Easygoing Newburyport In Early Autumn

October 5, 2017

by M.A. Barrett

View of Merrimack River from downtown Newburyport Waterfront Park boardwalk

Merrimack River view from downtown Newburyport's Waterfront Park, September 2017

Spending a day off in Newburyport on a warm September Thursday made me feel very lucky. Without summer crowds, the locals and those who are fortunate enough to work here are treated to an unhurried shopping pace. High end clothing boutiques and home decor shops can be found along brick walkways closed to traffic. Kids can enjoy downtown in a playground behind the shops on State Street, with a convenient entrance to the back door of Anchor Stone Deck Pizza. Anchor serves pizza, calzones, salads and lasagna, and has extra seating upstairs. I had a delicious calzone there. The pizza slice portions are huge. Well fortified, I ventured out to check out the shops.

Market Square, downtown Newburyport, Mass.

Market Square, downtown Newburyport, September 2017

Market Square is a good place to begin browsing the shops. I thoroughly enjoyed shopping in the store, Ireland on the Square. They have Irish imports, including Shan Ore jewelry, which specializes in made in Dublin Celtic design pendants, rings, earrings, crosses, charms and wedding rings. I purchased a birthstone claddagh ring as a gift, plus Irish surname coasters for myself. At the Brass Lion shop, I found a great variety of nautical home decor items, gifts and souvenirs.

Ireland on the Square, Market Square, Newburyport, Mass.
Brass Lion shop, Market Square, Newburyport, Mass.

Left: Ireland On The Square, Irish imports. Located in Market Square, Newburyport, September 2017
Right: Brass Lion, nautical home decor, Market Square, Newburyport, Mass., September 2017

Also, in Market Square, I visited the pet store, Pawsitively Best Friends. Met by Andy, the polite kitty, I was drawn in to check out the shop. I picked up catnip and treats for my two tiger cats. This shop has cat and dog food, accessories, supplies and carriers. Also, they have fun t-shirts, jewelry and gifts for pet lovers. I said goodbye to Andy and crossed the street to explore more stores.

Pawsitively Best Friends, Market Square, Newburyport, Mass.

Andy, the sociable resident of Pawsitively Best Friends, keeps watch in downtown Newburyport at Market Sq., September 2017

My next stop was to Vaalbara Supply Store where a mellow black labrador lolled around the boutique. This shop features hand made bags with cloth sourced from different countries around the world. Also, the interior of the bag is lined with material made from recycled plastic. They have gifts, candles and jewelry too. I noticed that several cafes also had water bowls outside for dogs. And there are three pet shops within a square mile downtown. Newburyport is the pet friendliest Scenic Shopping town I've been to yet!

Vaalbara Supply, Water St. near Market Square, Newburyport, Mass.
Friendly black lab at Vaalbara Supply in Market Square, downtown Newburyport, Mass.

Left: Vaalbara Supply Store featuring handmade bags, 1 Water St., Newburyport, September 2017
Right: Friendly black lab at Vaalbara Supply Store, Newburyport, Mass., September 2017

After shopping a bit, I tried the gelato at Dolce Freddo Gelato. The sea breezes from the nearby Merrimack River and the pretty Pedestrian Walkway Park encourage shoppers to take a break and enjoy a long walk by the boats. I enjoyed my treat while taking in river and ocean views, and the Gillis Bridge to Salisbury. There are adirondack chairs, benches, grassy spaces and trees along the riverfront boardwalk.

Waterfront Park, downtown Newburyport, Mass.

Merrimack River and marina views from Waterfront park, downtown Newburyport, September 2017

Gillis Bridge over the Merrimack River, seen from Waterfront Park, Newburyport, Mass.
Waterfront Park boardwalk along Merrimack River, Newburyport, Mass.

Left: Merrimack River and Gillis Bridge, Newburyport, September 2017
Right: Waterfront Park boardwalk, Newburyport, Mass., September 2017

After this day trip to Newburyport, I plan to go back to explore nearby Plum Island, and stop in at the collection of shops at Tannery Marketplace. There is lots to do and explore in this beautiful coastal town. Too bad I can't bring my cats. They don't travel well.

