Cruising Stories

The Hodge Family


Ever since Marinalife members Charlie and Missy Hodge have been together, they have owned a boat and tried to spend as much time on the water as they can during the hot summer months. They cruise on Promises, their 42-foot Grand Banks Classic Trawler in the Chesapeake Bay, on the weekends and take mini getaways each summer as far north as Nantucket. Charlie and Missy cruise with their two children, Layla (14) and Baer (11) as well as their canine companion, Mango, a 16-month old Golden Retriever. Each summer they find themselves switching up their norm to keep up with their kids getting older and their need for more action-packed activities.

On Board with Layla & Baer

As the kids are entering their teenage years, it is more about keeping them active recreationally rather than watching a Disney movie in the cabin. They now both want to bring friends along and they want to be in the water constantly active. Their Grand Banks, Promises is loaded up with toys: an inflatable stand up paddle board, two kayaks along with a couple of bikes.

The crew often tow their 18-foot Boston Whaler with a center console for weekend cruising and shorter trips around the Bay so the kids can enjoy tubing, water skiing, and other water sports. With more experience, Layla and Baer will be able to captain the Whaler in no time! A wake board and a kneeboard are new editions to the Hodge family. And while Charlie and Missy are figuring out what binding is needed for their son's wakeboard, the kids are venturing out and entertaining themselves swimming with Mango.

No need to ring the dinner bell, the kids are helpful on board with cooking and grilling on the fly-bridge. They switch it up by heading to a local restaurant every other night to stretch their legs and get a bite to eat.

On Board with Mango

"Anytime we're cruising she's on board," says Charlie. Mango has been on board since she was 8-weeks old. Lifting the now 60-pound canine is not an issue and she has no hesitation jumping into the water (or even into their dinghy), often bypassing the swim platform so she can play with the kids in the water. Mango is the Hodge family's first water-loving golden retriever. Before Mango, the family had Ophie, a 120-pound Newfoundland, who was way too large to comfortably have on board, let alone at anchor. Ophie was much more comfortable plopping down on the dock or staying at home on land under a big shady tree. Mango on the other hand is easy to handle on the boat and absolutely loves the water and the outdoor boating scenery.

When the Kids are Away, the Adults will Play!

Every year Layla and Baer head off to summer camp in Maine. This leaves Charlie and Missy with time to take a more extended cruise up north. For the last four years, they have traveled on Promises up to the Block Island/Nantucket area for a 20-plus day cruise. This year, en-route to Block Island, R.I. they made an unplanned stop at the Golden Nugget Atlantic City Marina, where they have stayed in the past without leaving the docks. This year, after a day of bike riding around town, they took advantage of the resort's rooftop deck with a pool, cabana and multiple hot tubs and left with every intention of returning next summer.

From Atlantic City they cruised north past New York City to Brewer Capri in Port Washington, N.Y. where they fueled up and the next day ran the Long Island Sound to Block Island. Once situated in the Great Salt Pond of Block Island at a mooring ball (avoiding the craziness of the docks), the daily ritual is to take Mango to the beach for her 6 a.m. swim and run. After a leisurely breakfast, it's time for their exercise. Charlie and Missy typically ride around Block Island several times, which takes them a little over two hours and includes great hills for biking.

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