Daily Deals have been significantly influencing Husband Dan and my choices for weekend entertainment. A whale watching Groupon led Dan and I to schedule a trip to Gloucester in mid-June for a weekend of whale watching, eating, and bike riding.
We used AirBNB to find a fairly inexpensive but better-than-a-tent place to stay so that we could escape from city living for a weekend. Friday evening, we walked through Rockport’s “Bearskin Neck” which is a narrow neck of land upon which a bear once died, and was subsequently skinned. Now, it is a tourist trap filled with places that serve lobstah, ice cream, taffy and fudge nestled between art studio/shops. We bought a bag of taffy and proceeded to work on rotting our teeth.
We went into Gloucester, and heard some bluegrass fiddle near a pier. We followed the sound down to its source, we found out that we had crashed a fundraiser for the marine historical society. Luckily, one of the organizers/attendees was totally sauced on plastic cups of wine and invited us to check out the boats. So we saw one of the most beautiful hand-built schooners I’ve ever seen. I have a secret love of wooden boats that doesn’t often get indulged.
We walked back toward town and ended up in a bar with live music we could listen to without party-crashing. The sauced and saucy ladies from the party were there, as were some girls in poorly executed pirate costume shanding out free samples of dark rum. The busy bartender gave me too much change, and when I handed the extra $5 back to him with his tip, he gave me a free t-shirt just for being honest. The sauced ladies were indulging in the free rum and getting extra saucy. Just as we had to leave to get to bed at a reasonable hour, they were dragging (literally!) old guys onto the dance floor.
Unfortunately, the weekend we picked to spend a long Saturday on a boat and on bikes was somehow much colder than the days on either side of it. It was cold and threatening rain on the North Shore. The choppy waves ended up forcing our whale watching boat back to shore before we got to the whale hangout location. The vicious seas lead me to need a nap to stop the world from spinning, and combined with the icy/threatening weather, we figured we’d have a shorter 50 mile ride to see the scenic sights without having to over exert ourselves or spend a lot of time battling the elements, should it rain “for realz”.
We rode through Rockport, Gloucester, and headed south to Manchester-by-the-Sea, returning via the western edge of Beverly. It was really pleasant with rolling hills… something we don’t see too much of in our typical rides just west of Boston. Sometimes, I forget what hills really are. We both thought it felt like we were in another state, even though we were just a few miles north of city-living Boston. Dan thought it was the easiest 50 miles he had ever ridden. I thought that the world was still spinning around and around and around several hours after returning to shore.
Post-ride, we showered and headed to Woodman’s for some fried food. We don’t eat a lot of deep fried stuff. I was amazed to learn that the batter they use is wheat-free and indulged in the first fried scallops of my life.
Sunday, we woke up and packed up our stuff, to learn that the weather was beautiful and only a little chilly. We went to Halibut Point State Park to explore and see the ocean up close. I saw some huge bullfrogs. Dan thought they weren’t that big, but he’s spent more of his life living near wetlands than I have, so has a better pool of bullfrog experience upon which to base the opinion.
Before we left, we bought some fresh seafood to help our vacation extend a few meals into our return-from-the-sea. We’ll be making a day trip back up soon to actually see the whales (I hope) and maybe eat some more fish. Longer rides are in the future as well, but getting to cut 25+ miles off the trip just to spin easy along the coast and eat fried food was worth paying money to stay in a stranger’s house.