Day 23 – July 30, 2013 – Edgartown, Martha’s Vineyard, MA

We took the dinghy into Edgartown last night for dinner at L’etoile, the restaurant associated with the Fallon Inn.  It was a beautiful evening for outside dining, so we were seated in their garden.  The food was outstanding; the best meal we’ve had on this trip so far.  It was a very pricey dinner but fortunately the food lived up to the price tag: grilled duck foie gras with pureed yam and blackberries to start, pan roasted game hen with Israeli couscous and summer veggies (Ade—sounds simple but the sauce was spectacular), etuvee of lobster with flatiron steak (Jim) and a mixed berry crepe with mascarpone cheese soufflé for dessert.  Really, really good food.

Today we headed into Edgartown after breakfast and hopped on a bus to Oaks Bluff where we rented a two-person moped and toured the island. A front came through last night and we were blessed with a clear, sunny day with low humidity, a perfect day for moped riding.  Oaks Bluff seems a more laid back and casual town compared to Edgartown.  The main green facing the water is lined with cute Victorian house after cute Victorian house, no Greek revival mansions here.

Oak Bluffs' town green

Oak Bluffs’ town green

Off loading flounder

Off-loading flounder

Fishing Vessels - Menemsha

Fishing Vessels – Menemsha

After lunch we turned inland and were surprised to see the number of thickly wooded areas interspersed with farms on the island.

Martha's Vineyard Farm - off Middle Road

Martha’s Vineyard Farm – off Middle Road

This afternoon we were busy making preparations for a number of our next stops.  Tomorrow we will leave early for Block Island, some 60 nm from Martha’s Vineyard.  The weather report is calling for calm winds and 2 to 3 foot seas, so we hope we have a comfortable passage.

Ade

Day 22 – July 29, 2013 – Edgartown, Martha’s Vineyard

Monday morning was a beautiful day with clear skies and light winds.  We made the 30 mile run from Nantucket to Edgartown,  Martha’s Vineyard, on relatively calm seas.  We were against the wind and the waves but the wave height was only two feet or so and the ride was relatively peaceful.

In Edgartown, we got a mooring from the Town Harbormaster, and Adrienne was able to snag it with a boat hook on the first attempt. We rigged a bridle and were safety secured by 10:30 AM.  We did a quick dinghy tour of the harbor and then went back to the boat to get lunch.  After lunch we were off to explore Edgartown.

Edgartown is a typical New England village with lots of touristy and swanky shops all mixed up together.  There are lovely homes everywhere, many with Greek Revival architecture, and lots of flowers.

Dr. Daniel Fisher House

Dr. Daniel Fisher House

North Water Street - Edgartown

North Water Street – Edgartown

Lillies - Edgartown

Lillies – Edgartown

Edgartown Lighthouse

Edgartown Lighthouse

Edgartown Harbor

Edgartown Harbor

While the town is cute, it is not nearly as nice as Nantucket.  Tomorrow we hope to take a bus to Oak Bluffs and rent a moped so that we can explore the rest of the island.

Jim

Day 20 & 21 – June 27-28, 2013 – Nantucket, MA

Aside

Friday morning the bad weather we had been having finally abated.  The sky was clear but the wind was still blowing around 15 mph.  The seas were predicted to be 2 to 3 feet, so we decided to make the passage to Nantucket.  When we set out the seas were still on the rough side.  There were many white caps and the waves were close together.  It was choppy but not as bad as our trip from Atlantic City to Jersey City.  About mid-way the wind died down a bit and we had a more comfortable ride until just outside Nantucket Harbor where the waves picked up again.

We were going to pick up a mooring in the harbor, so we hailed Nantucket Mooring and they sent a boat to escort us to our mooring.  Although we’ve anchored many times and have docked the boat in many different types of slips, we have never picked up a mooring ball.  Catching the pennant was my job.  I missed it the first time, and Jim was “advising” me to sit down or get down on my stomach to get this thing.  On the second pass I got it, just barely.  Of course we were doing this right in front of a boat full of people who found the whole thing very entertaining.  Well sometimes you enjoy the show and sometimes you are the show.  This was our time to be the show.

