Montréal: La Perle du Canada

There’s a running theme lately.  I fall smitten with each port and ultimately end up begging Tom to stay “one more day”.  Montréal was no different.  It is such a gem!  (is a pearl a gem?)  It truly felt like we were in Paris all over again.  We stayed at the Montréal Yacht Club.  Aside from the city being completely captivating, this was the best marina to date.  So close to everything, impeccably kept and boasted an incredibly romantic view from the boat.

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We started the week with a hike.  Mount Royal was scenic and the perfect way to get our feet wet in the city.mount royal collage

Then we noticed an amusement park in the distance from our marina.   After our rendezvous at the Wildwoods boardwalk, we eagerly snagged tickets and hopped in line for the roller coasters.

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Days 2 through 6 were basically a scavenger hunt for beef tartare, muddled cocktail concoctions and all things patisserie.

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What is it about a Farmer’s Market?  market collage

Every female I know will attest to this.  There is something enticing about it.  Tom attributes it to the hunter/gatherer theory, but whatever it is, it ignites my senses and excitement for food and people.  From the butcher to the fromager to the gardener, each and every vendor is passionate about their bounty and I love getting wrapped up in the entire scene.   We made more than one trip to Marché Atwater.  On the first trip I had to bat my eyelashes to get my better half to join me.  On the second trip…there was no arm twisting and while he wouldn’t openly divulge it, I was actually the first one ready to leave!DCIM100GOPROG0811953.

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The evenings were littered with rooftop terraces and romantic “see & be seen” eateries.

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On our last day in the city we decided to d.e.t.o.x.  While on a morning run we came across a spa…on a boat!  So fitting and appropriate that we couldn’t possibly pass it up.

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So with that, we’re off again.  Toronto bound with a layover in the 1000 Islands.  I’m so tired of LOCKS and I know you’re tired of hearing about them…but since this was the last one (for the short term) and also the largest thus far AND since I forgot to put my gloves on and now have blisters to prove my efforts, I thought one last lock photo was in order.

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Travel Far Enough to Meet Yourself…

You guuuuys!  We are finally in Montreal!  And i’m not going to lie, Tom had to force me to sit down and blog today.  I’m so super excited to see and do…and eat(!) every.single.thing here (and tell you about it next week).

Just incase any of you were worried about my mental state since I was *whining* when we last checked in – – i’m feeling back to my usual self. 😉  pretty collage

We docked in Burlington last Thursday evening.  I immediately threw on my sneakers and ran to the closest nail salon which gave me a great opportunity to get the initial lay of the land.  By happenstance, we were docked only a half mile away from Church Street – the heart of downtown Burlington, littered with boutique shopping, incredible restaurants and THE flagship Ben & Jerry’s ice cream shop!

The four night stay flew by with countless walking trips to Church Street to include a bustling farmer’s market, a night out for cocktails at Church & Main (where both bartenders were transplants from Baltimore 🦀), a next day hangover pizza binge, and yes, one scoop of greek yogurt “ice cream”.

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Perhaps the most memorable part of Vermont was the sunset.  The Boathouse Marina had a dock bar, Splash, that served “marvelous food, drinks and sunsets”.   Bay Wash was docked in a prime spot to partake in all three. FullSizeRenderFullSizeRender

Vermont definitely tugged at my heart in an unexpected way.  I hadn’t even heard of Burlington, VT before we started looking at the map for our next docking destination.  But I left with an “I could live here” vibe.  The people were not only friendly, but soothing.  If you like nature and all things organic, put Burlington on your to-do list. 🌎 💚 🍓 ✌🏼

So with that, we untied our lines, packed away our fenders and headed for Montreal.

Tom fueled us up just before entering Canadian waters, as the diesel prices here are ABSURD, and I scoured through our lifeline (Waterway Guide) to get up to date on what to expect on the canals for the next two days.

We worked our way through NINE (9!) more hand operated locks.

