Oh my goodness; we’re in Maine!
The second part of our visit to Martha’s Vineyard was the more bustling, touristy Edgartown. First let me just say, it was blazing hot. We had made a reservation for a mooring ball right in the harbor. We would not do that again. Some mooring fields are open and spacious with local boats that are not always occupied . . . just sitting waiting for their owners to come show them some love. Not Edgartown. This is like getting a summer rental in Ocean City. Actually, what it was most like was like being parked in a floating RV park. (Now some people might like that . . . nothing wrong with RV parks). It was loud, crowded, busy and boats just one on top of another. Edgartown was very busy with tourists and quite the happening place. And it seems that at about 10pm every night, anyone over the age of 30 basically gets thrown out of town and it is taken over by the young, wealthy, happening crowd. We were in the area for about 3 days. The second day the breeze picked up and it was much more comfortable, but the first and third days we were melting quite a bit. On day two we were able to take a good long walk around town to find a hardware store (I can’t remember what needed fixin’ that day) and to get some exercise. We saw some amazing boats/yachts. But frankly, it just wasn’t our kind of place. Beautiful, don’t get me wrong. I’ll bet I’d like it more in October. Plus we should have anchored outside of the harbor where the air was moving and the boats were further apart. Lessons learned. First sighting of a motor yacht called “Blue Guitar” which everyone thinks belongs to Eric Clapton. (I researched this one hard and am pretty sure it is not his yacht – but that is a very popular urban legend.)
Next we went through Woods Hole (one of the openings between islands in the Elizabeth Islands) and came across a little slice of heaven: Quissett Harbor, Mass. Picturesque, protected from storms (which we were expecting), a quiet, charming harbor. Not a whole lot happening in Quissett itself, but if you walked up the road about 1/4 mile there was a trolley that ran either to Woods Hole or to Falmouth. We needed parts at a hardware store (again) and took the Trolley to Falmouth the first day. Nice downtown, shops, grocery, West Marine (bonus!), hardware stores and plumbing supply (which is really what we needed). We enjoyed provisioning all over town and finding a nice pizza place to have lunch at the bar and watch some of the British Open. Oh, and a barber shop! (I escaped using the clippers again!) The guy who oversees the harbor is such a cool character. He’s been there for 30 years (He must have moved there when he was 20), and manages the marina/yacht club. In the evening he gets in his skiff, puts on bermuda shorts and a big straw hat, has a beer in his hand and rides around the harbor to collect the very reasonable mooring fee from visitors. Did I mention that if they did a movie of his life Richard Gere would definitely get the part? What a stitch. We loved him.
Again, it was HOT! And I had about one nerve left which someone was about to get on . . . so as we were gliding out of town, I spotted . . . I’m embarassed to admit it . . . a vey nice looking hair salon. I called and found that they had a cancellation the next morning. Yup, I weenied out and went to a grown up hair salon for some air conditioning, Wi-Fi and pampering. I am SOOOOO ashamed. My hard core sailor needed a break for a couple of hours and I turned back into a girly girl for a bit. Can I tell you, it was DELIGHTFUL! And Frank dodged the bullet from having to trim MY hair!
If you’re not from the greater NY/Massachussetts area, you may never have heard of Cuttyhunk. Oh sure, everyone has heard of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket . . . but Cuttyhunk is not exactly a household name. It is actually a pretty cool little place. Not a whole lot happening there, but after Block Island, that was okay for a day. Speaking of Block Island, I have a piece of old business that I forgot to include in the last post. This word in from Block Island:
Moving on to new business: Cuttyhunk.
For those who know south Jersey well, it’s like the Strathmere of the Elizabeth Islands meaning it is the road less traveled and a little funky. What are the Elizabeth Islands? They are a little chain of chunks of land off the Rhode Island/Massachussetts coast. Cuttyhunk is at the very southwestern tip of them. Some people might say, “I spent a week in Cuttyhunk one day,” and I almost borrowed that line, but that seemed a little harsh. It’s a very pretty place. We thought we would grab a mooring ball, but they were VERY close together and we saw a good spot to anchor close by instead. There is a seafood place that delivers to your boat, which sounded like a great idea! And then we saw that they were charging $22 for a half dozen oysters . . . yeah, I can eat pasta on the boat again. We did, of course find the ice cream place. We didn’t know exactly how long we would stay in Cuttyhunk . . . after spending the afternoon, we knew a few hours to roam around in the morning and we’d be good to go. The highlight was the hike (very hot!) up the hill to the Fishing Camp that is known for having once been visited by Teddy Roosevelt. Here are some sites and scenes:
We enjoyed the quiet refuge of funny little Cuttyhunk for an overnighter. My sister, Triana, had saved an article about Cuttyhunk for us months and months ago. I believe it referred to it as a
“forgotten island.” We won’t soon forget you, Cuttyhunk.
