Written by Missy Johnston
Board your New England charter yacht to start your yacht charter itinerary in Newport, Rhode Island. There are several “must do” things in Newport, “the city by the sea.” The mansions are on the top of the list. These were merely summer cottages for the rich and famous following the Civil War. The Preservation Society of Newport maintains eight of the perhaps dozen that remain. One of the best ways to appreciate the sheer beauty of the mansions and their view of the ocean is by walking the Cliff Walk, a three-and-one-half-mile coastal path that hugs the coastline. Though it begins near First Beach (just off Memorial Boulevard) and ends on a side street off Bellevue Avenue, you can pick it up at several places along the walk, including Forty Steps, located at the end of Narragansett Ave. Beautiful at any time, early mornings are particularly magical, especially when the wild roses are in bloom. Other places to visit include the International Tennis Hall of Fame, the Museum of Yachting, the many galleries and “Antique Alley”, which is a cluster of antique shops grouped on Spring and Thames Street. Depart Newport for Block Island.
Southeast Lighthouse, Block Island
Just 12 miles off the coast of Rhode Island is Block Island, a seven-mile long by three-mile wide quiet island. Within the 25 square miles there are 17 miles of pristine beaches and a varied terrain of hills, hundreds of freshwater ponds, 2000 miles of stone walls and a unique variety of flora and fauna. Originally occupied by the Manisses Indians, the island was named after Dutch navigator Adrian Block, who stumbled across it in 1614, and was then settled by a party of English from the mainland in 1661. Their struggle to subsist is reflected in the community today – in the ancient stone walls, in the old cottages, and in the farmsteads and mansard-roofed resorts. After lunch, explore the island by bike as there are several bike rental areas near the harbor.
After a relaxing breakfast leave for Cuttyhunk, the bottom of the chain of islands below Cape Cod. Enjoy lunch in Cuttyhunk Harbor before taking a hike to the islands highest point, which is a “must see” for a spectacular view of the eastward-running archipelago, its surrounding waters and the distinctive cliffs of Martha’s Vineyard to the southeast. If hiking isn’t your thing, swim or relax with cocktails as the sun sets.
Martha’s Vineyard, Edgartown
In the morning depart for Edgartown, Martha’s Vineyard, an elegant port that takes itself and its yachting seriously. Many impressive yachts, belonging to the rich and famous, are moored here in season. As the “Vineyard’s” oldest and wealthiest town, Edgartown is equally impressive ashore. Go for a stroll down the cobblestone streets or walk the beaches of the famous Chappaquiddick point. Have lunch ashore at a dockside bistro and then take a tour of the rest of the island or head back to the yacht for some water sport fun or just relax on deck. Enjoy dinner on board.
It’s a short sail to Nantucket, aptly named by Native Americans, which means “land far out to sea”. For a quarter of a century whaling dominated almost every aspect of Nantucket life and was the sole basis of island wealth. Today, Nantucket’s wealth comes from fashionable summer residents, itinerant yachtsmen, an army of tourists and the seasonal scallop and cranberry industries. After dropping anchor, prepare for another day of water sports, sightseeing or just plain relaxation and pampering. After lunch on board take a tour of the whaling museum and the cranberry bogs. Then walk down the historical cobblestone streets or take a Jet Ski ride to the far reaches of the inner harbor.
In the morning sail to Hyannis a little village on the southern side of Cape Cod. Hyannis is a tribute to sun, sand, seafood and saltwater. Calling itself Cape Cod’s “Hub” the town is packed with restaurants, shops, hotels and people. The harbor at Hyannis is big and scenic. After dropping the anchor, go for a tender ride to explore its beauty or go ashore for a sight seeing tour. After a relaxing lunch sail onto Hadley’s Harbor, a deep-water anchorage off Woods Hole. It is very protected, and on the fair side of the tides that rush through the Woods Hole passage. This makes it a great spot to wait out the tides or to overnight. The harbor is ringed with the islands Bull, Uncatena, Naushon. All are owned by the Forbes family, who has kept the area pristine and beautiful. There is an island to walk on and a never-ending parade of boats, people and dogs coming through the anchorage.
After breakfast a return sail to Newport to shop, dine, and unwind. If time permits take an afternoon tour of the Newport Winery and rolling hill countryside.
Disembark your charter yacht in Newport, RI.