American Nomad Blog
About this blog
American Nomad covers the best of U.S. travel—from vacation deals to festivals, weekend getaways, travel tips, and more. A seasoned traveler and Moon author, Laura is the perfect guide to help discover new gems when traveling domestically.
- A Southern Girl's Wintertime Adventure in Yellowstone
- One Novelist's Odyssey Across America
- Gearing up for a Family Camping Trip
- Mint Juleps and More at Oak Alley Plantation
- Avoiding Identity Theft While on Vacation
- Money-Saving Travel Tips from Nomadic Matt
- Fashion, Fun, and Convenience for the Modern Traveler
- In Search of Irish Museums Across America
- The Inspiring Journey of a Solo Kayaker
- Getting Fit for Treks in Yosemite and Elsewhere, Part 2
- Getting Fit for Treks in Yosemite and Elsewhere, Part 1
- Experiencing Yosemite with YExplore
- Two Travel Contests Worth Mentioning
- A Word About the TSA's No-No List
- A Reader's Advice About Airport Security
A Tall Ship Voyage
Since focusing on train travel in my last post, I've thought about another mode of transportation – namely, my lifelong fascination with boats. During my U.S. travels, I’ve experienced plenty of memorable boat rides – from the ferry cruise to the Statue of Liberty to a Steamboat NATCHEZ excursion on the Mississippi River to a glass-bottom boat tour in central Florida.
Recently, my husband, Dan, and I added another voyage to our list of maritime adventures. While visiting Traverse City in northern Michigan, we took a two-hour trip aboard the Tall Ship Manitou (13390 S.W. Bay Shore Dr., 231/941-2000, hours vary seasonally, $35-45 adults, $18-26 children), a majestic replica of a 19th-century “coasting” cargo schooner and one of the largest sailing vessels on the Great Lakes. Despite the overcast sky that day, it was a lovely cruise.
After leaving the dock, the crew enlisted the passengers’ assistance in raising the sails, which was an awesome – if monumental – task. While helping to pull the ropes, I concentrated so hard that my favorite pair of sunglasses tumbled off my head and into the bay. Despite my sadness at the loss, I kept on tugging until the job was done.
Once the sails were in place, Dan and I savored the breezy voyage across Grand Traverse Bay. After a while, the captain began inviting passengers to take the wheel. Happily, I took my turn at the stern and steered the vessel for several minutes, even veering it away from the coastline at one point. All the while, I chatted with the captain about other experiences that the Traverse Tall Ship Co. offers, including dinner and wine-tasting cruises, live entertainment nights, ice cream sails, a floating bed-and-breakfast, and four-day windjammer cruises.
Following my turn at the wheel, Dan and I relaxed near the bow and each ordered a beer courtesy of Right Brain Brewery, a local microbrewery in Traverse City. After a while, we ventured below deck and toured the galley and sleeping quarters. The galley was more spacious than I would have imagined, but the bedrooms were truly the tiniest I’ve ever seen. Each chamber had only enough room for a bunk bed, a side table, and a few life jackets. As former RV travelers, we loved the cramped quarters, but one fellow passenger, a self-described claustrophobe, refused to go below.
By the end of the two-hour cruise, we both felt exceedingly relaxed. Perhaps it was the beer’s doing – but I’d like to think it was the pleasant cruise. If you enjoy the open water, I would highly recommend a ride aboard the Tall Ship Manitou. But, if Traverse City is too far away for you, take heart – there are similar cruises around the country, including a four-hour adventure sail aboard the Californian through the Maritime Museum of San Diego, multiple thematic excursions aboard the Tall Ship Wendy in Chicago, and various trips through The Black Dog Tall Ships in Vineyard Haven, Massachusetts. And, if you miss the boat this year, there’s always next summer!
As always, I’m open to ideas for future posts. If you have any suggestions, burning questions, or destinations that you’d like me to explore in greater detail, please comment below or contact me at laura [at] wanderingsoles [dot] com.