More details at Scenic Shopping Newburyport

August Vacation in Ocean City, Maryland

November 3, 2016

by M.A. Barrett

Boardwalk benches in Ocean City, Maryland

Ocean view from benches on the boardwalk in Ocean City, Maryland, August, 2016

On vacation this year in Ocean City, I had a wonderful time on my first visit to this 10 mile long ocean coastline with its 2 1/4 mile boardwalk which includes an amusement park at its southern end. The boardwalk goes from the Inlet to 27th Street, with several named blocks at the lower end. I really love walking along an oceanside boardwalk. There is a trolley in the summer which can take you from the busy end at the lower numbered streets to the quieter higher numbered blocks where most of the hotels and condos are located. Walking toward the Inlet, I looked forward to my ride on the large iconic ferris wheel that loomed high above the pier.

Nighttime view of Sandfest 2016 and the ferris wheel, Ocean City, Md.
Jolly Roger at the Pier ferris wheel at the Inlet, Ocean City, Md.

Left: Nighttime view of amusements, beach and sand sculptures in Ocean City, Md., August 2016.
Right: Jolly Roger at the Pier ferris wheel at the Inlet, Ocean City, Md.

I knew the views would be great and they really were. I was a bit anxious as we climbed slowly to the top position and found myself gripping the pole in the center of the seat, but the slow pace and ocean breezes calmed me down long enough for me to snap a few photos with my phone. I could see the long northward view of the coastline. On the south side I had a bird's eye view of the rides, the Inlet and Assateague Island.

Northward ocean and boardwalk view from top of ferris wheel at the Inlet, Ocean City, Md.
Southward view of the Inlet, Assateague Island and Trimpers Amusement rides from top of ferris wheel, Ocean City, Md.

Left: Looking north from the ferris wheel at the Inlet, Ocean City, Md.
Right: Looking south from the ferris wheel toward the Inlet and Assateague Island

The boardwalk was busy with visitors enjoying the ice cream, cotton candy, fried dough and other goodies. I enjoyed a soft serve vanilla ice cream cone from Dumser's Dairyland while meandering by the booths and arcade game storefronts that reminded me of pleasant memories of my childhood growing up near the beach and a smaller version of this Ocean City boardwalk scene. Trimper's Rides and Jolly Roger Amusements at the Pier offered a varied collection of rides for all ages plus games.

Playland arcade at the Inlet, Ocean City, Md.
Concessions on the boardwalk, Ocean City, Md.
Ocean Gallery, boardwalk in Ocean City, Md.

Left: Playland arcade at the Inlet, Ocean City, Md.
Right Top: Concessions at the boardwalk in Ocean City, Md.
Right Bottom: Ocean Gallery on the boardwalk, Ocean City, Md.

Lazily walking along, I passed many shops right on the boardwalk. These included Sassy Beachwear, Malibu's Surf Shop, Ocean Gallery and Souvenir City. The shops sell everything from beach accessories to eclectic artwork to wooden boxes adorned with pictures of the beloved pony featured in the children's story, Misty of Chincoteague by Marguerite Henry. I couldn't help but notice the large number of Candy Kitchen shops in Ocean City. I could feel my teeth shaking in fear of next month's dentist checkup.

Sassy Beachwear, boardwalk, Ocean City, Md.
Souvenir boxes in window at Souvenir City, Ocean City, Md.
Candy Kitchen, boardwalk, Ocean City, Md.
Malibu's Surf Shop, boardwalk, Ocean City, Md.

Left Top: Sassy Beachwear on the boardwalk at Ocean City, Md.
Left Bottom: Wooden boxes at Souvenir City
Right Top: Candy Kitchen on the boardwalk
Right Bottom: Malibu's Surf Shop, Ocean City boardwalk, Md.

Fortunately I was in for a visual treat when on the sand I saw the results of the Third Annual Sandfest, a sand castle building contest held from August 22-28 on the beach along the boardwalk from North Division St. to 4th St. There were amazing sculptures of diverse themes, including pop culture sayings, the 2016 Olympics, religious themes, an armed forces tribute, Egyptian pyramids, dinosaurs and fairytale characters. During the day, there were also demonstrations, classes, and contests.

Sandfest 2016 sand sculpture on the beach at Ocean City, Md.

Sand Sculpture during Sandfest, 2016, Ocean City, Maryland

The highlight of the trip for me was eating a delicious seafood entree at Harrison's Harbor Watch Seafood Restaurant from an ocean view booth looking out at the Inlet and Assateague Island.

