Quaint fishing villages, historic seaports, lobsters, strawberry festivals, lighthouses, and Yankee charm fill the long, lazy days of a southern New England Yacht Charter in the summer. Newport, Rhode Island, Cape Cod and the Islands of Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard off the Massachusetts are abundant with seafaring spirit, unique and enriching tourist attractions, and exquisite coastal beauty. The best way to sample it all is aboard the deck of your own private yacht charter where you can be in the heart of the attractions in the morning and anchored off a deserted beach in the late afternoon, perhaps “gunk holing” through the salt marshes in a kayak, exploring a tidal pool, or fishing for the catch of the day.
Day One: Newport, Rhode Island is the yachting capital of the United States and is our port of departure and return. It is within easy access of the airport in Providence, Rhode Island. Newport is a thriving, colonial seaport whose shipbuilding and seagoing roots pre-dates the American Revolution. Today, the port is surrounded by beautifully renovated commercial shops from the 18th and 19th century offering the bricks, beams and cobbled street motif that’s typical of coastal New England. In the late 1800s, Newport was THE summer destination for the rich and famous of New York who endowed it with a wealth of magnificent mansions, many of which are open to the public.
Our yachts are docked right in the heart of the port, allowing you easy access to the town. Shopping is superb – jewelry, crafts, local art, clothing, nautical anything, books, souvenirs. For the hearty, we recommend renting bikes, biking past the mansions onto country roads, and ending up at one of the many fine beaches. Some of our favorite attractions are:
Cliff Walk: 3-mile walk along the cliff at the water’s edge; breathtaking ocean views
Belcourt Castle: Louis XII castle built in 1891 – collection of art and antiques from 32 European and Oriental countriesTour the Mansions: The mansions are a “must-see”. Astor’s Beechwood Mansion, the Breakers, the Elms, Chateau-sur-Mer, Rosecliff and more.
Hammersmith Farm: Childhood home of Jacqueline Kennedy and “summer White House” during Kennedy administration; also the last working farm in Newport; playhouse garden; miniature horses
International Tennis Hall of Fame: world’s largest tennis museum, visual and interactive experience to test your tennis savvy; grass court rental available
Day Two - Cuttyhunk, Massachusetts: World’s away from the rapid pulse of Newport, this is an island of peace and plenty… about two miles long and a mile wide and a small village surrounded by rolling hills of sea grass and bayberry. Deer and rabbits romp throughout the island, most of which is accessible by hiking trails and small, winding dirt roads. Since there are only 26 year-round inhabitants and visitors can not bring cars, cars are a rarity here. This is the place to enjoy hiking, bicycling, a bonfire on the beach, chatting with the local fisherman, and basking in the sun on your own piece of beach. Also great for watersports. Bets of all, local fishermen visit at sunset delivering fresh quahogs and oysters cultured right on the island. Just add the cocktail sauce and a frosty Sam Adams… yum!
Day Three - Nantucket Island: Miles from nowhere, a vibrant yet low-key resort spiced by fishing and the arts and graced with a unique ecology hosting hundreds of species of birds, flowers, and plants. From rolling dunes to sandy beaches and oceanside cliffs to cobbled alleys, Nantucket’s understated beauty embraces the visitor with a soft spoken welcome. And Trish and Brad (owners of Ocean Getaways) got married here so it’s gotta be good. Truth be told, we actually got married under sail, but our sailing charter yacht docked here for the reception. Nantucket is often the highlight of a New England yacht charter.
“Thar she blows”… Herman Melville told tales of Nantucket’s whaling heritage in “Moby Dick” and remnants can still be found at the whaling museum with model ships, harpoons, tools, scrimshaw and whale jawbones. Other museums include Museum of Nantucket History, Maria Mitchell Museum (great for kids) with an aquarium, natural science center and observatory, African Meeting House and Black History Trail honoring the contributions of black seafarers, Quaker Meeting House and Museum (Nantucket was once the 2nd largest Quaker community in U.S., and the Nantucket Lifesaving Museum. Moped rentals and bicycle excursions are a must do..
Day Four/Five – Edgartown, Martha’s Vineyard: An enchanting island that lures vacationers from all over the United States and the world… from the hills of Hollywood to the White House. Sweeping beaches, picturesque ports, long expanses of windswept dunes, tidal pools, fine local artisans, and a never ending list of things to do and places to see. With six very distinct towns and three major ports, we recommend at least two days here. Although part of Edgartown’s charm is the 17th century sea captains homes hugging the cobbled streets, if you're on a family yacht vacation, the kids will be much more impressed that it was the “Amity” in the movie “Jaws”. A festival of boutiques, restaurants, ice cream parlors, fudge shops, and restaurants….enough for every shopper to drop before the day is done.
A few attractions:
Felix Neck Wildlife Sanctuary: 350 acres of beach and marsh operated by the Massachusetts Audubon Society ; educational center with fish tanks, exhibits and educational activities; reptile pond; walking trails
Chappaquidick Island: Catch the 5-minute ferry from Edgartown to the summer private playground of the former Ted Kennedy; bicycle to deserted coves, build sand castles in the sand; visit the My Tai Japanese Garden
Farm Neck Golf Course: 18-hole course Chicama Vineyards: wine making tours and tasting
Architectural Walking Tour: One-third of the island is in conservation, including three centuries of classic architecture. The historical society offers guided and self-guided tours… early saltbox, Greek, Revival, Georgian, cottage and modern.
Day Six – Hadley’s Harbor: This is a secluded deep-water anchorage tucked in the shelter of a few islands – some inhabited, others deserted, and nothing commercial. A great place to swim, kayak, and commune with nature. It’s a quick ride by tender to the nearby seafaring village of Wood’s Hole with the world famous Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, quaint shops, museums, restaurants, a great bike path, lush gardens, and scenic vistas.
Day Seven – Block Island: A small seaside resort island located off the Rhode Island coast, has been heralded as "One of the Last Twelve Great Places in the Western Hemisphere" by the Nature Conservancy which has a system of walking and hiking trails on the islands. With rolling green hills and dramatic bluffs, the island feels a bit like Ireland without the sheep. Gingerbread cottages, restored Victorian hotels, artists studios, and an old port bustling with activity. Salt water taffy, homemade fudge, hand cut French Fries, and fresh squeezed lemonade – yum! Plus long stretches of lovely beaches and 365 ponds.
Day Eight – Newport, RI: Disembarkation