We spent the rest of the day touring Nantucket.  We took our dinghy over to the dingy dock and hiked into town.  I was in Nantucket years ago after I graduated from college, and Jim has never been.  We loved the cobblestone streets and beautiful old homes and storefronts.  Nantucket is a shopper’s paradise with an amazing array of clothing, jewelry,  and  gift  shops, art galleries, bakeries, bookstores and more.

Center Street - Nantucket

Center Street – Nantucket

Looking toward Main Street - Nantucket

Looking toward Main Street – Nantucket

St. Mary's - Nantucket

St. Mary’s – Nantucket

We also took in a bit of Nantucket history.  We visited “The Oldest House” on Nantucket, which was built around 1680.  It was a wedding present to a young couple who represented the union of two previously warring factions.  They had 8 children, 6 of whom were raised in this four room house, which was considered a mansion in its day.

The Oldest House in Nantucket

The Oldest House in Nantucket

We returned to the boat and then took our dinghy over to a neighboring sailboat for drinks before dinner.  The sailboat had arrived about an hour into Nantucket after we had.  Jim noticed that its home port was Eastport, which is a section of Annapolis, and we wondered whether we might know them.  As it turns out they were folks we knew from the Annapolis Yacht Club.  Chace had stopped by  shortly after picking up his mooring that morning and invited us for cocktails.  We had a great time and met Chace’s wife, as well as his brother and his wife (really nice people) who were on board for part of their trip to Maine.

We then took the harbor launch back to town for dinner at the Centre Street Bistro.  Dinner was excellent.  We then took the launch back to our boat with the sun setting over the harbor.  It was really nice.

Sunset - Nantucket Harbor

Sunset – Nantucket Harbor

Saturday brought rain in the morning with thunderstorms predicted for most of the day.  The thunderstorms never materialized, but the whole day was overcast .  We had decided to explore more of Nantucket history and so we took our dinghy back into town and headed to the whaling museum.  There we saw a multi-media presentation of Nantucket’s whaling history.  The woman who gave the presentation was excellent at explaining how the Nantucketers caught the whales, and butchered and rendered the oil at sea.  It was a pretty grim business but made a lot of people rich, especially those living on Nantucket.

After the museum, we were looking for a grocery store because we were going to cook dinner on the boat when we ran into another couple we knew from the Annapolis Yacht Club.  We had seen their boat in the mooring field and had swung by in the morning on our way to the dinghy dock but they had already left their boat. We invited them over for cocktails. And just as we were leaving the dingy dock to return to our boat we ran into Chace, so we invited his crew over as well.  By the time cocktail hour arrived, the weather cooperated so we were able to have everyone outside on the stern seating.  We couldn’t get over the coincidence of running into all these people in Nantucket Harbor in the same mooring field and only a few boats apart.

Dinner was simple but good: corn on the cob with steamed mussels and shrimp in a garlic tomato sauce.  It was nice to enjoy the breeze over the harbor while we dined.   Tomorrow we’re off to Martha’s Vineyard.  We hope to get a mooring there, but it’s first come first served, so we’ll see.

Ade

Day 17, 18 & 19 – July 24-26 – Hyannis, MA

On Wednesday, we made the short run from Falmouth to Hyannis.  Seas were relatively calm and we were able to cruise at 24 knots.  It was one of those sparkling days on the water. The entrance to Hyannis took us right past Hyannis Port and the Kennedy compound, a beautiful group of buildings right on the water. The tie up at Hyannis Marina was relatively easy.

Ade’s sister Catherine and her husband Gary have a cottage in Dennis, MA, only about 20 minutes from the marina.  They picked us up at the marina and we had a delightful lunch in Hyannis.  After a quick tour of Hyannis, Yarmouth and Dennis, we went to Cath and Gary’s house.  The house, only a five minute walk from the beach on Cape Cod Bay, has been completely redone and is a perfect summer home. We had cocktails with several of their friends and then grilled some steaks for dinner.

