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USA - part 3

Cape Cod

sunny 24 °C
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Leaving Logan Airport my sat nav informed us that the usual route to Cape cod (route 3) was saying an extra 30 or more minutes added to the usual 1 ½ hour drive. The alternative route (24 and 495), without any delays, would be shorter than the original route with delays so that was the route we took…. Thank god for sat nav as I had no idea where we were going and it was dark out…. Finally arrived just before 2am.. I was exhausted from a long day of driving and Claire was jet lagged so once we got in, shown our rooms by Diane (friend of a friend who had kindly offered to put us up in her summer house on the Cape) we pretty much crashed for the rest of the night. I had fun getting on to the bed though as the top of the mattress came up to my hip so it was a definite climb into bed scenario for me…
Once we were both up, dressed, fed and I’d helped unstick some windows (shoddy workmanship by painters!) Diane suggested she show us around Cape Cod. This gave me a day off driving and she could show us all the back roads and non tourist stuff in the area. Firstly she showed us the local beaches as we planned to go to the beach in the afternoon.. Quite quiet as parking and access is for locals only. We were then driven through Osterville and Craigville (some posh houses in those places!) to Hyannis port (to see where the nantucket ferry went from) and then on to the area where the Kennedy compound is for a bit of shameless touristy ogling – surprisingly modest in style and setting. From there we headed to the jfk memorial and the Korean War memorial next to it. At this point Diane got a call that she needed to go home as an electrician was turning up so we decided we’d have lunch there and could then go to the beach… Weeellll, the heavy rain, thunder and lightning put paid to that plan so instead we got back in the car, after realising the museum in the village had shut at 4pm so we’d missed going to that too, and headed back out to look at more of the Cape.
This time we headed to the North side of the cape as Diane wanted to show us a particular beach, corporation beach. What we were surprised at was the beware sharks sign up at the beach edge of the car park. We’d been told about the sharks on the east side (been attracted by the growing seal population on the Cape) but didn’t think they’d got round on to the North side of the Cape... After that we headed back to the East Coast and Chatham. Here, we went to Lighthouse beach, mainly so I could get a lighthouse picture for mum, but also I wanted to have a paddle and see how cold the water was…. Again, this beach also had shark warnings up but as I was only paddling up to my knees I felt I was safe enough… The water was quite nippy too… but hey, when one needs a paddle one has to suffer cold legs for the cause…☺️ From there we moved on to the fish pier. Part off it was shut so we could only go to the end of the main dock. We were lucky enough to see a couple of seals in the water too. Someone mentioned that usually there are a lot more but that might be to do with the fish scraps being thrown out from the market… as none were being thrown out there was no draw to keep the seals at the dock.
The weather had turned again and hunger forced us to find something quick and simple – panera breads it was (had learnt about this place last October and it’s quick and simple with some lovely food to choose from without breaking the bank). I even managed to get a picture or 2 of the sunset as we left… my only sunset/sunrise pictures from New England.
Sunday saw Claire and I head over the state border into Rhode Island for a day in Newport. The day was glorious so we were really lucky. Our first stop was one of the mansion ‘summer cottages’ that line the coast. The one we chose to visit was probably the most well known and largest of them all – The Breakers, owned by the Vanderbilt family. It truly was a mansion. The tour of the house and a walk around the garden took us well over an hour and that didn’t include all the rooms, just a good sampling of them… We then left the car and headed to the cliff walk to have a look at the backs of some of the other houses along the cliff. This was an intriguing mix of path and rocks to walk on. It was not a buggy or wheelchair friendly path…. After returning to the car we made our way to the ocean drive to have a look at the coast line and other houses along the way. Claire had read in the guide book about a frozen lemonade called Del’s and if you saw one to have one.. We happened to see a van in one of the car parks so a little detour was done and 2 cups of the most delicious frozen lemonade was bought. Having straws would have helped but Claire forgot to grab a couple so we had fun ‘drinking’ frozen lemonade while driving along…
Whilst out walking along the cliff path I’d booked us on the 5pm trip aboard the schooner Adirondack II. Once we’d driven the ocean drive it was time to head to downtown Newport and try and find a parking space so that we could have some food before going out sailing… Easier said than done… all the car parks marked on the map were either full or limited to 3 hours so we aimed for one last one, marked on the map, only to come across another one with 3 spaces left. This one was close by and had no time limit. Space sold! We headed to a bar close by for a v late lunch and had a very good fish and chips. Claire had also ordered calamari as a starter but I’d decided I didn’t need that much food. As it happened the portion sizes were massive so the calamari only got partially eaten. From there it was a shortish walk to the wharf - we’d also passed another Del’s so I opted to have another to drink while waiting for the boat.
The schooner had seats down each side and about 30 of us boarded, including 3 dogs… then there was the captain and 3 crew members. The weather was perfect for sailing. The sun was shining and there was a good breeze to fill the sails. The 3 crew members also gave us info and stories about what we could see around us and entertained us well. The sailing was so smooth too. Going around 8 knots and heeling nicely. They even let the kids on board have a go at steering. On the way back we got on to live action versions of animated films. Lively discussion of the ones already done and the ones they should do… and this was just the adults….
Once back on dry land dessert beckoned us – in the form of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. There just happened to be a shop near the car park and would have been rude not to… after that it was a simple case of turn on sat nav and drive home… once back we crashed pretty much straight away as we were going to be up early the next day for our next excursion – a day trip to Nantucket Island.
