77 Days on the Massachusetts/New Hampshire state line: Day 68 – Cuttyhunk Island, MA

77 Days on the Massachusetts/New Hampshire state line:  Day 68 – Cuttyhunk Island, MA

Cuttyhunk Island is the last of the Elizabeth Islands islands which stretch to the southwest of Falmouth.  The town of Gosnold, MA extends down the stretch of the Elizabeth Islands and has 52 of the town’s 86 year round residents (according to Wikipedia).

We discovered Cuttyhunk about 10 years ago while sailing with friends.  Cuttyhunk harbor is a beautiful place to spend a couple of nights, but make sure you bring plenty of provisions on board, because shopping is very limited on land!  Besides the incredible sunsets and the high number of sailboats (as opposed to motor boats – commonly referred to as “stinkpots” in the sailing world), our family loves the experience of the Raw Bar boat delivering their goods after 5pm!  In addition to shrimp cocktail and freshly picked clams and oysters, the Raw Bar also brings fresh “clam chowda” (a New England tradition).

What else is there to do at Cuttyhunk Island?  Not much!  During the summer the population grows to about 300 people, but as far as activities, people go to the beach, fish, and walk.  Since the island is only about 1.5 x.75 miles big, the main mode of transportation is golf cart!  One of our favorite walks is to go up Tower Road and on a clear day, we can see the other Elizabeth Islands, the southern Massachusetts shore line and also the Gay Head Bluffs on Martha’s Vineyard.

If you don’t have a boat (or a friend with a boat), you can get to Cuttyhunk via ferry and helicopter.  Maybe I’ll see you there next year waiting eagerly for the Raw Bar boat to visit you.

 

77 Days on the Massachusetts/New Hampshire state line: Day 63 – Hyannis MA

77 Days on the Massachusetts/New Hampshire state line: Day 63 – Hyannis MA

Continuing along on our vacation, we stayed a night in Hyannis at the Hyannis Marina. This was a new experience for us because we always stay on a mooring and this time we stayed in a slip, complete with electricity!  (A luxury for a sailboat who’s batteries don’t have the capacity to allow all the electronics on board to work, ie – microwave or tv.)

Hyannis, MA is a wonderful town for vacationers to stay in or visit from surrounding towns on the Cape.  The town offers many experiences, including shopping, fishing trips, plenty of restaurants, and the ferry to take them on a day trip to either Martha’s Vineyard or Nantucket.

While we were in Hyannis, staying at the Hyannis Marina, we went to Trader Ed’s for relaxing at the pool, some drinks, and yummy clam chowder.  Then later to Tugboats for a delicious lobster dinner.  I highly recommend Tugboat’s Restaurant for their great menu and excellent wait staff.

Less than 24 hours later we left Hyannis off to Oak Bluff’s on Martha’s Vineyard, passing by the Hyline Ferry that goes into Hyannis and then later, the Hyannis Yacht Club on the west side of the harbor as we followed out another sailboat.

 

Do you have a favorite restaurant in Hyannis that you’d like to share?  Please post below in the “reply” section!  Thanks!

 

 

77 Days on the Massachusetts/New Hampshire state line: Day 62 – Nantucket

77 Days on the Massachusetts/New Hampshire state line: Day 62 – Nantucket

As you may know (if you’ve read my blog a lot), my family enjoys sailing on our Windpath 35′ Catalina sailboat.  We’ve been going to Martha’s Vineyard for many years and this year we decided to return to Nantucket for the second time.

We left from Kingman Yacht Club around 6 am and made excellent time getting through Wood’s Hole and down Nantucket Sound to arrive in Nantucket around 2pm.  Nantucket Harbor welcomes some of the most impressive yachts on the water coming from Europe, the Caribbean, and even Australia which are always fun to see.

Once on land there is plenty of shopping, dining, beaching, and biking as well as some museums, a vineyard and the Cisco microbrewery.  When we were there for a couple of nights my daughter and I went biking using Young’s Bikes to Madaket and had lunch together at Millie’s.  While on our Nantucket vacation we also went to the beach where the girls were able to practice sailing a sunfish sailboat (after starting their lessons last week (locally) at the Lawrence Community Boating) and we ate lunch and dinner out a couple of times.