View of Inlet from Harrison's Harbor Watch Restaurant, Ocean City, Md.
Harrison's Harbor Watch Restaurant, Ocean City, Md.
Binoculars at Inlet Park looking over at Assateague Island, Ocean City, Md.

Left: View of Inlet from Harrison's Harbor Watch Seafood Restaurant, Ocean City, Md.
Right Top: Harrison's Harbor Watch Seafood Restaurant & Raw Bar
Right Bottom: Binoculars at Inlet Park, Ocean City, Md.

The famous wild horses of Assateague seemed to make an appearance just for me on the distant beach, visible from here and more close up through public binoculars at Inlet Park just outside the restaurant. Then our server asked if I saw the dolphins. They bobbed up and down in the Inlet. You can just barely see the horses on the distant beach in the center and a dolphin to the right and in front of the red buoy in the photo below.

View of the Inlet and Assateague Island, Ocean City, Md.

View of the Inlet and Assateague Island from the park, Ocean City, Maryland

I gratefully took in the perfect summertime evening in Ocean City, Maryland. This was a fun side trip on my way to Washington, D.C., but there's plenty to do during the summer in Ocean City for a longer vacation. There's shopping, seafood, beachfront accommodations, beautiful ocean views and much more. I hope to be back.

Scenic Shopping Georgetown, D.C. for shop, restaurant, hotel and activities links in Georgetown, Washington, D.C.

Scenic Shopping for shop, restaurant, hotel and activities links to beautiful towns around New England.

Remembering the shops, treats and scenes of my Autumn & Spring visits to Georgetown, D.C.

March 25, 2016

by M.A. Barrett

M Street shoppers, Georgetown, Washington, D.C.

M Street shoppers, Georgetown, Washington, D.C., October 2015

In April of 2014 and October of 2015, I went to Georgetown in Washington, D.C. What a great Scenic Shopping town! And very busy with tourists, students from Georgetown University and other area colleges, and residents. Georgetown has many chain shops and boutiques but there are unique independent shops too like Hill and Dale Records, Tugooh Toys, American Holiday, Appalachian Spring, Dawn Price Baby, Hu's Shoes and Hu's Wear. These shops had wonderful store windows displaying their fall themed goods.

Appalachian Spring, Wisconsin Ave., Georgetown, D.C.
American Holiday, Wisconsin Ave., Georgetown, D.C.

Left: Appalachian Spring shop window displaying fall colored housewares, Wisconsin Ave., Georgetown, D.C.
Right: American Holiday shop featuring home decor, gifts, jewelry and one of kind items in its Fall window on Wisconsin Ave., Georgetown, D.C.

Walking uphill on Wisconsin Avenue leads you to Book Hill, a small section of independent shops and galleries. Fortunately in late April (2014) I happened upon the annual Georgetown French Market (this year it will be April 29-May 1, 2016) with a fun sidewalk sale. Shops put tables on the street featuring jewelry, accessories and housewares. Some shops in Book Hill and nearby are Egg by Susan Lazar (infant and children's clothing), Village Art & Craft (belly dancing apparel and more), Ella-Rue boutique, A Mano (gifts, home decor, jewelry, apparel), Pretty Chic Boutique and several art galleries and antique shops.

Village Art & Craft, Book Hill, Wisconsin Ave., Georgetown, D.C.
Egg by Susan Lazar, Book Hill, Wisconsin Ave., Georgetown, D.C.
French Market, Book Hill, Wisconsin Ave., Georgetown, D.C.

Left: Village Art & Craft shop displaying belly dancing attire, Wisconsin Ave., Georgetown, D.C.
Right Top: Egg by Susan Lazar shop window showing children's clothing, Wisconsin Ave., Book Hill, Georgetown, D.C.
Right Bottom: French Market celebration on Book Hill, Wisconsin Ave. in April of 2014, Georgetown, D.C.

Cafes and cupcake shops abound in Georgetown. You will be able to find great coffee and baked goods on M Street, Wisconsin Avenue and side streets. These include Georgetown Cupcake, Sprinkles Cupcakes, Olivia Macarons, Baked and Wired, Saxby's Coffee, and Dog Tag Bakery.

