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Ogunquit, Maine

After a delightful stay in Nantucket and Gloucester I finished off my annual trip to New England with a couple nights in Ogunquit.  I returned to The Sparhawk Oceanfront Resort after enjoying my stay so much last year with Jill.  I was super bummed to have missed Ogunquitfest this year (hoping to make it in 2018!).  There were still a few scarecrow setups though but most were taken down or destroyed by the storms that had rolled through.

If you’re tuning in part way through my trip, at this point in my travels I had come down with the flu.  I had skipped a few “things to see” on my list to get to my room a bit early because I was so sick.  I got checked into my ocean view room, opened the window so I could hear the ocean (and rain!) and took a nap.  It was amazing!

I spent the rest of the afternoon watching The Ruins movie after I finished the book (boy, that movie was NOT as good as the book).  By evening I felt a LOT better so I went back to La Pizzeria for dinner (the service was amazing) and called it an early night.

The next day there was actually a gale warning – the weather was definitely nautical.  Winds were whipping, rain was pouring and it was just a miserable day.  It seems to be the trend for the last day of my trip – I’ve had a few of these storms blow in just as I’m leaving!  Luckily we were just warm enough that we avoided the snow that had hit more inland but it was still pretty miserable.

 I felt a lot better so after the rain let up a bit I headed out to Nubble Lighthouse because I love this lighthouse!  It was fun to photograph it when the waves were going crazy.

After nubble I headed over to a nearby spot I had seen on the Down East Magazine Facebook Page, Wiggly Bridge, almost a year before.  I had pinned it on my to-see board and when I arrived I couldn’t get over how absolutely adorable this little spot was.  I took a ton of photos and had the park to myself.  I wandered around for a bit before the rain really started to get heavy and ran back to my car before the skies completely unleashed.

I stopped for lunch at Wild Willy’s Burgers which I had tried to hit up a few times before but their hours are SO weird I kept missing out on them.  I’m glad to have finally been able to hit it at the right time because the reviews are right, this place does have amazing burgers!  SO good!

The rain kept getting harder and harder so I ended up going back to the room and reading a bit before meeting up with Gianina for dinner.  We ended up going to The Front Porch Piano Bar and Restaurant since it was close and it seemed cozy.  It was the perfect choice and the food was amazing!  It was also nice to catch up with a friend (and past client) before heading back home.  Solo trips are fun but it’s also nice to have a human to talk to every now and again as well LOL!

On my final morning I was lucky enough to wake up to the most beautiful sunrise!  I kept missing them all week due to being sick and I am SO glad that I was able to see one before returning home.

 

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Gloucester and Coastal Massachusetts

After leaving Nantucket (click for the first post in this series) I was feeling pretty terrible and was getting worse by the minute.  Before leaving for my trip I had been fighting a cold/flu and it finally was done being a “I think I’m getting sick” to a full fledged I am SICK.  All I wanted to do was go back to the White Elephant, curl up in a ball on that luxurious bed and sleep for days.  It has been a while since I’ve felt that poorly and being sick on vacation sucks.  Even more so when you’re solo so you have to do the driving!  Still, I had to get to my next stop so I took a lot of medicine after stopping at Friendly’s for lunch (they closed all of the locations in Ohio and I have a weakness for their quesidillas!) I doused myself with cold medicine and headed off!

Along the way I kept debating on whether or not to stop and see the Plymouth Rock.  From what everyone has said, it’s really lackluster and not what people are expecting so I was very close to not going (again, sick) but I decided that it was one of those things I couldn’t really pass up.  I had allotted for extra time because I was supposed to meet a fellow photographer but I cancelled so I didn’t get her sick and decided to use the time to go see the rock.

Plymouth Rock in Massachusetts

To be honest, I was kind of impressed!  I was expecting a pebble in a box from what I’d been lead to believe was there and I was surprised to see a sizable boulder sitting down on the sand.  I also didn’t expect it to still be on the shore (can you tell I did no research for this part of my trip??).  I’m sure it really isn’t THE rock but it’s still neat and pretty cool to see.  The little town was absolutely adorable as well and I’m sorry that I couldn’t stop and poke around.

Plymouth Rock Historical Site

Shore and Boats of Plymouth Massachusetts

I got back into my car and after a bit of a haul I wound up at my destination for the night, Atlantis Oceanfront Inn in Gloucester.  To go from the White Elephant to there was a bit of a change but the service was absolutely charming and just what a flu addled solo traveler needed.  When I checked in the man (owner?) was so amazingly kind.  They had fresh cookies and hot apple cider in the office and the apple cider was JUST what I needed after my trip.  I drug my suitcases up to my room and was happy to see the amazing view of the dual lighthouses at Thatcher Island from my balcony (yep, another lighthouse view room, it’s how I roll on vacation!).  I went back down to get advice for dinner.  I knew I wasn’t feeling hot but I also knew that not eating would only make things worse so I headed into town.

