Monday, May 17, 2010

Trip to the Eastern Seaboard

So our trip to the eastern seaboard was just wonderful! My camera never came out till we got to Rockport in Cape Ann and I don’t’ know why I kept forgetting the darn thing!

We landed in Boston Saturday afternoon and went to get our rental car to head to our hotel. I cannot believe how big the Boston airport is! But getting out and to our rental car was so easy so that was one less headache.

From there it was an hour or so drive to the hotel in S. Yarmouth MA. We set up camp and headed out to just drive around and get a lay of the land. We stopped at a place called the Lobster Pot for dinner. Not being in the mood for lobster yet, I have the fisherman’s feast which consisted of shrimp, scallops, scrod with ‘chips’ and coleslaw. This was the worst meal we had on our trip but we were tired and weren’t as picky with location as we were later on. It was like going to Long John Silvers.

The next day we head out the cape and just enjoyed the drive. Along this deserted road we found a place called Moby’s and decided to stop for lunch. This is where I had my first (of three) lobster rolls. Not sure if I’m missing something here, but the lobster roll was $17, but had I order the whole 1.25 lobster and cracked it myself it was $14.99 so I was really expecting something “more”. Very disappointed. But I was not taunted. That night for dinner we found a new place, our rule is to never eat at the same restaurant twice when we travel unless forced to, called Captain Parker’s. Here we found something that intrigued us, an appy called the Sampler. We knew that arriving on the east coast would mean nothing but seafood, but we were leery about shell fish. Out here on the west coast we don’t eat the fish, ever. But we so wanted to try our first mussel/clam/oyster and this appy had 2 of each – stuffed oysters, mussels Monterey, clams marinara and 2 seafood stuffed mushrooms.

The plate is laid before us and our waiter, who must have sensed our dismay, calmly pointed what was what and how to eat them (Thank you Jimmy!). Eating this appetizer would be a huge mistake for me because it has awoken a beast that will never be sated. I was hooked!

The next day we were going to go to Martha’s Vineyards, but we found out that about 75% of all the businesses were still closed as they wouldn’t be opening until the ‘season’ which starts after Memorial Day. So we ended up going Province which is at the tip of the cape and then came back to a little community called Chatham. We heard from the locals the place to go was the Impudent Oyster. That was when I realized the mussels we had at Captain Parkers were so-so cause these were really, really good! We sat at the bar which was sunk down into the back of the dining area. The bar was made up of polished drift wood and the license plates that adorned the rim up top were ones that had washed up on shore.

Up early the next morning and found we were kind of bored with Cape Cod only because so much was closed. So we packed up our things and headed to Newport RI. What a wonderful seaport village!! And the “summer homes” will drop your jaw. We toured one of the Vanderbuilts home called The Breakers. This is me in front of it.

This was one of many homes like this and they only lived in them like 3 months of the year!! The opulence inside is staggering and to me very garish. But it was the “in thing” for the time.

My next batch of mussels was a restaurant called The Red Parrot. Well first we ordered cocktails and Derek, bless his heart, ordered a beer…called Red Parrot Ale, but I think he needs reading glasses because he ordered the Patriot Ale. The waiter looked at him and had this confused look of “wait a minute I know every beer on here and I don’t recall one called the Patriot..” He asked Derek “You mean the Red Parrot?” Derek heard “you in the Red Parrot?” said “um..isn’t’ that where we are now?” shook his head and said yes I’ll have the Patriot Ale. I’m laughing so hard because they both had this look of “Geez dumb guy.” So I had to clear that up which had them both laughing.

The mussels here were even better than the Impudent Oyster. These were the same size shell but the meat inside was so much plumper and moist! (Nom – nom – nom- nom) Weather was cold 52 degrees and windy, but we walked all over. This town is just a wonderful area to explore! Shops and food galore.

