River Lady Cruise is the perfect trip for Pemberton Seniors.
By Ebba Liguori
Many seniors have heard of the River Lady and the cruise down the Toms River, but most had never been able to enjoy the experience. Scheduled trips book so quickly, that many times seniors could only get second level seats. For most of the seniors, that is a problem, climbing the stairs to the upper deck is difficult. The Pemberton Senior Citizen Council solved this problem by chartering the entire River Lady, just for the Pemberton group. It proved to be a popular decision and the attendance swelled to 111 seniors, or two very full busloads.
The day began with beautiful sunny skies and bright wispy clouds. The temperature was very comfortable in the low 70’s with only a slight breeze. The bus trip to the River Lady was less than an hour and soon seniors were boarding the 85 foot reproduction paddle wheel riverboat. The lower deck is fully enclosed and has custom made mahogany woodwork, brass wall sconces, and a spacious dance floor. The upper deck offers the perfect atmosphere for sightseeing and relaxation.
The River Lady cruises the Toms River and Barnegat Bay of Toms River. The riverbanks are surrounded by beautifully manicured lawns and gardens. The homes are uniquely designed, many dating back to the turn of the 20th Century. The River Lady is the only true stern-wheeler in the state. Captain Lance arranged for a continental breakfast to be served once the vessel was underway.
Captain Lance gives an historical narration of the many sights along the way. River Lady does have a capacity of 130 passengers, so there was plenty of room. After a brief welcome, the captain set sail while the seniors enjoyed the scenery and their breakfast. This cruise was so relaxing and enjoyable. The weather was perfect and seniors were able to go out onto the decks. The breeze was gentle and refreshing. River Lady sails daily with sightseeing, luncheon and dinner cruises. Mondays the vessel is available for private charter and Captain Lance will arrange special accommodations.
The seniors agreed that this was one of the very best trips the group has ever taken, and the fun only began on the cruise. After docking, the seniors returned to the buses and headed for the Captain’s Inn in Forked River. It was a short trip and the restaurant was ready for the seniors. They had a special buffet of hors d'oeuvresprepared and waiting. Many choices of cold meats, cheeses, fruits and veggies and included even smoked salmon. It was a wonderful way to begin the meal.
The meal began with a delicious vodka penne pasta followed by a salad of mixed baby greens and other salad items with a balsamaic dressing. The entrée choices were prime rib, half a roast chicken or a seafood medley platter. This included stuffed flounder, shrimps, scallops, and clams casino. Roasted rosemary potatoes and mixed vegetables completed the platter. Of course fresh hot rolls and butter were served and beverages were included. Dessert was decadent with a chocolate shell covering a fancy ice cream double scoop with whip cream on top with whole cherry and almond slices hidden in the center of the ice cream. This proved to be a perfect ending to a perfect meal
The Captain’s Inn is located in Forked River on an inlet and is a popular restaurant. There is also a “Tiki Bar” for casual visitors during the warmer months. The seniors always look forward to their meal at Captain’s Inn. Bus drivers Marty Gravenstein and Ted Bridell enjoy their meal at the Captain’s Inn as the staff always treats them very special. The return trip is very easy and the group was home before 5 pm. If you ever want a fun trip, try taking a cruise on the River Lady, or stop off at the Captain’s Inn, especially for an “early bird” dinner served nightly.
Next year the trip to Captain’s Inn is scheduled for August 21 and will include a visit to the New Ocean County Theatre to see “The Buddy Holly Story”. Tickets will be available in June and should sell out quickly. Watch this web site or pick up your copy of the Senior Gazette at the center for more details.