Tag Archives: Belfast

Enjoying Belfast Again!

Saturday (7/31) – Belfast, Maine

The day started with a run for Denise, who loves the options of running in this town.  There is a walking/biking/footpath that runs along the river, called Harbor Walk. It starts downtown and has a trail head at the north end of the river that is about 4 miles away.  It also includes a footbridge across the river that can be followed for about a half mile before turning to sidewalk along US1.  With this mostly flat path and a trail that is paved and shaded, Denise enjoyed the run as did several other runners, walkers and dog-walkers.  At one point going in the opposite direction she saw a young man who had on an “FSU Running” t-shirt, but he and his companions did not stop when she said “Go ‘Noles; I am a ‘Nole alumni!”. Sadly, she never saw them again.

Footbridge from north side

After her run, Denise walked up the inside Farmer’s Market, held every Saturday in town.  It’s a great concept as they are able to be there year-round, and the vendors don’t have to keep setting up and taking down booths and tents.  She noticed there were quite a few less vendors than there used to be, and when asked the standard answer was “Covid”.  It has effected these small business owners more than most realize.

Farmer’s Market Building

Once back on the boat, it was chore day, starting with the laundry.  There is no facility at this city marina, but about ½ mile up the hill in town there is a great laundromat.  Using the marina dock cart, we took all the sheets, towels, rags and clothes up the hill and in about 90 minutes we had it all just about done.

Laundry Day

We were not sure we would be able to go to a real grocery store, but we needed a few things. So Denise walked back up the hill to “The COOP” (pronounced co-op, not coop), located right near the laundromat. It is like a miniature “Whole Foods”. Sadly, it too has been hurt by Covid and they have far less in the store than they used to, and their prices on some things make Whole Foods look like a discount food store.  However, she got what she needed and returned to the boat.

Belfast Co-Op (mini Whole Foods)

Meanwhile the boat in the slip next to ours left, and we had been asked to move over to their slip. It was an easy task with no finger-pier in between, and in no time we were now off the fuel dock and away from the constant boat traffic.

IO at Belfast Marina – original slip (top left)

Unfortunately, this did not work to our advantage.  In the afternoon (as we were getting cleaned up and ready for church), a center console boat was trying to back into the fuel dock, and on his 3rd attempt he panicked and his bow hit our boat.  This time there was some damage (cosmetic) to our gel-coat and now we have a big boo-boo on our beautiful hull.  Fortunately, there were witnesses, including the assistant dockmaster and a lobsterwoman who told Denise she couldn’t believe he tried to back in against the current. It was a poor decision that will now be a hassle for us to get repaired.  Captain Mark got all the information, including the guy’s registration and insurance information and we will be filing a claim.

We then had to hurry to walk up the hill, through town and got to mass at St Francis of Assisi Catholic Church, just in time for the 4:00 pm service.

On the way back from church we stopped at Alexi’s Pizza, as Mark had been craving it and wanted to see if they had garlic knots (they did not).  Additionally, the place came highly recommended by the folks in town.  The food was good and the staff of young people were so energetic that it was fun to watch them.  They have a great team there and we liked the pizza and salad we shared. It was a great way to end a Saturday.

Walking back to the boat, we noticed a sign for the Belfast City bus and its schedule, including a route that would take us to the Hannaford’s grocery (Mon, Wed., and Fri. only).  The service was free, and the pickup was right at the marina; it could not be more convenient. We were not aware they even had such a thing because in the past when here we had access to a car (friends or family) and never investigated it.  However, this would be most helpful to go to the real grocery store, if they were really operating in this post-Covid era.  We did some initial research about it on line, but realized we needed to call them on Monday to see if they were going to run their usual schedule.

Belfast Bus Schedule

Tonight we were treated to this spectacular sunset we captured from the bow of our boat:

Saturday’s Sunset over Belfast

Sunday (8/1) – Belfast, Maine

In the morning Denise went for a walk through downtown, back along the Harbor Walk and over the footbridge and back. The path took her past the Front Street Marina, and today she noticed a beautiful wooden steamer yacht named “Cangarda”. It had just been moved out of the hanger and the worker who was doing some prep for future work shared that it was a private owner and they take meticulous care of it.  Once back on the boat, she did a little research about this beautiful boat that is available for charter.  You can read more about this boat here and here.

Once Mark was up, we headed out to Traci’s Diner for breakfast.  We ate here in 2019 and loved their options, but this time we sat in their “Maine” room, not the “80’s” room.  The food is good, inexpensive and the staff is very friendly.  And they are known for their lobster omelets which we still have yet to try.  Some things are just better left alone.

We spent the entire day hanging around the marina and watching other boats come and go. Periodically people would stop and ask about our boat, or other cruisers would stop and we would chat for a while. We had also learned this weekend was a fishing tournament for mackerel and stripers with a grand prize of $1000. This doesn’t sound like much payout compared to some of Florida’s big fishing tournaments, but considering the most a boat will put up for entry fee is $40, it can be quite a return on investment for the winner.  Plus it is for a great cause: “Operation Reboot Outdoors” which is an organization that provides services and outings for wounded vets.  Needless to say there were lots of boats coming into and out of the marina and boat ramp all weekend.

We also ran into cruising friends Ruth & Herb, whose boat was on another pier in the marina.  We had met them in 2017 through our long-time sailing friends Irv & Marsha (“Hang Out”) who would spend every summer in Belfast.  Ruth & Herb are very interesting people and are truly a couple who are “growing bolder not older”; Herb is 100+ years old and Ruth is in her late 90’s.  They spend every summer in Maine, cruising on their American Tug appropriately named “Ancient Mariners”.  In the winter they are in Boynton Beach, FL. Although they move slowly and have some hearing loss, they both are very sprite and are a lovely couple. We feel honored to know them, and amazingly many of the cruisers we run into also know of them.

Ruth & Herb

Mark also spent a large amount of time working on filing for an insurance claim with Allstate (the offender’s insurance company) and with BoatUS-Geico – our insurance.  He was trying to schedule both for claim inspections in Portland, where we were heading next weekend. As luck would have it, Allstate’s guy was closer to Belfast and was thankful that he didn’t have to go to Portland and he set an appointment for Tuesday.

It was a laid back kind of day, and we had previously decided to eat dinner on the boat. Mark cooked up some great fajitas (Denise did all the prep) and we relaxed in the evening watching a little television.

Monday (8/2) – Belfast, Maine

Early in the morning Denise went for a run taking the Harbor Walk and then across the footbridge to the other side of the river. Usually she turns around, but today she ventured to the other side where she saw a war memorial, and then followed the road which became a sidewalk along US1.  This is the route to take (by car) to Young’s Lobster Pound, but she didn’t go that far (no shoulder or sidewalk) before turning around at the Nut House and heading back over the footbridge to the Harbor Walk path, down around the river, and then eventually back to the boat.

At 8:30 we called about the bus and discovered they were in fact operating, but only for individual pickups which had to be scheduled in advance.  Initially they told us it would be Wednesday, but later they were able to get us scheduled for a 9:30 pickup.  When it was time, Denise walked up to the dockmaster’s office for the pickup.  Mark was originally going to go but opted to stay on the boat and do some work. Denise took the bus to Hannaford’s and when she was done, the driver returned her to the marina, all before 11:00 am.

