Skip to content

July 13, 2013

14

Shelter Island – The Land of Nice Surprises

by frankandems

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.

So first a little bit about Shelter Island. It was inhabited by the Manhanset Indians, then was established by English settlers in 1652. In 1871 a group of 24 clergymen and laymen from Brooklyn incorporated part of the island as the Shelter Island Grove and Camp Meeting Association . Developers, landscapers and architects worked together to create/maintain the aesthetically pleasing feel of the island . . . and that they did! For my Methodist friends in NJ, some of the design is like Ocean Grove in NJ or even the Camp meeting area in Seaville, NJ.  And then one third of the island is a nature preserve.  The island is rollie, the roads are windy, the houses are mostly Victorian and it is very tasteful and peaceful. Unless you go to Sunset Beach which is quite in contrast. (We did not go to Sunset Beach.) We understand the beautiful people, elite and elite wanna bes hang out there. Mega yachts cruise through there. I kid you not, we saw a mega yacht that looked like it was gold-plated. P-Diddy is known to hang out there, but I Googled his yacht . . . it wasn’t his, but that’s what it made me think of.  Itzhak Perlman (the famous violinist) holds summer youth camps on the island for highly gifted up and coming musicians. They hold open rehearsals and concerts free of charge. Next time, I WILL get to one of those. There’s some wonderful live jazz in local venues. I bought a beautiful jazz CD from a bassist/vocalist who plays locally in one of the hotels by night and who works on the ferry by day. Bought it off of him right on the ferry. Hey, he had CDs in his pocket and “Jazz” on his hat . . . of course I’m going to ask. So that gives you a flavor of the place. All of this wonderfulness is hidden away on this jewel of an island that is about 4 miles long by five miles wide. Some scenes from around the island:
Some of the gathering places close to our harbor

Some of the gathering places close to our harbor

Victorian homes on the island are the norm.

Victorian homes on the island are the norm.

The Dory - interesting bar/restaurant that we frequented. Nat King Cole's brother plays there regularly.

The Dory – interesting bar/restaurant that we frequented. Nat King Cole’s brother plays there regularly.

Homes with harbor views . . .

Homes with harbor views

Eleanor Q in the distance; looking over the harbor on our bike ride.

Eleanor Q in the distance; looking over the harbor on our bike ride. Lush, green everywhere!

Although we are usually big fans of anchoring, holidays in the summer make you think that a more definite plan is in order. We were due to pick Caroline up in Greenport, CT on July 4th morning. That is spitting distance from Shelter Island . . . almost literally . . . especially if you’re really good with a watermelon seed. (That might be a West Virginia thing.)  We anchored the evening of the 2nd and made a reservation to pick up a mooring ball for the next several days in Dering Harbor at Shelter Island. Jack’s Marina had just what we needed at a reasonable price with no more and no less facilities than we needed. (Actually, they run out of a hardware store . . . NEVER a bad thing!) We secured a beautiful spot in the most lovely harbor that was reminiscent of Annapolis Harbor to us (on a smaller scale) . . . beautiful boats, very nautical, great scenery . . . lovely! And that became home for the next 6 days. Close by were a small market and a few other stores and restaurants if we so desired.Sunset in the harbor
The NorthSide ferry became a big part of our week. There are ferries running non-stop connecting Shelter Island and Greenport and the one mile ride is about a whopping 7 minutes long. We read about a grocery store and laundromat in Greenport and we were in need of both, so on the morning of the 3rd, we moved into the harbor, packed up our laundry in our backpack and set off for the ferry to Greenport. I went to the automated machine to buy tokens for the ferry trip (a whopping $2 per person each way). I stuck in a $20 bill (thinking it would give me an option for how many I wanted) and got $20 worth of ferry tokens! Ooops. Frank had fun laughing at me about that. Don’t you know, we used them all up and then bought more before all was said and done! Anyway, hopped off the ferry, made our way to the laundromat, then to the IGA grocery store, then to lunch and then hiked back to the ferry loaded down with clean clothes and provisions. I think I was in college the last time I went to a public laundromat in a down town area. You will see the photographic evidence shortly. Hey, that’s part of cruising. Finding a place to do laundry is big . . . a recurring theme in past posts, right? You can only hand wash so much.
The pilot house of the ferry - on our way to Greenport.

The pilot house of the ferry – on our way to Greenport.

Downtown Greenport

Downtown Greenport

Here you have it folks - Frank folding laundry in the public laundromat in Greenport, NY. He left for a while saying he was going to the bank. 25 minutes later he returned - the bank was just around the corner. "Going to the bank" is evidently synonymous with "going for a walk!"

