Hello from Rover! When I last left you we were in Quisset, Ma. a lovely, quiet and serene location. Our next venture started after meticulous piloting so as to enjoy a favorable current. Speeding through the Cape Cod Canal at 10 knots left us on the inside of the Cape with a sail to the next port of call, Provincetown, or Ptown (did they know I was coming?) For those of you, like me, who are geographically challenged, I understand best with a picture. Cape Cod is shaped like an arm flexed at the elbow and juts out into the Atlantic Ocean from the mainland of Massachusetts. Quisset is lovely and unfortunately would be at the armpit of the Cape. For simplicity, the canal runs, roughly, north and south, for us we went from the tricep muscle through the humerus (upper arm bone) and popped out the biceps muscle. Ptown is the fingers of the Cape. Got it? Just a little doctor fun. As we approached Ptown we saw whales breaching in the distance, a great check off the bucket list. We anchored in a lovely spot near a spit of land that extends off the main part of Ptown This land extension is attached via a rocky walkable causeway about 1 mile long. The anchorage was home to numerous seals and sea lions, singing and bantering all day and night. I did not foresee SUP for me here as Seals=Sharks! Instead, our first night we were welcomed by a finback whale swimming in the anchorage and right alongside the boat, amazing and lucky for us to see! Pictures didn’t do this experience justice. The dinghy ride from the anchorage into town was about 1 mile. There is a very busy ferry service in and out and many people coming and going from Boston, but, social distancing seemed well respected. Covid requirement, masks had to be worn indoors as well as outdoors in Ptown, lucky for us the weather and temperature were cool and comfortable.
Ptown is a vibrant, lively place, home to a large proud LGBTQ population. The main drag (pun intended), is Commercial Street which runs along the water with numerous shops, restaurants, bars, and clubs galore. A great people watching venue, some scantily clad with everyone being nice and pleasant. There is a huge Ace Hardware on Commercial Street and a good kitchen store, Utilities. Besides the tourist and usual clothing shops, I found Marine Specialties, an Army/Navy type place to be interesting. It sold anything from antiques, T shirts, Patagonia Jackets, to your next Halloween costume. Things were hanging or in boxes on the floor or just in heaps and piles. This was a cool place to walk through for an interesting find or a good laugh. We ate onboard most of the time, however, we always have to try local drinks and eats. The nightlife is very active! One evening we started with drinks at Harbor Lounge (great cocktails!) and ended with a terrific late night dinner at Strangers and Saints. Another day we enjoyed a delicious lunch at Ross’s Grill overlooking the harbor.
Our coffee fixes were achieved at the Wired Puppy which served an awesome Turkish coffee and Joe Coffee (next door to CuraLeaf, just in case you were in the market for some pot, and talk about people watching!). Our weather was perfect with nice breezes and cool temperatures. This figured into our navigation. The mainland was having a heatwave, so we stayed in our anchorage for 6 days and enjoyed the cooler sea air, no AC needed! Since we were staying put for awhile, I enjoyed longer runs (5-7 miles) with unexpected elevations through town. We also rented bikes and rode along fantastic bike trails in Cape Cod National Seashore Park to see all sides of the peninsula and the interesting topography (and more whales!).
