When I was a kid, my Dad would take us for a ride on the Staten Island Ferry. At 5 cents per passenger, it was a true bargain for a family of six. We’d ride to Manhattan and turn around and come back. Sometimes, he’d take the car on the ferry and we’d drive in the City. Great times!
That was the start of my affection for ferries. Here are a few others I’ve ridden.
Cape May, NJ – Lewes, DE
The Cape May to Lewes Ferry held 2 attractions for a friend and me – water and crab cakes. The combo fare for ferry and shuttle service got us close to Lewes’ downtown area. After dinner, we’d stroll to King’s for homemade ice cream before hopping the shuttle for the “cruise” back to NJ.
Oxford, MD – Bellevue, MD
Started in 1683, the Oxford – Bellevue Ferry is more modest than most carrying just 9 cars. The pleasant 7 minute ride covers about ¾ of a mile as it crosses the TredAvonRiver on the way to St. Michaels, MD, the “town that fooled the British.” During the War of 1812, knowing the British were poised to attack, the residents hung lanterns high in the trees. At night, aiming for the lights, the British gunboats overshot and the town was saved.
Port Kent, NY- Burlington, VT
One of the best ways to start Vermont leaf-peeping is aboard the Port Kent-Burlington Ferry, operating since 1826. With the Adirondacks to the west and the Green Mountains to the east, this is truly the “scenic route” of the Lake Champlain service.
Hyannis, MA – Nantucket, MA Lawrence
In the 1830s, Nantucket was one of the busiest whaling ports in the world. Today, she still welcomes travelers arriving by sea, including by ferry. The Steamship Authority runs service to the island regularly from Hyannis. Passengers who “walk on” can chose the high speed which takes about 60 minutes. Those with vehicles or a little more time, might prefer a more leisurely 2 ¼ hour cruise.
Levis, Quebec, Canada to Quebec City, Quebec, Canada
As the Empress dominates Vancouver, so does her sister hotel the Chateau Frontenac loom high above Quebec City. Travelers crossing the St. Lawrence via ferry at Levis enjoy a 10 minute trip and some spectacular views of this 400 year old city.
Seattle, WA – Victoria, BC, Canada
Reigning over Vancouver Island’s Inner Harbor with grace and majesty, the Empress, a magnificent hotel from another age, awes visitors arriving by ferry from Seattle. Built in 1809, she has welcomed royalty, rogues, and regular people like my Mother, sister, and me. After visiting the Royal BC Museum, Parliament, and Butchart Gardens, we indulged in that time honored ritual known as Afternoon Tea.
Tea at the Empress