Daily Archives: August 29, 2017

Marina, Moorings & Anchorages!

Dolphin Marina – Potts Harbor (Sunday, 7/9)
In the morning, Denise called for the launch at 8:00, and went for a run along a road that runs between Portland and Freeport, paralleling US 1.  She made it as far south as the other Catholic Church in the area (St. Mary’s) where they had a WWI memorial across the street.

St. Mary’s

WWI Memorial

There she turned around and headed back north.

Run on Foreside Road (88)

Near the end of the run at the Town Landing Market she encountered a running group from Portland who were marathoners doing their long run; an out-and-back distance totaling 16 miles. They talked briefly and then they continued back to Portland.  It was hot and Denise was glad to be done her 4 miles, but was feeling a bit inadequate after meeting this group.  She went inside the Town Landing Market and got a coffee and a newspaper and walked back to PYC and took the launch back to the boat.

Shortly thereafter, we left and cruised to Dolphin Marina in Potts Harbor near the town of West Harpswell.  We had made reservations for one night at the marina, and after being on a mooring ball for 2 days, it was nice to be able to walk off the boat onto a dock, as well as have shore power.

Leaving PYC

Approaching Dolphin Marina

Readying the deck

Homes on Potts Harbor

We were immediately assisted by very knowledgeable dockhands and they bent over backwards to address any and all concerns.  After tying up the boat we checked in at the office and learned they have loaner bikes and that they would make reservations for us at the adjacent restaurant. As it was the busy season we made a quick decision to eat at the marina restaurant and they got us in for 6:30 with preferential seating.

Dolphin Restaurant

We went back to the boat for lunch and to tidy up the place a bit, and then took advantage of the loaner bikes to go for a ride.

Marina Bikes

Initially we didn’t venture very far, just across the parking area to Erica’s Seafood and the adjacent lobster shack owned by her dad (Tom), who also runs the lobster boat that supplies her the fresh seafood.  Here Mark started talking with the owner about buying fresh lobsters and we ended up getting an education about the difference between hard and soft shell (called “shedders”) lobsters.  We learned we could buy fresh live ones for $5.99/lb, – a real deal. The only problem was that we did not have a pot big enough to cook them in on the boat and so we could not buy any from him. This now became our mission; find a pot to cook two lobsters and fit on the small burners on our boat cooktop.

Erica’s Lobster Shack & Shop

Lobster Shop at Erica’s

We continued on with our bike ride now outside of the marina property.  The bikes are new and really pretty, but they only had a single speed.  This became an issue when we encountered a huge hill, but we still made the best of it and had an enjoyable ride. On the eastern side of the road was Basin Cove and on the left side was Broad Sound, both of which were lined with mostly trees and some homes overlooking the respective waterways.  Needless to say these all had spectacular views.

Mark at Basin Cove

In the evening we went to dinner at the Dolphin restaurant which overlooks the marina and the adjacent Broad Sound.  The place was packed and we were grateful for the preferential treatment as we didn’t have to wait in line, and we got seats that overlook Potts Harbor. The food was excellent (lobster lasagna) and the atmosphere was lively and fun.

Dinner at Dolphin Restaurant

We went back to the boat and took in the spectacular views all around us. The water was calm and the setting sun and rising moon left us in awe of God’s great handiwork.

Moonrise over Potts Harbor

Snow Island (Monday, 7/10)
Since the sky turns bright about 30 minutes from sunrise, Denise was awake early and went for a walk around the marina complex.  There were several people up and about walking their dogs, and she met the owner of one of three houses that lined the marina property. Come to find out he was Bill Saxon, the owner of the Dolphin Marina. His sister owns the house next door and the Dolphin Restaurant and her son is Tom (father of Erica – owner of the seafood shack).  It is a family business that has spanned 2 generations and is doing very well.

Shortly after returning to the boat, the marina dockhand showed up with blueberry muffins and coffee; one of the perks they provide to their guests. We split a muffin (they are huge) and froze the second one, and Denise enjoyed the coffee.

Muffins & Coffee

Unfortunately, we were here for only one night and we decided to move on to our next venue.  This is a 5-star marina and we really liked this place.  We may just have to come back by here on our way home in the fall.

At 10:00 we left the Dolphin Marina and headed to Snow’s Island anchorage; a place that had been recommended to us and one that would shelter us from the wind that was predicted to blow hard in the evening.  It was 13 miles from the Dolphin marina and up Quahog Bay, passing Bailey’s Island and the Crib Stone Bridge along the way.

Homes on Bailey Island

Crib Stone Bridge

We had to navigate past a few rocks, many lobster pots, and a few lobster boats along the way.  But we arrived safely and found an unoccupied mooring ball in the quiet cove near Snow’s Island.

Quahog Bay

Snow Island

We ate some lunch and then decided go adventuring in the dinghy. We first had to get some gasoline as we were running low, but Mark had identified a marina that was not too far from the anchorage where we could buy some.  Our dinghy can go really fast when we are in flat water, so we made it all the way up to the north end of Quahog Bay in no time.  We were able to buy fuel at Great Island Boat Yard, a marina in Harpswell that was surrounded by lovely homes and lots of trees.

Great Island Boat Yard – Harpswell

Getting Fuel at Great Island Boat Yard

We looked around at all the boats and then got back in the dinghy to go back to our boat.  However, once out in the middle of the bay we encountered south winds that were predicted for the day, and an outgoing tide that when combined resulted in 2’ waves. This made our ride back to the boat a little bumpy, but as soon as we got closer to Snow’s Island we were protected by the land and things were dramatically calmer.  We had made a good call in finding this location for the night. We were well protected from the land to our south, and there were only a few other boats in the place.

Sunset at Snow Island

The Basin (Tuesday, 7/11)
We left Snow’s Island around 10:00, later than our usual departure time because we did not want to arrive are destination too early.  We were timing the tides for easier entry into our next anchorage.

Our travels took us south out of Quahog Bay and around some rock-infested, but very well marked channels.  We entered the New Meadows River and headed north, passing Cundy Harbor on the left. Cundy Harbor is a lobsterman’s village with no cruising services, but has a reputation of the best lobster and lobster rolls in all of Casco Bay. Too bad it was just a little too early for us to stop and find out how good they really are.  Maybe on our return trip we can time it better.

Cundy Harbor

Shortly after passing Cundy Harbor we turned right into a very narrow (150 ft wide) channel called The Basin Inlet. The entrance is not really visible until you are almost past it.  The guide book tells you to look for a house with “a pointed chimney just to the north of the entrance”.

Pointed Chimney house at entrance to The Basin

We were able to make our way through the very narrow channel entrance, then turning north past the rock ledge that jets out , and motored all the way to the north end of the anchorage where set our anchor without issue. It was not quite lunch time, but we had arrived at The Basin – a very pristine area surrounded by trees and a few houses here and there.  The water was clear and cold and there was lots of birds all around.

IO at The Basin

Almost immediately a whole flotilla of mostly sailboats started to arrive one by one and began anchoring in the large pool east of us.  Come to find out they were from Eastern Yacht Club in Marblehead and they were having rendezvous with our anchorage as their destination.  Over the course of several hours the large flotilla arrived and formed a large circle about 200 yards from us.  It was fun to watch them orchestrate the boats so they could do this, and even squeezing in some who arrived much later than most.

Eastern Yacht Club Raft-up

Although we talked of launching the dinghy and going for a ride, there was not much to go explore with the yacht club flotilla in the basin.  Fortunately, they kept to themselves and kept their partying noise to a tolerable level. We just sat back on the boat relaxing and reading, until about 4:00 when the fog came rolling in.

Evening Fog

For dinner we grilled hamburgers on the bar-b-que and waited for the infamous sunset cannon blast by the yacht club. By now we have gotten used to this nightly ritual, but it still startles Denise every time!

Bath (Wednesday, 7/12)
When Denise woke up in the morning there was no evidence whatsoever of the previous night’s fog. The air was cool (cold in fact) and the anchorage was pristine. There was not a ripple on the water and the sunrise was spectacular.

Morning at The Basin

We left The Basin at 8:45 and headed back through the narrow channel and back out into the New Meadows River, passing Cundy Harbor once again.  Further south we passed Sebasco Estates on our left, an old-school resort (i.e. the movie Dirty Dancing) that was recommended to us, but didn’t fit into our schedule for the week.  Perhaps on our way back we will put it on the itinerary.

Pulling up the anchor

Lobstering in the narrow channel  when we were trying to leave The Basin

Our journey continued south down the New Meadows River and out into the Gulf of Maine.  We rounded Cape Small and passed between it and Sequin Island to our north (another cool looking place to see but not suggested for overnight in windy weather).  We turned into the Kennebec River Inlet, passing the remnants of Fort Popham on our left and headed north.

Light on Pond Island – Entrance to the Kennebec River

Fort Popham State Historic Site

The River has a few turns and curves, but is mostly a straight shot along tree lined shores with some rocks, cliffs, and a few houses scattered along the way.  There are also several aids to navigation (ATONs), including a lighthouse, a fog “gong” and a range finder – all very useful for the large boats that travel this river.  Because of its current, there are few anchorages and no marinas until the town of Bath, our destination for the evening.

Light near Phippsburg on Kennebec River

Doubling Point Light

We had reservations for a mooring ball at the Maine Maritime Museum, located just south of the town.  However, when we arrived there were no open moorings.  We contacted the Museum and had to wait while the “new person” got instructions from her supervisor; all the while waiting in the middle of the river as the swift current wanted to take us north.  Eventually, they figured out a mistake had been made and offered to let us stay on the dock behind the “Merrymeeting” tour boat for the same reduced price as a mooring, but we had to be off the dock by 9:00 am the next morning.  We accepted their apology and tied up to the floating dock, thinking their mistake was our good fortune.

Approaching Maine Maritime Museum

IO in front of sculpture representing the “Wyoming”

After we secured the boat we checked in at the Maritime Museum office and found we would be in time to take the combined trolley tour of Bath Iron Works and the boat tour on the Merrymeeting.  So we went back to the boat, got a quick lunch, and then made our way to the pick up the tour.

Selfie at Trolley Tour – Movie on BIW

Bath Iron Works (owned by General Dynamics) is a very large ship building facility that produces military boats for the US Navy.  The tour was not able to take us inside the manufacturing facilities, but we ran alongside (on the public road) and you can see into the large hanger bays where they do much of the assembly work. Currently in production (and we got to see) was the USS Monsoor; a Zumwalt-class (one of only 3) guided-missile destroyers that was named after a Navy Seal who died in Iraq in 2006.  It was very cool to see this and several other destroyers under construction in the facility. The tour then continued through the town of Bath and the history of boat-building in this area.