Nantucket is a quintessential New England experience.  Much of the island still looks like it’s back in the “whaling days”.  If you ever get the chance to travel via ferry, boat, or plane over for a  Nantucket vacation, I highly encourage you to experience a piece of New England history as well as view the million dollar yachts that come to Nantucket.

Do you have a favorite memory from being on vacation at Nantucket?  Share it below in the “reply” section!

77 Days on the Massachusetts/New Hampshire state line – Day 44: Inn Magnolia, Gloucester MA

Inn Magnolia, Gloucester, MA

When’s the last time you “got away” and pampered yourself?  The Inn Magnolia may be just the place for you , especially if you like to walking distance from a private beach or some GORGEOUS conservation land!  Located at 18 Norman Ave, Magnolia (a small section of Gloucester), you can find a combination of old world and modern accommodations.

Inn Magnolia has a room for almost everyone, with 2 distinct buildings, the Annex and the Main House, the Inn Magnolia has a lot to offer – see the pictures for yourself!  If you want to stay local, the Inn keeper, Amanda, is a volunteer at the Gloucester Visitor Center, and consequently has many special services for guests as well as discount coupons for restaurants, movies, beaches, whale watches, and more!  In addition to a local activities, the night’s stay and a yummy continentalbreakfast, there are special events scheduled throughout the year for visitors to enjoy.  Being located just down the road from Salem, MA, I remember hearing about the Halloween plans.

Now, approaching Valentine’s Day, Inn Magnolia is advertising a special Valentine’s weekend rate and a small concert with “Honky Tonk Women”!  Also on the calendar for April 1-3 is a special:  “Spring Rejuvenation Women’s Retreat” with yoga, massage, meditation, and healthy food.

So if you are looking for a really homey retreat with unique and sometimes eclectic decor, contact Inn Magnolia today to make a reservation!  Make sure you mention reading about Inn Magnolia on my blog, and you will get a 10% discount (subject to availability and non-high season…typically weekends Memorial Day through Columbus Day).

Hope you get a chance to visit Inn Magnolia real soon.  After you do, please let me know in the reply box below which room you stayed in!  :)  

77 Days on the Massachusetts/New Hampshire state line – Day 43: Sunday River, Bethel, Maine

Sunday River, Bethel, Maine

This week we went up to Sunday River to ski 3 days and WHAT AWESOME SNOW WE HAD!

We went Tuesday am, just before the “Blizzaster” hit.  Usually we ski at Loon Mountain, where our girls really learned to ski, but for the last 3 years, we’ve been traveling the 3 hours from Pelham NH up to one of my top 3 mountains in the U.S., Sunday River!

There is a lot to consider when going for more than an overnight at Sunday River – get the skis ready at Ski Haus, pack the bags, and pack the dog to stay at the Paws Inn!  We have stayed at 2 other locations the last couple of years, but neither of them allowed us to leave our dog during the day while skiing.

This time when we went to Sunday River, staying at the Paws Inn, we knew that our pup would be well cared for by Carolyn and we didn’t have to hurry back and feel guilty about not having energy to play with her.

Enough about the dog – let’s talk about Sunday River and skiing!  Sunday River recently “joined up with” Loon and now our Frequent Skier Card can be used at both mountains!  Well worth the $99 investment, in my opinion!  Sunday River has 8 mountains with such great terrain that we were able to enjoy almost the whole mountain in 3 days without getting bored.  There are several “mountain parks” to do tricks in, some of the best vertical slopes to work on control (or speed) while going down and, of course, many “family” runs.

We usually call Barker Lodge our “home base” at Sunday River and always make sure to go down American Express and Risky Business on our way over to Jordan Bowl.  (I have been going to Sunday River so long that I can remember before Oz and Jordan Bowl werethere!)  Something else new to Sunday River for the 2008-2009 season was the Chondola – SWEET – first one in the northeast!  Located at South Ridge Lodge, the chondola can get a LOT OF PEOPLE up the mountain, either “protected” 6-8 people at a time or on a “super-sized” chair lift holding 6 people!

