July 5th - We left Orient Point for New
London on the ferry and passed the usual suspects - Long Beach Bar (Bug Light), Orient
Point (Coffee Pot), Plum Island, Little Gull, Race Rock, New London Ledge, New London Harbor, Avery Point so
were already off to a good start. We pull onto 95 and within two exits heading east are
several exits for Stonington. Using the revised Kochel book we get in the vicinity and
finally get down to the beach parking lot. The lighthouse was not open but you could roam
the grounds. Stonington was in worst shape then expected. I guess I have this romantic
view of all the lighthouses that I havent seen through the Harbour Lights piece. I
was able to see another lighthouse in the harbor from the parking lot. Then were off
to Newport passing a rusty old abandoned caisson LH (Plum Beach per Dennis Whelan) under
the Jamestown Bridge and Rose Island on the way into Newport. We hit the visitors
center for a pit stop and then were off to the Breakers. After the mansion we travel
down to the Castle Hill Hotel and Resort for lunch and a quick visit to the lighthouse on
the path out of the back of their parking lot. Lunch in the restaurant or on the patio
provides an awesome view of the bay. After the late lunch we check into the Marriott,
which is right on the water adjacent to Goat Island. I can see the Newport Harbor Light
from my room next to the Hyatt (formerly the Doubletree.) Dinner at the restaurant in the
Marriott JT Grill" was a lobster dinner. Mmmmmm.
July 6th - We drove down the main drag and
stopped at a small shop for a breakfast bagel and juice. Parked and ate right
on the street. Then it was back to the mansions in the morning -Astors Beltree and
Belmont Castle. Then late lunch at the Oceanfront Resort which is next to the Castle Hill
Resort on Ocean Drive. This is an even better view of the bay and the menu is much better.
We then took the full tour on Ocean Drive looking at the spectacular homes on the water
and the local park, and then ending in the Mansion Area. Back to the Marriott, with the
rest of the afternoon spent by the pool and dinner again at JTs Grill for
lobster again. This time we ordered stuffed. When our meal arrived we discovered the
center of our lobster tail generously covered with delicious shrimp and scallops. Mmmm
After dinner we strolled the harbor and found a sail cruise for the following day.
July 7th - We breakfasted on the dock with
some sumptuous chocolate cookies at a outdoor coffee shop while waiting for our 3 masted
schooner "The Madeline" to set sail in the harbor. At 10 am, we took a 2½ hour
tour of the harbor sailing out to Castle Hill LH for a great picture as the Captain tacked
directly at the light. "Was that close enough", he asked me. We also saw both
Beavertail and Rose Island in the distance. Lots of former America Cup J Boats
in the bay racing around. After the sail it was back to the Oceanfront Resort for a last
lunch and view of the bay, passing Ida Lewis (you have to walk out on the adjacent cement
dock to get any view of what left of the LH, now a yaght club). Then off to Taunton, Mass
to visit my daughter.
July 8th - Into Boston to Quincy Market.
We drove into Quincy Adams and too the T into Boston. After roaming around I conveniently
headed for the aquarium so maybe we could do a harbor tour but everything left for the
day. Next time!
July 9th - Kerri wants to visit Plymouth
Pebble. Sounds good - two lighthouses in the area. First we visit Plymouth Rock and then
go on board the Mayflower. Then to Plymouth Plantation which is quite unique the first
time but this is the 3rd time for me. Before going to the Plantation, I stop at
the beach across from the entrance to view the Plymouth LH from the beach. You can also
see it from inside the Plymouth Colony at the top of the hill by the Fort and at the
bottom of the hill by the fence. Now off to find Duxbury Pier (what pier?) so we travel
north of Plymouth and find a beach to view it, and then back to Plymouth for lunch on the
pier. Oh whats that over the breakwater, its Duxbury Pier from a different
July 10th - Were off to New Bedford
by way of Fall River. I pull into a dead end on the south side of the bridge to view the
Borden Flats Lighthouse (caisson.) I dont think you can get any closer by land. I
think it was at the end of Water Street, next to the Borden Yacht Club? Now off to New
Bedford on 195, take the south to the piers. Directions in the book become confusing but I
find a semi-public pier and can see Palmer Island LH inside the harbor in the distance.
