Newport to Boston, United States
Ah, New England. The very thought of it evokes a kaleidoscope of images, memories and smells. An area so steeped in history that it comes alive and banishes the remembered labor of childhood history classes. But is was probably in those same childhood classes that you first heard of, and studied New England. The textbook images of white church spires piercing a clear blue sky, forests ablaze with autumn colors, bright red lobsters, waiting to be feasted on. Have you experienced New England yet? Have you smelled the salty sea air, the green of woods, the wild roses growing along the cliff? If you haven’t, it is time you did, and if you have, now is the time to go back again and create more wonderful memories.
Middle New England, so close, but so exotic. Newport north to Boston, with stops at the close islands and a chance to whale watch, this is our setting, ripe for exploring. We begin the adventure in Newport, which is exciting and beautiful in any season. Sleepy and snow shrouded in winter, she blooms with bustling life during the summer. You will want to schedule a full day in Newport, and then probably wish you had been able to linger longer. There are several “must do” things in Newport, and highest ranking on the list is visiting the famed Cottages. Mansions to most of us, these were merely summer cottages for the rich and famous following the Civil War. The Preservation Society of Newport maintains eight of the perhaps dozen that remain. Walking across perfectly manicured lawns, standing on the wide verandas looking out at the ocean or marveling at the grandeur of the interior one of these mansions, stop and close your eyes. Listen very carefully. Can you hear the clink of champagne glasses, the soft tones of the chamber orchestra? Can you imagine living in this manner? Living the life you read about in The Great Gatsby? Days gone by, but lucky us, we can still enjoy the beauty and pretend we were there, if only for a moment.
One of the best way to appreciate the sheer beauty of the mansions and their view of the ocean is by walking the Cliff Walk, a three-and-one-half-mile coastal path that hugs the coastline. Though it begins near Newport Beach (just off Memorial Boulevard) and ends on a side street off Bellevue Avenue, you can pick it up at several places along the walk, including Forty Steps, located at the end of Narragansett Ave. Beautiful at any time, early mornings are particularly magical, especially when the wild roses are in bloom.
If you have time and energy, other places to visit include the International Tennis Hall of Fame, the Museum of Yachting, the many galleries and “Antique Alley”, which is a cluster of antique shops grouped on Spring and Thames Street. Depending on when you are there, the Chowder Festival and Jazz Fest are great fun.
Leaving Newport behind, it is Island Fever Time, New England style. Block Island, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket, conveniently nearby, but miles away from the frantic pace of everyday living. Block Island is only about 12 miles off the coast of Rhode Island, with Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket adjacent to Cape Cod. Rarely crowded, even in the middle of summer, Block Island is a colorful palette of multicolored clay cliffs, shifting sand dunes, crashing waves, and fields of honeysuckle. One quarter of the island is designated as preservation land where rare birds and habitats can be observed. The Greenway is a network of trails that wind through park, conservancy and private land; it starts mid-island and ends on the south shore. However, most people coming to Block Island are eager to visit the beaches. The most popular is Crescent Beach, which is actually three separate beaches. The first is Benson Beach, complete with chair and umbrella rentals, showers and a snack bar. Following the dune paths, you will arrive at Scotch Beach. Further on is Mansion Beach, located beneath the cliffs and the ruins of a former ocean-side mansion. Mohegan Bluffs are located on the island’s south shore and are multi-colored clay cliffs that tower 200 feet above the ocean. They stretch for several miles along the shore, offering spectacular ocean views and steep paths leading to the beaches that rim the coastline below.
