Friday, September 16, 2011

Without A Paddle

For our anniversary back in August, Tony gave me a card that had a slip of paper inside, which said (in part):
Romance (and just plain fun!) is in the air at the Forest Park Boathouse on Thursday nights. Enjoy a Moonlight Paddleboat Picnic for two under the stars!
Tony had made reservations for us to go last night. After he came home from work we got in the car and headed east. There's a lot to do in Forest Park; in addition to green space, the park has quite a few cultural institutions, and many opportunities for athletic activities. However, last night our goal was the Boathouse on Post-Dispatch lake.

The boats launched at dusk. We arrived a bit early, and after we checked in we took a seat on a bench overlooking the lake. While we were waiting, we watched the Boathouse staff outfit the boats with picnic baskets and drinks. There were a couple of dozen boats available, and it looked like they'd all be in use.

Boats in a row (before picnic baskets)

Last night was a bit chilly (I was wearing jeans, two lightweight shirts, and a fleece), however, I figured once we started paddling I would be warm from the exertion. When all the boats were outfitted, they rang a bell; that was our sign that it was time to claim our boat. We got in, the attendant gave us a short explanation, then released the boat from the dock and let us float out into the lake. It took us a couple of minutes to get used to the steering system, but soon we were paddling like pros. Since it was starting to get dark, we turned on the solar-powered lantern that was attached to the front of the boat.

Post-Dispatch Lake has two small islands attached to the mainland by pedestrian bridges. We took the scenic route to the far right, which turned out to be a nice choice. None of the other boats went that way, so we had things to ourselves. After a while we stopped paddling and opened up the picnic basket. They'd thought of everything! There was a small tub of herbed cheese, crackers, olives, flatbread wraps (we'd chosen turkey) potato chips, grapes, and chocolate biscotti. In addition to our drinks, there was a bottle of water for each of us. The basket included sturdy cloth napkins, a trash bag, and even hand sanitizing wipes and insect repellent towelettes.

The lake empties into the Grand Basin at the foot of Art Hill. When we came around the corner, we saw a beautiful sight; the illuminated Art Museum with masses of flags (one for each person that died on September 11, 2001) arrayed on the hill. In the dark, my camera couldn't capture it well, but I tried:

It was even more impressive in person!

As the night wore on it got cooler and cooler; after a couple of hours my toes were freezing. Most of our provisions were gone, so we decided to call it a night and head back. This time we took a different, more direct route. We figured out that having the lantern on was more of a hindrance than a help, so we turned it off and let our eyes get accustomed to the darkness as we navigated parallel to the lake's bank back to the dock


  1. Happy Anniversary Kathy! What a lovely evening.

  2. What a fantastic way to spend some quality time together, less getting cold that is. Hats off to your husband for being this romantic, now that's special!

    I love the night photo, it looks like a perfect place to sit and gaze at in the arms of your loved one.

    Happy belated anniversary, I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

  3. Way to go,Tony! Major points for the romantic evening! Happy Anniversary!

  4. That sounds like fun! I love paddle boats!

  5. I agree! Your hubby just got MAJOR points for that! Sounds just wonderful!