In this process, we learned that the bus service was only doing individual pickups due to Covid. It seemed to us they could have adopted the rules the Island Explorer bus used in MDI, or just limited the passenger counts on each bus, and still serve the community.  Instead, they take a bus (not a van or a car) and drive it around town for individual pickups one at a time.  What a waste of taxpayer money.

About the time Denise returned, we watched what we called the “big boat shuffle”; several large boats (yachts) had to be repositioned.  It started with the large ketch sailboat that was on the end dock next to us having to leave; their extended stay at the city marina was over. They had secured a spot at Front Street Marina, but could not move over there until the yacht in their future slip left Belfast. The sailboat was being replaced by the 117’ personal motor yacht (another boat named “Rebecca”), which had been docked at the town wharf.  They had to leave the wharf because an American Cruise Line ship (“Independence”) was coming into town, and in fact had been waiting in the harbor since 10:30. Complicating this, Rebecca had to turn around 180°, with her stern now facing the harbor entrance. The harbormaster was trying to coordinate all of this activity all the while other boats were still coming in for fuel, new arrivals to moorings, and new boats leaving and entering slips. The large sailboat had limited maneuvering capability and finally went all the way out of the harbor until all the other boats were repositioned.  Once they left, “Rebecca” turned around, then came up to the pier across from us.  Finally, “Independence” came into the town wharf. What a circus!

About the time all this got settled and the cruise ship was finally docking at the wharf, it began to rain. We felt for the steward who was assisting the Captain of the cruise ship.

Cruise America captain in rain – Steward holding the umbrella!

We spent the afternoon working for our clients, working on the blog, cataloging pictures, and talking with family.

In the evening, the city had a street festival with a band and some local activities.  We were told there would be food there and since most of the restaurants in town are closed on Mondays, we went to explore and maybe grab a bite to eat.  It was at the top of the hill and on a cross street of Main Street, which they had blocked off for the event.  By the time we arrived, it was well under way with lots of people and the band was playing a few country songs (NOT Mark’s favorite music genre).  There were food trucks (mostly sweets) and the YMCA had a game area for kids of all ages.  There was even a promo booth for Moxie (a New England soda Denise’s family is most familiar with, but nobody likes).

Street festival
Band playing at street festival
Moxie booth at street festival
Games at street festival
Games at street festival

After about 20 minutes, we decided that there was nothing there we wanted to eat and headed back down Main Street to see if there was a place to get dinner, otherwise we would find something to eat on the boat.  We noticed Delvino’s was open and tried our luck at getting a table, only to find there was an hour-long wait. However, there were two empty seats at the bar and we were able to sit there right away. Once again we had a terrific meal and our bartender/waiter was interesting to talk to. It was a great way to end a busy and fun day in Belfast.

Tuesday (8/3) – Belfast, Maine

This morning Denise went for a walk along the Harbor Walk, but towards the south end of town. Just past the end of the Harbor Walk, it turns residential with streets that run down to the water, and a few that are parallel to the shoreline.  There are a few public access points and parks along the water, and she was able to view parts of Penobscot Bay on this beautiful morning.

Mark was ready for the surveyor (Allstate Claim Rep) when he showed up at 8:30.  He wanted to see the hull damage up close, so he had put the dinghy in the water and used it to move to the port side of the boat for which there was no pier.  It didn’t take him long, and within an hour he was done with pictures and gathering more information. He later emailed Mark the report.  Meanwhile, Mark had gone to Front Street Marina and obtained an objective 3rd-party estimate to use for comparison purposes only.  This is a very reputable yard and their information is one that can be trusted.  They did mention that the earliest they would be able to do the work (if we wanted them to do it) would be during the winter; we will be long gone by then.  Since the damage is more cosmetic (not structural) our intention is to have the gel-coat repaired a little closer to home.

Throughout the last two days we also got to talk with Ryan, the first mate & engineer on “Rebecca”. We learned the boat whose hailing port is Baton Rouge, Louisiana, is privately owned and not in charter. The Captain is from Belfast, has his family here, and is the reason they are staying here until the owner comes back on board. One thing that was clear was that they do not have the electrical service for this large yacht on this pier, so they are forced to run generators even while at the dock.  Yesterday, Ryan promised us they would run the generator on the opposite side of the boat during the night so it would not disturb us, and he was true to his word. We also got to watch them fuel up this beautiful yacht.  The boat can hold up to 7000 gallons of diesel and since the marina’s tanks only has a 1000 gallon tank, they fuel had to be ordered and delivered in trucks.  It took 3 full trucks, and about 3 hours to fill the tank.  Although we don’t know the price of this particular fill-up, Ryan mentioned that when they last filled up in the Bahamas their bill was $36,000. We cannot even imagine.

Despite all this activity, we spent the entire day at work.  In addition to the usual calls, emails, etc., Denise had to prep and deliver a sales presentation for a prospect, and Mark had numerous calls and emails to address for clients.

During the late afternoon, our friends Ruth & Herb (“Ancient Mariners”) moved their boat to the fuel dock where they took on fuel and got a pump-out. They were leaving for Rockland in the morning and ended up staying on this dock overnight. It was nice to have them next to us once again.

In the evening we took the dinghy across the river to Young’s Lobster Pound. This is one of our favorite places in Belfast, and where we took Claire, John, Johnny and Scarlett when they were with us in 2019.  When we arrived there was almost no one in line, but we realized neither of us had brought a wallet.  Mark took the dinghy back to the boat, and by the time he got back to the lobster pound, there was now at least 15 minute wait.  Denise had jumped into the line before he got back so we only had to wait about 5 minutes before ordering; it took us longer to decided what we wanted from the plethora of lobster combination dinners, fish platters, oysters, steamers and mussels.  Mark ended up with a swordfish platter and Denise got lobster.  We had secured a spot on a picnic table on the back deck and had a terrific meal with a spectacular view.  We headed back to the boat and got treated to this spectacular sunset.

Once again we have enjoyed this wonderful town that is not near as touristy as others on the Maine coast.  It is a fun place with lots to do, but tomorrow we will be leaving.  Here are a few other pictures from our stay:


Claire Week!

Monday (7/26) – SW Harbor, Maine

Although we had agreed to sleep in, we still woke up a bit later than expected.  However, the weather was still cool and it was a good morning for Denise & Claire to go for a run.  Their route took them back through downtown and further north than Denise had run on Saturday.  This time they ran past a school and a park that had a group of adult exercise equipment not unlike the ones in Newport, RI.  After a few loops through some of the city streets, we returned back to the boat for showers and breakfast.

Meanwhile, Mark returned the rental car and got a ride back from the car dealership via their shuttle van. Then since our boat was on the fuel dock already and because they had great prices, he topped off the boat with more diesel. Since we did not want to leave Ellsworth until the tide started rising again, we used the time to do a bit of work (emails and phone calls) until it was time to leave.