Signage at MMM

Bath Iron Works – Hanger

We then returned to the museum and boarded the Merrymeeting tour boat.  The boat took us south on the Kennebec river to Doubling Point Range Marker (ATON) that we had passed on the way into town and didn’t know what it was.  There is much history here – far too much to put in this blog, but very interesting.

Docks of BIW

Free docks – Downtown Bath

Once back from the tour, we went into the museum and walked through the exhibits in the main building and in a few of the outer buildings, including where they would lay up the wooden ribs for the wooden ships using patterns drawn on the floor.

Maritime Museum

Maritime Museum

Maritime Museum

Across the campus from the museum is a restoration center where they had just begun work on the Mary E, believed to be the oldest Bath-built wooden schooner still afloat. It had come “home” for its restoration and a separate pavilion had been built just for it.  There is also building dedicated to the history of lobstering, and a lobster car (we have seen one similar in the Orlando area). Near there is a playground for children that is very unique with its boat-themed fort and an oversized wooden lobster trap.

Maritime Musem campus

Lobstah cahhh

Probably the coolest thing on the grounds is the sculpture representing the “Wyoming” – a life-size representation of the bones of a schooner.  The flag poles represent the masts and the other structures are its bow and stern. It gives you a great appreciation for how huge these big boats really were.

Skeletal sculpture of “Wyoming”

You can learn more about Bath Iron Works here and about the Maine Maritime Museum here.

The museum is about 1 mile south of the town of Bath and there is really nothing near it (except the Bath Iron Works). So we were debating about what to for dinner and talking with the captain of the Merrymeeting (since he was right in front of us).  He gave us dining suggestions and offered to give us a ride into town, which we took him up on.  His suggestion of “Salt Pine Social” was excellent and we had a very nice meal.

Salt Pine Social restaurant

We then walked back to the boat passing the public dock and waterfront park where there was a concert going on; a local high school band playing patriotic tunes.  Small town America is so cool!  After the park we walked the street along Bath Iron Works and a huge dog park along the way.  We passed the IGA Market and debated about stopping but decided there was nothing we really needed to buy.

Downtown Bath

City of Bath free dock

HS Band concert in park

Bath Iron Works building

When we returned to campus we checked out the laundry and restroom facilities and found a few beavers hanging around the place.  We were able to sneak up on them and catch a few pictures before they scurried back into hiding.

Maritime Museum facilities

Beavers at Maritime Museum

Earlier in the day Denise had discovered that the dock we were tied to had a 50-amp power plug on the upper portion, so when we got back from dinner we connected the boat to it and had shore power for the evening.  This was very welcome as it was very buggy near the shore and we had to keep the doors and windows closed as soon as it was dark.

It had been a very fun day and the people we met in Bath were so great and friendly. We were very glad we made the trip up the Kennebec River and came here.

Here are some other pictures from the museum:

Merrymeeting Tour boat

Moorings and dock at Maritime Museum

Kids playground

Maritime Museum buildings

Robinhood (Thursday, 7/13 & Friday 7/14)
In the morning we wanted to make sure got off the dock by 9:00 am as promised.  As we were eating breakfast Mark noticed a fuel truck had pulled up for the Merrymeeting, and the captain was on the boat.  He immediately went to talk with the driver of the fuel truck and was able to secure some fuel for us at an excellent price ($1.98/gal).  Needless to say we filled the tank!

Right on time we pulled away from the dock and were on our way. Only this time we were not going out into the Gulf of Maine (Atlantic Ocean), but rather taking an inside route via the Sasanoa River to a marina called Derektor Robinhood (aka Robinhood) in Riggs Cove.  Although it wasn’t far (7 miles) we had to go through some very harrowing areas (known as “Upper Hell’s Gate”) and lots of rocks and narrow channels.

Upper Hell Gate – off Arrowsic Island

Approaching Robinhood marina

Of course Captain Mark got us there successfully, and we pulled into a slip dodging the lobster pot right in front of us in the fairway.  We had been watching the weather which was supposed to be bad the next day and decided that this would be a good place to stay if we had to. So we made plans for a two-night stay but agreed to advise the marina of our intention in the morning.

This is a cool marina village with a very long history and pays tribute to its roots accordingly.  Throughout the complex there are historical markers and description of their meanings.  There is a quiet cruisers library, a community room (for louder conversation), a boatyard, as well as restroom and laundry facilities.  There is also a restaurant (Osprey Restaurant and Tavern) on site and a marine hardware production facility (Spartan Hardware) that is housed in the former General Store building built in 1820 (restored in 2003).

Dockmasters office

Robinhood marina

Statue and info on Chief M

Info on Chief M

Betsy Ross Flag

Spartan Marine Hardware at Robinhood

But one of the best things this marina offers is a loaner car – this is a liberating perk when you don’t have wheels.  In the afternoon we borrowed the loaner car to drive the 15 minutes back into Bath and go to the IGA Market; we realized we could use some fresh milk and a few other items.  This actually worked out great as we really had not had a lot of time to explore the town of Bath when we were there and this gave us the opportunity to do so.

marina loaner car

Road to Bath in Loaner car

Brackett’s Market – IGA in Bath

We first  when to the high-end cooking store; continuing our quest to buy a lobster pot so we could steam some lobsters right on our boat. However, we decided their prices were too high for our simple request, and so we continued on.  We also checked out the thrift store in town for a used one, but discovered it was mostly clothing items and a few children’s things.  We drove back to the marina in time for dinner at the Osprey Restaurant and Tavern. The food was good and very reasonably priced so we were happy to patronize this local establishment.

The next day the weather was rainy and mostly overcast skies, as predicted. We were happy to stay put a second day.  We hung out around the boat and the marina working on the blog, cataloging pictures and talking to a few of the local boaters.

Thinking it would be a good night for pizza, we sought out the advice of the dockhands for the best place to order delivery.  Their suggestion was to use the loaner car and go back into Bath. “The Cabin” is known for their pizza and garlic rolls (aka “knots”) – which was all Mark needed to hear. So, we did just that – making the trek along the two-lane road and over the Sasanoa River Bridge and back into Bath.  There we ordered a pizza and rolls that were really good (but still not as good as Antonella’s back in Winter Park). We returned to the marina full and with a big box of leftovers, and made plans for leaving in the morning.

The Cabin in Bath, ME

Garlic Knots at The Cabin

Sign at The Cabin in Bath, ME

Here are some other pictures from the marina:

Cruiser’s lounge and library at Robinhood

Facilities at Robinhood

Picnic area at Robinhood

Library at Robinhood

Boothbay Harbor (Saturday, 7/15)
We Left Robinhood shortly after 10:00 so Mark could have a conference call with a client.  It was cool (60°) and overcast skies, but it was not raining or foggy.  We crossed the Sheepscot River and entered into Ebenecook Harbor, dodging lobster pots and rocks all along the way.

From here we rounded Cameron Pt and the very tight entrance into the Southport Cove area. It was here we saw several kayakers and one person in a canoe that found it warm enough to be shirtless.  Only in Maine do they think of temperatures in the low 60’s as “summer”.

Cameron Point – Narrow entrance

First no-wake Zone sign since New York

Through narrow entrance – Cameron Point – Southport Island

No shirt canoer

We were concerned about going through the Southport Island Bridge as they have restricted openings. However, we managed to go through at near low tide and therefore we did not require us to have it opened as we barely made it through the 15’ clearance.

Southport Island Bridge

From there we continued through Townsend Gut, an area known for swift currents during tide changes, but we made it through without incident.  Not long afterward we turned north and headed into Boothbay Harbor. It is a busy harbor with tour boats and ferries, as well as lots of big and small pleasure boats.  We motored around the harbor, eventually pulling into Tugboat Inn and Marina where we had a two-night reservation in a slip.

Boothbay Harbor

IO at Tugboat marina

After securing our boat and we were immediately greeted by a man who introduced himself.  “Howie” on “Joyful” was from Situate, MA is a friend of John C’s (in Staten Island). He approached us and wanted to know why we didn’t stop as John C had told him to expect us.  His boat (a Sabre 42) was on a mooring ball closest to the docks and he recognized our boat name as we were docking.  Of course we were impressed and explained to him how Mark’s work schedule had affected our plans, requiring us to go into Boston directly.  Shortly thereafter we met his wife, Joy and we talked for a while as they shared recommendations of “must see” places to visit while in Maine.  They had to leave as they had company coming, but we agreed to keep in contact and to look them up if we get to Situate on our way home.  What a small world this cruising community really is.

“Joyful” on mooring in Boothbay Harbor

Howie & Joy (“Joyful”)

In the evening we met up with our business associate/friend Richard Deeran.  He is the owner of a software company in Portland that we have referred to our clients, and he owns the sailboat “Acadia” that Mark has helped deliver to/from the Bahamas and the Virgin Islands. Richard and his girlfriend Janice came aboard for drinks, then we went to dinner at “Ports of Italy”, an Italian restaurant a short walk from our marina.

Ports of Italy Italian restaurant

The restaurant was very crowded and we had no reservations, so we had to wait 45 minutes for a table. We put in our name and during the wait we walked around the downtown area before dinner. Richard took us to the other side of the harbor via a footbridge shortcut and then we returned to the restaurant in time to get seated.

Downtown Boothbay

Footbridge to other side of harbor

The food was great, but it was past 8 pm by the time we got our food, which is very late for us to eat. It was well past 9:30 when we finally finished, so we walked back to the marina and said goodbye to Richard and Janice.

Boothbay Harbor and The Goslings (Sunday 7/16):
It was a foggy morning when Denise got up early to go for a run along the roads that form the perimeter of Boothbay Harbor. She ran through downtown, and then turned onto Atlantic Avenue on the eastern side, which runs past some antique and art galleries, as well as a few B&Bs and hotels. She also went past Our Lady Queen of Peace Catholic Church and the Fisherman’s Memorial which is across the street and overlooks the harbor.

Commercial dock

Whoopie Pie Store

Street along east side of harbor

Our Lady Queen of Peace Church

Fisherman Memorial

She continued south until she came to Lobster Cove Road and turned up it to find a small but challenging hill. She managed to get to the top without stopping, and there she encountered a deer that had stopped at the edge of the driveway of a house.  It was so perfectly still that at first she thought it was a statue. Quickly she took the picture, but before she could get a second one, it took off.  What a thrill!

Startled deer

She continued on with the run, passing Barrett Park on her right that overlooks a cove where several boats were at anchor.

Barrett’s Park

Barrett’s Park

From there she took a left turn on Park Street to form a loop back to town, encountering the mother of all hills. This one was a bit too steep, so she stopped and walked the last 50 feet to get over it.  But at the bottom of the hill she realized that her run would be too short if she headed back to the boat, so she took another left turn through a neighborhood and headed back south on Atlantic Avenue past the church, only this time passing Lobster Cove Road. She continued south until she got the desired mileage and then turned around, taking the perimeter roads back around the harbor until she reached the Tugboat Marina.

