Travel Destinations

What to Do and See While in the Big City - New York

July 2016

ONE OF THE GREAT pleasures of boating is that you can explore the myriad destinations that line our nation's coasts”from tiny little time-forgotten hamlets to the booming metropolises that were shaped by their presence along harbors, rivers, and oceans. For centuries, New York city has drawn adventure seekers from across the globe”merchants looking for new outlets for their wares, financiers eager to tap into one of the most robust markets in the world, tourists hoping to experience the urban jungle's inimitable energy, if only for a few days. For contemporary cruisers, Manhattan has as many treasures and surprises to share as ever, and its lower west side is a fascinating mix of historic neighborhoods and vibrant, newly emerging districts. In this article we'll explore two downtown westside areas ripe for exploration. Dive in, and you will not be disappointed.

Financial District

The tragedy of 911 and the destruction of the two towers that comprised the World Trade Center rocked New York City's Financial District”the World Trade Center was the defining architectural presence that anchored that neighborhood for decades, and its obliteration left the area bereft, physically as well as emotionally. There was confusion and uncertainty as a plan for moving forward was painstakingly mapped out, with many false starts. Finally enough decisions were made and enough building happened, and the area has now come roaring back to life.One don't-miss site in this district is, of course, the haunting and deeply moving 9/11 Memorial Museum. There is an actual museum building, with exhibitions about the before, during, and after status of the site. It is a poetic, thought-provoking tribute to perhaps the most singularly harrowing event in contemporary American history. Most visitors move through it slowly, taking their time, lingering, reflecting. But save time and energy for visiting the outdoor space designed to commemorate the events of 9/11 in a more poetic, abstract way. Much like Maya Lin's extraordinary Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., the two flowing pools that echo the original footprints of the Twin Towers”designed by acclaimed Israeli-American architect Michael Arad”invite visitors to go deeper, and without the prescriptive narratives of a conventional museum exhibition, this outdoor portion of the memorial site is a beautiful invitation to connect with the resonant emotions of the event that the site honors and evokes.The best indicator that, despite the tragedy of 9/11, America in general and New York in particular have come roaring back to life, is everything else that has sprung up in the Financial District in that day's wake. One World Trade Center is the building that now defines the neighborhood's rejuvenation. The faceted, column-like building, designed by the legendary firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, is now the tallest building in the western hemisphere and stands as a beacon of rejuvenation in this neighborhood that not too long ago was utterly devastated. Hop on an elevator and in 60 seconds shoot to the observation deck at the top of the building for unprecedented views of New York Harbor and beyond.But wait, there's more. Brookfield Place is a just-opened shopping and dining complex featuring outposts of leaders in world luxury such as Burberry, Gucci, and Tory Burch. The food offerings highlight some of the best, most authentic dining experiences currently available in Manhattan, plus Le District, a French-style food hall that is the provisioning destination of your dreams.And if you're a boat lover who has already visited New York City, chances are you've checked out South Street Seaport, the historic district that contains some of Manhattan's oldest buildings and is an ode to the city's seafaring past. The destination bears repeat visits, as it is now being helmed by a visionary board bent on retaining that historic spirit while making the location fully alive and vibrant for today.

Chelsea/ Meatpacking District

For New Yorkers, there's some confusion these days about what defines the two adjacent districts of the Meatpacking District and Chelsea, as both these neighborhoods continue to explode and their boundaries continue to merge.This fuzziness has perhaps in part been fostered by the construction of the High Line, a dreamy, mind-blowing new park that has transformed a derelict and forsaken stretch of elevated industrial rail line into a game-changing new urban space. Stretching from Gansevoort Street to West 34th Street and created by an all-star roster of designers that includes the architecture firm Diller Scofidio + Renfro and Dutch gardener Piet Oudolf, the park opened in stages and spurred exuberant development all along the way in its wake.The High Line can be accessed by a number of staircases along its path and is open from sunrise to sunset. There is no bad time for a stroll, but the most magical moments are perhaps right when the park opens and right before it closes”the crowds haven't gathered yet and you'll have the space to yourself as you wander along this magical old rail line, much of the track still visible, surrounded by native grasses and wildflowers, and with the river and city flowing around you on every side. It is a completely unique experience, as if you are floating above an urban wonderland.Another huge draw for the area is the just-opened new facility for the Whitney Museum of American Art. The Whitney is a beloved New York City institution, with a stellar collection, and for decades it was housed on the Upper East Side. Its new quarters are gleaming, designed by the world-renowned starchitect Renzo Piano. No matter where the museum decided to site itself, it would be a draw. The fact that it now occupies a stretch near the High Line makes this part of the city a must-visit destination.These two neighborhoods represent just the tiniest, tiniest tip of the Manhattan iceberg. Which is great news. Because it means you can make New York City one of your regular cruising destinations. It will always have new secrets and treasures to share.

