Wintertime Onboard Adventures Without Untying The Lines

Hi Gals,
Vivian and I want to wish you happiness as you celebrate. As winter is upon us, our thoughts turned to how often our wonderful boat get-aways sit abandoned during the winter. We thought we would offer you some ideas for winter adventures on your boat that don’t require untying the lines.
Call the Chamber of Commerce for the town in which your boat is moored and ask about fall and winter activities. If you like the convenience, find a maid service, let them know what you require, arrange for them come in to freshen up and ready the boat, then escape for the weekend. Keep a bus schedule or taxi numbers onboard.
Here are some suggestions for winter dock-dwelling get-aways. The specifics are for boats moored in Seattle but they may stimulate ideas for those of you in marinas elsewhere.
  • Stay on board over night while enjoying the January Seattle Boat show, (or to just enjoy Sunday breakfast in Fremont and winter dock-walking-boat-shopping – great prices.)
  • Do some antiquing, attend an estate sale or the Fremont Sunday Market (it’s year-around now.)
  • Opera, or theater tickets? Pair it with a favorite downtown upscale restaurant.
  • Enjoy sporting events? Attend the game and relax onboard after a quick taxi home.
  • Art walks (you aren’t driving so start with Martinis at Vans in Seattle, they are legendary, or pick someplace in Pioneer Square.)
  • Dinner out at a special place (Have you tried the Bouillabaisse at McCormick’s on 4th Avenue in Seattle? They don’t serve it till it’s aged right.)
  • Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner – (Have it cooked up by a catering service or one of the places that prepare the whole meal for takeout and invite friends who are game     for a unique adventure. Or take the bus from the boat to the Millionaire’s Club downtown and help out.)
  • Christmas shopping – moor the boat at Bell Street Pier and walk up to the Pike Street Market and downtown. When you return to the boat, put your feet up and sip Tom and Jerry’s. One of our members has a tradition of having her mom and sisters on board over night for a fun weekend of Christmas shopping together.
  • Host a Christmas open house at your boat (especially the night of the Christmas     ships. One of our suburban dwelling, boat owners on the dock invited all  the other boat owners on the dock to egg nog – it was great to get to know them.)
  • If the kids are old enough and respect onboard safety, let them camp out with friends on the boat. (An opportunity for you and your spouse stay in a hotel nearby.)
  • Enjoy lunch at one of the myriad of interesting restaurants on The Ave in the University District then visit the Burke or Henry Museums and later an art film.
  • For a  quiet get-away take your partner to the boat for the weekend. Rent some videos and call 443-To-Go  (8646) to deliver food from your favorite restaurant. (Keep in mind, being onboard can offer a romantic setting.)
  • Fix a Sunday breakfast onboard, curl up with the Seattle Times or New York Times and later take one of Kenmore Air’s sight-seeing tours. They are located at the south end of Lake Union and at the northern tip of Lake Washington. Call ahead for reservations –  866.435.9524
  • Camp out with the kids onboard. Take them to a hearty breakfast at Voula’s Offshore Café on north Lake Union next to the Northlake Tavern (great country-style breakfasts.) Then purchase a kite from Gasworks Park Kite Shop at the bottom of Stone Way and fly it at the park.
  • Have you ever used the boat to put up out-of-town guests? They can have privacy and you can join them for activities in the city.

Or, maybe you really need a break from tradition – one Christmas week we escaped to Anacortes. On Christmas Eve we went to the little Chinese Restaurant. It was quiet, almost empty. I had Irish Coffee, which were surprisingly good. My husband’s choice, Tanqueray Martini (we were walking.) The waiters wore tuxedos, a bit tattered, and the guests that did arrive joined us in friendly conversation over egg rolls, hot and sour soup and all the traditional American-Chinese food trimmings. It was a warm, pleasant almost surreal evening, a rare Christmas Eve we will never forget.

Whatever you do, there are many ways to use your boat besides heading for cruising destinations. Get out of a rut, break with tradition. It may take a bit of planning ahead but it will be worth it. If you’re interested, I’ve placed on my blog a short piece about how my husband and I enjoyed our boat year around and how that changed our lives. It includes two of my husband’s delicious recipes. Oxtail Goulash and Szechuan Eggs (For those of you who read Nor’Westing Magazine, he was The Galleyman.)
We wish you a relaxed and festive season.
Marilyn and Vivian
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