Operating the Lady of the Lake boat cruise is truly a labor of love for one half of the ownership team. Scott and Niki Monson had their first date on the boat, where Scott has been a longtime pilot.
The Monsons, along with Jon Berhow, bought the cruise business earlier this year. Berhow also owns The Anchor Inn restaurant and bar.
We had the pleasure of getting aboard the first official cruise of the 2015 summer season recently. It should have been the second launch, but Mother Nature played her tricks and created a windy, choppy lake during the afternoon. Fortunately, the wind died down and away we went.
The 90-minute tour takes you along the shoreline. Scott relayed a few interesting tidbits along the way. Once, Clear Lake was home to a casino. During prohibition, the owner would have the alcohol taken down to the lake when inspectors were due on site. Following the visit, the booze was returned to the casino.
The Lady of the Lake cruise has been around since 1987, when the then-owner bought the boat and transformed it from a ferry-boat to a cruise boat. The ferry-boat had operated on the Missouri River for a number of years.
Scott seems like a natural in the pilot house. He carries the role of Captain well.
The boat can hold up to 150 people. We had about 20 people on our cruise. It’s a great family activity. Also, it’s a chance to get on the water for someone like me, who isn’t really a boat person.
Clear Lake is home to the longest boat dock in Iowa, Scott said.
As we moved along the shoreline, The Monsons’ son, Cole, took in the view. This kid was hilarious. He was very serious about fulfilling his work assignments, but he also showed his kid side, taking in the beauty of his lake.
Clear Lake was formed about 14,000 years ago from glaciers, Scott said. It’s become a great location for fishing. We saw several boats gathered in the middle of the water. Apparently, that spot is known for catching some of the best fish in the area.
A couple of guys waded into the lake to do some fishing near home.
The Lady of the Lake seems to be a popular attraction. People waved as we floated along. Some kids even made up a sign recognizing the boat.
We passed along the beach at Clear Lake State Park. The park is home to a lodge that was built in the 1930s during the Depression.
The cruise gave us some beautiful views of the water. It also impresses me how the water looks when you’re on it. The lake looks like it stretches for miles and miles.
More people than just boaters and us took in the fun of the lake. Some folks on a watercraft were enjoying themselves.
After enjoying half the cruise on the open-air deck, we moved to the main deck. The windows open, allowing for a great view of the water.
We also grabbed a couple of drinks at the bar. Niki managed the bar during our cruise. So, the entire operation was truly a family affair. Drinks and snacks are reasonably priced.
The Lady of the Lake can be booked for parties, in addition to the public cruises. Check out the website for more information.
They also offer a July 4th fireworks cruise (which would be cool). We’ve been told the city swells from about 7,000 to about 100,000 over that holiday, so plan accordingly. In addition a ghost stories cruise and a pirate cruise (adults only) are offered. A children’s pirate party is offered dockside.
We had a great time on our cruise. We strongly recommend checking out the Lady of the Lake for a cruise. Please remember that lake conditions can affect a cruise’s schedule.
Please note that the cruise line doesn’t accept credit or debit cards. Cash only for the $14 adult ticket and $6 for children 3-12. Kids under two are free. An ATM is nearby.
For more information on the cruise or the boat, please visit www.cruiseclearlake.com.
Disclaimer: Thank you to the Clear Lake Visitors Bureau and the Lady of the Lake for the complimentary tickets. However, all opinions and views are ours.