Where to Dine

  • Fraunces Tavern (54 Pearl Street, 212-968-1776) George Washington ate here. For real. He even used it as a site for peace negotiations with the British. The 1762-era eatery is a National Landmark and has been welcoming hungry diners for centuries, and is as warm and captivating as ever. The menu is full of fresh takes on tavern fare, and the beer, wine, and liquor lists are deep and enticing. There is a fascinating museum upstairs.
  • L'Appart (255 Liberty Street, 212-981-8577) This brand new space has been getting tons of accolades from New York City press and diners. It echoes the experience of eating in someone's home, and has a French-driven menu that changes constantly depending on what is in season.
  • Txikito (332 W. 29th Street, 212-242-4730) Alex Raij and Eder Montero are a wife-husband team who are among the city's most lauded chefs. They are dedicated to Spanish cuisine, and to interpreting it in smart, authentic, accessible ways. Txikito is their ode to Basque cuisine.
  • Cookshop (156 Tenth Avenue, 212-924-4440) A warm, welcoming space with excellent seasonal menus that feature American fare cooked with a rustic yet refined approach. This place is unbeatable any time of the day, whether you're looking for the best Bloody Marys at brunch or a sophisticated, hip spot for dinner.

Where to Dock

  • Liberty Landing Marina - located on the lower Hudson River in Jersey City, the full service, 520 slips marina offers two onsite restaurants, 24-hour fueling, and marine store.
  • MarineMax at Chelsea Pier -located in the Chelsea Piers Sports and Entertainment Complex, the marina can accommodate vessels up to 300 feet with an onsite state-of-the-art fitness center, driving range, and day spa.
  • Newport Yacht Club & Marina - situated on New York Harbor in Jersey City, the modern marina offers 154 slips for vessels up to 200 feet with service facilities onsite.
  • North Cove Marina - officially opened as of May 2016, the 32 slip marina can accommodate vessels and 24/hour security.
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Explore the Spirited Lakefront of Burlington, VT

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.

History buffs stroll through the Ethan Allen Homestead Museum or the Fleming Museum of Art's multi-era artifact collection while hikers trek the 12.5-mile path at Burlington Waterfront Park, which offers bicycle, rollerblade and kayak rentals. In season, the path connects to the Lake Champlain Islands via bike ferry.

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


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


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


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


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



According to Irish playwright Brendan Behan, The most important things to do in the world are to get something to eat, something to drink and somebody to love you. RíRá fuses classic Irish with pub grub to satisfy the first two.

Leunig's Bistro & Café


Step inside the lush garden courtyard to watch fresh local fruit, vegetables, meat and seafood transform into classic French dishes. Come enjoy a romantic evening meal.

Hen of the Wood


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

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Discover the Island Charm of Cuttyhunk, Massachusetts

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.

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Savor the Southern Charm in Wilmington, North Carolina

Like its neighbors to the south Charleston and Savannah Wilmington, North Carolina, has become a magnet for tourists and transplants looking for authentic Southern culture, cuisine and climate.

Bald Head Island - wilmington north carolina - marinalife
Bald Head Island Harbor | Wikimedia Commons