Thursday morning brought a great deal of consternation.  When we woke up, the temperature had dropped 20 degrees and the wind was picking up.  Our original plan was to go to Nantucket on Friday morning for two days, because against all odds we had gotten a mooring for two nights on short notice.  The weather forecast for Friday, however, was for 15 – 20 knot winds with gusts up to 35 knots and 2-4 ft seas.  We definitely did not want to be out in Nantucket Sound in that weather.  We went to the Hyannis Marina to talk to Carla – the dockmaster to see if we could stay an extra night.  However, Carla told us that the marina was already overbooked for Friday night.  She did not seem optimistic that we could stay, but told us to call back around noon.  Ade and I started calling every place nearby with no luck. There was a huge regatta happening in Hyannis this weekend and everyone was booked – slips and moorings.  At noon, I called Carla – she still did not know if there was room.  She told me to call again after lunch.  A small craft advisory had been issued and would be in effect until Friday night. The anxiety for both Adrienne and me was building, but there was nothing we could do but wait.  On our way to lunch, Carla called; we could stay.  A huge sense of relief overcame both of us.  I then called Nantucket Moorings and they were able to move our Friday and Saturday mooring reservation to Saturday and Sunday; apparently a lot of people were doing the same thing.  All was now good and we could breathe again.

We spent the rest of the afternoon touring Chatham – a charming little Cape Cod village.  An art show was going on and Ade and Cath had a great time looking at the various exhibits.  We then met two of Cath and Gary’s friends at the boat and the six of us had “docktails” before going to dinner in Dennis.

Friday morning the weather was wild.  Rain and wind gusts up to 30 knots.  A truly miserable day for being on the water.  When the rain eased, we went for a walk and and could see 3- 6 foot seas on the bay as the wind continued to whip.

We are off to the boat this afternoon and hope to leave for Nantucket tomorrow morning.  The weather should be much better; we hope it is.

Jim

 

Day 16 – July 23, 2013 – Falmouth, MA

After a week of oppressive heat and humidity, the weather finally cooled down yesterday, our last day in Newport.  The temperatures were in the mid-70s, but it was still humid.  We won’t complain though because 75 and humid is so much more bearable than 95 and humid.

The cooler weather continued today, although the temperatures rose to the low 80s. Still humid. The weather people keep promising that the humidity will get better.  We’re still waiting. But as I say, we’re not going to complain because overall the weather is much better.

So today we set out for Falmouth, Massachusetts, which is located on the ocean side of Cape Cod on Vineyard Sound.  The maritime weather report called for south to southwest winds, 10 to 15 knots, 2 to 4’ seas, with fog and rain/thunderstorms possible. The radar showed a swath of showers just to the west of Newport this morning and 1 to 2 nm visibility along the coast.  It also showed that we would be heading away from the storms on our course to Falmouth.

We left at 8:30 with some fog but good visibility. We had 2 to 4’ seas, as predicted, but they were mostly rollers.  We were cruising with the wind, waves and current all generally running in the same direction so we were able to do about 21nm/hr. As we crossed Rhode Island Sound, we encountered the ever-present lobster pots.  How in all that water they always seem to be right in front of us I will never know.  As we made our turn into Vineyard Sound the seas settled down and we had a great run into Falmouth without any lobster pots!  Is that possible?

We had reservations at the Falmouth Town Marina.  Although the wind was starting to pick up, we had no trouble docking.  We did our post-docking stuff (connecting to shore power, hooking up the water, checking in with the marina office, etc.) and then proceeded to wash the boat.  We were sitting in the cockpit relaxing and figuring out what we were going to do for the rest of the day when another power boat, about the same size as Sea BLyS, came up the channel to dock in the slip next to us.  Two dock hands were there to help with the tie up, so all seemed to be fine.  I was watching the boat turn in the channel and approach the entrance to our dock area bow first.  She was angling in and I thought she was just going to turn around the piling at the end of the slip and go in bow first.  But no, she was trying to angle across the slip entrance and then back in stern first.  Only problem was she had cut the angle too sharply and before I knew it the stern of the boat crashed into the piling. The woman driving the boat kept it moving forward and there was no place else for the bow of her boat to go but right into the bow of Sea BLyS.

