Category Archives: birthdays

60th birthday trip day 2: On Nantucket Island

~Saturday, October 7, 2017~ I was up at 7:30, and when I opened my door to head out to breakfast, I saw something I’d never pictured in the many times I’d daydreamed about this trip since booking it in June. It was foggy as hell.


MOM’S BREAKFAST

Mom's Breakfast sign

“Mom’s Breakfast” is included each morning at The Nantucket Inn. When I got to the entrance of the dining area, there was a couple in front of me, and the woman read this sign out loud to her husband:

Wait to be seated sign

Then she looked at him and asked, “Does that mean we need to wait to be seated?” Not really sure what tripped her up, as I found the message pretty straight forward.

“Mom’s Breakfast” was quite the spread. There were several stations:

  • One of potatoes, corned beef hash, bacon, sausage, pancakes, and scrambled eggs.
  • One with yogurt and fresh fruit.
  • One with all kinds of breads including English muffins, mini-bagels, 3 different kinds of breads for toasting, and several different kinds of pastries and muffins.
  • A waffle station with some whipped topping for them and 3 different kinds of warm syrups.
  • One with cranberry and orange juice.

Here are a couple of them:

The fruit and yogurt station

Part of the bread and sweets station

I had this full plate, with a side order of toast, and then I had some of the fresh fruit for “dessert” instead of the pastries.

My breakfast plate

My fruit plate


During my time in the dining area, I noted these two snippets of separate conversations:

  • A lady ran into another lady she apparently hadn’t seen in quite a while, and perhaps had even met here during a previous vacation.
    First lady: I remember you! It’s been a long time. I even remember that you have three kids, three girls.
    Second lady: “Actually, I have two now. I lost one.”
  • “You can’t just sit there and watch someone clean your house when you feel like doing it yourself.”

GETTING A WORKOUT IN

At 1:30, I forced myself to go to the hotel’s “Exercise Room,” which consisted of one treadmill, two elliptical machines, and one stationary bicycle, along with some free weights and one of those all-in-one strength training machines.

A man came in after I was in there for about 10 minutes, and he turned on the TV. He was easily drawn in to whatever show was on, which looked like some kind of documentary. I was glad I had my earbuds with me and my music was loud enough that I didn’t hear a single word of it.

I really didn’t think I would do 60 minutes of cardio while I was on vacation, but once I was on there and sweating full-hog, I just kept going, burning off 735 calories—probably only half the number of calories I had for breakfast.

Back at my place, I snapped these pictures of it:

My room door

My 'end unit' room


A LITTLE WRITING

I spent a couple of hours writing Friday’s blog entry and reviewing my birthday-related blog posts I’m going to be making this week.

The wifi service is absolutely exasperating at this hotel. I’m not happy about it.

I actually had gone to the lobby area to write thinking the signal might be stronger there, but it wasn’t. I asked the registration person if there was possibly a better place to sit for a stronger signal, and she suggested an area where I had to move a wicked wicker whale, and a lamp and turn a chair sideways, in order to use the space.

Late in the afternoon, I googled “Gay Nantucket” and got some ridiculous search results, one of which said there were 10 gays bars on the island. When I clicked on that item, it listed one bar in Hyannis and another one in Connecticut, I think it was. Clickbait.

I decided to take the hotel’s free shuttle into town and check out three that actually looked like real places on the island, although from their descriptions all three of them looked like restaurant/bars rather than just bars.


MEETING JIM & DAWN

While waiting for the van to leave, a couple walked up who were also going into town in the van. The lady took a seat with me on the bench, and after a few minutes we started talking. We never stopped.

They were celebrating an anniversary here, and I filled them in on the reason for my trip.

By the time we got into town, we were best friends, and they invited me to go to a bar called the Starlight Theater & Cafe, where they were getting a drink before 8 o’clock dinner reservations they had elsewhere.

It was a cool place with an entrance to a little theater, which honestly, reminded me of a theater in San Francisco that played gay porn, and which very few people went to to actually watch any movie. It reminded me of it in looks only, though, not because it was nasty or looked nefarious in any way.

Jim treated us to drinks, and we got right back to conversation about everything and anything. Jim finished his beer before Dawn and I finished our cocktails, and I insisted on buying his second beer.

8:00 quickly rolled around, and since we had talked about gay bars—that I was going out to search for one and that Dawn had never been in one—I told Dawn that if I found one and they’d might want to meet me there, I’d text them where I was later.

Not surprisingly, she was game and gave me her number, which we had a good laugh over, because it contained several permutations of the number “69” in it. What are we, 12?