Next post, a catch up of several places we have been in the last week or so . . . since we are actually now in MAINE!
Well, after our epic week in Shelter Island, anything immediately afterwards was bound to be . . . hmm . . . a little less epic. I don’t want to sound like the next couple of stops weren’t good stops, because they were. But it’s like comparing your birthday to Flag Day.
So you will see two posts (hopefully) in rapid succession so that I don’t have one giant post, because – and here’s a shock – I’m behind. So this post will be about Block Island closely followed by a post about Cuttyhunk. What’s/where’s Cuttyhunk? Answer coming in next post, I promise.
We had heard so many people talk about Block Island (and Frank had been there for a quick weekend about 10 years ago) and it is a favorite stop for a lot of people . . . I mean A LOT of people. It is a large harbor with a vast amount of boats in it. And the atmosphere there is much more of a party. And it caters to a wide range of audiences. There are all kinds of people and boats there. There are gorgeous, massive sailboats with burgees from the New York City Yacht Club (very elite!) and we saw a group of gentleman jump onto the launch in their blue blazers to go to dinner . . . to powerboats with interesting and colorful names. At changeover time one day (again, like a hotel check out/check in process) we watched with interest to see who our new neighbors were going to be. True confessions: we were not disappointed when power vessel “Badabing” passed up the mooring ball beside us. At another spot in the harbor we saw power vessel “Fuhgeddaboutit.” I commented that if you could just locate the power vessel “Whaddayoulookinat” you’d have a Jersey trifecta. Anyway, clearly a fun place if that’s the scene you’re looking for.
The weather in Block Island was not ideal, but we took advantage of some of the cool, cloudy weather with a great bike ride around the island. Not only was it great exercise but it got us out of the “hubbub” and out into the countryside, which was lovely. We also had a great, unplanned surprise when we figured out that we were, indeed, going to be in Block the same weekend as some good friends of ours. That was a definite highlight.
I will always associate certain sounds with Block Island . . . the almost constant “Whoo . . . . Whoo” of the fog horn (almost more like a fog whistle than horn) and the sound of the bakery boat from Aldo’s Restaurant trolling the mooring field and anchorage calling out “Andiamo!” which they tell us means “come out” in Italian. If someone knows better, feel free to correct us. Anyway, around 7:30am, the bakery boat begins its rounds selling breakfast goodies boatside. Yes, it’s like room service. Then the chant begins again around 4pm with hors d’ouevres for purchase. Those guys work hard in all kinds of weather. And they have GREAT muffins.
Here are some sights from the Island:
We’ve discovered that we really enjoy renting bikes at various locations, but we’re learning to be good at riding together. There was an option at one place for a tandem bicycle and I don’t know which one of us replied louder or faster, “Oh HELL no!” For the few family members who witnessed us trying to maneuver a two person kayak together, you know that we don’t collaborate well on stuff like that. (Sailing as a team is different.) So even riding our own bikes, I’m still following and chirping about the fact that he turned at the last second with no signal and I almost drove off the road trying to follow him, etc. etc. etc. But I also know that if I lead, he’s likely to see something that interests him and turn off to look at it, completely forgetting that I’m in front of him . . . and then I might find him on the other side of the island two hours later after realizing he’s no longer behind me. These are just the things you learn together, which is fun. So I got a good laugh out of him this day with the bikes when he said, “Okay, who’s leading?” and I responded, “You lead, I’ll bitch.” Hey, it works.
Are we glad we went to Block Island? Absolutely. We had some good moments there. Do we feel a need to put that on our list of stops for next year? Fuhgeddaboutit.
Long Island was never in our original plan. At all. Not even a little. We always said, “We’ll go straight from Longport, NJ to Block Island, RI.” Somewhere around a week before we left NJ, we started thinking about alternatives, especially after getting the very sage advice that 4th of July in Block Island was not the best time to be there unless you love crowds and hoards of boats, who don’t know how to anchor, dragging and running into each other. Hmmmm. . . plan B. Long Island. So, as you’ve read, we hit Montauk first. But then where? Where to spend the 4th of July? And where was a place that my sister, Caroline, could come meet us for the holiday? She’s intrepid and was committed to finding us wherever we were for the 4th with little notice as to the final destination. And so somehow we ended up in Shelter Island, NY. It is nothing short of a miracle that we ever left . . . it is a slice of heaven on earth and we had an amazing 3 days – scratch that – 6 days there. It was full of surprises, 90% of them good.