Here are some other pictures from her run around Boothbay Harbor:

Fisherman’s Statue at Browns Wharf Hotel & Restaurant

Streetside entrance to Tubboat Hotel, Marina and restaurant

The Admirals Quarters Inn

The Admirals Quarters Inn

Once back on the boat, there was time for a quick breakfast and showers, then we walked back to the eastern shore for 9:00 mass at Our Lady Queen of Peace, this time taking the footbridge shortcut and not the perimeter roads around the harbor.  On Saturday the church had held a rummage sale to benefit the school.  However, they still had quite a bit of merchandise left over and announced all things were half priced.  Still on our quest to find a pot that could hold 2 lobsters and fit on our small boat burner, we figured we should check out the sale. While they had no true “lobster pot”, we were able to pick up an old Revere-ware pot that would work and we were ecstatic that it was only $2.50.  When we went to pay, the woman mentioned everything was half-priced so it was only going to be $1.25.  There was no way we could do that and handed the women $2.50 – thanking her for the great bargain and feeling like we had accomplished a mission.

After church we walked back to the boat via the footbridge, and readied the boat to leave as the fog was lifting from the harbor.

Harbor from church steps

Harbor homes from footbridge

Bridgehouse located in middle of footbridge

We hated to leave, but needed to get back to Casco Bay and begin making our way to Portland, via a few stops over the next few days.  The first stop was the Gosling Islands, located just west of Harpswell, and about a 2 hour cruise to get there.

We left Boothbay under clear blue skies and headed out into the Gulf of Maine to fairly flat seas.  However, it didn’t take long before we encountered patches of fog, even heavy at times.  Fortunately, it didn’t last long and we were able to see clearly around the numerous lobster posts and navigate into the mooring field at the Goslings.

Leaving Boothbay Harbor

Cruising through fog

Lobster Pot mine field

This is an area of three uninhabited small islands bordering on the south, and a big island to the west that is mostly privately owned residences.  When we arrived, most all the moorings were full of Sunday-Funday boaters, who were using their dinghies or small boats to go ashore to the remote islands.  They were rowdy and having a good time, but we just wanted to read and relax.

Gosling Islands

Party boats at Gosling Islands

Picnic on the Goslings

In the late afternoon many of the weekend boaters left the mooring field and we changed moorings to be closer to the land protection.  Eventually, the entire area settled down and it became very calm and peaceful.  We cooked up some hamburgers on the grill and enjoyed the quiet and pristine nature of the mooring field. This was also the night where the Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis) was supposed to be visible as far south as Pennsylvania, but it was not going to occur until almost 2:00 am. Although Mark got up at that time, he was unable to see anything – due in part to the light pollution coming from nearby Portland.  However, we were not disappointed with the area and we were really glad we spent the night in this very beautiful spot.

IO at Gosling Island Moorings

Freeport (Monday 7/17)
Despite a beautiful sunrise, we left the Goslings when it was overcast and rain was forecasted for the day.

Sunrise at The Goslings

As soon as we knew our slip was available at Brewers marina, we cruised the 6 miles north to South Freeport. We were assigned an inside slip that was well protected but a little tight to get into. However, Mark did a great job docking and with the help of dockhands had Island Office tied up in no time.

Here are some pictures from our route to South Freeport:

House on Pound of Tea Island

Phone booth at Harraseeket River Entrance

Harraseeket River

Approaching Brewers Marina

We had been in communication with our Gold Looper friends Jann and Bill Mellman, who were in the area now enjoying travels in their RV.  They were headed north and on to Bar Harbor, but were willing to spend some time with us. Plus, they had a car and wanted to go to LL Bean, and so did we. So they came down to the marina and picked us up, and then the four of us went into the town of Freeport – home of LL Bean.  It is amazing how this place has grown from a simple store that stayed open 24 hours a day/7 days a week – 365 days a year….to the shopping mecca it now has become.  LL Bean alone has 4 large stores (Flagship, Outlet, Outdoor, and Home store), and is surrounded by every other retailer you can think of.  There is also now a restaurant owned by Linda Bean and that is where the four of us went for lunch.  The food and service was pretty good, but the prices were (naturally) a bit on the touristy side.  We still enjoyed it, and especially our company.

Lunch spot with Mellmans

Lobstah Rolls at LInda Bean’s Maine Kitchen

With Jann and Bill Mellman

After eating and shopping we headed back to the marina and said goodbye to our friends.  Before going back to the boat, we checked into the dockmaster’s office to inquire about a few things.  One of them was a tower we could see on land when we were coming up the River. He informed us that it was originally a tower and amusement park with a hotel, but these burned and all that remains is the tower which is currently on private land.  We also learned that this marina is the original Brewer’s Marina that started the chain, but that they are no longer affiliated with this now large marina management company.

Tower at Casco Park

In the afternoon Mark did some work and Denise walked to the Post Office (1/2 mile up the road) to mail a card, and then did some cataloging of pictures.  Here in the PO she found they had a sketch of the Casco Tower.

Tower at Casco Park – picture in PO

PO in South Freeport

It had been hot most of the day, so naturally as afternoon turned into evening it got a little foggy. We were debating what to do for dinner as there was only one restaurant near the marina with average reviews on YELP, and all others would require a cab ride back into Freeport.  Also, we really didn’t have much food left on the boat as we were trying to empty as much of the fridge for when we would be gone.

We eventually decided to try the place nearby as we were pretty sure we had eaten there before with Aunt Judy when we were here in 2013.  We later confirmed that it was in fact the same place. Funny how life hands you these little coincidences.  So we placed a “to-go” order and walked from the marina across the gravel parking lot to pick up our lobster rolls and fried clams, and returned to the boat to eat them. It was delicious and we enjoyed every bite, all the while watching the fog get heavier and heavier. By the time the sun was completely down and darkness was all around us, you could barely see beyond the marina.

Harraseeket Restaurant

PIcking up our to-go order

Too foggy to see the harbor

Here are some other pictures from around the marina:

Lobstah Rocker at dockmasters

Brewers South Freeport Marina

Dockmasters office – Brewers

Deck overlooking marina

Facilities and lounge at Brewers

Cruisers Lounge

Cruisers lounge

Spring Point Marina – South Portland (7/18)
There was some fog when we woke and we were concerned with being able to get to Portland before it became really thick again like last night. So around 9:00 am when we saw it thinning out a bit, we decided to leave for South Portland where we had reservations to leave the boat for a week while we went home for the family reunion. It was a day earlier than planned, but we called the marina and they confirmed it was ok to arrive early.

The journey was less than 15 miles, but we had to navigate around some small islands, which can be nerve racking in the fog.

Fog on our nose

Fortunately, as we got closer to Great Chebeague Island the fog seemed to lift for us and we were able to get through the area without a problem.  Of course once back into the bay there was more fog, but it was still pretty light and we were able to get into the marina without incident.  We arrived in time to grab some lunch and watch a Coast Guard helicopter conduct exercises in the bay near the marina.

Approaching Spring Point Marina

CG exercises in Portland Harbor

In the afternoon it started to rain as a fast-moving front came through. Of course this is when the Portland Mattress company showed up to deliver our new boat mattress.  We had ordered it nearly 6 weeks ago and arranged for them to deliver it when we knew we would be in Portland. Earlier in the day we had called and had advised we would be arriving earlier than originally thought, and they were able to put us on the delivery schedule for later in the day. Obviously all this was done before we knew it was going to rain.  And of course the brilliant-minded delivery guys didn’t think they needed to sit in the truck to wait for the rain to pass and proceeded to deliver our new mattress when the drizzle turned to pouring rain. As luck would have it, the new mattress was covered in plastic, but they had to remove the old mattress and it was not.  It is a good thing we had no intention on keeping it as it was useless once they took it off the boat. We offered to let them stay until the rain subsided, but they wanted to be on their way.  Within 15 minutes of their leaving, the rain disappeared and the sun came out, warming things up for the rest of the afternoon.

But by late afternoon that warm air resulted in more fog, and this time it got really thick.

Afternoon fog just outside harbor

By 6:00 pm we could not see the condos and building housing the restaurant at the top of the marina pier.  We walked the docks a bit and then hunkered down in the boat for the rest of the evening.

Heavy fog in marina at night

Spring Point Marina – South Portland (7/19)
Today we spent the day doing boat maintenance and getting it (and us) ready for leaving for the reunion.  First we used the marina’s loaner car to do a few errands.  Denise was able to get a pedicure and Mark was able to go to an auto-parts store to get new hydraulic lifts for our bed. Yes, the domino effect – our new mattress is heavier than the old one and lifting the bed to access the storage under it now was a lot harder to do.  Mark knew that the hydraulic lifts were standard auto part-type and we could buy ones with heavier lifting capability that would fit in the existing brackets.

In the afternoon, we took advantage of the numerous washers and dryers at the marina and did many loads of laundry including sheets, towels, rags, and clothes. We also defrosted our refrigerator and cleaned it completely, discarding a few items that had become science experiments, and polishing it up to look nice.  We also installed the new hydraulic lifts under the bed (a 15 minute project) and kept the old ones for potential spare parts.

In the evening we ate dinner at the new restaurant that had opened in the marina complex (Latitude 42 Degrees). The food was good however, the menu is very limited and we didn’t linger as we had packing to do.  Earlier in the day the fog had rolled in thicker than we had seen, and by the time we left the restaurant it was so thick you could not see more than one or two finger piers away from our boat.

Latitude 42 Degrees restaurant

Dinner at 42 degrees Cafe

Dinner at 42 degrees Cafe

So foggy can’t see condos

Although located in South Portland and not close to the downtown waterfront, this marina has a lot to offer cruisers.  Despite rocking from boaters who don’t know what “NO WAKE” means, we liked many of the amenities like numerous clean washers and dryers, nice restroom/shower facilities, a cruisers lounge, a loaner and great staff.

Here are a few other pictures of the marina complex:

Local boaters party float – they take up a whole slip just to have a place to barbecue and hang out in the summer.

Dockmasters office – Spring Point Marina

SPM office and ship stores

Washers at SPM

Cruisers lounge at SPM

Spring Point Marina – South Portland (7/20)
Although wanting to go for a run in the morning before heading to the airport, there was too much to do and not enough time to get in the run.  The fog from yesterday had completely dissipated, and it was a beautiful morning.  We were homeward bound and looking forward to our family’s reunion week in Tybee Island, GA.

Morning in marina without fog

Sunrise over Spring Point Marina in Portland

We have been very limited in access to good strong internet signals and we hope to update the blog and get caught up while at the reunion.


