Old Town’s newest attraction: A tall ship (with beer cruises)

The Tall Ship Providence arrives on the Old Town Alexandria waterfront July 1 and becomes a permanent attraction for Alexandria.

The ship is a full-scale replica of the Continental Navy’s first warship, which served under General George Washington. It has appeared in movies including “Master and Commander” and “Pirates of the Caribbean.”

The Woodrow Wilson Bridge is scheduled to open just before midnight July 1 to allow the ship to come through and be greeted by a water arch by the Alexandria Fire Department, and by welcome boats which will guide it to its new home.

The Providence reproduction was built for the American Bicentennial in 1976. It was heavily damaged in a 2015 storm.

A group of Alexandria business leaders founded The Tall Ship Providence Foundation in 2017 to raise money to purchase and restore the ship and make it a permanent fixture of Old Town’s waterfront.

“The Tall Ship Providence Foundation was funded by local businesses and individual donors who believe bringing a tall ship to Old Town will contibute to the revitalization of Alexandria’s waterfront,” Clair Sassin, executive director of the Foundation, told WTOP.

Its July 1 arrival ends its journey from Wiscasset, Maine, where its restoration was recently completed.

The ship will host public tours and history programs, as well as regular public cruises, including craft beer cruises and private charters.

“We’re also going to do a variety of themed cruises, including family pirate cruises and adult pirate cruises. You name it and we’re going to do it,” Sassin said.

The ship will open later this summer, with a temporary visitor’s center at 1 Cameron St. A permanent visitor center will open in 2020.

You can read the histories of the original and replica Providence Tall Ships online.

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