Lasting Moments

December 2021 Live By Heather Magda Serrano

It’s impossible to go houseboating and not make some of your best memories. Houseboats offer the perfect atmosphere to simply enjoy the company of your friends and family, so it’s little wonder we always look back on those trips with fond recollections.

Here are some of our readers’ favorite houseboating memories.

Bachelor/Bachelorette Party

It’s not every day that you get to host a bachelor/bachelorette party on your houseboat, and that’s why one of Vanessa Peterson’s favorite memories is throwing her sister and fiancé’s bachelor/bachelorette party on a couple of houseboats.

Now newlyweds, Lauren and Jeff Butler look back fondly on their party, and Vanessa cannot be happier that she and her husband Adam were able to organize the event on their houseboat and a rental houseboat with all their siblings and friends—the bride has six siblings (plus three spouses) and the groom has three siblings as well. Even their 6-year-old golden retriever Penny was living it up at the party. Vanessa mentioned that Jeff is the first child to get married in his family, which made the trip even more special.

“Obviously it’s a milestone when two families are joining together,” explained Vanessa, “but to also introduce the Butler family to the houseboating culture made it extra special.”

The group started off the weekend at Bullards Bar Reservoir in California with a fishing trip with Brett Brady from Bare Bones Guide service, which assisted them in enjoying some lake-to-table dining. From there, their days were filled with the group’s favorite lake activities: paddle boarding, jet skiing, lounging in the water, and surfing. Then when the night rolled in, the party enjoyed games, great food and drinks, and plenty of laughter.

The Northern California lake made for the perfect setting, surrounded by the Tahoe National Forest. The family has already made countless memories and celebrated many milestones at Bullards Bar Reservoir. In fact, one of the great milestones was Vanessa and Adam’s own engagement at the same lake 12 years ago.

“Hosting my sister and her new family was the perfect celebration of love, fun, and quality family time doing our favorite thing,” added Vanessa. “We know there will be many more epic weekends, and we are already counting down the days until next summer.”

Generation To Generation

For Beth Mulry, one of her favorite memories is of her grandson Liam’s first trip to their houseboat on Dale Hollow in the spring of 2018. Beth and her husband Rob bought their 53-foot 2007 Stardust houseboat in November 2017 and Liam was born in December 2017, so they were very excited to introduce him to houseboating.

“Documenting Liam’s first trip to the lake was extremely special because we were able to visualize all of the fun we were going to have watching him grow up on the lake with us,” shared Beth. 

This past summer, Liam and his mom Liz got to spend an entire week out on the shore with Beth and her husband while his dad Malcolm had to go back and forth to work. Liam has already had so much fun at the lake and has made friends with some of the other “lake babies.”

Retirement Party

Tracy Peters recently threw her retirement party aboard her 75-foot Sumerset houseboat Jenny. She keeps her boat docked at Aqualand Marina in Flowery Branch, Ga., and she decided to go all out for her retirement bash—she hired a captain, a caterer, a bartender and a DJ. The party was such a success that Tracy will always remember it as one of her favorite memories.

“About 30 of my friends and family came out to celebrate,” described Tracy. “At dusk, the captain took us out for a sunset cruise. We had music and dancing and it was a night I will never forget!”

Tracy and her party members didn’t have to worry about a thing thanks to the help of the private captain keeping everyone safe, the caterer serving all plant-based foods, the bartender keeping the drinks coming, and the DJ supplying them with ample tunes. Everyone had a fun time and will be sure to always remember Tracy’s awesome retirement party.

Columbus Day Tie-Up

One of Karen Ruetschle’s favorite houseboating memories comes from the annual Columbus Day tie-up she celebrates with her family and friends at Lake Cumberland. She finds it to be the perfect way to wrap up the summer and it never disappoints.

The Columbus Day Tie-Up tradition was started 13 years ago by Karen’s friend Dave Dyson. Ever since then, Karen and all her friends and family have gathered at the designated spot.

“We have a lake family that gets bigger every year,” shared Karen.

The group has a potluck dinner on Saturday and usually a bonfire that night. They visit with each other, swapping boating stories. Then when the weekend’s over, they’re ready to winterize.

Karen’s love of Lake Cumberland started over 20 years ago when she and her husband were still teenagers. They’d pitch a tent on one of the islands and rough it. They had several runabout boats and finally got a Cuddy Cabin 272 Baja. Karen and her husband had two boys by that time and they could all sleep in the small cuddy. Though it was a ton of fun, Karen finally put her foot down and the family bought a used Jamestowner houseboat that they fixed up. Eventually, they decided to build their own Sunstar houseboat, The Water’s Edge.

“We love Lake Cumberland and always will,” said Karen. “We’ve seen hundreds of Lake Cumberland sunsets and they never get old. Life is too short to not catch the great sunsets on The Water’s Edge!

A New Tradition

Toni Hiatt has a group of friends she’s been friends with since elementary school, and they try to do something together every year because some of them live far away. As a houseboat owner of four years on her second remodel, Toni decided to host her friends for an overnight trip and they ended up making one of their favorite memories together.

“It was the best time we had in so many years,” shared Toni. “We laughed until we cried!”

They had such a great time they decided to make it a tradition. From now on, they’ll have an annual friends’ weekend on the houseboat every summer.

Loading Up The Bikes

Growing up, Trent Newhall spent his summers at Lake Shasta, Calif., aboard a houseboat his grandfather built in his backyard. His family also loves dirt biking, and Trent remembers watching old home videos of them riding the shores of Lake Shasta and listening to stories of them trying to load dirt bikes into their ski boats.
“Ever since then I have been obsessed with houseboats and dirt bikes,” laughed Trent.

Now, 30 years later, Trent owns his own 2005 Twin Anchors houseboat on Lake Shasta, and his favorite memories are of him and his buddies loading their pit bikes onto the roof of their limousine and making the three-hour drive from Galt, Calif., to Lake Shasta for a weekend of houseboating and riding bikes at his favorite place on earth.

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