Travel Destinations

Cruising the Bahamas - Marsh Harbour

Bahamas / Caribbean
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April 2014
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By
Robert
Wilson

Marsh Harbour

Great Abaco and the surrounding cays lie along the northeast portion of the Bahamas, 200 miles from the coast of southern Florida, and the area offers some of the world's best cruising and sailing destinations. Each cay has its own ambiance and character, with access to the Atlantic Ocean and the pristine Sea of Abaco.Marsh Harbour is the hub and commercial center of Great Abaco Island and serves as an ideal base for any visit. There are a host of anchoring and docking possibilities, an infrastructure to support extended cruising and a variety of shopping, dining and entertainment options. Anchoring in the harbor provides easy access to Maxwell's, the major grocery store, and dining and bar hopping options such as Snappa's, Mangoes and Curley Tails. On Wednesday and Saturday nights, boaters gather at the Jib Room, located at Marsh Harbour Marina (242-367-2700, jibroom.com) on the harbor's north side; It is well known for its ribs and steaks. Both are popular with boaters and locals, so reservations are required. Harbour View Marina (242-367-3910, harbourviewmarina.com) provides convenient dockage to downtown, a pool and patio deck, a friendly atmosphere and fuel.Boat Harbour Marina at Abaco Beach Resort (242-367-2158, abacobeachresort.com) is located on the southern shore of Marsh Harbour, with direct access to the Sea of Abaco. With more than 198 slips for vessels up to 200 feet, fuel, two swimming pools and two restaurants, it is the most comprehensive development on Great Abaco Island. Each year the resort hosts several fishing tournaments, and the private beach is a gem for those looking for solitude and privacy.

Day 1: Man-O-War - Distance from Marsh Harbour: 4.3 miles

At the end of the American Revolution, loyalists to the British Crown fled to Abaco and established settlements throughout the area. The settlements of Man-O-War and Hope Town offer glimpses of those early days. Most of the 300 residents on Man-O-War can trace their family lineage back to a young couple from Charleston, S.C., who settled there in the late 18th century. For hundreds of years, Man-O-War was known as the boat-building capital of the Bahamas. The wooden sailboats constructed here along the protected harbor played a major role in the development of reliable transport and shipping throughout the region.Man-O-War Marina (242-365-6008, manowarmarina.com) provides a limited number of slips for docking and has moorings for transient or long-term use. Their Dock-'N-Dine Restaurant serves up some of the freshest Bahamian cuisine around. The folks at Edwin's Boat Yard (242-365-6006, edwinsboatyard.com) provide excellent marine repairs and services, and seldom does anyone visit Man-O-War without purchasing a canvas bag from the Sail Shop or a souvenir from Joe's Studio, one of the best shops in the Bahamas. Taking a walk on the beach is as easy as strolling along the settlement's narrow streets to find the perfect spot.

Day 2: Hope Town - Distance from Man-O-War: 4.70 miles

Hope Town is the principle village on Elbow Cay and the site of the candy-striped Elbow Cay Lighthouse, one of only two hand-wound kerosene lighthouses remaining in the world. The 89-foot-high edifice was built in 1863 and played a significant role in the development of Hope Town, as fishing and shipping industries flourished throughout the Bahamas.Today, thriving Hope Town is full of New England-style clapboard cottages painted in an almost endless array of pastel colors. Gateways along the walking-only paths are festooned with bougainvillea and native plantings. Dining out is popular here as is clear from the wide assortment of casual and fine dining establishments. A trip to Hope Town would be incomplete without visits to the Wyannie Malone Museum, to learn more about the early days on Elbow Cay, and Vernon's Grocery, to sample the ever-popular key lime pie.At the foot of the Elbow Cay Lighthouse is the newly constructed Hope Town Inn and Marina (242-366-0003, hopetownmarina.com), which boasts 50 slips set on a private 15-acre estate. The in-harbor setting makes for a spectacular view of the village, and there are two pools and a restaurant with casual Caribbean cuisine.

Day 3: Nassau - Distance from Hope Town: 103.2 miles

If time permits, it is well worth the effort to visit Nassau on the island of New Providence, a one-day run from Hope Town and just 90 miles south of Marsh Harbour. The open-water passage across the channel from Abaco is straightforward and enjoyable, weather permitting.Nassau once had a rich history of rum running and pirating, but today it is the capital of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas and the islands' largest city. A tour of the area will reveal how the Lucayan Indians, Spanish rule, post-Revolutionary loyalists, Bahamian Independence and a flourishing tourism industry influenced development.There are many marinas along the harbor, including Hurricane Hole Marina (242-363-3600, hurricaneholemarina.com), a 90-slip full-service facility. On the southwest shore is Albany Marina (242-676-6020, albanybahamas.com), a megayacht complex accommodating vessels up to 300 feet. The most recent addition to the eastern shore of Nassau is Palm Cay (242-324-5132, palmcay.com), an oceanfront marina residential community offering seaside living and world-class amenities. Its full-service facility can accommodate 194 vessels, and amenities include pools, a gourmet market and a private beach. If you make it to New Providence, the 69-acre property is a must-visit.