Here you have it folks – Frank folding laundry in the public laundromat in Greenport, NY. He left for a while saying he was going to the bank. 25 minutes later he returned – the bank was just around the corner. “Going to the bank” is evidently synonymous with “going for a walk!”

Ems folding the laundry while Frank is walking. JUST KIDDING! He came back in time to help fold. You saw the picture.

Ems folding the laundry while Frank is walking. JUST KIDDING! He came back in time to help fold. You saw the picture.

Another look at the ferry. Could someone please explain to us the right way to pronounce "ferry"?? Is it "fairy" or "furry"? We're different that way.

Another look at the ferry. Could someone please explain to us the right way to pronounce “ferry”?? Is it “fairy” or “furry”? We’re different that way.

Hiking back with clean towels and fresh  provisions.

Hiking back with clean towels and fresh provisions.

And then it was time for Caroline to arrive on the 4th. God love her . . . she took her car to a taxi to a big ferry to a taxi to a little ferry to our dinghy to get to our boat, and our visit began! I rode the ferry across to meet her and accompany her on the ride back. I told you those tokens would come in handy! It was not our last trip to Greenport.
In the mean time, we had spotted our “sister ship” when sailing into the area. There aren’t a lot of boats that come from the same builder as ours, so you can spot them quickly. Long story short, we managed to contact each other and they couldn’t have been more gracious and welcoming. Again, not prearranged. Just happened to see ’em sailing. We were in their home turf and they welcomed us like long lost cousins. They shared local knowledge, privileges to their yacht club, the offer of the use of their vehicle for errands and a meal in their home complete with a musical jam session and (recurring theme) the use of their laundry! Oh, and an invitation for Frank to be crew in a race that weekend on a Doughdish Herreshoff 12.5 sailboat –  a classic two person, two sail little craft!. He accepted. They instantly meshed as a team. They won. Pretty cool. Trophies were involved.
Our wonderful new "cousins" in the Doughdish that they raced on Saturday.

Our wonderful new “cousins” in the Doughdish that they raced on Saturday.

Frank drinking some special wine that Caroline brought . . . out of his trophy from the race! An etched wine glass from the Yacht Club. Okay, one real glass wine glass aboard amongst the plastic ones will work.

Frank drinking from his first place trophy – an etched wine glass from the Yacht Club. Using it to enjoy some special wine that Caroline brought. Okay, one real wine glass  amongst the plastic ones will work.

We very much enjoyed the hospitality of the yacht club and appreciated being able to use the facility.

We very much enjoyed the hospitality of the yacht club and appreciated being able to use the facility.

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!

A beautiful view during our evening tour!

A beautiful view during our evening tour!

The local yacht club at the harbor had an extremely active sailing program and we were treated daily to kids sailing classes all around us which were just a hoot to watch. They also decorated their boats for the 4th and had a little parade. It was pretty priceless.
Sailing Classes!

Sailing Classes!

4th of July small boat parade

4th of July small boat parade

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.)

Dinner in the cockpit. On a nice evening, we grilled some nice shrimp!

Dinner in the cockpit. On a nice evening, we grilled up some mighty fine shrimp!

Caroline looking content during a day sail in the bay.

Caroline looking content during a day sail in the bay.

Caroline and Ems coming back from a trip ashore to the market. Ems driving is improving and Caroline was a great supporter. Independence Day indeed!

Caroline and Ems coming back from a trip ashore to the market. Ems’ driving is improving and Caroline was a great supporter. Independence Day indeed!

And in my family, what do you do when a sibling comes to visit? Why put them to work, of course!! We took advantage of the water at the dock at the yacht club and did a quick scrub down of the boat . . . she badly needed a bath!!

And in my family, what do you do when a sibling comes to visit? Why put them to work, of course!! We took advantage of the water at the dock at the yacht club and did a quick scrub down of the boat . . . she badly needed a bath!!

The reward for a clean boat? "Dark and Stormies"!

The reward for a clean boat? “Dark and Stormies”!

And an evening sail was our other reward.

And an evening sail was our other reward.

Monday morning it was time to say goodbye to Caroline. Off to the ferry. Sniff sniff.

Sisters saying goodbye.

Sisters saying goodbye.

And one final wave from Caroline as she left on the ferry.

And one final wave from Caroline as she left on the ferry.