If you’re looking for a fun weekend or mid-week trip, Sunday River is a MUST for skiers!  I have done day trips there, but would definitely recommend staying for 2-3 days of skiing!

If you’ve been to Sunday River, let me know in the Reply section below what your favorite slope is?  On a good day, mine is Lost Princess in Oz and for a slightly challenging run, Obsession on the White Cap peak.

Here’s a video with some of our favorite things to do on the mountain…making family memories!

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cu04I5Xuuco[/youtube]

77 Days on the Massachusetts/New Hampshire state line – Day 41: Loon Mountain

Loon Mountain, Lincoln, NH

Loon Mountain holds great memories for me, both before I had kids and with the kids.  Just under two hour’s drive from Pelham, NH, I have been skiing at Loon Mountain for at least 25 years and have attended many of the special events they schedule each year.  In addition, we’ve stayed at many of the near-by accommodations, both with bus service and without it.

Before my husband and I had kids, we promised ourselves that we would continue to do the activities we love, some of which I’ve written about already…camping on the Kancamagus and sailing – this year amongst the Windpath boat fleet.  I have found that through each of these activities we have really created awesome family experiences that will stay with us (including our kids) for the rest of our lives.  What better way to interact with the family with no computers, televisions, and electronic games?

When we first started skiing at Loon Mountain, we spent almost all our time on the North Peak, skiing the black diamonds and under the gondola.  As the kids began skiing (Niki just short of 2 years old), we focused all our efforts our of the Governor’s Lodge, just a short walk from the children’s center.  Even though the children’s center seemed expensive, getting up to Loon and knowing that the kids were happy and we could ski and reconnect with each other for hours at a time was fantastic!  [Now that I look back at it, it was silly for the kids to learn so young (and Kesli resisted until she was at least 4 - it was too cold and too much effort for her!), but since Niki was happy doing it, why not?]

Now that the girls are older and Loon Mountain opened up the South Peak, we love to set up camp at the Pemigewasset Base Camp.  (If you are not familiar with Loon, click on THIS MAP to understand what I’m talking about – it’s really cool!)  This side opened in 2007 and is expanding again soon, as you can see in this photo:

Whether you’re into the single’s scene, are family oriented, or up celebrating with college buddies, there’s certainly a part of the mountain FOR YOU and, Loon has many options how you can purchase your ticket.  You can get a season’s pass (buy it early and you’ll need about 10 times skiing to break even), get the Frequent Skier card and save each day you ski with NO blackout dates, or pay as you go.  3 years ago the season’s pass allowed us to ski at Loon and Waterville, but now the pass lets us ski at Loon Mountain, Sunday River, and Sugarloaf, my 3 favorite east coast resorts!  :)

If you haven’t tried Loon Mountain, what are you waiting for?  Maybe we can meet on Angel Street for some serious vertical skiing?  If you’re a beginner, Bear Claw is for you, or maybe the train is as much excitement as you want?  If you need equipment to either buy, lease, or rent, go to the Ski Haus in Salem NH first!

Hope to see you out there!  Tell me below what your favorite trail(s) are at Loon!?

77 Days on the Massachusetts/New Hampshire state line – Day 28: Mount Washington Hotel Carroll NH

Mount Washington Hotel

The Mount Washington Hotel, in Carroll, NH is grand, beautiful, and expansive!  At just over 2 hours away from my home town of Pelham NH, I have wanted to go there for a long time and never traveled north of exit 34 on route 93 (the exit for Cannon Mountain) until this week.  The views of the snow capped Mount Washington began way back on route 93 (before exit 34) and even though I had looked at the map, I didn’t realize that I’d be viewing the amazing 6,288 ft peak of Mount Washington throughout my day on each break of the conference I was attending.

