In case I haven’t mentioned it, I’ve been retired for quite a while. It wasn’t easy, I worked my tail off for 30 years in Silicon Valley during the boom years.

I remember my brother Mark giving me a hard time when I retired young and I told him that I worked for 45 years, but it only took me 30 to do it. If you don’t believe me, ask Mrs. Horne. She’s more than happy to tell you about all those years I left the house at 5:15 AM and returned at 9:00 PM. That is when I wasn’t commuting to London, LA, or Dallas!

I mention this to put my last two weeks in perspective. It was my “Summer Vacation” for 2019. If you’re like me, you can still recall the total euphoria of waking up in mid June and realizing there was NO MORE SCHOOL til Fall. Although it’s been many decades, I still get a chill when I recall that feeling.

Summer Vacation was still a very special time when I worked, but far shorter. And of course I was still connected to work by phone and email.

Although I’m referring to my current occupation as “retired”, I prefer to think of it as just a bunch of fun jobs that don’t pay very well (okay, they pay nothing).

Once I ceased to collect a W2, I continued to work on my new jobs like writing Career Secret Sauce, hosting The Career Mechanic Radio Show, performing with my band, cooking for my friends, and writing for My Buzzards Bay.

Throughout my new career, I have always celebrated the arrival of the weekend and of course the euphoria of my Summer Vacation!

My father made Mattapoisett his vacation home in 1960 and it’s been mine ever since. Click here to listen to my Ballad about The Cove – the beach in front of our house.

The site of that old home is now our legal residence and home 6 months out of the year. That said, it’s the only place I ever think of when I think Summer Vacation.

It’s also the only Summer Vacation spot my daughter Natalie has ever known, so when she’s here, it’s always our Summer Vacation!

Our Mini Family Reunion

Natalie and her family live in San Diego along with her husband (Brian), son (Jack – 4), and daughter (Lucy – 1). They arrived on June 27th and stayed for 12 days this year. Accordingly, my Summer Vacation started on that day in June.

Last year Lucy was only 9 months old and pretty much slept in her sling on Natalie. Jack was totally into going out on “Papi’s Big Blue Boat”, and we spent several days at sea.

Jack’s is now almost 5 and there isn’t much he can’t do. Lucy is only 20 months old and although she has an excellent young vocabulary, she’s not quite old enough to listen to reason. She’s also fearless and very mobile – quite a handful on the boat.

The first day they got here was a perfect day for boating on Buzzards Bay – 100% sunshine, a 5 knot breeze, and virtually no waves anywhere.

Brian and Natalie

Alert – Baby On Board!

Knowing Lucy was going to be a handful, we ventured to The Fisherman’s View in Sandwich figuring Lucy could run around while we were powering through the Cape Cod Canal and hopefully sleep on the way home.

The kids hate wearing life jackets so we set up Vigilant accordingly. We closed the hardback door and opened the aft window about halfway. We also opened the center wind shield and cracked the side windows as well. Finally, I put a gate at the top of stairs creating a safe play area for Lucy to run around.

It worked great and Mrs. Horne even found a way to keep Lucy in one place for more than a few minutes by reading to her.

“Mimi” (AKA Mrs. Horne) reading to Lucy

The canal was the right call. The calm waters made it easy for Lucy to keep her feet on the deck and there was plenty of action to see out of Vigilant’s big windows.

Docking on the F/V Side

Sandwich Marina and The Fisherman’s View restaurant is one of my favorite Dock and Dine venues. Tying up is never an issue – the food and waterfront views at the F/V are probably the best on the Southcoast.

Since we go there a lot, the Dockmaster knows us and knows we prefer the F/V to the Pilot House. The last couple of times we’ve pulled in he’s motioned us to the gas dock and offered us a slip on the other side of the Boat Basin (this avoids about a mile of walking).

With two young kids on board, we said “yes” and Mrs. Horne handed him $40 in a the “touch and go” payment/receipt exchange while I held Vigilant a few inches off he fuel dock.

He gave us an excellent spot next to the Pilot Boat…

One of the great things about the F/V is the way they rotate craft beers. Brian tried one called a Beach Blonde from The Cape Cod Beer Company…

I noticed one I’d never heard of on the menu and immediately gave it a whirl…

It’s called a Lord Hobo Session IPA and it was superb, as was our lunch and the kids were well behaved.

