What do you do when you find yourself in a location within easy distance to many charming day trip opportunities? Rejoice and explore!
This was our happy circumstance during our stay in Foxborough, Massachusetts. We actually picked this RV park because I am drawn to highly rated RV resorts and Leo is willing to indulge me. Normandy Farms is a wonderful place to stay as I have mentioned in previous blog posts, and the geographical location halfway between Boston and Cape Cod is ideal for day trip adventures all over southern New England.
Our first trip was to Mystic, Connecticut, which is about an hour’s drive from Foxborough due south on I-95. We stopped in Groton first to visit the Submarine Force Museum and view the USS Nautilus submarine which is docked there and open to the public. This visit was very exciting to Leo as he visited the site around 40 years ago, while on a business trip and when all they had there was a WWII submarine tied to a pier. At the time they were advertising that when the first nuclear submarine was decommissioned, it would come to this site. Well 40+ years later not only did the sub come in but they have built a wonderful museum around all things nuclear submarines. The Nautilus was the world’s first nuclear powered submarine. The first sub to transit across the North Pole submerged, and served the US Navy from 1954 – 1980. The museum is on a Navy base but accessible to the general public and free. There are many interesting submarine items and artifacts including a civil war single man sub that looks liked a nightmare to me, how anybody could get into one of those is beyond me. Overall the museum and the visit to the Nautilus was enjoyable. We were able to see the very cramped conditions these sailors lived in and compared that to modern day subs. Surprisingly we found out that the living quarters in the modern day submarines are not much bigger. One very happy thought is that food onboard is the best in the navy, and enlisted men eat the same food as the officers.
With our thought turned towards food we headed to Mystic, Connecticut for great pizza. Leo remembered a pizza place he visited on that trip 40 years ago, which was years later featured in the movie Mystic Pizza starring Julia Roberts. The pizza was delicious and now I need to watch that movie again. After all that food it was good to walk the beautiful seaside town with its charming Main Street. There are wonderful shops and it made for a great afternoon of browsing and picking up a few unique items.
We love meeting up with friends and family during our travels and this trip was made very special as we were able to spend time with dear cousin Virginia and husband Peter. Virginia (aka Gigi) is Leo’s cousin on his father’s side and has lived many years in Nashua, New Hampshire. We were greeted with a lovely happy hour spread and afterwards headed to a local Italian restaurant Cucina Toscana . The food was just delicious and they make the Caesar salad at table side which is a culinary treat Leo loves and feels that it is a lost art in most restaurants.
The following day we drove into Boston and spent the day strolling through Quincy Market and the North End which is Boston’s little Italy. Here you can visit the famous Old North Church and Paul Revere’s House. This area is very special to Gigi and Peter as it was here, at St Leonard’s church, that they were married over 30 years ago. I remember that wedding fondly, it was my first visit to Boston. We walked for miles exploring and searching for the perfect pizza and we found it in a small restaurant near the capital building called Florina Pizzaria. The pizza was to die for (voted the best pizza in Boston) and well worth the walk. The clouds were gathering by this time but we pushed on to walk through the lovely Boston Commons and take a ride in the swan paddle boats. This is where our luck ran out as the skies opened up while we were on the boat and we were completely drenched. It was kind of fun (now that I look back on it) as the attendant was pedaling maddeningly to get us back to the docks and kids on board were hooping and hollering. They gave us our money back, which I thought was very nice of them, and we all laughed and thought it was an experience we will never forget.
The following morning dawned with clear skies and perfect 70 degree temperatures. We drove to the beach town of Hampton where we saw a sand sculpture competition. I was very impressed by the skill of these sculptors in their creation of large and intricate compositions all made out of sand. What a beautiful and fleeting art form this is. Afterward, we walked the very busy promenade of Hampton Beach with all the touristy shops, sites and sounds and then ended up for lunch at Brown’s Lobster Pound, were you can select your own live lobster and it is then cooked and served with melted butter for dipping. I was very lucky that Peter is a pro at cracking the lobster and showed me how to pick the meat out. It was just delicious and the views of the sound from our table could not be beat. On our way home we drove through the quaint town of Hollis, New Hampshire and stopped at Fulchino Vineyard where we picked up some Montepulciano and Sangiovese wines that are a bit young but we are sure will age beautifully. We made a deal with Gigi and Peter that we will drink these together on a future trip to Maine where they plan to join us. Thank you Gigi and Peter for being such terrific hosts we will never forget our time together.
Up next on our agenda was Cape Cod, with our sights set on Provincetown, most commonly refer to as “Ptown”, which is at the very tip of this hook-shaped peninsula. The drive along the peninsula is lovely with quaint villages and ocean views most of the way. We immediately decided this was a place that deserved an extended stay in the future and we found a perfect RV park in Eastham which is about 30 minutes from Ptown and very convenient, but that is for another day.
Ptown is an adorable village and playground of the well to do. The quaint streets are lined with beautiful homes and lovely gardens and the center of town is teeming with art galleries, shops and restaurants. The town is also known as the site of the first landing of the English ship, The Mayflower, in 1620. The ship was transporting pilgrims to the new world. The Pilgrim Monument towers over the town and there is a very interesting museum at its base. We spent the day strolling the town and visiting the galleries.
One day is not enough for this lovely peninsula. We will return to go on a whale watching tour (about a 3 hour trip), hike the sand dunes, take the Jeep on a 4 wheel drive to one of the lighthouses for a picnic, bike ride along the rail bike path, take a ferry to Nantucket Island, take in some of the local vineyards, and visit Hyannis Port and the JFK museum and Kennedy family compound.
Our last day trip was unplanned and a complete surprise. The concierge at the RV park recommended we visit Newport, Rhode Island and we were so glad she did. This town is just beautiful with a famous hike called the Cliff Walk which is a 7 mile walk, most of it paved but rocky in some areas, that meanders along the beautiful coastline. It truly is a cliff walk with dramatic views of the ocean below and slicing through the backyards of the mansions of the Gilded Age. The walk took us around 3 hours to complete and a perfect way to end our New England experience. We will definitely return to this area in the future there is so much more to see and do here.