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True boaters say the real Maine coast doesn’t start until you reach Penobscot Bay. This is “Down East” from Kennebunkport and Portland. The dramatic stretch of coastline from Camden to Mount Desert Island sparkles with granite shores, dotted with archipelagos of pine-tree covered islands and mountains cascading into the sea. This region offers some of the best cruising ground in the world.

Camden is a magical little seaside town in the heart of Maine’s mid-coast. It’s historic but hip. “Where the Mountains Meet the Sea” is their moniker, as Camden Hills and 780-foot Mount Battie stretch down toward the bustling waterfront where this 1769 New England village sits, creating a postcard scene.

Camden is super foot-traffic friendly, starting at Harbor Park and the beautiful brick Public Library that graces the top of the bay by the Town Docks. Enjoy a picnic on the sprawling park lawn; there’s often a craft festival or free concert at the outdoor amphitheater. From the waterfront, stroll the quaint sidewalks leading to cafés, boutiques, craft stores and art galleries, pubs, and surprisingly trendy restaurants.

You can hike, bike or drive the toll road up Mount Battie in Camden Hill State Park, which encompasses 5,500 acres and 30 miles of trails. Your reward is spectacular panoramic views of the harbor and Penobscot Bay below.

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Camden hosts festivals throughout the summer season of jazz, film and its trademark Windjammers. In winter, the U.S. National Tobogganing Champion-ships are held at Camden’s namesake Snow Bowl – our country’s only ski area with views of the Atlantic.

Camden is an ideal boater’s gateway with all the services and shops you need in walking distance from the waterfront. Excursions from this protected harbor are countless and legendary. A quick cruise brings you to quiet Lasell Island for a sunset anchorage. Farther on you reach Maine’s Maritime Academy home in beautiful Castine, and the rustic islands of North Haven, Vinalhaven and Deer Isle. Ultimately you can cruise north and east through beautiful Merchants Row, or the more protected Eggemoggin Reach, to Mount Desert Island, home to famed Acadia National Park, Northeast, Southwest and Bar Harbors.

WHERE TO DOCK

Camden Public Landing
Town Docks
207-691-4314

Contact the harbormaster for overnight slips, limited but in town, and moorings throughout the harbor.

Lyman-Morse at
Wayfarer Marine
207-236-7108

Across the harbor on Camden’s east shores, this revamped marina is a half-mile walk to town, with new docks and a marina facility, home of Lyman-Morse Boatyard and 30 slips plus moorings.

WHERE TO DINE

40 Paper
207-230-0111

Relish artful cuisine locally sourced from farmers, fishermen and “foragers.” In an historic wool mill in downtown Camden, it’s comfy but chic. Savor octopus, lamb, mussels, salmon and more with fresh produce and creative sides. Save room for dessert made from scratch.

Peter Otts on the Water
207-236-4032

Get your chowder and Maine lobster fix from Chef Peter. This classic setting overlooking the harbor is a Camden staple you “ott” not miss. Open for lunch or dinner.

Franny’s Bistro
207-230-8199

With a neighborhood feel, Franny’s serves up lobster fritters, crab cakes, shrimp dumplings and land-lubber faves, too. A fun menu in a cozy setting.

Bagel Café
207-236–2661

For fresh-brewed morning coffee and daily “boiled then baked” bagels or breakfast sammies served all day.

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Jamestown, Rhode Island
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Located on Conanicut Island, Gould Island and Dutch Island, Jamestown welcomes boaters to Narragansett Bay.  Its southernmost point is on Gould Island and marked by Beavertail Lighthouse and State Park. The northernmost point is marked by Conanicut Island Lighthouse.  While Conanicut Island is the second largest island on Narragansett Bay, it is near the western mainland in Kingston, and Newport lies to the east on Aquidneck Island.  Hop on the Jamestown Newport Ferry to get the lay of the land and sea.

Jamestown was settled early in colonial history and was named for James, Duke of York, who became King James II in 1685.  By 1710, many of Jamestown’s current roads were already in place and a lot of its early architecture is well preserved. Soak up some local history at the Jamestown Fire Memorial Museum, Beavertail Lighthouse Museum and Park, Jamestown Windmill, Watson Farm, Conanicut Island Sanctuary, Fort Wetherill State Park, and the Jamestown Settlement museum.

