When we escape to our beach house on Cape Cod during the summer, the first thing I do is throw on my well-worn shorts and head down to the pier that juts out into our little harbor. This ritual allows me a chance to unwind from the usually adversarial process of driving from Boston to the Cape, and I love how it allows me to see the wonder of living by the sea through the eyes of my curious little five-year-old. We smell the salt air. We wave to our neighbors (the five-year-old is way more popular than me). And we hold hands (when he lets me) out on the dock. It’s a scene that Norman Rockwell has painted many times before.

But things change when autumn rolls around. We don’t get down to the house as often and, when we do, sun-faded shorts are no match for the chill that rolls in off the water. Summer’s end used to bring on a moderate dose of melancholy for me, but that was before I started riding my bicycle from London to Monaco (1,000 miles in 10 days!) for the start of the Monaco Yacht Show at the end of last September.

Now, how I came to embrace such a crazy way to get to the ultimate yacht show in the South of France is a story for another day. But what I can tell you is that there is no better way to keep seasonal depression at bay than biking like a madman across France for charity and then living like royalty in Monaco for a few days in September.

For anyone who’s ever dreamed of owning a yacht (admit it, we all have), there is no better place to see everything from private superyachts over 300 feet long to one-of-a-kind, handmade powerboats than the Monaco Yacht Show. This year’s show was especially memorable because I wasn’t just invited to view the new Aston Martin powerboat; I was invited to take one for a test drive.

Needless to say I jumped at the chance. And since I love James Bond movies, it seemed only fitting to drive this very British, very powerful boat off Monaco while wearing my well-worn tuxedo.

The only problem is, after living like royalty at the Fairmont Monte Carlo and rocking my tux on superyachts for a few days, reentry into my normal life was a bit bumpy. But it was worth it!

Take it from me, if you get a chance to visit Monaco during the yacht show, do it. It’s not as cool as holding your five-year-old’s hand on the way down to your home dock, but it’s pretty close!


Image Credits: Bill Springer.