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Posts Tagged ‘Quincy Convention and Visitor’s’

Ice skating on Quincy’s riverfront. I know what you’re thinking: I’m very graceful. 🙂

It was 60 degrees.

We were ice skating.

Outside.

And it was AMAZING!!

This past weekend, my husband and I had the opportunity to check out Quincy’s newest outdoor attraction, “River Skate.”  The business, owned by Quincy natives Chris and Marion Dye, opened last week on the Quincy Riverfront.

Romantic skate-date!

River Skate is much what you’d expect from an outdoor ice rink.  Patrons are greeted by a friendly staff at a cute wooden warming hut where they can rent hockey-style skates in all sizes and pick up Pepsi, hot chocolate or snacks.  The staff is happy to help you find the right size skates and even help the kids get laced up and moving on the rink.  There are benches to change into your skates and to tuck your shoes underneath.

There’s just one major difference between River Skate and your average outdoor rink- it’s that River Skate has no ice!

River Skate employs a unique synthetic ice surface called Super-Glide.  According to the press release, Super-Glide is, “A specially engineered polymer and lubricant, with precise production methods and an innovative assembly method; which come together to make Super-Glide® an almost magical synthetic ice surface.”

But the real question was: how would the synthetic ice feel to skate on?

The answer: it was great!

Justin was the best skater there… until a 7 year kid old showed up… 🙂

Justin and I laced up some freshly-sharpened skates and stepped tentatively out onto the surface, and after the first ten feet I could tell that River Skate was really on to something great.  The surface felt smooth and unbroken and just like regular ice.  The synthetic surface even peels up a little around your skates and creates a sort of synthetic ‘snow’ that clings to the outside of the blades.  To this untrained skater, there was no noticeable difference between this surface and an ice rink.

Well, that’s not true. There was one noticeable difference: I wasn’t cold!  It was gorgeous outside and we were skating in t-shirts!   Quincy’s climate just isn’t consistently cold enough to freeze an outdoor rink, and refrigeration that’s required of regular ice is both loud and expensive (besides, where would you get a Zamboni in Central Illinois??) so synthetic ice is a great fit for this area.

Justin Gangnam Style Skating

Justin and I really enjoyed our afternoon on the ice.  It’s an innovative use of Quincy’s riverfront area and the Bayview Bridge makes a photogenic backdrop for all the fun.  I loved that the rink pipes fun music out while you skate- you should have seen Justin skate Gangnam Style…!

There were maybe 15 other skaters on the rink when we were there- a good mix of kids and adults- and more arriving when I was finally worn out and ready for some lunch.  Owner Chris Dye explained that there are going to be some great theme-night skates coming up, and that the regular hours will also be expanded while kids are out on winter break.

I hope everyone gets the chance to go down to the river and experience this new Quincy adventure!  It’s inspiring to see a pair of local entrepreneurs bringing a unique activity to this area and to help develop Quincy’s riverfront.  If you’re going, give me a call… you know, I gotta go work on my double axel…  😉

Owner Chris Dye shows off the great new hockey style skates. Patrons are also allowed to bring their own skates (any style) provided the staff checks them for safety first.

WHAT: River Skate, Quincy’s First Outdoor Synthetic Ice Rink

WHERE: Clat Adams Park (Quincy Riverfront between the bridges, or kind of in front of Kutter’s Bar and Grill)

COST: Only $3 for kids and $5 for adults.  Includes skate rental and admission. Concessions available at additional cost.  River Skate accepts cash and major credit cards.  Punch cards are also available.

WHEN: Normal hours of operation are Wednesday through Friday from 4:00 pm until 9:00 pm, and Saturday and Sunday from 12:00 pm until 9:00 pm. River Skate WILL be open for Thanksgiving from 4-9 pm.  For complete hours visit http://www.riverskateqcy.com/events/

PRESENTED BY: Title presenter is Refreshment Services Pepsi.  Also presented by Rokusek Design, ABNG CPAs, First Banker’s Trust, Quincy Medical Group, Town and Country Bank, Heetco, Quincy Area Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, Rupp Rental, Mercantile Bank and Blessing Hospital.

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Instructor Kevin Dempsey (white kayak) looks on as Kirstin Smith, Ryan Craven , Laura Sievert, Adam Duesterhaus, Jim, and Ryan Welch pose for a picture after their group lesson in Quincy Bay.

Do you ever have one of those days where everything you do reminds you of a song?  Well, I went kayaking both this weekend and last, and it’s one adventure that definitely keeps popping song lyrics in my head.

“Row, row, row your boat…”

Kayaking on Mark Twain Lake

I think the reason I’d never tried kayaking up to now was that I assumed you’d need to have really great upper body strength to row. As it turns out, that’s not really the case! I was delighted to find out that a good rower uses not only her arms, but lots of torso and leg to power her rowing. Once I had the hang of the technique, I was right in the front of the pack, and even passed up some of the “tough guy” rowers. It’s a sport where finesse is just as important as strength, and you’ll be surprised at what you’re capable of doing.

“You know a dream is like a River, ever changin’ as it flows…”

Yeah, that’s a Garth Brooks lyric. It’s true though! A dream is like a river and a river is like a dream. I’ve been out on the Mississippi and Mark Twain Lake lots of times, but nothing is quite like experiencing these bodies of water via kayak. You can approach wildlife and shorelines quietly; you can hear the birds singing and the lapping of the water at the banks; and you can really appreciate the way the water moves and sculpts the landscape around you.

“I will go down with this ship, I won’t put my hands up and surrender…”

Maybe you’ve always wanted to try kayaking but were afraid of flipping over. I’m here to tell you that in calm water, flipping isn’t all that likely. And more importantly, getting back in your boat if you do flip isn’t hard at all. On my first experience out on the water, I didn’t get wet at all, so on my second, I volunteered to flip on purpose to demonstrate how to get back in the boat. With a little rocking, I flipped the boat, slipped easily out of the hatch, righted the boat all on my own, and was soon back in the cockpit. With the guidance of our instructor, I actually learned three different methods of getting back in the boat. My point is, there’s no reason to be afraid of flipping your kayak, especially if you’re wearing a lifejacket. Actually, on a hot day, I’d recommend flipping every once in a while just to cool off!

“We all live in the ocean, we all start in the stream, and we’re carried along, by the river of dreams…”

Ryan demonstrates how to get back in his kayak on the water.

Billy Joel was certainly on to something with the lyrics of “River of Dreams.” Learning to kayak in the calm backwaters of the Mississippi or along the sheltered shores of Mark Twain Lake has been a wonderful opportunity.  I’ve now practiced the basics of rowing, turning, stopping, flipping, and getting back into a kayak.  The next step is to head out of the streams and steadily work my way to bigger water. There are great places to kayak locally, but eventually, I’d like to try Lake Michigan and then the ocean.  I remember seeing people out in Puget Sound (Seattle, WA) kayaking alongside killer whales. I really, really, reallllllly want to try that. And there are thousands of other great places in this wide world just waiting to be explored. I guess I better get a list started.

“Teach the children well….”

So what should you do if you’d like to try kayaking for the first time? Find a great teacher. Kevin Dempsey of Kayak Quincy led the groups I was in. He’s a very knowledgeable and practical instructor who will help you learn the basics and develop your skills out on the water.  He’s also happy to help you learn what to look for if you were selecting a boat of your own to purchase, or can help you find interesting places to kayak.  The Kayak Quincy schedule, rental fees and more can be found at www.seequincy.com/KayakQuincy.html or by calling the Quincy Convention and Visitor’s Bureau at (800) 978-4748.
Original Post June 21, 2011

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