Education and relaxation: Sail around the Connecticut River aboard historic replica Onrust

ESSEX - She's grand, regal and vibrant.

"Kind of happy I would even say, the colors sparkle," said Captain Dan Thompson of a stunning boat called Onrust, new to the Connecticut River Museum.  "This vessel is a historic reproduction of a boat from 1614."

The original Dutch yacht was captained by Adriaen Block - perhaps the first vessel to explore the Connecticut River and Long Island Sound.

"It’s such an exciting opportunity for us to have a vessel of this quality and this type of history," said the museum's executive director Chris Dobbs.

Visitors can explore the museum and then board Onrust to look around.  Or, they can embark on one of three tours on the water, taking place Thursdays through Mondays this summer.  The boat holds about 30 people per tour.  An evening sunset cruise is a particularly gorgeous option.

"You’re having a glass of wine and the sun is setting behind the deck," said Thomson.  "It’s a great time to combine an evening pleasure cruise with a little bit of history."  During cruises, the crew shows off the boat's unique leeboards which help navigate shallow water.

"They look like wings and they give the vessel a very graceful appearance," he said.  "(Dutch boats) all have this very barge-like appearance, very broad and beamy throughout the length of the boat."  Participants also see the sails being raised.  They can even try their hand at "driving" the boat by operating the tiller!

An outing aboard this floating museum is active yet relaxing - a step back in time on the shores of our scenic waterway.

"It really does help to bring history to life along the Connecticut River," said Dobbs.

The Connecticut River Museum is offering tours on Onrust at 1:30 p.m. 3:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. from Thursday to Monday this summer.  Click here for more information.