Thatcher Island Lighthouse from Atlantis Oceanfront Inn

My first stop was the Fisherman’s Memorial.  One of the shows I’m obsessed with is Deadliest Catch and watching that show gave me even more of an appreciation for what these men go through to earn their living on the sea.

Gloucester Fisherman

Of course I had wanted to visit the town ever since I read The Perfect Storm (and saw the movie) so I drove by the spots that had been featured in both.  I eventually wound up at Seaport Grille which was the PERFECT place.  They had chicken pot pie on the menu as a special of the day and it was the best thing I think I had all week.  I’m not sure if it was the flu or the food but man, that hit the spot.  Also, if you haven’t guessed it, I don’t eat seafood.  LOL.   It’s just an iPhone shot but this dinner was so good I had to document it. Also another nod to the service.  My waiter was so kind and lovely!  I highly recommend stopping here when in town.  And yes, I washed it down with Prosecco. Ha!

Seaport Grille Gloucester

After dinner I took a few attempts at photographing the lighthouses but my lens was being a pain (I would send it in for service upon my return) so I said sod it and crawled into bed with the next book on my list The Ruins by Scott Smith (I tore through Winter Storms in a day while appropriately in Nantucket!).  If you haven’t read The Ruins YOU MUST READ IT!  So good – so long as you enjoy horror/thriller.

Thatcher Island Lighthouse at Night

The next morning I felt even worse.  Luckily I didn’t have too much planned and my drive wasn’t nearly as far.  I started off with breakfast at the Inn and headed off down the coast.  My first stop was at Eastern Point Lighthouse and Dog Bar Breakwater Lighthouse.

Eastern Point Lighthouse in GloucesterDog Bar Breakwater Lighthouse

I headed to Rockland which I had seen a ton of photos of online and was so darn picturesque I HAD to stop for some photos.  The town was as adorable as I thought and I was so sick I literally was there for 15 minutes tops.  I just couldn’t hang.

Rockland Massachusetts HarborRockland Massachusetts Harbor

A bit further down the road I stopped quickly at the Wingaersheek Beach which had views of Annisquam Lighthouse.  They’ve recently shut down access to the lighthouse but the views from the beach were quite good!

Annisquam Lighthouse in Massachusetts

The quick stops had taken their toll on me so I loaded up and decided to nix the rest of the lighthouses and scoot on up to Ogunquit.

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Cape Cod and Nantucket

Last October I headed back to New England for my annual dose of leaves and ocean and since I apparently blog about this trip every Earth Day I’m not going to break tradition now!  Last year I changed things up a bit and while I still ended in Maine (of course) I visited a bit more of Massachusetts than I had before, starting with Cape Cod and Nantucket!

For years I’ve been contemplating a trip to Nantucket.  I’ve been reading books set on her for years and years but most recently the novels from Elin Hilderbrand and Nancy Thayer have really piqued my interest in going.  I almost went a few years ago but a nor’easter changed those plans and I stayed on the mainland.  This year I started off the trip by heading there so if I got stuck on the island I wouldn’t be worried about missing flights!  It was a fascinating stay and I hope to return again someday.

So, let’s start with the beginning half of the trip – Cape Cod and Nantucket!!

I started out meeting my friend and bride Kristen for lunch shortly after I landed in Boston.  Her sister was originally going to do a session but that fell through so I’m so glad I was still able to meet up with Kristen!  We ended up at the Freeport Tavern which just recently closed after 27 years in business.

Once we were done I headed down to Hyannis where I booked a room at the Anchor In on the waterfront.  Let me tell you, I absolutely and completely adored this hotel!  If you are ever on Cape Cod I highly, highly recommend this hotel.  From check in to check out the service here was amazing and the room was just wonderful. I stayed on one of the end rooms with a huge balcony overlooking the bay and lighthouse (of course).   In this view below from the next morning my room was the second one down on the far left side of the hotel.

Anchor In Hyannis in Cape Cod

The view from my room!

View from balcony at the Anchor In

While checking in I was shocked to find out that the hotel was completely booked.  It was a Sunday in October, the week after Columbus Day and not typically what is considered high season in New England.  Turns out that the past few days of ferry runs to the islands had been cancelled due to the winds and everyone was stuck!  Glad I made my reservations early!!!  Once I got into the room and dumped my bags I didn’t feel much like leaving since the weather was terrible and I was starting to feel like I was coming down with something.