Perfectly Portland Yacht Club!

Portland Yacht Club – Falmouth Foreside (Friday, 7/7)
We left Kittery and the Badger Marina under cloudy skies and slight sprinkles, but fairly small waves expected, so that didn’t bother us.  Plus, the rain was forecasted to clear up.

But first we had to get some fuel, so we went to the self-service fuel dock on the Portsmouth side of the harbor. This is used primarily by the fishing boats in the area and it is not the cleanest place. In fact, it stinks of dead fish and the dock is very filthy with fish guts.  Plus, the pump is about 10 feet above the dock, so Mark had to either climb a ladder to the pump to turn it on (and give it a credit card), or walk around the side of the dock where the fishing boats are and take a gangplank up and the pump.  Then fueling the boat became a two-person operation; Mark handing the hose and nozzle down to Denise who put it on the boat and advised when ready for the pump to be put on – all the while dodging fish guts and hoping not to track them back onto the boat. Then this had to be reversed once fueling was complete.  Let’s just say it is all part of the adventure.

Fuel Stop

By the time we left the harbor and headed towards Portland the rain had stopped and we had a nice uneventful cruise up the coast. We could tell when we were approaching Portland as there are two lighthouses on Cape Elizabeth that are great landmarks.  One of the lights is no longer operational, but the tower still exists and is located now in the midst of a neighborhood.

Passing Nubble Lighthouse – along the coast. We have been here by land before.

Cape Elizabeth Two Lights

Portland Head Light

We entered the channel past Portland Light and continued past Spring Point Lighthouse in South Portland,  and around Fort Scammell (House Island) and then turned slightly northwest and headed around Fort Gorges.

Spring Point Ledge Light

Ft Scammel on House Island

Downtown Portland

Fort Gorges – Hog Island Ledge

We then made our way past several large and small islands.  Soon we came into the mooring field for Handy Boat Marina, and then Portland Yacht Club (PYC) where we had a two-night reservation on a mooring ball.

Homes approaching Falmouth Foreside

PYC Mooring field

Mark wanted to hose off all the salt on the boat before we headed to our mooring, so we got permission to tie to their “Float” (i.e. floating dock) to do this. (More about “floats” later). We approached the dock and as Denise was getting to ready to tie lines to the cleats, Mark says “we know that guy”.  As Denise looks up she sees a guy we met on the Great Loop.  After we docked the boat we were greeted by “Bob” (“Velo-mer”) a Gold Looper who is working as a launch driver at PYC.  We had no idea he was here and was delighted to see him.

Bob at PYC

We met Bob and his wife (PM) in Orillia, Ontario on the Trent Severn Waterway, and saw them again at Green Turtle Bay in Kentucky.  We had shared drinks and stories then, so it was a real treat having him assisting us at PYC.  We chatted for a while and he told us that he saw our boat name on the list and wondered if it was us. When Mark called to get permission to tie to the float, he was the one who answered and he knew right away it was us but wanted to surprise us. So he chuckled when we were surprised to see him.

While Mark washed off the boat, Bob showed Denise to the Yacht Club where she checked us in and got the lay of the land. Back at the float we all chatted for a bit, before he had to get back to work and we had to move our boat to the mooring – which he helped us locate by escorting us via the launch boat directly to its location.  Finding a specific mooring which you are assigned to can be a real challenge in a crowded mooring field.

Once tied to the mooring we organized our boat, and ate some lunch. Then a short time later Bob showed up in the launch boat with a “welcome” package.  It was full of New England products and was a very nice gesture and surprise.  He also offered us the use of his car to go anywhere we needed.  As he was off at 3:00 and we had stuff to do on the boat, we agreed to take him up on the offer for tomorrow.  We did however, make plans to have dinner together with him and PM tomorrow.

Welcome gift

Later that evening, we went up the club for dinner and had a delicious meal.  This club does not sell alcohol, but you are welcome to bring your bottles to the bar and they will bring them to your dining table. Or, if you prefer you can sit in the bar and drink there, as all alcohol must come through them. We had our happy hour on Island Office, so we were good for the evening.

PYC facilities

Bar at PYC

Portland Yacht Club – Falmouth (Saturday, 7/8)
Today we took Bob up on his offer to use his car; he had no need for it as he was working until 3:00.  We drove into downtown Portland, first to retrieve a package we had sent to the marina where we will leave the boat to go home for the family reunion.  Then we drove to a Hamilton’s – a marine store that Mark knew of – to pick up a copy of a Maine cruising book that had been highly recommended. This store was the only place we could find that had the very newly released 2017 edition.  We did this all-the-while negotiating around a road race (half marathon) that had a finishing line not far from the marine store.  The pedestrian traffic was crazy.  After that, we headed out to a Home Depot to pick up a few parts for our inline water system, and to the Walmart near the marina.  We were so grateful to Bob for use of his car as this gave us a chance to get some errands run, but also to see parts of the Portland area that we had not yet seen.

Hamilton Marine Store – Portland

On our way back to the marina we stopped at the Town Landing Market to pick up some lunch for Bob.  They have a reputation for great lobster rolls, so we figured it would be a great way to pay him back for his generosity thus far. Once back at PYC, we took the launch (Bob driving) back to boat for our lunch.

Town Landing Market in Falmouth Foreside

Lobster Rolls at Town Landing Mkt

When lunch was over we took the launch back to PYC as Mark had some computer work to do, and Denise wanted to catalog pictures (and work on the blog). Since we were on a mooring we had limited power and we wanted to have better internet service.

Around 2:30 Bob came and told us that a very fast moving storm was approaching, and offered to take us back to our boat.  Initially we figured we had sufficient time before our evening plans, so we were going to stay in the clubhouse. However, Mark realized all the boat’s hatches were opened and he needed to go back to close them.  While he was on the boat the storm hit with a vengeance with pouring rain and howling wind. Someone later told us they clocked it at 60 mph.

Storm at PYC

As fast as the storm came up, it went away equally as fast.  Within 30 minutes the rain had stopped and 15 minutes later there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. Perfect timing as Denise took the launch back to the boat in time to get ready for church.  Given the perfect weather now, we walked to mass at Holy Martyr Church, just a half mile from the marina.

Holy Martyr Church

Holy Martyr Church inside

We arrived back in time for Bob and PM to pick us up and take us to dinner at “Buck’s Naked Bar-B-Que”.  We had an enjoyable time hearing of their plans to cruise the Bahamas in the winter, and then do the Loop again in 2018.

Bucks Naked Bar B Que

After a fine meal we went back to their boat which they keep in Yarmouth for continued conversations.

PM & Bob Amidon (Velo-mer)

Finally, it was getting late and they took us back to PYC in time for the launch (which ends at 10:00 pm).

We really liked everything about the PYC. Its members are warm and friendly, and it is a beautiful facility in a great location.  We may consider revisiting it again on our way back home, should we need to come into the Portland area.

Here are some other things we saw in the area around PYC:

Otter in the water

Front of PYC

Inside main hall at PYC

View from deck at PYC

PYC docks

Captains room at PYC

Sunrise at PYC

About “floats” & “launches”
Many marinas in these parts cannot have docks in the water year round due to winter ice.  So they use floating docks that can easily be taken out at the end of the season. The docks are usually attached to gangplanks that rise and fall with the tides (which can routinely be 8 -12 feet). For many yacht clubs they do not have marina, but only moorings – which are floating balls that are anchored to the bottom in some way and you can tie your boat off to it.  Then they do have some form of floating dock that can be used to tie up a dinghy, or for their launches to pick up or drop off passengers. However, sometimes the floats are stand alone in the water for boats to tie to, but are not tethered to any type of fixed structure.

Launches are no-frills low-riding boats that are used to ferry people to and from their boats located on moorings, which is the most prevalent way boats are “docked” or stored during the season. In the winter, boats are hauled from the water and put in either climate-controlled storage, or winterized and shrink-wrapped for storage “on the hard”.  At the start of summer or late spring, they are put back in the water on a mooring for the 10 -11 week season.

On the PYC launch

In some harbors the launch service is provided by the city (e.g. Port Washington, NY) and there is a fee for use each time. Most yacht clubs and some marinas provide a launch service which may be free, or included in your mooring rental (for transients). In most cases, it is a lot easier and faster to take the launch service than to use your own dinghy, which might be charged a separate fee at the dinghy dock (they want you to use the launch service). The downside to launch services is that you are dependent on their schedules and if your dinner or social engagement runs too late at night, you might not be able to get back to your boat before they quit for the night. So, you have to plan accordingly.

When you make multiple trips per day on the launches as we did at PYC, you get to know the drivers of the boats. We became very fond of Hannah at PYC and enjoyed talking to her about her future plans. She is going to Maine Maritime Academy and wants to drive big commercial ships. Not typically an occupation for a female, but she is going into it with eyes-wide open as she loves being on the water.  She is bright and we wish her all the luck!

Launch Driver Hannah

Finally Maine!

Kittery (Monday, 7/3)
After a great and late evening in Annisquam, it was hard to leave to leave too early as we were a bit tired. But the sunny weather and calm waves called us to make the 28 mile run up the Massachusetts coast before it turned too windy.

Liz’s Barn from water

We also had to time the tide so we could arrive at the Badger Island Marina in Kittery at slack tide. The current on the Piscataqua River is known for being one of the worst and docking can be unruly for all the marinas that are located on it.

Portsmouth Riverfront sign

But it was a great morning on the water as we cruised up the coastline, passing the Isle of Shoals to the east, and soon thereafter going into the Portsmouth Harbor Inlet.  Here we passed by state parks, private homes, the Coast Guard station, and eventually Portsmouth Naval Yard.

Hampton Beach from the Atlantic Ocean

Isle of Shoals

Whaleback Light – Entrance to Portsmouth/Kittery

USCG Station – Portsmouth

Houses on north shore – Portsmouth Harbor Inlet

Abandoned building at Portsmouth Naval Yard

It was going up this river that we finally entered Maine; the state of our final destination for the summer.

We pulled into Badger Island Marina where we had reservations for 3 nights. Dave the dockmaster was very helpful in putting us in a slip very close to shore as to minimize the rocking from the wakes of passing boats, and to assist with the fast current – even though we arrived perfectly at slack tide.  Maneuvering into this slip was very tight and tricky, but Mark did an excellent job and with Dave’s help onshore we were able to tie up safely and without incident. We settled the boat, checked in at the marina office and ate some lunch.

IO at Badgers Island Marina – East

In the afternoon we met up with Denise’s Aunt Judy and her Indiana cousins who were visiting Aunt Judy.  It was a special treat to see Greg Shatto and his family (wife Kelly, son Noah, and daughter Paige) again so soon.  After years of not seeing them, we were fortunate in visiting Indiana on a side trip when we did the Loop in 2015-2016.  Now in less than 2 years we got to see them again.

