NOTE: My general storytelling has been on hold while I’m working on the MBY Fire Fundraiser. This story is about a trip we made in mid August.Dave
We hosted the last of our out-of-state visitors – Kay and Steve, a few weeks ago. We were neighbors in Pleasanton, California, from 1997 to 2005. Our friendship started through our daughters – who were close friends. These days, the girls are busy raising families, but our friendship has grown stronger.
We love hosting friends on our boat because it’s always a memorable vacation for them, making it a great time for us too. It also challenges me to create different voyage plans for each visit.
Time For “Plan C”
The original plan called for three days in Provincetown, but when we moved Jake and Peggy’s trip there, I shifted the destination to Block Island. Then I watched the forecast deteriorate, particularly the sea conditions on Tuesday.
There was less sun (maybe even rain) forecast for Rhode Island, and we planned to visit Champlin’s for the first time. Although Champlin’s is on Block Island, it’s as far away from the action in Old Harbor as you can get. Its main attraction is that it’s the nicest resort on BI, with a pool and dock bar with live music – none of which sound like much fun on a gray, rainy day.
But the big problem for BI was the marine forecast for Tuesday – the day we’d have to make a 50-mile northeast run home. All my weather models showed that we’d be facing 15-20 knot headwinds on Tuesday!
This brings me to Plan C. I had a one-night credit in Provincetown, and thus that became our first stop. Mrs. Horne had wanted to check out Hingham, and the Shipyard became our second. With 15 knot winds out of the northeast forecast for Tuesday, we’d come home with a tailwind off our port quarter.
Since Kay and Steve were only here for three days and the forecast was perfect for boating, I created a voyage plan with four destinations.
Stop #1 – The F/V Sandwich
Kay and Steve had never been all the way up the canal or dined at the Fisherman’s View. With calm seas forecast for the afternoon, it was an obvious first stop.
My reservation had gotten lost in RESY, and when I went to fix it, all I could get was 2:00, which was too late for our schedule. Instead, we got there early and sat in the bar, which has better views of Cape Cod Bay.
There we enjoyed our usual great meal.
Knowing we had a 30 run across Cape Cod Bay, I checked in on the Weather Buoy off the port of Boston and something I’d never seen before.
You’re reading that right – ZERO KNOT WIND SPEED!
Thus far, Plan C was looking brilliant (if I do say so myself).
This is actually the LITTLE MISS SANDWICH, and she has a story.
Stop #2 – Provincetown
We shoved off from Sandwich Marina around 1:00 and plotted a course across Cape Cod Bay.
There’s nothing sweeter than running in flat calm seas and looking at nothing but open ocean across 270 degrees forward.
Although we’d been to Provincetown ten days earlier with Jake and Peggy, this was different. We were stopping for the night and doing a quick tour.
After a quick washdown, we headed for Commercial Street to give our guests a quick tour.
Steve had forgotten his sunglasses, so we started at Sol Optics. They have a great selection of all the top brands and really helpful sunglass sales consultants.
Right across the street is the Little Store I worked at in the Summer of 1971.
Carnival Week 2022
Carnival Week is Provincetown’s version of Mardi Gras with a heavy LGBTQ twist.
Somewhere in my deep planning, I missed the fact that Sunday was the beginning of Carnival Week in Provincetown (click HERE for a complete guide.)
Under other circumstances, it might be fun to grab a table at Patio America or Spindlers and watch the show, but this was the first time we’d been with Kay and Steve in eighteen months, and we just wanted to catch up in some quiet conversation.
We started with a 3:00 Cocktail at the Canteen.
Before I even mentioned it, Steve said, “This place and this front street reminds me of Lahaina.” I’ve always felt the same way.
Not only does the sea breeze at the Canteen waft in from the harbor, but the talented bartender serves up about a dozen signature tropical cocktails.
After our brief stop, we decided to check out the Pilgrim Monument.
Kay is Dutch and immediately recognized the lift that carried people to the top of the hill as being a Funicular.
