When given the chance, Ryan and I head East. The American East coast, the Canadian East coast - it doesn't really matter. Just East. We've tried the West coast, and while beautiful, it's just not our thing. We love being by the water. It's soothing to our souls. But we also love the small town feel and the rich history of the East. We love the architecture of the homes with their classic, timeless style. The way of life there seems to be much slower, and more relaxed. It's just where we love to be.
For the first time in our many trips to the coast, we decided to bring our children with us. We wanted to show them all the things we love. And while our boys are used to a fairly long drive to the cottage in the summer, the 21 hour drive to Nova Scotia was going to be a new adventure (for everyone).
The plan was to take two and a half days to get out to Nova Scotia, via the US. If you drove straight East from us, you'd end up near Boston. We'd then head North East through Vermont and Maine, and then back into Canada and through New Brunswick to Nova Scotia. At the last minute, we made a huge decision to spend one night on Nantucket. It seemed ridiculous at first, but honestly, I couldn't say no. Even for just one night. I'm going to highlight our time on the island first, as honestly, that's where I took the most photos (mainly because I had more time to wander about). Then I'll highlight the rest of our trip in another post.
Packing for a road trip for a family of six was a challenge! There were a couple things that made it easier. First, my husband invested in a rooftop carrier. This was huge as I wasn't limited to space, like when flying. Second, we made use of the hotel laundry machines halfway through. And third, we kept a large suitcase, but packed smaller weekend bags (one for us, one for the kids) with everything we needed for that night and next day. This was especially helpful for Nantucket as we wouldn't have our car and would need to carry our luggage on and off the ferry.
So, to optimize our time on the island, we drove to Sturbridge, MA the first evening. We literally arrived at 1:30 am and were checked out by 6:30 am the next morning. We booked an early departure on the high speed ferry. which meant we arrived on the island late morning. I find this to be a great time to go as a couple weeks later, and students arrive back home from school, and busy season starts which basically doubles the population. Sure, you miss the quintessential Hydrangeas and Roses in bloom, but it's still beautiful (and less expensive).
It was a perfectly grey ferry ride in - warm enough to sit outside, but cool enough to be thankful you threw in a sweatshirt and blanket. Our hair was windblown and our skin tasted salty by the time we docked, but the fog was lifting and the only evidence of the morning's down pour were the puddles in the cobblestone streets.
We made our way to the rental shop, where the boys rented a Jeep for the day - the perfect vehicle for making the most of the sandy back roads and beach drives. We didn't all fit in the Jeep, so George and I took the transit and we met them out in Sconset. They brought the luggage to the hotel (the scenic way, no doubt) while George and I walked about town.
We met for lunch at The Brotherhood of Thieves, where Ryan got to enjoy his favourite sandwich in the world - their Reuben.
I spent my time in town window shopping and admiring the well-kept homes.
I then grabbed an iced coffee from Handlebar Cafe, which is conveniently across from the transit waiting area, and waited for the bus to Sconset.
I got off at the rotary by Sconset Market, and found the boys waiting. They headed to the beach and the playground across from it and I walked up and down the lanes, looking at the cottages.
It's such an interesting place. These cottages are so old, some of them dating back to the mid-18th century, and yet, they're so meticulously kept. They are so charming.
It has it's own smell - it's a mix of fresh ocean and sweet, floral from the beach roses.
We spent the remainder of the afternoon chasing waves and spotting seals.
We stayed by Surfside Beach, which isn't far from Sconset or town. We had takeout Lola Burger by the fire and walked the beach at sunset.
In the morning, I went back down to the beach and caught the end of the sunrise. The beaches are so beautiful. Our ferry would be leaving before noon as we had a long drive to the next destination, so I headed back into town for one more early walk around while the boys went back out in the Jeep.
It was so quiet in town, I felt like I had it all to myself. I picked up another iced coffee and morning bun and did some more window shopping as nothing was open. The brick sidewalks lulled George back to sleep.
Then I made my way down to the Wharf, quickly popping into the grocer to pick up some lunch supplies for the ferry ride home - namely buns and cold meet, some kettle chips, a pint of strawberries and chocolate chip cookies.
The old wharf is charming as well. It smells like the ocean with beautiful boats docked outside of tiny cottages for rent. And a few little shops to browse with souvenirs and gifts.
The boys met me here with a little time before we departed. We walked the docks, checking out the boats and watched a tall ship leave. This photo made me smile.
We knew that it might not be what we were hoping, given all that could go wrong traveling as a family. But with some planning ahead, it worked. And surprisingly, despite how short of a stay it was, we were relaxed and enjoyed ourselves! And what's more, our kids fell in love with a place that we love. Next time though, we're renting a cottage and staying for a week.