Off to the Islands – Nantucket, Interrupted

When we leave Lake Tashmoo, we usually head north and east around West Chop and East Chop on either side of Vineyard Haven harbor, dodging the big ferries as we cross.

West Chop

West Chop

West Chop Lighthouse 1838

West Chop Lighthouse 1838

Dodging ferries as we pass by the Vineyard Haven harbor entrance.

Dodging ferries as we pass by the Vineyard Haven harbor entrance.

East Chop

East Chop

Zoomed view of the East Chop Light, 1875

Zoomed view of the East Chop Light, 1875

West and East Chop Lights are so similar, I wasn’t sure which was which when I reviewed the photos. I could only identify them by the order in which they were taken (going west to east) and by zooming in on the windows which are slightly different.

Sometimes we stop in Oak Bluffs first and sometimes we head to Edgartown first. Every town on Martha’s Vineyard has its own flavor and charm, which is what makes it a great island. But the morning was calm and lovely, so we made one of those impulsive Watson decisions and decided to save the rest of Martha’s Vineyard for the return voyage. We have plenty of time; we are retired! The sea conditions were just right, so why not go straight to Nantucket now?? 31 nautical miles, which only took us 5 hours, and we were there.

What a gorgeous morning! Great to be on the water. :-)

What a gorgeous morning! Great to be on the water. 🙂

Entering Nantucket harbor is always exhilarating.

First you are greeted by Brant Point Light, proudly standing watch at the edge of the harbor. First erected in 1746, it is America’s second oldest lighthouse. But, the current building is the tenth structure to sit there, so I don’t see how it could actually be “the second oldest.” That location for a lighthouse may be, but not that particular building. Brant Point is only 26 feet tall, making it the shortest lighthouse in all of New England. Its red light flashes every four seconds, and is visible ten miles out, so size doesn’t matter.

Brant Point Light

Brant Point Light

Brant Point Light. Don’t recall seeing the flag on the lighthouse before.

Brant Point Light. Don’t recall seeing the flag on the lighthouse before.

One look at our chartplotter and all we saw were AIS icons in the harbor, mostly at the docks. The “big boys” are out here.

AIS in Nantucket harbor

AIS’s are abundant  in Nantucket harbor

And there they are, lined up at the docks. They are BIG. Really big.

And there they are, lined up at the docks. They are BIG. Really big.

It's not all big motor yachts out here. As we maneuvered through the harbor, these little racers wherein their way out for a day of competition.

It’s not all big motor yachts out here. As we maneuvered through the harbor, these little racers wherein their way out for a day of competition.

There are 125 rental moorings in the harbor here……. for $65 per night. Naturally we choose to anchor just beyond the moorings. This year we sought a new location on the other side of the shallowed area in the harbor. Perfect! It’s still a 3/4 nm ride in the dinghy to the town dinghy docks, but that $65 per night goes a long way towards eating out! Interestingly, most people don’t seem to feel comfortable anchoring here. Are we brave, foolish, or just thrifty?? Don’t answer that.

Yellow arrow points to us. Hmm, maybe I shouldn't publicize our little spot?

Yellow arrow points to us. Hmm, maybe I shouldn’t publicize our little spot?

Nantucket is full of history, sea stories, and old New England charm. We love strolling around the streets.

The shining steeple of the Congregational Church can be seen from out in the harbor.

The shining steeple of the Congregational Church can be seen from out in the harbor.

In olden days, Nantucket was a very muddy mess where refuse and water puddled in the sandy clay streets when it rained. By the mid 1800’s, cobblestones were used to pave the streets and were a real sign of progress. There are differing stories about where the cobblestones originated. The popular hypothesis is that the cobblestones were ballast from the ships that had taken goods across to Europe.  A much more interesting story than just buying them from somewhere on the East coast.

Streets of cobblestones and sidewalks of brick.

Streets of cobblestones and sidewalks of brick.

Nantucket, seen as the center of the world.

