Discover the Island Charm of Cuttyhunk, MA

Hop Back in Time

New England

Ever wish you could hop in a time machine and go back 50 or 60 years to experience a less frenetic pace of life? It's not as far-fetched as it might sound. There's a place off the coast of Massachusetts where you can do just that ... at least for a weekend.

Cuttyhunk Island - destinations - marinalife
Cuttyhunk Island | tkesner1 on Flickr

"It's like 1960 --you're stepping back in time," notes Captain Jono Billings, who owns and operates the Cuttyhunk Ferry out of New Bedford, about 18 miles north of Cuttyhunk Island, a 580-acre arc of stone and sand that's the westernmost of the Elizabeth Islands that lie between Buzzards Bay and Vineyard Sound.

For such a small place, Cuttyhunk has a long, colorful history. In 1602 --nearly 20 years before the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock -- Bartholomew Gosnold sailed from Falmouth, England to establish a colony in the New World, explored the areas near present-day Kennebunkport, Cape Cod and Martha's Vineyard, and built a small fort on what he christened Cuttyhunk Island.

A 70-foot stone tower was constructed in 1902 commemorating the 300th anniversary of that historic landing. After passing through the hands of several English earls and dukes, Peleg Slocum purchased the island in 1693, and her family continued to live on Cuttyhunk for the next 165 years.

In 1865, a group of Rhode Island fishing enthusiasts bought a large portion of the island and built the Cuttyhunk Club and a few fishing stands, enhancing its reputation as a prime spot for sport fishing. In fact, two 73-pound, world-record striped bass have been caught off Cuttyhunk in 1913 and more recently in 1967.

Local fishermen know all the qualities and quirks of the area's waters, offering their services to visiting anglers and acting as expert navigators for ships sailing into New Bedford Harbor, piloting them through the dangerous Sow and Pig Reef on the west end of the island.

Cuttyhunk Island - destinations - marinalife
Cuttyhunk Island | Ben McLaughlin

Fishing isn't the only way to interact with nature on Cuttyhunk. Half the island is a nature preserve, home to a variety of birds and mammals, as well as wildflowers, sweet peas, bayberry and a host of other flora. Plenty of hiking trails wind through the landscape that's largely craggy and reflects Cuttyhunk's glacial origins. It's covered with the same kind of rocks and stones found in the mountains of New Hampshire and Vermont.

Although largely a day-tripper destination, visitors can overnight on Cuttyhunk with some advance planning. Most boaters prefer to stay aboard their own craft if properly outfitted, but limited accommodations are on land as well. Avalon, the Inn on Cuttyhunk Island, offers seven rooms, while Cuttyhunk Fishing Club has eight. A few cottage and house rentals are also available through Pete's Place Rentals.

Where to Dock

Cuttyhunk Marina
The marina offers 50 transient slips that can accommodate vessels up to 110 feet and have freshwater hookups and 30- and 50-amp electricity capability. About 50 moorings accommodate vessels up to 50 feet. Pump out, ice, picnic area and restrooms are available.

Frog Pond Marine Moorings
This mooring field is located in the outer harbor off the port side of Bell 6 upon entering Cuttyhunk. Bright white balls mark the moorings, which are first-come, first-serve. Tie up to any mooring that doesn't say PRIVATE, and the mooring collector will come to your boat to collect a $45 rental fee.

Jenkins Moorings
Located in the outer harbor to the right of the channel's entrance, moorings are first-come, first-serve during the high season. If you spend the night, call and they'll deliver fresh oysters and raw-bar items to your boat.

Where to Dine

Cuttyhunk Café
This coffee shop is located on the town fish dock. Start your day with coffee and pastries, pick up chowder and sandwiches for lunch, and finish the day chowing down on fresh lobster boils with corn, potatoes, onion, chorizo and steamers.

Cuttyhunk Fishing Club
Just south of town on Cemetery Road, this B&B offers the best breakfasts/brunches on the island, and you don't have to be a guest to enjoy it. They don't take reservations, so grab a cup of coffee and an Adirondack chair while you wait for your table and enjoy the porch with a million-dollar view.

