David Coffin sings the praises of going unplugged, packing light, and eating raisins - The Boston Globe (2024)

If you ask David Coffin, he will tell you that most people don’t understand the full scope of maritime music. “They think it’s just sea shanties, but those are a very specific kind of song … rhythmic songs that [crew members] would sing on ships while they were working,” said the New Haven native. “Sea shanties are an entry point into maritime music, but there are so many others like whaling songs and songs about being at sea.” Coffin, 64, is a well-known area raconteur who performs maritime concerts, leads maritime music programs in schools, and has been the master of ceremonies for ‘Christmas Revels’ — held annually at the Sanders Theatre in Cambridge in celebration of winter solstice — for more than four decades. He has also been guiding tours for Boston Harbor cruises for nearly 25 years and said he is excited about a new harbor cruise he created and narrates for Boston Harbor City Cruises called the Boston Lighthouse and Outer Harbor Cruise, which is offered Thursday-Sunday through May 12. “People are enamored with lighthouses, and on this two-hour cruise, we show them four lighthouses and one surprise lighthouse,” said Coffin, who said there will be a musical component to the cruise. “I really enjoy storytelling — and there is so much history right here in Boston Harbor. To me, every trip is a performance, and even though it’s been almost 25 years [as a tour guide] and has [included] the same information, it never gets old.” Coffin added that he has the “coolest office in town — and it floats. And I’m so successful that I have windows on all four sides of my office.” We caught up with the father of three (one adult daughter and two adult stepchildren), who lives in Gloucester with his wife, Kirsten Wiberg, and their two dogs, two cats, and one bird, to talk about all things travel.

If you could travel anywhere right now, where would you go? I’d go to Fiji. Why? I think the water speaks for itself.

Do you prefer booking trips through a travel agent or on your own? My wife takes care of it.

Get The Big To-Do

Your guide to staying entertained, from live shows and outdoor fun to the newest in museums, movies, TV, books, dining, and more.

Thoughts on an “unplugged” vacation? I’m all for it. Hard to do but very healthy for the brain.


What has been your worst vacation experience? It was a busman’s holiday — meaning it was a holiday but I was still working — on a Carnival Cruise about 20 years ago. It was like a floating city with thousands of people. Never again.

What is your favorite childhood travel memory? Flying back from Paris, where we were visiting my grandparents when I was 6 or 7, and the plane lost an engine — so we had three instead of four. Everyone lost their appetite, so I had a lot of extra desserts. Remember, I was a child and since we were still flying, everything seemed fine to me.

Do you vacation to relax, to learn, or for the adventure of it all? Strictly to relax. My last vacation was an enforced vacation.

What book do you plan on bringing with you to read on your next vacation? Nothing. Reading takes me away from where I am, and I didn’t travel all that distance to get away from where I went.

If you could travel with one famous person/celebrity, who would it be? My wife.


What is the best gift to give a traveler? An amazing restaurant recommendation and a prepaid bill.

What is your go-to snack for a flight or a road trip? Trail mix — any kind with raisins — and ginger ale.

What is the coolest souvenir you’ve picked up on a vacation? A hole in my foot from stepping on a sea urchin at a beach in Spain. It was low tide and I was way out there on my own. I was a young kid and all I remember is that I couldn’t walk for a couple of days, and I got lots of ice cream.

What is your favorite app/website for travel? None. My wife makes travel arrangements and goes through the airlines directly.

What has travel taught you? Get there early.

What is your best travel tip? Unpack half your suitcase and leave the items you unpacked at home. You don’t need as much as you think you do.

Juliet Pennington can be reached at writeonjuliet@comcast.net.

David Coffin sings the praises of going unplugged, packing light, and eating raisins - The Boston Globe (2024)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Moshe Kshlerin

Last Updated:

Views: 6304

Rating: 4.7 / 5 (57 voted)

Reviews: 80% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Moshe Kshlerin

Birthday: 1994-01-25

Address: Suite 609 315 Lupita Unions, Ronnieburgh, MI 62697

Phone: +2424755286529

Job: District Education Designer

Hobby: Yoga, Gunsmithing, Singing, 3D printing, Nordic skating, Soapmaking, Juggling

Introduction: My name is Moshe Kshlerin, I am a gleaming, attractive, outstanding, pleasant, delightful, outstanding, famous person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.