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(see below 10 hrs summed up in 20 seconds!) and arrived in Montreal on Tuesday night.

SO! We obviously made it!  And I’m chomping at the bit to log off and go explore!  See you next week!

After Monday & Tuesday…Even the Calendar says W.T.F!

It’s been a long week!

When I say a long week…i’m mostly speaking to my mental state.IMG_3068 My nails, they need help…

My waistline. Ugh. Can we talk about staying in shape on this trip?

I’ve been doing “Couch to 5k”.  Its an app that my friend Jen suggested.  I actually (somehow) like it, even though I blatantly hate running.  But i’m finding that evening the daily running gig doesn’t combat the vacation mentality at every-single-stop.

If any of you guys have SUGGESTIONS for apps that are RELIABLE resources for estheticians and/or for workout studios (where I can do a drop in class) as we travel, I would LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to hear about them! 👂🏼

So when I last updated you, we were in Croton-on-Hudson catching up on life.  Nothing noteworthy there but our next stop was so CHARMING!  Kingston, NY.FullSizeRender.jpgWe pulled up to “Ole Savannah” and the overnight dock was freeeeee.  (yesssss)  But it just got better and better.  The food was seriously delicious and the employees – THE nicest! And we could walk to everything.  Nothing better as far as I’m concerned.  I wish we could’ve stayed a little longer, but Montreal was (is still) calling.

The locks.  So. Many. Locks.  🙄locksThey are mostly UNeventful.  But have monopolized the last several days.

So let me tell you about what we’re eating! (and drinking).  Maybe I should start there?  In my attempt to be calorie conscious, but not held hostage to the standard vodka/soda, we have been relishing in Deep Eddy’s PEACH vodka with UNsweetend tea and fresh squeezed lemon.  It is kind of to-die-for!  I promise i’ll take photos for a future post.🍑 🍋 🍸

We had Lemon Sole this week.  It was embarrassingly easy, but that’s what makes it delicious, am I right?

sole collageIMG_3089 Lemon sole sprinkled with salt, pepper, lemon juice and shredded mozzarella/parmesan. Grilled and then topped with diced tomatoes and fresh basil pesto. 

Did I tell you we went to West Point? Not to go completely Carrie Bradshaw on you here, but unfortunately there were no hot cadets roaming around.   But it was scenic… 😉west pointTonight we are in Fort Edward, NY.  Its just a one night stop over and then we are back at it with the locks tomorrow….and hopefully making our way to Lake Champlain.   The town is sleepy (in a quaint kind of way). We had a delightful dinner at the Anvil Restaurant.  The entire menu (including the martini list) is mouthwatering and our dinner selections didn’t disappoint.  I had the salmon, Tom had parmesan pork chops.  AND there was wi-fi!  The Owner even graciously drove us back to the boat at closing time.   I told you this town was quaint!IMG_4541

Whale, Whale, Whale…What do we have here?

We said goodbye to Bayshore, finally!  

The Walker Bay dinghy arrived.  It’s a little gem and I am mildly obsessed!dinghy collageTom got it nestled into its new home, our friend Shawn jumped on board, and we took off for Sag Harbor.boating to montauk.jpegYESSSSS…The Hamptons!  My Matt Lauer binoculars were out in full force and effect – and visions of gourmet markets, chic boutiques, and hand crafted cocktails were dancing like sugar plums in my head.

Despite getting on the water early, it was another tense day behind the helm…our eyes constantly jumping between the GPS and scouring for the next channel marker. Buuut we made it! Unscathed and feeling fully entitled to indulge in cocktails!Marg:Snack CollageSag was…underwhelming.  Cute, but PEOPLE! Have you been to Cape May?!  We did dinner out, checked out a few of the mega-yachts by way of the new dinghy, went for a morning run, and then decided to move on.boats in sagMontauk was lower on the totem pole of “must dos” but then completely blew us away. We had dinner and cocktails at Swallow East.  Swallow East…and lunch the next day at The Dock.  The town in general is like Outer Banks meets L.A.  The casual surfer vibe and deep fishing roots somehow blend into the Hamptons feel of things.  Those earlier dancing visions of Sag Harbor embraced me in Montauk instead.  fishing boats in montauk

Alright, so the rest of the Loop is calling…and thanks to last week’s grounding incident, we are slightly behind schedule.  So, Montauk, its been real! ✌️

We left early (5 am early…hmph).  We had coffee, headed into the Atlantic and I curled up under a blanket to doze back off for a bit.

