Every year for two weeks in August my son Michael goes off to camp. My husband Frank and I take this opportunity and try to find things to do together while Michael is gone. Things that he would usually find boring or not so much fun for a teenager.
So, last August we booked a dinner cruise on the Canandaigua Lady.
As of writing this, and four attempts later, we still have not boarded the boat.
We are so fortunate to live at the tip of the Finger Lake area in Upstate New York, closest to Canandaigua Lake, one of the five Finger Lakes. Canandaigua (meaning “the chosen spot”) is a resort community with great shopping, restaurants and access to the shores of one of the most beautiful of the lakes.
The Canandaigua Lady is a paddleboat that docks at The Steamboat Landing restaurant on the lake and provides lake cruises throughout the Summer and early Fall.
For our first attempt at cruising on the lake in a paddleboat, we were driving the 20 minutes with plenty of time to get there when we ran into lines and lines of traffic outside the area we needed to get to. I know the area pretty well so we tried other ways to get in. All were clogged up with lines of traffic. It could only mean one thing. There was a concert at CMAC Performing Arts Center, another wonderful feature of this area, just not this particular night for us!
CMAC is located on the campus of Finger Lakes Community College. The outdoor amphitheatre brings in top artists from all over the country to perform. That night it was a huge performer, although I can’t recall his name now!
We were literally on Lakeshore Drive, within site of the boat, and could not get there because we were sitting in bumper to bumper traffic. The anxiety was high in the car, because of me, and I considered abandoning it and walking the rest of the way! The time came and went to board the boat and it was still sitting at the dock! By the time we got there a half hour late, we were told that the cruise was cancelled due to high winds.
Fast forward to this August. We still have our rain check from last year. We booked another cruise and an hour and a half before we were to be there, we had one of the worst downpours of rain this summer. We cancelled because the rain had washed away our idyllic perception of being on a boat out on the sunny lake with the water shimmering in all its calmness.
We rescheduled for another day that week. By now we are running out of time because if we don’t get it in before the last week of summer camp, the rain check will sit there another year.
The day of our cruise I woke up sick and in much pain. Another cancellation.
All along I had been having doubts about being able to be on a slow moving, enclosed boat (they no longer serve dinner on the open air upper deck) while eating Eggplant Parmesan. Since childhood I have had a motion sickness problem. We rescheduled the cruise anyways for this past Monday night.
As Monday wore on I was increasingly concerned for the motion, the weather and how cold it was going to be out on the water since it was already one of the coolest days we’ve had this summer. The clouds were as dark as snow clouds.
Then Frank thought of something that never occurred to either of us. On a cruise you usually sit at large tables with other people you do not know. At the risk of sounding antisocial, we did not want that! We were on a mission to spend time together, alone, something that is scarce in our busy lives with a teenager at home.
A phone call confirmed that we would sit at a table for eight with six other people. Another cancellation.
Resigned to the fact that we would probably NEVER go on the Canandaigua Lady, we made reservations at the Steamboat Landing restaurant, sat outside on the deck overlooking the water and had a wonderful dinner together.
After dinner we walked along the shore and since we were in full view of the boat, we watched as others boarded. The weather had miraculously transformed from dark, dreary clouds to bright sunshine that spilled over the shimmering, calm water. Yup, exactly how we had wanted it to be. There was even a rainbow over the horizon!
It was just not meant to be. And so goes the saga of The Canandaigua Lady. Farewell Canandaigua Lady….….farewell.