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Old 05-20-2014, 12:31 PM   #1
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Cruising Destinations between Newport RI and Portsmouth NH

I’m trying to come up with nice itinerary for one of our summer trips north of CT. We’re family of four (kids 17 and 9) and I usually try to have a mix between relaxing and somewhat busy good site seeing destinations. We’ve cruised quite a bit in the New England and love the ports we’ve stayed, but wanted to find new fun places.

Ports we’ve been north of Newport:
Elizabeth Islands (Cattyhunk and Hadley Harbor), MV, Nantucket, P-Town, Plymouth, Boston and Gloucester.

Preliminary I’m looking the following candidates:
Scituate, MA
Salem
Rockport
Newburyport
Portsmouth, NH

Unfortunately, I can’t find many things to do in those ports. Between cruising guide and web I still don’t have much info. But, I'm in my early stage of researching, yet.

Any thought and recommendations are greatly appreciated.
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Old 05-20-2014, 01:06 PM   #2
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Not a bad list. I'd add Marblehead for sure. Salem and Portsmouth will certainly keep the family busy ashore. The Waterway Guide North edition is pretty comprehensive.
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Old 05-20-2014, 01:27 PM   #3
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Can't speak for Situate.

Salem would probably be fun.

Rockport is a fun place for a 1/2 day, but I think nearly impossible to dock or tie up anywhere. The harbor is very tiny. Anchoring and dinghy in is probably best, but you don't want to be there in any northeast weather. A better way might be to stay in Gloucester and take the Cape Ann Transit bus to Rockport for the day.

Newburyport is another cute town, but I don't know what the transient accommodations are. Active Captain is your friend.

Portsmouth is a really nice downtown. Where ever you stay, be sure there is reasonable access to downtown. And watch the current. It really rips.

Consider a run through the Annisquam river which cuts across Cape Ann. It's a really pretty trip, with a couple of cautions. First, I'd avoid it on a weekend. It's enough of a zoo to take the fun out of it - unless of course you like zoos. Speaking of zoos, anchoring/beaching out near the north mouth of the river along Wingersheek Beach is very popular on the weekends if you like a big beach party. Second, watch the markers very carefully. There is good depth, provided you stay where you should be. Some spots are very tight and the route is counter-intuitive, but just pay attention and you will be fine. Third, watch the Blymann bridge where the river begins in Gloucester Harbor. On an ebb tide the current is quite strong and standing waves develop. It's also a relatively narrow cut. Traffic coming our of the river into the harbor goes first, then people entering the river. It's all very doable, but might seem a bit intimidating at first.
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Old 05-20-2014, 01:56 PM   #4
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Block Island?
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Old 05-20-2014, 02:10 PM   #5
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George,
I'll look in to Marblehead. Thanks for the tip.

twistedtree,
I know what you mean about Rockport. It did sound a bit skeptical after reading some reviews on AC. Taking a bus from nearby port is a good idea.

I'm familiar with Annisquam river. Last year when we stayed in Gloucester, we took our center console dinghy to explore the river. It was beautiful. We went there on both days we were transieting. The channel is definitely something to keep you on the toes. I'll just have to double check the bridges clearance to make sure I fit or have no issue raising them (I need at least 20').

Don,
Block is my regular stop every year.
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Old 05-20-2014, 04:02 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex F View Post
George,
I'll look in to Marblehead. Thanks for the tip.

twistedtree,
I know what you mean about Rockport. It did sound a bit skeptical after reading some reviews on AC. Taking a bus from nearby port is a good idea.

I'm familiar with Annisquam river. Last year when we stayed in Gloucester, we took our center console dinghy to explore the river. It was beautiful. We went there on both days we were transieting. The channel is definitely something to keep you on the toes. I'll just have to double check the bridges clearance to make sure I fit or have no issue raising them (I need at least 20').

Don,
Block is my regular stop every year.
There are 3 bridges on the Annisquam River

Blynman: Unless it's dead low tide, it will need to open, and does so on demand. It's the second busiest bridge on the eastern seaboard, at least according to the operator. Wost case you will have to wait 10 minutes or so while he lets the car traffic clear.

Railroad bridge: This is normally open except when a train is coming. Worst case you will have to wait 10 minutes, but probably not at all. It also has more clearance when closed, so under many circumstances you will be able to get under with a 20' air draft even if it's closed.

Piatt Andrew Bridge: Fixed, very high bridge. Go under it anytime.
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Old 05-26-2014, 06:31 AM   #7
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Alternate ports: Block, Fairhaven ( take a taxi to New Bedford. Spend an afternoon at the Seamans Bethel, and the Whaling Museum), then sail through canal to Sandwich ( walk or bike 2.5 miles) sandwich glass museum, see where Peter Rabbit came from, see an operating grist mill, heritage gardens, and last see a working fish hatchery), then off to PTown. Don't care what anyone says. PTown is SO eclectic it shouldn't be missed. Back across to scituate, then to Boston. Go grab a mooring off Rowes wharf, and take the kids to the aquarium and Fannual hall, Then head to Gloucester. Annisquam R. Cape ann marina. (Awesome heated pool). No issues I took a 60' 28'high tug through. As mentioned the beach at the north end is fun. But crowded. Everyone anchored with what seemed a .5 to 1 ratio and was wondering why they were dragging and smacking into each other! Go north of Portsmouth. Kittery, old orchard, and kennebunkport. Then go back to Portsmouth.
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