Nantucket, seen as the center of the world.

I could wander these streets forever.

Main Street, Nantucket

Main Street, Nantucket

Nantucket streets img_6710 img_6709 brick sidewalks

Every island seems to have a wonderful independent book store, full of charm and books. Nantucket Bookworks is one of these.

Every island seems to have a wonderful independent book store, full of charm and books. Nantucket Bookworks is one of these.

We found a new sweet little bake shop to visit for a rest and sustenance. ;-)

We found a new sweet little bake shop to visit for a rest and sustenance. 😉

When we weren’t roaming around the streets of Nantucket,  we would spend a few hours on the beach.  Jetties Beach is an easy dinghy ride just outside the harbor.

Sitting on Jetties Beach - warm sun, warm water.

Sitting on Jetties Beach – warm sun, warm water.

From the beach we watched the Oliver Hazard Perry enter the channel.

While sitting on the beach, we watched the Oliver Hazard Perry enter the channel.

The Oliver Hazard Perry, a tall ship, arrived in Nantucket. The Perry is a three-masted, square-rigged sailing vessel, measuring 207 feet long. She is the largest privately owned tall ship and civilian sail training vessel in the United States. It took 8 years to build her, finishing with a maiden voyage to Portland, Maine in 2015 for the Tall Ships Festival. The ship is a “good will ambassador” for Rhode Island as well as a “floating classroom”.

Back in the harbor, we had an amazing view of the Oliver Hazard Perry as the crew put the seals away. What a job! High up there int he rigging, hanging and working. Talk about training!

Back in the harbor, we had an amazing view of the Oliver Hazard Perry as the crew put the seals away. What a job! High up there in the rigging, hanging and working. Talk about training!

If you love looking at boats, Nantucket has a ginormous variety, sail and power. I could fill blog post after post with just photos of the boats out there. But I won’t 😉 Except for these two —

This is a "then and now" photo. Looking through our older photos of Nantucket trips, I found the top photo and matched it the bottom that I took this year. IT's amusing to see that I photographed, unknowingly, so many years apart. It hasn't sunk in spite of its name.

This is a “then and now” photo. Looking through our older photos of Nantucket trips, I found the top photo and matched it the bottom that I took this year. It’s amusing to see that I photographed it, unknowingly, so many years apart. It hasn’t sunk yet,in spite of its name, but it is looking more worn.

This is the Nantucket pump-out boat. Events pump-out boat is classy with a clever name. Haha.

This is the Nantucket pump-out boat. Even the pump-out boat is classy with a clever name. Haha.

Our anniversary always fell during our summer sailing trips around the southern New England islands, so we decided to revive that little tradition of a nice dinner out on an island.  Nantucket has Incredible restaurants that can compete with the best metropolitan ones. We still reminisce about an anniversary dinner we had here at The Boarding House. Although we were 14 days late, it was still August, so we chose The Pearl, sister restaurant to The Boarding House. I’ll be honest, it was the kind of meal you only do on very special occasions, if you know what I mean.

Dressed up ("boating dress") for our anniversary.

Dressed up (“boating dress”) for our anniversary.

The Pearl - "current coastal cuisine showcasing seasonal shellfish and seafood, produce from Island farmers and heritage meats"

The Pearl – “current coastal cuisine showcasing seasonal shellfish and seafood, produce from Island farmers and heritage meats”

We shared the Wok-fired lobster because it was two tails and two claws, plenty for two!

We shared the appetizer and the wok-fired lobster because it was two tails and two claws, plenty for two! Confession – we did not share our desserts!

Our time on Nantucket was interrupted, and we had not explored so many of our favorite places such as ‘Sconset, Surfside Beach, The Whaling Museum, Cisco Brewery, Head of the Harbor, and more. We had been watching the weather forecasts for several days, hoping against hope that Hermine, the tropical storm, would not come too close. By August 30th, it was apparent that it would be foolish to ignore her. We have spent enough time on boats and on the water to know that you don’t fool with Mother Nature. We were close enough to our homeport to get back there safely, well ahead of Hermine.