Natalie always orders the kids meals the second we sit down. Smart servers understand this tactic and rush their grilled cheeses out pronto. It works well and keeps them busy for about 30 minutes while we enjoy our beverages.

We were very impressed by the server who secretly asked Natalie if she wanted the kids to have the ice cream sandwich that came with their meals. Natalie said “Yes,” but just one and they can share it (always thinking about Lucy’s impending nap.)

The F/V Fish Market

One more thing about the F/V is the Fish Market around the back. It’s a great place to buy seafood and give kids a treat watching lobsters and crabs swim around in their tank.

The manager spotted Jack and Lucy and decided to facilitate a Lobster Show by grabbing a 6 pounder and letting them pat him.

The Slow Cruise Home

Jack no longer naps during the day, but Lucy still takes one after lunch. Thanks to the calm seas and a loving Mimi, she enjoyed a perfect two hour nap all the way up the canal and back to Mattapoisett.

Meanwhile, I kept Jack busy driving The Big Blue Boat…

Of course Vigilant is on auto-pilot while I hold the remote control, but Jack doesn’t know that. I think this is a great first step to actually driving a boat one day.

Life’s A Beach!

Although we figured out a way to temporarily harness Lucy’s endless energy on Vigilant, it took a village! By Day 2 we realized she was much more at ease on the beach and thus so were we!

Needless to say, I spent many days at the beach. And as much as it pained me to look out at other boats enjoying the calm seas of Buzzards Bay, I have to admit that there’s a very tranquil peace that comes with laying in the sand and watching your kids play.

The Town Wharf Ice Cream Shack

Saturday was probably the only semi-bad weather day of my vacation. Mattapoisett has a very nice little Ice Cream shack near Shipyard Park so we took the kids down for a treat and change of scenery.

There’s not much happening in Mattapoisett, but what action we have is usually down by the Town Wharf.

The 4th of July at The Bay Club

As I’ve mentioned before, Mrs. Horne and I golf when we’re not boating. We belong to a quaint little club in Mattapoisett call the Bay Club. One of Natalie’s traditions has been attending their 4th of July gala.

The entire property is transitioned into and old time town fair with kids games and traditional 4th of July fare.

Hundreds show up and it’s all culminated by one of the finest fireworks displays on Buzzards Bay.

This video is of the Grand Finale – which lasted nearly a full minute!

Yet Another Family Reunion

My mother Hilda is 96 and still lives on her own in Boxborough. I visit her regularly. We go out to lunch and drive down the streets we once walked in our younger years.

Since Jack was born, we’ve all driven up to visit her and Mrs. Horne’s mother Doris as part of our Summer Vacation. This year, Mrs. Horne’s sister Paula offered to pick up the great grandmothers and drive them here. Lucy’s not a big fan of driving in a car, so this was a priceless gift!

Unfortunately, Doris wasn’t up for the ride, but Paula and Hilda ventured down for another mini reunion – this time with 4 generations…

Dream Day in Edgartown

Despite the challenge of boating with Lucy, Natalie decided we’d endure one more day and finish our Summer Vacation with a day trip to Edgartown.

It’s about 25 miles from Mattapoisett and last Monday the seas were as flat as Vineyard Sound gets. This enabled us to make the voyage over in about an hour.

Knowing that Lucy would need to nap shortly after noon, we planned an early arrival with a walk about town, and lunch at The Seafood Shanty by 12:30.

My Buzzards Bay Fan Encounter

Mrs. Horne and I were circling Katama Bay in Vigilant when an inflatable passed us shouting “Hey My Buzzards Bay.”

It was Vernon and Lynn from Connecticut aboard a beautiful Sabre 45 – Lulu running us down to say hello and thank us for all our tales of the sea.

I must say that having people who follow these pages never gets old.

A Perfect Ride Home

By 12:30 the challenge with Lucy was keeping her awake until we got back on Vigilant. We made it and fortunately, the seas remained flat for a 10 MPH, 2 1/2 cruise home while the grand kids slept…

Although my Summer Vacation for 2019 has come to an end, the fond memories from those 12 days remain and join decades of vacations long past.