Meanwhile, we had emailed friends we knew had a home in Shelter Island. It so happened they were coming to town for the weekend and treated us to a lovely evening starting with a driving tour of the island, drinks at their home and dinner out with a table overlooking the harbor. They shared lots of local knowledge about where to rent bikes, what to do and where to go. It was a most unexpected and delightful night!
And it was great for me to have a sister aboard! One of the things Frank and I talk about regularly is missing family. It hasn’t been that long since we’ve seen them and it’s not like we saw them all the time before, but somehow knowing that you can’t hop in the car and be there in 2 or 3 hours just feels different. So having a family member on board was a treat. Scrappy 1 and Scrappy 2. (That is what Caroline and Frank have nicknamed each other somewhere along the way. I’ll spare you the story of how that came to be, but it was during a heated Wii bowling match a couple of winters ago.)
Monday morning it was time to say goodbye to Caroline. Off to the ferry. Sniff sniff.
The title of this post sounds so ominous, but it isn’t meant to be. That’s just where Montauk is . . . at the very end of Long Island; therefore, it is referred to as “The End.” We went into a sweatshirt shop . . . are you familiar with those “interestingly” styled sweat pants that have something written across the backside like, “PINK” or the name of a university? You can guess, we saw some that said, “THE END.” Okay, that’s a little funny.
It was tough deciding if the title of this post should be the one that you see or if it should be “Stuck in Montauk,” but that sounded a little too negative. However, it would be an accurate description . . . we stayed there a few days longer than intended due to being fogged in! Anyway, what we saw of Montauk was very pleasant. We were anchored in the middle of Lake Montauk and had a couple of breaks in the weather that were just long enough to be able to take the dinghy to shore and explore a little. They were wet, windy, sloppy dinghy rides, but that’s what foul weather jackets are for. So we were sending emails to our family saying, “We’re in Montauk . . . still.” “Today we’re staying in Montauk.” Haven’t left Montauk yet. ” Don’t get me wrong, we like the place, but six days anchored 0n Lake Montauk is about four days more than one needs. But we made the best of it!
Our impression of Montauk is that it is a mix of being a little funky, a little nice, some people extremely friendly, and some people very standoffish. There appear to be some “world’s colliding” aspects to it; there is a big commercial fishing industry here, so you have that culture very prevalent. (If you’ve ever watched any of the fishing reality shows like “Deadliest Catch” or “Wicked Tuna” then you have an idea of what that means . . . it can be a bit of a rough crowd (as my dad used to say). One restaurant seemed to cater to the fisherman that just jumped off their boats – pretty interesting clientele and very funky and eclectic decor. But just around the corner, you have a very high end seafood/specialty food market and a little upscale shopping area. Montauk is a big destination for recreational charter fishing as well. But then you also watch a handful of mega-yachts come in. Like I said, a mix. We kind of enjoyed the funkier aspect of it! Taking a little longer walk up one of the roads around the area, we saw multiple little motels and hotels that looked almost like summer camps from the 40s or 50s in age and style (but small) . . . and yet they were right on or close to the water so certainly not cheap real estate. There is definitely an aspect of stepping back in time here.
One evening when it was just comfortable enough to sit outside (by Ems standards – Frank was likely huddled under a blanket down below), we watched a mega yacht loop through the channel markers and head right towards us. I called down below that I thought we were getting company. We flipped on the VHF radio, and sure enough, heard a call hailing, “Eleanor Q, come in please!” We answered back and they declared that they were unfamiliar with the lake, inquired about it’s depth (pretty shallow and you do have to watch where you’re going), and then asked if we would mind if they anchored right up behind us. It was pretty funny looking because we were smack dab in the middle of the lake and NO ONE else was anchored out there! But there’s a feeling of safety in numbers sometimes and we welcomed the company. The yacht was quite large and the hailing port was the Marshall Islands. That was the last we heard from our new mega neighbor who then slipped off into the fog before 8am the next morning. But overnight, our boats watched over each other.
We chose not to slip off into the fog. Fog is no fun, and we had nowhere we had to be, so why put yourself through that if you don’t have to. So we sat, in a fog, in Montauk. Here are some pictures of what we could see during that week.
So you might wonder what kinds of things we do to entertain ourselves when we’re stuck on the boat for days at at time:
Finally, on Tuesday, July 2nd, we broke out of Montauk and headed for the top part of the “fishtail” of Long Island. I never looked closely at the map before to realize that Long Island really does look like a fish tail. Tuesday afternoon we landed in the waters next to Shelter Island, NY where we are still hanging out today. But we’re not stuck here due to fog . . . we’re stuck here because it’s too nice to leave just yet! But we’ll tell you about that on the next post.