We had a plan of places to take Claire, in order to give her the true Maine experience via the water. We had been together in 2019, but most all of our travels then were by car. This time we wanted her to experience what it was like via the water.  Our week’s itinerary was to start in SW Harbor where we hoped to connect with her old high school classmate and our boating friends Mark & Jenay (“Ravello”).

Ellsworth to SW Harbor

Finally at 11:30 we said good bye to Will (Asst. Dockmaster) and left the wonderful town of Ellsworth.  We cruised back down the Union River and reversed our route from Friday through Union and Blue Hill Bays until were back to SW Harbor where we had a reservation for the night at Dysart’s marina.

On our way to SW Harbor

We pulled into our assigned slip, and shortly after settling the boat and getting checked in, Mark & Jenay Paul came over to see Claire.  We all stood around and talked for a bit and made plans to meet for drinks on our boat.

Before leaving, Jenay mentioned going for a walk on the “Causeway Footbridge”. Of all the times we have stayed in SW Harbor we had never heard of it, so Denise & Claire donned their walking shoes and went with Jenay to explore this very cool thing. To get there we had to first go through downtown and head as if we were going to Beal’s Lobster.  But then we turned and walked through a neighborhood, eventually taking a dirt path that lead to a narrow bridge made out of large blocks of granite. In the middle was a bridge that covered a spillover that poured water into the sound, creating a waterfall of sorts. The view was spectacular with the mountains of MDI and Somes Sound in the background.

At Causeway Footbridge
Jenay & Claire at Causeway Footbridge

We would have stayed longer, but it was getting late so we had to hustle to get back to our boats. Once all cleaned up and joined by Jenay & Mark, we had a great time socializing and giving Claire and Mark a chance to get caught up on mutual classmates.  We invited them to join us for dinner at Beal’s and they agreed to drive us, which our tired feet appreciated after the days run and long walk.  Unfortunately, the line at Beal’s was very long and we had to wait almost an hour before we could get seated and get our dinner. However, we were having so much fun that we hardly noticed the time, and as we finished our meals and left, the restaurant was closing for the night.

At Beal’s with Captain Mark, Jenay, Mark & Claire

During our conversations with Mark & Jenay they told us about the Claremont Inn, a hotel located not far from Beal’s.  If you eat dinner at their fine restaurant, you can bring your boat to their moorings and stay overnight for no charge.  They had done this very thing recently when they had a family member stay at the hotel.  They insisted on taking us by the hotel to show us how beautiful a place it was, and suggested we put the restaurant on the “must dine at” locations next time we come to SW Harbor.  The place is not large, but it is a beautiful inn and we loved learning about it.

Today had been a very full and fun day for all, and we were so glad we could share it all with Claire.

Tuesday (7/27) – Somes Harbor, Maine

Before Mark could roll out of bed, Denise and Claire went for a long walk, back to the “Causeway Bridge”, only this time taking it all the way across.  On the other side is the Causeway Club; a tennis and golf club, that has houses overlooking the water on one side and the golf course on the other.  We walked along the golf course and eventually back out to the main highway and headed south, to take us back to downtown. 

Claire near the Causeway Club

Along the way we encountered Charlotte Roads Park and the beautiful butterfly garden that is open to the public.  It backs up to the water and provides a lovely and peaceful setting, not to mention a beautiful and wide collection of flowers and bushes that attract butterflies. In a few weeks they will be having a butterfly release here, and we are sorry we will not be here to experience it.

We returned to the boat as Mark was eating breakfast, and then we all had work-related activities (emails, calls, etc.) to accomplish before heading out for more fun.  Mark and Jenay stopped over to say good-bye and we all promised to keep in touch. Who knows, we may see them back on the Chesapeake when we head south.

SW Harbor to Somes Sound

Finally, we untied the dock lines and left SW Harbor, heading out past the Claremont Hotel, the sailing yacht “Rebecca”, and into Somes Sound. 

It wasn’t long before we approached the small but protected Somes Harbor near Somesville, our first choice for the night. Here we found an available mooring ball right away and were able to hook up to it for the night.  Right near us was a boat at anchor who was from St. Mark’s (near Tallahassee). Come to find out “Grump Stump” was also a Gold Looper and Claire took his card for future communications. Mark launched the dinghy and went over to talk with him some more and told him about the available moorings, so he pulled up his anchor and picked up one that was just behind us. 

We spent part of the afternoon reading, talking and doing some work, all the while watching other boats come into the harbor, or just cruise around.  At one point a Fleming yacht came in to anchor just south of us, and they launched their paddle boards and cruised around the harbor a bit, but they were only there for a few hours then they left.

Later in the afternoon, a large sailing charter (“J&E Rigging”) came in an anchored near us. Then they broke out all the toys for their guests; paddleboards, dinghy, etc. and some of their guests even jumped in the water for a swim.  While Claire put her feet in the water off the swim platform, it was too cold for Denise and Captain Mark to even attempt a swim.  The charter boat ended up staying all night, and later in the evening they provided some musical entertainment for their guests as well as us.

For dinner, we left our boat in the harbor and took the dinghy back outside to the northeastern corner of the Sound to to Abel’s Lobster Pound.  Although they do serve lobster, it is actually a nice restaurant where we have dined before.  We knew they did not take reservations and figured we should get there early, expecting an hour or so wait.  We arrived just after 5:00 pm and were told it would be a 90 minute wait. While Claire and Mark got us drinks at the bar, Denise was able to secure some Adirondack chairs that overlooked the beautiful sound. Finally, after 2 hours we were seated at an outdoor table and placed our orders. Our waiter was great and the food was delicious, but like every other restaurant we have encountered they have a short-staff issue and it led to delays.

During dinner we were getting anxious because rain was forecasted to come in during the evening and we still had to get in the dinghy and drive back to the boat.  Additionally, the sun was starting to set and although we have portable running lights for the dinghy, we forgot to bring a flashlight. As soon as we were done eating we expedited the delivery of the check, and made a rapid exit to the get the dinghy.  Then going as fast as we dared in the diminished light, Captain Mark drove us back to the boat in Somes Harbor, arriving just as the rain started.  By the time we were on board it was pouring raining; we had made it in the nick of time.

Wednesday (7/28) – Burnt Coat Harbor, (BCH) Swan’s Island, Maine

We woke to a beautiful morning in Somes Harbor with temperature near 60° and little wind. It was another beautiful day and we were happy to be on the water in such conditions. 

Somes Sound to Swan’s Island

We left Somes Harbor just after 8:00 am and headed through Somes Sound, then out the Western Way Inlet heading southwest leaving the Gott Islands, Black Island, and Sister Islands to our starboard, and Long Island (and the town of Frenchboro) to our port.  We rounded the southeastern end of Swan’s Island and entered Burnt Coat Harbor in search of a mooring ball for the night.  We found one that the lobster Co-Op. rents out for $25 per night, and we put our money in the bottle attached to the mooring pendant.

When we arrived, we noticed there were two more multi-masts charter sailboats in the anchorage.  These boats are very common in this area and many sail out of Camden, with itineraries that take them to these beautiful areas.  Fortunately, they do not have a large number of passengers like the cruise ships that go into Bar Harbor.

