You wouldn’t believe how much music can influence a hangover. I was pondering this as I sat with nine friends aboard the S.S. Empress the Watercolors Smooth Jazz XM Radio station in the background. “Thanks for listening to Watercolors, enjoy your flight” the dj greeted in between songs even though we’re on a boat. I can’t remember the last time I flew on a boat.
A friend decided to corral up some people and hop on a riverboat in Stillwater, Minnesota, for brunch and a birthday celebration. At $17.65 a person, you really couldn’t pass up the opportunity to get one last hurrah out of summer. We boarded at 11:00 a.m. or so, found a table on the top floor deck and began exploring our drink situation. A few of us knew to flask it or to bring our own alcohol having been duped before by unfortunate prices at novelty events and establishments. We mixed our own drinks with soda and juice purchased at the bar. The mixed drinks that some bought from the bar were affordable. They were in plastic cups, but, they were affordable. After we had settled in with cocktails and Stillwater was out of view we began to explore a little. One by one we left our seats and sought the white railing that lined the deck to see more water and land. After about a half hour to forty-five minutes had passed the food was served buffet style. It was what you may expect for $17: some cold cuts, cheese, and pasta and meatballs along with some sort of pasta salad and cookies. I was disappointed that I wasn’t able to fulfill my bacon craving but, I am picky about how bacon is prepared anyway.
After we finished the meal we continued to roam the boat freely and see the different views from the boat of the St. Croix River. Also, there wasn’t that horrid music playing on all areas of the boat. There may have been about 70 people on the boat total so it didn’t feel crowded what so ever. Beside the group I came with, the others along for the ride varied in age and character. There were some older folks who starred at us youngsters and our goddamn fancy cell phones. Some children, you could just imagine their game of tag resulting in an overboard passenger (Tom Hanks in Splash).
This was definitely an event you wanted to enjoy with a group of cohorts. There was something that would have been a little awkward if it were just you and another person. What made it so great for a group event is that you were able to share the experience with others and at the same time you could split off and dilly-dally. One thing that really soured our spirits was the absolute lack of gambling on the boat but, maybe it was a little too early in the day for that.
The weather was absolutely perfect despite a few strong gusts of wind attempting to clean our table. I was even a little sun burned the next day, the redhead disadvantage. Getting sunburned was nothing, I had a terrific time. We all looked spiffy and felt dandy spending a Saturday afternoon aboard a riverboat indulging in leisure and high spirits.
Two hours later we returned to the Stillwater dock. The ten of us then walked into town for a round of drinks at the Mad Capper Saloon and parted ways to return home. I arrived home feeling as if my day were a wonderful success. I enjoyed my flight.
More Photos here.