Saxby's Coffee, O Street, Georgetown, D.C.
Dog Tag Bakery, Grace St. off lower Wisconsin Ave., Georgetown, D.C.
Sprinkles Cupcakes, M St., Georgetown, D.C.
Georgetown Cupcake, M St., Georgetown, D.C.

Left Top: Saxby's Coffee on O Street near Georgetown University, Georgetown, D.C.
Left Bottom: Dog Tag Bakery, non-profit veteran staffed bakery and cafe for breakfast and lunch; dog biscuits too, Grace Street off of lower (south of M St.) Wisconsin Ave., Georgetown, D.C.
Right Top: Sprinkles Cupcakes, M Street, Georgetown, D.C.
Right Bottom: Georgetown Cupcake, M Street, Georgetown, D.C.

Canal and Waterfront Park are within walking distance and bring you to relaxing water views. Bridges over the C&O canal allow you to get down to Georgetown Waterfront Park. Walking south on Wisconsin Ave. downhill toward the Potomac River, Waterfront Park comes into view. This lovely park has a large fountain and benches. You can see the city of Arlington across the river. Walking left along the river leads you to Washington Harbour, a large complex with a pretty fountain, several good restaurants, some with seasonal outdoor seating and in winter, an outdoor ice skating rink. In October I enjoyed eating lunch at Nick's Riverside Grill where I had the crab cake sandwich which was delicious. They had several seafood entrees, sandwiches, and salads as well as burgers. Cyclists and walkers can be found enjoying this relaxing area. River views provide a peaceful respite from city streets.

View of C&O Canal from bridge on Wisconsin Ave., Georgetown, D.C.
Georgetown Waterfront Park near Washington Harbour Complex, next to Potomac River, Georgetown, D.C.

Left: View of C&O Canal from bridge on Wisconsin Ave., Georgetown, D.C.
Right: Georgetown Waterfront Park along Potomac River, near the Washington Harbour Complex, Georgetown, D.C.

Taking the bus ride (MetroBus or Circulator) from Georgetown to downtown DC is a convenient way to get to the monuments and museums in the capital. I had a great time seeing the National Mall, the Lincoln Memorial and the Reflecting Pool, the National Museum of American History, the Capitol building and the Jefferson Memorial.

Jefferson Memorial and Tidal Basin, Washington, D.C.

Jefferson Memorial and the Tidal Basin, Washington, D.C.

The Smithsonian museums and the monuments have free admission, making D.C. a great April break vacation for families. There were many school groups too and I had great weather -- 70's and sunny everyday, though that was a bit lucky since it can be chilly and rainy too in April (average temps from the 50's to 70's). For some destinations, such as the Washington Monument, National Archives and the White House, reservations are recommended, especially at this time of year.

Staying at hotels on Wisconsin Ave. in Georgetown worked out for me but there are plenty of hotels in Georgetown and downtown DC. I have enjoyed staying at the Savoy Suites and the Holiday Inn Georgetown, but unfortunately the Holiday Inn Georgetown is now closed. Nearby Arlington just over the Key Bridge has several hotel choices too. See our Georgetown page for links to hotels in and around Georgetown.

I barely scratched the surface of the possible sightseeing and shopping. There is so much to take in. I know I'll be back!

Scenic Shopping Georgetown for shop, restaurant, hotel and activities links

Springtime Shopping and Touring in Georgetown, Washington, D.C. - feature article about visiting Georgetown

Discovering Peterborough, New Hampshire

January 19, 2016

by M.A. Barrett

View from car of Monadnock region mountains, Peterborough, N.H.

View from car of Monadnock region mountains, Peterborough, New Hampshire, November 2015

Peterborough, New Hampshire is an hour and thirty minute drive from Boston and the drive is part of the fun! In early November I was eager for a little fall foliage since I had missed the peak. Peterborough is located in the Monadnock region of southwest New Hampshire. Mount Monadnock and smaller Pack Monadnock are the nearby mountains. The ride to Peterborough on routes 119/124/123/101 offered the fall foliage and scenic mountain views I desired.

Depot Park, Depot Square, Peterborough, N.H.

Depot Park, Depot Square, Downtown Peterborough, New Hampshire

Arriving in downtown Peterborough on the Main Street Bridge over the Contoocook River, I found a small village with Main, Grove, School and Depot Streets, plus Depot Square where shops were walkable and pretty. Depot Park is scenic and inviting. The Nubanusit Brook and waterfull provide extra scenic beauty.