More charter sailing boats

Once we got the boat settled we launched the dinghy and took it to the dinghy dock on the backside of the lobster Co-Op. We watched the operations at the Co-Op for a bit as they were unloading from the boats, processing the catch, and hauling them up a conveyor to the waiting truck for immediate transportation. 

We left the wharf where the Co-Op was located and headed down the road to the Burnt Cove Harbor lighthouse.  There are nice and interesting homes that line the roadway and right near the entrance to the park where the lighthouse is located was an old and small cemetery that overlooks the islands to the south.

From there we took the hiking trail to the summit of the hill, and then back down to the area where the lighthouse and museum is located.  It just so happened that as we arrived at the lighthouse one of the sailboat charters was leaving the harbor and made for an awesome picture.

The old lighthouse keeper’s house is where the museum is located (downstairs), but upstairs serves as a vacation getaway and can also be rented. We met the museum director and two docents, one of whom took us up to the top of the lighthouse on a personal tour.  Afterwards, we were invited to sit on the back porch to eat our picnic lunch and enjoy the fresh sea air and gorgeous view.  You can learn more about this lighthouse here.

After lunch, we walked back down the hill towards the harbor and the Co-Op. We were considering getting some lobsters from the Co-Op for dinner, but Claire and Denise wanted to continue walking first.  Since Mark’s foot was hurting him he did not wish to continue walking and agreed to wait at the CoOp.  Leaving Mark to find a place to sit down, the girls continued on for another mile to investigate TIMS (The Island Market & Supply); a place we had read about as being the only “market” on the island. We were hoping to get some corn on the cob to have with lobsters for our dinner, but fresh produce isn’t really available at this store.  In fact, while TIMS does have all basics, it was so small that it makes a 7-11 look like a Costco. Let’s just say our boat is bigger than this overpriced island necessity.

From TIMS we went to explore a building that looked like an old hotel. A nearby local told us it was “Odd Fellows Hall” and that on Sunday mornings they have an all-you-can-eat breakfast; they told us to bring cholesterol medicine if we come. It was also going to be the venue for the night’s “summer resident” town meeting.

On our way back to meet Mark at the Co-Op, we noticed a sign on the wall of the fire station for free carrots and corn in a cooler.  We stopped and grabbed 3 ears that had already been shucked to take back to the boat for dinner. We got a kick out of the note on the sign!

We were almost to the Co-Op when we took a turn down a road we thought might be a short cut back along the water. It was not, but in the process we got to see another part of the harbor, and a beautifully restored old home.  We ended up talking to the owner (Chris Pope) who come to find out also owns the property across the street and all the way down to the harbor. He told us the lot above his (which he owns) is for sale and Claire became really interested when she heard the price for the land.  The fact that it was a huge lot overlooking the harbor, and already had an approved septic system plan made it incredibly attractive.  However, she later decided that this island was just a bit too remote for her retirement lifestyle.

Chris Pope’s House

Finally, we met up with Mark at the Co-Op who had purchased our lobsters for dinner, and managed to get the women running the Co-Op to lend us a crate to keep them in until they were going into the pot.  However, the crate and the 3 of us would not all fit in the dinghy at the same time. Mark first delivered the crate to the boat, then came back to get Claire, Denise and the lobsters who were in a temporary bag until we would pop them back into their natural habitat.

Borrowed lobster crate
Taking the crate back to IO

Once on board we made preparations for dinner. Our ‘surf n turn’ meal was planned out and Mark fired up the grill while Denise & Claire prepped the pot for the “bugs”. Together we put together a terrific meal on our Island Office, while creating more memories in the great state of Maine.  We all decided we liked this place and we were very glad we came.

Here are a few other pictures from our day:

Thursday (7/29) – Buck’s Harbor Marina, Brooksville, Maine

We woke up to another terrific day in Maine with a beautiful sunrise.

While waiting for the Captain to wake, the crew spent time with emails and talking.  Then once everyone was up and breakfast was done, we let go of our mooring and headed to the Co-Op where we took on more diesel fuel before heading out of the harbor.  It was just after 8:30 am and we only had 20+ miles to go before reaching our final destination for the day. However, we had an interim stopped planned so we were ok to leave early and allow time for our adventure.

Swan’s Island to Bucks Harbor

We exited Burnt Coat Harbor to the southwest, passing the lighthouse and entered Toothacher Bay, leaving small rock islands and Marshall Island to port. 

Once past the Southwest corner of Swan’s Island we turned north and cruised through Jericho Bay until it merged with the Eggemoggin Reach.  We then cruised over to the eastern shore of this long body of water, keeping Babson & Little Babson Island on our left and the mainland (Naskeag Point) to our right. Here we made a planned stop at the Wooden Boat School (WBS); a place we have wanted to visit and never could fit it into our itinerary. It is near the village of Brookline (pronounced like “Brooklyn”) and is also where “Wooden Boat” magazine originates.

We looked for a WBS mooring ball, but none were available for a boat our size, so we anchored just north of the mooring field.  We had only traveled 11 miles and it was still early in the day.  However, there were two big sailing charters (previously at BCH) who had already disembarked passengers to both the dock at WBS, as well as to Babson Island. By the time we launched our dinghy and got to the dock, many were already waiting on the launch to take them back to their sailing vessels. This was the second time we would follow the passengers from these charters, with them leaving as we arrived; the first was at the BCH Lighthouse.  This allowed for us to have undivided attention instead of getting mixed up in their crowd.

We walked up the hill from the dock to the school where we were allowed to watch the students in their various work areas. The first area we visited was a week-long class where the students build their own small wooden sailing vessels. Here one of the instructors came out and gave us the tutorial of the students in his class, as well as an explanation about the school, and what other activities were taking place in the adjacent buildings.  We walked around to each of these and saw a full boat restoration area, a wood-bending area, a wood storage area, and a cutting area. The most striking observation was that most all of the students were senior citizens who were in this for the hobby of wooden boat-building and repair, although there were a few younger students as well.  The school also offers all kinds of other (non-boat building) classes which are held in one of their other buildings nearby.  You can learn more about the WBS here and the magazine here.

After touring the in-session classes, we went to the Wooden Boat Store and purchased a few souvenir and gift items.  We then went back to the dock, got in the dinghy and motored back to our anchored boat.  It was now time to continue our journey north.

We pulled up anchor and headed back north on the Eggemoggin Reach dodging lobster pots the whole way there.  We cruised under the Deer Isle Bridge that connects Deer Isle with the mainland, and soon saw the entrance into the channel to take us to Buck’s Harbor Marina, in Brooksville.

We pulled into the only dock at this marina, which just so happens to be their fuel dock. The owner/dockmaster (John) was not expecting us so soon and commented that he could not have us take up space on his fuel dock; check-in was at 4:30. Since he never mentioned that when the reservations were made, and there is nothing stated in any of the publications we read, we were surprised.  We agreed to take a mooring ball until we could come on the dock at the appropriate time, and made our way to find the one he assigned us.  We launched the dinghy and headed into the marina to check in and then go for a walk; we wanted to show Claire the area.

