Common themes across the region:
Every location we have visited in this area has had a different vibe, even those that are just a few miles apart, but naturally there is much commonality to the area, which is to be expected but is unique in many ways to those of us from the prairies.
- Water – centric: Well, duh!! Of course, the area is focused on all things water – after all, we are on Long Island Sound, Nantucket Sound and the Atlantic Ocean . As someone from the ‘Land of 10,000 lakes’, I’m very familiar with ‘water’ and water-related activities. This area brings a whole new level to what it means to be ‘living near water’ such as:
- Boats…. Boats, boats, boats …everywhere and all types and sizes except we have seen no canoes, and only a few kayaks and pontoons, which are Minnesota staples.
Yachts- motorized and sailing: During our time in this area we have seen at least 3-4 super-mega motor yachts (at least 200 ft. plus in length and two with helicopters) and countless ‘smaller’ yachts in the 100-200 ft. range. While we were anchored in Nantucket there were 4 motor yachts around 120 ft; at least 6 – 8 larger yachts, either at the dock or anchored, in the 170 ft + range’ and 4-5 sailing yachts from 120-150′ length. I could not begin to count the number of motorized yachts in the 70-100 ft range. It’s sounds ridiculous, but after a while the boats in the 70 to 100 foot range begin to be ‘ordinary’ and look modest while back in the land of 10,000 lakes they would be very, VERY noticeable. The following pictures are just a sampling.
Tall ships and classic wooden boats: One cannot help but be impressed when sailing near a classic Tall Ship and of course, these have a special meaning to Doug because of Zeeto, our boat on Lake Superior. In every port, we have seen beautifully maintained wooden sailing and motor boats of all sizes. It’s like one giant classic wooden boat show around here.
Sport fishing boats: We are not talking about commercial fishing boats. I’m talking about very large (and not so large), private sport fishing boats (not aluminum runabouts, another Minnesota staple). The fishing gear (rods, reels, etc.) mounted on these boats is probably worth as much as some of the boats.
Dingies: Any boat that routinely anchors or uses a mooring ball will have a dingy – the mode of transportation to get to shore. Dingies buzz around the harbors like bees in a field of clover. In every location, we search for the designated ‘dingy dock’ (or a public beach where we can pull our dingy on shore) and these ‘dingy docks’ are always VERY full and busy. It has not been unusual to pull up to a dock that has dingies 3 deep which means climbing over/ through other peoples’ dingies, with your line, to reach the dock- essentially an obstacle course on water. It becomes even more interesting when you must cross a dingy that has been sitting at the dock for a long time and is half filled with water. Try carrying a bag of groceries or a fold-up bicycle across 3 inflatable dingies without falling in the water and you’ll appreciate what a challenge it can be.
Ferries : Probably the most cost efficient and accessible means of transportation ,is by ferry. Ferries to the mainland, to other islands or other towns. The usual are passenger and car ferries as well as a ferry dedicated to carrying semi-trailer trucks. The most unique ferry we have seen is the one that runs between Edgertown, on Martha’s Vineyard, and Chappaquiddick Island. It carries cars and passengers a total distance of …hmmm… maybe half a football field…and its always full…with 3 cars per ferry.
- Sailing classes, regattas, and races: We have loved sitting on the boat, while all around us classes filled with kids, of all ages, learn to sail. We have not anchored in one location that didn’t have daily classes out on the water in rain or shine. It is so fun to watch these little sailors racing around us. Every weekend you can count on seeing ‘big kids (aka adults) racing as well.
- Lighthouses: Lighthouses stand guard all over. We have passed only a few of these wonderful structures. They still function and I can tell you, when there is fog in the area, the fog horn sounds…sometimes for hours on end which, frankly, can lose its charm and become a bit annoying, unless you are one of the boats out on the water in the fog.
Beaches: August is a particularly big month for people in the northeast to take a vacation (kinda like Congress) and the crowded beaches in this area are a testament to that. Colorful umbrellas line the shores and kids play in the surf or dig in the sand. As I was sitting next to a young man on a bench in Nantucket I asked what was the favorite part of his visit so far. His reply, ‘the beaches- I really like the beaches here.’ We have not spent any time on a beach other than walking— who needs sand in your bum when you can use the swim platform on the boat?
Part three of this blog about our adventure in the Hamptons / New England area will follow in couple days. Stay tuned