Friday, August 31, 2007

Tourists with Benefits

The best way to really get to know and enjoy a place is to have locals as personal tour guides – hands down.

The day after the dinner, after a bit of a sleep in and a few of hours of internet time, Jim and Katy went out on Neil Cocker’s boat and harvested mussels with him for the afternoon – not your usual tourist activity. It was a perfectly calm day and they left Madaket Harbor to harvest a couple hundred pounds of mussels just out from the harbor. Jim was surprised what hard work it was, and this from the guy who likes to carry tables around the field and pack 13 chairs at once.
Veronica and Leah enjoyed hanging out at the Shack, soaking up some sun on the deck before moving the 80 feet to the beach to paddle around with Angela, Seth, their children Nathaniel and Jaq, and Skip and Shore (of Island Creek Oysters) on the surf boards and various water toys. Not a bad day at all. It’s typical that everyone is exhausted the day after a dinner and it’s a wonderful treat to actually be able to fully relax.

There were plans for a feast that evening. Nathaniel was going to prepare his special rib sauce on top of the lobster, clams, oysters and corn on the cob that Seth and Angela were making. The Raynors definitely know how to feast. We started out on the deck with the barbeque, shucking oysters and clams to grill up. Skip and Shore had an extra bag of 100 oysters and they could not be shucked and put on the barbeque quicker than they were being taken off and eaten. Back in the house, the island in the kitchen was full of an impressive serve-yourself buffet-style meal. One part of the tour that we are really enjoying, as we have in past years as well, is how the families, be it chefs, farmers or fisherman, open their doors and share their homes and company with us. Kinnikinnick Farm was another great example of this on this tour – there is nothing like sitting down with a large family at the kitchen table and eating, talking, drinking and laughing for hours, just like old friends. We are so fortunate to have this opportunity.

This morning we took Jim to the airport early with the intention of going to Burning Man for the week to do some artwork, since we have next weekend off with no dinner. We heard from him a couple of hours later on his stopover in New York City and, long story short, a number of signs pointed to him staying in the city instead and working on his cookbook and the approaching deadlines. These things happen for a reason.

Veronica, Katy and Leah spent this morning packing up, doing laundry and organizing themselves to catch the late ferry, then treated themselves with a trip to Cisco Brewers. What a fun place to be for the afternoon! They have a great setup with three different tasting rooms: one for the Triple Eight Distillery, one for the brewery and one for Nantucket Vineyard. For a great deal you can sit at a bar and sample their different products while enjoying a game of Shut the Box with the others at the bar. After enjoying the taster round of brews (favorites being Whale’s Tale Pale Ale and Moor Porter) the girls took one final bike ride into town to enjoy dinner at Center Street Bistro before their ferry cast off at 9 pm. We got to the ferry just in time, taking the special route with directions provided by Angela to avoid the plate-breaking cobblestone streets and narrow roadways with the trailer. Shortly after demonstrating our professional trailer backing-up skills to the ferry attendants, we loaded onto the ferry and now, here we sit in the cafeteria on the upstairs deck. An interesting tidbit: the Steamship Authority offers free wireless internet on their ships, even when you’re on the water – very convenient for those of us traveling and blogging.

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