We walked up the hill from the marina office, and visited the Buck’s Harbor Market, showed her the venue for tonight’s dinner, and then walked over to the Buck’s Harbor Yacht Club. 

Meanwhile, we had been checking on the weather and knew that rain and wind was in the forecast.  We were grateful we were going to be in this mostly protected harbor for the impending storm, but it was supposed to hit about the time we were to get back from dinner. We had discussed staying on the mooring ball and saving money, but we didn’t want to have to take a dinghy in the rain to get back to the boat after dinner. We nixed the idea of staying on the mooring. By the time we got back to the marina, the storm was getting closer and the rain was now going to start before dinner.  We went back to the boat to prepare it before the weather came in, and at 4:30 we were told it was ok to come to the dock, which we did.  As we were getting ready for dinner it started to rain, and then pour, then it let up so as to only be a drizzle.  When it was time for us to walk up the hill and go to the restaurant, John was closing up the marina office and gave us a lift to the restaurant.  He also loaned us a second umbrella for the walk back as it was expected to rain all night.

We had reservations at Buck’s Restaurant and we were excited to dine here as it has a great reputation and was closed on the day we were here in 2019.  Our friends Mark & Jenay (“Ravello”) had just eaten here last week and loved it, so we too were excited.  The restaurant was crowded with a lively atmosphere, but not loud.  All 3 of our meals were absolutely delicious, and the Chambord cheesecake with a lime shortbread crust that we shared was sublime.  However, once again we found the wait staff to be short-staffed and focused on getting meals out and not the customer service you would expect from such a high end restaurant.  Despite this, we would still give it a great recommendation.

We ended the meal and left the restaurant expecting rain; fortunately there was none.  We walked back to the boat without issue and settled in for the night.  But during the night the storm came and it rained hard and the winds howled. The boat really rocked and bounced with the floating dock, and the waves flapping the side of the hull was quite loud. We wondered if we would have been better off on a mooring after all; at least it would have been quieter.

Here are some other pictures from Buck’s Harbor Marina:

Friday (7/30) – Belfast, Maine

Bucks Harbor Marina to Belfast

The captain and crew did not sleep well during the night due to all the wind and rain and we were anxious to get to Belfast and a real marina.  Sadly, Claire was leaving us and because of the long drive back to Tallahassee, she too was anxious to get going.  Her husband would be meeting us in Belfast to pick her up.

We left Buck’s Harbor Marina just after 8:00 am and cruised onto Penobscot Bay.  The weather was still blustery and there was a bit of fog, but we still had good enough visibility that we did not need radar.  Seventeen miles later we were pulling into the town of Belfast; one of our favorite stops on Penobscot Bay.  We were assigned the inside most slip that also shares the finger with the fuel dock.  Almost immediately Claire’s husband showed up and we had to say good-bye.  We had a great time making more memories with her, and we were so happy to show her Maine from the water.

After Claire left, we found ourselves really tired and not wanting to do too much.  There was laundry and boat chores to do, plus we had some work that required attention. However, we just were not in the mood to tackle it all just yet. We did the bare minimum of work and then went for a walk around the waterfront and the downtown.

We first went to check in at the marina office, and then we went to investigate the large boat hull that was at a nearby boat builder/restorer (French & Webb).  Come to find out the boat is the USS Sequoia, the former Presidential Yacht originally commissioned by Herbert Hoover. This boat is in the yard for a multi-million dollar, multi-year refurbishment that will be replacing much of its wooden hull.  This yacht has a rich history, including being designed by John Trumpy. As most know we are huge fans of Trumpy yachts (See post from Friday 4/12/19 where we had drinks aboard “Lady Catherine” here). We spoke with one of the workers who shared with us some of their restoration plans, and we have since researched a bit about the new owners. You can learn about this beautiful yacht’s history here and here.

Next, we walked up the hill to see about dinner at a well-liked restaurant (“Meanwhile in Belfast”), but nixed it when we learned that their post-Covid dinner-only dining was now all fixed-price with a set menu and more than we wanted to spend. Instead we were able to get reservations for an early dinner at Delvino’s Grill & Pasta House; our favorite restaurant in all of Belfast.

We returned to the boat in time for lunch, then spent the afternoon doing a little work, then reading books.  During this time, the boat in the slip next to us, that has no finger pier in between us, was coming back from getting a pump-out and bumped our boat.  Fortunately, our respective rub-rails were the point of contact and no damage was done to either boat.  The captain was very apologetic and since no damage was done we had no issue with him. This was the second time in less than 4 weeks in which someone has hit our boat while it was in its slip.

We headed up the hill in time for our early dinner at Delvino’s, which was so delicious and filling; we even had leftovers for another meal.  After dinner we went for a walk along the waterfront and to the Front Street Marina to look at the boats in the water and in their yard.  This working marina is now the “go-to” location for repairs and winter storage, and has helped to revitalize the Belfast waterfront. There are lots of big boats here and the reason so many big yachts now come to Belfast. 

And so this ends our post of the week with Claire and some wonderful adventures. Stay tuned for more!

Family Fun Time!

Belfast, ME – Friday 9/20 – Bar Harbor Side Trip
Today was the start of a weekend long adventure with Denise’s sister (Claire), her husband (John) and their son (Johnny) and his wife (Scarlett).  Our plans included an overnight in Bar Harbor, and then moving the boat south to Rockland. Because of our change to stay in Belfast and not go to Bucksport, we now would meet up with everyone in Bangor.  We knew the route well by now, and it was on the way (sort of) to Bar Harbor.

But first we had our own little mini-adventure. Since returning from his business trip on Saturday, Mark has been trying to locate a dry cleaners that would be able to get his “work clothes” cleaned in case he had to go on another client visit.  The service in Belfast would not be fast enough to get it done before we were leaving and we didn’t want to wait until we got to Boston as that might be too late. We were successful in finding one in Rockland (where we intend to be on Monday & Tuesday) and they could have it all ready for us by Monday afternoon if we could get it to them by noon on Friday.

So, after picking up the rental car from Enterprise, we first drove the 40 minutes to Rockland to drop off clothes for the cleaners.  We then turned around and drove right back through Belfast and on to Bangor to meet with Claire and John (driving) and Johnny & Scarlett (who had flown into Bangor that morning).  Here we met at the Bangor Police Department (BPD) to (once again for us) visit the Duck of Justice.  For those of you who don’t know, the BPD has a famous Facebook page with nearly 300,000 followers.  Office Tim Cotton is the man behind the postings that offer a glimpse into life of the BPD, and the communities around Maine, often with a humorous twist. His posts are legendary and with the Duck of Justice (DOJ) – retrieved from a garbage can a few years ago, he has become a mascot of goodwill and all things positive.  The DOJ is now a featured celebrity in the police museum and many stop here daily to have their picture taken with him.