Together we walked around Prescott Park in downtown Portsmouth and enjoyed the fresh air and time to chat.  We strolled around the outdoor stage where the play “Merry Poppins” was running every evening, and the entire area surrounding it was decorated this theme. We also walked through the large gardens they have, including a beautiful area that has 3 fountains and lovely flowers.

Sign for play

Portsmouth Theater in Park

Tree decorations for Mary Poppins

Goofing off – Paige, Greg & Denise

Mark and Judy

Prescott Park grounds in Portsmouth

Fountains in the gardens

We then attempted to see the restored old homes at Strawberry Banke.  Unfortunately, they were setting up for a special event in a big tent on the property and the museum entrance was around the corner and up a block or two.  As it was too far for everyone in our group to walk we opted to not go in and walked back to the car.

Strawberry Banke House

We had been invited to lasagna dinner at Aunt Judy’s and so we all headed to Somersworth (crammed into Greg’s truck) which is about 20 minutes from the marina.  After dinner we all headed back to the marina to watch the fireworks in downtown Portsmouth from the cockpit on our boat. Aunt Judy was kind enough to let us use her car, so we didn’t have to squeeze into Greg’s truck, but we did have to find a place to park both cars.  Mark has good parking Karma and was able to secure a spot right near the marina and we gave the marina parking pass to Greg as his was the bigger of the two and harder to find parking.

It was a great way to end a terrific day with family, and we made plans to connect the next day.

Kittery (Tuesday, 7/4) – Independence Day!
Even though we were a bit tired from yesterday’s activities, Denise got up and went running before it got too late and hot. She ran over the bridge back into Portsmouth, through the park and along the waterway until she could go no further.  She then circled back and ran around the streets of the downtown and then back over the bridge to Kittery until she finished 4 miles.

Here are a few pictures from her run:

Memorial Bridge

War Memorial

Welcome to Kittery

Later in the morning we met up with Judy and the Shattos, as well as Judy’s daughter Linda who had driven 1.5 hours to visit with her cousins.  We all met at Odiorne State Park where they have the Seacoast science center.  In the science center is a terrific Aquarium and lots of exhibits about marine life in this area.  They have several tanks of differing types of lobster (blue and white ones – who knew?) and they had one that was a huge 24 lbs.  The building itself is an historical home and overlooks the Portsmouth inlet. You can learn more about this wonderful state park here.

Aquarium Entrance

Odiorne State Park

Cousins selfie – Odiorne State Park

We found covered shelter in a large vacant tent that had been set up for some special event and dragged a nearby picnic table under it to enjoy our lunch.  It was a beautiful day and although the water was too cold for us, the kids enjoyed sticking their feet in and getting cooled off.

Noah & Kelly working on Noah’s project

In the afternoon we headed back to Judy’s house, but decided to stop along the way and get an ice cream at The Ice House in Rye, NH. It tasted great, but was still no substitute for our favorite in these parts: “Lone Oak”.

Ice Cream Stop

At The Ice House

Who knew there was a job called “Sccoopgirls”

We had also stopped along the way and picked up some steaks and chicken as we decided to have a Bar-B-Que on this Independence Day.  Once back in Somersworth we enjoyed hanging out with everyone, including watching Noah build a model aircraft carrier, prepping for dinner, and playing cards.  We had a chance to meet Lynnmarie Judy’s good friend who helped her during Uncle Bill’s last days.

Mark, Paige & Kelly

Cousins Denise, Greg & Linda

Noah’s project

Judy & Lynnmarie

It was a great time, but eventually it was time to leave.

 Kittery (Wednesday, 7/5)
Today was a day to do a few chores on the boat and since we had use of a car, run a few errands.  In the afternoon Mark did a little work and Denise cataloged pictures and worked a little bit on the blog.

In the afternoon we made plans to join Judy, and the cousins at Newick’s for dinner.  This is a must-stop lobster house that Denise’s family has traditionally dined every time we visited Judy.  We had an enjoyable meal and loved spending time together, but unfortunately we had to say goodbye to Linda who had to drive back up north for work the next day.

Dinner at Newicks

Greg, Linda & Denise

Dinner at Newicks

The rest of us left Newick’s and drove up to Rochester, New Hampshire to go get ice cream.  No trip to NH would be complete without a stop at “Lone Oak” and Judy indulged us.  Not only is the ice cream there so good, their “small” is like a double at most other ice cream stops.

Lone Oak

Paige loves Ice Cream

Unfortunately, the line was long and it took a while for everyone to get served, and it got quite late. We ended up driving back to the marina in Judy’s car so no one would have to make a round-trip at such a late hour, but not before having a plan to get it back to her the next day.

Kittery (Thursday, 7/6)
We started the morning getting a few work things taken care of, and then we took the car back to Aunt Judy’s.  She then returned us to the marina and we said good bye, promising to let her know of our plans for the return trip when we know something more definitive.

We spent the rest of the day working on the boat and making a tentative schedule of places to see once we were north of Portland. We met with Dave the dockmaster who gave us lots of suggestions of all the places to go in ME, and identified a few places to avoid. We learned he spent a large part of his life on Florida waters and lived there for a long time; most recently Palm Coast area.  We shared stories of cruising Florida waters and cruising up and down the ICW.  We were grateful for his advice and made notes on our charts accordingly.

Dockmaster Dave at Badgers Marina

In the evening we walked to downtown Kittery for dinner. We went to a restaurant called the Black Birch, but only after waiting 15 minutes to get seats at the bar.

Downtown Kittery

The Black Birch – kitchen & drinks

At the Black Birch

Here we got to view the terrific farm-to-table menu and watch the bartenders in action.  The bar has at least 20 microbrewery beers on tap and each one is designated by a tap head that is a figurative representation of the brewery.

Unique tabs for each microbrew

The other interesting thing about this place was the music. Instead of using internet radio, Pandora, or some other music forum, they were actually playing LP records on a record player. The sound was amazing!

Vinyl record player at Black Birch

We had a great meal and really enjoyed this little spot.  We then walked back to the boat and made plans to leave for the Portland areas in the morning.

Here are some other pictures from the area around the marina:

Marina office and facilities

Gangplank to docks

Marina building & condos

Marblehead to Annisquam!

Marblehead, MA (Saturday, 7/1)
We got lucky!  We secured reservations on one of only 2 town mooring buoys in Marblehead, a place we both have wanted to go to for a while.  It is home of the Boston Yacht Club (one of the oldest in the country) and a huge sailing location. Since it is only 13 miles from Boston, it was an easy cruise and so we said good-bye to Boston and the Constitution marina. We had fun here and we were very happy that our unintended stop worked out so well.

Leaving Boston

It was an uneventful cruise to up the coast and when we rounded the point and entered into Marblehead Harbor.

Marblehead Light

Almost instantly we were amazed at how crowded the place was.  By far this was the most crowded mooring field we have ever seen. The boats are really close together and navigating around them to find the open mooring ball we were assigned was challenging.  We managed to locate it and luckily it was not too far from the dinghy dock on the western shore of the harbor, so getting to shore would be a breeze.

Marblehead Harbor

Also near shore was a park (Croker Park) located on a hill that overlooks the harbor.  We could see a tent and hear music performing and later learned that this was the weekend of the “Marblehead Festival of Arts” and the music venue was this park.  Wondering just how loud the music would be at bedtime, we were now wondering if we were lucky or if we would we regret this location.  We had flashbacks to our month in Key Largo when our boat was 100’ from the loud restaurant and bar near our dock.

Crocker Park & Harbor Masters office

We ate lunch and then launched the dinghy to go to the harbormaster’s office and check in.  It took us awhile to find him as we learned the Harbormaster here is also the Harbor Patrol (i.e. water police) and they were out patrolling the harbor.

Dockmaster Office

Eventually, we were able to check in and then went for a walk to explore the area.  We walked around the neighborhood near the waterfront area, then up through Crocker Park where we learned about the festival.

Festival Bandstand

Then we walked by the Boston Yacht Club and through the historic homes area where there are many (restored) homes that were built in the mid and late 1700’s.

Boston Yacht Club

At Boston Yacht Club

At Boston Yacht Club

House from 1767

HIstoric District Homes

We continued our adventure down Washington Street and to Washington Square, where we discovered the “art” part of the festival.  It was very interesting but small so it didn’t take long for us to get through it.

Art Festival in Washington Square

So, we continued on our walk and discovered “Schubies” – a local market with a huge deli, housewares and cooking store.  This was a foodie paradise and we spent lots of time here tasting samples and discovering new things (gadgets) that we really didn’t need.


After this we walked around the other shops in the area, and then headed back towards the boat, taking a different way. This alternate route took us past more historic homes and down to the handful of waterfront shops and restaurants that were very touristy.

Washington Street

We were trying to figure out what to do for dinner, and whether to go to mass now or in the morning.  The church was back in the direction we had spent all day exploring and we didn’t feel like walking back there. Plus, it was hot!  We opted for a cool drink aboard the boat.

On the way back we ran into the dockmaster and he suggested “Maddies Sail Loft” for dinner, a place we had walked past on our way back from downtown today. He also asked if we had gone to see the “Spirit of 1776” – A famous painting that is housed in “Abbot Hall”, which we had unknowingly walked right by when visiting the art festival. We made a note of it and decided to try and hit it on the way back from church tomorrow.

We headed back to the boat for refreshments and noticed a boat on the mooring behind us was a Gold Looper that we had seen before. We were unable to remember when we saw “Adirondack”, and we made an attempt to go by and talk to them, but they were not on the boat and we didn’t get to talk with them.

Gold Looper Adirondack

In the evening we took the dinghy back to shore for dinner at Maddie’s Sail Loft as suggested. When we walked up the stairs and entered the place (via the bar) we saw their t-shirts for purchase. On the back of the shirt is a list of the “Top 10 Sailing Bars in the World”, of which Maddie’s was one.  The funny part was we had been to 4 others of these on the list. I am not sure what that says about us!

T-Shirt at Maddies Sail Loft

We had a good meal and when we left the place was packed.  So, we were fortunate we had arrived early.  We walked back through the waterfront park before heading back to the boat for the night.  Expecting to be hearing the music festival all night long, we were pleasantly surprised when it stopped at 9:00 pm, allowing us to get a good night’s rest.

Annisquam (Sunday, 7/2)
Much to Mark’s chagrin we had to wake early and head back to shore for a 7:30 am mass at (surprise) “Our Lady Star of the Sea”.  It is a beautiful church with a large pipe organ in the balcony and lovely stained glass windows.

