Last Thursday, the Museum along with some help from Vintage Yacht Club and Henry Wheelright of UBS, hosted an inaugural “Cruise-in-Company” to the beautiful island of Cuttyhunk. Around 60 people joined the fleet which originated out of New Bedford Harbor on a perfect summer day. (Which I think all these boaters deserved after a summer of mostly heavy rain and muggy weather!)
Cuttyhunk Island has deep ties to not only to the history of the United States, but also the New Bedford Whaling Museum. In short, in 1602, the English colonist Bartholomew Gosnold arrived at Cuttyhunk Island, explored what is now Nantucket, Martha’s Vineyard, and New Bedford, and then sailed off to settle in the Jamestown Colony of Virginia. 300 years later, a monument in his honor was erected on the island, and ownership was given to a newly established organization known as the Old Dartmouth Historical Society. The monument itself stands in an extremely inaccessible part of the island, but that didn’t keep our group from celebrating its existence with a leisurely trip to visit the island that holds the first accessioned piece of our collection.
more text and photos, click link below…
The skippers first gathered on Pier 3 in New Bedford for breakfast and debrief on the schedule for the day. Even Mayor Scott Lang stopped by to welcome folks to New Bedford, for many of whom it was their first visit to our gem of a city. Our flagship boat Showtime, a 63-ft. Trumpy circa 1969, led the fleet over the 12 nautical miles to our destination. (And by led, I kind of mean followed. This magnificent motor yacht stayed at a leisurely 9 knots to enjoy the shore views and fresh air.)
After arriving on the island, we stopped by the Cuttyhunk Historical Society for a bit. Their intimate space is packed full of smaller exhibitions, mostly on the rich fishing culture of the island. Then our crew headed out to follow our own Board Chairman, John Garfield, (or Skip, as he is known to his friends and family on the island, where his family has held a residence for over 30 years,) up to an amazing lookout with breathtaking views of the other Elizabeth Islands.
After all that walking, the crew was more than ready for our lobster-bake at the Cuttyhunk Fishing Club. This bed and breakfast really pulled out all the stops for our party – I think we only had one brave soul who actually finished his entire meal! With all that good food and good company no one wanted to leave, so NBWM President James Russell and Chairman John Garfield entertained the group for a while with the history of the island, and its important connection to the Museum.
Feeling the need to document this perfect day, we gathered for a group photo, and discussed plans for the ride back. (Don’t get too sad – the rides there and back are part of the day’s fun!)
As the island began to disappear from the horizon, the sense of the magnificent seclusion that Cuttyhunk radiates slowly faded away. Unlike Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket, this island has but a few small shops, no big hotels, no nightclubs, and essentially NO cell phone service. This is exactly the appeal of this neighboring treasure. Cuttyhunk is history, relaxation, fish, family and friends. We think this will have to be an annual event… 🙂