I don’t think Jim and I have ever gotten up to the bow faster!  But we were too late.  She had hit us.  The only good news here is that it was her railing that hit and got wedged underneath our railing.  That slowed her boat some so that when her boat hit our rub rail, it did no damage.  There was a little paint from her boat that rubbed off on the rub rail, but we were able to wipe that off.  Nevertheless, Jim and I were up there trying to push her boat off and to keep it off while she docked the boat.

God what a fiasco!  She had her daughter doing the lines, and the daughter was useless.  Now I am sympathetic to this because I know what it’s like to not know what you’re doing with lines, but I hope I was never as incompetent as this young woman.  She had no idea what lines she should tie or where to tie them.  Her mother wasn’t much better.  Backing in she came about an inch from crashing into the dock.  We stayed on Sea BLyS until that boat was securely tied and her engine cut off.  Naturally there was an audience of local fishermen for all of this.  You could just feel them rolling their eyes!

After that excitement, we walked over to Falmouth, another very cute New England town.  We toured the town.  I bought a sun dress in one of the shops, we picked up some supplies at the local West Marine, and got some pastries at a French bakery, which was pretty good.  After we got back, Jim worked on our course for tomorrow; we’ll be going to Hyannis for a few days to meet up with my sister, Catherine and her husband.  It looks like we’ll be having a beautiful evening tonight, so we’ll head over to one of the restaurants for dinner at the harbor.

Ade

Day 14 & 15 – July 21 & 22, 2013 – Newport, R.I.

Sunday, we made the run from Stonington to Newport.  There were morning thunderstorms coming from the west, which we let pass us before starting out.  After the rain the seas were relatively calm.  We had 2 -4 foot waves but they were rollers and we were able to easily run on plane without much bouncing.  As we turned into Newport Harbor, the seas got a little rougher but still not too bad.

By 1 pm, we tied up at the Newport Harbor Hotel and Marina. After washing the boat, eating lunch and doing a few maintenance items, we went to tour the town.  The marina is right in the heart of town, so it is very convenient   Since it was Sunday, the town was packed with tourists.  Depending on what part of Newport you are in, it can seem like a very classy town or a a major tourist trap (complete with a store called the Tourist Trap).

On our wanderings, we did find a great place to eat – the Mooring – where we had delicious dinner overlooking the harbor.

Dinner at the Mooring

Dinner at the Mooring

After dinner, we walked a little more and enjoyed the spectacular sunset over the harbor.

Sunset - Newport Harbor

Sunset – Newport Harbor

Monday morning, we went to the International Tennis Hall of Fame which was quite interesting and watched a few people playing on their grass courts.

Tennis Hall of Fame

Tennis Hall of Fame

After lunch, we went back into town so Ade could do a little shopping.  Fortunately (my viewpoint not hers) she found nothing she liked.

Late in the afternoon, we had cocktails and hor d’oevrues with friends of mine – Greg and Cathy – aboard their recently acquired Fleming 55.  It was a beautiful boat and we had a delightful time talking with them.  We hope to meet up later in either Block Island or Sag Harbor.  It should be fun, if we can make our schedules mesh.

Tomorrow we are off to Falmouth, Massachusetts – a run of 40 nm across the Rhode Island Sound and the Vineyard Sound.

 

Jim

 

Days 12 & 13 – July 19 & 20, 2013 – Stonington, CT

Aside

Our next stop after Mystic was Stonington, CT, which is a very short distance to the east. We left about 10:30 and arrived in Stonington around 11:45. It was another really hot and humid day, so we decided to forgo an extensive tour of the town in the hope that the next day (Saturday, today) would be a little cooler. We walked just enough to check out some restaurants and decide where we were going to eat dinner. We spent the rest of the afternoon doing some boat chores and relaxing.

We had a very good dinner at the Water Street Cafe. Jim had duck and Stonington scallops and I had a pan seared striped bass. Both dishes were excellent.  We ordered a “homemade” peach pie for dessert but it was just cardboard compared to Anne’s pie.

