The perfect place in the city is one that is incredibly versatile – it may be bustling with activity one minute and nearly deserted the next. The city dock has been a mainstay of the city for as long as anyone can remember, and it has a different effect on everyone. Everyone can appreciate the dock for his or her own reasons.
One of the best aspects of the city dock is the amount of activity that can almost always be found if you know where to look. Every year the Great Dock Canoe Race – an event in which teams of two people race a canoe across the bay – is held at the dock, and you’re guaranteed to find many teams racing their canoes in the bay. Hundreds of people crowd the dock to watch and then move next door to the Dock restaurant to celebrate with the winning team. Right off the dock is a tiny stretch of restaurants and quaint shops, and then of course there are the boats. Of the dozens of boats – from sailboats to houseboats to leisure ships, from red to white to yellow – that are anchored at the city dock, you’re sure to strike up a conversation with one of the friendly people who live here, and it’s a great place for casual parties with friends. On the last Fourth of July, my friends and I gathered on the top deck of my father’s houseboat to watch the fireworks display that lit the sky. It offered an amazing vantage point from which we could see across town.
The city dock, however, can also be a solitary place. When you sit on the top deck of a boat, it seems like you are all by yourself in the world. From that height, you have a birds’ eye view of the dock and the bay, and though there may be people around the dock below you, you are removed from their action. It’s the best way to take a break from the stress and activity of the day. Take a book or music with you, and it is as if nobody can bother you there. The soothing motion of the water can do nothing but relax you and you can’t help but get caught up in the casual waterfront atmosphere.
With its ability to transform from a bustling waterfront to a solitary point of relaxation, the Naples city dock has everything I could ask for. I can’t imagine a place I would enjoy more.