Cuttyhunk, a Perfect First Stop

We departed from Shennecossett and headed towards Cuttyhunk at 8:00 am on Monday August 28th for a 7.5 hour, 51 mile trip on a coolish, somewhat overcast day.

Starting out. We actually remembered to fly our SYC burgee.
Kindred Spirit just ahead of Limerick.
Cindy and Don on Limerick

On this visit to Cuttyhunk, we took a mooring together in the inner harbor. On almost all of our stops in the past we have anchored in the outer harbor, but we really wanted to show Cuttyhunk to Don and Cindy and the inner harbor made it more convenient. We simply had to include a few new things on this second annual WD-70ish cruise.

We’ve been stopping at Cuttyhunk for at least 25 years and I have three previous blog posts about visits so I will try not to repeat much, except for our highlights.
2017 3 Weeks, 4 Islands, 6 Harbors
2019 Block & Cutty
2021 Good Bye Maine, Homeward Bound

Cuttyhunk is still a small quiet community among the southern New England islands. Although it too has changed over the past 25+ years that we have been visiting, it remains far less commercial than the other bigger islands. The year round population is declining from 52 in 2000, to a reported 10 in 2023. Our waitress at the Fishing Club said there would only be our residents this coming winter, three rotating and one, a recently graduated high schooler, staying through the entire off-season. Although Cuttyhunk would like to host more year-round folks, that poses a challenge. A favorite place in the summer, attracting boaters, Cuttyhunk becomes desolate in the off-season with there no stores, no restaurants and minimal ferry service. 

A Cuttyhunk sunset

Tuesday was cloudy but not as rainy as forecast.

A bit of a drippy view through our pilothouse windows.
The birds really liked Limerick’s bow pulpit.
The harbor was pretty quiet on this damp Tuesday and the docks were nearly empty.
We were prepared for rain but it never materialized. That’s ok!
The Harbormaster’s Office

We walked around Cuttyhunk to stretch our legs and show it off to Don and Cindy.

Cindy and I make a stop at the “Corner Store,” the Cuttyhunk gift shop with all things “cuttyish”.
Don and Al, patiently sittin’ and waitin’.
It is a must to see the little grocery store on this island. We were impressed that they have whipped cream!

Another must-do is to walk up Tower Road passed the town buildings and church. The last student graduated from Cuttyhunk Elementary School in 2019 which left the tiny school childless. Then the Covid-19 pandemic changed things. Three seasonal families decided to move to the island full-time and enroll their four children, 2nd grade, 5th grade, two 7th graders, in the school. While the rest of the country switched gears to remote learning, Cuttyhunk’s little classroom was face-to-face learning. I suspect that the students have since returned to the mainland to finish their education. Interestingly, the little school has switched gears again and is now Cuttyhunk STEAM Academy, for youth and adults in the subjects of Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, & Math through a daily or residential multi-day/night program. Pretty cool.

The Cuttyhunk Public Library and the elementary school.
The Cuttyhunk Union Methodist Church, founded in 1881, is open on a seasonal basis during July and August. An interfaith worship center, there is an Episcopal Eucharist at 8 a.m., a Roman Catholic service at 9 a.m., and Sunday School at 10 a.m.
Cindy and me on Tower Road, on our way to the lookout.

It’s all about the views —

Can you find Limerick and Kindred Spirit? Hint – we are rafted together.

painted stones on public path among the houses – collage

As we walked along the paths between the homes, there was certainly an artist at this one. These colorful gems were tucked in and among the rocks in the wall.

To give Don and Cindy a full Cuttyhunk experience we ordered lobsters from John on the dock. He would cook them and we would pick them up at 6:00 sharp. Many people get the full lobster dinner from another source, but we preferred making our own sides. John, the lobster guy, was the quintessential New England fisherman and irresistible. His dour expression in the photo contradicted his friendly manner when we chatted.

Lobsters in Kindred Spirit’s cockpit. A delicious and fun dinner!
Night lights on the docks and the homes.

The forecasted rainy and foggy weather was in full display on Wednesday morning. Looking ahead to the next couple of days, that also included some high winds, we changed our plans. We are staying here for now. Not a bad plan at all. That decision proved to be necessary for other reasons. Don announced that Limerick’s vacuflush toilet broke down.  Oh no, no, no. Priorities on a boat are a well-functioning engine, plenty of water, and a toilet, not necessarily in that order (🥴😳😄😉 in my opinion.)

Vacuflush surgery in Limerick’s cockpit. Headmasters at work. Two heads are better than one???
Don spent 6 hours trying to find and repair the problem. Al researched and gave assistance when needed. It was painful to watch so I stayed out of the way on Kindred Spirit.

Finally, late in the afternoon, I suggested calling the manufacturer. They knew the problem right away and immediately shipped the parts overnight to Vineyard Haven to Colin, our friend there. Limerick carries a porta potty which meant a couple more days could be handled.

Skies brighten a bit so Al and I dinghied in for ice cream. Al had a cup and we brought back a big dish to Don and Cindy. Remember that shop in Stonington with the sign that read “Ice cream solves everything”???  We were hoping it fixed toilets too.
NOTE – The photo on the right is the following day. Such a sad face.
A rainbow appeared over Cuttyhunk and just above Kindred Spirit and Limerick. A good omen!

The harbormaster requested, and we completely agreed, that our boats should separate due to the prediction for higher winds.
An incredible evening sunset splashed across the skies. Thank you, Cindy, for these photos of Kindred Spirit. They may be my favorites of all time.

Quiet moonlight

Thursday, August 31st was the last day for the Cuttyhunk Fishing Club breakfast service. It is a tradition for us, as well as most others who stop here, so we had to take Cindy and Don there. I do think it is the BEST time we ever had there.

Walking up the lawn to the Fishing Club, 2017 and 2023. Only the bath tub remains. And there has been an addition to the building.
The Fishing Club is a bed and breakfast inn with 8 guest rooms and a 3-bedrooom apartment. The two teeny tiny cottages off to the side house the chef and our waitress, Raquel.
Raquel took our photo after we finished an excellent breakfast onto porch. Raquel is heading back to Harvard for her junior year.
It was such a delight to watch the staff celebrate the last day of the season. The yellow arrow points to Raquel, our waitress.
We sat, and sat, in the Adirondack chairs overlooking the ocean.
Another new addition to the Cuttyhunk scene. Cute sign by the lily pond. Do we assume it is just a joke? Or not?

We decided to take a hike, starting past the Fishing Club, taking a turn on Bayberry Road, but not sure where we would end up.

Bayberry Road hike to ……?
The path led to “Joe’s Bunker”, another lookout. We could see Aquinnah across the water.
Oh my, just look at it.
Such a great day!

Without a doubt, this was the best visit to Cuttyhunk, ever.

4 Responses

  1. MM

    What? No more toilet at the Fishing Club? Say it ain’t so! Cuttyhunk is just as pretty as ever. Nice post.

  2. Tom & Sue Sokoloski

    Great pix and a great story. Cuttyhunk is one of Sue and my favorites, too. Surprised to learn that year-round residents is down to 10!

  3. Cindy Dahl

    From my seat, this was your best ever blog post… while obviously biased, it spoke volumes about you, our previous, fantastic friends! This will definitely be a cherished memory you created for us that we will enjoy for the rest of our lives.
    Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

  4. Gilberto Belaval

    Hi guys. Cuttyhunk is magical place. Great pics and narrative. Interesting that Ute mooring field looks enty. Be careful and watch the weather.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *