I went to the Dory Shop Museum in Shelburne to see what they had going. Milford Buchanan, Master Dory Builder holds court on the second floor, slowly cranking out dories in the Shelburne style, as did his father before him.
Here is a wild card: a new design by local legend Paul Gartside, called a Picnic Dory. I love the lines of this thing.
Downstairs in the museum are a couple boats built by Sidney Mahaney, another local legend who built dories for seventy years. That’s really hard to do.
The next step was to install the floor, with ribs, stem and transom attached, to the cradle. This particular cradle has been right there on that floor for generations and has birthed, Milford reckons, over sixty thousand dories. The mind reels.
Prying the dory bottom into its perfect rocker for the 60,001st time.
And plumbing it.
Once again I had to pry myself out and continue my pilgrimage. I camped that night at a secluded site in a campground near Yarmouth. Secluded except for the mosquitoes.
For the next eleven hours I wandered the decks and played my ukulele. I don’t think I am cut out for luxury cruises, but it sure was fun for the day.
Coming into Casco Bay, watching a magnificent sunset and rain show over Portland.
And on into Amesbury, Massachussetts the next morning to the Lowell Boat Shop on the Merrimack River. This is the shop where Simeon Lowell began building boats back in the 1700s and Hiram Lowell perfected the Banks Dory.
The family finally dwindled away, but the shop was reborn as a nonprofit and is still hard at it.
Here is a classic Lowell Surf Dory. Beautiful thing. I need one.
And the Banks Dory–looks pretty much like all Banks Dories look from Cape Cod to Lunenburg. Mustard with green gunwales. It takes a fine eye to see the subtleties between the styles.
This knee post in the shop has the annual output of the boatshop hammered into it.
The year 1911 had 2099 dories cranked out of the shop. I gotta pick up my pace a bit.
And on down the road to Gloucester. Here is the fishermen’s monument to well over five thousand men who went to sea and never came back. That’s a lot of fishermen.
And here is the local dory shop.
Geno Modello runs it, still making dories and various other craft when someone needs a boat.
Downtown is the old tavern run by Howard Blackburn after he froze himself to his oars out on the Grand Banks and rowed to Newfoundland. If you haven’t read his biography, Lone Voyager, then get it, read it it, and stop whining.
On my last day I made a quick stop in Essex to see what I had to visit next time. The Shipbuilding Musem and Harold Burnham’s shop, for example.
So little time, so many boats. But I had to go home and be a boatman again. Poor me. Here are the welcoming clouds, building up in their monsoon glory over the desert.