Blog Archive

Monday, May 2, 2016

Pepperrell Cove: First Sail 2016

It is has been a lllloooonnng spring here in New Hampshire.  Very warm temperatures early in the season had us hankering to get out in the garden and onto the water.   When I was in the garden transplanting a Hydrangea back in March I just knew it was too good to last.  Sure enough, we've had a couple of snowy days since then and April was a roller coaster ride of 40-70 degree days.

We hit a sunny and seemingly warm weekend April 17 so decided to get the MRII out of the garage onto the car and into the water at Pepperrell Cove in Kittery, Maine.  We never seem to have a problem finding a place to park here even on a warm summer day and the fee to put in is nominal.   On this day we were the only ones there, there was no one to pay and we were very glad to see that one dock was in.  Pepperrell Cove is wall to wall boats in season but on this day it was just us, a working lobster boat, tons of Loons and a sea of empty mooring balls.

It was cool on the water but a beautiful day.  The tide and wind were right and we made it most of the way to the Portsmouth Yacht Club on Newcastle, N.H. before the cool temps had us heading back to the harbor.

When you pull out of Pepperrell Cove remember that the sweet town of Kittery is definitely worth a stop over.  The town has seen a great transformation over recent years and now is home to really good restaurants, shops and cafes.  If a walk around is in order - you are in a historical goldmine! The importance of Portsmouth Harbor and the Piscataqua River is apparent in the number of forts that dot the shore and the presence of the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard.  Fort McClary (c.1808) and Fort Foster (c.1899) in Kittery and Fort Constitution (c.1632) on Newcastle, NH are worth a visit.

Mooring Balls and  Fort Foster in the Distance

Fresh Tracks in Pepperrell Cove

Thursday, March 24, 2016

A Different Perspective

I picked up this book at our local book store the other day and read the back cover.  The words were so familiar I thought that I must have read the book before but I knew that I had not.  After a bit of pondering I figured it out.  It is the description of his mother and father that were familiar as I had read the same description when I did a little research about the beginnings of The Nutshell Pram.

"Roger Angell takes an unsentimental look at his early days as a boy growing up in New York with a remarkable father; a mother, Katharine White, who was a founding editor of The New Yorker; and a famous stepfather, the writer E. B. White."

Roger Angell is Joel Whites stepbrother.  Joel designed the Nutshell Pram.  I bought the book and it is great so far.  It will be interesting to read about the designer of our boat from this other perspective.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Monday, March 14, 2016

First Road Trip of 2016

We have great friends that have an awesome camp on Long Pond in Parsonsfield, Maine.  We were lucky enough to get an invite for this past weekend.  Long Pond is a wonderful place for our little boat but, alas, the ice is not out yet on Long Pond, so the Merry Rowe II remained in winter hibernation for this, our first New England road trip of 2016.

When we do take the boat to Long Pond we put in from the camp but there is a public launch on the southeast end of the pond on the Road Between the Ponds (yes, that's the name of the street).  During the season you can expect to have a "courtesy" inspection of your boat to ensure you are not dragging invasive species into this unspoiled pond.

We spent Friday night putting together a lentil soup* from a new found recipe and attempting to copy an awesome spinach salad** from a great local restaurant called Station 19.   We took off on the early side Saturday morning with a bit of a detour in mind for the ride up.  The first mate had spied a couple interesting tidbits on Craigslist to explore so our first stop was Portland, Maine.

Our first stop was Captain Jim's Marine Salvage and Nautical Antiquities.   Wow!  What a cool place. Beyond the little Cape Dory for sale in the front lot (SOLD the next day I hear) this place seemed to have a bit of whatever it is you might need to repair, restore, replace, or renew on the boat.  Cushions, companionway stairs, a sink for the head, turnbuckles, cleats, electrical equipment - there appeared to be at least one of everything.  The pictures do it justice and Captain Jim was a pleasure to meet. We highly recommend stopping in whether you are looking for a particular something or not.

Swim Ladders
Lines Galore

This and That

Captain Jims Marine Salvage and Nautical Antiquities

The second of our interests on this little detour to Portland was a Valiant 32 that is apparently in need of another part-owner.  She is on the hard at Maine Yacht Center and we stopped in there to see if the first mate could check her out.  There was not much to see as the boat was out of the water and shrink wrapped but it was worth driving down to the water on this side of town as we had never been there before.  It was a gorgeous day and we got a great perspective of the Eastern Promenade.  We were amazed that we had never noticed this marina before from our previous visits to the Promenade.

Slips at Maine Yacht Center
Having checked out these two cool places and toured the surrounding neighborhoods for possible places to put the boat in this season (we found none:(), we headed off to Long Pond which is a bit over an hour from Portland IF you put the correct name of the street in your GPS.  Otherwise, it will take a bit longer.  Just sayin'.