The main town, shops and restaurants are located on the eastern shore of Conanicut Island.  But even from the western side, Dutch Harbor and other attractions are easily accessed with a one-mile walk.

WHERE TO DOCK

Conanicut Marina
401-423-5820

This full-service marina has a ships store/chandlery, gift shop, extensive dockage and a large mooring field.  It’s located in the heart of town overlooking Newport and the Pell Bridge, but bring your fishing poles for the kids.

Dutch Harbor Boat Yard
401-423-0630

Located on the west passage of Narragansett Bay, this small, local marina has good moorings, launch service and facilities.  At times, the harbor can be rolly from a SW wind up the West Passage.  The holding ground is excellent for anchoring, but the dinghy dock is by seasonal permit only.

Safe Harbor Jamestown Boatyard
401-423-0600

Jamestown Boatyard is renowned for excellent workmanship on all types of boats.  It also has a large mooring field and is in a beautiful location on the East Passage.

WHERE TO DINE

Slice of Heaven
401-423-9866

This family-owned café and bakery with an outdoor patio is an ideal spot for breakfast and lunch, especially if you’re looking for tasty gluten-free and vegetarian options.

J22 Tap & Table
401-423-3709

This lively, year-round restaurant specializes in classic American cuisine and local seafood dishes such as New England clam chowder, lobster tail and seared yellowfin tuna while accommodating meat eaters with wings, burgers and steak tacos.

Village Hearth Bakery & Café
401-423-9282

Take a seat inside this rustic eatery or outside on the patio to enjoy wood-fired bread, pizzas and pastries with a cool beer or wine.  To start your day with a smile, order a cup of the eco-friendly coffee.

Bay Voyage Restaurant
401-560-7979

Inside the Wyndham Bay Voyage Inn, this casual dining establishment presents a seasonal menu of American cuisine standards and seafood with fresh ingredients and a stellar view of Narragansett Bay.

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Explore the Spirited Lakefront of Burlington, VT
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A vibrant, compact city hugging the eastern shoreline of Lake Champlain, Burlington abounds in scenic beauty, four-season recreation, a college town vibe, arts and culture, and a quirky character all its own.

Burlington - destinations - marinalife
Burlington Church Street | Michelle Raponi on Pixabay

Eclectic shops named Anjou & the Little Pear or Common Deer, and restaurants called Zabby & Elf 's Stone Soup or The Skinny Pancake dot the urban landscape. A local artist's satirical comment on the bureaucracy of urban planning called File Under So. Co., Waiting for..., consists of 38 filing cabinets welded together to a 40-foot height. Birds frequently nest in the upper chambers.

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burlington - destinations - marinalife
Burlington Bike Path | Michelle Raponi on Pixabay

Since the 1800s, the Old North End has been the city's melting pot, and global cuisine from Nepalese dumplings to the African Market can be found here today. Between munches, stroll over to historic Elmwood Cemetery, whose residents include Revolutionary War soldiers. Hear their stories and perhaps have a chance encounter with a local spirit on a Queen City Ghostwalk Tour. Liquid spirits rule when the internationally famous, regionally beloved and hidden gem breweries line up for the annual Vermont Brewers Festival. Year round, enjoy homemade bratwurst and drafts at Zero Gravity Craft Beer. At acclaimed Foam Brewers, the patio faces Lake Champlain waterfront and the Adirondack Mountains. Hop on the Sip of Burlington Brew Tour for a dozen tastings and the sights of this dynamic, energetic city.

Where to Dock

Burlington Community Boathouse Marina

802-865-3377

This full-service marina is the centerpiece of a growing waterfront. Amenities include 105 slips up to 65 feet, Splash Café and a fantastic sunset over the Adirondacks.

Burlington Harbor Marina

802-540-6869

With 160 slips (60 transient slips up to 80 feet), this new marina's tranquil harbor setting is convenient to downtown amenities and recreational activities.

Where to Dine

Honey Road

802-497-2145

Savor sophisticated Mediterranean small plates, cocktails and creative desserts in a comfy tavern setting.

burlington - destinations - marinalife
Burlington Church Street | Needpix

The Farmhouse Tap & Grill

802-859-0888

This farm-to-table gastropub dishes up local burgers, charcuterie and innovative specials. Sip on local brews in the beer garden.

RíRá

802-860-9401

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Leunig's Bistro & Café

802-863-3759

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Hen of the Wood

802-540-0534

Enjoy a true Vermont dining experience in a romantic, rustic atmosphere adjacent to the Hotel Vermont.

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