The wind forecasts

The wind forecasts. Every day the forecasts  shifted some, but seemed to be consistently worrisome for our waters.

We departed Nantucket on Wednesday, August 31st and made it to Cuttyhunk, 44 nautical miles, 6+ hours. Dropped the hook and spent the night, leaving very early the next morning, in the rain.

Good bye, Nantucket.

Good bye, Nantucket.

On September 1st we traveled another 48 nautical miles and reached Napatree, Rhode Island and meet Mary Jo and Dean. The weather was still good enough to stay out a little longer, if we were close to home.

September 1st and it is time for my "Teal Toes" for Ovarian Cancer Awareness month. Haven't missed a year yet.

September 1st and it is time for my “Teal Toes” for Ovarian Cancer Awareness month. Haven’t missed a year yet.

Before ending our 3-4 week trip, we squeezed in some more good times with Mary Jo and Dean.

Fun on the flybridge (Dean's new selfie stick)

Fun on the flybridge (Dean’s new selfie stick)

Always beautiful at Watch Hill and Napatree.

Watch Hill

colorful sunset WH2

There was so much more we planned to do on this trip before it was interrupted by Hermine. We thought we had a couple more weeks for time in Edgartown, Oak Bluffs, Aquinnah, Menemsha, Cuttyhunk……… Oh well, perhaps next year.

Off to the Islands – Lake Tashmoo & Vineyard Haven, MV

We intended to stay another day in Menemsha but the rolling became a bit much. Late that afternoon, we pulled up anchor and moved north around the western side of Martha’s Vineyard to tuck into Lake Tashmoo. Tashmoo is a sweet little harbor and very protected. Once we learned that even our sailboat could make it through the shallow channel, we put it on our list of favorite spots.

Feathered friends

Feathered friends – the osprey sits high on its nesting pole and greets boats as they enter Tashmoo. The ducks know that boats could mean free food, so once the anchor is down, they appear by your side.

A quiet little spot.

A quiet little spot.

But not too quiet. The sailboat near us had quite a jam session going on.

But not too quiet. The sailboat near us had quite a jam session going on. Very cool!  I wonder where such large instruments are stored on a sailboat? And how they fare in the marine environment?

An interesting and curious thing happened while we were in Lake Tashmoo, thanks to this blog. Shortly after we settled in for the evening, Al checked his email and received a notice from WordPress (the host site) that there was a comment on the blog:

“Hi Al & Michele,
I saw you come into Tashmoo. I am on my Tartan 27 about a quarter mile toward the inlet. I am interested in buying an Europa style trawler and would love to take a look at yours for reference if possible. If so, I could row over some time when the wind isn’t blowing. No pressure either way.
Best,
Colin”

Short version of the story – We invited Colin for happy hour on Kindred Spirit. Who doesn’t love talking about boats? And the Vineyard?  What an enjoyable evening we had! We feel that we can now count Colin as a friend and hope he stays in touch. Wishing him good luck on his trawler search!

Colin and Al, discussing possible trawler options as we enjoy snacks and drinks.

Colin and Al, discussing possible trawler options as we enjoy snacks and drinks.

Not only is Tashmoo a protected harbor, but you can walk over to Vineyard Haven, the “business center” of the island. Since we had our bikes with us, we decided to bike to Vineyard Haven this time.

Whooooa! The dinghy dock has certainly become much more crowded since our last time, 4 years ago.

Whooooa! The dinghy dock has certainly become much more crowded since our last visit, 4 years ago. Can’t even get near the floating docks which means you have to step in an out of other boats and leapfrog to the dock.

We had to get the bikes onto the dock and then AL went around to find a place for our dinghy amongst the either links.

We (ok, Al) lifted the bikes onto the fixed dock and then Al took the dinghy around to find a place for ours  amongst the either links. To bring the bikes back to the boat, he decided it would be easier to walk the bike out to the dinghy in shallow water.