And then…something extraordinary happened…one of those “stop and take it in” kind of things.

A HUMPBACK! Seemingly just slightly smaller than the boat! I squealed *more than once* in sheer excitement.  It wasn’t just about the size of the humpback, but its serenity. With each appearance at the surface of the water, its whispering exhale and then disappearance again, we were left awe. It was clearly out for its early morning breakfast, which I suspect those Montauk fisherman were after as well.Whale CollageWe’ve now made our way through NYC and are relaxing for a few days on the Hudson River in Half Moon Bay.  It finally feels like we’re settling into the trip, and we’re anxious to embark on new territory.  

Along with that excitement and adventure comes a little “light” reading for the First Mate.😉waterway guideThese Waterway Guides are a game changer.  From marina listings & anchorages to lock schedules and location charts, I can’t say enough how crucial these are.

Newest Edition: Cuba!  We’re coming for you!

 

KEEP YOUR *SHIP* TOGETHER

Phew! It has been a looooong week.

Atlantic City seems like EONS ago!   From AC there was a short stop over in Point Pleasant, New Jersey.

Tom’s fraternity brother has a weekend home there that can only be described as the ultimate weekend escape.  The pool/hot tub/bar area alone is enough to make you want to indulge in boozy umbrella drinks….and then there’s this! 

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We did a little relaxing, “droning”, drinking, and dined like royalty with Brian’s close friends who own Via Veneto.  Is this real life?

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Our visit was far too short, and under photographed.  But – Brian, I promise we will be back!

So we’re off again.  Chasing down NYC at dusk.

 

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We coasted into our marina just as the sun set and quickly realized that this is where boats come to die.  A boat graveyard if you will.   The docks creaked, they shook, they splintered.  It was like a haunted house with ghosts of past boats beating down the docks at night.  (This marina lured us in based on its low dockage fees…but the saying is true, you get what you pay for!)  Thankfully it was just a one night stay and we were off to meet Jen & Steve for a weekend in the Hamptons!

HERE is where my blog headline comes into play.  As we made our way north into the Long Island Bay we grounded our boat. WHAT!?  Yep…

We’ve heard other boaters say “If a captain says they’ve never run aground, they’re lying!” and even while doing my research for the loop I read it more than once, “its not IF, its WHEN”.  Well, we’ve officially joined the club.

The jolt was like being in car accident.  One minute we’re cruising along and then everything came to an abrupt stop.  I flew several feet forward, our engines powered down and our hearts sank.   We did a quick “you’re okay? i’m okay” check with each other and then jumped into action with checking our engine room and getting BoatUS out to tow us.

We sat somberly silent on the hour long tow to Seaborn Marina.  Our minds were reeling. Whats the damage?  Did we lose a pod, both?  How long will we be off of the water?  How will this impact our trip?  (As luck and the power of connections would have it, Seaborn was not only the closet Volvo certified marina BUT also happens to be managed by a friend of a friend.)

So(!) the boat was hauled out…

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and we held our breath….

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The props were bent but the pods were still there! Annnnd our Volvo engines had come out impressively unscathed.  *insert dancing girl emoji here!*

Lou at Seaborn immediately sent the the props over to Bossler & Sweezey…where “You bend ’em, We mend ’em”.  (yes, please).  The guys there came in at 4 am on the Saturday of 4th of July weekend and got us back in the water less than 24 hours after the incident.

