When Going Away Feels Like Coming Home - Rockport MA

Sunday, August 1, 2021

 The only road I like better than a country road is a road that leads to the sea.

I'm not much for vacations.  Some might call me a homebody and they wouldn't be wrong, but when I am persuaded to venture away from the comforts of home, there's a good chance the place I end up is in the coastal oasis of Rockport, MA.  

We first visited Rockport in 1993 when someone told us about the beauty of Cape Ann.  We went back again in 2003 and since then, we've visited Rockport many times.  In fact this was our 8th visit and our 3rd stay at the unbeatable Bearskin Neck Motor Lodge.   While we've found many wonderful places to stay in Rockport, since 2016 we've been staying at the Lodge - for a number of reasons.  First of all - location, location, location.  Situated almost on the end of the 'neck', guest rooms offer amazing views of Sandy Bay where guests can relax on the deck and enjoy beautiful sunsets, listen to the cry of the gulls and the crashing waves on the rocks below.  Steps from the parking lot, early risers can walk to the tip of the neck and enjoy spectacular sunrises, walk the narrow streets lined with shops and eateries, watch the fishermen and sailing vessels return from sea, all while never having to move your car from your parking spot.

The rooms, all recently updated, are comfortable and cozy and always immaculate.  Krystle and Eric Leveille, who have owned the Lodge since 2013, have stocked the room with all the essentials - a fridge, coffee maker with fixings, charging stations on both sides of the bed, plenty of fluffy towels and even black make up towels.  (Can you tell I don't get away much?)  The beds are so comfy and every room is equipped with A.C., cable tv and wi-fi.  Of course, the hospitality is top notch! 

Despite the fact that we hadn't been away in four years, Covid concerns kept us from planning a getaway this summer. But, five days prior to our trip I happened to check Facebook just as a cancellation was posted for the next week, coincidentally the days we're typically free.  I immediately viewed it as 'fate' (and God deciding I deserved a giant blessing) and jumped at the opportunity.  Our room this trip was the smallest room at the lodge, the Petite Queen room.  While it was smaller than the other 7 rooms and didn't have a second exit to the parking lot, it had plenty of space for what we needed and was just around the end of the building on the first floor.

Below (and above) is the Roseway, a tall ship and National Historic Landmark.  Built in 1925, the Roseway, 137′ in sparred length, was designed as a fishing yacht by John James and built in 1925 in his family’s shipyard in Essex, Massachusetts. Father and son worked side by side on Roseway, carrying on a long New England history of wooden shipbuilding. In September 2002, the bank honored a request by the World Ocean School and donated Roseway to be used as a platform for the school. In May 2006 Roseway and the World Ocean School relocated to Boston, Massachusetts. During our stay in Rockport the Roseway anchored for the night right in the bay outside our window.  https://worldoceanschool.org/get-on-board/about-roseway

As for those sunsets and sunrises.....these shots were from previous years ..

There's so much to see and do in and around Rockport and neighboring Gloucester.  I plan to do another post or two of our road trips outside of Rockport, but here's some views around this charming town.  This first shop has been a staple in Rockport - at least since our first visit in 1993.  We found the cutest tie-dye t-shirt for our grandson here this year, appropriate since his mom is also "Katie".
Right across the street from the Lodge is Helmut's Strudel....

The lodge is at the end of the street above.  During the day, pedestrians fill the street as they meander to and fro taking in the sights and ducking into the quaint shops and galleries that line the street.

And it wouldn't be Rockport without the popular Motif #1, a favorite subject for artists and photographers, referred to as the most often painted building in America.  The original structure was built in 1840 and destroyed in the Blizzard of 1978, but an exact replica was constructed that same year.

Rockport, like everywhere, has suffered the effects of the pandemic.  Some storefronts were closed and not every restaurant is fully opened.  Despite that, we found plenty open and every shopkeeper was noticeably happy to get back to the business of accommodating clientele again.  While we threw some caution to the wind and went away while Covid is still looming, we lowered our exposure risks by bringing food along for breakfast and lunch leaving only two dinners to purchase since we went for just 3 days and 2 nights.  We enjoyed a delicious meal Tuesday at the Blue Lobster Grille, where we dined Al Fresco and Wednesday we enjoyed a delicious pizza from the Rockport House of Pizza.

If you've never been to Rockport, I highly recommend you check it out. Definitely book a room at the Bearskin Neck Motor Lodge if you can, especially if you prefer an ocean view.  The parking alone is a bonus since parking on the Neck doesn't exist.  If not, however, there are plenty of wonderful b & b's in town too!  While preparing this post, I came across this old post card I received from the Bearskin Neck Motor Lodge back in 1993.  Talk about vintage....rooms were $65 a night.  They may not be that price now, but they are definitely worth today's prices and I promise you won't disagree.  This is a great shot of its fabulous location.  To contact the Lodge: https://www.facebook.com/bearskinnecklodge or to see more information on their website: https://bearskinneckmotorlodge.com/

Thank you Krystle for another amazing stay at your home away from home.  And thank you God for blessing me with a gift I didn't realize I needed but definitely did.  Stay tuned to my next couple posts featuring the breathtaking views from Rockport all the way up the coast to York, ME.  We had a blast and I can't wait to share the photos and stories with all of you.  Thanks for stopping by Life As I See It!

Disclaimer:  This is not a paid post.  I do not do sponsored posts - ever.  I simply share the things in life too good to keep to myself!  

A Return Visit to the Bucolic June Farms, A Magical Escape for Adults and Kids of All Ages

Sunday, July 25, 2021

 Sometimes we visit places for the purpose of writing a blog post, and sometimes we go for fun, and sometimes....the two collide and the place is so special, it's impossible to visit without sharing on the blog. That's the case with today's post about our recent visit to the bucolic June Farms in West Sand Lake, NY.

We visited June Farms in September of 2019 and I've been dying to go back ever since.  One of the most beautiful working farms open to the public, June Farms encompasses 120 acres of picturesque pastures, gorgeous structures, storybook farm animals, an Airbnb, a snack bar and Pony Bar (for adult beverages and gatherings.  Since its inception - the brainchild of entrepreneur, Matt Baumgartner, June Farms has already expanded its buildings, its animals and its entertainment offerings.  From weddings to corporate events, family nights and goat yoga, there's something for everyone. 

 We visited last Friday with the granddaughters.  Since Covid has limited our entertainment opportunities for so long, we decided to splurge and rent a golf cart to make our visit a little more comfortable.  A small cart is $40 an hour.  We arrived at exactly 11:00 since carts can't be reserved and still found all the small carts already spoken for.  No worries though.  We were given a Cadillac of carts for the price of a small cart.  We could have opted for a guided tour (and driver) but since we did that last time, John happily accepted the role of chauffeur and guide and off we went!  

Our first stop was Elena's favorite animals - the Shire Horses.  In addition to the horses, June Farms' latest addition is Winston, the pony.  

From there we continued down the path to the 'Coop' where we visited the baby chickens and ducks and Gloucestershire Old Spots, or as they're affectionately called at the Farm - Lucy and Ethel.  

From there we travelled to my favorite..... the Highland Cattle. 

Down the path a piece we visited with the goats before swinging back for a second visit with the Highland beauties and then returned our cart because our hour was up....just like that!  

We worked up an appetite meeting all those friendly animals so a visit to the snack bar was in order.  In addition to wood fired pizza, lunch options include chicken tenders, peanut butter & jelly, grilled cheese, hot pretzels and all-beef hot dogs.  Lucy and Ethel are pretty relieved about that!  If you haven't already, be sure to visit June Farms soon. It is located at 75 Parker Road in West Sand Lake.  Admission is $5.00 per person.  How can you beat that?  Check their Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/JuneFarmsNY) or website (https://www.junefarms.com/)for special events and hours as they are sometimes closed for private events.  It's the perfect place to unwind, enjoy family time or date night with your sweetie in the beautiful Pony Barn.  For more photos and details about June Farm, check out my post from 2019 A Magical Evening in a Storybook Setting.  

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