Today is a little bit cooler than yesterday, so we decided to take the walking tour of greater historic Stonington. Our first stop was the farmer’s market at the town dock where we purchased some buckwheat honey, some local garlic goat cheese, and some multi-grain bread.

Farmer's market - honey stand

Farmer’s market – honey stand

Farmer's market - cheese stand

Farmer’s market – cheese stand

After that we headed for the point down Water Street and learned about Stonington’s major military adventure: the firing of two cannons which helped the Stoningtonians (not sure that’s even a word) repel a British landing attempt in 1814 during the War of 1812. We also learned that two famous American poets made their homes in Stonington, James Merrill and Stephen Vincent Benet.

Stonington Lighthouse

Stonington Lighthouse

We returned to our marina via Main Street, which had no shops but many beautiful and well-tended homes from the 18th and 19th centuries.  Many of these were owned by sea captains or other people connected to the shipping industry. Many of them also had lush gardens with mature hydrangeas in full bloom, geraniums, begonias and more. Although people may have been wilting in this heat and humidity, the flowers seem to be loving it.

Farmer's market - cheese stand

Farmer’s market – cheese stand

Daisies

Daisies

Our afternoon has been taken up with more boat chores, laundry, course plotting for tomorrow and other mundane but necessary things. We’ll be having dinner tonight at Noah’s cafe, which says that everything is made from scratch and that they use local produce and fresh local fish, dairy and meat. We’ll see if it’s as good as it sounds.

Tomorrow we head to Newport.

Ade

Day 11 – July 18 – Mystic Seaport, CT

Day 11 brought to an end our Old Saybrook leg of this trip and sadly our visit with Anne and Henry, who were the most gracious of hosts. After suffering through yesterday’s heat we headed for the beach and cooled off with a late afternoon swim before dinner.  The evening weather cooperated by dropping the temperature several degrees and kicking up a nice breeze off the Sound.  The was a perfect setting for our evening meal in Anne’s and Henry’s backyard.  We started with watermelon spritzers, moved on to cheese and crackers, then to chilled carrot and tarragon soup, then grilled shrimp, and grilled filet mignon with salsa verde, roasted potatoes and haricot verts. Lastly, we ended the meal with Anne’s famous peach pie, which most definitely lived up to its billing.  It was all delicious meal.

But Anne and Henry weren’t done with us yet.  This morning they prepared a fresh fruit cocktail, sausages and blueberry pancakes with maple syrup. Another wonderful meal! We were well fed for our next stop, Mystic Seaport.

We had yet another great cruising day on the Sound. The winds were light and the seas were 1-foot or less.  We hit the usual strings of lobster pots and had to slow down to weave our way through them, but we expect this now. It was a short run to the Mystic River and a slow (because of the narrow channel and the close proximity of marinas and mooring fields to the channel), but uneventful passage up the river to historic Mystic Seaport where we tied up.

Mystic Seaport is the New England maritime version of Colonial Williamsburg. Whereas Colonial Williamsburg recreates the village of Williamsburg as it is believed to have existed in pre-Revolutionary War Virginia, Mystic Seaport recreates the 1800s version of the shipbuilding village of Mysitc.

Mystic Seaport

Mystic Seaport

We toured the histroric seaport in the afternoon, including the smith’s shop, cooper’s shop, the navigational aid shop, the rope-maker’s shop, the sailing vessel, the Joseph Conrad, and the whaling vessel, the Charles W. Morgan, which has been completely restored and rebuilt and will be launched this Sunday.

Smith's Shop - Mystic

Smith’s Shop – Mystic

Joseph Conrad, 1882

Joseph Conrad, 1882

Charles W. Morgan, 1841

Charles W. Morgan, 1841

 

We will be leaving tomorrow (Friday) morning, and that is a good thing because more that 20 ships are coming to the seaport docks to witness the launch. That could make for chaotic conditions in and around the docks as boats arrive and try to tie up.