Our Lady Star of the Sea

Inside Our Lady Star of the Sea

Inside Our Lady Star of the Sea

After church we stopped at Java Sun Coffee Roasters to get coffee for Denise (and breakfast muffins), preventing us from having to run the generator on the boat.

Muffin from Java Sun Coffee Roasters

We were not in too much of a hurry to get underway as there was fog in the harbor, we were timing the tides for Gloucester, and we only had a short distance to travel for the day.

Morning fog in Marblehead

Given that, we decided to walk back to the boat via the route that would take us past Abbot Hall.  Although officially the museum didn’t open until later, we managed to sneak into the building when one of the art festival volunteers left the door ajar just as we were approaching the building.  We acted like we knew exactly what we were doing and went inside.  (Easier to ask forgiveness then permission…)

Once inside the building we discovered we were unable to get inside the room where the “Spirit of 1776” is housed, but we were able to see it through the glass doors.  We walked around the rest of Abbot Hall and then decided it was time to leave – before we got arrested for trespassing!

Abbot Hall

Abbot Hall Plaque

“Spirit of 1776”

Once back at the boat, we noticed the fog had lifted and we made plans to leave.  Of course some lobsterman placed a pot right near where we would have otherwise maneuvered!  We wanted to see more of the eastern shore of the harbor, so we cruised around for about 15 minutes, checking out the other yacht clubs and mansions.

Here are some other pictures from Marblehead:

IO at Marblehead mooring

Marblehead homes from the water

Eastern Shore – Marblehead Harbor

Once out of the harbor we made a direct course heading for the entrance to Gloucester harbor, passing Baker Island and other rock outcroppings and small islands.  We entered Gloucester Harbor staying closer to the western-most shore which allowed us to see Hammond Castle and some of the homes that are on the hills.

Leaving Marblehead – looking North

Hammond Castle Museum

Gloucester Light

Downtown Gloucester

As we were not staying in Gloucester, we did not go to the inner harbor located on our right (starboard), but rather headed towards the waterfront walkway.  Here is where the Beauport hotel is a key landmark to the east, and the famous Gloucester Lobsterman Memorial was dead ahead of us.

Beauport Hotel – Gloucester

Tavern on the Harbor in Gloucester

Lobsterman Memorial

After requesting an opening we turned into the narrow opening of the Blyman Bridge and entered the Annisquam River.  As luck would have it, there were a few other SPOREs ahead of us and kicking up the waves, making it a nail-biting passage.

Blyman Bridge – Entrance to Annisquam River

Annisquam River

We got through without incident and then proceeded through the shallow and narrow turns all along the Annisquam River.  We took this route so that we would not have to go around Cape Ann, and because we had reservations for a mooring ball at the Annisquam Yacht Club on the river.  We were here visiting Orlando friends who have a (summer) house in Annisquam and we had been in touch regarding our afternoon/evening activities.

After picking up the mooring ball and eating lunch, we took the dinghy to the shore that is just under the house owned by our friends Liz and Mark (and son William) Zeitler.  We were met at the dock by Liz with a big hug and her warm smile.  What a welcoming!

We walked up the hill and got a tour of her barn-turned house that had been in her family for generations.  It is not glamorous by any means, but it homey and has an awesome view of Ipswich Bay and the Annisquam River.

Liz’s Place

Liz’s Barn

We met the company they had visiting; friends Randy & Sarah with their son Brian, and fellow-FSU alumni Hillary & Scott.  They all made us feel very welcome and we enjoyed getting to know them a bit.

We went for a walk to a vista to see the Annisquam Lighthouse and then climbed up to where Squam Rock was.  This is a rock that everyone tries to go up, but there is little room to get a running start which is required to get high enough on the slippery surface to gain footing and grab onto a crevice. William made numerous attempts, but was not successful.  On the other hand, Scott was able to make it on his first attempt, which is one more than Mark, Denise or any of the over 30-crowd made.

At Annisquam Lighthouse

Squam Rock

Scott is King of the Mountain

After our walk we determined it would be better if the dinghy was on the other side of the inlet near the yacht club docks.  This would make it easier to get back to the mooring in the dark, and we wouldn’t have so far to go.  Feeling adventurous Mark moved the dinghy by himself through the inlet, and Denise & Liz took the car down the hill to meet him.  Liz then gave us a mini-tour of Annisquam and then we went back to the house for happy hour.

Annisquam Library & town buildings

In the meantime Mark Z. had been preparing a feast for us. He is an awesome cook and served a terrific dinner of lobster and corn. It was so delicious!

Mark Z.

Table is set for the feast

At Liz’s in Annisquam

After dinner we went outside to watch the awesome sunset and to see the fireworks across the bay.

Gathering at the Barn

Liz’s dog Skye

Sunset at Annisquam

Sunset over Ipswitch Bay

We stayed until we could no longer keep our eyes open, then Liz drove us back down the hill to the yacht club to get our dinghy so we could go back to the boat.  We thanked her for her wonderful hospitality and we promised to connect when we are back home. It had been a terrific day and we were beat!

Boston Strong!

Dering Harbor – Shelter Island, NY (Wednesday, 6/21)
We left the dock at Greenport right after Mark finished his client conference call at 9:00 and immediately went to the pump-out station. We were anticipating being on a mooring for the next few nights and wanted to start with an empty tank.  We had also topped off the water tanks to ensure we had plenty of water onboard for cooking, but also for showers. It is amazing what you take for granted when you can’t just turn a faucet and magically the water appears.  When you live on a boat (even part-time), you have to become your own utility company and make sure you have plenty of water, electricity (battery) and the sewage system is good “to go”.

After the pump out we cruised the 2 miles across the Peconic River to Dering Harbor and grabbed the mooring ball we had reserved in advance.  This requires a little skill to master the art of picking up the pendant (if there is one) to catch the line, and then securing your boat’s bridle system to the ball.

Mooring ball and our bridle

Mark was responsible for this part while Denise drove the boat; aiming perfectly and not too fast or slow to make the pickup. Unfortunately, it took two attempts because the current pulled us just a bit too far from the ball on the first attempt.  But we nailed it the second time around.

After securing the mooring ball, we ate lunch, did a few things on the boat, and then went on a dinghy ride to the “town” area on this part of Shelter Island.  Once on shore, the first thing we had to do was check in and pay our mooring fees.  We went to “Jack’s Marine” (who owns the mooring field) which is a True Value store, but also sells all kinds of other things. Here they have paints, hardware, toys, housewares, boat spare parts and many other things; you name it, they have it.

Jack’s Marine (left) – downtown Dering Harbor

Mark at Jack’s Marine

We walked around briefly to the 3 other places that make up this “village”, including a beach shop where we purchased t-shirts.  Afterwards we took the dinghy around the harbor to see some of the other boats, as well as the sights on shore.

Dering Harbor Moorings

Shelter Island Yacht Club

We had been in touch with Bruce (“Shenanigans”) who has a car on the island. He agreed to give us a quick tour of Shelter Island.  So at 4:00 we met back at the dinghy dock on shore, and then we walked to his car at the end of the “village”; about 400 yards away.  This is not a big place!

Bruce took us all around the north and western part of Shelter Island, including through some of the inland villages and the Shelter Island Country Club where we were able to shoot some pictures.

Shelter Island Country Club

From Shelter Island Country Club

He told us that this club is open to the public and they have no irrigation, so in August the fairways turn brown and the rocks are exposed, making for an interesting bounce on the ball.  As we were leaving the course, we spotted two deer; a doe and her young fawn, but they moved too swiftly to capture a picture.

From there he took us by the north ferry dock (that comes from Greenport), on the western shore.  The commercial vehicles were already all in queue to get off the island after a day at work.  People in the “trades” cannot afford to live on Shelter Island, so they are forced to commute here daily via the ferry. At the end of the day they queue up to get back off the island, along with departing tourists and the usual commercial traffic.

North Ferry Terminal

UPS truck – first in queue

From there he took us along the beach road past where Itzhak Perlman has a music training center (The Perlman Music Program) where young musicians of rare and special talent are welcomed into a richly supportive musical community. The center provides intensive summer (and other) musical training programs for students ages 12 and up.  Who knew this was here?

Continuing through the middle of the island we drove on beautiful tree canopied roads that were hilly in parts, but flat in others.  We ended up back north of Dering Harbor and then over to Little Ram Island where we were able to see Coecles Harbor; a place we had also considered visiting. It sits in around a natural preserve, and while beautiful we are not interested in visiting this part of the island by boat.  We were also able to see across the bay to the southern fork of Long Island and Bruce suggested we should definitely visit that part, especially Montauk if time permits.  We agreed and have decided to come back that way, since it is a short hop from Block Island.

Sunset Beach – Shelter Island

Unfortunately, it was time for Bruce to take us back to Dering harbor. He had out-of-town guests who rented a house on the island and he needed to get back to them.  We thanked him for his generosity and shared wealth of knowledge about the area. We learned a lot and now know we have to hit a few other places on the way back home (like Sag Harbor).

Bruce and Mark – Dering Harbor

Mark after our trip with Bruce

Shelter Island looks very much like parts of Maine and New Hampshire, and even the homes have that New England look to them. We can see why many people like this area as it is really pretty and has a lot to offer, either by car (via the ferry) or by boat.

We made our way back to the boat via the dinghy and prepared a dinner of leftovers. We watched the sun set over the harbor and heard the cannon shot from the Shelter Island Yacht Club to mark the occasion.

Sunrise at Dering Harbor

Boston, MA (Thursday, 6/22)
We went to bed with plans of leaving in the morning to go to Cuttyhunk, MA which is in the Elizabeth Islands at the tip of Buzzards Bay.  From there we planned to cruise north stopping in Plymouth or Situate and get to Boston by Saturday. Unfortunately, the weather had other plans. We had checked the forecast for two days out earlier in the day and it looked ok for Thursday and Friday, but iffy for Saturday.  But when Mark checked the update at midnight; it was not looking good for Friday.

The sun was up at 4:45 am and so was Denise, with Mark rising at 6:00 am (ah the Summer Solstice) we looked at the weather and shelved going to Cuttyhunk.  While Thursday was going to be a good day, Friday was going to be windy and Saturday was going to be awful.  While we could still easily get to Cuttyhunk, we may not be able to leave there when planned. We knew we needed to get north of the Cape Cod Canal today or we may get stuck and not make it to Boston for Sunday.  So at 6:30 a.m. we left the mooring at Dering Harbor.

We cruised out of the area and into Block Island Sound under almost perfect conditions; light wind and 1 -2 foot swells with long periods in between. As we made our way east and got closer to Block Island, we encountered some areas where the currents created quite a chop on the water, especially when mixed with the wakes of passing sports fishing boats or other cruising yachts. Denise was really glad we came through here on a “good” day as we have heard stories about how rough this open water can be, even though the coastlines of Rhode Island and Massachusetts are well within sight the whole way. It was also helpful that it was still early in the morning as the winds had not yet started for the day.