I’d tried to book the ferry online but for some reason it hadn’t gone through so we made it to the terminal in good time to get our cheap day return tickets for the fast ferry across to Nantucket. This was a 1 hour ferry ride and thankfully could get some seats outside as it was warm and sunny. As we had to pass the whaling museum to get to anywhere else we decided to do that first… not really knowing the exact history of Nantucket and whaling it was an informative museum and not really showing the graphic side to whaling (artistic impressions of sorts), which I know would have upset some, as well as learning new info about sperm whales. From there we found the visitor info centre as we wanted to take a bus tour of the island and see things beyond Nantucket Town. The first one we tried only had availability at 3pm, too late for us, so booked with the second company online. This gave us time to find some food for an early lunch and then head to the start point.
The bus tour was good. Showed us around Nantucket Town and the places that have a story. Then we crossed the island to siasconset (sia often dropped and known as sconset) where the bus wasn’t allowed to stop but could move very slowly as required for picture taking opportunities…. We then headed north where we could stop in a layby and admire the sankaty lighthouse the far side of the golf course (one of four on the island!). From there it was back into town and tour over… As we’d not managed the beach either is the previous days we found one nearby. Not the clearest of water but it was near the harbour and had boats moored nearby but it was clean enough and had toilets close by for changing in… I was changed and in the water straight away. Much warmer than the other day so that was good. Even got Claire in the water… I was happy as got my swim in the Atlantic checked off on my list of places to swim. The rest of the afternoon was spent relaxing on the beach til it was time to get dressed and head back to the ferry..
Diane met us at the other end and took us to her favourite place to eat, The Black Cat, in Hyannis. Rather than wait for a table we found 3 seats together at the bar. Unlike in England the bars are set up for people to eat at them rather than just collect a drink and then move away. It was really enjoyable as we got to meet others eating at the bar and chatted to them. They always ask questions when they hear an English accent and we got to find out why they were in Cape cod too. Following that it was hometime and packing time…
The following morning Diane was expecting some painters to be turning up to discuss the issues she has with the finish on the paint on the outside of the house, plus the shoddy finish to the upstairs windows… As is often the case they were late and in the meantime I was looking at the paint info she’d printed off. I recognised it as it just happened to be a product by my ex employer who had sent samples over to the UK for evaluation the previous year. I may not work for them anymore but I still knew enough about the product, along with handy info sheets off the website, that then had me speaking to the contractor’s technical guy about why the paint was still shiny and tacky a month after being applied! Eventually the painters turned up (as well as driving their van into an overhanging large branch and gouging a hole in the van roof) and I got called out to explain to them the issue. Think they understood but I think they were also shocked that someone was there that knew the product that well….
Paint sorted, car packed and we were on our way to Boston via Plimoth Plantation, and if time Plymouth itself. This time we managed to go up route 3 so was the only time we’d gone over the other bridge that connects Cape cod with the mainland. An easy run up route 3 to exit 5 but then missed the turn to back on to route 3 heading south for a junction. Thankfully trusty sat nav showed us another way. More interesting as well. Parked up in a mostly empty car park and headed to the plantation. This place is a living museum type place about the pilgrims who had settled there and the native American Indians who already lived there. In the native village those dressed in native clothes are actual descendants of the native tribe. Those in modern dress were knowledgeable staff. In both cases they were all happy to answer any questions you had for them.
From there you walk up to the craft centre and see how some traditional items are made, pottery, weaving and headdress making. Continuing on you come to a 17th century pilgrim village. All those dressed up are actors that speak as they would have in those times, even if you ask a modern type question (such as ‘can I take a photograph?‘) bit otherwise they would give info about what they’re doing, who they are and why they came over etc. Here our luck ran out and it started raining on us. Neither of us had brought our coats with us, although I had brought my cap so at least my glasses were dry, if nothing else!
Made it back to the main building and stopped for lunch. Got to have indian pudding, something I’d sort of tasted back in October (my friend Inga had made a version of it) so was interested in trying this version. It was still yummy. Got talking to a lady who joined our table and ended up giving her advice about what to see and do in Sydney as she was going there as part of a cruise… Eventually left and got back in the car to head to downtown Plymouth as we had enough time to spare. Found a free car park and had a nice walk through a park to the waterfront. Here lies Plymouth rock, a big lump of rock with 1620 etched into it – the date the first pilgrims set foot on American soil. Reading the blurb this is unlikely to be the actual rock that they stepped on but has become a symbol of this all the same. That summed up the whole of the downtown Plymouth area so we went back to the car and started the final leg back to the airport. All seemed to be going well til near the airport and then got confused with 2 conflicting signs plus sat nav.. Either I followed sat nav and took left lane (signposted airport express Lane) or the right lane that said Logan Airport. After getting it wrong when picking Claire up I followed the Logan signs.. BIG MISTAKE… Stuck in a tunnel for what felt like forever, watching all the locals speed down the right hand lane only to push in right at the end to go left, to then go mental trying to follow the signs for fuel at the airport. In the end I gave up and returned the car ¾ full and paid the extra. Annoyingly you could see the fuel station from the rental return garage but getting to it was a nightmare. It was the same last October, which is why I nearly lost it and just returned the car as is. They really need to improve their signposts…..
Car returned we caught the shuttle bus to terminal E and went to check in. I was lucky and Icelandair let me check in 4 hours early so I could go through straight away and find Claire. Spent the next couple of hours together, showing her the Boston sign and just chilling, till it was her time to board. I then headed to my gate, at the other end of the terminal and down some stairs, to wait til my flight was ready to board.
Next stop Iceland….

Posted by Labgirluk 15:41 Archived in USA Tagged cape_cod newport nantucket plimoth_plantation plymouth_rock schooner_sailing adirondack_ii

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