September 12th, 2009
The Rhyme of the Not So Ancient Mariner
(or how I almost went for a Schooner Cruise)
As I am a firm believer that no one really reads these trip reports (those that were there have their own version of what happened, and anyone else doesn’t really care), I thought I would be different and put the trip report in the form of a poem – like “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner”… until I looked it up and found that it goes for almost 700 lines! So much for that idea.
Our story begins back in late August when a tropical storm named Danny (it never really became a hurricane) decided that he would spoil our weekend. By Saturday the 29th, the day of the trip, it had been downgraded to a tropical depression, but with our personal safety in mind our fearless leader/president, Jim Gillis, decided it would be best to postpone it to another day.
Fast forward two weeks and as the luck of the Irish would have it (I think Jim is Irish?), we had a wet day predicted. (Hey Jim, was Dobie related to you? And how did Maynard get his name changed to Gilligan?)
Despite that, around 17 cars made their way to the starting point at the Beverly rest area off Route 128. And as each one arrived, Jim was more and more surprised to see so many showing up. Everyone had stories of how much rain they hit on the way there, but we all made it (not sure about the guy driving the Viper with the top down).
Everyone was optimistic at that point that the weather would clear, so off we went with our tops up and wearing those big silly smiling Miata grins. A little rain wasn’t going to stop us!
We made our way through the back roads to the Gloucester area with our first stop at Stage Fort Park. This is the location that was first settled by the Dorchester Company in 1623. While we all made pit stops and then enjoyed Judy’s wonderful cookies, Jim contacted the Schooner Lannon’s captain to see what was happening. The news was grim as the rain continued, so after discussing our options, we decided to postpone the Schooner cruise again. We discussed several options Jim had planned, and decided to wait until after lunch to choose what to do.
We continued our ride through the rain and ended at the Seaport Grille for lunch. There we all enjoyed a wonderful meal that proved to be much more than we had expected. Not only did we have our choice of sandwich, but we also had a choice of salad or chowder, soft drinks and coffee with free refills, and a choice of several deserts. All for the incredible price of $20! Everyone at our table ended up taking the desert to go as the meal was so large.
The consensus of the group was to visit the Beauport house, the home of Henry David Sleeper and later Charles McCann and his wife Helena Woolworth (did you know that all the Woolworth Five and Dime stores became Seven-Elevens because of inflation?). Having an incredible maze of 40 rooms, Sleeper was way ahead of his time by recycling building materials that no one else wanted.
By the time our three groups finished the tour, it was still raining. While many ended the day there, about a dozen of us made our way in the rain to the Cape Ann Brewing Company. There we tried there sampler of 7 micro-brews and by the time we were finished, the sun was not shining, but at least there was no rain.
So while we never did get to go on the Schooner Lannon, I think I can say we all still had a wonderful day. I would like to thank Jim for a great trip, and look forward to the rainy day next year when we try once again to cruise the Massachusetts coast.
Did I mention that it rained?