On the morning of June 10th, after sailing 3,819 miles from France to the U.S., the French frigate Hermione docked outside of the Torpedo Factory Art Center in Alexandria. The tall ship is an exact replica of the 18th Century French frigate that transported the Marquis de Lafayette from France to America in 1780 with news that France was sending 5,500 troops to fight the British. A wide range of dockside events and programs, as well as onboard tours are underway in Old Town from June 10 – 12.
Chris Erney, President of the Torpedo Factory Artists’ Association, wanted to welcome the Hermione’s captain to Alexandria with a gift that represented the best of Virginia. He found that Copper Fox Distillery, located in Sperryville, Virginia, produces one of the highest-rated American whiskies. Chris artfully wrapped the gift in a nautical-inspired motif for the presentation ceremony.
Upon arrival of the frigate and its crew, Barbara Muth, a fluent French speaker and active member of the Torpedo Factory Artists’ Association, presented the gift to the ship’s captain, Yann Cariou. Captain Cariou accepted the gift with great enthusiasm!
When I told the captain that the whisky was the finest whisky made in Virginia, the captain responded that no, it was surely the finest whisky in the world. He was delightful, just what I would expect in French graciousness.
We asked Ms. Muth, Director of the Associates Gallery at the Torpedo Factory Art Center, to tell us a little more about her French connection:
French is actually my first language. I was born in France. My mom is French, my dad is German. We spoke French exclusively at home. When I was ten months old we came to America on a boat. We still spoke French at home till I was about four. I have managed to maintain my fluency in French because all my family is still in France, cousins aunts uncles, we all speak French together. Knowing French was a huge help when I went to work in Venezuela. It made learning to speak Spanish a breeze.
Hermione will set sail for Annapolis, Maryland on the evening of June 12. Bon Voyage Hermione!