The Mount Washington Hotel was erected in 1902 at a cost of $1.7 million ($41.6 million by today’s standards) by a native of Waltham, MA, Joseph Stickney.   Interestingly enough, even though it is located across from Bretton Woods ski resort, the Mount Washington Hotel didn’t open for a winter season until 1999.  So why did people go there throughout the year?  This is one of the last grand hotels in the White Mountains which has both an 18 hole and a 9 hole golf course.  It is said that the Mount Washington Hotel was the most luxurious hotel of its day, The Mount Washington Hotel catered to wealthy guests from Boston, New York and Philadelphia. As many as fifty trains a day stopped at Bretton Woods’ three railroad stations.

Present day, the Hotel hosts numerous weddings, anniversaries and other celebrations as well as many conferences as well as skiers and vacationers during the winter.  To me, on a gorgeous crisp October day, the sights at the Mount Washington Hotel were magnificent and peaceful.  I couldn’t help but smile!  When the chance presents itself to me, I will be certain to return with my husband to the grand Mount Washington Hotel once again!  If you have the time and love a scenic view, take a trip and look for yourself!

77 Days on the Massachusetts/New Hampshire state line – Day 24: WindPath Sailing

WindPath Sailing

WindPath Sailing in Cataumet, MA is one of my favorite things to do with the family.  WindPath sailing is “fractional sailing” – the greatest way for working people to get the most out of sailing!  Like a time share condo, fractional sailing with WindPath sailing allows you to “book” the times you will go out on the boat and THAT’S IT (besides enjoy the boat thoroughly while you’re on it).  All inclusive in the season’s fee are:  dock fees, fuel, insurance, maintenance, SeaTow coverage, boat mortgage, and even a sailing lesson at the Cape Cod Sailing school, like we did.  (If you’re tentative about boating, TAKE THIS CLASS!  You will get so much hands on training and Mark Barrett, the instructor is very experienced and patient.)

For the last 4 years we trailered and sailed a 26′ MacGreggor as we honed our skills as sailors and our girls got too big to sleep together in the forward V birth.  The MacGreggor had excellent flexibility – we kept it in our front yard and then could go almost anywhere including our 2 favorite places, Lake Champlain and Martha’s Vineyard/Buzzard’s Bay area.

In 2009 while visiting the Newport Boat Show in RI, we were introduced to WindPath Sailing.  Now this was a great concept! Now, in 2010, we have enjoyed our first year on Emily in the WindPath Sailing fleet located at Kingman Yacht Center.  What a beautiful boat!  Emily is one of 2 Catalina 35′ sail boats in the fleet.  (There is also a brand new Back Cove power boat in the fleet if power boats are more your style.)

We took Emily to Martha’s Vineyard, Hadley’s Harbor, Cutty Hunk, and our  farthest ever destination, Block Island!  We sailed Emily in conditions ranging from dead calm to 25 mph winds and she handled wonderfully.  Even with non-boaters on board for a day or weekend cruise, everyone who came on was impressed by how well she handled and how well appointed she is down below.  With a full galley (including a stove and 2 burners, freezer, and fridge), forward and aft berths, a head with a shower, Emily has everything we needed.  The other 2 favorite things on Emily are the speakers in the cockpit and the shower with hot and cold water at the stern for when rinsing off salt water!

If you have a limited amount of time to be on your boat, you probably have a limited amount of time to tinker on it too!  Belonging to WindPath sailing has been an incredible opportunity for us to know that we’re going out on a boat that’s very well taken care of.  To us, it’s worth the almost 2 hour drive from Southern NH to the Cape to be out on the islands on the same day.  Whether you’re new to sailing or a veteran, you’ll find it worth your time to check out WindPath sailing (found in 10 sites across the country).  Take a leap into WindPath Sailing asap!

If you don’t know how to get started, call me at 603-318-6953!

77 Days on the Massachusetts/New Hampshire State Line – Day 12: Kancamagus Camping in NH

Kancamagus Camping in NH

I have been going to the Kancamagus camping in NH for 20 years.  LOVE IT!  If you like “roughing it” a little bit, but still need your car with supplies nearby, this is a great opportunity for you and your family!  (By the way, we pronounce Kancamagus as “Kank-ah-mah-gus.”)

