A special history boat cruise will focus on legendary Hoosier author Kurt Vonnegut Jr.’s connections to Lake Maxinckuckee, and will take attendees into a restored 1890s cottage where the late author spent many childhood summers.
A newly added boat cruise, scheduled to launch from Culver Marina on Monday, Aug. 15 at 6:30 p.m., will delve into the extensive history of the Vonnegut family and related families, who occupied a number of cottages on the lake’s east shore, starting around 1878.
Local historian Jeff Kenney will lead the cruise, which will dock at the cottage of Clemens Vonnegut Jr., which a group of Culver Academies graduates recently restored to resemble as closely as possible its late 1800s architecture and aesthetics, and which won recognition and awards statewide. Attendees will tour the cottage and learn about other Vonnegut-related properties in the area. More information about the house is available online at vonneguthouse.com.
Kurt Vonnegut, author of “Slaughterhouse Five” and other renowned works, made a number of references to his childhood on Maxinkuckee, calling the lake his “Aegean Sea” and “my Eden lost,” in reference to a golden childhood spent playing on its shores and swimming its waters.
In addition to the Vonnegut cruise, the Marina continues to sponsor historic cruises around the lake, also led by Kenney and focusing on the lake’s unique and storied history, from the story of the Potawatomi Indians (and the legend of ghost “Pau-Koo-Shuck”) to the notable literary and cultural figures who frequented and were inspired by the lake (among them Cole Porter, Booth Tarkington, and Lew Wallace), to the cherished traditions and famous graduates of Culver Academies, among other topics to be explored on the cruise.
Dates include: Friday, Aug. 19: 8 p.m. sunset dinner cruise (a light meal and non-alcoholic beverages are served; attendees may bring their own alcoholic drinks).
Sunday, Aug. 21: 11:30 a.m. brunch cruise (a light meal and non-alcoholic beverages are served; attendees may bring their own alcoholic drinks).
Friday, Aug. 26: 7 p.m. dinner cruise (a light meal and non-alcoholic beverages are served; attendees may bring their own alcoholic drinks).
Cruises last approximately 90 minutes to two hours (the cruise will proceed in the event of rain, though lightning or high winds will cause cancellation). Food and beverages are provided by the Marina’s Boardwalk Bar & Grill, which is now open at the Marina, 3000 East Shore Drive in Culver (www.culvermarina. com).
Those wishing to reserve seats may call 574-842- 3375 or contact Jessica in the BoardShop. The cruises have limited seating. Cost of the cruise is $30 per person plus cost of food, when served (which is $20 per person when food is included, bringing the total to $50). The Culver Marina’s dinner boat cruises have become a staple of entertainment on the lake, and are also available for private rental (with or without historian) Thursdays through Sundays throughout the season.
Photo: A circa 1890s photo shows members of the Vonnegut family at the Clemens Vonnegut Jr. cottage on Lake Maxinkuckee. A tour of the cottage will be part of an Aug. 15 history cruise at the lake.