Unfortunately, we arrived at 4:15, and the Funicular closes at 4:00 because the museum closes at 5:00. I’m getting a new knee later this year, and if it works out, I might try doing the climb in 2023.
We spotted a large engraving and learned a little more about the Pilgrims and Provincetown.
Note the name of the famous Pilgrim Captain Miles Standish on the Compact. I didn’t realize that the Pilgrims landed in Provincetown before settling in Plymouth.
“While the town of Plymouth gets most of the attention, it’s important to note that the Pilgrims first touched American soil at the tip of Cape Cod, in Provincetown. It was also onboard the ship, during their five-and-a-half week stay, that they signed the Mayflower Compact on November 11, 1620.”The Boston Globe August 20, 2018
We also stopped at Miss Peggy’s favorite bakery for some Custard Cake to bring back to the boat for dessert.
Unfortunately, they were sold out!
I heartedly recommend this place and the PATINHAS DE VEADO
We also checked out the top restaurants available for dinner (The Club and Post Office Square). It was clear that they were gearing up for early and often Cabaret Shows for Carnival Week.
Mrs. Horne quickly vetoed both, and after a bit of research and a phone call, we ended up back at Front Street.
The Front Street Restaurant
This is quickly becoming my favorite restaurant in Provincetown. And given that we were looking for a cozy table for a catch-up conversation, it was perfect.
I did a full review you can read by clicking here; meantime, here are a few photos.
As we walked home, we saw the Carnival Goers gearing up for a wild night.
Back at Relentless, we were treated to a beautiful sunset.
Monday – 70 Miles and Lunch
The forecast held perfectly, and we woke up to a spectacular Monday morning in Provincetown.
The plan was a 29-mile run west to Plymouth for lunch, followed by a 41-mile cruise north to Hingham. I’m pleased to report that Steve passed Mrs. Horne’s line coiling course on his first try.
Once again, Cape Cod Bay was glassy as we left town around 9:00.
About eight miles out of Plymouth, Mrs. Horne shouted “WHALE,” and we stopped and turned in the direction she spotted her.
We kept a great distance, so my video is a little fuzzy, but I did get some, so here you go.
Stop #3 – Plymouth Lunch
I called Safe Harbor to book dock space for lunch at The Surfside Smokehouse. Surprisingly, they were full. He told me all the seasonal slip owners were home, and he’d rented out the front dock.
He suggested I call the Harbormaster, get a mooring, and hail the launch. I’d never done this in Plymouth, but why not?
It turned out to be a great idea. The lady in the Harbormaster’s office could not have been nicer and more helpful.
The town offers two mooring sizes, and they assigned us the bigger one. It was easy to pick up and very clean.
Although the whole launch thing can be a pain, our incredible crew and clean mooring lines made it a breeze.
The Harbormaster told us to call the Maverick on channel 9 for a launch ride. The operator was a young woman named Georgia.
The mooring/launch option is very attractive in Plymouth if you call Georgia. Her home dock is down by the Tavern on The Wharf, but she’s happy to pick you up or drop you at Safe Harbor. I can imagine starting at the Wharf, walking through town, and ending up at the Surfside Smokehouse.
We thought about it but decided we wanted to take Kay and Steve on a complete tour of Plymouth before lunch, so we had Georgia drop us at Safe Harbor before our walk through town.
You’ve probably visited Plymouth Rock and taken a photo like this one. You may have stayed and admired it for more than thirty seconds, but you probably don’t know that it holds an infamous spot in the US Travel Industry.
Yep, people actually do studies on disappointing tourist attractions, and Plymouth Rock consistently scores near the top. Oh well…
Lunch At Seaside Smokehouse
After making a big loop around downtown Plymouth, we headed into the Surfside Smokehouse for lunch in the bar.
It was once owned by the same folks who own B-ACK Yard BBQ on Nantucket and still offers the same homemade sauces.
