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Old 31-05-2013, 20:23   #1
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Any E. Coast local knowledge to share?

Hi All,

We're from the left coast, and are going to be transiting Panama in December, and need a good berth on the E. coast (don't really care where as long as it's not S. Florida) for a few months, April-July, while we're waiting to cross eastbound to Europe.

We're going to be on foot, and the wife will be spending some time there by herself, so some things to do and access to a reasonably sized town is pretty important.

Finally, we're a pretty big boat- 55 feet and a 9.5 foot draft. I know this limits our choices there. (I'm not interested in this becoming a thread on boat design and the merits of shallow draft-it is what it is, and we value the performance offshore!)

So, I was sort of thinking about Narangansett (sp) bay or thereabouts, but really don't know if arriving up there in mid-april will be just too cold still.

Any locals around over there know of a place that might do the trick for us?

Thanks, TJ
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Old 31-05-2013, 20:32   #2
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Re: Any E. Coast local knowledge to share?

Newport is a great place to do what you want to do, but it will be chilly there in April. Berths are very expensive and difficult to obtain, though you will be ahead of the crowd starting in April. Annapolis might be another choice, though the Chesapeake is overall pretty shallow. Definitely warmer down there in Maryland. To give you some idea, this April you would have had some nights down below freezing in Newport. Anything in particular you are looking for in a city?
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Old 31-05-2013, 20:50   #3
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Re: Any E. Coast local knowledge to share?

Thanks, Kettlewell.

We don't need much for amenities. Some decent shopping for quality organic-type food and a couple of good restaurants. Maybe a movie once in a while. Just enough to keep a little entertained, you know? We don't drink or party, so that's not a consideration. We definitely don't want to find a marina tucked in behind a fence with a bad neighborhood just beyond. We might haul out and do the bottom while there, but that's not too hard to accomplish anywhere.

We've got a good central heater on the boat boat, so temps aren't that big of a deal once we get there. Mostly I've been thinking about the trip up. We've been on the West coast of Mexico for 4 years and have gotten used to it, so the trip up there is mostly where we're worried about freezing our butts off.

We live on board full time. Any restrictions in Newport on staying on the boat if you're there for a few months that you know of?

Thanks, TJ
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Old 31-05-2013, 21:04   #4
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Re: Any E. Coast local knowledge to share?

Charleston is a nice town, and if too far south for departure, you might lay over there until June sometime then head for Newport. Or depart Charleston. Are you sailing via Bermuda?

Charleston is a fun place to visit, with a busy harbor, great inlet, lots to do and see in town, beaches, and all the organic food you could want. Lots of good restaurants there. Try "Husk" or "Cypress", where a friend of mine is executive chef.

Sorry I can't help with specific knowledge about berths for your boat, but Charleston has tall bridges and deep water marinas with big boats. Take your pick, check them out on ACtive Captain or the like.

Cheers-
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Old 31-05-2013, 21:07   #5
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Re: Any E. Coast local knowledge to share?

No restrictions in Newport on living aboard--lots of people do it. They have a very nice new visitors center for boaters with coin laundry, showers, a lending library, several free dinghy docks, etc. You can walk to a fairly large supermarket, with a good selection. Tons of bars and restaurants for all tastes. The tourists will be with you on weekends, but the city keeps hopping most nights year 'round. Very good boatyards nearby--I would suggest checking out New England Boatworks a few miles away up Narragansett Bay--they can easily haul your boat. Public transport is great in Newport and you can easily get to Providence or Boston if you need to. Once you get outside of Newport you may want a car to get around. There are hauling facilities right in Newport, but they mainly cater to superyachts. You might want to consider renting a mooring from Oldport Marine. The harbor is very sheltered and it is just a short dinghy ride to shore. Oldport also has an excellent launch service.
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Old 31-05-2013, 21:22   #6
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Re: Any E. Coast local knowledge to share?

Thanks again guys.

Regarding Bermuda, we probably won't stop there, probably straight to the Azores. Once we get going on passage, we typically like to maintain the rhythm. Really, departing from the Mid-Atlantic or New England don't much matter to us. The routes more or less intersect a little ways out anyway.

Ok, that gives us a place to start. My last trip up the E. coast was back in '90 on a smaller boat, so draft/height limitations weren't on my scope back then. I'm sure there's been quite a bit of development in the intervening 23 years too!

TJ
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Old 31-05-2013, 21:31   #7
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Re: Any E. Coast local knowledge to share?

To some degree it can depend on which route you plan to take across the Atlantic. If going Bermuda - Azores - Europe then staying further south would make sense. For that I would recommend Charleston. Plenty of nice marinas including the Municipal Marina. It has deep slips and is close to town with lots of interesting restaurants near by. There is a Whole Foods Market but about 6 miles away in Mt Pleasant. If I recall there are shuttles from the MM to town.

