My quick river cruise yesterday made me think of something that hadn’t been readily apparent to me before… boaters have a different view of things.

I don’t mean your attitude or your philisophical bent, I mean that you literally get to see a different side of much of the world. This is especially true with river and coastal cruisers.

Many of our cities and major historical areas grew up around the water. Commerce and trade were waterborne and the cities and transportation hubs grew up near the various rivers and tributaries. In Europe and parts of the U.S. a significant canal system was built to accomodate more trade and freight. Modern society, while still using these trade routes, have more and more moved to living from our cars. Freight travels via truck or sometimes train. Yes, much is still carried by ship, but often these are large tankers or containerships that few of the population will ever be on.

Pleasure travel is by car or airplane. This leaves many of our historic areas only glimpsed from "the back"… the front is still facing the water… a side that many will never see.

Our view of Mt. Vernon in Virginia was impressive from the river, and it showed how important to President Washington that view had been. That was the front of the house, and it faced the river.

We also were able to see Ft. Washington a couple of miles up the Potomac… another interesting view of an interesting structure. On land, it would be difficult to get far enough away to appreciate it.

Earlier in our trip we saw many of the major U.S. monuments to past Presidents from the water at night. They were beautiful and the view from that side opened up glamour that you wouldn’t always see from land.

So, the next time you are out boating, notice not only the nature and beauty of the plants and animals, but also take a close look at the manmade structures that so many will never see.