Cuttyhunk Island Market
Open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., this rustic spot offers all the essentials: dry goods, sundries, bread, dairy, fresh veggies, plus 10-inch subs with a bag of chips. We may be small, but we have it all.

Cuttyhunk Shellfish Farms
This floating raw bar provides fresh Cuttyhunk oysters and clams, along with stuffed quahog and hot clam chowder to boaters during the summer, delivered right to your boat. Call them on VHF Channel 72 or stop in at their shack on the fish dock during the day to place your order.

Soprano's Pizza
The only sit-down restaurant on Cuttyhunk, this in-season eatery serves gourmet brick oven pizzas and seafood specials. Think a pizza oven held hostage in a garage, four picnic tables in a driveway lit by tiki torches, and a croaking bullfrog in the pond! Can't beat that kind of ambiance.

Related Articles
Visit the Scenic and Historic Kent Island, MD

When cruising the Chesapeake Bay and reaching the midsection where the Bay Bridge straddles the Eastern and Western shores, many boaters think of Kent Island as just a convenient stop for fuel and provisions. But taking time to explore this island reveals a lovely destination teeming with an array of amenities and attractions.

Historic Stevensville Cray House | Credit Susan Elnicki Wade

As the largest island in the Bay (nearly 32 square miles), its 157 miles of shoreline offer plenty of places to dock. Most of the restaurants, bars, hotels and commercial activity happens along Route 50, especially around Kent Narrows, the passage spanned by a bridge that delivers guests to Maryland’s Eastern Shore. The lower part of the island is home to gracious homes, cornfields and coves where watermen harvest their daily catch.

Terrapin Nature Park, on the northwest section of the island, is home to a 3.2-mile walking trail that presents spectacular views of the Bay Bridge and introduces hikers to woodlands, tidal pools and wildlife. Walkers and bikers relish the flat, easy terrain. A few miles south, Matapeake Park offers a clubhouse, picnic area, woods for shade and a beach with a canine section where the entire crew — including Fido — can take a dip.

Along Route 50, the busy highway that leads to the Delaware beaches, stands an historic marker that declares this land in 1631 became the first English settlement in Maryland and the third oldest in America after Jamestown, VA, and Plymouth, MA. For centuries, the island was home to fishing villages and farms. The walking tour of Stevensville showcases the Victorian architecture in restored houses and train station.

Cascia Vineyards | Credit Susan Elnicki Wade

Modern attractions include some unexpected amenities: two small airports located near marinas and two vineyards (Love Point Vineyards and Cascia Vineyards) on gorgeous waterfront properties. Cult Classic Brewery and Oh My Chocolates round out the secret indulgences.

Take a tour of Paul Reed Smith Guitars that designs instruments for celebrity musicians such as Carlos Santana and John Mayer, putt on smooth greens at Blue Heron Golf Course, or enjoy a seagull’s perspective on Delmarva Balloon Rides.

When all this outdoor fun leaves you wanting a bite or a brew, Kent Island’s restaurants accommodate any whim from the casual Big Owl’s Tiki Bar to the upscale Kent Island Resort. Most are clustered around Kent Narrows; all present stellar sunsets.


Bay Bridge Marina
Conveniently located at the base of the Bay Bridge, this marina accommodates vessels from 30 to 50 feet. Resort-level amenities include fuel, full-service yacht yard, two ship stores, bar and restaurant, swimming pool and more.

Kentmorr Marina
This angler’s paradise hosts 20 charter boat captains for excursions to hook rockfish, bluefish and other delicacies. Vessels up to 45 feet are welcome, and guests enjoy amenities such as fuel, two fish-cleaning stations, and a restaurant and tiki bar with a view of the bridge.

Piney Narrows Yacht Haven
The sheltered marina offers 278 open and covered slips for boats up to 67 feet. Pump out is free with fuel purchase, and repair services are on-site. Other amenities: swimming pool, picnic area, boaters’ lounge, nearby restaurants, bars, charter captains and great destinations nearby.


