Take a morning brunch cruise through the Chain O’ Lakes on the Chief Waupaca Sternwheeler Muffins + Mimosas Cruise.
A gal who never turns down a glass of cheap champagne.
My mom was visiting for the weekend and to shake up our routine and to thank her for helping so much with Dagny care and household chores, I treated her to a morning boat cruise in Waupaca, Wisconsin.
I was excited for the cruise, but as I always do with any new adventure, I had the same few fears:
We would get lost
We would be late
Dagny would be an uncooperative adventure partner and we would be stuck … on a boat … for 90-minutes
Well, leaving more than 2-1/2 hours before the cruise began (for a 90-minute drive) and following Google Maps assured us that the first two fears wouldn’t happen, but a cranky and increasingly more independent baby almost put my third fear into true reality.
As we walked from parking lot #2 towards the Clear Water Harbor restaurant to claim our tickets and wait for our departure, I mummified myself in my Boba wrap and got Dagny strapped in.
She immediately started crying.
Well, maybe it was more like yelling.
She had been in the wrap dozens of times before for dog walks and while I am teaching dance and, generally, fusses for the first minute or two until she falls into a Sleeping Beauty-like slumber, but this time was different.
She wanted to see the world around her.
Thankfully, having Oma involved in the adventure quickly turned everyone’s worst nightmare (inescapable baby screaming) into a peaceful daydream: all the little lady wanted was to sit on our laps and watch the world go by around her.
And I have to say, while it’s a transition, it’s a pretty fun stage of babyhood to be in.
We boarded the Chief Waupaca Steamwheeler at 10:15am and went into the first floor covered seating area where we found all of the other parents of tiny babies, too young to wear sunscreen and as intolerant of direct sunlight as Baby D’Artagnon.
Extra bonus for sitting in this area? We were the closest to the mimosas which, to my surprise, were included in the cost of the $20 ticket.
At 10:30am on the nose, we departed the dock and proceeded on a 90-minute cruise through seven of the twenty-two lakes chained together by channels, natural openings, and creeks, where we saw many Wisconsinites doing Wisconsin Summers the best way we know how: on a boat.
We passed dozens of pontoons and speedboats on the water, saw a team of young kids sitting on a dock getting swimming lessons, and oodles of lake homes that we were oggling at.
Since its establishment, Clear Water Harbor has grown to serve the Waupaca community well and draw people to the area with their regular sightseeing tours.
About thirty years ago, owners, Pat and Mimi Meighan brought the Chief Waupaca Sternwheeler to the beautiful Chain O’ Lakes - powered by a steam engine that drives the paddle wheels through the water to propel the craft through the gin-clear water at a top-speed of five miles per hour.
The Muffins + Mimosa tour is held every weekend throughout the Summer and for a cost of $20 per person (children under two are free!), you can get all of the mimosas, mini muffins, fruit, and yogurt your little heart desires.
It really was the perfect setting for a relaxing weekend morning to celebrate three generations of women getting together and simply enjoying one another’s company.
That’s sort of the magic (and maybe the nightmare for some) about being on a boat - you’re stuck there come Hell or hopefully-no-high-water, so you might as well kick back and enjoy it!
Here are a few of my tips for making sure you make the most of your brunching experience:
Check the weather, dress appropriately, and then take off a layer if it’s going to be sunny. If you’re blessed with beautiful weather like we were, you’re either going to be sitting directly in the sun for almost two hours or you’ll be sitting inside in a non-air conditioned floating dining room. This always-cold gal was glad she wore shorts and was wishing she hadn’t worn long sleeves. If you’re bringing kiddos with you, maybe bring multiple outfits, so being too hot or too cold doesn’t kill their vibe.
Bring cash. If you want anything more than the mimosas to drink, there is a cash bar on board.
Arrive early. I don’t suspect our tour was sold out, but it was pretty full. If you want to guarantee yourself a good spot, you don’t want to be the last one to hop on board.
Eat lunch at Clear Water Harbor’s restaurant afterwards. We didn’t eat our money’s worth in muffins and yogurt, so us ladies went to Clear Water Harbor’s restaurant for lunch afterwards and were not disappointed. We got the homemade chips + guacamole to share and I got the Veggie Wrap and fries for my lunch - super fresh, super yum.
Check out their other events. They offer a TON of fun outdoor Summer activities so that us Midwesterners can make the most of these short warm months. Waterfront dining and music seemed to be on the docket for nearly every day of the week along with multiple different boat cruises to fill that craving of floating on the water.