One of our goals for this year’s travels is to visit places we haven’t yet seen. We had a great time last year and while we want to return to some old favorites, we thought it would keep things fresh if we made a point of stopping in new harbors and towns. Given that, we took a look at the chart and selected a few interesting spots to check out as we worked out way west along Long Island Sound.
Although we had hoped to visit Mattituck again, the weather wasn’t going to cooperate so we bypassed it and went straight to Port Jefferson for the night. From there it was a quick hop to Northport, NY which was a new destination for us. There wasn’t much wind until we turned into Huntington Bay (which is very large). At that point we went from 1 knot of wind to 18 knots and had a nice sail up to Northport.
Northport is a cute town with about 7,700 residents, located about 45 miles from Manhattan. The town center has many local shops and restaurants, art galleries, and a theater. We kicked off our stay by spending a lovely evening with Norm and Sylvia, who we met through the blog. They kindly arranged for us to use the showers at their yacht club (an unexpected unlimited hot water shower – it was heavenly!), and then they even-more-kindly treated us to dinner. The time flew by as we talked about boats, cruising, and our respective future plans. Long-time residents of the area, they also gave us some great tips for places to eat. We are looking forward to seeing them both again at some point down the road!
While we were in Northport we took Norm and Sylvia’s advice and had a tasty breakfast at the Shipwreck Diner and incredible pastries at the Copenhagen Bakery (thanks guys!). We also went to the very good (but expensive!) Farmer’s Market and spent quite a bit of time wandering around in the village. Overall Northport was a great stop and we will definitely be returning in the future.
After a few days in Northport it was time to move on to Oyster Bay. Even though we anchored in Oyster Bay last fall, we considered this to be a new spot because last year we didn’t get a chance to leave the boat and explore. Oyster Bay turned out to be a good place to stay for several days, which is lucky because the hot, humid, windless, and stormy weather wouldn’t let us leave!
Oyster Bay involved a lot of hanging out and trying to stay cool, but we did get in to town to explore a bit and pick up some basic provisions, along with a fantastic lemon ice at Bonanza’s. Bonanza’s is one of those finds that I love about traveling. It’s been around for 120 years and it has the best lemon ice we’ve ever had. It even had a few lemon seeds in it! Bonanza’s is reason alone to stop in Oyster Bay again. I foolishly didn’t take pictures, so I grabbed these off of the internet.
Another highlight of Oyster Bay was going to Sagamore Hill, Theodore Roosevelt’s house. We had wanted to see it last year only to discover that it was closed on Mondays and Tuesdays (we had arrived on a Sunday). Happily this year our timing was right.
Thanks to advice from M/V Magnolia, we were able to beach the dinghy and walk the reasonable distance to the site. It was hot and humid so we made a point of going early so we could tour the non-air conditioned house before it was too stifling. We really liked it and will definitely go again – hopefully when it isn’t so hot so we can explore the grounds more thoroughly!
After four nights in Oyster Bay the weather finally settled enough to move on to Port Washington. We stayed at this incredibly convenient spot last fall, so there was no question that we were going to return and wait for favorable timing to go down the East River. Over the course of a few days we took advantage of the easy access to dumpsters, Stop and Shop, an Ace Hardware store, and a Target, and we found a great pizza place! Port Washington is a massively convenient stop for cruisers.
The only downside to Port Washington this time was the condition of the water. I don’t know what the issue was, but coming into the harbor there were maybe 100 dead fish floating on the surface, and the water was filthy. We hadn’t seen that last year or when we passed through a few months ago, so maybe it had something to do with the heavy thunderstorms and the high temperatures we’ve been having. Regardless, it was disgusting. After only four nights there we had slime all over the bottom of the boat, and Jeff was NOT happy when it was time to raise the anchor. Ah, the glamour cruising life.
Next stop: New Jersey.