake Erie — but it wasn’t calm farther out, and got much worse.
We took a short walk from our marina to this waterfront open-air bar named Woody’s.
Somethin’ wrong with these folks?? Well, yes…they’re stuffed. 😉 (A touch of whimsy in front of Woody’s.)
Bicentennial Tower, on Erie’s waterfront, very close to our marina. See the schooner in background and geese in foreground?
This museum right next to our marina was innocuous on the outside but jam-packed with good info and displays on the inside–at least for this retired Navy officer and Great Lakes native. It filled in holes in my understanding of military, national and regional history.
Thank goodness we now have a peaceful border with Canada. Canada became fully independent from Great Britain only in 1982.
U.S. Brig Niagara is the ship on which Captain Oliver Hazard Perry (OHP) defeated a British squadron during the Battle of Lake Erie in the War of 1812. It was the first time in history that an entire British squadron surrendered, and Great Britain was a Naval superpower at the time. No wonder OHP is still considered a national hero! The Navy had only 17 ships then–plus 165 gun boats. (It probably helped that Great Britain was still/again at war with France.) This reconstructed brig serves as a trainer for students and goes out daily. Here, workers are preparing the capstan for the daily sail.
An artist’s depiction of the Battle of Lake Erie. This is where the phrase “Don’t Give Up The Ship” was first popularized, when OHP put it on his flag. You can see (and buy) those flags at many maritime areas today. OHP’s victory forced the Brits to abandon Detroit (I never knew they held it!) and broke Britain’s alliances with Native American tribes.
USS Michigan was the first iron-hulled ship of the U.S. Navy and served longer than any other powered Navy vessel. It was built here in Erie, Pa.
I didn’t know the Irish Republican Army tried to use the U.S. as a launch to invade Canada! (I’m not sure it was “the” IRA.) These Irish Americans were called the Fenian Brotherhood and this was their flag. They really did try to invade Canada as a means to put diplomatic pressure on Great Britain. It failed.
Erie, like so many other cities, has artwork on the waterfront. This one is called “Together.”
We spent two nights at Wolverine Marina in Erie before moving to an anchorage. We went under that raised-green walkway on the left in order to come in here, and leave.
The fake pirate ship Scallywags is at its dock behind Many Moons (in blue flybridge top, on right).
As we left the marina, I got this shot of Many Moons reflected in the convention center’s glass walls as we passed by.
Our anchorage near Presque Isle State Park is wonderfully peaceful–and protected from those strong west winds. We went just 2.5 miles across Presque Isle Bay, from our marina at that light-blue dot, to find this quiet place.
We rowed ashore and hiked the short distance across the peninsula to Lake Erie, which looks like this today. Thus, our 3rd night here, which will probably turn into a 4th and maybe a 5th. We don’t see any boats out on the lake today.
This is one of the few sandy beaches along Lake Erie, at least in this section. It looks a lot like Lake Michigan here.
Anchored out, for the first time in three weeks, near Presque Isle State Park. The wind is whistling loudly through the sailboat rigging behind us, even though the water looks calm, because we are protected from the west winds on this end of the little bay
Sunset from our anchorage. It’s calm in this bay but we can hear Lake Erie pounding away just a 1/2 mile to the north.

2 thoughts on “State #18 & The War of 1812

    1. Yep! I’m up at 0430 because the strong north wind is still rocking us, even in this protected cove. My buoy data app says there are 7 foot waves out there on the lake less than a mile away. Sure glad we arent out there!


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