We were up early for our 82 nm trip to Stonington, Connecticut. Shortly after 6 AM, we were pulling out of Hyannis Marina. The day was perfect with winds of 5- 10 kts and calm seas in Nantucket and Vineyard Sounds and only slightly rougher in Rhode Island and Block Island Sounds. By 3 PM, we were turning into Stonington Harbor and were soon tied up at our mooring at Dodson’s Boatyard.
I spent the rest of the afternoon planning our itinerary for the rest of the trip. Then it was off to dinner at Noah’s in town. Adrienne had a glass of Pinot Grigio, and I tried their Summer Day martini, which was a concoction of muddled mint and strawberries, cucumber vodka and lemon. The martini was quite good. For dinner, Adrienne had the steamed mussels, and I had the summer boiled dinner, which consisted of red shrimp, littleneck clams, mussels, potatoes, and fresh corn all with a basil aioli. Both dishes were outstanding. Light, but full of flavor.
We hiked back to Dodson’s and soon boarded a launch back to Curiosity. We were tired from the early morning hour and long day, so it was a relaxing evening on the boat and bed.
Saturday morning we headed into Stonington for the 62nd annual Blessing of the Fleet. The Blessing traditionally involves a fisherman’s Mass at St. Mary Church, followed by a procession to the docks for the actual blessing. The procession is actually a parade that begins at the docks, wanders through town until it reaches the church, where the priests join the procession and then moves back to the docks. We skipped the Mass but walked along the streets waiting for the procession. People were lining up with their chairs to watch the parade. A little before noon, the parade finally started.
At the head of the parade was a Coast Guard color guard; I assume they were from the nearby Coast Guard station. We had watched them practicing a little earlier and it was clear this was a first time for some of them. They were followed by two little girls in white dresses, holding a sign reading “St. Peter, Patron Saint of Fisherman.” The Westerly brass band that followed them played loudly and was only a little out of tune. A kids’ drum and fife band was next, and they were playing quite well. Next was a group of bagpipers called the Mystic Highland Pipe Band, which played exceptional well.
After the bagpipers, came members of the Portuguese Holy Ghost Society, followed in turn by the Rancho Folcloirco Coracoes Lusiadas, a Portuguese folklore dancing group from Cambridge, Massachusetts. Following them was the best of the parade, a group of little kids in ship costumes walking in the parade. They were adorable. On their heels was a group of boisterous and amusing pirates – Captain Kidd and the Free Men of the Sea, a group of pirate re-enactors from East Hampton, Connecticut. Just before the end of the procession was the bishop of the Norwich diocese and other priests, surrounded by members of the Knights of Columbus. Right behind them was a large statue of St. Peter being pulled on a cart. The procession ended with the Stonington Fire Department. We hoped that there was no fire while the procession was underway, because the entire fire department was in the parade.
The parade, although a little hokey in places, was a lot of fun. Afterwards we headed back to the boat for lunch, a little relaxation and the usual boat chores.
At around 5pm some friends of Adrienne who have a summer home in Weekapaug joined us on Curiosity. Adrienne has known Neil and Anita since high school, but they had never been aboard Curiosity. So we gave them a tour and then hopped on the launch so they could give us a tour of Watch Hill and their private beach and home in Weekapaug, RI. We stopped at the Weekapaug Inn for drinks and a tour. The Inn was destroyed in a hurricane that hit this area in the 1930s, and photos from that era, showing the damage, are hung in various parts of the Inn. The Inn is right on the water and has been lovingly restored. It was a beautiful location.
From there we returned to Stonington to have dinner at the Breakwater. We all had a burrata and tomato salad to start. I had fried scallops and Adrienne had shrimp scampi, which was excellent.
Neil and Anita’s daughter, Annie, joined us for dinner. We really enjoyed getting to know her. She’s an obstetrics nurse at New York Presbyterian Hospital and has her hands full as she works the night shift. It was also great to see Neil and Anita, catch up on life and have a good time.
We caught the launch and returned to Curiosity and relaxed a bit before turning in. We noticed that we were really rocking on our mooring when we got back. We’ve been on a mooring at Dodson’s several times and never had the amount of rocking that we had when we got back on board. It wasn’t especially windy or choppy. But we were located right on the edge of the mooring field that was the most exposed to the waves from Long Island Sound. Who knows if that was the reason, but in any event we didn’t mind the rocking. We can both sleep well through it. Tomorrow we’re off to Westbrook.