I never tire of the Chicago skyline from the water.
And I was glad to hear Capt. Rob Newsome say that he ranks it the best urban waterfront overall. He's had more experience than I have, but I would agree. His point went beyond the scenic value of the Chicago lakefront to the actual use of it.
One of the reasons he ranks Chicago's lakefront so high is that you can go from your office to your boat within five minutes and be on the water in another five minutes. Newsome has been all around, both personally and as a part of the DiscoverBoating team, so he has a broad perspective.
The family had a pretty good perspective on Friday. Dana Fennewald, the PR manager for the National Marine Manufacturers Association, invited the whole family out for a sort of staycation.
NMMA is Chicago-based. For the last few summers, Fennewald has invited me out on various story ideas. This one was better than most.
We left out of DuSable Harbor mid-morning. And the idea was to do a sort of sampler of a watery staycation.
Newsome started by giving some of the fun points of the boat, a 32-foot Cobalt 323 from Gordy's. The boys appreciated the ability to flip a switch and have the motors sound like a bad-ass racing boat.
But it is really designed to be a family boat, with lots of space at the back for play outside. That was our ultimate aim, play on the water.
Newsome began it with a quick tour of the lakefront sights. The rest of the family really has not seen the Chicago skyline from the lake, and as I said before, I never tire of it.
The bonus was simply being on water on a morning when the heat was building on land. It was quite a welcome change when we passed out into the lake.
They took the kids (and my wife and I) tubing with the Loop skyline as a backdrop. Then swimming in 30 feet of water.
And we had quite another bonus.
The plan had been to do a staycation story early in the summer. But the trip was delayed once by weather, then for nearly a month while one son was sick.
So Friday finally worked for everybody. And that happened to be the morning when practive for the Chicago Air & Water Show began.
That provided the highlights of the day from modern fighters breaking the sound barrier right over us, to helicpoters whirling at the filtration plant, to transport plans passing by, to stunt fighters practicing loops just off shore.
The morning ended with a light box lunch while watching some of the planes and simply chillin' on the water.
It was time.
After we docked, we drove north on Lake Shore Drive and could not believe the hundreds of boats that were lined up to watch practice, near where we had been only an hour or so before.
It was one of my better mornings on the water.