Many boaters are familiar with the area's barrier islands and beaches such as Topsail, Wrightsville, Carolina, Kure, Bald Head, but not so much the city itself, located about 30 miles upstream from where Cape Fear River meets the Atlantic Ocean.The Eastern Siouan people occupied the area when the first Europeans arrived in the early 1500s and Giovanni da Verrazzano explored the North American coast. His maps and travel accounts comprise the earliest description of North Carolina's land and people.The city of Wilmington (then called New Carthage) was founded in 1739 on the banks of Cape Fear River. Its name comes from Sir Richard Grenville's 1585 expedition when he sailed to Roanoke Island and his ship was stranded behind the cape. The crew was afraid they'd wreck, giving rise to the name Cape Fear.Also known as the Port City, Wilmington is experiencing a building boom and renaissance, with its well-preserved downtown and a bustling Port City waterfront area augmented by new condos and reclaimed riverside acreage that has been turned into parks, piers and promenades. Across from the city's Riverwalk you can find the Battleship North Carolina Memorial and tour this famous warship.Front Street, Wilmington's thriving commercial thorough-fare, is lined with chic shops, bars and restaurants populated by a mix of locals, UNC Wilmington college students and out-of-towners looking for R&R after a day of shopping, sight-seeing or cooling out at the beaches. Looking for lunch or a light alternative to a full-course dinner? Try Fun Bowl for ramen and poke bowl, Slice of Life Pizzeria & Pub for pizza, wings and subs, or Beer Barrio for Mexican dishes.

Azaleas - wilmington north carolina - marinalife
Azaleas in full bloom | Kristina Gain on Pexels

Microbreweries and brew pubs are booming here, and two are worth checking out: Front Street Brewery (craft beers and hand scratched food) and Pour Taproom & Bar (60+ different craft beers and ciders).Wilmington's Azalea Festival in April and October's Riverfest are just two of the local can't-miss events, along with other cultural happenings throughout the year. Popular spots include Greenfield Lake Park (check the live music schedule at the park's busy amphitheater), Arlie Gardens (botanical gardens, trails, birding and events) and the world-class Cameron Art Museum.For an interesting side-trip, visit Bald Head Island at Cape Fear's southern tip. The remote village is only accessible by ferry from nearby Southport, and cars are not allowed on the island. The island is nationally recognized for sea turtle nesting activity. Accommodations are available at the Marsh Harbor Inn and the Inn at Bald Head Island. A handful of restaurants serve everything from to-go meals and pub fare to wine-bar and cantina-style cuisine.

Where to Dock

Cape Fear Marina910-772-9277Part of Off the Hook Yacht Services, this gated 70-slip marina offers water, pump-out and electric hookup at every slip, and the fully equipped dock house has shower and laundry facilities. Repair and refit services are also available.Dockside Marina910-256-3579About one mile north of Masonboro Inlet near Wrightsville Beach, the marina has 180 feet of floating transient dockage and access to shore power, water and wireless Internet. It's close to local grocers, ATMs, laundries, hotels and marine stores, and the highly rated Dockside Restaurant.Port City Marina910-251-6151This full-service marina with 200+ floating concrete wet slips accommodates boats up to 400 feet and is in the heart of downtown. It offers rapid-fill fuel service, electric, free Wi-Fi, gated entrance, video surveillance, pump-out, on-site store and more. Marina Grill is steps away from the docks.Wilmington Marine Center910-395-5055Services include gas, water, electric, pump-out, wireless internet and more. The marina is in an enclosed basin off the Cape Fear River, offering 130 slips with fixed and floating docks for vessels up to 120 feet.

Where to Dine

Caprice Bistro910-815-0810For authentic French cuisine, the chef delivers classics such as escargot, crepes and mussels, as well as boeuf bourguignon, duck confit and lamb shank tagine. Locals flock to this hidden gem that celebrated its 20th anniversary last year.Circa 1922910-762-1922A lush, romantic spot that sources ingredients for imaginative dishes from local farmers and seafood merchants. Serving a mix of small plates (charred octopus, beef carpaccio, tuna tataki) and classics like paella, scallops and short ribs, the emphasis is on seasonal American fare with a European flair.Indochine910-251-9229This Far East café serves a mix of Thai and Vietnamese cuisine: satay, dumplings, pad Thai, nine different curries, bulgogi and braised catfish in an exotic, art-filled setting. Save room for sticky rice topped with warm coconut sauce and mangoes.Pilot House910-343-0200This Wilmington institution serves indigenous seafood and fowl, and the area menu includes everything from down-home cooking to Cajun and traditional Southern fare with a contemporary twist, in a restored 19th century house with a riverside terrace.Seabird910-769-5996Seafood rules at the sleek and chic Seabird, and fish, oysters and shellfish dominate the menu. Try the smoked catfish and oyster pie, or the swordfish schnitzel. Landlubbers can opt for sorghum pork ribs or grilled bavette steak.

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