The Snymans graciously invited me to spend 4th of July with them at Rhona’s brother Noel and sister-in-law Helena’s house atĀ Orange Lake, upstate New York. So on the morning of July 4, I board the train at Grand Central Station, destination Beacon. It is a beautiful 1 1/2 hour train ride along the Hudson River. I pass towns that sound familiar from books and movies, like Riverdale, Yonkers and Tarrytown and see Westpoint Military Academy across the river. Rhona and Paul pick me up at the station and we drive through the quaint town of Beacon and we arrive at the lake house just before 11. Celebrating 4th of July at Orange Lake is about to begin.

A boat parade on the lake

There is a boat parade at noon, to kick things off. So I quickly change in proper clothes for boating activities. In the meantime, the kids have decorated the boat with American flags and other red, white and blue decorations. As the parade starts from the other side of the lake, we leave at 11.40 to make our way there. After arriving there, we already see several boats waiting, some with amazing decorations. Some are also decked out in American themed decorations, including one with a human Statue of Liberty. While others have come up with their own theme. There is one resembling a bubble bath with duckies, one that is a roadworks construction boat with crew, and a a “life is better at the lake” one.

A horn announces the start of the parade, so we start to follow the other boats. Noel is blasting an all American playlist over the speakers, while we float along the lake shore. Everywhere, people are outside on their lawns and decks, waving at the parade of boats coming by. It is great, it is festive and above all it it is an unique experience and as American as it can be. I think it is wonderfully fitting on this all American holiday.

Oh but ain’t that America for you and me, Ain’t that America, something to see, baby. Ain’t that America, home of the free, yeah. – John Cougar Mellencamp

It takes us about an hour to drive around the lake. At the end, we find out that Noel and Helena and their boat have won third prize, as a result of the awesome playlist. We takeĀ  our price, wave goodbye to the other boats and return to the house.

Waterboarding and Kneeboarding

Back at the house, we load the waterskies, wakeboard and kneeboard. It’s is time to get into the lake, it’s time for some watersports. The lake is not very busy, an as a result we have plenty of space to play. Cian gets up on the kneeboard first, followed by Amy on the skies. I had not planned to get into the water and try it, however group pressure and curiosity gets the better of me. The kneeboard seems easiest, so I decide to try that. Paul helps me get strapped onto the board. Once up and out of the water, I am glad I did try. I am racing over the water behind the boat, smiling from ear to ear. It’s exhilarating and I don’t want to stop.

Super Mable

After several rounds, we return to the house for lunch, after which we take the boat out one more time, this time with Super Mable, a big float that fits 3 people. We dance and bounce over the lake, screaming when hitting the waves. We are all having a wonderful time, but after another hour, we decide to call it a day. Sun-kissed, tired and satisfied, we return to the dock.

The Fireworks of all fireworks

At the house we sit outside, enjoying beers, wine, burgers, quesadillas and pasta. The sun is starting to set and around 8.30, the first fireworks appear over the lake. And slowly more and more fireworks appear all around the lake. We take our drinks to the dock, where we have a full view over the lake. It is a fantastic show and a grand finale to a wonderful day, celebrating 4th of July at Orange Lake. And it seems to go on forever. In fact, when my head hits the pillow, I can still hear them outside.

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