Monday, July 28, 2014

Neat Nantucket & Super Cool Salem

Like most people, I was a big fan of Wings when I was little.  So since that time, I've been wanting to go to Nantucket.  Of course, the only thing I really knew of on the little island was Tom Nevers field i.e. the airport : )  Since then I learned a bit more but not much.  I knew the island was incredibly expensive to get to and was full of beautiful houses. After finding the ferry, I learned it wasn't too expensive, but the houses are exactly as I'd hoped.  They're all the grey washed siding and are covered in flowers galore.  (The gardeners must be quite well paid - and deserve every penny!)

What I learned on the island, is that it's most definitely just like the small little towns you read about.  There's a main street and some great restaurants.  And all sorts of cottages. They even have a small trolley system that stands as their public transport system. In other words, it's perfect!  So, I suppose I'm saying, the island itself is the best of Nantucket. Everything there from the beautiful beach, to the grey-washed cottages, to ice cream shop at the dock to the hundreds of dogs enjoying the summer with their owners. It was everything I had hoped.  The only thing that could have made it better was landing at Nevers field via small plane.

 For those who care, about 10 seconds after this photo was taken, I caught a rogue wave and was drenched...and quite chilly

Then there was Salem.  Unlike Nantucket, it's very much a working town.  People live there and work there. But boy do they talk up the witches.  Even the town paper has a witch logo. Like Nantucket, I knew a lot of Salem from watching Hocus Pocus and reading The Scarlet Letter.  

If you're into the witch thing, basically all you have to do is walk around the town to see all sorts of monuments to the trials.  But you can also check out the witch museum.  Museums aren't really my thing but sitting in the park was quite nice.  While it's a great little town, all you really need is a day to look around.  We got there about 10:30 then left about 4.  It was perfect. 

 Now I know I talk a lot about the food and I feel terrible saying "my favorite part was the food!" so much, but in this case it was absolutely true.  We had a delicious lunch at Turner's Seafood.  I had the shrimp tacos which were probably the best I've ever had.  A little spicy, but to die for!  And they were even one of only 2 places that had normal iced tea.  Then off to dessert at the Salem Screamery (get it?  witches, scream?)  Nothing like Dark Chocolate Ice Cream to make me all giddy!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Nifty Newport

Seeing as I was in Newport for 24 hours longer than I was in Mystic technically, you'd think I would have all sorts of fabulous things to say about the richest town I've ever seen.  But I don't really.  Don't get me wrong, it's gorgeous, and I'm sure the beautiful people enjoy their very polished lives there.  But technically, I went to Nantucket for 12 of those 48 hours, so I didn't get to see much.

I suppose the big draw of Newport are the mansions.  They're EVERYwhere!  They're all big, and all gorgeous!  Some you can tour and some have actual super rich people living out their every day in them.  The most famous I suppose, is The Breakers.  The Breakers is owned by the Vanderbilt family (aka, Anderson Cooper's family) and is bigger and more ostentatious than you'd ever believe.  There was marble and gilding and silver out the wazoo, which is not really my thing.  But the view and the grounds made the place.  Just like in most places we visited, I'm pretty sure the gardeners are quite well paid.

My most favorite part was the Cliff-walk leading to most of the mansions.  It's about a mile and half right on the water.  You get great views of the water and Rhode Island, but you also get great views of the backs of some of these enormous houses.  Aside from taking your life into your hands, traversing some serious rocks instead of concrete walk-ways, it's a fantastic way to spend the afternoon.  I only wish it would have been a prettier day - the cloudy skies made for some dreary pics.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Mad for Mystic

Just like in (Old) England with Stratford upon Avon, I wasn't really looking forward to the tiny little town of Mystic CT in New England.  And of course, just like in (Old) England, I fell in love with the tiny little town from the get go.  Mystic is so much more than just the setting of "Mystic Pizza".  Granted, I was only there for about 24 hours, but I have to say, I could have stayed there much longer.  There's not much to do, but there seems like so much to see.  It may not be a trip full of adventures around every curve, but the city has enough charm to keep you coming back for more!

Seeing as I'm slightly predictable, my favorite place was Bank Street Books.  I'm a sucker for a good bookstore and this one surpassed even my wildest dreams for an independent book shop.  The store is jam packed with floor to ceiling shelves, and has so many titles that I've never seen in a Barnes & Noble.  I walked out with 3 books and some stationery but could have been so much worse than I was.  At one point, I was narrowing down the books I was going to buy from 6.  Like I said, the place is Awesome! (Also, the whale outside, is so much cuter than any other mascot I've ever seen!)
Then, came my travel partner's, aka the history buff's favorite which was Mystic Seaport. It's a replica of what Mystic would have looked like back in the day when fishing and whaling were the town's full source of income.  It wasn't really my cup of tea, (no real shopping or eating involved) but the seaport sits on the water (obviously!) so there were lots of pretty boats to see and visit.  Also the day was gorgeous, so taking lots of pictures outside was the perfect thing to do.

Then of course, always the best part of any trip, was the food.  Now I must say Boston and Newport had some serious runners in the race, but for me, the best food of the trip was had in Mystic, even though we never made it to THE Mystic Pizza.  I've never loved Lobster Rolls because of the cold lobster meat, I'd much rather have it warm.  But I learned in CT, they make theirs warm which was enough for me.  Seeing that The Ancient Mariner served theirs with Tater Tots was just icing on the cake.  Then of course there was Ice Cream at Twisters: a road side ice cream shack right on the water.  What's not to love? (The iced tea for one thing, but that can be overlooked - that lobster roll was to die for!)  PS: Sorry for the terrible iPhone pic of the lobster roll - I may have been a bit too excited to eat it : )