We had a great couple of days with our friends testing out this new-to-me vodka called Deep Eddy Lemon (really tasty with soda water), hiking around the lake and looking forward to the summer ahead!
Hike Around Long Pond
New Vodka
*Winter Lentil Soup (tweaked)
This recipe was in the Hippo March 3-9, 2016. Page 42.

  • 28 oz can of whole tomatoes 
  • 2 sweet potatoes peeled and chopped
  • 4 leeks chopped into half inch moons
  • 1/2 head kale torn into pieces
  • 1/2 cup brown lentils (we used 1 cup)
  • 1 sauteed onion (our addition)
  • 1/4 cup prepared pasta sauce (our addition - we used Pastene)
  • 1/4 cup vegetable broth (our addition)
In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, heat oil over medium heat.  Add the leeks and onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until they begin to soften.  Add the tomatoes and cook, breaking them up with a spoon, for about 5 minutes.  Add six cups water and bring to a boil.  Stir in the sweet potatoes, kale, lentils and thyme, 1.5 tsp salt and .25 tsp pepper.  Simmer until lentils are tender.  Add pasta sauce and vegetable broth and heat to an acceptable temperature.

**Spinach Salad

  • Fresh spinach
  • Crumbled Gorganzola
  • Candied Walnuts
  • Fresh Raspberries
  • Fresh Blueberries
  • Balsamic Vinaigrette 
Put first 5 ingredients in a bowl.  Add vinaigrette right before serving.

Friday, March 4, 2016

A Lake and Three Harbors: 72 Hours in Maine in the Nutshell Pram: Post 4 of 4 Rockland, Maine

A Lake and Three Harbors
72 Hours in Maine in the Nutshell Pram
Post 4 of 4 
< Rockland, Maine

The Merry Rowe II.  Rockland, Maine

We've found a couple different places to put the boat in when we are sailing in Rockland Harbor.  On this day we put in at Sandy Beach which is on the south side of town.  Sandy Beach is a small beach reached by concrete stairs from a sweet little park.   There is a small parking lot there which we have found full on occasion but on this trip there was a space with our name on it!

Looking Toward Town From Sandy Beach Park
Rockland is one of our favorite Maine harbor towns.  From the perspective of being on the water in a little boat there are a number of reasons it is fun.   First, it's easy to put the boat in the water. You can put in at the beach as we did on this day or go to the public landing a bit farther south.  The harbor is very spacious with a mix of undeveloped and developed coastline so you have the option of tooling around town and checking out the action (we have been in the boat during music festivals in Rockland and been able to listen to it all while sailing back and forth around the harbor) or you can head to the other side of the harbor or out to the lighthouse and feel like you are really getting away from it all.  It is a Maine harbor so there are an incredible number of beautiful boats to sail around.
Rockland Harbor Sailing

Lighthouse, Rockland, Maine
Rockland is just as enjoyable ashore as it is on the water.  Rockland has a fabulous museum called the Farnsworth Art Museum where you can see works from Neil Welliver, Winslow Homer and and all the Wyeths.   The shopping is great.  I think The Grasshopper Shop is one of the best non-mall clothing stores for women and its right on the main drag.  We have never had a bad meal in Rockland and love the little coffee/book/beer place called Rock City Roasters where we have enjoyed some nice acoustic music in the evenings.  The ferry terminal to Matinicus, Vinalhaven and North Haven is here so there is always a little bustle about town.  We have been to Rockland for the purpose of holiday shopping, to attend the Maine Boats, Homes and Harbors Show, and just to sail. It never disappoints.

On this day were were there to sail and sail we did.  Such a great little harbor and a wonderful capstone to our 72 hours in Maine in our Nutshell Pram - the Merry Rowe II.  

On the Water. Rockland, Maine

Thursday, March 3, 2016

The Nutshell Pram

The Nutshell Pram

Joel White was a naval architect, the son of E.B. White (author of Charlotte's Web) and Katharine White (New Yorker Magazine Editor) and designer of the Nutshell Pram.  Mr. White died in 1997. (NYTimes December 1997).

A pram, by definition, is a small dinghy with a flat bow.

According to Artisan Boatworks, at one time the pram was the most popular dinghy for "a pram provides the best carrying capacity for a given length".  When space for the dinghy was tight on a boat - a pram was the best answer.

"In creating the Nutshell Pram, designer Joel White was aiming for something almost as easy to build as the typical American pram, but with the good looks of its Norwegian ancestors.  The Nutshell became an immediate classic, and is widely thought of as the ultimate evolution of the type."

The Merry Rowe II is a 9'6" Nutshell- the larger of the two sizes of Nutshell available (the other is 7'7")  She was built from plans purchased from wooden boat (Nutshell Pram Plans).  A father/son project completed in a garage in Kennebunk, Maine in 2013, the MRII has been all over New England.  Her travels are described in a blog started in 2016.

The Merry Rowe II on Long Pond, Parsonsfield, Maine