We enjoyed all that Mystic had to offer.  However, this was another day of stifling heat and humidity.  We were dripping with sweat as we went from one venue to another.  Most of the recreated shops are not air conditioned, the one exception being the shop with the navigational aids because it houses chronometers and sextants from the 19th century.  I guess the powers that rule Mystic Seaport decided that it was better to have the historically inaccurate air conditioning than to ruin the valuable artifacts with historically correct heat and humidity. The weather report says one more day of this and then relief will arrive on Saturday.  It cannot get here fast enough for us. I just hope the front doesn’t also bring stiff winds and choppy seas.  But we’ll have to see.

Tomorrow we cruise to Stonington.

Ade

 

 

Days 9 & 10 – July 16 & 17, 2013 – Old Saybrook and Essex

Another good cruising day! There was virtually no wind and 1-foot waves or less when we left Branford on Tuesday morning. We headed first for the Thimble Islands, which is a small island group just east of Branford in the Sound. Many of the islands are inhabited with houses large and small.

Thimble Islands

Thimble Islands

We wound our way slowly among the islands, appreciating the natural beauty of the calm waters and the tranquil setting.

We then followed our course to Old Saybrook where my college roommate, Anne, and her husband, Henry, live.  The run was uneventful except for the lines of lobster pots we kept crossing. Our experience on the Chesapeake Bay with crab pots has taught us that where there is one there are many, even if we can’t see them right away. So we slowed whenever we encountered more than two. We did not want to snarl our props with lobster pot lines!

Eventually we tied up at the Saybrook Inn and Marina, a very nice inn with a large and well-staffed marina, a pool, fitness center, dining room and many other amenities.  Anne was working on Tuesday, but Henry came by the marina, picked us up, and gave us a tour of greater Old Saybrook, which has lots of New England charm and was the home of Katherine Hepburn.

Anne and Henry have a beautiful cottage just a block off the Sound, and we escaped the high heat and humidity of the day on their second floor deck. We dined at an excellent Italian restaurant owned by some friends of theirs.

Today Wednesday, we boarded Sea BLyS for a run up the Connecticut river with Anne and Henry. The banks of the river are lined with many large and lovely homes on the west side and undisturbed wetlands for large swaths of the east bank. We made our way up to Hamburg Cove, which is a very protected cove with steep sides on three sides, and then headed south for Essex where we ate lunch and toured the town.  The Essex Yacht Club allowed us to tie up along one of the t-docks for a few hours.

The Griswold Inn - Essex

The Griswold Inn – Essex

Jim, Ade and Ade's friend Anne

Jim, Ade and Ade’s friend Anne

Essex is a quaint New England town with many houses dating to the 1800s and cute shops. It was tempting to linger there but it was an oppressively hot day even though there was a bit of a breeze coming off the water.  The East Coast is in the grip of a heat wave that is supposed to continue until Saturday. So we strolled through the town and took in the Connecticut River Museum and that was it. We were dripping by the time we got back to Sea BLyS for the cruise back to Old Saybrook.

Jim and Ade at Connecticut River Museum

Jim and Ade at Connecticut River Museum

Anne and Henry will be cooking dinner for us tonight.  This would be a treat under any circumstances but especially so tonight since we will be having Anne’s famous peach pie for dessert. Yum!

Ade

Day 8 – July 15, 2013 – Branford, CT

Today was an easy day – what a relief to have a calm and fun ride.  We left Stamford around 10 this morning for a short hop (39nm) over to Branford Connecticut.  The water was quite calm with waves less than 1 foot.  Visibility was good but it was and is extremely hot and hazy even on the water.  We quickly got on plane and cruised the entire way at 23 knots and were tied up at the dock in Branford by 12:15.

Connecticut shoreline was pretty but I had little time to watch the scenery.  Lobster or crab pots were everywhere even in the deeper water.  What I don’t understand is how the lobster pots know where we are going.  Four different times over the course of 20 -30 nm, there was a lobster pot immediately in front of us.  Not to starboard a little, not to port a little, but right smack in front of us.  I got very good at evasive tactics.  Otherwise all was good.

Our dock at Branford is not close to town, so we are spending the day cleaning. I have just finished washing the entire outside of the boat while Ade has cleaned the inside.  Now it is time to go to the pool and relax for the rest of the day.

Jim