Are You In?

It’s possible that the summer-long vacations of our childhoods may ruin a fair portion of our later years. Three months off, during the most beautiful time of the year — what could be better? From our June 2012 issue.

It’s possible that the summer-long vacations of our childhoods may ruin a fair portion of our later years. Three months off, during the most beautiful time of the year — what could be better?

So, it's somewhat inevitable that "grown-up" summers are going to leave us feeling shortchanged. We may try to take advantage of an extra three-day weekend or two, a week off — maybe half-days on Fridays, if we're lucky enough to have benevolent overlords or the kind of work that can be put on hold. But there are always those obligations that impinge: unavoidable business trips, family commitments, a project (personal or professional) that spills over its borders and all over the best-laid plans — and suddenly, that magic time we look forward to for nine months has evaporated! Summer is over, again.

If you live in the Northeast or another part of the country where the winters can be very cold and dark, well … you may wind up developing the sort of absurd aversion to winter that I once suffered. My dread of November through March started to overtake my enjoyment of even the most perfect summer days — I started to prefer the anticipation of summer to actual summer! That's when I knew I had a serious problem.

Last year, I found the solution: I spent most of the season on Bossanova in a quiet mooring field with beautiful views. Every day began with a sense of vacation as I enjoyed my coffee on the afterdeck and watched the sun sparkle off the water. And whatever happened during the busy day at the office, the holiday feeling was bookended with a grilled dinner on the stern and a spectacular sunset.

Each time I headed across the harbor toward my own private island, my petty concerns seemed to remain in a heap on the dock behind me (which confirmed my sneaking suspicion that minor worries and stresses are afraid of the water).

It wasn’t perfect. I had Wi-Fi and a cell phone, which brought the world aboard when I wanted it but sometimes when I didn’t. And of course, there were the minor inconveniences that come with living off a battery bank. My hot water heater only runs off shore power, for instance, so I had to take very quick, cold showers aboard, or go ashore and use the facilities.

Nonetheless, I stowed away more than enough great moments last summer to make this year’s (mild) winter tolerable. (I should also mention that I spent the winter in a house with a fireplace — which is a lot more like having a boat in summer than had ever occurred to me; both make the best of the season — and I think I may have discovered a strategy for beating the winter blahs.)

When I took my boat up through Narragansett Bay to Massachusetts for some maintenance recently, I was reminded of all the great places there are to explore that are only a couple of hours away from my mooring. This year, even if I can’t get away for long periods of time, I am vowing to take more short trips, and to throw out the anchor in some of the hundreds of scenic coves, bays and harbors that welcome the Atlantic Ocean to New England. Sure, it’s easier to just stay put, and after a week of work it’s sometimes very tempting, but the first trip of the season always reminds me that there’s nothing quite as wonderful as being under way on a gorgeous day.

Even if you don't have the kind of boat or the kind of life that enables you to spend the entire summer afloat, let's make a pact (at the risk of sounding corny) to get out in the sunshine and enjoy the water as much as we always think we will before our plans go awry.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012, is the first official day of the season and the longest of the year. Yes, that does mean that all the rest of our summer days will be shorter, but it’s about quality, not quantity.

Summer starts now. Are you in?

Mary South, Editor-in-Chief