It’s one of my favorites because they offer great BBQ and Seafood dishes:
After lunch, I called the Harbormaster on my iPhone, and she relayed my pick-up request to Georgia, who promptly appeared.
Destination #4 – Hingham Shipyard
I was a little surprised when I plotted a course to Hingham Shipyard, and it came out a tick short of 40 miles. The run from Provincetown to Plymouth had been 31 miles, so all tolled, our little lunch day trip was almost 75 miles.
I tried to go offshore to miss lobster pots, but that didn’t work. The seas were still flat, and it took us over an hour to clear Minot’s Light and start the seven-mile run southwest to Hingham.
As we did, I realized that despite being on the South Shore, Hingham was farther than Boston.
Stop #4 – Hingham Shipyard
Although it’s called the Hingham Shipyard, it’s clearly a marina surrounded by condos with a few restaurants and shops to serve the residents.
As I was washing down Relentless, I spotted Bruce from Boston Yacht Sales putting one of their stock boats away for the night.
Mrs. Horne and Kay went for a “walk and shop.” Being seasoned pros, they found some gifts for grandkids, but most of the shops around the shipyard are the sort you’d find in a fancy suburb rather than a seaside village.
Nantucket, Vineyard Haven, and Provincetown all have a Stop and Shop near the marina, but I don’t of any port on the South Coast with a Trader Joe’s, Talbots, or Marshalls down the street.
Despite the dearth of local shops, several interesting restaurants are within walking distance.
Talking to fellow mariners, who’d been here before, we selected Alma Nove.
Dinner at Alma Nove
Alma Nove is a kind of a celebrity restaurant in that Mark and Donnie Wahlberg’s family owns it.
Alma Nove sports a very hip atmosphere, looking like a west coast yacht club on one side and a stadium VIP club with a wall of TV’s over the bar.
It’s not a huge restaurant but serves enough tables to support a robust menu.
Mrs. Horne and I shared the Octopus appetizer ($23).
Octopus is one of those bold restaurant offerings that can make or break a menu. It’s a very technical seafood to prepare – more of a platform for interesting accompaniments than something you’d get as a standalone dish.
As soon as I took my first bite, I knew the Wahlbergs were running a serious restaurant, not just some celebrity tourist trap.
Every element on the plate served a purpose. The lemon aioli enhanced both octopus and the perfectly roasted fingerlings. I could easily see myself ordering two of these to create an exquisite $46 seafood dinner.
Kay and Steve started with a Caprese Salad, which was also a piece of culinary art.
Mrs. Horne went with the Gnocchis for her entrée.
Kay went with Salmon which had a spectacular crispy skin.
Steve tried the Swordfish.
I went with the Orecchiette.
Such a wonderful plate of flavor. Lots of homemade Italian sausage (in mouth-size pieces), slices of Parmesan, and roasted pistachios.
After dinner, we strolled home and enjoyed our final evening looking at the Marina and the Boston Skyline.
Outrunning The Northeaster
Before I went to bed, I plotted the course home. It was nearly 80 miles, and it would feel like 100 with a ten-mile crawl through the no-wake Cape Cod Canal. On top of the long trip, the forecast called for a brisk Northeaster kicking up mid-morning.
I wanted to leave Hingham early enough to clear Nahant and head south before the northeaster kicked up to Small Craft Warnings. But Kay and Steve were still on West Coast time, so I decided to let everyone wake up naturally.
Much to my delight, everyone was up by 6:45, so I set our ETD at 8:30 AM. We shoved off at 8:18.
Hingham is almost seven miles from the open ocean, and thus it doesn’t make sense as a stopover en-route to Maine. That said, the view of downtown Boston leaving the outer harbor is incredible.
Once we cleared the outer harbor, we hit a 10 MPH wind off the port bow.
We cleared Minot’s Ledge before 9:00 and ran 45 south to the canal with the northeast wind off our aft quarter.
By 10:00, the northeast wind was up near 20, but since it was blowing from behind, the ride was smooth enough for Steve to catch a “power nap.”