Bangor PD - Duck of Justice

Bangor PD – Duck of Justice

We were lucky in that Officer Cotton was in the office and we had the opportunity to meet him in person.  He told us about his upcoming book, his podcasts, and spent some time talking with us about Maine in general. Claire was able to present him with a photo album of her wearing the famous DOJ T-shirt (with the now-famous saying “Keep your hands to yourself, leave other people’s things alone, and be kind to one another”) in all of the half marathons she has walked/run over the last 4 years. It was a terrific time and we had a lot of fun. Thanks TC and BPD!

at Bangor PD with TC

at Bangor PD with TC

After this excitement, we took the gang to McLaughlin’s Seafood for their first lobster meal in Maine.  But this time we went to the McLaughlin’s at the Marina – their nicer restaurant in Hamden overlooking the water.  It was a beautiful day and we enjoyed the view and of course the food.

From there we drove to Bar Harbor where we checked into our hotel (Quality Inn) and then Denise & Claire went to pick up their race packets for tomorrow’s Bar Harbor Half Marathon. It was sponsored by the YMCA which is also where the race packet pickup was, as well as where the start and end of the race will be.  It was a short walk and after a little window shopping around the Village Green area, they returned to pick up the rest of the clan.  Once we were all together, we went to the main shopping area in town and walked down to the harbor where we watched the sun slowly set. It was a beautiful and warm day and there were a lot of people enjoying the view.

From there we went to the Bar Harbor Lobster Company for a delicious dinner on outdoor picnic tables, enjoying the low humidity and delightful weather.  It was a great way to end the first day of our adventure.

Belfast, ME – Saturday 9/21 – Bar Harbor Side Trip
For Denise and Claire, the day started with the Bar Harbor Half Marathon. It was a beautiful course through downtown Bar Harbor and then around Eagle Lake and along the carriage trails of Acadia National Park. There were a few small hills and a long climb between miles 6 & 7, but overall it was a terrific race. The best part was ice cream during the after party, especially since it was unseasonably warm. During this time the rest of the clan went to breakfast and then joined the girls for the after party.

Denise & Claire went back to the hotel while Johnny, Scarlett and John went to walk across the shoal to Bar Island, only doable during low tide. They were so impressed they made us all go back there for Claire to see it before leaving Mount Desert Island. Since we had already seen it in 2017 we agreed to stay with the illegally parked cars as there was no parking available near the bar.

We left Mount Desert Island and headed back towards Belfast, stopping in Bucksport for lunch.  We discovered the Friars Brewhouse Taproom; a local microbrewery that was run by Franciscan Friars and also known for their bread.  Although seating was available, the small kitchen and single cook (Friar) was unable to handle the lunch rush so we were asked to wait in “purgatory” for about 10 minutes.  We had no issues with the wait and took in all the sights of the restaurant.  It was worth the wait as the food was delicious and filling, and the beer was awesome.  Not to mention we all had a wonderful time laughing and enjoying each other’s company.

After lunch we drove our cars back to Belfast by way of the Penobscot Narrows Bridge, and then got Claire, Scarlett & Johnny settled into our boat. The girls and Johnny went to do a little shopping in the stores of downtown Belfast, while John went to look for a hotel room for the night. This was pre planned as we knew there was no way we all would sleep comfortably on our Island Office. (Note: John and Johnny are both over 6’ so they need more than the average space for sleeping).  Eventually John found one at a local hotel across the river and came back to retrieve us all just in time for dinner.

We really wanted our guests to experience the quintessential Maine Lobster Pound experience and there is none better than Young’s Lobster Pound in Belfast.  It is about 1.5 miles from the marina on the other side of the river.  We were able to bring in our own alcoholic beverages and knew enough to bring a (disposable) table cloth as well.  Everyone agreed that the food was the best and most affordable meal, and we were treated to an awesome sunset over Belfast Harbor. It was lots of fun and a great way to end a perfect day.

Rockland, ME – Sunday 9/22

Belfast to Rockland

Belfast to Rockland

For the first time in 3 weeks, today we would be moving the boat; this time to Rockland.  But first we all went (once again) to mass at St Francis of Assisi church.  Afterwards, John and Mark returned our rental car to Enterprise while the rest of us got the boat ready for departure.  Then before leaving Belfast we needed to get a pump-out, which seemed to take forever.  Finally, we (Mark, Denise, Claire, Scarlett & Johnny) were on our way on Island Office, while John drove their rental car to meet us.

It was a nice day to be on the water and our 1+ hour trip was fun.  We were able to sit back and relax while Mark drove the boat south to Rockland. On our left was Islesboro Island and on the right we passed the coastal towns of Lincolnville, Camden, and Rockport. Before long we were passing the Samoset Resort on the point at Rockland, and the Rockland Breakwater and Lighthouse.

As we approached the Journey’s End Marina where we had a preassigned slip, we noticed there was a boat in the spot where we were supposed to dock. The marina office is closed on Sundays (after Labor Day) and there was no one around to ask where to go.  Since there were several open slips nearby, we took one that was vacant and was a side-tie on the side we had already set up the boat for docking.

Shortly after we settled the boat John arrived with news he found a possible hotel for him to stay in for the night. So he and Claire left to go finalize their stay at the nearby Rockland Harbor Hotel, leaving us some time to chat with Scarlett and Johnny. It was fun to just hang out with these young people and learn of their plans for the future, starting a new job (Johnny) and their desire to buy a sailboat.

When Claire and John returned, we all went to Breakwater Park to walk out to the lighthouse. The entrance is located near the Samoset Resort, but the walk on the breakwater was more treacherous than we anticipated.  With the wind and now setting sun, we only made it about a third of the way to the lighthouse before turning back, stopping to take a few pictures along the way.

From there we went to “Claws” for dinner. Of course lobster and lobster rolls are their specialty and we believe they have some of the best in Maine.  We sat in their screened porch area and enjoyed a view overlooking Rockland Harbor.

After taking us back to the boat, Claire and John headed to their hotel. This allowed Johnny and Scarlett ample space to spread out their sleeping arrangements, resulting in a good night’s rest by all.

Rockland, ME – Monday 9/23
For Claire and Denise, the morning started with a sunrise run around Rockland Harbor and the houses near downtown.

It also took us past the Sail, Power & Steam Museum, and the Rockland Yacht Club.

Afterwards the sisters went to the Atlantic Bakery Co for a healthy breakfast and coffee.

They then walked to the hotel to pick up the rental car.  John had noticed a nail in the tire and rather than deal with the rental car company to repair it, they took it to a local tire company and had it fixed in 30 minutes. Then Claire took Denise back to the boat so both could get showers and get the gang moving on the day’s adventure.

Once back at the marina, Denise noticed the boat had been moved to another slip. Apparently when we came in yesterday, the slip we tied to was a seasonal renter who just happened to be gone.  When the marina office opened they wanted us moved, so Mark, Johnny & Scarlett made it happen. It was good experience for these future cruisers.

IO at Journeys End Marina

IO at Journey’s End Marina

Eventually everyone was ready to go and we headed out on the days adventure. First was to go to Owls Head Lighthouse. This is the easternmost point on the mainland that overlooks the western Penobscot Bay. It offers a terrific view, even on a slightly hazy day.  We walked up the steps to the top, took some pictures and then went back to the museum and museum shop.  On our way back to the car we encountered a group of artists who were getting an instruction by another artist.  Johnny provided some humor to the artists when he offered to be their model for the day.  It was hilarious!