Once the weather improved we departed for Boston. Since this was a workday for the other crew members, we decided to leave at dawn for a noon arrival. To my delight, I woke early to enjoy yoga on the boat at sunrise! Even though I have been able to take advantage of running, SUP, biking, and walking onshore, we all have been able to do workouts onboard. Happily, Rover has a large “back porch.” The yoga mat fits perfectly and we have 5, 8, 12 lb dumbbell weights, bands, loops, foam roller, and TRX onboard. There are so many internet sites that offer a myriad of workouts. I am not promoting any one company, but, we have enjoyed Facebook videos from Annapolis Athletic Club, Zoom and YouTube videos from my local yoga studio, Yoga Factory in Annapolis. I subscribe to numerous workout videos, HITT, weightlifting, barre, and yoga from Beachbody. Online magazines like Shape and Runner’s World have workouts and phone apps like Map My Run, and many more give you a plethora of options. As long as you have good internet connection/hotspot, you can workout onboard as if you were in a gym or studio. Just in case, I did spend time at home during the quarantine typing and printing out hard copies of workouts, so no excuses now! Could there be a future job with health and fitness for me? Maybe…
Back to Boston… we got a mooring at the Boston Harbor Sailing Club, near the Financial district and Seaport section of town. What a different view with skyscrapers, bright lights at night and palpable energy. Our first urban setting since we started over a month ago. I admit it was kind of nice to have everything available on shore. We all had our vices, me and Trader Joe’s and Brian and Starbucks. Lisa had a TJ Maxx and Homegoods run and Rich and his allergies appreciated the CVS and Walgreens. From the boating side, we had launch service to shore in addition to dinghy docks. I did SUP, challenging at times with ferries, water taxis, and whale watch boats darting around. Running in Boston is must of course. Our location afforded me great runs in the Seaport section of town and along Harborwalk through the city into Charlestown, a quaint area to the north that is home to Bunker Hill. My most favorite place was the daily Haymarket in the Faneuil Hall/Quincy Market area. The Haymarket is an open air produce market with abundant fresh fruits and vegetables at inexpensive prices. I provisioned for 2 weeks, freezing and fermenting some of the vegetables, go me! There are also indoor fresh fish and meat markets, but they were too difficult to social distance, plus, I had to draw the line when there were whole goat heads for sale. We then spent a day on a walking tour of Harvard, feeling smart already, and then having a visit on Rover from Rich’s high school friends.
As far as some great recommendations…
- Mare: awesome seafood, North Boston Italian section of town, 0.7 miles from the dinghy dock
- LoLa 42: sushi, Seaport section of town, 2 minute walk from one of the launch drop offs.
- Tatte-bakery/breakfast, all over Boston, we enjoyed the one in Charlestown, 3 miles from dinghy dock
- Rowes Wharf-at the launch drop off, had Starbucks, a seafood Grille and more
- Union Oyster House-Faneuil Hall, America’s oldest restaurant, best cup of Chowdah! Downtown, 0.5 mile from the dinghy dock.
- Cocobeet-0.5 miles from boat, Acai Bowl/smoothies, yum!
After 4 nights, we left the big city for the smaller New England towns. Marblehead is a quick jump and we had a lovely sail, about 1.5 hours from Boston. Marblehead has the most enormous mooring field I have ever seen, literally thousands of boats. We were able to fuel and take water and settle in on a mooring with views of the numerous yacht clubs, lost count after 5, large homes and amazing sunsets. It is a great place to SUP in this huge mooring field and it offers lengthy runs, 7.5 miles, from the dinghy dock, through the historic town, over the bridge that connects to Marblehead Neck and back. I have to admit, when walking around I didn’t find a lot of cohesion in the town, where a few shops and restaurants are spread apart on winding, circuitous, very historic roads. There is a Starbucks, Ace hardware and a very good grocery store, Crosby’s. Lisa and I got indulgent and had to update our 6 week old pedicures. A local recommendation took us to Lucky Nail and Spa and we enjoyed a terrific pedi from Megan along with some needed cool air conditioning. We got restaurant recommendations from friends and Maddie’s Sail Loft was very good. We also had a Marblehead local friend drive us around, showing us the sites and providing all the interesting US history. I was enthralled by the placards on the homes noting the date of the house, 1700-1800’s, who lived there, and what they did for a living. Not to mention, we learned that the those hanged in the nearby Salem Witch Trials were actually buried in Marblehead. We had a spooky yet fascinating visit to the cemetery up on a rocky hill with a lovely view of the harbor! Guess it worked out for them in the end. I rounded out the last morning with a visit to the Muffin Shop, owned by an older Italian gentleman who makes amazing pastries, muffins, scones and Hermits! What is a Hermit, you ask? It is his father’s recipe of a molasses, raisin and walnut cake-like cookie, very yummy!
My final thought today, I love weathervanes! And not just because they have the job of telling you wind direction. I always look up when I am walking in New England to see the different types. I love them because they tell a story about the place you are visiting or a clue of the interests of the local people. Is it on the top of a State House, office building, church, or someone’s home? Is it a whale, fish, bird, ship, arrow or something else? Even Brian and I used to have a Labrador weathervane on a post in the front yard of our house!
I had mentioned earlier that Marblehead felt “different” from all of the other stops to date. It made me realize I should not become tunnel visioned and think every place we visit will have a main street with lots of shops/restaurants/cafes along the waterfront and in town. I need to appreciate the nooks and crannies and find the amazing parts and history of each port of call and look around and up! Until next time…P