After calling the front desk (again, raves!) they recommended a local pizza place that not only delivers but had online ordering!  Palio Pizzeria was quickly ordered and I curled up on the couch, munched on some amazing pizza and watched Poldark (if you aren’t watching it, you need to!).  This is the next morning’s view of how I spent a delectable night!

Anchor In Hyannis Hotel Room

The next morning I packed up, checked out and headed down to the ferry dock.  After finding where to park (which was a bit more of an adventure than I anticipated!) I finally was in line and waiting for the famous Hy-Line Ferry!  I wandered around a bit before boarding and took a few photos of Hyannis while waiting to board.

Hyannis harbor in Cape Cod

It was a bit chilly but it was an absolutely gorgeous day so I splurged for the upgraded seating and had my camera ready for any and all lighthouses on the way.  Point Gammon was first and then Great Point Lighthouse.  The trip was pretty quick and despite the waves of the previous days it was a calm trip.

Point Gammon Lighthouse Great Point Lighthouse

Here’s where I made an epic mistake and I’m telling you about it so you don’t have to.  I rented a Jeep from Affordable Rentals after doing some research online as to IF to rent a car and where to rent one from.  They came highly rated and a few reviews mentioned them being picked up at the docks.  I’m not sure if that’s a summer-only feature or what but it was not an option when I arrived.  They told me to walk the “short” few blocks to their offices.  Now, if I traveled lightly that likely wouldn’t be an issue but with camera gear and luggage in tow, it was a bit of a pain in the butt – especially when traveling over cobblestone.  If I had to do it all over again I would have taken the bus to the hotel and then walked back to Affordable Rentals which was close to the hotel.  I would have done the reverse when leaving.  So, if you ever do what I did and don’t have the ability to have someone drop you and luggage off somewhere THEN deal with the car, I highly recommend getting your luggage to/fro and then dealing with the car.  Lessons learned!

After I got my Jeep loaded up I headed over to my hotel for the next few days, the White Elephant Hotel.  I had gone back and forth and back and forth again about my Nantucket hotel.  I debated between this and another hotel which I almost stayed at before but in the end the White Elephant won because I was able to see the ocean, have a balcony and a bathtub.  I know it’s silly but I am a bath person and smelling the salt air is a must for me!

I got really lucky and ended up with an upgraded suite and I couldn’t have loved it more!!  It had a separate sitting room, a fireplace, a private balcony and was just simply amazing.  While it was too chilly to enjoy the balcony much I did leave the door open for a bit to smell the salt air and take in the breeze.  It was such a cozy and charming room!  I forgot to take photos of the interior but here’s the balcony and the view of Children’s Beach.

View from the White ElephantView from the White ElephantWhite Elephant Balcony

 

I ended up on the island a lot earlier than I anticipated so after a lunch at B-ACK Yard BBQ (definitely recommended, so so so good!) I headed back to the White Elephant to leave my car and walked down to Brant Point Lighthouse.  It’s the most adorable lighthouse and I’m so glad that being there in the off season meant that I got it all to myself!  Along the way I stopped and photographed some sea oats and the old lighthouse which is now a Coast Guard station.

Nantucket Sea OatsCoast Guard Station in NantucketBrant Point LighthouseBrant Point LighthouseBrant Point Lighthouse

It was getting close to sunset and all I’ve read about for years was how amazing the sunsets are from Madaket so I headed over there to wait for the show to start.  The light hit the magic hour and the beach was amazing!  The winds were crazy so I kept going between the beach and my car.  While in my car taking a wind break I SAW A WHALE and was super bummed I didn’t reach for my camera fast enough.  Even still, it was a magical time on the beach and I think Madaket secured its place on my favorites list after this day.

Madaket Beach on NantucketMadaket Beach on NantucketMadaket Beach WavesSun setting on Madaket Beach

After I got back to my room I decided to stay in and went to the restaurant on site, Brant Point Grill, which was pretty good but chilly due to the restaurant being on a covered patio.

The next day I really had no concrete plans, I just headed out in the late morning after sleeping in and started off at Steps Beach.  It was a bit tricky to find and park for it but once I found it was perfect! It was a bit too chilly to enjoy but I was able to get some photos and walk around and see one of the beaches I’ve been reading about for so long.

Steps Beach on NantucketSteps Beach on Nantucket

I was a bit hungry since I had skipped breakfast (I’m not much of a breakfast food person) and couldn’t find much open.  It’s the off season so finding things is hit or miss.  I almost ended up back at the BBQ place because I LOVED their mac and cheese but then I remembered how many times I’d read about people eating at the Nantucket Pharmacy in the books and decided I should at least stop and check things out there and see what it was like.  If nothing else I could take something to go and eat at one of the beaches.

