Holy crow, this summer flew by! Our spring was chilly and long so we tried to really live it up this summer. We hit the beach as much as possible, went to Lake George with my cousins, spent a weekend at our friend’s river camp on the Ossipee, had our first annual block party, took the kids to Quassy Amusement Park in Connecticut….and we made it out to Cuttyhunk Island to cap things off. We went there for the first time two years ago but Hollis had just turned 4 so he was less psyched for a crazy adventure. This year, the kids were champs about all the walking, we took the late ferry home and did almost all the stuff we wanted to do. Next year we’re going to spend the weekend out there. We want to wake up on the island. Sigh.
Okay, are you ready for a thousand pictures and some island history?
Cuttyhunk Island is the outermost of the Elizabeth Islands that separate Buzzards Bay from Vineyard Sound. Technically the whole stretch of islands comprises the Town of Gosnold. It’s only an hour-long ferry ride from New Bedford.
As you get closer to the island (and further away from New Bedford harbor), the water turns a gorgeous green-turquoise.
After an hour and an almost-disastrous spilling of hot chocolate (June, so close to soaking the only sweatshirt she brought), we arrived at Cuttyhunk harbor.
The island is sparsely populated – a couple hundred in the summer and maybe 20 people in the winter – and many of the same families have owned property there for like 100 years. I don’t think houses ever actually go on the market. I’ve seen articles comparing Cuttyhunk to how the Vineyard was like 60 years ago. There are only a couple places to stay the night on the island – at the Cuttyhunk Fishing Club and the Avalon. Next year we’re definitely going to plan ahead and stay the night.
There’s no public transportation on the island, just walk or bring your bike on the ferry, and most of the locals get around by golf cart. I saw a few pick up trucks too. We had a 1 mile walk from the dock to Church’s Beach, a secluded spot on a sandy spit. We each brought a backpack or tote, plus our wheely cooler and a beach umbrella. That was it.
We also brought the house-obsessed criminal element to the island. Hollis saw this place and said “Oh mommy, I wanna steal dat house.” Me too, baby. I’m teaching them young.
Finally we arrive at this dreamy beach.
Set up our compound for the day.
Oh yeah, this is the good stuff. Of course there’s also white wine in a stainless steel water bottle in that cooler.
Drying my Turkish towel on the hot rocks. I’m basically Gwyneth on Mallorca.
The beach was quite deserted, as you can imagine, but the kids made some friends which was awesome! The water is about as Caribbean as it gets for Massachusetts. This is easily my favorite beach in the state.
Soon after I snapped this, Hollis took a chest-first digger on the road. Oy. My poor baby! Good thing we brought a first aid kit. Needless to say he didn’t get in the water again but he had fun playing on the rocks with his new buddy so it was fine. I felt terrible for him though.
We stay at the beach until 3:30, then walked back to the dock to say good-bye to the 4pm ferry.
An island tradition is to see the ferry off (literally the island comes out to wave good-bye to the ferry) and then everybody jumps off the dock. June wasn’t going to miss this so we planned to take the 8pm ferry home.
This turned into a 30 minute jumping free-for-all with kids everywhere. It was a ton of fun, June could have jumped all day.
At this point, we left our stuff at the ferry dock and moseyed over to the Fish Dock, where they have ice cream, clam chowder, a rustic raw bar and you can get steamed lobsters.
The fish cutting station.
My chowder-loving baby.
Then we walked up Tower Road to the highest point on the island.
On the way I peeped out the vegetable garden of my dreams.
The views from the top were insane. You can see our beach on the left, on that spit of land.
Looking the other way toward the harbor and Nashawena Island.
There are hiking trails from the top that we didn’t take….next time. After soaking in the glorious views, we headed back down the hill to explore more. At this point we still had 2.5 hours until the ferry home.
Oh, what’s up other dream house! It’s hard to see in this pic but this was a teeny, tiny stand-alone house. Basically a studio house.
There were painted rocks with inspirational sayings scattered all over the island, which the kids loved. This one says hugs.
Playing hoops at the community basketball court.
We then cruised back to the Fish Dock to see if the french fry stand was open. The sign said “3ish to 7ish” but it was closed. As was the Scuttlebutt, which I think is a restaurant in somebody’s backyard. But we knew to bring tons of food in our cooler so we were fine.
As we wandered back to the ferry dock, we stopped at Barges Beach.
In the 1940’s a Nor’easter tore through the beach, so to rebuild and stabilize it they buried wooden railroad cars and covered them with sand in 1949. Slowly over time they’ve started to become exposed and the wood is so beautifully worn.
We got to the ferry dock just before sunset.
Even though it was pitch dark by the time we shoved off, teenagers still came down to give the traditional good-bye to the ferry. They climbed up the pilings and did synchronized back flips off them. Our kids fell asleep on the ferry ride home, of course. They were totally smoked.
But guys, this place is magic. It’s so beautiful, so peaceful, so chill. None of our friends have ever been here and some of them had never even heard of the island. But we are absolutely coming back next year. We’ll never be Nantucket or Vineyard or Cape Cod people. Too crowded, too fancy. We’re CTHK people. Next year we want to stay the weekend at the Fish Club. There’s still so much we didn’t get to see and explore on the island. So…till next year, Cuttyhunk, you seductive little squirrel.