We woke to bright sun and a brisk breeze in Boston. We were booked to stay another night at Rowe’s Wharf and then run 125 miles to Boothbay on Wednesday, but I wasn’t sure I liked that idea.

For one thing, it was a lovely day, and with the wind blowing out of the west, we’d likely be protected by land as far north as Gloucester. More importantly, sitting in a slip in the Financial District in Boston didn’t really feel like cruising – more like a waterfront condo.

I had exchanged messages with the Marblehead Harbormaster on Monday night, and at the time, they had space for Tuesday night. It was only 25 miles to Marblehead, and it would get us 15 miles closer to Maine, so I messaged him again.

At that point, the wind was blowing 15 knots but was forecast to die down some between 10:00 and noon, so there was no need to rush.

We enjoyed our morning coffee watching the action in Boston Harbor.

Around 9:00, I got concerned that I hadn’t heard back from Marblehead, so I called the Harbormaster.

“We have a 100’ yacht that’s taking up most of the dock. They’re scheduled to leave this morning, but they have a mechanical problem. They have a mechanic on board now. I’ll keep you posted.”

That wasn’t the news I was looking for. I popped open Dockwa and started looking at Gloucester. As I scrolled up the coast, I spotted Manchester-By-The-Sea and said to myself, “hmm…”

With no time to waste, I phoned the Harbormaster, and he confirmed that they had space. He said they had no electricity but that I could run my generator all night. I went to Yelp and discovered a handful of decent restaurants, and suddenly I liked this idea better than Marblehead.

I went up to Flybridge to discuss the options with the crew, and we decided to head north, keep checking in with Marblehead, and if the broken-down yacht hadn’t left by the time we got to Salem, we’d continue north to Manchester-By-The-Sea.

Although Mrs. Horne slightly preferred Marblehead, they generally agreed with the plan.

At 10:00, the buoy, 16 miles of Boston, was reporting 9-knot winds, so we shoved off and followed my plotted course north.

Despite the brisk wind blowing offshore, we had a smooth run at about 30 MPH past Nahant. When we got to Salem, I called Marblehead, and the broken-down yacht was still not fixed.

It was just after 11:00, and I hadn’t booked Manchester-By-The-Sea yet. The seas were flat enough for me to consider rounding Rockport and heading up to Portsmouth.

I started checking wind and weather data on my iPad and concluded that wasn’t happening.

Once we clear Rockport, it’s about a ten-mile run back to the New Hampshire coast. Ten miles into 24 mph gusts wouldn’t be fun for anyone. Onward Ho to Manchester-By-The-Sea.

Manchester-By-The-Sea

After passing a few scenic islands, you begin a rather lengthy run through a narrow channel to reach the town docks, but it’s very picturesque.

Manchester-By-The-Sea Town Docks

After making the long crawl through the harbor to the Town docks, you’re totally rewarded with a straight wharf tie-up that’s virtually right downtown.

I spoke at length with Bion Pike – The Harbormaster, about the plans for this well-kept secret.

Bion Pike Manchester-By-The-Sea Harbormaster

The floating docks are one year old, and they’ll be adding electricity, water, and another 500’ of floating dock soon – hopefully by next season.

The cost will undoubtedly go up with the addition of electricity and water, but as of today, it’s surely the best dockage bargain in New England.

$144 a night for a 50’ boat in mid-July steps from a quaint north shore village; are you kidding me?

As I mentioned earlier, there are a handful of well-rated restaurants in Manchester-By-The-Sea. As we tied up, Mrs. Horne queried the dockhand Max about restaurants.

Max – Dockhand at Manchester-By-The-Sea

Max suggested three; Calas, Antique Table, and Allies. He also told us that a new Mary Ann’s restaurant was having a “soft opening.”

Allies is closed on Tuesdays; Antique Table doesn’t serve lunch, so Calas it was!

Calas

Calas – at Manchester-By-The-Sea

The dining room was empty, and the bar was busy, so we skipped the dining room and grabbed three stools at the bar.

The bartender’s name was Scott. He’s sharp and entertaining. He shared a funny story about a guy trying to get his “Birthday Month Discount.”

He recommended an excellent hazy IPA called Sleuce Juice.

After a few questions and discussions about sharing, we ordered. Peter started with chowder.

Mrs. Horne went with the nachos, which were a true platter.

I loved the way these were prepared. The chips were thin and nearly burnt at the tips.

I went for the Buffalo Wings with the sauce on the side.

Peter opted for a unique dish – A Fish Burrito.

Calas is the kind of place that I’d eat at twice a week if I lived nearby. It offers a very social bar and great food.

Free Concert on the Park

Max told us that the town put on a free concert at Masconoma Park at 6:00. So of course, we had to check it out.

Mrs. Horne, the Captain, and Peter

They have music at Shipyard Park in Mattapoisett, but it’s always old fuddy-duddy stuff. Not at Manchester-By-The-Sea.

The name of the band was High Times (as in High Times at Ridgemount High), and they specialized in 80’s music, which I found interesting because none of them looked old enough to remember 80’s music.

As I often do, I compiled a few of their songs for your listening pleasure.

It was just one more cool thing about this little village. And lots of people came out for the show.

The Antique Table

Peter Holding the door at The Antique Table

This is probably the fanciest restaurant in Manchester-By-The-Sea, and it’s pure Italian.

They treated us like royalty with a complementary glass of Prosecco as soon as we sat down.

I was looking forward to a big cab with dinner, but most of their reds were European and I’m a Napa boy. So I bit the bullet and sprang for the 2017 Jordan.

After some discussion about what we wanted to eat and what we might like to share, we settled in on three classic pasta dishes.

Mrs. Horne ordered the Ricotta Gnocchi…

Ricotta Gnocchi at The Antique Table

This was well prepared and quite rich. It was also the only dish we got that was portioned correctly for one person.

Peter deliberated at length between the Lobster Raviolis and Di Mare. I was also contemplating the Lobster Ravs, but in the end, Peter went with the Di Mare.

Di Mare at The Antique Table

This was probably the best presentation at the table but obviously underseasoned. We had the server bring more Parmesan and generously added salt and pepper to bring it some life. In the end, we concluded that it was a good start, but it needed fresh garlic and basil.

I ordered the Orechiette.

Orechiette at The Antique Table

This was an outstanding dish that could have easily fed a couple. The sausage was chunky and flavorful. I did add extra Parmesan, which elevated the dish even higher.

It was a great dinner, and the host topped it off with a complimentary glass of limoncello.

We ended the night with a stroll through town and watching the boats come and go for ice cream at Captain Dusty’s.

Next Stop – Boothbay