NEWPORT CITY — The Northern Star will launch its premier season of cruises on Lake Memphremagog this summer after sitting idle during the height of the pandemic.

The tour boat owner, non-profit group Memphremagog Community Maritime, will also open the snack bar in the Gateway Center at the dock, selling food, merchandise and tickets.

“We will be on the water this year,” MCM member David Converse said.

MCM will offer daily cruises, tours, special events and private bookings on the 65-foot boat.

The Newport City Council voted Monday to lease the snack bar at the Gateway to MCM for $160 a month, with deposit. The snack bar is expected to be open May through October.

City Manager Laura Dolgin said the lease agreement addresses the interests of everyone involved.

Converse told the council during its remote meeting that opening the Portside Snack Bar will be a great enhancement to the tour boat operations.

“We are excited to be able to sail this year,” Converse said.

The Northern Star will operate at first with 50 percent capacity, and hopes to increase the number of people allowed on board over the summer if the governor opens up the state of Vermont as expected.

The tour boat was unable to launch its first season in 2020 when Vermont shut down last spring. MCM bought the boat in 2019.

The operators will conduct several special cruises, including a Star Wars cruise and a Margaritaville cruise.

The MCM wants to offer the tour boat as a floating educational classroom to provide educational opportunities for schools and educators to learn more about the local watershed.

There will be historical tours of Lake Memphremagog, enhanced with details from local residents, educators and historians, according to the Northern Star Facebook page.

Organizers are seeking those willing to share their special knowledge about the lake.

For more information about cruises, programs or to become involved, contact NorthernStarCruise@gmail.com​ or call Rick Desrochers, who is managing the operation, at (802) 487-0234.

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