Now some of you may think delivering mail is like watching paint dry (BORING!). I’d be right there with you if I hadn’t been there with Captain Neil Frame and his trusty steed, Zach. Zach is a horse of a different color when it comes to mail in the twenty-first century.
But I gotta tell you friends, these twenty-first century Pony Express cowboys are not official U.S. Postal workers. Good to know nobody’s going postal on my watch/ride. No, these riverboat gamblers (they wear many hats in the telling of this descriptive tale) are employed by Lady of the Lake Cruise Line.
The Lake Geneva Cruise Line (once known as Lady of the Lake Cruise Line) goes back as far as the late 1800’s, when the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad offered reliable transportation to Lake Geneva for Chicago’s wealthy industrialists. Hunters and fishers brought back stories of crystal clear waters and picturesque shores, returning with their families when the trains began running in July, 1871.
The great Chicago Fire in October of that same year sealed the deal for Captain Quigley and the Lady of the Lake Cruise Line. Many of Chicago’s wealthy, displaced families moved to nearby Lake Geneva while their homes and businesses underwent reconstruction or restoration. Captain Quigley began delivering passengers, goods and mail in 1873 since there were no roads around the lake to speak of. As they say, the rest is history.
So, let’s stop treading water and get on with the real reason for today’s blog - the mail courtesy of two males.
Here’s Zach, Captain Frame's trusty steed, hitting the dusty trail.
Maybe it's time to turn off America's Funniest Videos. Today's episode was certainly one for the history books.
Did Zach make a splash? I don't want to give away the ending. You'll certainly want to see it for yourself. It's the best show ever! Oh, and the mansions are quite impressive too.
The bottom line on Lake Geneva Cruise Line:
- Verdict: I loved the history, adored the drama and excitement of the mail delivery. The
narration was excellent, the boat comfortable (we sat on fold-up deck chairs), but a little
crowded. This is their most popular narrated tour of the day. Facilities are available
onboard as well as a basic selection of drinks and snacks. Moving about the upper (open
air) and lower (enclosed) decks for picture opportunities was a challenge. You really are
encouraged to remain seated. The ride was choppy initially.
- How to Get There: The boats depart from the Riviera Docks at 812 Wrigley Drive, a block
south of the main downtown intersection of Broad Strenet and Main (Highway 50).
- Ideal for: There are no age restrictions for the cruise, but the woman with the cyring baby
might think twice before taking another cruise with an infant. The length of the narrated
tour (almost 3 hours) isn't really conducive to small, fidgety children. Pre-teens will
undoubtedly like the ongoing perfomance by the mail carrier, teens will bore quickly as they
do with most things beyond their circle of friends. Dinner cruises, cocktail cruises, ice cream
social cruises and special points of interest along the lake are all available to suit all ages
and interests. Specifics are available at their Lake Geneva's Cruise Line website.
- Insider tips: The first tour of the day is the mail boat. Tickets go fast. We bought ours
the night before at the Riviera Dock outside on the pier for $30 each. Prices are subject to
change without notice. GET THERE EARLY for a good seat. We shot for a 9 am arrival time
and almost lost out on a seat on the lower deck (starboard side) for our 10 am departure.
The boat tours the lakes in a counter-clockwise direction, so all the action and mansions are
on the right side of the boat.
- Nearby Food: A plethora of options are a block away in downtown Lake Geneva.