Hey, whats that on the dock next door? Its the New Bedford Lightship. What a
surprise! Now Im looking for a better view of the lighthouse and wind my way into
town hugging the water. Whats this, I find a breakwater (I latter find out a
HURRICANE BREAKWATER) protecting the harbor. Ive never seen anything like this. It
come complete with a 20 foot high gate that closes the street that Im now traveling
on. We see the ferry for Marthas Vineyard and a nice harborside restaurant that we
eat lunch at latter. Then MaryAnn says theres a LH, and there it is Butler Flats LH
(caisson.) You can park right in front of someone's house and walk across the street to
take a picture. After lunch we traveled east on Route 6 to Neds Point in a little
beachside park and down a side road to a beach to view Bird Island LH from the shore.
July 11th - Cape Cod or bust. Were
off to relive a family camping trip from about 10 years ago. We stop for a quick stop in
Barnstable to see Sandy Neck LH from the town beach. Long range view even with a telephoto
lens. Now off to Eastham to visit Coast Guard and Nauset LH Beaches. I made the mistake of
parking at the larger parking lot for Coast Guard Beach and taking the bus about a mile to
the beach. There is a small parking lot at Nauset next to the lighthouse which you can
walk to Nauset LH and Three Sisters. You can park across from the LH temporarily to take
pictures. Or you can do what I did and walk a mile from Coast Guard to Nauset Beach. After
I did my walk, we went in the 57 degree ocean! Is this July? I drove MaryAnn up to see the
lighthouse before we left and while exploring a new route back found the Three Sisters
LHs. Again, no legal parking but mid week I was able to hop out and take pictures.
Theyre in a small little park and quite amazing in their size and simplicity. Back
to the main road and found our campground and the awesome seafood restaurant next door.
This is a must! I was amazed at how much was the same but the is now a couple of name
hotels in the area. Now off to Highland (Cape Cod) LH and Museum. The first one I found
open and was able to climb. Had a nice conversation in the gift shop and was told where
the LH originally was before it was moved. Then on to Provincetown to view Race Point,
Woods End and Long Point. You have to ride around from the observation area on the North
Beach to get a view of Race Point. At the end of Provincetown you can see both Woods End
and Long Point but you must be inventive going down side streets and see them between
houses, and hotels. Leaving Provincetown I see a fairly nice hotel on the beach
advertising rooms for $79 a night??? Back to my daughters house in 2 hours and 5
minutes. What a great location!
July 12th - Back to New Bedford to take
the ferry to Marthas Vineyard. Passengers only on the ferry and there were a lot of
people with the same idea. Nobska Point, West Chop, and East Chop was seen from the ship
as we took an hour ½ trip. When we arrived we took the local 2 ½ hour bus tour which
gave you a nice overview of the island but only got to see Gay Head on the cliffs close
up. Next time I go Ill get a day ticket on the public buses and go village to
village on my own. We covered all the villages and got a nice flavor but never got near
the Edgartown LH although we must have been within a stones throw. After the tour we
tried to eat at the famous Black Dog but after waiting 40 minutes, we walked out after
being seated because of terrible and expensive menu. We stopped at the NY Deli, and got
corn beef sandwiches to eat on the ferry. (YUCK!) My only disappointing meal on the trip.
July 13th - Returned to Cape Cod starting
at Chatham. What a beautiful beach, lighthouse, Coast Guard Station, etc. Stage Harbor is
a couple of towns over and can be seen from two beach locations. The West Dennis (Bass
River) LH is part of the Lighthouse Hotel where you can eat lunch on the lawn overlooking
the Ocean. The original LH looks to have a hotel extension on the side and is quite
unusual. Next we go to Hyannis were the directions get wild. Your best bet is to find the
JFK Memorial and make a right on the street just after you pass it. The lighthouse is part
of someones house on the beach. I drove down the street where it was and was looking
on the beach. MaryAnn looked up and said there it is looking over the hedged wall we were
parked next to. I backed up and was able to take a few photos from the driveway without
disturbing anyone. Two blocks over we went to the public beach and was able to see Point
Gammon in the distance.
July 14th - Our trip is coming to an end.
We leave to stop at Mystic and have lunch at a restaurant next to the drawbridge in town.
Then back to New London to take the ferry back. Well we are right in the middle of the
Tall Ships Celebration in the Harbor. The visibility on this day is outstanding, and the
ferry Captain gets very close to New London Ledge because of all the boat traffic. And I
can clearly see Race Rock in the distance.
10 days of blue skies and 75-80 degree weather; 38
1 Lightship; lots of beaches, frozen strawberry margaritas,
lobsters; all among the typical vacation stuff. Nice relaxing trip!