We wandered around town, looking at stores, the harbor, and having lunch. We like Vineyard Haven. In fact, we honeymooned at a B&B here,  just outside of town. The main street has some of the nicest and most unique shops around, great for browsing, good for buying. My two favorite stops are Bunch of Grapes, the independent book store, and Whatever, the silver jewelry cart (also a store in Edgartown.) I always get a new piece of jewelry from Whatever. 🙂

~Bunch of Grapes in its new location (fire in July 2008). ~Whatever cart on Main Street

~Bunch of Grapes in its new location (fire in July 2008).
~Whatever cart on Main Street

Vineyard Haven harbor

Vineyard Haven harbor

We enjoyed the bike ride to Vineyard Haven so much that we decided to bike to the West Tisbury Farmers Market on Saturday.  The market is held on the grounds around the Grange Hall in West Tisbury and was started in 1974 to bring local agricultural products to the people both living on and visiting the island.

West Tisbury Grange Hall

West Tisbury Grange Hall

Never did find out what this car (hearse?) was for.

Never did find out what this car (a hearse?) was for.

Tisbury Farmers MArket

This is definitely an upscale farmers market.

Crowds of people were looking and buying, tasting and smelling, and listening to a little band.

Crowds of people were looking and buying, tasting and smelling, and listening to a little band.

You have to love the names of the island growers -

You have to love the names of the island growers – Pie Chicks, The Kitchen Porch, Mermaid Farm.

Oh, the flowers!

Oh, the flowers!

And the vegetables and breads!

And the vegetables and breads!

I was curious about the sea salt farm. The family's daughter, Amelia, did such a good job of explaining it to me, that I couldn't resist purchasing a small sampler of flavored sea salt.

I was curious about the sea salt farm. The family’s daughter, Amelia, did such a good job of explaining it to me, that I couldn’t resist purchasing a small sampler of gourmet sea salt.

It was a very warm August day. The 7-mile ride from Lake Tashmoo to West Tisbury was hilly and might be nothing for younger folks, but it was a challenge for me. Ah, but Martha’s Vineyard has a sweet little bus system with buses that also have space for two bikes on the front bumper. Yes, we took the bus back to Tashmoo.

Waiting for the bus. Don't we look like we need to hitch a ride home???

Waiting for the bus. Don’t we look like we need to hitch a ride home???

Reflections  in  Lake Tashmoo before we move on again………

Tashmoo reflections 2 Tashmoo Reflections 3 tashmoo-reflections-1

Good Night, Lake Tashmoo.

Good Night, Lake Tashmoo.

Off to the Islands – Menemsha, Martha’s Vineyard

From Block Island, the next island stop was Menemsha harbor in Chilmark on the western tip of Martha’s Vineyard, perhaps our favorite place on the Vineyard.

It is always an exciting moment when the Aquinnah Lighthouse comes into view.

It is always an exciting moment when the Aquinnah Lighthouse comes into view.

Menemsha is a quiet, working fishing village with front row seats to beautiful sunsets. We have always anchored outside the little harbor, off the beach. It can be rather rocky-rolly out there, but it is free. 😉  We have that Rocna anchor and Al knows how to set and arrange the anchor lines to minimize the worst of the washing machine effect.

Anchored just off the beach. Close enough for me to swim back after beach combing. Once.

Anchored just off the beach. Close enough for me to swim back after beach combing. Once.

Menemsha entrance - quite a dinghy ride into the harbor if the current is strong.

Menemsha entrance – quite a dinghy ride into the harbor if the current is strong.

It may have been a Thursday in late August, but children were still enjoying the warm weather between the rocks and the docks.

It may have been a Thursday in late August, but children were still enjoying the warm weather and water between the rocks and the docks.

As we walked around the familiar little harbor, we immediately noticed that one of our favorite landmarks was missing, the statue of “The Swordfish Harpooner,” which had stood over the dunes for years.

