Junior’s third birthday was Tuesday so—ssshhhhh—I played hooky from work and Chuck and I took him on the two-and-a-half hour Essex Steam Train and Riverboat ride. (If you’re new here, hello, my son is obsessed with trains. If you’re familiar with all the puffin' that goes on in our household, you know that going on a steam train is Junior’s idea of Heaven.)
The train ride was nice. But just as we’d settled into the chug-chug-chugging, the conductor announced it was time for the Becky Thatcher riverboat ride! Curses!
We got off the train and were shepherded towards the boat. What ensued was a 40-hour ride along the Connecticut River. Not only was the ride narrated, it was narrated by a sarcastic teenage boy whose tone said, “I’d rather slice open my limbs on rusty nails than repeat this historical crap.”
Crap like "John Connecticut discovered the the Connecticut River. I’m kidding, folks. I’m kidding." And "The Connecticut River was once rated ‘D.’ ‘D’ for dirty. I’m kidding, folks. I’m kidding."
I started having flashbacks to when my father had custody of me and my younger brother on the weekends and he’d take us on fun (read: educational) excursions to broaden our horizons. My brother and I spent a fair amount of time brutally mocking tour guides—hey, it was survival—so I was disappointed when Chuck wouldn’t join me.
The whole time we were on the boat, Chuck and I reassured Junior that we’d be back on the train any second now...just a few more minutes...
"The Connecticut River is now rated ‘B.’ ‘B’ for bite me. I’m kidding, folks. I’m kidding."
Finally—finally—the boat headed back to the dock. We got off the boat and walked back to the train. We climbed aboard.
“Here we are!” we cried. “Back on the steam train!”
All was right again. Junior jumped out of his skin when the whistle blew. He ooohed and aaahed at the steam. But no sooner had we started puffin' than the conductor announced we’d be pulling into the station at any moment.
I almost puffed into the engine room and clubbed him.
Here’s the thing. If you’re going to sell tickets ($27 per person and $17 for children over two) to a 2-hour boat ride with a train accompaniment, why don’t you just come out and say that? If the bulk of the excursion is going to consist of pimply, snarky narration on a smelly boat that’s crawling down a brown river, your website should convey that.
Another drawback? There was no recycling on the Becky Thatcher riverboat. All the water bottles, soda cans and juice containers from the snack bar went right into the garbage.
This Connecticut excursion is rated ‘NMP.’ ‘NMP’ for not much puffin'. I’m kidding, folks. I’m kidding*.