Amalfi Coast
Classic coastal Italian cuisine, from fresh insalate to pasta and pizza, gets rave reviews at this cozy eatery in historic downtown Stevensville.

Libbey’s Coastal Kitchen & Cocktails
Under new management this year, Libbey’s presents spectacular sunsets over the Bay Bridge at its indoor seating and large outdoor deck, while serving a nice sampling of dishes from the land and sea.

Kentmorr Restaurant & Crab House & Dirty Dave’s Tiki Bar
Since 1954, this crab house has impeccably prepared Chesapeake cuisine at a charming marina. The thatched roof tiki bar on the beach creates a kick-back summer vibe.

Harris Crab House
Family-owned for five generations, this iconic Bay eatery serves regional seafood year-round, featuring local steamed crabs, oysters and fried rockfish. The seafood processing plant next door guarantees freshness with every bite.

Red Eye’s Dock Bar
This recently expanded hot spot delivers entertainment from the lone acoustic guitarist to six-piece rock bands and the Father’s Day Bikini Contest. Pub food covers the standards with wings, sandwiches, nachos, crab cakes and more.

Fisherman’s Inn & Crab Deck
For decades, this traditional crab deck and seafood house has welcomed visitors to Maryland’s Eastern Shore cooking with a fantastic waterfront view and steamed crabs and oysters from the region.

Bridges’ open and breezy design sets a beautiful stage for dining indoors or on its expansive deck. The chef takes a contemporary spin on fresh seafood, sandwiches, salads and pizza, while guests relish spectacular Kent Narrows views.

Read More
Myrtle Beach, SC

The Classic Beach Town

Myrtle Beach has come a long way from its first hotel, Seaside Inn, which opened in 1901. Visitors at Seaside would pay a rate of $2 a night, and that included three meals. Now, Myrtle Beach is home to countless hotels and resorts.

The shifting dunes of Myrtle Beach have been home to Spanish colonists, pirates and U.S. military establishments, almost as transient as the seasonal hurricanes. The first inhabitants of the land, the Waccamaw and Winyah people, established the trail that is now Kings Highway, a local route to Savannah and Charleston. The South Carolina coast, also known as the Grand Strand, briefly hosted a Spanish settlement that was the site of the first rebellion by enslaved Africans in North America. Over the next 200 years, the South Carolina coast became a popular pirate hunting ground, most notably home to Blackbeard and Drunken Jack.

The pirates had the right idea. By land, colonizers found the Myrtle Beach area largely inaccessible, so it wasn’t until almost another 200 years that it became a vacation spot. However, by boat, Myrtle Beach is much more approachable.

For 50 years, beginning in the 1940s, Myrtle Beach was used as a military base, first for the U.S. Army Air Corps, then as the Myrtle Beach Air Force Base. The demolition of the base in the 1990s made way for a shopping hub and town center, the current Market Common. There you find restaurants, shopping, a lake with walking paths and recreational fields. If you’re looking for a meal or more shop- ping after visiting the quirky souvenir shops near the shore, this is the place.

The modern developed ocean front is dotted with hotels, amusement parks and minigolf. Regular sized golfing opportunities are also abundant with many courses to choose from. Myrtle Beach doubles as a family friendly vacation spot and a lively destination for an adult getaway. If you’re with the kids, check out the Ripley’s locations. The aquarium is a crowd pleaser no matter your age. Broadway at the Beach is an entertainment center that caters to all ages with a museum, theater and more.

No matter your fancy, you’ll find something at Myrtle Beach. Make sure your itinerary includes a ride on the SkyWheel and a walk along the pier for amazing views of the South Carolina coast.


Grande Dunes Marina
Centrally located on the ICW, this full-service marina offers 126 wet slips accommodating power or sail up to 120’. The facilities are adjacent to Marina Inn at Grande Dunes, offering deluxe suites, vacation packages and easy access to local attractions.

Osprey Marina
This secluded marina situated just off the ICW on a private, deepwater channel offers 135 wet slips and 142 indoor dry slips. The fuel dock accommodates vessels up to 90’, and complimentary pump-out services are available.