Turns out, Nantucket Pharmacy is amazing and was the perfect choice for lunch, even if that cobblestone road was determined to be the death of me.  LOL.  They have an old school soda fountain and since it was noon it was packed but I was able to snag a seat next to a sweet old lady who lived on the island.  She recommended their turkey rueben and I went for it and it.was.so.good.  Now, I am not a foodie, nor do I pretend to be.  Give me good old fashioned plain cooking and I’m a happy camper.  This sandwich hit every mark and I’m still craving another months later.

Lunch at Nantucket Pharmacy

After lunch I headed out to the side of the island I had yet to explore and scooted off to ‘Sconset and the famouns Sankaty Lighthouse!  When I got there I finally saw my first batch of tourists so I decided to wait in my car and just take in the views for a few.  Once they left and I had the place back to myself I got out and roamed the area.  I’d been wanting to see this lighthouse for a LONG time, even before all of the books I read since it was also relocated by the same people who relocated Cape Hatteras Lighthouse.  Sankaty is perched on top of a cliff and is a very distinctive red and white striped lighthouse.

Sankaty Lighthouse in NantucketSankaty Lighthouse

I headed back towards the center of the island to check out Cisco Brewers and along the way I stopped at the Middle Moors Serengeti which had caught my eye along the way to ‘Sconset.  It’s a spot of the island which looks a lot like the Seregenti of Africa so I pulled over on the way back and did a bit of a hike around to check it out.  It’s a neat little nook and I think October may be the best time to really enjoy this part of the island.

Nantucket Serengeti Trail

Eventually I wound my way back to Cisco Brewers and took a break from the driving and sightseeing to enjoy a Grey Lady Ale and read some of my book, Winter Storms by Elin Hilderbrand, which is set on Nantucket.  If you haven’t read the Winter Street series, do pick them up – they are so good!  This was a perfect spot to curl up with a book.  The interior of the island was a bit warmer and with the sun it was a great spot to sit outside for a spell.  They have a bunch of tables and chairs scattered around the property in almost a junk yard style but I mean this in the best possible way.  You feel like you’re at a friend’s backyard!  A lot of people were there, far more than I anticipated for a random Tuesday in October, and there were a lot of furry friends there who kept coming by for some love.  It really is a must-do when on Nantucket.  Bonus is that during the in season they run a bus so you don’t have to drive!

Grey Lady Ale at Cisco Brewers

After some time at Cisco Beach I headed back downtown to check out the Whaling Museum.  I had read In the Heart of the Sea before heading on my trip so I wanted to check out the museum which had some artifacts from the Essex as well as props from the movie that was released not too long ago.  The museum was pretty spectacular and definitely worth a visit for anyone that is into history or seafaring kind of things.  It’s self guided and there is a LOT to take in but easy enough to do in an hour or so.  I didn’t take any photos inside but I did take some photos of the views from the roof.  I then wandered around downtown for a bit and took some more photos of the streets.  It’s a charming city!

View of Nantucket from the Whaling MuseumNantucket Old South Wharf on Nantucket

Once again it was time for the sun to take it’s final bow for the day so I scooted back towards Madaket to see if that night the sunset would be any better.  While the light wasn’t quite as golden when I arrived the sun did put on a show… that I barely could stand outside to photograph because the winds were so strong!  It was bitterly cold so I was super glad for a deserted beach and parking lot so I could pop in and out at will!

Sun setting on an October Day on Nantucket

Madaket Beach on Nantucket at SunsetMadaket Beach on Nantucket at Sunset

That night I enjoyed some room service as the winds hadn’t died down and I was starting to feel worse and worse from the flu.  The yummy filet, the cozy fire and a steaming hot bath helped though and I cannot rave enough about the White Elephant and how amazing it was.  This was such a relaxing night!  Yes, I drink Coca-Cola with my champagne, doesn’t everyone?

Room Service at White Elephant Hotel

The next morning I took some photos from the balcony (above!) and drug my flu addled brain to the ferry docks after dropping off my Jeep and lugging my luggage back across the cobblestone to the docks.  While waiting for the morning ferry I came across Nantucket Perfume Company which I fell in LOVE with even though I could barely smell.  The man working was wonderful and I definitely recommend people hitting it up when in town or ordering some online!  I ended up with their version of my go-to perfume (Chanel Chance Eau Fraiche) and a couple of their Nantucket Blends along with some bath bombs.  Definitely a great gift idea for the people in your life that love the beach and/or Nantucket!

The next stop on the trip is Plymouth Rock, Gloucester and a bunch of cute spots in Massachusetts!

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