The Swordfish Harpooner

The Swordfish Harpooner – an old photo I took back in 2010 or 2012. I would have liked to have another opportunity to photograph it.

The 17- foot sculpture was commissioned for Chilmark’s tricentennial in 1994, to honor the fishing industry. We met the sculptor, Jay Lagerman, on the MV bus during our last visit in 2012. We corresponded by email afterwards and he sent us a DVD of the making of the Harpooner. A little research solved the mystery of the missing statue. The Harpooner was dismantled in December of 2015, removed in pieces and sent to ART Research Enterprises, a foundry in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Jay Lagemann will oversee the process of recasting the statue and creating a new bronze version.

We have always loved that chandlery sign; it's been there for years. And that's my new big mug from Beetlebung. Just right for my morning coffee at home.

We have always loved that chandlery sign; it’s been there for years. And that’s my new big mug from Beetlebung. Just right for my morning coffee at home.

We picked up a sunset dinner at Larsen’s Seafood. Order inside and eat on the overturned crates outside. Or take it to the beach.

Dinner at Larsen's Seafood

Dinner at Larsen’s Seafood

People flock to Menemsha to watch the sun set from the beach.

A crowded beach of sunset gazers. We watch the sun set from Kindred Spirit.

A crowded beach of sunset gazers. We watch the sun set from Kindred Spirit.

Beachcombing on Menemsha is a must-do for us. We always find wonderful naturally polished pieces of “wampum”. The pieces are small but that is how I prefer them, filling glass bottles and containers to their top with our collections over the years. I found a site, Indian Country, that gives a nice explanation of wampum. Wampum is actually white or purple beads and discs worn by Native Americans on belts, headpieces, jewelry and other adornments. The white beads were made the whelk, a sea snail with a spiral shape, and purple beads were made from the quahog, a clam with purple and white coloring. Quahogs are found in the waters from Cape Cod south to New York, so it is primarily northeastern. Long ago, but only for a relatively short time, in the 1600s, the “wampum” was used as a trading commodity with the colonists since there was no printed money at that time.  The term “wampum” is still used as slang for money, as is the word “clams.” Strangely enough, wampum is often defined as Indian money in the Northeast, even though Native Americans did not really use money at all.

I only pick up the purple colored pieces that have been polished by tumbling around in the sea near the sandy shore until they are smooth and shining. According to Indian Country, the white beads represented light and brightness and happy things, while the purple beads represented more solemn things such as grieving, war, and death. Hmmm, I have been collecting the purple pieces for years and only just learned that. Oh well. I still like the purple ones better.

Wampum collection

Wampum collection

Menemsha has seaglass, too, but that is harder to find, especially these days, and usually very small.

A really thick, nicely worn piece of clear glass. A piece that thick is usually older glass. The smaller pale blue piece looks like it was melted in a fire.

A really thick, nicely worn piece of clear glass. A piece that thick is usually older glass. The smaller pale blue piece looks like it was melted in a fire.

While I combed the beach, Al found his own buried treasure, a very small sailboat, deeply covered by sand at the water’s edge. It had been there since October, or so another beach combing local told him. With a few hand tools, he carefully removed some of the hardware. Could be useful with his new nameless obsession.

A partially submerged small sailboat on the beach, abandoned there since October.

A partially submerged small sailboat on the beach, abandoned there since October.

As it happens, we were in Menemsha during the same week that a friend was staying in Chilmark. What a treat to have lunch with Maureen!

My dear friend, Maureen. How nice it was to spend time with her on Martha's vineyard. :-)

My dear friend, Maureen. How nice it was to spend time with her on Martha’s vineyard. 🙂

We intended to stay another day in Menemsha but the rolling became a bit much. Late that afternoon, we pulled up anchor and moved north around the western side of Martha’s Vineyard to tuck into Lake Tashmoo. We can always stop here agin on our way home.