Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Come Sail Away...Or Not

My boyfriend sails...this is not news to many of you. He's good at it and it's like second nature to him. When something goes wrong, he just...fixes it. He knows when to turn the tiller or when to adjust the sails, and why.

I however, do not.

In fact, before I met him, I'd only ever been on a sailboat once that I can remember, and it was big. And also, I wasn't driving.

Anxious to learn and to take some of the burden off of him, I bought myself a 2-hour sailing lesson at the Piers Park Sailing Center in East Boston. It's something I thought of doing a while ago, but it was just too expensive. Luckily I found a deal through LivingSocial which allowed me a 2 hour lesson for only $35. I was stoked but also, a little worried that I would offend Brian by buying a lesson. Luckily he was cool with it (though he did make a good point-me taking that lesson was like him taking a cooking class...which would be weird.). I already planned on taking yesterday off, and was excited that they had an opening for the morning.

I arrived to find out that 2 others were booked on the same boat. This confused me a little because I thought that it was a 1-on-1 lesson but I figured that it would be OK since I already knew the basics. Turns out, I was kind of wrong...about it being OK-not about knowing the basics!

The two people who shared the lesson with me were tourists who didn't really want to learn how to sail. In fact, the lesson was booked for them as a surprise as part of a Boston treasure hunt from their sister. (Cool idea, no?) Our instructor was a very cool young guy (going to school in NH for Disabled Sports Education) who knew a ton about sailing. He tried asking me what I wanted to learn but without real situations, it was hard for me to communicate what I needed to know. Instead, he took us around the harbor and told me as much as he could about the sails and wind direction as he could while we were out.

Sadly, I don't feel like I learned much. I feel that if the 2 people who were with us were not there, I would have benefited much more. Such is life...I did end up getting a lot more color, and let's face it-sailing on Boston Harbor isn't exactly a waste of time! Regardless, I don't think I'll be taking another sailing lesson from anyone other than my B1.

Because the day was still young and I had the day off, I made my way to Houghton's Pond in Milton, MA. What a lovely park! It's small but clean and so far it's proven to be a very relaxing spot. The downfall is that the buoy's are super close to the shore, so you can't swim out farther than waist level. I grew up in a town which has its own lake, and part of the fun of going there was being able to swim way out past your head. Nonetheless, wading in that fresh water really brought me back. I'd forgotten how much I love swimming in lakes. The earthy, musty smell is so delicious and swimming without worrying about being gobbled up by a shark is nice too. (I am, however, still a great lover of the ocean!)

Houghton's Pond has several picnic areas, a ball field, concession stands and bathrooms. They are also currently building a new bathhouse which should be done by the end of this year. Parking is free, and there is no fee to get into the park, which is a huge plus. The downside is, as I mentioned before, how little room you have to swim due to the buoy placement, the beach area is very small and you run the very real risk of being pecked at by flocks of geese. Your chances increase if, like me, you have the uncanny knack for sitting next to every jackass who feels the need to feed them.

Yes, it's true. Those people exist and if you ever want to find them, just come find me. They're usually sitting on the blanket right next to me! :)

Houghton's Pond would be a lovely place to go after work for a family BBQ or to sit in the shade to read. If only I didn't have to drive through Quincy to get there...traffic will always be the reason I don't make it there. If you live close, and are looking for a nice, clean place to swim and relax, I highly recommend HP in Milton.

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