We had wanted to get a hamburger at the Owls Head Market, where two years ago we enjoyed their super delicious hamburgers. Sadly, we had learned they had closed and the market itself was up for sale.  It all worked out ok as none of us were hungry anyway. After we did a quick tour around Owl’s Head Bay we decided to drive up to Camden and show this very touristy, but cute waterfront town to our guests.  It was about a 30-minute drive and we arrived to find a parking lot right on the street; something you can never do in the summer months. We walked the short distance to the harbor and walked along the water taking in the scenes including watching the boats queue up at Lyman Morris to be put up for winter storage.  Eventually, everyone was hungry and so we went to grab some lunch at Sea Dog Brewing Company.

After some good food, a few beers and lots of laughter, we had to get back on the road.  Johnny & Scarlett were flying out of Bangor later in the day and Claire & John would be taking them to the airport.  However we first had to return to the boat in Rockland to drop off Denise & Mark, and so the young Rooks could pick up their luggage and goodies they acquired while visiting Maine.

When Claire & John left, Denise & Mark got busy with a few boat chores and business items.  When they returned we went to the grocery store and picked up some chicken and other items for a relaxing and delicious dinner on the boat.

We didn’t stay up late as we were all tired and we wanted to get a fairly early start in the morning. We got John and Claire settled into their sleeping arrangements for the night and called it a (very fun) day.

Portland, ME – Tuesday 9/24

Rockland to Portland

Rockland to Portland

Today would be our last day in Maine and we wanted to enjoy the water and coastline as much as possible with Claire. However, it was going to be a bit windy and we wanted to get underway sooner in case things got worse than forecasted.  While most of the way we would be in protected waters behind islands, there were several areas where we would be exposed to the wind and waves, and it could make for an uncomfortable ride. With this in mind we left the dock at 8:00 am.

Our plan was to cruise to the Dolphin Marina at Potts Harbor near Harpswell and John would drive the rental car and meet us there.  We have stayed here twice before and love the place, especially the restaurant that sits out on the point.  This family owned enterprise also houses a lobster pound and a walk up lobster “refresher” that has terrific lobster rolls. But the best thing about the place is the very large blueberry muffins and fresh coffee that is hand delivered to all the boats in the marina every morning.

Once outside the Rockland Harbor we cruised around Owls Head and took the inside route through Owls Head Bay. Here we passed the lobster pounds and houses that we had driven by during our adventure the day before.

We then turned in a more southwestern direction and things got a little bumpy.  As we crossed the very open Muscongus Bay and around Pemaquid Point, we rolled with the 2+ foot swells that crashed on our nose.  It was just enough to make Claire and Denise a little queasy and not happy.  Fortunately, it only lasted about 45 minutes and soon we made our way back behind some of the barrier islands near Boothbay Harbor.  We passed along Rams Head Island and its interesting lighthouse.

But we still had to get around Small Point, another area where we would be very exposed.  As luck would have it, the swells were less and came from a little bit off our port side (not right on the bow) so the ride was a bit more comfortable.  About this time John called to give us a report on the Dolphin marina.  Because it was late in the season, the restaurant was only open on weekends now. He loved the marina and surrounding areas (and ate a great lobster roll for lunch at the Lobster Shack), and thought it was a cool place. However, with no restaurant (and our planned dinner for the night) it meant no blueberry muffins in the morning.

With this information, we decided to press on another hour and go all the way to Portland. This would give us a chance to see the city (John & Claire have never been), have more dining choices, and set us up for another run down the Maine coast to New Hampshire while the weather was still good.  A phone call later and we had reservations at DiMillo’s Marina, right in the heart of downtown Portland’s “Old Port” neighborhood.  Denise plotted a course that took us behind several islands in Casco Bay, and afford Claire an opportunity to see another part of coastal Maine.  Mark steered us past Eagle Island, and then through a channel that runs along Peak’s Island and past Fort Gorges, before entering Portland Harbor.  Here there were several boats enjoying the harbor and the Norwegian ship “Escape” was docked at the cruise terminal.

Captain Mark negotiated a narrow entry into the marina and docked the boat without issue, despite the narrow fairway.  DiMillo’s has a boat brokerage that is a Sabre/Back Cove dealer, and to say we were surrounded by the family of boats is an understatement. However, it is also a well-liked marina by many delivery captains so it was full of larger yachts as well.  As we checked into the marina office Claire located John who was trying to find a parking place, which was available right in front of the marina offices.

We then started our adventure walking around the downtown shops near the marina, including on Fore Street.  We began contemplating dinner and started asking the locals in some of the shops we went into for recommendations. We were also interested in any rooftop bars where we could get a view of the city from up high. Captain Mark was able to locate a place in the Westin hotel, but it meant walking about a mile to get there. We were all ok to get some exercise, so we made our way along the downtown streets, taking in all the sights along the way. Here are few pictures of what we saw:

Eventually we arrived at the Westin and took the elevator to the top floor. While not a rooftop bar, the indoor bar on the 18th floor afforded us a birds-eye view of downtown Portland.  We had a few drinks and an appetizer and enjoyed the terrific views, including watching the “Escape” leave port.

We spent some time discussing where to go to dinner and after receiving a second recommendation for Roma Café, we made a reservation for it on Open Table.  We finished our drinks, mapped the route that would take us further away from the boat (but not far), and headed out walking towards the restaurant. Soon we realized we were headed to a local’s joint, and not the touristy places along the waterfront.  The buildings were mostly brownstones and the place had a neighborhood feel to it.  We arrived at Roma Café and found a delightful relaxed restaurant in an old converted house with very friendly service. The food was delicious and we were so glad we made a reservation, as the place filled up fast with a long wait to get in.  If you are in Portland you should try to eat here.

We had also been told of the speakeasy-like bar (Bramhall Pub) that is connected to the restaurant, but the entrance is located at the stairs outside and runs under the restaurant.  After dinner we ventured into the place just to have a look around. It is very rustic with the original bricks and beams exposed and is dimly lit (so hard to see in pictures).  It had such an old world feel to it that we found intriguing.  On another night we may have stayed and had a drink, but we were tired and ready to head back to the boat.

We had considered getting an Uber to take us back to the marina, but decided to walk off our dinner instead. It really wasn’t that far and taking a different path back to the boat we were able to see some pretty cool sites along the way. Most intriguing was the large statue of movie director John Ford; a native from Portland and winner of several Academy Awards – most notably for “Stagecoach”, “Grapes of Wrath” and “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence”.

John Ford Statue

John Ford Statue

Once back at the boat we made plans for tomorrow. Again Claire would ride in the boat with us and John would drive in the car. Tonight was our very last night in Maine and we were sad that it was time to leave this wonderful state.

