We had a fantastic vacation this summer to mark our 7th anniversary.
We started out driving to Northeastern Pennsylvania on Friday night to visit Jocelyn and Forrest at Ebb & Flow Organic Farm. After a fun night in the guest house (the newest Tiny House at Ebb and Flow Farm), and packing a load of fresh organic veggies, herbal olive oil and fresh honey from the farm into our cooler the next day we were off on the next leg of our vacation trip.
We drove through upstate New York and along the Mass Pike from the Berkshires to north of Boston on our way to Cape Ann in Massachusetts. We arrived at the seacoast on Saturday afternoon with Hurricane Bill ... and left as Hurricane Danny passed by the following weekend. Although no damaging surf or wind came through, the waves at Good Harbor Beach were 12 feet high on Sunday. The surf was amazing and lifeguards were keeping most swimmers away from the rocks.
We spent a sunny seaport week in Gloucester, where we both enjoyed more local flavor than I did when I lived on Cape Ann 10 years ago. Every day was a beach day and we visited Good Harbor Beach, Long Beach, Bearskin Neck, Folly Cove, plus spent some time climbing the rocks at Stage Fort park and walking down Main Street in Gloucester. We had our bikes in the back of the truck, so we rode all around Rocky Neck where we met a fun artist at Imagine studio and got photos of her colorful art car.
We bought and cooked local Gloucester lobsters - fresh and lively right off the boat just a short walk from our vacation rental - for our anniversary dinner. We enjoyed the meal at sunset from the deck at our apartment overlooking East Gloucester's working harbor. We even bought 6 extra lobsters later in the week. Doug cooked, shelled and froze them to take back home to flatlandville.
Trish, Jim and the grandkids drove in from New Hampshire for a beach day on Tuesday. The tidal pools were full of fish, crabs, snails, starfish and seaweed - Bella had a blast looking for crabs and starfish and shells with her friend Olivia; when the tide came in the girls grabbed the boogie board and rode the incoming lazy river current under the footbridge at Good Harbor beach.
On his first trip to the ocean, Sawyer built sand castles and moats with Doug and explored the tide pools.Doug and I feasted on absolutely delicious gourmet dinners at The Franklin, The Rudder, The Studio and Thai Cuisine plus I had real fried FRESH seafood and home made onion rings at Charlie's place (twice!).
Living away from the beach and far from New England makes a native long for fresh haddock, scallops, lobstahs and clams. You cannot get the same thing elsewhere in the Northeast. Believe me, I've tasted and tried in PA, NJ, DE and MD. The other seaside spots can't touch the taste, freshness and quality of New England seafood restaurants. And to make this trip really foodie perfect: no MSG, no food service prepack meals and no additives and preservatives to make me sick!!!
We enjoyed 10 days of grand and glorious food despite Gloucester's public water system problems that added extra work and sanitation steps to all restaurants and households in the area.
Thursday night was extra special - we visited the Cape Ann Farmer's Market at Harbor Loop in downtown Gloucester then took a sunset sail on the Thomas E. Lannon masted schooner. Captain Tom Ellis and his family and friends and talented team constructed her about 10 years ago from local timber.
Our sunset sail aboard the Thomas E. Lannon included acoustic entertainment from "Fly" Amero and Allen Estes. The entertainment was a lucky coincidence ... we wanted to sail on Wednesday but the boat was booked for a private charter.
Thursday's sunset sail was a once-annual event with the musical duo, and it was a kind of old-home event for me. When I lived in downtown Newburyport back in the mid 1990's I was a regular at The Grog whenever Fly's band hosted a special blues event in the downstairs club. I also went to other bars to dance to the Allen Estes Band in and around northern Massachusetts and southern New Hampshire. So it was truly a treat to discover both these musicians on board as the acoustic entertainment for our sunset cruise around Gloucester harbor.
We wrapped up our vacation trip to New England with a stop on Saturday afternoon in Brandon, Vermont on our way back home to Pennsylvania. We picked autumn raspberries with Keith and Bekah on Sunday morning at Champlain Orchards, then made the drive home to Pennsylvania in just 6 hours.
The cats were happy to see us although old man Sparkey took awhile to forgive us for leaving him home with Terra for 10 days. The two of them must have driven each other nuts - she's been sleeping in the fruit bowl on the dining room table instead of on our bed
and he claimed my suitcase as his personal napping spot this morning.
Update - I guess our two cats actually got along quite nicely while Doug and I were on vacation. I caught them sleeping together today (they almost NEVER get cozy and are usually very possessive of their personal space) so they must have had a pleasant time at home while we were away, thanks to our wonderful neighbor who fed them and gave them love and outdoor play time every day.