New England Coast: Narragansett Bay
Blue Crabs on the Chesapeake Bay

New England Coast: Westport, MA

Img_0451_1Westport Point, Massachusetts is a fishing village and Atlantic Ocean getaway that most of the world hasn't discovered -- and those inImg_0449_2  the know are delighted. Tucked between Rhode Island Sound and Buzzard's Bay at the southern tip of Massachusetts, Westport Point is a 75 minutes directly south of Boston. Accessed by route 88, its rivers, estuaries, and wetlands are fed by ocean tides that raise the water along the marsh grasses 2-3 feet each cycle, then recede to permit quahoggers to wade ankle deep and dig hard clams for dinner.

The entire Westport peninsula consists of many historic villages and fishing Img_0432_2 towns dating back to Plymouth Colony and connected by winding roads. This fertile region also produces food crops and vineyards with a genuine sensitivity to preserving the land and nurturing organic culture. On a summer weekend, church fairs and town carnivals dot the landscape with quilt and pottery sales and smokey barbecues.

Mustang Sally traveled east from Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island, through Tiverton, Little Compton, Img_0425 past the Sakkonet Vineyard, to Adamsville, and found herself quickly lost on the winding backroads where Rhode Island becomes Massachusetts. It wasn't a bad experience -- at Tiverton Four Corners, a scenic village with quaint shops (Sakkonet Purls and Mill Pond Shops), the familiar signs began for fresh corn, blueberries, Sunday chicken BBQs, and Xmas tree farms. Fortunately everyone is extremely friendly and it's easy to find your way through frequent stops and conversations with residents.

Down in Westport harbor, the channel to the ocean Img_0461 brings large sailboats and fishing boats from as far away as Block Island (25 miles), deep sea fishing guides depart, and a water taxi transports locals who reside on their sailboats and houseboats to and from the shore. The Back Eddy is the lone local restaurant, so everyone collects there, often upon returning from Horseneck Beach that fronts the ocean. As you can imagine, everyone seems to know everyone else in this community of year-around residents and regular summer people.

One afternoon, after a lunch of fresh lobster and green beans, we left the houseboat to motor up the West Branch of the Westport River Img_0457 past the tall osprey nests and wading clammers. Another evening, safe from a threatening gale-force storm that passed us by, dinner was striped bass caught off the side of the houseboat. Houseboat and sailboat neighbors Img_0436 motored by to share their catches, and before we knew it, we were eating steamed clams while listening to The Splendid Table on National Public Radio. Such are the delights of the summer in this seaside retreat where living directly from the land and the water is the way of life.