Nubanusit Brook & waterfall next to Putnam Park, Grove St., Peterborough, N.H.
Unitarian Universalist Church and Mariposa Museum, Depot and Main Streets, Peterborough, N.H.

Left: Nubanusit Brook & waterfall next to Putnam Park, Grove St., Peterborough, N.H.
Right: Unitarian Universalist Church and Mariposa Museum, Depot and Main Streets, Peterborough, N.H.

I meandered through the independent shops, such as Sharon Arts Downtown, Bowerbird & friends, Joseph's Coat, Toadstool Bookshop, and Ava Marie chocolates. Joseph's Coat had nice jewelry, accessories and gifts. Bowerbird & friends was a big space packed with antiques, gifts, furniture, rare books and metal garden decor. In the middle of Depot Square I enjoyed browsing in Sharon Arts Downtown where an art exibit was on display. Many local artists' works are regularly for sale. The glass, pottery and textiles here were beautiful. I was charmed by the wind chimes in the doorway as I left and planned to come back.

Bowerbird & friends, Depot Square, Peterborough, N.H.
Sharon Arts Downtown, Depot St., Peterborough, N.H.
Joseph's Coat, Grove St., Peterborough, N.H.

Left: Bowerbird & friends, Depot Square, Peterborough, N.H.
Right Top: Sharon Arts Downtown, Depot St., Peterborough, N.H.
Right Botton: Joseph's Coat, Grove St., Peterborough, N.H.

Twelve Pine has sandwiches and prepared foods for lunch with a pleasant seating area. Also, they have kitchenware, wine, prepared sauces and jellies, apple cider mulling spices, maple syrup, soaps and candles. It was hard to leave this store but after a tasty reuben sandwich I managed to get out and explore Toadstool Bookshop. This is a fairly large store with new and used books and cd's. There's the small cafe, Aesop's Tables inside if you need a snack and warm beverage.

Twelve Pine, School St., Depot Square, Peterborough, N.H.
Toadstool Bookshop, and Aesop's Tables, Depot Square, Peterborough, N.H.

Left: Twelve Pine, School Street, Depot Square, Peterborough, N.H.
Right: Toadstool Bookshop, and Aesop's Tables, Depot Square, Peterborough, N.H.

Passing the Nubanusit Brook waterfall and Putnam Park I was drawn to the hot chocolate sign in front of Ava Marie's. I picked up a pair of hot chocolate discs that I'm saving for the first snow. I quickly have gone through the bag of leaf shaped dark chocolates which were made on site and very delicious.

Putnam Park, Grove St., Peterborough, N.H.
Ava Marie's, Grove St., Peterborough, N.H.
Mulling spices & Italian candy from Twelve Pine; chocolates from Ava Marie's; bought in Peterborough, N.H.

Left: Putnam Park, Grove St., Peterborough, N.H.
Right Top: Ava Marie's, Grove St., Peterborough, N.H.
Right Bottom: mulling spices and Italian candy from Twelve Pine; chocolates from Ava Marie's

On the way home, planning to use my apple cider mulling spices, I was also plotting a return to this lovely town with more nooks and crannies for me to explore, including the Mariposa Museum, several restaurants, cafes and a diner, and other shops. Only about 25 minutes from the northern Massachusetts border this close by slice of New Hampshire in the Monadnock Mountain region had the scenery and the shopping I was looking for.

Nantucket Day Trip

October 11, 2014

by M.A. Barrett

View from Nantucket fast ferry

View from ferry on the way to Nantucket for a day trip in August, 2014

A day trip to Nantucket in August was just what I needed to give my Cape Cod vacation a bit of adventure and of course, shopping. I've been busy this summer visiting Scenic Shopping towns and exploring New England beaches and unique shopping. As I headed out to Nantucket on the fast ferry from Hyannis (only one hour) the wake from the ferry churned up the sea spray. The ferry was comfortable and the ride across Nantucket Sound was beautiful as well as calming -- getting me into island mode as I left the traffic of Cape Cod behind.

Nantucket Harbor, Nantucket, Ma.

Nantucket Harbor, downtown Nantucket (August, 2014)

After disembarking from the Iyanough at Steamboat Wharf, beautiful Nantucket Harbor views met me as I made my way down Easy Street. Little shops such as Benji's Boutique with its well dressed mascot, and Current Vintage caught my eye. Benji's Boutique sells women's clothing and accessories. Current Vintage offers clothing, home decor items and wine.