Harbourgate Marina Club
This full-service 100-slip marina is located at an upscale resort in North Myrtle Beach. Amenities include a fuel dock, harbor store, plus activities including jetski rentals and dolphin cruises.


Sea Captain’s House
Built in 1930, this iconic eatery is known for its stunning view of he water and delicious seafood, but their brunch menu has also become quite popular.

SeaBlue Restaurant & Wine Bar
Presenting fine dining on the Grand Strand, this upscale restaurant’s menu features contemporary, farm-to-table American dishes, paired with an award-winning wine list.

Fire & Smoke Gastropub
The pub’s new menu features small plates, seafood and entrees, and brings some of the finer things, like handcrafted cocktails, to a family-friendly dining experience.

Dead Dog Saloon
Located in Murrels Inlet just south of Myrtle Beach, this casual spot on a waterfront boardwalk dishes up seafood steam pots, fried local catch and meat dishes ranging from wings to BBQ. Come dance to music or watch goats nibble on marsh grasses nearby.

Read More
Newport Beach, CA

Beach Time All The Time

If a West Coast trip is on your list, the largest recreational harbor should be at the top. The complex of Newport Beach, CA, is made up of multiple “villages’’ around the bay and farther south down the coast of Orange County. These smaller areas are Balboa Peninsula, Lido Marina Village, Mariner’s Mile, Balboa Island, Corona del Mar, Newport Center, Newport Coast and The Islands of Newport Harbor.

Balboa Pier | Michael Nyiri

Balboa Peninsula, which separates Newport Bay from the Pacific Ocean, is home to the Wedge, a world-renowned destination for bodysurfing. Thanks to its beautiful weather, water sports are possible year-round. On the other end of Balboa Beach, you’ll find one of two piers on Newport Beach, including Balboa Pier with Balboa Fun Zone just across the street. The Oceanfront Walk on Balboa Peninsula is the quintessential beach trail, ideal for walking, running or biking along the water.

If you’re in the mood for hiking, the Newport area is riddled with trails. For some rugged and stunning views, make the journey to The Upper Newport Bay Nature Preserve where wildlife and rocky cliffs abound. Nature lovers also have the opportunity at Newport Beach to go whale watching and visit the Environmental Nature Center.

For your shopping pleasure, Fashion Island in Newport Center is a high-end mall serving as a one-stop-shop. Try not to shop until you drop at the mall, as the boutiques, galleries and other shops dispersed throughout the villages, especially at Lido and Balboa Island, are also worth a visit.

Top off your day at the beach with a classic Balboa bar ice cream and find a place to watch the sunset before heading to Corona del Mar as night falls to cozy up at the fire circles.


CRC Marinas
With a total of 455 boat slips, upscale amenities and exclusive beachfront access, the Newport Harbor boasts four locations operated by CRC Marinas. From
west to east along Newport’s main channel, you can find Bayshore Marina, Balboa Marina, Villa Cove Marina and Bayside Marina, all with easy access to dining, local attractions and luxury resorts.


If you’re looking for a dining experience even celebrities would be envious of, reserve a table at the iconic Japanese restaurant for world-class sushi and a stunning view of the Lido Marina.

Tavern House Kitchen & Bar
Two veteran Orange County restaurateurs, David Wilhelm and Gregg Solomon, offer beautiful meals with a view at this waterside location. Tavern House’s menu is dominated by seafood dishes and comfort food.

Eddie V’s Prime Seafood
With an in-house sommelier, your meal will be a perfectly balanced California experience. Steak and fresh seafood, served with a side of live music, is the name of the game at Eddie V’s.

Beachcomber Cafe
at Crystal Cove
Only steps from the sand this tropical eatery specializes in California fare and has a bar with a thatched roof that compliments cool, summery cocktails.

Read More

Want to Stay In the Loop?

Stay up to date with the latest articles, news and all things boating with a FREE subscription to Marinalife Magazine!

Thanks for subscribing!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Marinalife articles