Bartholomew Gosnold brought a group of colonists in 1602 toMartha’s Vineyard. These were to be the first residents of the triangular-shaped island, named for the wild grapes Gosnold found growing everywhere. The colonists were gone after 3 weeks,but soon replaced by many more. The Vineyard is 20 miles long, and 10 miles wide, large enough to have a myriad of fascinating places to visit, small enough to be able to do so on a bike. The island is one of rolling moors, salt marshes, secluded coves and colored cliffs, perfect for those who enjoy the outdoors. For the history and architecture lovers, Edgartown is a treasure trove, waiting to be explored. Start at the Martha’s Vineyard Historical Society and Vineyard Museum, which includes the Thomas Cooke House and Captain Pease House. Though not part of this complex, the Vincent House Museum gives you a glimpse of life as it was, 300 years ago. The Martha’s Vineyard Preservation Trust maintains this structure, built in 1672, which is the oldest house on the Island. Time for some fresh air? Hop back on your bike and take experience Martha’s Vineyard State Forest, in the center of the island, with its dense stands of pines, or the Manuae F. Correllus State Park, which has 4,400 acres of hiking paths and bike trails. Still not tired? The Oak Bluffs to Edgartown trail is a 12-mile round-trip that runs along the waterfront. If you have any energy left after your day of history and riding, pick up a copy of the Vineyard Gazette, the newspaper that has served Martha’s Vineyard for over 150 years!
Of the great American Novels, one of the best loved and most often quoted is Herman Melville’s Moby Dick. Melville said of the Nantucketers: “these sea hermits, issuing from their ant-hill in the sea, overran and conquered the watery world like so many Alexanders, parceling out among them the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans”. For almost 100 years, Nantucket was among the world’s greatest whaling ports. Today the whaling is gone, but the island remains one of the most charming and picturesque places in New England. To visit the Nantucket of days gone by, make sure you visit the Whaling Museum, which is housed in what once was a factory for refining whale oil. There are exhibits of all of the tools of the whaling trade, plus a whaleboat, an excellent collection of scrimshaw and a full-sized whale skeleton. The local Historical Society has pamphlets giving a self-guided walking tour of Nantucket Town, the main port. During its heyday, Nantucket Town was home to over 10,000 residents. The cobblestone streets, lined with large stately trees surrounding elegant houses, give testimony to the success of the sea captains, merchants and ship owners. One of the most well-preserved is the Hadwen House, which contains many of the original furnishing. The oldest remaining house was built in 1686 and is a fine example of the saltbox style dwelling so popular in the Colonial 17th century. One of the best ways to see the natural side of Nantucket is by bike. There are several well marked bike paths on the island, offering you views of cranberry bogs, wetlands, moors and ponds. Be warned, several of these paths are 12 to 16 miles long, so you will want to be prepared. One of the best places to relax and rejuvenate in Nantucket Town is The Brotherhood of Thieves. With its low, oak-beamed ceilings, wood paneling and lots of candles, you feel like you have been transported back in time and quite possibly over to England! What a lovely way to end a very pleasant day.
Hyannis bills itself as Cape Cod’s “hub”, and is indeed packed with restaurants, shops, clubs, hotels…and people! A popular base for visits up and down the Cape, Hyannis is the Cape’s commercial center. Summer season is brimming with things to do, including the Hyannis Harbor Festival in June, the Cape Cod Symphony Orchestra, and the Boston Pops with Pops-by-the-Sea in August. Intense national attention was focused on Hyannis in the early 1960’s, when John F. Kennedy was president. The Kennedy family still owns a large estate, the Kennedy Compound. The John F. Kennedy Hyannis Museum documents JFK’s life and his time in Hyannis.
November 21, 1620, the Mayflower Pilgrims landed at what is now Provincetown after 67 days at sea. They stayed but a month, as the soil was thin and fresh water was scarce before sailing on to Plymouth, across Cape Cod Bay. During that month, they wrote and signed the Mayflower Compact, a charter establishing a government based on the will of the majority. This document, as we all learned in history class, would set the stage for the writing of the Constitution and the American Revolution. Known to those who love her as “P-town”, Provincetown brims with life and merriment. There is always something to do, rain or shine, but perhaps the best part of P-town is watching everyone else. Gay life is a given, but there are plenty of other colorful individuals that call it home, and then, of course, you can always watch the antics of the tourists. A Mecca for artists, the Provincetown Art Association and Museum has four galleries of changing exhibits by Outer Cape Artists. There are several other museums to poke about in, but for the sheer fun of it, visit the Marine Specialists. Crammed with everything from cheap souvenirs to military surplus items from the USSR, the shop will put you into sensory overload!