Wentworth by the Sea (WBTS) – New Castle, NH – Wednesday 9/25

Portland to WBTS

Portland to WBTS side trip: Somersworth & Lone Oak

Knowing it would be the last day to have a running partner for a while, Denise and Claire got up for an early morning run before leaving Portland.  They headed north from the marina past the cruise ship terminal and saw a new cruise ship approaching into port.  They continued along the “rail-trail”; an old rail line converted into a bike and pedestrian path along the water.  Here they also passed the Fore Points Marina; a new marina that just opened and was considered but rejected because it does not yet have all its facilities operational. After turning and heading back, they took the path up the hill that ran by neighborhood homes, a condominium complex, and a park.  On the way down the hill they encountered a group of young people who were just getting started on their fitness routine for the morning; running up and down the stairs that would lead them down the hill and back to the boat.

Here are some other pictures we took of items in and around Portland:

After returning to the boat and getting some breakfast, we untied the dock lines and headed out of Portland Harbor. Even though it was less than 50 miles to Wentworth by the Sea, we wanted to leave early because we had a full day of activities planned once we arrived. Once again John followed by car as Claire joined us for the cruise south.

It was a nice sunny day with calm seas and few clouds, allowing for some great pictures.  We left Portland passing by the Spring Point Ledge Light, Fort Scammel, Ram Island Ledge Light and finally Portland Head Light.

We passed the twin lighthouses at Cape Elizabeth, the Nubble Lighthouse, and eventually the Whaleback Lighthouse at Kittery Point before approaching the entrance into the channel towards Wentworth by the Sea (WBTS) – a Marriott resort.

We chose this location because it was close to Somersworth, NH where our Aunt Judy lives, and who we would be visiting later in the day.  Nearly 15 years ago we were here by car and claimed how cool it would be to bring our own boat and stay at this very posh resort. It is quite expensive, but the opportunity presented itself and for a single overnight we decided to splurge a little.  After all, our 30th wedding anniversary celebration was uneventful and we figured this was a good substitute.

We arrived at the marina and settled the boat, then we went to the marina office to check in.  Here we learned that everything at this resort is extra (pool, gym use, etc.) and since the marina is independently operated, we would get no Marriott points; which we had already expected but felt it didn’t hurt to ask.  John was able to find parking near the docks and met us at the boat.



Our adventure for the four of us began with a 30 minute drive to Somersworth.  We were so happy that Aunt Judy was available as she has been traveling, has more company coming next week, and just completed a major house project that took a lot of time to manage.  We visited for a little while getting caught up on life in general and helping her with a few mini projects (Mark & John).  We then went on an outing to a local U-Pick farm and market about 20 minutes from her house.  Here we purchased some very fresh produce (apples, etc.) and had a great time acting like children and taking pictures of all our fun.

From there we drove to Lone Oak for our dinner and dessert. This is a “refresher” type restaurant that is well-known for its delicious homemade ice cream with outrageously huge serving sizes.   However, on Wednesdays they have half priced lobster rolls, which means dinner and dessert could be combined into one stop.  Our family has been coming here for years and it never disappoints.

We drove back to Somersworth, said goodbye to Aunt Judy, and then headed back to WBTS for the night.  We really enjoyed our time with this wonderful woman and we are so grateful she could spend time with us.  It was a perfect day and we had a lot of fun.

Boston, MA – Thursday 9/26

WBTS to Boston

WBTS to Boston

As the sun was coming up, Claire went for a run and Denise went for a walk around the WBTS property. Here are some pictures of this really pretty place:

Today Claire and John would be leaving us; while we move the boat to Boston, they will drive there and see some of the historic sites in town.  Afterwards they will head to Cape Cod to spend time with John’s cousins and for Claire to run another Half Marathon on Saturday. So we wished them safe travels and then left for Boston; it was shortly after 8:00 am.

Leaving WBTS

Leaving WBTS

It was a cool sunny and clear day with little wind, so the cruise south was pretty comfortable. However, Denise was worried that after we passed Gloucester the wind was forecasted to pick up and we would be very exposed, resulting in a bumpy ride for the last hour or so of our trip. We did have bailout options, but really wanted to make it all the way into Boston. Our route took us down the coast of Massachusetts to the Annisquam River; an inside route instead of going around Cape Ann and the towns of Rockport (MA) and Gloucester.  We had taken this route north on July 4th weekend in 2017 and it was a madhouse, so we were a little weary about taking this very narrow and winding river. However, it was mid-week and way past Labor Day when most recreational boaters are no longer on the water, so Captain Mark felt comfortable with the plan.

Just after passing the Annisquam light, we passed by our friend Liz’s family house where we had a lobster feast in 2017.

We entered Annisquam River to almost no boat traffic and were able to make very good and fast progress.  We went under the Route 128 Bridge and passed the Cape Ann Marina (home of tv series “Wicked Tuna”).

Then we entered the Blynman Canal and contacted the Blynman Bridge operator for an opening.  This is treacherous area as the current and incoming tide can cause a lot of turbulence, all the while trying to drive between the narrow bridge span.  We were grateful there were no other boats coming or going as it gave us maximum maneuverability.

Blynman Bridge

Blynman Bridge

We entered Gloucester Harbor just as the fog was blowing away, which gave Denise some relief. However, the wind was now going to be a factor to kick up the waves for the next segment of our voyage.  We left Gloucester Harbor and entered back into the Atlantic Ocean, but skirting the coastline as much as possible.  It was a little bumpy as we passed Marblehead, but soon the coastline beyond Boston curved to our left and blocked the wind settling down the seas. Soon we could see the Boston skyline and then entered the North Channel into Boston Harbor.  Here there was a dredge operation working and we had to negotiate our way around moving barges and tugs, but Captain Mark did a stellar job doing so.

Finally, we made our way through the harbor and into Constitution Marina; our home for the next few days.  We settled the boat and checked in with the marina, picking up our gate keys and getting the internet security codes.

IO at Constitution

IO at Constitution

Meanwhile, John and Claire (whom we had been in contact with all morning) had been playing tourist in town, and were just finishing walking the Freedom Trail. In the afternoon we caught back up with them and they were able to take us to Costco where we were able to provision the boat.  This was our first Costco visit since June and we were so happy to finally be able to buy favorite items that we had missed having on board.  They returned us back to the boat and said our final good-bye. We have really enjoyed our time together and we will miss having them around.

Also during the day, we had been in touch with Victoria & Chuck (“Argento”), friends with a BC 37 that we had met in 2017 when we were here. They were making plans to head south to Delray Beach for the winter and were busy readying their boat for their trip.  In the afternoon, we finally caught up with Chuck at their boat on “D” dock and discussed our joint plans to leave Boston on Tuesday.  The weather until then was forecasted to be sunny, but high winds on Buzzard Bay were going to keep us in port through the weekend. We agreed to keep in touch over the weekend and to cruise together if at all possible.

Meanwhile, the nice morning weather had dissipated and rain was threatening for most of the afternoon.  We returned back to our boat just about the time that it did come, and it changed our evening dinner plans. Instead of walking the half mile to the North End, we ate on the boat and stayed in to watch more episodes of Game of Thrones.  It was a quiet evening to an otherwise very busy and fun-filled week with family.  Unfortunately, it means a long blog post. Hopefully, in the next week we will be able to get caught up and make these smaller and more frequent.

Until then, stay tuned for more of our adventures on Island Office