Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Saga of The Canandaigua Lady

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.

AnnMarie :)


  1. We vacationed in New York for the first time this Summer. It is a beautiful State. We enjoyed seeing many lakes and considered a cruise as well. We also ended up eating on the deck of a restaurant overlooking one of the lakes. It was delightful. I think you made an excellent choice. Glad your evening was special!!

  2. Those lakes are something special. Are they fresh water?
    Maybe next year you'll get on the boat. You and hubby can make some new friends, right?
    Just take some sea-sickness pills before you hop on.

    1. Yes, the lakes are fresh water. After this misadventure, I may just stay on the shore and enjoy the boat from a distance!!

  3. Looks like great fun! Even though I like on ship while in the Navy, I have always wanted to go on a real cruise:)

  4. Is there something you can take to help with the motion sickness? I took a Cruise to the Bahamas once, and it was neat. I hope one day you get to experience it after all!

    1. The motion sickness stuff makes me sick!! I am very sensitive to a lot of drugs, so I usually take my chances and maybe suffer. I did go on a HUGE ship cruise and I was okay....just a little woozy....

  5. This looks like a fun place to visit! I got sick on a one day cruise off of Daytona Beach. I haven't been on a cruise since then. My mom love cruises.

  6. It was so cute, I am sitting here reading your post on my NOOK, and as I scroll down, I read where you wrote farewell to the Canadaigua Lady, and THEN I scroll lower to see you waving. It was perfect :) Great post. I'm certain you had a more lovely and meaningful time at your peaceful dinner than you would have on the boat, anyway :)

    1. We definitely had a more lovely and meaningful time at our dinner....it took us a year to figure that out!

  7. It's hard to get time alone. So glad you accomplished your mission!

  8. That looks like it would have been a great cruise!! Sometimes I enjoy being at a large table with strangers, but most times I would prefer not so I can understand how it would be very satisfying to watch the ship sail and wave a fond adieu!

    Last night we were visiting with friends who will be driving through New York state for about 10 days, beginning September 7. It was so enjoyable to recount our favorite memories of the Finger Lakes.

  9. I'm so glad you were able to enjoy yourselves after all that waiting and trying...just to see it never come about. I think you probably would not have enjoyed the trip due to motion sickness...it can really ruin everything. I live on a boat and of course have no problem with motion at all... but my best friend can't even walk down the dock! Chances are you would have had a bad experience... so glad this didn't happen to you!

  10. For your date with DH , I think you chose the better option.

  11. I love this, it sound just like me and my husband. Great post :)


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