Altogether a pleasant spot and a good jumping off point for Bermuda.

On the other hand, if you plan to take a more northerly, direct route to EU, maybe landfall in UK then New England would be nice. Maybe Narragansett but I can't think of a place around the Bay with a good marina and completely walkable. Maybe Newport but too many tourists and too much traffic. Lots of options along LI Sound on the CT side.

Another option might be Martha's Vineyard. Fun place to spend a few weeks and lots to do: good food, local organic produce, some very interesting shops.
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Old 31-05-2013, 21:48   #8
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Re: Any E. Coast local knowledge to share?

Hi again,

Routing as far as departure port on the US side isn't much of an issue. We're fast enough that we can effectively weather route in any case, so we will wind up in the most favorable latitude for the crossing wherever we leave from. Our boat's very fast (250 mile days are commonplace), so we're fortunate enough to be able to be more flexible than most when it comes to routing.

So, for the purposes of the conversation, passage planning isn't much of an issue.

Here's the main point. We're just looking for a pleasant place to spend a few months. The boat will be in one place for this time, as we have business obligations to attend to during the period April-June, so we're just looking for a good 'home base', maybe with a bit of a cruiser community around and a nice town.

Thanks for all the input, guys.

TJ
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Old 31-05-2013, 22:21   #9
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Re: Any E. Coast local knowledge to share?

Here's my short list in Southern New England with the following criteria:
1) Good neighborhood for marinas
2) Organic foods grocer in walking distance from the docks (or short cab ride)
3) Deep channel harbor with minimum 10 feet depth at the dock.
4) Marinas with large travelift

Long Island Sound:
1) Mamaroneck NY
2) Greenwich, CT (No travelift -- you'd have to go nearby for haul-out)
3) Stamford, CT
4) Northport NY (Long Island)
5) Port Jefferson NY (Long Island)
6) Stonington CT
7) Sag Harbor NY (Long Island)
8) East Greenwich, RI (Narragansett Bay)
9) Newport RI (Narragansett Bay) (Not sure about organic food shopping there)
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Old 19-07-2013, 14:45   #10
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Re: Any E. Coast local knowledge to share?

I have a question concerning Buzzards Bay, MA, specifically Hadley's Harbor, Naushon Is. in the Elizabeth Islands. Does the "Boat Name & Initial Carving Tree" still exist on Bull Island?

Also, does anyone know what the name of the white-barked trees are in the grove on the northern side of the island?

Last time I saw the "Initial Tree" one would have to really get out on a limb to do the deed. That was 14 years ago. I sure hope the tree still spreads his branches and I just missed spotting him.

Thanks for the information. Skip20
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Old 20-07-2013, 08:05   #11
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Re: Any E. Coast local knowledge to share?

Charleston seems to meet your criteria quite well ,and gives you the most options re:routes,change of plans,climate, etc. etc.. Waters N. of Chesapeake still pretty chilly before June. Ask me how I know.
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Old 28-07-2013, 08:19   #12
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Charleston seems to meet your criteria quite well ,and gives you the most options re:routes,change of plans,climate, etc. etc.. Waters N. of Chesapeake still pretty chilly before June. Ask me how I know.
+1 on Charleston. If you go that route, maybe choose your marina mostly by walking convenience to town. Some are right there, some are quite a walk. Plan on more than a few meals out.

This Southern Living article is worth a read -

"Don’t-Miss" Charleston RestaurantsThe food scene in this iconic city keeps getting better; you could stay for a week and still not discover all the great meals. Here are our favorites places to dine for your next trip.
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Old 28-07-2013, 09:08   #13
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Re: Any E. Coast local knowledge to share?

There are so many articles in so many magazines and website that can help you answer those questions. But you are asking about the entire east coast! That a lot of miles and ports, so can you narrow it down a bit by some preferences such as proximity to a big city, slip fees, climate etc? There are so many choices...Beaufort, NC, New Bern and oriental, NC, Hampton, VA, ...with 9.5 draft I'd rule out the Chesapeake. Newport is expensive and touristy and crowded, but you could be nearby say in Jamestown/Conanicut or maybe some of the other smaller boating tows nearby. Woods Hole or New bedford might be nice but cool in April. Cape May might make the list--or perhaps Great Neck near NYC..just read magazines and online...but slip fees might decide for you...
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Old 30-07-2013, 14:22   #14
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Re: Any E. Coast local knowledge to share?

Lewes, DE is a beautiful small town with access to major cities. Not much of a cruiser community to my knowledge but plenty of boaters, great restaurants and beautiful beaches.
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