We were going to need fuel before getting into Boston, and Mark had researched a place in New Bedford, MA that we could get a sufficient amount that would get us to Gloucester where it is significantly cheaper. However, it would be a 7-mile diversion up the Acushnet River off of Buzzards Bay – meaning a 15 mile round-trip excursion.  We had considered this as a stopping point early in our planning as there are two cities here; New Bedford, and Fairhaven on the other side of the river and both are behind a very large hurricane breakwater that protects the harbor. There is a very large fleet of commercial fishing boats that line both sides of the harbor, and there are working yards and marinas all around.

Hurricane Breakwater – New Bedford Inlet

We arrived at Sea Fuels Marine and took on 100 gallons from a very customer-service oriented young man. He was great in helping us tie to the rough dock designed to handle large commercial boats, and was efficient at handling the fueling. In no time at all we were back on our way and out into the river.

Sea Fuels Marine – Fuel Stop

Fuel Stop – dock designed for commercial boats

As we cruised through Buzzards Bay we passed the Elizabeth Islands (and Cuttyhunk) and eventually Woods Hole to our right (starboard side) in the distance.  Here the Bay is at its widest, but begins to narrow as we continued northeast. Then Buzzards Bay turns into the Hog Island Channel and the community of Onset on the Left (port side), until it eventually ends into the Cape Code Canal.

From at least 5 miles before you come to the Canal you can see the railway lift bridge which is just inside of the Cape Cod Canal.  At the entrance to the canal is the Massachusetts Maritime Academy and their training vessel the “Kennedy” which is also visible from afar.  But before you get there you have to get through some swirly water.

Approaching Cape Cod Canal

The Cape Cod Canal can have currents that can run as fast as 5 knots, and when there is a tide that conflicts with the direction of the wind it can get really rough in this area.  Ideally we would have liked to have arrived at slack tide or with a tide flooding to the Cape Cod Bay, but we were too early for that and had to fight the remnants of an outgoing tide working against us.

Once in the canal we passed beautiful homes and scenery along the way, as well as a walking trail that lines many parts of both sides.

Bike path along Cape Cod Canal

We went under two bridges; the Bourne Bridge and the Sagamore Bridges, and passed other boats of all types along the way. Fortunately, we did not encounter any barges or commercial traffic.

Passing “Shenandoah” in CC Canal

Throughout the day we had been calculating and estimating where we should end the day.  We had earmarked Plymouth and Scituate as possible stops but both left us with still needing to get to Boston under not so perfect conditions tomorrow. We had decided to wait until we were through the Canal and assess the situation then.  Since it was still early enough in the day, we had plenty of daylight left, and we had near perfect conditions on the Cape Cod Bay, we decided to press on to Boston. In the meantime we had called the Constitution Marina in Boston where we had reservations starting on Saturday and confirmed they could accept us a few days early. So we pressed on!

It really was a spectacular day on the water and there were a few pleasure boats that we either passed, or they passed us.  The Cape Cod Bay turned into the Massachusetts Bay and it was mostly flat seas with little waves. We were cruising a few miles off the coast of the mainland, and yet we could see Provincetown on the tip of Cape Cod, nearly 15 miles away.

Soon we approached the entrance into the Boston area, but first we had to negotiate past numerous islands of rocks.  While the channel is well marked, it is narrow in some places and the rocks make it quite intimidating.  There were also a handful of other boats (sail and power) that were in the channel or trying to cross the channel, making it a bit stressful.

Finally we passed through the numerous small islands and entered into Boston Harbor. To our right was Logan Airport and to the left was downtown.  Here the boat traffic was much heavier and we had to negotiate around ferries, party boats, water taxis and other pleasure boats.  It was just like NYC harbor all over again.

Boston Skyline

We cruised through the downtown area and made a left turn up the Charles River to Constitution Marina.  We were assigned the end spot on the transient dock where Mark did an awesome job of backing the boat in front of a large power boat.  The dockhands were there to help guide us in, tie our lines and hook up our power.  We were very grateful for their assistance as we were quite tired.  We had traveled 165 nautical miles; our second longest day on the water since we acquired our Island Office.

In addition to being tired, we were hungry. After checking in at the office we took showers and walked the half mile to The Warren Tavern for some good pub food that someone else cooked and cleaned up the dishes.  The pub was founded in 1780 – kind of young by Boston standards – and still has all the earmarks of an old building from the 1700’s.  The food was your typical pub fare and delicious and filled us up.  Once back on the boat, it didn’t take long for us to call it a day; we were exhausted as it had been a long, but fun day.

Warren Tavern

Boston, MA (Friday, 6/23)
Happy to be tied to a dock and have shore power, we earmarked today to be a “work” day.  We both had some catch up work to do, emails, and office duties to do for the business.  Then there was the domestic work which needed to be done.  Denise did laundry and cleaned the inside of the boat, while Mark scrubbed the salt off the outside of the boat.

We also spent some time researching what we wanted to do in Boston over the weekend. While Denise would be here all week, Mark would not and we wanted to make sure he got to see some of the sights as well. It was a pretty uneventful day, but we got a lot accomplished and felt good about our weekend plans.

In the evening we went for a walk around the entire 250-slip marina. Since we were in the “transient dock” section we have limited visibility to some of the other boats, so we wanted to see more. We meandered up and down the piers and met some of the locals who had come down to their boats for the weekend. The marina was hopping as the season was in full swing and they were all out having cocktails or bar-b-queuing their dinners. We also encountered another Back Cove owner and stopped to talk with him for a while. We compared notes and shared ideas about things to do on our respective vessels.

Constitution Marina

Eventually we made our way to the other side of the marina where they have house boats that you can stay on. Yes, this marina has a “Bed and Boat” program where you can rent a boat to stay on just like a hotel.  Some are house boats, and others are sailboats, and they seemed to be quite booked up.  This is a good thing to know if you ever want to visit Boston and can’t get a hotel room.

House boat for rent

House boat for rent

After our walk we went back to the boat and called it a day.  We felt good about what we had accomplished and had a plan for the weekend.

Boston, MA (Saturday, 6/24)
We knew we had to do some provisioning for the boat and Boston afforded us plenty of resources, so today was errand day. It started with a walk to the CVS, nearly ½ mile from the marina.  This also gave us a chance to get the lay of the area around the marina, which is mostly residential with the exception of a Residence Inn right next door.

Residence Inn and Bridge by marina

There is also an office building of some kind across the street and the Naval Ship Yard (which houses the US Constitution) about a block away.  Oh yes, in the backyard of all this is the Bunker Hill Monument. Not a bad sight when you wake up every morning.

Bunker HIll – from our boat

After we returned from our walk we hailed an Uber cab to take us to a nearby shopping area that included a Target and a Costco. It was only 5 miles away, but too far and dangerous for us to ride on our collapsible bikes. Plus, there was no way for us to carry all our purchases back to the boat.  So after Costco, we used our iPhone app and requested an Uber cab.  This was the first time we had to wait a while (15 minutes) for an Uber driver, but eventually one showed up and delivered us back to the boat.

Waiting on Uber

When we returned to the marina, we found the dockhands were in the process of repositioning our boat further down the dock to enable room for a bigger boat at the T-head. Originally we were on the very end with the bow sticking out a bit. However, a new boat would be coming in where the previous Burger yacht was and it needed more space.  So, the dockmaster and dockhands waited for us to get our purchases on board, then along with our assistance they untied our lines, electricity and water hookup. They pulled our boat about 50 feet down the dock and hooked it all back up as if we had been there all along.

During this process we met Bob (“Travail”) who was on the boat now right behind us on the dock. He is from New Hampshire and was on his boat visiting. He has 3 daughters and one of them (Lauren) who lives in Boston was staying with him on the boat. He had the boat in Boston (down from NH) for the next several weeks and was very helpful in sharing information about the area.  However, we couldn’t talk very long as we had to get moving. We had a baseball game to go to.

Our adventures for the day continued with an Uber cab ride to Fenway Park and to watch the Boston Red Sox play the California Angels.  Since Denise was a big fan of the Angels when she lived in Southern California, and her family has always been big Red Sox fans, this was a “Bucket List” item we could not pass up.

Fenway Park

We arrived in time to grab some (not so healthy but delicious) food at the park and get to our seats for the “first pitch” and the National Anthem.  We had pretty good seats in the next to the last row on the first level, between home plate and first base so we were not in the hot sun or in the way of a fly ball that could hit us.

Dinner at Fenway – Ballpark style

View from our seats

The game was exciting from about the 4th inning and we enjoyed all the trivia and entertainment offered, including singing Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline” – a now-famous tradition at Fenway Park. It got particularly exciting when the team manager was evicted from the game after a controversial call on the pitcher, that got disputed and tempers flared. In the 7th inning the Angels got some hits, but the Red Sox could not answer back and the Angels won the game. We were a little disappointed, but ok because we had a great time.  A quick Uber ride back to the marina and we climbed into bed after another very full day on this adventure.

Fenway Park

Boston, MA (Sunday, 6/25)
As much as we wanted to sleep in this morning, we had lots planned for the day so we had to get on with it.  We started with church at St.  Mary & St. Catherine of Siena, a combined parish the result of Catholic Church closings here over the last decade.  It was a beautiful old church and was the closest one yet to our marina; less than ½ mile away.

St Mary & St Catherine of Sienna Church

Inside St. Mary’s & St. Catherine’s

After church we played “tourist” for the day.  It started with us catching the “Trolley Tours” hop on/hop off trolley bus which we were able to pick up right near the marina. This is the same company that also does the ones in St. Augustine and a few other cities in the US.  Although there were numerous stops around the city of Boston, we stayed on for most of the way.  We wanted to get a feel for where things are in this city that we had driven through so many times, but never really visited.  It was great fun to ride past MIT and the Charles River, around Copley Square, near Prudential Plaza and by Fenway Park.  We covered a few other historic areas and neighborhoods, learning the history and hearing of the famous people who lived there.

Sailing on the Charles River – Trolley Tour

Around lunch time we got off at Quincy Market and spent some time walking around seeing all the numerous shops and food stalls. Eventually we settled on one that offered a clam chowder lobster roll combination with a drink. This tourist-priced meal cost us $40, but was delicious and we enjoyed it.

At Quincy Market

At Quincy Market

After lunch we walked around the area and then walked to Faneuil Hall. We arrived in time to listen to the 15 minute lecture about its use as one of the first places where ideas for independence from Great Britain were formed.  Here was the site of several speeches by Samuel Adams, James Otis, and others. The hall is still in use today for town business, and in fact right after the lecture there was to be a city maintenance meeting and they were setting up for it.