There are 6 campgrounds spread out through the White Mountain National Forest across approximately 30 miles of the “Kanc”. From Lincoln to Conway, NH the campgrounds are run by the U.S. National Forest Campgrounds.  Of those 6, you can make reservations in advance at Covered Bridge Campground – all the rest are first come, first served.  The campgrounds are very reasonably priced, about $20/night and the sites are pretty well spaced out within the campgrounds.  The bathroom facilities vary greatly from one campground to the next.  Most have no showers or flush toilets, although Jigger Johnson has both.Strong woman holding rock up

Besides Kancamagus camping some great opportunities are:  playing in the Swift River (which runs alongside the Kanc) and there exploring the  many many hiking trails.  Along the trails we’ve enjoyed beautiful views, blueberry picking, and waterfalls.  If you are very adventursome, you can even hike in to either lean tos, tent platforms, or even huts which are run by the AMC (and sometimes even serve meals)!

Some of the favorite hikes we have done (all relatively easy, since we’re usually hiking with 2 kids and a dog….) are:  Church Pond Loop, Sabbaday Falls, Champney Falls, and Boulder Loop Trail.

In addition to the Kancamagus camping, there is a lot of wildlife to enjoy – we have seen moose, deers, and evidence of bears.  In fact, one year we were kicked off our reserved site since the bear trap was waiting to catch a pesky bear.

Although we travel to the Kanc for the outdoor experience, it’s particularly nice on rainy days to have the option of driving away from our Kancamagus camping experience  to North Conway, NH, well known for the shopping outlets available.  We have gotten several pairs of hiking boots and more there while on the mission of “going to get supplies for s’mores”.  :)

If you’ve been camping on the Kanc, tell me what your favorite campground and hiking trail are below in the comments section!

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kNvNifb66fQ[/youtube]

77 Days on the Massachusetts/New Hampshire State Line: Day 8 – Martha’s Vineyard

Martha’s Vineyard, MA is an island located just 5 miles south of Cape Cod and reachable by ferry, private boat, or plane. Although you can go for a day trip, you will probably be returning many more times after that to truly discover what the island has to offer! I first experienced Martha’s Vineyard in 1985, when I stayed at a small hotel in Edgartown and since then have been going regularly since 1998 either by ferry or sailboat.

Martha’s Vineyard is a wonderful place to explore and has 3 major harbors to arrive at: Edgartown, Oak Bluffs, and Vineyard Haven. In addition to these major towns, Menemsha is also a frequented town visited when on the island.


Many people have been going to Martha’s Vineyard for years as their family tradition and stay in rented houses, cottages, or at the campground in Vineyard Haven. Other people prefer to stay at one of the many Bed and Breakfasts or hotels. Whatever your preference, whether on land or at sea (on a fishing trip), be sure to bring plenty of sun tan lotion and reading material to enjoy your stay! There is so much to do and see, much of which can be done inexpensively by public transportation, on the bus, or via bicycle or moped. (If you travel with your vehicle, make sure to reserve a ferry ride in advance to be sure you can get your ferry over from the main land.)

Our family has stayed in the Oak Bluffs Harbor many times on our boat and below you will find pictures of some of our favorite things to do there.

This is my brother and our 4 kids visiting our favorite mexican food restaurant at Sharky’s!

The Flying Horses Carousel is the oldest in the US, built in 1876 and is still a huge attraction for the young at heart.

One of our unique experiences in Oak Bluffs occurs at the campground, called Illumination Night. This has been celebrated over 100 years and is held on a Wed night in August. Most of the campground cottages decorate with chinese lanterns. See for yourself the transformation in my pictures below!

It’s funny to think that visitors from all over the world come to Martha’s Vineyard (including the President, at least once/year)….if you haven’t gone, plan a short Martha’s Vineyard vacation (and if you can go in September, that’s a great time because kids are back at school and the weather is still beautiful!). After your trip, take the time to comment on what you liked best about Martha’s Vineyard to share with others. Happy traveling!