Benji's Boutique, Easy St.,  Nantucket, Ma.
cobblestones on Main St., Nantucket, Ma.

Benji's Boutique on Easy Street; cobblestones on Main Street, Nantucket

As I arrived at Main Street, the thick chunky cobblestones and the red brick sidewalks charmed me. They reminded me of Beacon Hill but on this picturesque tree lined street I could imagine the horse and carriages of old instead of all the cars and SUV's. There are horse and carriage rides still available today which are popular for weddings -- I had seen one on my last trip to Nantucket years ago! There were many shops, galleries, cafes and boutiques. I noticed some similar shops to those on Charles and Newbury Streets in Boston, such as In the Pink, Jack Wills and North River Outfitter.

In the Pink, S. Water St., Nantucket, Ma.
North River Outfitter, Nantucket, Ma.
Jack Wills, Nantucket, Ma.

In the Pink and Jack Wills on South Water St., Nantucket (also on Newbury St., Boston); NRO on Straight Wharf, Main Street, Nantucket (also on Beacon Hill in Boston)

Bicycling and walking are the preferred modes of transportation and racks are lined up on Main St. to allow cyclists to hop off their bikes, grab lunch and shop. Walking up Main St. and right on Centre street, you will find high end clothing stores, women's fashion boutiques, art galleries, jewelry stores, beach home decor stores and a variety of other shops (think shoes, books, chocolate and cupcakes!). Vis-A-Vis, Murray's Toggery and Breezin' Up lured me in with windows displaying colorful, casual summer clothing. The Nantucket Pharmacy has an old time lunch counter and soda fountain with ice cream floats and frappes. Mitchell's Book Corner has a nautical themed elevator up to a cozy library style room of books about Nantucket and other summer reads. I had to try the chocolate cranberries at Sweet Inspirations for myself to taste this island born treat that I had heard so much about, and yes, they were delicious and worth the ferry ride over here to try them.

Main Street, Nantucket, Ma.
Vis-A-Vis, Main St., Nantucket, Ma.

Busy shopping day on Main Street; Vis-A-Vis Shop on Main Street, Nantucket

Murray's Toggery, Main St., Nantucket, Ma.
Main St. & Centre St., Nantucket, Ma.
Breezin' Up, Main St., Nantucket, Ma.

Murray's Toggery Shop on Main St., Mitchell's Book Corner on Main & Centre Sts., Breezin' Up Shop on Main St.

As you continue down Centre Street you come to the Jared Coffin House. This restored inn was built in 1845 as the home of sea captain and boat builder, Jared Coffin. I really like the federal style of this three story red brick mansion with its grand entryway, large windows and traditional interior furnishings. There are additional rooms available in the Daniel Webster House next door. The Jared Coffin house is open seasonally (it reopens for Stroll Weekend in December) and the Daniel Webster house is open year round. I had been to Nantucket years back and this is the one building I remembered and fortunately it is still here and lovingly cared for as part of Nantucket Island Resorts. Next to that is a compact and well-stocked Nantucket Bookworks. A few steps down on the left you come to the Nantucket Whaling Museum which has an informative movie, and exhibits describing Nantucket's whaling industry, as well as walking tours of downtown historic houses and sites. Two information centers (one on Centre Street and one at the bus terminal on Washington Street) can connect you with tours of the island, bus schedules, bicycle rentals and dinner menus.

Jared Coffin House, Broad St., Nantucket, Ma.
Nantucket Bookworks, Broad St., Nantucket, Ma.
Nantucket Whaling Museum, Broad St., Nantucket, Ma.

Jared Coffin House, Nantucket Bookworks and the Nantucket Whaling Museum all on Broad St., downtown Nantucket

The buses run pretty regularly to many parts of the island so I took a side trip to Siasconset (also known as Sconset ) Beach which was itself a scenic ride. The pretty beach and the cottages had me plotting a return trip for a longer stay. The Sconset Market was well stocked with all of the things you forgot to bring with you plus toys, soaps and souvenirs. Cyclists who venture out here can grab a snack and rest at the tables nearby, as well as walk along beautiful Sconset Beach.