Inside Faneuil Hall

We walked back to the wharf area and investigated taking the harbor tour that was included in our Trolley Tours ticket, but there was a 45 minute wait for it. Since it was hot and getting late, we opted not to do this and instead went back to pick up the next Trolley Tour. By now the area was really crowded and there was a wait for the trolley. It was really hot outside and they passed out paper fans for people to use to try and keep cool. We were thinking a covered awning would have been a better investment.

Finally the next trolley came and we got on and finished the last few stops.  We got off where we started by the marina, which was also right at the Navy Yard where the USS Constitution was in dry dock for rehabilitation.  “Old Ironsides” was open for tours, so we decided to see this magnificent ship that withstood cannon fire and still stands today.

USS Constitution in drydock

At the wheel – “Old Ironsides”

We walked back to our boat to get out of the heat, have some adult beverages, and eat dinner on board.

After dinner we explored the park on the other side of the highway next to the Residence Inn. There is a walkway that runs the perimeter of the water around our marina, under the Charlestown Bridge, and along the Charles River.  Denise wanted to understand how the path leads to stairs that can take you to the bridge as a possible walking/running route. To our surprise, on the other side of the Charlestown Bridge there is an entire lock system that allows boaters to traverse from the Boston Harbor to the Charles River. From our marina we had seen boaters stop just before going under the US1 Bridge but never knew why they were stopping; now we know they were waiting on the locks.

Closed ped path and bridge by lock

Charles River Lock

Charles River Lock

In addition to the locks, there is a large park area south of the bridge and all along the Charles River.  We took it only so far but it appeared to go at least to the next bridge – the new I93 Bridge that we have driven over many times before.

It was a great discovery and a great way to end our day weekend in Boston.

Boston, MA (Monday, 6/26)
Today Mark had to leave to go see a client in North Carolina.  So we were both up very early so he could get a cab to go to the airport.  Logan airport is so close and we can see the planes land and take off from the marina.  But we were told that he should allow one hour to get there as the rush hour traffic is so bad.  He took a cab and it took only 20 minutes, but it was better to be safe then miss his flight.

All day Denise kept to the boat.  She worked on office related matters, did a little work for the clients, read hundreds of emails that had been in queue, and did a little planning for upcoming ports of call.  It was some much needed quiet time and the day flew by.

Boston, MA (Tuesday 6/27)
Denise started the day with a 4-mile run down the path near the locks. She discovered that the park and route continued all along the Charles River, past MIT and further then she would run. There was one place along the way where she had to cross an intersection, but with a pedestrian crosswalk and several other runners also waiting, it was not a big deal.

Running path by Charles River


MIT Sailing pavillion

BIke/Run path along the Charles River

After the run it was another day of sticking close to the boat and doing some reading.  The Waterway Guide we have includes places to go in Maine and there was much to learn.  So she read about the numerous places to go, and identified possible routes to take to get there.

Also during the day Denise talked with her Boston friend Nancy Lively; they had been trying to find a way to connect during the week, but it doesn’t look like she will get a chance to see her. She will try and connect with us when we come back down the coast on the way home.

Rain threatened all day with overcast skies and no sun, but it was muggy and required the air conditioners; Denise felt like she was back in Florida. All around us it was raining, but our marina seemed to escape any of it. However in the evening it poured, with lots of thunder, lightning and wind.  It was quite spooky for Denise, especially being alone on a boat, but it died down in time for her to get a good night’s rest.

Boston, MA (Wednesday, 6/28)
The day was started with a little more office work for the embroidery business, but quickly moved into an adventure.  After completing her chores, Denise used the path and stairs to the Charlestown Bridge and walked across the river to the Boston Public Market, about 1 mile from the boat.

Entrance to Boston Public Market

Here she found a place that any “foodie” would love.  Located near one of the big subway (called the “T”) and bus terminals in downtown Boston, it is full of vendors selling all types of fresh food items.  Everything from hydroponically grown and shipped lettuces, to cheeses, sausages, fresh produce, honey, and of course seafood. After walking around and exploring, she purchased some fresh cheese, and knew she had to eat lunch here. She scoured each vendor and decided on seafood ordering a delicious smoked salmon burrito.  The thing was so huge she could only eat half and took the rest home for dinner.

Smoked Salmon Burritto

After the Public Market she walked back to the boat to store the purchases and decided to see what groceries she could get at the Whole Foods near the marina (by the CVS). However, this was not a successful trip.  When home, we only shop at Whole Foods for certain items (usually produce) because of how ridiculously overpriced the most basic items are.  Today’s experience was no exception and left her longing for a real grocery store where a bottle of diet tonic water doesn’t cost $4. How “organic” can diet tonic water be anyway? Oh how we really miss Publix!

This then became her mission to find a decent grocery store (thank you Google maps for locating a “Stop N Shop”), and develop a scheme for how to get to the closest one (3.5 miles away).

Boston, MA (Thursday, 6/29)
In the morning, Denise headed out to accomplish what she had planned the night before. Her mission was to get in a run, sightsee, and get to the “Stop N Shop”.  First she ran the ½ mile to Bunker Hill to see the monument and the park around it. Since it is visible from the marina and part of the Freedom Trail, it was easy to get to.

Bunker Hill Monument

Bunker Hill Monument Plaque

Then she took off to go to the store. Most of the area was residential streets initially, but then she came into a traffic circle that was very busy with cars and trucks.  She managed to get through successfully due to the kindness of a semi-truck driver who let her cross in front of his truck in a turning lane as there was no cross walk. Then she ran through another neighborhood until finally she reached the store.

Neighborhood on way to Stop N Shop

Stop N Shop

Once through the doors it felt like grocery heaven. She could find all the products she was used to seeing and found more reasonably priced items, including diet tonic (2 for $1). Loaded with now bags full of groceries she took Uber back to the boat and spent a half hour trying to find places to stow all the items.

In the afternoon there was work to be done for a client, and a conference call with them.

Late in the afternoon, Bob (“Travail”) invited Denise to join him and his daughter Lauren (and two of her friends) for dinner.  They were going to get pizza at a well-known pizza place that was on the other side of the bridge in the area of Boston known as the North End.

We left the marina walking under the bridge and towards the locks but took a pedestrian path that passes along the back of the locks that we didn’t even know was there. This way negates the need to use the stairs and cross the river via the bridge. It was a great discovery as it saves time and is safer.  But what is also cool is there is a set of “chimes” (called the “Charlestown Bells”) that you can ring along the fence of the walkway.  I am sure most people walk this path every day and don’t even know it exists as it looks like it is part of the railing.  However, when you walk by if you push the levers the chimes are struck making a sound like hand bells.

Charlestown Bells

Charlestown Bells – other side

We continued our walk until we had arrived at “Regina Pizzeria” a very small, but famous pizza joint. Even though we arrived at 5:30 pm, we still had to wait in line to get a seat. But it was worth the wait as the pizza was really good and by the time we got in the line behind us was quite long.  We ate, drank some beer and got to know each other a little bit. It is always fun to listen to young people and hear what they are talking about; their jobs, dating, hopes for the future.

Regina’s Pizzeria

Denise with Lauren and friends

After dinner, Bob, Lauren and Denise walked further into “Little Italy” where Bob insisted on treating me to Vittoria’s and a 3-dessert special: spumoni, Sambuca, and a cappuccino to top off the evening. No calories there!

Cappuccino, Sambuca & Spumoni

Bob & Lauren

We walked back to the marina via the same pathway we used to go to the North End and we were treated to an awesome sunset along the way.

Sunset over I93 Bridge

It had been a fun adventure, all the while Denise was learning from a “local” about the places we passed for the best of everything Boston’s North End had to offer.

Boston, MA (Friday, 6/30)
Mark was supposed to leave North Carolina on an early morning flight and arrive in Boston by noon.  From there we were going to explore other parts of Boston in the afternoon. Unfortunately, his flight was delayed out of NC due to a broken plane and he was not able to get to Boston until late in the afternoon.

So, Denise went exploring on her own.  She walked to the “T” station near the TD Garden at the end of the pathway near the locks, playing the Charlestown Bells when she came to them (of course).  Then she took the “T” to Boston Commons and walked along Boylston Street to see the sights.

Boston Public Garden

From there she continued to Copley Square where they were having a farmer’s market and to see the Boston Marathon Finish Line.

Boston Marathon Finish Line

Her goal was to see if she could buy some Boston Marathon memorabilia (Like a “Boston Strong” shirt) at “Run Base”, the official store for the marathon. But, she could find nothing that warranted a purchase and moved on to the Prudential Plaza across the street.

Boston Marathon Run Base

It was really quite hot outside so she stayed inside walking back through the shopping complex and up through Lord & Taylor instead of on the street. Eventually she returned to Copley Square and walked around the farmers market before heading back down to the “T” station. From there it was a quick trip to the North station near the TD Garden where she passed the Bobby Orr statue.

Bobby Orr Statue at TD Garden

All week long we had been looking at the Converse Headquarters, and knew there was a Converse store at the base of the building, not far off the pathway. So on the way back to the boat she decided to see what they offered in the store.

Converse Headquarters

Converse store

Their selection of apparel was very limited to a handful of t-shirts, but their shoe selection was extensive.  But the really cool thing was they offered the ability to print any image on certain model shoes, and they will do it while you wait.  The also offer the opportunity for you to custom make your own shoes from a large selection of fabrics, patterns and styles.  These are cut in the store, but shipped off for assembly elsewhere, and then they are shipped to you some 4 or 6 weeks later.  It was fascinating to learn about all this from Converse. Since it has been years since I have worn their shoes, I had no knowledge of even what styles they offer today, so it was a huge learning experience.

Converse Blank Canvas

Converse Custom Shoe

After leaving the Converse store, it was a short bell-chiming walk back by the locks to the marina and in time for Mark’s arrival.

It was good for Mark to be back home on our tiny house on the water but we didn’t waste any time before heading out to dinner. We decided to go to Giacomo’s; a place Denise had been too years ago with Boston friend Nancy and remembered how good it was.

Giacomo’s Ristorante

There is always a line and so we left early to try and stymie the wait.  However when we arrived a line had already formed.

Line at Giacomo’s

This place is small but the tables turn fast as they waste no time in getting your order and your food.  It was as delicious as remembered, and we had leftovers to take with us back to the boat.

Along the way back to the boat it started to drizzle a bit, so we HAD to dart into the 24 hour bakery and pick up a few cookies and sweets to take back with us.  Then it was back down the path around the locks, once again chiming the Charlestown Bells one last time before we head north.

Tomorrow is Saturday and we will leave Boston and head north to Marblehead.