Whoever conjured up the mentality of the nasty New Yorker has clearly never visited Bay Shore, NY.

So we’re back in the water, its Saturday, and we are still rattled.  Steve & Jen understood that our nerves were SHOT and did what best friends do when you’re SPENT….they introduced us to Rocket Fuel and Fire Island.  rocket fuel collage*Maybe* it was the Rocket Fuel but Fire Island was like Peter Pan’s NeverLand.  There are no cars, the houses are little bungalows lined down narrow sidewalks and the streets were littered with sunburned vacationers enjoying cocktails and dancing to the music from the live band in the street…soaking in the sheer happiness of s.u.m.m.e.r!

So here we are, still in Bay Shore (Long Island, NY) (and loving it).  Jen steered us to this incredible little Italian market.  We had lunch…and then came back for wi-fi and coffee so I could update the blog.  Just LOOK at that cappuccino…and *him*.

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Until next Tuesday…

 

Like a Seagull with a French Fry

 

Hiiiii Guys!

We are FINALLY and OFFICIALLY underway!  Leaving home looked like this…

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There was fog. It rained.  The Baltimore Harbor was full of debris…But we were happier than a seagull with a french fry!

First Stop:  CAPE MAY, NJ

I’ve been thinking about Cape May since our brief visit last October right after Tom proposed.  It seemed incredibly romantic then.  But I couldn’t help but to suspect that maybe I was seeing things through rose colored glasses.

Wellll guess what? It is just as cute and quaint as I remembered and it completely stole my heart again.

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We rode our bikes; we chased the sunset down to Cape May Lighthouse; we had chocolate.

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Those bits of strawberries! and the “basil sugar”.   I’d eat it even if it didn’t taste good…but it did!

And then, Tom twisted my arm.  He said we “had” to go to the Boardwalk.  Wildwoods Boardwalk.   I had never been.  T-shirt peddlers and hotdog stands is what I thought I was signing up for.  Buuut Tom seemed enthused, and pretty persistent.  

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I have to admit, I had so much fun and I was in awe!  The squeals and laughter from children on the rides; the smell of the funnel cakes & cotton candy; the anticipation and desire of that stuffed animal at the coin toss game; the pizza (yes, we had two slices) and the sheer happiness that swirled around us all evening could be summed up like this:  The Boardwalk is to children as Vegas is to adults.

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TODAY we are under cloudy skies in Atlantic City, currently hibernating at Starbucks.  4 grande pike place coffees deep…and mooching as much free wi-fi as we possibly can.

…thinking we will *probably* make our way to the craps table in short order. 😉

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NEXT STOP: NEW YORK.

One Week Countdown…

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Here we are, one week out from starting our adventure!

After several Chesapeake Bay summers packed with tie-ups, crab feasts, dockbars, and too many homemade margaritas to count, it’s finally time to expand our boating horizons.

So where to?….THE GREAT LOOP!

Dont worry, I had to google it too.

For those of you that know Tom personally, and for those of you who just found your way to our corner of the internet, his “why wait” thirst for travel is on the cusp of being quenched!

My Monday – Friday work grind came to an excitedly anticipated halt in May as we started gearing up for our new life aboard.   Since then, we have turned our home into a weekly vacation rental, moved onto our boat and started minor upgrades/renovations to help us get a little more comfortable and acclimated before we embark.  (The longest trip to date on the boat lasted approximately two weeks, so determining the necessities for a true live aboard experience has required a little adjusting on many forefronts.)

So what’s the plan?  An entire year on our Bavaria Sport 44!  The summer of 2016 in the Great Lakes, then chasing the fall foliage through the Midwest until it turns into dancing palm trees in the West Indies as we shift into the winter months.  At the top of the Bucket List is a swim with the pigs in the Exumas.

We will be blogging along the way – not only about our anchorages but about how we’re staying fit, what healthy entrees and apps we’re preparing in the galley and, of course, where we find the best happy hour scenes!

Stay Tuned!