Sconset Market, Sconset, Nantucket Island, Ma.
Siasconset cottages near Main St., Siasconset, Ma.
Siasconset Beach, Siasconset, Nantucket Island, Ma.

Siasconset Market, Siasconset Beach and nearby cottages, Siasconset (a.k.a. Sconset), Nantucket Island (almost 8 miles from downtown Nantucket)

Back in town in search of an early dinner, I walked several blocks out of downtown to find Sayle's Seafood, a fish market with a small front porch and a few tables. They prepare take out meals and sell fish and lobsters to cook at home. I had delicious clam chowder, fried cod and steamed red potatoes. The lovely view in this out of the way spot made me glad I didn't give up trying to find it.

View from Sayle's Seafood Fish Market, Washington St. Ext., Nantucket, Ma.

View from deck of Sayle's Seafood Fish Market, Washington St. Extension, Nantucket

Toward the end of the day I discovered Straight Wharf which is the arrival point for the Hy-Line ferries also from Hyannis. It is chock-full of little boutiques, gift shops, sweatshirt and t-shirt shops, and beachy home decor stores. The end of the wharf was the original home of the Nantucket Nectar "juice guys, " now The Juice Bar Homemade Ice Cream. The red shack has a bench to rest on and take in the beautiful marina and harbor views, after getting some tasty ice cream or juice. Aunt Leah's Fudge has candies, chocolates and lots of very fresh and very delicious fudge. The Best of the Beach shop has fabulous home decor items as well as women's clothing and accessories.

View from Straight Wharf, Downtown Nantucket, Ma.
Nantucket Ice Cream & Juice Guys Shack, Straight Wharf, Nantucket, Ma.
Best of the Beach, Straight Wharf, Nantucket, Ma.

Nantucket Harbor view from Straight Wharf, Nantucket Nectar's "Juice Guys" at the end of Straight Wharf, Best of the Beach home decor and women's clothing shop on Straight Wharf, Nantucket

Nanetiquette Brochure from the Town of Nantucket, and Comet

Eventually I had to make my way back to Steamboat Wharf to head to the mainland. The Streamship Authority's ferry, the Iyanough departing at 8:45 p.m. was the last one of the day which gave me as many hours for exploring as possible. Time to say goodbye to the tree lined cobblestone streets, the beaches and the shops. As I hurried back to catch my ferry, I grabbed a brochure at the in-town pay public valet parking lot on Candle Street and thought "what kind of town has a public valet parking service?" Nantucket does! In summer and during special events, there is pay valet parking at the National Grid building on Candle Street. The brochure, called "Nanetiquette A User Guide to Island Etiquette," published by the Town of Nantucket, (which I later showed to my "co-worker") gives you parking advice and travel tips as well as explaining island customs. It mentioned slowing down, not littering, obeying trafic regulations, being safe and generally using good manners. Although I didn't discover this until the end of the day, I have to say I noticed the different way that people behaved on the island -- they made an effort to be polite! I guessed that with all that sea air and incredible scenic beauty around, you became calmer and full of good will toward your fellow travelers and islanders, which I realized is how I felt too. The beauty of the island had a wonderful effect on the harried traveler. I left feeling I had shared a great secret -- that Nantucket is a very beautiful and special place to be enjoyed and treasured. I can't wait to go back!

Quaint Wickford, Rhode Island as Inspiration

May 25, 2014

by M.A. Barrett

Summer garden at WWI monument in downtown Wickford Village, Main St. and Brown St.

Summer garden at World War I monument in downtown Wickford Village, Main St. and Brown St.

Well, this is my first blog post here at Scenic Shopping™. I would like to tell you what Scenic Shopping™ is and why I am creating this website.

It all started about 15 years ago when while enjoying shopping in Wickford Village my sister and I wondered why we had never heard of Wickford and its cute stores, beautiful harbor views and colonial architecture. We had been brainstorming business ideas at the time and we wondered why there was not a website with information about cute shops and pretty boutiques in quaint towns. And we thought hey why not start one? The research would certainly be enjoyable -- exploring towns, browsing shops and walking by the sea.

