Boating and Dining on the Potomac

Boating and Dining on the Potomac

Looking for something different to do this weekend?

Then drive down to Woodbridge Sunday morning. Board a boat and take a ride to Colonial Beach with Captain Bill. Have lunch at his home, swim in the pool and soak in the hot tub. Return home that afternoon.

This is not a pipe dream but rather a new venture called "River Excursions with Capt. Bill." The brainchild of teacher and first mate Joann Redding, it's a great opportunity to spend the day on the water, have a leisurely lunch at a beautiful home and then be home before dark.

Capt. Bill is Bill Garber, a boat dealer in Woodbridge, Va. He's been on the water more than 15 years and holds a Coast Guard-approved 50-ton captain's license. To do this, he spent two days in Fort Lauderdale undergoing intensive training, learned CPR, underwent a physical and submitted the required number of hours on the water to the Coast Guard.

Five years ago, he purchased a home on the water in Colonial Beach.

"It's amazing how many Mount Vernon people are down in that area," he said. Colonial Beach was once a vacation getaway for the wealthy, with tourists coming by riverboats to enjoy dance halls and legalized gambling. Many large Victorian homes were built, including one for Alexander Bell. Hotels were built to accommodate the tourists, but when gambling was discontinued, the area fell on hard times and many places sat vacant. Now it's enjoying a rebirth and this is a great way to experience it.

Excursion leaves from Pilot House Marina Sunday mornings at 10 a.m. Passengers will board a new Maxium 33-foot express cruiser and begin their adventure. The trip takes 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Along the way, one might see a bald eagle, jumping fish or a beaver. Guests can request a narrated tour of sites as they pass or just enjoy the ride. Garber is a self-proclaimed history buff and will point out items of interest along the way.

To book River Excursions, call 703-625-4049. Tours leave from Pilot House Marina in Woodbridge. Cost for the tour varies depending on the number of people on the boat (they can take from six to eight) and desired lunch menu. Estimated price is approximately $180.