Next we drove up to Gloucester and stopped at a visitor’s center we had to been to once before when we went to New York about 4 years ago. It was closed but we remember that walking thru it was quite lovely. We headed back to the car I was behind the wheel and the car was running and before I could back out we hear “I-O” which I think was “hello?!” in Massachusettian. :) This little old lady and her husband (John) came running up to the drivers window. They asked if we were looking for someone in the visitors center and we said no were just passing thru and asked if they ran the place. They said no and asked if we wanted to see a picture book she had created of all the local coffee shops? I paused because this is just an odd question. First why would I want to and second why on earth did she have such a book. (Darn my cynical California ways!) But not wanting to be disrespectful I start nod yes but before I could finish the said “book” was thrust into my hands and she had a smile that just said how proud she was for making it. I, on the other hand was still quite confused. I looked thru a small 3 ring binder which had pieces of paper with numerous photos printed upon each page, which was then in a plastic page protector and placed in the book. (All 23 pages) No captions, text, addresses, phone numbers…nada. So we asked what the book was for? She said she and her husband just love all the different coffee shops and the area that she likes to make books of them. “But the visitor centers won’t take them. Can you imagine that? No reason not to, but they just won’t…such a waste.” She then informed us that in her car she has books on trees, shopping, beaches you name it. They asked why we were here, we told them vacation and not for anything in particular just drove up to see the area. Well John goes sprinting to his car and comes back with 4 maps. And for 20 minutes they tell us where to go, drive, see, eat…that’s when I waited for the “can we have money” question to be asked. But suddenly John steps from the car, pulls his wife back and waves his hands to shoe us off saying “Here take the maps…Go on now…off with you…go explore Cape Ann for yourself and see why we love this place so much!” They stood there arm in arm waving to us as we drove away. Just a delightful couple!

So off we went and found a lovely bed and breakfast place called Sally Webster Inn. Granted there are B&B’s all over the place, sometimes as many as 8 on one block. We looked at 3 of them and then the 4th one we loved. This was our room

This town is just the quintessential small seaport village. We just adored this place. There are so many huge differences to this town verses where we live in a big city.

1 – No trucks. There are no semi-trucks (18-wheelers) allowed anywhere. The biggest truck we saw was a bread truck.

2 – No graffiti, anywhere! We even went down the docks where there is a lot of commercial equipment and none there. Not like it was painted over, there just wasn’t any.

3 – No excessive noise. I hear sirens near my house every few hours. Then the helicopters, gardeners, traffic etc. The gardeners here can only use electric lawn tools so no loud lawn blowers.

4 – No profanity. This flipped me out! The kids were all out of school on Friday and yelling and catcalling to each other. But they were yelling things like “Hey your free ice is nothing! We got free candy!” Or “You dork I totally ride better than you.” In our area it’s like listening to drunken sailors talk and that’s with the grade school kids. Matter of fact we made a u-turn in a street in an area that wasn’t labeled as no u-turn but 2 kids yelled out “That’s illegal!” Not like in Calif where they would have yelled “Hey you dumb***** you can’t do that s**t there!” Our windows were down and all we said “Ok…thanks!” and then it was like wait…first did kids just tell us something was illegal and we said thanks?! *cue music* There’s a sign post up ahead…your next stop – the Twilight Zone!

5 – BYOB to your restaurant. This stumped me till I found out that up until 2005 Rockport was a dry city. So many restaurants don’t have a liquor license. But you can bring your own bottles of wine or spirits in. Lol that was just weird.
This is a view of the coastline in Cape Cod

Homes by the Sakonnet River

The bay as you enter into Rockport Harbor

Inside Rockport Harbor

Cape Ann is built on 440 million year old granite. In the late 1800's it was quarried out on a small scale than on a much larger scale until the granite industry collaspe in 1929. Large pools that can look like ponds or lakes are actually granite holes that are now filled with water.

One of the lovely paths you take to see the various quarry holes and then you end up at the cliffs overlooking the beach and the Atlantic Ocean.

On a front porch someone had saved seashells they had found and arranged them in a painted flower pot so they looked like a bouquet of flowers.


At 6:03 PM, Blogger Vicci said...

Even though a lot of places were closed, be thankful that you discovered Cape Cod this time of year. DH and I went in late June and Provincetown was so crowded that we turned around and left!

We stayed in Cohasset, but I think that a better choice would have been the Cape Ann area. And how funny about the old couple with their guide books and maps in Gloucester!

Thanks for all of the photos, too-- it looks as though you two had a great time. :)

At 6:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, Denise! This was fabulous! I went to the Cape with a friend, but I soooo want to go back with William. It is so....dramatic! I'm so glad you got to see the beauty of the East Coast.

Now, come down south, and I'll show you the Southeast Coast....beautiful and charming in it's own unique way.

Well, heck...I forgot my password! Oh well, it's me...Daphne! Loved it!

At 4:45 AM, Blogger Theresa said...

Denise, thanks so much for "taking me home"! I miss the Cape so much. It makes me swell with pride that you enjoyed your time there. Now I have to figure out a way to visit soon. I can smell the air and hear the water lapping now.....

At 6:14 AM, Blogger Jean said...

I swear I WILL get to that part of the country before I check out!!! What a great time you must have had and the pictures just make green with envy.


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