Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The Coast and an Island

We really wanted to make an extended stopover in Portland, Maine a part of our agenda for the East Coast, unfortunately the flight schedules and costs for Tom to get to San Antonio didn't work in our favor and it had to be axed. However, being in Boston and so close we couldn't resist the temptation to zip up for a fun filled day trip to this eclectic and vibrant city, and of course, knowing us, we had quite a few exploratory pit stops along the way.

First stop was Rockport, MA for what can only be described as a breakfast of champions at Roy Moore Lobster. Tom’s face lit up like a kid on Christmas morning as he bit into his lobster roll, lobster as fresh as you can get it, as in just off the boat that morning, something that can only be likened to biting into lobster flavored butter. Even Miss Ethel was spoiled as the chef brought her out bites of fresh smoked salmon, perfect start for all, getting us geared up for our day pack full of adventures. We sat out on the back deck in a slight sprinkle of rain, devouring breakfast and looking out over the bay, taking in the ambiance of what a true fisherman’s wharf looks like; lobster cages lining the docks, fishing boats parked along the deck and men hauling in their fresh morning catches, all just making the experience of this town all the more captivating.

View from Roy Moore Lobster
Rockport is more than I ever envisioned. The village is picturesque; charming shops sandwiched between narrow streets and the sea, locals out for their morning run and gathering together for quick morning hello’s with their neighbor. Down the road at the center of town, lies a park, where the farmers were setting up their produce for the weekend farmers market, all adding to its allure. I can easily see why this town attracts so many visitors and those making their weekend escape from Boston.

Stomachs full, we hopped back in the car and headed towards Portsmouth, NH to check out Fort Constitution and the lovely PortsmouthLighthouse. Fort Constitution sits adjacent to a U.S. Coast Guard Station, in fact you literally walk through the Coast Guard compound to access this historic site, following a red line as your guide, so no one gets’ lost or worse, mistaken as a threat. Once inside the fort, you are again free to roam at your own will, reading plaques and learning the history of a place that has been defending our country since 1631, and I was bewildered to think that we have fortresses guarding us against sea bound threats dating back that far or ever for that matter. The entire concept seemed so European and sea side Castle like to me, the idea of this in America was a surprise and fun learning experience about our countries history.  

Portsmouth Lighthouse
Just outside of Fort Constitution sits the stunning Portsmouth Lighthouse. The morning fog hadn't quite dissipated and the white from the lighthouse just seemed to pop among the mist coming off the water, which in turn made for some great photos. Now the lighthouse itself was closed so my photo ops came at me climbing down into a fort window, and me hanging out the side to get the shots; a precarious situation, but dammit, I need to capture the moment! Sometimes I think Tom should follow me with a camera just to photograph the positions I put myself into to get the shot, now that would make a pretty entertaining Instagram page.

Portland Dock
Our detours complete we were officially Portland bound. We rolled into the historic downtown and took time to walk, shop and eat ice-cream, taking in all the magic and ocean breeze two humans and one dog could handle. The people-watching in Portland was my favorite, I could have sat for hours, completely mesmerized by that burly fisherman look meets hippy flare that every local there seemed to sport; trying to determine if a person was just coming in off a boat after months at sea or heading off to a local drum circle was quite the conundrum; the two energies were fused together like the twins of zodiac sign, Gemini. Needless to say, the people seemed really cool and like those we’d like to grab a drink with, if only we had the time.

Portland Head Light
We made one more stop before turning around and heading back to Boston and that was at the Portland Head Light, Maine’s oldest and one of the world’s most photographed lighthouses. This lighthouse is in Fort Williams Park creating this scene that just beckons you to relax and then we realized this would have been the perfect spot to sit down with a blanket, a picnic basket and a bottle of wine. This is a place you could easily spend hours; just caught up in trails, or lounging away listening to the ocean wave’s crash while lying in a blanket of grass. But alas, it was getting late and Boston was calling and homeward bound we had to head.

Heading north would not be the end of our coastal adventures, we still had one magical island to visit; a place where swag and charm collide creating an idyllic fairy-tale setting. The three of us hopped on the ferry from Cape Cod bright and early one Saturday and set sail for this illustrious place, this isle called Nantucket! We were immediately met by Heather and her friend, Malissa, as we exited the boat and readily made our way down the cobblestone streets to the Prince’s holiday retreat.

Brant Point Lighthouse
Willy, Heather’s husband, was kind and courageous enough to take on the task of dog sitting the high maintenance Miss Ethel while we snuck out for a guided bike tour with Heather and Malissa. First stop though was suiting Tom up with Nantucket Reds and a welcome mudslide before heading over to the bike shop to pick up our bikes and my favorite, getting to see this island through Heather’s eyes, a tour I was truly looking forward to since I know how much she loves this place. Heather weaved us in and out of enchanting neighborhoods, cottages big and small lining the streets and the sea. Quarter-boards dawning the name of the homes which immediately piqued my interest; I wanted to know the story behind the name of the home and how it came to be. I immediately burst into thought about what Tom and I would name our next home when we settle down again, but know this, it will have a quarter-board; I was that intrigued and in love with the idea. Our bike tour took us to the beautiful Brant PointLighthouse. The sand warm on my feet, seashells that glittered in the sand and the view of the lighthouse and the marina, it was a place I could have easily just spent the day. If only I could control time.

We headed back to the Prince retreat to bid our adieus as we set out for some family time, dinner and the boat trip back home. We took a nice stroll down the streets, talking with the locals; I am always so amazed at the conversations that strike up because you have a dog and the people you meet because of it. Two men stand out, both prior humans to dachshunds; one an oysterman and the other, well, his family has been on the island forever as he put it. Meeting with the locals just adds more appeal to this place and I can truly see why it is a destination of not only the wealthy, but for all of us day trippers as well.

Once back on the boat and on our way out to sea, we watched as the sun made its last dance across the water, twinkling across the ocean as it made its descent and off in the distance we could hear the faint sound of the Boston Pops playing at an outdoor concert on the beach. All making for a perfect send off to one of the most captivating places I've ever been. Nantucket we will be back! 

1 comment:

  1. Nantucket seems like an amazing and magical place. We are having so much fun enjoying your blog. We love that you write and we can hear YOUR voice in every word. The pictures you have taken are amazing. I can well imagine and can just see you in my mind's eye getting that picture by twisting and turning in whatever direction needed to fulfill your task. They certainly are worth the effort. You really need to write a book filled with all your adventures and pictures for others to enjoy. Love and Hugs and continue to enjoy your trip.