Just outside Provincetown is the Cape Cod National Seashore, established in 1961. Encompassing 43,500 acres, the park runs from Provincetowon down to Orleans, including within its borders: ocean beaches, wind-swept dunes, salt pond marshes and spectacular cliffs, as well as pitch pine and scrub-oak forests. A succession of glacial deposits and wind and wave erosion formed Cape Cod’s present hook shape. Studies indicate that the sea and wind action are eroding the Cape at an alarming rate, and that the land itself might be sinking into the sea. Take some time to sit on the beach and simply watch the waves roll in, reflecting on the what has happened to this locality to create it, and what continues to shape it, and consider how precious the area is.
The entire province is special, but one of the most spectacular treats of the region is to go whale watching. Assuming you will end your charter adventure in Boston, your captain has saved the best part of the trip until last by giving you the chance to experience the thrill of seeing whales on your final day at sea. The Stellwagen Bank is located about twenty-five miles of the Massachusetts coast and is one of the richest marine environments in the United States. The 640-square-mile area is the perfect physical, oceanographic and meteorological blend of circumstances that combine to produce an enormous quantity of plankton that lures pelagic fish, sea birds, turtles and marine mammals. Stellwagen Bank is both the principal feeding ground and nursery for both large and small whale species, including fin, minke, northern right, pilot and orca. Perhaps the most exciting whale species to populate the Bank is the humpback whale, with their impressive displays of flukes and flippers.
The entrance to Boston Harbor is guarded by an archipelago consisting of 30 islands. As your captain eases your charter yacht past them and into her berth in Boston, you just might find yourself thinking that maybe next time you should start your charter in Boston, explore some of those islands, then head on up the coast to Maine. Yes, you haven’t even finished this adventure, and already you are planning your next charter; which really is the what a holiday is about, isn’t it?
INTIERARY – Yacht Charter Boston: Newport to Boston
Day 1 Depart Newport for Martha’s Vineyard. Sailing out the scenic East Passage of Narragansett Bay and turning east, along Ocean Drive, we pass numerous grandiose “Summer Cottage” which proliferate along the waterfront. The pristine beach and protected anchorage at Quick’s Hole on Nashawena Island is a favorite stop for lunch. After a quick swim, we continue on past Nobska Point and West Chop to Edgartown, arriving in the late afternoon. The protected anchorage and classic New England atmosphere make this a popular favorite for all charter guests. This would be a good night to dine ashore as the variety of restaurants is extensive. Distance: 55 miles
Day 2 After a relaxing breakfast aboard, we set sail for Trapaulin Cove on the South shore of Naushon Island, another of the classic picnic stops in the Elizabeth Islands. A brisk afternoon sail across Buzzards Bay brings us to Padanaram Harbor, home of the New Bedford Yacht Club and Concordia Yacht Yard. Dinner will be enjoyed aboard, where you will delight in the opportunity to view the sunset in unsurpassed tranquility. Distance: 35 miles.
Day 3 Another leisurely start to the day has us setting sail for Woods Hole and Hadley’s Harbor. This is an easy sail and allows us to enjoy the prettiest harbor within 100 miles. After lunch the Sou’wester usually perks up and afford the opportunity to have a spanking sail down the bay to Cuttyhunk, a quaint village at the western end of the chain separating Buzzards Bay from Vineyard Sound. Going ashore, you will be struck by the feeling that you have retreated in time to the turn of the century or before. Cuttyhund has several inns where the dining is family style and concentrates on the wholesome, simple specialties of New England cooking. Distance: 35 miles.
Day 4 Departing Cuttyhunk, we head westwards again, back to Narragansett Bay and Newport. Depending on the time available, we will make a luncheon stop at Third Beach in Middletown, a few miles up the Sakonnet River. Distance: 25 miles