Scenic Shopping™ is still in its early phase but we have gathered a lot of information useful for anyone who wants to find a beautiful place to shop, or reminisce about places once visited. You can see pictures and think back to those cute little shops you liked, visit their websites or check their Facebook pages, and plan your next visit. I like having this kind of information available because I am bound to forget the name of a boutique or a bookstore, b&b or an inn, a favorite restaurant or coffee shop. Now Scenic Shopping™ is a repository for all of this information so I can easily plan my return and remember why I liked the town so much. I hope it can help you also to learn about new towns or remind you of enjoyable times from the past.

Beauty and the Bath summer window display, W. Main St., Wickford, R.I.
Beauty and the Bath autumn window display, W. Main St., Wickford, R.I.

Summer and Autumn window displays at Beauty and the Bath, bath and body products shop on West Main St. in Wickford, R.I.

As for Wickford, one of the shops I particularly love to visit is Beauty and the Bath. My sister, owner of Wickford Web Works, has become friends with many of the shopowners in Wickford, including Lori Lyons, owner of Beauty and the Bath. This shop smells and looks wonderful. Bath products, candles, comfortable sleepwear and accessories are charmingly displayed in this compact shop on West Main St. in Wickford. The shop window changes frequently with new arrivals. I really enjoy visiting this shop to pick up fragrant soaps as gifts or for myself.

Brown St. during Wickford Art Festival, 2011
Brown St. during Wickford Art Festival, 2011

Wickford Art Festival, Brown Street, Wickford, R.I. (July, 2011)

There are many events and activities in Wickford each year, especially in the summer. The Wickford Art Festival is an annual event attracting artists and art lovers from all over New England. There is a seasonal farmers market (June-September) on Thursday evenings. And summer concerts start up on Tuesday nights in mid-June and go to mid-August. This year there is a self-guided garden tour, Wickford in Bloom, showcasing several private gardens in the village and on the waterfront (Saturday, June 28th, 2014). Fireworks celebrating the 4th of July are held annually at the town beach, weather permitting.

Wickford Farmers Market, August, 2013

Wickford Farmers Market held Thursday's from 3-7 p.m. dockside at the town parking lot from June through September (photo taken August, 2013)

Goods from Wickford Farmers Market, August, 2013

My goodies from the Wickford Farmers Market (August, 2013)

Summer Concert Series, Wickford, R.I.

Tuesday Night Concert Series held dockside at the town parking lot from mid-June to mid-August featuring a different band each week (photo taken July 2012)

The Narragansett House, Main St., Wickford, R.I.
Wickford House, Main St., Wickford, R.I.

The Narragansett House, c.1773, 71 Main Street, and Wickford House, c.1769, 68 Main Street, Wickford, R.I.

If you enjoy historical buildings, take the self guided walking tour described at the HistWick website and view the colonial and 1800's architecture of Wickford. These two 1700's buildings were former taverns and are among the many noteworthy buildings cared for by Wickford residents. The upcoming June 28th, 2014 Wickford in Bloom self-guided garden tour includes outdoor private gardens at several 18th and 19th century properties.

Beach Rose Cafe, Brown St., Wickford, R.I.
Tavern by the Sea, Brown St., Wickford, R.I.

Beach Rose Cafe and Tavern by the Sea, Brown Street, Wickford, R.I.

I usually go the Wickford Diner for a casual lunch with family when I am in Wickford but if the weather is good, there are two places worth considering if you want to see the harbor. Beach Rose Cafe and Tavern by the Sea have outdoor seating.

For more details about the shops in Wickford Village, see the Wickford Scenic Shopping™ town page where I have listed the shops along with a short description, their addresses and phone numbers. There is also a Google Map. Wickford is currently featured on the home page of Scenic Shopping™ and will be listed on the Featured Towns page in the future. Here I give more ideas about having fun in Wickford and what you can find in the shops.

View of Wickford Cove from Wickford Bridge, Brown St., Wickford, R.I.

View of Wickford Cove from Wickford Bridge, Brown Street, Wickford, R.I.

I hope that Scenic Shopping™ helps you discover new places to shop and remember the old. Our motto is "Find a beautiful place to shop." Independently owned unique shops and boutiques are all around scenic New England. I hope you find them as inspiring and worthwhile as we do. Shop local and support them if you are fortunate enough to live nearby. Some have online stores at their websites. Or you may want to plan a weekend getaway or vacation at one of these destinations. Scenic Shopping™ aims to help you plan, visit and stay connected to New England towns and shops, and eventually, to towns beyond New England too.