I said 90% of our surprises were good. The 10% was the voltage regulator that decided to give up the ghost on the trip over. Fortunately we have a spare. Unfortunately, it wasn’t exactly the same model, so though the batteries still charged from the engine running (the regulator’s major job), the tachometer didn’t work, which we eyeball a lot when we’re motoring.  Frank spent lots of time trying to locate the part, but the holiday made that challenging. Couldn’t order it until Monday. We had thought we’d be gone by then. We were able to have the part overnighted to Jack’s Marine and hardware store by Tuesday, but then still had to install it, test it, tweak it, etc. So our stay extended to Wednesday. That was our 10% surprise, and even that turned out pretty good . . .it kept us in a great place for a few extra days. What’s so bad about that?
Anyway, the whole stay was like that . . . one nice surprise after another. Caroline just kept shaking her head and saying, “You’re going to have a hard time topping this week.” Caroline, we’d have to agree.
14 Comments Post a comment
  1. Jo
    Jul 13 2013

    What a wonderful Synopsis!!! Thanks…I almost feel like I was there!! Grats on your trophy Frank!! 😉 Oh , yes, Ems, Brian and I have had this “ferry” conversation many times!! I finally gave in to his “fairy” to my “furry”. I think it is a South Jersey thing 🙂 hahaha How does Frank say “Eagles” ? My Mom was an “Iggles” fan 😉 hahahha South Jersey/Philly again!

    Thanks again for your stories and pictures! I am looking forward to the next one 😉

    Hugs, Jo

    Reply
  2. Caroline
    Jul 13 2013

    I miss you guys! I had a most wonderful time. Even if I did scrub the deck! Can’t wait to join up with you again. And for others reading this blog, Ems didn’t exaggerate one bit. It was truly a special place and a most fantastic adventure.

    Reply
  3. Bill
    Jul 13 2013

    Great picture of Frank and you folding the laundry and the Dark and Stormies, the trophy glass will also come in handy.

    Blessings

    Reply
  4. Christine Cox
    Jul 13 2013

    Great post! Thank you! Caroline’s cleavage and wild hair, along with the large scrub brush, make my list of best blackmail pictures for the future 🙂

    Love you, Christine

    Sent from my iPad

    Reply
  5. Cheryl
    Jul 13 2013

    Love reading your posts! Keep it up! Especially like that you met other Gozzard owners, and that instant bonding occurred. Sailors are simply good folks (esp Gozzard owners). Congrats to Frank on the trophy. Glad you both are staying open to unplanned events. They seem to be enriching your adventure!

    Reply
  6. Donna & Rich
    Jul 13 2013

    Your story and pics have us humming Willie Nelson’s “Blue Skies”! Never saw the sun shinin’ so bright; never saw things goin’ so right. Ahhhh . . .

    Reply
  7. Jul 13 2013

    Thanks for all the nice comments!

    Reply
  8. Lawrence Loucka
    Jul 14 2013

    Glad you found Shelter Island and Greenport. My parents live not far away in Southold. Enjoy your time exploring, there’s a lot to see – Gardner’s Island, Fishers, the Block, Martha, and Nantucket.

    Reply
  9. Toni
    Jul 14 2013

    Very cool..I think going to the bank means: “I wonder if I can stay away until the laundry is finished!. Doh wasn’t gone long enough” 🙂

    Reply
  10. Loretta and Jim Elliott
    Jul 15 2013

    Once again, it’s great to follow along on your grand adventure. So many similar places on our “bucket list” . We’re sailing right along with you, and doing laundry, fixing things that break, etc.!!!! Congrats on the trophy! In the words of Louie Armstrong “It’s a Wonderful World”. Enjoy! Loretta and Jim s/v Plan Sea

    Reply
  11. Harold Elmore
    Jul 17 2013

    Mary Marie,, Thanks for this and I have located your three stops at the end of Long Island. Good sailing ahead for you and Frank!

    *From:* Voyages of the Eleanor Q [mailto:comment-reply@wordpress.com] *Sent:* Saturday, July 13, 2013 4:04 PM *To:* elmore_h@wvwc.edu *Subject:* [New post] Shelter Harbor The Land of Nice Surprises

    frankandems posted: “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 “

    Reply
  12. Jul 18 2013

    I thoroughly enjoyed this entry! An amazing journey, with some humor too. 😉

    Reply
  13. Mark
    Jul 19 2013

    Great stuff, keep the updates coming.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Note: HTML is allowed. Your email address will never be published.

Subscribe to comments

%d bloggers like this: