Blue Hill to Somes Harbor

The adventure continues with more sailing! We woke up at 8 am to sunny skies and a southerly breeze and pulled up anchor right away to make for Mount Desert Island. I texted Steph so we could wave as we left Blue Hill. It was a perfect morning with a cool breeze, clear visibility, and still not another cruising boat in sight. At this point, we are trying to figure out if it’s the pandemic or just a quiet spot on a weekday in Maine.

We are going back down south but took the eastern shore of Blue Hill this time and had to sail up wind past many small islands all with cute Mainer names: Tinker, Hardwood, Moose, and Bartlett and another Long Island.  Keeping an eye out for lobster pots is a constant task and no one was exagrtstting when they say it looks like you could walk across the water on them. They are everywhere and very colorful but could also ruin our day if we snag one.  We tapped a few and as you hear it bob under the boat you just hold your breathe it pops out on the other side. 

We passed through the Bass Harbor Bar which is a dredged pass over a sandbar to head for the entrance to Mount Desert’s largest harbor. We passed by the Cranberry Islands then the Southwest and Northeast Harbors. Then we turned north into Somes Sound – the only fjord in North America.

This had to be one of the best sails of my life, we were cursing downwind at 6.5 knots with mountains on either side of us. (Yes – they are East Coast “mountains” which constitutes a hill anywhere else in the world but still…)

We cruised the 3 miles up the sound all the way to Somes Harbor where we dropped anchor next to a navy blue beautiful 78’ Swan named Aquila. (So we had pretty neighbors who looked a lot like our friends onboard Nai’a 🙂 ) 

I never thought we’d go swimming while in Maine but it was hot after that downwind sail so a plunge into 64°F didn’t seem so bad. And it wasn’t. Brandon joined me and we took a few minutes to clean the bottom of the dingy which had acquired a few barnacles this summer and was no longer planing when we tootled around. 

After some boat showers, we fixed ourselves a cocktail-to-go and hopped in the dinghy to explore. Around the corner was a campground (part of Arcadia National Park) with many pitched tents on decks with lavish setups (its this what they call clamping?) but also a swimming area, dock, and great views. Tucked around every corner was another summer home with a dock and many of those docks had people dipping their toes or swimming. So it is nice to see so many people enjoying summer admist everything going on. 

Speaking of that… I just want to mentioned that at this time. Maine still has a mandatory 14-day quarantine for Rhode Islanders unless you get a Covid test. Brandon and I didn’t want to risk it and because getting tested is so easy in RI, we opted to get them done just before the wedding. So we have the results in hand in case anyone ever asks. However, we are anchoring everywhere and keeping to ourselves so we haven’t even had to don a face mask in 5 days which is nice. 

A few people told us to check out “the restaurant” up Somes but it turns out 1) its called Abels (no one could remember the name) and 2) only open Thur-Sun. We still went over there and we happened to notice a boat from JBY on the dock there. So we said hello. Turns out they were actually leaving the day we were getting married and saw us doing photos.

We headed back to the boat for dinner and relaxing watching another gorgeous sunset with a plan to wake up early for the next day’s adventures that would include a hike, a fuel/water stop, and then a big sail uppwind.

Food: 

  • Breakfast: Egg Sammies on English Muffins with Cheddar Cheese
  • Lunch: Leftover Chicken Stir-fry in Wraps  (so good!)
  • Dinner: Tri-Tip steak and corn on the grill with wild rice

Swan’s Island to Blue Hill

The honeymoon now truly begins now that we made it Maine. After a nice sleep-in and woken only by lulling diesel engines of the lobster boats heading out, we had a leisurely morning of coffee and blueberry pancakes with no schedule to adhere to.

We decided to explore the area we only picked due its southerly access to end out trip north.   In the dinghy we towed the whole way, we checked out the Burnt Coat Harbor with its picturesque moored lobster boats and brightly colored Fish Co-Op sheds with coffees in hand. The weather was beautiful: partly cloudy and calm.  

Exploring Burnt Coat by Dinghy

We learned from the Cruising Guide of Maine (our Bible) that a French explorer came across the island in the 17th century just after a fire and named it “brûlée cotê” meaning “burned coast” but it was later anglicized into “Burnt Coat.” The harbor was bigger than we expected from the chart and was very cool to explore.

Around 1130, we got back to the boat, pulled up the anchor which had settled in thick mud and set off the way we came.  Having looked at the forecast and impending reminants of Hurricane Issaiah headed our way, we made for Blue Hill which was labeled a hurricane hole in the Guide. I also knew of a Blue Hill from our good friend, Justin Bauer, and knew he had a family home. While we were offshore and away from cell service, he had texted and asked where we were headed in Maine. (Justin now lives in Paris, France and we were actually visiting him and his wife, Perri, when we got engaged. )

I texted Justin that we were actually headed to Blue Hill and if he had any tips. As luck would have it, he said his sister was at the house right now. So I got in touch with Steph and we made plans to come by. 

Justin’s home we visited.

There was zero breeze so we motored through Jericho Bay then along the East Side of Long Island up through Blue Hill Bay. Blue Hill has two small harbors: inner and outer and we wound our way through a narrow winding channel and made for the inner harbor for its 360 of protection.

Justin’s family home is right at the entrance to Blue Hill sitting just off a rocky ledge and it was a great to final see if after hearing so many stories. The have an outhaul system and we were able to come into a beach the let the dinghy out to keep it off the rocks.

After some cocktails and a delicious home cooked lasagna followed by blueberry pie fro  their aunt who lives locally, we were stuffed and the weather was starting to change so we made for the boat.  

The “Storm” headed out way which turned out to spare us is Maine.

The clouds of the front started to really roll in and it was pretty spectacular. We buttoned the boat up just before the rain came. All in all, we saw a few big gusts but nothing much over 25 so it was pretty mellow but glad we were inside Blue Hill.  

We toasted the day with nightcap of maple bourbon from Morgan’s dogs, Gussie and Baelen, and listened to the rain and wind while we were cozy down below making plans for the next day to check out Somes Harbor on Mount Desert Island.

Food:

  • Breakfast: Blueberry pancakes with bacon & mimosa
  • Lunch: Willow Tree Chicken salad wraps
  • Dinner: Veggie lasagna and blueberry pie cooked by Aunt Caroline

Maine or bust…

We have dreaming of cruising Maine for years so a honeymoon only seemed fitting to take the excuse for extended time off to make it happen.

The morning after our backyard wedding, we packed the last of the provisions, made a quick run our the local coffee shop and Daves Marketplace, then were able to drop the mooring lines by 1130 – less than 12 hours after the after party of our wedding wrapped in our backyard.  (Thanks to the friends and family who cleaned that up! David Wilson, Margaret Hahn, Cassie Minto, and Marilyn Cassedy).

Between the chop of getting out Narragansett Bay and the slight headache of the previous night’s festivities, we did have to pop up some seasickness pills to start the trip – but it only took a few hours before we were settled into a routine.  We agreed on a watch system of 3 hours on/off at night and 4 during the day. 

What a way to kick off a honeymoon – just see each other during watch handoffs 🙂 In reality, this allowed us to get enough sleep to stay alert and get to Maine well-rested.  

Brandon off watch in our bunk by the nav station. Ear plugs in and drool puddle. Standard for both of us. He just doesn’t get a picture of me the same….
Morning watch with coffee and the Cruising Guide of Maine (our bible)
Afternoon watch with the book

We lucked out with the weather as well, we had between 15 and 25 knots for the south the entire 200 mile-journey. We made the Cape Code Canal with favorable tides and then gybed a few times along the rhumb line.  The sea state was big but our auto pilot was a champ so did all the heavy lifting for us.

Brandon sailing North.
Sunset on the second night of delivery to Maine.

We consulted the cruising guide and found Burnt Coat Harbor on Swan,s Island  would be the best protected harbor.  We made landfall at 0100 and couldn’t have been luckier to be coming into an unknown place known for lobster pots every few feet.  It was clear skies, a full moon, and high tide. Getting in was a breeze. We dropped the hook, cracked a beer, turned on the heat, then took hot showers. We made it to Maine in 38 hours. Let the adventure continue…

A well deserved beer when we arrive in Maine at 0130 under full moon.

Food for the Tip:

  • Lunch #1: Chicken chaser salad wraps from Dave’s 
  • Dinner #1: Buffalo chicken Mac n cheese (premade before we left) 
  • Breakfast: Toad in a hole (eggs in a toast cooked stove top)
  • Lunch #2: Willow chicken salad wraps
  • Dinner #2: Chicken Marsala with Veggies and Naan 
The Trip North

We said “I Do” to the next adventure

It wasn’t the wedding we originally planned but in retrospect, I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. Our family and friends came together to share the love and make the day special for us and it has left us speechless. All we can say is thank you from the bottom of our hearts. 

Planning a backyard wedding and a honeymoon to Maine is no small feat of logistics, but luckily it really wasn’t that stressful. With all the help and some planning on our part, we were able to spread it over the weeks ahead, and it all came together in the end. 

However, we couldn’t have done it without our family and friends who turned up to help. Just to name a few in no particular order:

  • Brandon’s dad, Doug, and his partner, Leslie, painted our decks, picked up booze, ice, and handled the coffee.
  • His mom, Margaret, hemmed my dress, sewed runners for the tables made from fabric showcasing all our adventures, and is making a quilt guest book. Then clean up!
  • My parents, Mary Jane and David, helped with rentals, the raw bar, and napkins. Then clean up!
  • Our friend Cassie Minto, a “recovering event planner” thought of ALL the details that made the day work along with creating beautiful flower arrangements for my bouquet and Brandon’s boutonnière. Then helped with clean up!
  • My college roommate, Marilyn, volunteered to get a Covid test, then fly from LA to utterly shock and surprise me.  THEN immediately helped me landscape, and do grunt work around the yard. She also helped make the day run so smoothly and with the clean up!
  • My old colleague and friend, Beth Holland, brought over buckets of hydrangeas from her garden and helped make arrangements 
  • Our friends Danielle and her boyfriend Neil for also helping with so many of the little things the day of including parking everyone.
  • Our neighbors, the Pushee’s, lent us their entire driveway for our guests to park
  • Mike Ferrizolli made our wedding rings from family heirloom jewelry and knew us so well to know what we wanted before we did
  • Diane and Jim Archibald made our both beautiful and DELICIOUS 3-tiered cake.  Jim has worked with Brandon at the yard for 14 years and they have both been great friends to us. Diane unfortunately broke her leg last week, yet they still made the cake!  Two layers of mocha cake with espresso and caramel cream then another layer was coconut rum cake with grapefruit curd.
  • Jordan Shoener was the most supportive and enthusiastic DJ friends could have.
  • Maria Coughlin took our engagemet photos last summer and now helped planned an amazing day with more photos balancing on boats, rocks, and docks while being pregnant!
  • Dave, our caterer, and his staff at Greenwich Bay Oyster Co. who we canceled on when the first wedding was off but then called him back when it was on. He pulled off a great event in the end with delicious food. His staff made sure I always had a cocktail or a plate of food in hand!
  • Nick at our local liquor store (Kingston Liquor Mart) who hooked us up and took care of us through all the changes.
  • And lastly – and this one is the most important – thank you to Morgan (Baird) Everson, our “best person” who got officiated to make the most heartwarming ceremony and start this next chapter for us on the right foot. I will publish her remarks at our ceremony so everyone can have the chance to read them. They were truly amazing. She also gave a great speech during the reception as well. Thanks, Morgs. 

The day was beautiful. We couldn’t have asked for better in the middle of the summer.  Sunny skies and not too hot or humid. The morning started off with just the two of us making breakfast and ticking off the last few things on the list around the house. By this point, we had decided we would be leaving the next day for the honeymoon to Maine to get ahead of an impending storm so the last minute packing was part of the morning.  I attempted to cut the grass one last time but that actually failed halfway through as the engine died. Brandon had to come with the big tractor and pick up the little tractor. This side project made me a few minutes to get my hair done just down the road at Salon Stella.

When I got back from getting my hair done, I was pleasantly surprised that it was an empty house, Brandon left to get ready on the boat and finish up getting it ready for the cruise (and write his vows) and friends had not arrived yet. Scruffy and I took advantage of the peacefulness to walk in the woods and I also wrote my vows. (Nothing like waiting until the last minute!)

Soon after my gallivant, friends and family started to turn up to help setup. From there, I got ready and then Morgan and my parents headed to JBY for “a first look.” We met Maria, our photographer, and did photos before the ceremony. I’m so glad we did, it was nice to get these done. 

Morgan drove me out in the JBY workboat to our boat. This was fitting on so many levels because  Morgan used to work at Jamestown Boat Yard as the launch driver where she met Brandon and eventually introduced me to him! Brandon and I also drove her dads Whaler for her first look with Jay at her wedding. 

Brandon stood on the bow with his back turned then I got on the boat and he saw me in my dress for the first time. Seemed fitting as well because we first met on a boat in 2012.

Next we headed ashore and drove up to a Fort Wetherill where we had our private ceremony on a rocky overlook. Scruffy and my dad walked me down the aisle/ path. My dad said this was the wedding he always imagined me having since I was 6. He couldn’t be more right. It was perfect.

At our ceremony, I held Scruffy’s leash but he settled in the shade of my dress. Brandon and I exchanged vows we wrote and Morgan said some amazing things. (Again will post below). Then we took family photos, popped some bubbles, Scruffy laid down in poison ivy and we headed back to the house.  (I also should mentioned scruffy rolled in something horrid about 10 minutes before we left the house… so he was a happy dog). 

We arrived home to our friends socially distanced in an aisle clapping as we entered. Brandon and I danced into “shut up and dance with me” – which he didn’t know I did but was fitting from our first date. Then we segwayed into a first dance, “Your smiling Face” by James Taylor.  We are not dancers but it was more amazing to see all our family and friends faces. The smiles might the have been covered by masks but I know they were all there!

My dad and I did another quick dance to “Here comes the sun” by the Beatles before we scattered to now enjoy the evening. Having a small gathering meant i got to talk to everyone. We had a raw bar, cheese table, and plenty of apps.

At 7 we gathered around the cake and my computer and held the toasts over Zoom giving our friends and family a chance to join in. Seeing everyone from all over the world was one of the best parts of the day. We had France, Washington, California, Vermont, Colorado, London,  New York, and Boston. Brandon’s aunt, Eli, wrote the most beautiful poem. (Will also post that). A surprise was seeing Julia and Bill our in Washington joining my aunts and uncle. That’s when I couldn’t stop the tears, they represented just all the love that was out there and reminded me of my grandmother, Betsy Wilson, who passed in January. We toasted using the glasses from her and my grandfathers wedding in 1955 then cut the cake. (Again, thank you Diane!)

The rest of the night continued as magically as the rest.  And I will leave it at that. It seemed everyone had a great time.

We woke up to miraclly not the biggest mess but was told by friends and family to not touch any of it. So we got up, showered, ate cake for breakfast, reminisced with those who did crash upstairs about the after party then got going. 

By 1130 we were dropping the mooring lines and headed on the next adventure…

Cruising in April

What better way to do a shakedown sail then to turn it into an overnight cruise? So under sunny skies on Saturday April 26th, after Brandon finished work at the Boatyard, we loaded up some provisions and warm clothes and took off for a sail over to Dutch Harbor on the other side of Jamestown.

The wind was about 10-15 from the South. We did a jib-only sail because we put up all our canvas over the cockpit and we can’t put the main up with the connector. And well… we wanted to stay in the shade!

It was a quick sail over and we surprisingly were not the only ones. We shared the anchorage with another ambitious cruiser. As soon as we got there, we took the little dog over the Dutch Island and did not heed the warnings that there would be ticks. We walked around the abandoned islands which still houses many military ruins. I hear it was once a place for leprosy patients.

Needless to say, we spent the better part of our trip knocking ticks off ourselves and Scruffy. So we hurried back to the boat only to discover it wasn’t enough, we probably took another 20 off the little guy. It was crazy to think that how bad it was in April due to the mild winter we had.

As the sun went down, we closed up down below and I cooked up some Chili and Cornbread. Using the oven heated the place up and the Chili warmed us from the inside out. The recipe I used is from a good friend from college, Kate (Brush) Owen, who wrote them on notecards that I still use today!

So with a glass of wine and a book in hand, we snuggled in for the evening. It was cool that night onboard, I don’t think I have every worn so many clothes. We woke up early and sailed back to avoid forecasted rain and luckily just as we hit the shore, it started to come down.

All in all a very successful first cruise, and not knowing where this year is headed, it is great to know we have this escape.

Launching a Quarantine

With the world in lockdown, what better way to socially distance than on the water? So on April 19th, Persistence splashed once again with the hopes of a long healthy season of sailing and cruising ahead of us.

Since buying a house last Fall, we did not start any boat projects. (Just a lot of house projects!) We actually didn’t even put the cover on the boat until Christmas Eve!

So after less than 3 months undercover and ski season officially canceled, on March 21st, we took the cover off the boat.

Cover off March 21, 2020

Normally we take everything off the boat in the winter – but having just bought a house, we were in the middle of moving so we left pretty much everything on the boat: cushions, dry goods, books etc. Luckily, nothing got moldy or musty so just a little elbow grease and Clorox was needed. My favorite product to use onboard is Fabuloso, it really cuts through the boat grime that accumulates and is doesn’t leave anything feeling greasy or chemical-ly.

This pretty much sums up March/April 2020

The weekend of April 10th we stepped the mast, compounded and waxed the topsides, cabin house, and cockpit and painted the bottom. Needless to say I was sore for about 2 days after wielding the buffer. Compounding is essentially “sanding” as it takes some of the gel coat away but just barely and waxing polishes is back up. Leaving the boat shiny and looking happy. Many just do the topsides but we like to do the deckhouse and the cockpit as well. We didn’t last year so this year was extra tough!

Shiny Boat!

We are lucky because Brandon is the crane operator and trailer driver which means while some are shut down, we can be self-sufficient. Jamestown Boat Yard has stayed fully open during the pandemic albeit with a smaller staff. We also managed to keep our boat in a spot we could get out. The view above is where we were nestled in. Not pictured is that the width between the buildings only gives us about 2 inches of space TOTAL to get out. No scratches though. Just a lot of careful towing by Brandon.

Now that we are in the water, we are investing in a heater that hooks into our diesel tank so we can start cruising on the weekends locally. There are so many protected harbors around Narragansett Bay which keep us in the state and obeying all local regulations. Some states such as Maryland and New York banned recreational boating at one point but never in Rhode Island. We also know boatyards and marinas are reopening in CT and NY.

So the plan is to start using Persistence as much as we can. Last year, we had a pretty full calendar between work, weddings, and sailing on other boats. As of today, we have only one thing on the calendar at that is our own wedding on August 1st followed by a honeymoon cruise to Maine. While we hope to celebrate with family and friends, if we just end up saying “I do” on the bow and then a party at some later date – so be it! Here’s to Hope, Happiness, and Health!

The next big adventure: A new house!

Brandon and I have been looking at houses for well over a year now. Since we already had a great home – albeit just a bit small – we were in no rush. We mostly just browsed Zillow and drove around on weekends we were in Rhode Island seeing what was out there. For us, having land already meant we didn’t want to give that up but we didn’t want to be far away from Jamestown/Newport.

In the late summer, a house popped up that caught our eye. They were having an open house one weekend but we were of course away sailing. We did still drive down the long driveway and took a poke around peeking in windows – assuming no one was living there (apparently we were wrong but didn’t learn that at the time!) Then we asked a friend of ours who is a real estate agent to reach out to see if we could visit it.

It is a beautiful 4 bedroom Cape built in 1960 with a 2006 master suite addition sitting on 2.5 acres and butting up against 57 acres of conservancy land. It was reasonably priced in a good neighborhood – so we were thinking: “What’s the catch?”

Well on our first visit we got the disclosures to learn it has a cesspool – which are now illegal in Rhode Island. New owners will have 1 year from the date of closure to put in a proper septic system. This new home is also in a “critical resource area” due to proximity to water tables. So… $$$$$ septic tank.

After some negotiations (and low offers) and even the house being taken off the market, the sellers (a retired couple who raised their family here then has moved South) accepted. Then started the stressful, drawn-out mortgage, inspections, and closing process but on October 22, we got the keys and started the move in.

It’s the best of both worlds as we are keeping the other house and Brandon’s mom is the new tenant. Moving is a slow process utilizing Brandon and my dad’s trucks.


Side note, on the same week of the closing, my car decided it liked Fletcher Road too much and couldn’t handle the move across town – having already moved me across the country twice and the state a few times. So after 10 years, the little-Honda-Fit-that-could ended it by popping herself out of gear, putting down the e-brake, and rolling out a nearly flat driveway to hit a tree 6 inches in diameter at 3mph. No one humans or animals were hurt or even witnessed her demise – the neighbor came over to let us know she ran away into his yard. The dent in the rear corner was enough for the insurance company to total her.

Saying goodbye to the Honda… 10 years this car took me on many adventures.

So now back at the new house, we have a list of projects to make the home our own, so far Brandon is making the garage his haven with insulation, more power, and heat and I am taking down wallpaper.

Facebook Marketplace has been a wonderful place to find some furniture – as we now have to furnish a house double in size. So far, my favorite room is our den. It has a wood fireplace, a beautiful view of the woods behind us and plenty of light. It has become my new defacto office due to its warmth and general hygee (Danish for coziness).

Scruffy has been adjusting but has already come to think of this as his territory – so squirrels of Congdon Hill beware! He is also a fan of the new chairs by the fire just not all the banging Brandon does in the garage.

The grand plan is to host both of our families (18! + 3 dogs) so stay tuned for that!

Lastly, Persistence came out of the water on November 1. We didn’t go on any big adventures this year, just a Cuttyhunk and a last Columbus Day weekend to Block Island. Hopefully next summer we will get away. We have grand dreams to do a honeymoon crusing trip to Maine.

Speaking of the wedding… persistenceadventures.com/wedding has more information about that.

Summer of Small Adventures

Well, it has been a while since writing but it sadly is not because we have been out adventuring all over New England waters onboard Persistence but because it has been a Summer of work, weddings, and weekends away from our boat.

However, we have still managed to get in a lot of sailing in – just not always onboard the Persistence. Work has kept me very busy and I have managed to get more use of the Nav Station down below as an office than the sails on deck. We actually realized in August that the mainsail never even went up once in June or July!

The highlights of Summer 2019 thus far with picture below (we still have over a month of sailing weather ahead of us so we don’t plan to put her away yet!)

  • Launched on May 15th!
  • Mitchell Regatta (Memorial Day Weekend race to Block Island) – Tied (with good friend Morgan) for the best appetizer: Bacon Wrapped Japenpenos Stuffed with Dates and Goat Cheese.
  • NYYC Annual Regatta sailing with The Cat Came Back Crew
  • Block Island Race Week – I did the media for the event but Brandon sailed with the Cat.
  • 4th of July – Brandon was off to a Bachelor party so Scruffy and I hung out in Jamestown on the boat and sailed with friends
  • NYYC Race Week – I sailed IC37s onboard Chesapeake Racing
  • Camden Classics Cup – Brandon and I headed Downeast to join Verissimo for a weekend of sailing. It was my first time racing there and it was beautiful. We took 2nd in the regatta.
  • August 1st! Our first cruising weekend of the SUMMER! Friends were headed to Block Island so we headed out to our favorite spot for a weekend of swimming, mudslides, and even made it out to see a band on Saturday night. Sadly the wind did not cooperate either direction and while the sails were up, we motored sailed both ways for much of the journey.
  • Justin and Perri’s Wedding – NYC. Amazing time with friends at the Bronx Botanical Gardens
  • Back to Block. We had another weekend free and while we would have loved to go to Cuttyhunk the wind was SE so it was just too good to not set sail for Block once again. Morgan and Jay joined us on Saturday for a relaxing weekend in our favorite place. However, the light winds once again led us to motor most the way.
  • August 15th – Took the Newport Yacht Club junior sailors out for a day on the boat with 2 other big boats. I think it is important the kids get to experience something other than an opti. We went to Mackrol Cove to swim and eat and everyone got to try something different.
  • Bristol Wedding weekend – Alex Longo, Brandon’s friend from high school was getting married in Bristol at Mount Hope Farm so we set sail on Saturday morning with another friend and stayed on a mooring in the harbor. Sunday was breezy but from the North. Got the boat going 7.5 knots at one point under jib only!
  • Labor Day Weekend – And like that it was September. Brandon did the Vineyard Race (Stamford CT to Buzzards Bay and Around Block) onboard a customer’s boat – Jules, a Baltic 53. And I sailed The Cat for the CYC Around the Island Race while simultaneously handling the media for the event.
  • Now we head into another wedding weekend for Holly Huffine, one of my oldest friends, here at home. We will probably stay on the boat Saturday and race Sunday on the Cat for the Fall Series but as the temperatures cool. We know there is still much more sailing time still ahead in the coming weeks.
Launched! May 15th
Block Island Race Week – The Cat Came Back, June 2019
My office and co-worker
Camden Classics Cup – July 2019
Camden Classics Cup – July 2019
First cruising trip of the Summer August 2019! to Block
Justin and Perri’s Wedding – NYC August 2019
Taking the Newport Yacht Club kids sailing, August 2019
Alex’s Wedding – Bristol =, August 2019 (Brandon’s Mom made my dress!)
This is his new thing
On the boat
Labor Day Weekend Around the Island Race

Merci, Paris.

Our first big adventure of the year was off to France for a week of exploring, eating, wine tasting, and a small life event 💍(more on that below…). Brandon has an annual training in Finland around this time each year so with a free flight to Europe for him, frequent flyer miles for me, and European friends with guest rooms, we try to tack on a visit to a new city. each year.

Our first trip was in 2015 when I joined him in Finland (in January!) followed by a trip to Copenhagen, Denmark – where I used to live – to show him my old stomping grounds.

Us at the Little Mermaid in Copenhagen

Then in 2016, we visited our good friends Alexa and Jonathan in London. This time, I met Brandon in London and skipped the cold, dark northern, Finland.

This year, with our friends Justin and Perri having just moved to Paris (just 3 weeks ago!) we headed to France for a few days. We did some serious touristing averaging 5-8 miles per day of walking around the City of Lights sprinkling in frequent stops in their quintennialy quaint cafes to sip on wine and indulge in all the French delicacies that make this one of the gastronomical capitals of the world.

Some of the Paris highlights:

Montmartre:

On the first day we went to the hilltop that holds the charming Montmartre where cafes, winding alleys, and the domed Sacré-Cœur basilica overlooks the city. It was the perfect kickoff to our city as we got a sense of the city from above.

Sacré-Cœur basilica
View from Sacré-Cœur steps

The Catacombs:

Underneath the city, the bones of 6 million Parisians can be found in their final resting place. Around the time of the Plague, vast quarries below the city provided the materials to build the city, then in turn, became a solution for a growing problem of spreading disease and lack of space for a growing population. The bones were blessed by the Church then stacked in a way to honor the dead. As creepy as the place was, it was mindblowing the sheer number of remains and realizing this was all built in the Middle Ages.

One of the tunnels of the Catacombs

Picasso Museum:

The world renowned Spanish artist settled in Paris developing Cubism and Realism in the early 20th Century. When he died, his family couldn’t afford the estate taxes so donated many of his works to the State to be sold or displayed in a public museum. Located in the old Hôtel Salé, in the 3rd Arrondissement, the works show the development of the beloved artist over his years living in Paris. We always get the audio guide when we visit a museum because the extra history and explanations really make the visit better.

Picasso’s Woman at the Desk and Brandon getting his Audio Guide ready

Notre Dame:

Visiting the iconic church was amazing because you look at both the intricacies and details in architecture and art and realize this was built in the 12th century!

The inside of Notre Dame

Fontainebleau:

On Saturday, we headed out of the city by car to visit Fontainebleau, the residence of Royals and Emperors. A tour of the grounds and the exquisite Apartments was amazing. The detail everywhere you looked was very impressive. This was also where Napolean surrendered before his exile.

Napolean’s Library

Monet’s Water Lillies

On Monday, I needed to get some work done and Brandon had already left. Justin and I did manage to get out and check out the only museum open on a Monday, Musée de l’Orangerie which houses Claude Monet’s famous Water Lillies. I thought they were paintings like any other but in they are two rooms of HUGE panoramic lilies. The small museum also houses works by Cézanne, Matisse, Picasso, Renoir, Rousseau, Soutine which was an amazing surprise.

Champagne!

On Tuesday, Justin and I rented a car and headed 1.5 hours out of the city (2 hours with rush hour) to visit the Champagne region. While we did try to go to a smaller Champagne House, to get a more unique experience, it was recommended we go at least one of the big houses due to their tours.

We got the Imperial Tour at Moet and Chandon and due to the off-season, we got a private tour (no one else booked it). They are the largest in the region and have 18 miles of caves under the city. We walked among hundreds of thousands of bottles lying in wait for a celebration. Then toasted at the end of the day to a wonderful trip.

20,000 bottles in one cave waiting for years to ferment and then pop!

Eiffel Tower:

Speak of celebrations….

We knew we wanted to go up the Eiffel Tower so we booked a trip online in the morning for 5:30pm on Friday. (Highly recommend this! Otherwise, you could wait 2 hours in line and with reservations, you walk right in). However, we realized that we also had reservations for a 7:00pm show called “How to become Parisian in One Hour.” (Also highly recommended!) So with just 20 minutes to get up and down, we got up there at dusk and slowly could see the lights coming up in the city. Justin then asked if he could take a picture of us and then Brandon said “Well this seems like a good time then…”

And…

When he pulled out the ring in his pocket…
I said “Oui!”

So it was quite and eventful trip. A huge thank you to Justin and Perri for allowing us to crash with them in their temporary housing. We can’t wait to come back and visit. It is truly a City of Love!

Yet Another Year of Persistence Adventures

So much happened in 2018 that every time I sat down to write about it, I was daunted by the task of all the details that had passed since my December 2017 post. It’s hard to believe how many adventures we packed into just one lap around the sun. Between my work with the Volvo Ocean Race, a summer to recuperate, and a Fall of spontaneity, we have trekked, flew, sailed, eaten, and imbibed our way around the world.

For 2019, I am making it a goal to write more to share both our adventures onboard, around the world, and in the house. Those who know me, know I love to cook and bake when I am home. This is a recent life adventure that I really enjoy exploring and quite a lot of Persistence is required when learning something new, so I hope you enjoy or are inspired to try some of these recipes.

So here are the highlights of 2018:

Dec 2017 / Jan 2018: Australia

We spent Christmas and New Year’s in Down Under as Leg 3 of the Volvo finished in Melbourne. Brandon joined me on this stopover but we tacked on a few extra days before and after the event in Sydney. The highlights were seeing the famous Rolex Sydney Hobart start on boxing day, New Year’s Eve fireworks in Melbourne, and catching up with our friend Chris who took us up north to see some of the amazing beaches.

Late Jan 2018: Hong Kong

Hong Kong harbor in the background.

For those who follow the Volvo and our team, you know that tragedy struck for us here and this was a very tough part of the year. Stress and sorrow mixed with cultural and professional eye-opening experiences. Reflecting nearly a year later, I have learned how to take any experience thrown at you and turn it into a way to grow.

Feb 2018: Bring on the snow in Vermont

Paradise Woods at Sugarbush, Vermont

Once again, we rented a ski house in Vermont with 6 of our friends and 3 other dogs. It was a great winter with good snow, good company, good food, and tasty drinks. Vermont is a place for us to unwind and every weekend I was home, we packed Scruffy in the wagon, put on our favorite podcast or comedy station, and headed the 4-5 hours north to look for the white gold.

March 2018: New Zealand

My one day off spent biking around Auckland.

Next on the adventure was New Zealand, our boat was damaged in the accident in Hong Kong so it was sent by ship to the next stopover. As our situation was still ongoing, I arrived earlier than expected and spent 3 weeks in the land of the sheep and kiwis. It was mostly working in a city atmosphere and long days but I did get a chance to get out and experience some of the beautiful countryside.

The view from Wahine Island, a small island off Auckland filled with wineries.

My dad came to visit at the end of the stopover, so we rented a car and got out of the city for a few days to see more. This is the country I would want to return to the most.

Dad and I at a Waterfall
Dad and I at the hole in the rock in the Bay of Islands

But what about Scruffy?

Sad puppy. Fun fact: He started eating blankets whenever I was gone for more than a week.

My travels did keep me away from my little four legged friend. Luckily, we have wonderful family especially Brandon’s mom who could stop by during the days I was away to keep the little guy company. This is a dog who really has never been left alone since I work from home.

April 2018: Brazil

Just down the road from the village. Taken on a morning run.

Unfortunately for our team, despite getting back on the water for the race. The boat suffered a dismasting and had to retire from the leg. Thus, putting us even more on the back foot for the race. However, resilience runs deep on the team and despite all the hardships, everyone held their head high and laughed every day. No one ever gave up which was a true testament to the characters I had the privilege to work with every day.

The boat was repaired in time and a week in Brazil was amazing. We were in Itajai, which is southern Brazil on the coast. It was part industrial, part small city, and part tropics. The coolest part was seeing the capybaras!

Large rodents called Capybara come out after the sun goes down are like giant hamsters.

May 2018: Persistence launches

First sail of 2018 on Cinco de Mayo!

May the Forth be with us! Persistence had her earliest launch ever on a grey cool day. Bundled up we took her for the first harbor burn (a lap through Newport) on May 4. We spent our first night onboard a few days later awaiting the arrival of the Volvo boats. We headed out in the earlier hours with Scruffy to catch the finish in drifting conditions. The blue boat secured the podium making it the first leg completed since arriving in Melbourne before Christmas.

Scruffy cheering on the boys and girls at 6am on May 8.

It was great to be home for one of the stopovers. Sleeping in my bed and bringing Scruffy to work help relieved any stress that comes with usual craziness of the stopover.

#1 Fan

June 2018: Europe and Bermuda

The end of the Volvo took me to Cardiff, Wales, Gothenburg, Sweden, and finally Den Haag, The Netherlands. It was just a month on the road non-stop. A reprieve for a few days with friends in London mixed in with enjoying the last days of working with the team and all the friends I met along the way especially my fellow media collegues from the other teams. As fun as the 9 months has been, the end was bittersweet because it meant coming home and back to a life of relaxing and fun with family and friends.

Finally!

The highlights were going to the Harry Potter sets outside London, getting backstage tickets to Beyonce/JayZs first show of their tour, the long days and short nights of Gothenburg, and finally getting to drive the Volvo 65. The Hague was actually one of my favorite stopovers. Maybe it was because it was the end and I had less work, or it was the beautiful beaches, restaurants, and location.

While I was gallivanting around Europe, Brandon competed in his 3rd Newport-Bermuda Race onboard Verrisimo. It was a slow race with little breeze so it took longer (5 days!) so as soon as he hit the dock, he was off to the airport.

July: Eat, Sleep, Sail

I flew home on July 1 and from there on, I was on a kick to relax. I still had other clients to work with and Brandon was still working but as soon as 3:30 rolled around – quitting time for Jamestown Boat Yard. We hopped onboard to go for a sail around the Bay.

Persistence became my office and Scruffy napped on deck. We headed to Potter’s Cove on Prudence Island with Morgan and Jay for the 4th, spent a weekend on Block Island mid-July, then wrapped up the month competiting in Newport Yacht Club’s Solo-Twin Race. A 60-mile overnight race sailed with just two people. We finished 2nd and most importantly in front of my dad sailing on his Catalina 36.

August 2018: P-Town

Persistence’s big trip of the summer was a 5-day sail to Provincetown at the bitter end of Cape Cod. We left on a Thursday evening a set the kite to sail downwind to the mouth of the Cape Cod canal. We dropped anchor around 2am and then got up around 6am to catch the current through and reached over to Provincetown 20 miles away.

Once there, we didn’t have the best of weather but we relaxed, read books, cooked, then explored via our foldable bikes when we got a break. Luckily for us, the wind even cooperated on the way home so we did a lot of down wind sailing. On the way home, we spent a night in Cuttyhunk. It was 5 days of the relaxing sailing we needed!

September 2018: Wilson West Trip

In September, I headed out to work in San Francisco for the Rolex Big Boat Series where I got to see my aunt and grandparents followed by a trip up to Washington stated to see my grandmother and family in Bellingham.

The sailing season is still not over either! We took a weekend trip circumnavigating Aquidneck Island, something we had never done actually. We spent one night at Third Beach then the next at the Foglands in Tiverton before sailing around the island.

By this point in the summer, I have happily conquered a half dozen books, something I had stopped doing in recent years. I had forgotten the great feeling of getting lost in a good story!

October 2018: Block Island Columbus Day Weekend

Five years ago I invited a boy to join me out on Block Island for my favorite event of the year: Newport Yacht Club’s Mitchell Regatta. It’s a pursuit race out to Block Island (one of my favorite places on the planet) followed by a Bloody Mary Content and an Appetizer Contest. This year we took 2nd place onboard the mighty Persistence, witnessed whales, dolphins, and camels, but even better was we won the appetizer contest with Roasted Brussel Sprouts topped with Bacon Jam and served to look like little boats on Block.

October 2016: Chicago and New York

In late October, I headed out Chicago Yacht Club to cover the US Sailing National Championships and Brandon came along for the last half. We tacked on a few days of exploring a new city taking in the sites, the food, and a improv show at the iconic Second City.

The next weekend we headed down to NYC and Brooklyn for a wedding of Brandon’s cousin. It was a whirlwind month of travel and we were looking forward to some weekends at home.

November 2018: BVIs? Why not?

Well, the idea of being home didn’t last long. My friend Morgan works for a charter company that rents yachts all over the world like a timeshare. She secured a free charter in the British Virgin Island but only found out about a week in advance and asked Brandon and I to accompany her and her husband, Jay. After some thought, we decided: why not?

For a week, our home was a 40-foot Catamaran. We each had our hull which made it nice to spread out. After a long flight followed by a tricky provisioning trip to the grocery store, (you have to plan a week worth of food/water and booze) we were off. Brandon and I had been here many times so we acted as tour guides for Morgan and Jay’s first trip. It was a very fun week of relaxing and adventures. We packed a lot into 7 days.

It was both humbling and inspiring to see the devastation that Hurricane Irma brought to the Islands and the resilience of the people there. Many areas are still destroyed while others have already rebuilt and are open for business. Areas were almost unrecognizable from our trip there nearly 18 months ago yet some places appeared like nothing had happened.

End of the Year: Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Wait…Where did it go?

As soon as we got back from 85ºF and warm water, it was up to Vermont for Thanksgiving were nearly 2 feet of fresh snow awaited us. We were skiing the trees in November! The skiing was some the best we have at the Bush. We went back up again in mid December as it kept snowing but then…it rained 🙁 We still went up for Christmas and luckily the earlier snow pack helped preserve the skiing conditions but only to a point.

We came back to Rhode Island for a very quiet and relaxing New Years (in bed by 11) which was a stark contrast to the very busy way the year began but was so fitting as we rest up for the what is in store for 2019! Stay tuned and I promise to write more frequently 🙂