DINNER

I made my way to one of the establishments listed as a gay bar from a different Google search, and other than the hot waiter and only one or two same-sex couples (or at least two men and two women sitting together), it looked like any other bar to me. Plus, I’d characterize it a restaurant with a bar before I’d call it a bar.

It was called The Nautilus, and it was packed. I hadn’t even realized it was a Saturday night. It’s a good sign on vacation when you don’t remember (or care) what day it is.

There were no tables available, and in fact all of them were booked for the rest of the evening. The hostess invited me to sit at the bar, which was also full at the moment, so I just went and stood behind someone to try and order a drink.

A hunk-of-a-waiter saw me having no luck getting a seat and came over to say he was sorry the bar was full, but there would probably be a seat opening soon. I said okay and stepped outside to see how close another place on my list was, when said hunk-of-a-man came outside and said, “Come with me.”

A single seat had come open at the end of the bar, and he sat me there. I ordered a bourbon and soda, and the bartender said, “Bourbon on the rocks with just a splash of soda?”

“Perfect,” I said.

It took me less than a New England minute to decided on what I was going to get:

Blue crab fried rice menu item

While I was waiting for that to arrive, that waiter who had seated me walked by and I said, “I just wanted to let you know that you saved a customer. I was looking for somewhere else to go when you came outside to get me, so thank you for that.”

“I’m just glad a seat come available so quickly for you,” he replied.

I ate the hell out of this dish, and I’d have to agree with this Yelp review of the plate, which I didn’t see until later: “The blue crab fried rice was out of this world as was the Tuna poke and chicken yakitori noodle bowl.”

Blue crab fried rice dinner

Before leaving, I asked the waiter if he had a recommendation of a place to go where I could meet some friends, and he said, “I’d recommend Lola 41. There’s a bartender there named Germain, but he pronounces ‘German’; tell him I sent you.”

On the walk there, I came upon an ice cream shop and dropped in for a cone of maple walnut. I had a $5 bill out, sure that it would cover my 2-scoop cone, when she said, “That’ll be $7.50.”

I thought for that much money, I could at least get some free advice as to whether I was close to Lola 41, and she said, “Yep, just up the street on the right.”


REUNITING WITH JIM AND DAWN

It was indeed just a few more feet up the block, and I took a seat at the bar. I asked if Germain was there, and a big-gunned bartender said, “No, he’s not here tonight; he’s doing a wedding. I’m Tom, and this is Amy,” he said indicating the bartender now beside him. “You’ll do in a pinch,” I thought—about Tom, not Amy.

I ordered a bourbon and soda and texted Dawn to let her know where I was. They arrived shortly, and we shared our dinner stories over another cocktail or two.

Jim gave us the 15-minute warning for the 11:15 p.m. shuttle back to the hotel (at least I think it was the 11:15), and we settled our tabs and made our way to the Visitors Center on Federal Street for the pick-up.

Back at the hotel, we promptly sat at the bar and had a nightcap. So thirsty! 🙂

All in all, it was a fun, fun evening, and one that I hadn’t at all seen in my future earlier that afternoon. Funny aside: During the course of the evening Dawn confessed to the fact that she had seen me on my laptop in the lobby of the hotel earlier in the day (near the wicked wicker whale) and thought, “What a nerd.”

60th birthday trip day 1: On Nantucket Island

~Friday, October 6, 2017~ We were up at 4 a.m. and left the house at just after 4:30, leaving what I thought would be plenty of time to make my 6:10 flight.

When I got inside, the line for Delta check-in must have had close to 100 people in it. Walking toward it, I remembered that I had a first-class ticket, and I glanced over at the Sky Priority line, which had about 8 people in it. I wasn’t sure if you could you use that line if you weren’t one of their Medallion-level frequent fliers, but I decided to ask for forgiveness instead of permission, and got in that line.

When I got to the ticket agent, she didn’t say anything about it, and when I saw my ticket, I saw that I was ok:

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Then I headed toward security, where I found the line astoundingly long. Without exaggeration, there were at least 500 people in the line that went along one wall of the terminal, reached a corner, then ran along that wall, then once it hit the other wall, it made a “U” and snaked back up along the original wall. And this was the line just to enter the security area, where once inside, it also snaked to get to the attendant to check you through to the actual scanning area.

At that point, it was about 5:10 and I knew I was going to miss my flight in this line. Then, I noticed that my ticket was marked “TSA Precheck,” and I thought, “Oh good. Maybe I don’t have to wait in this line.” I flagged someone down to ask, and she said, “Come with me,” and took me to the entrance for the pre-check folks, which had virtually no line.


THE FLIGHT

Once on board, the pilot came out to greet us and said, “I’m glad those of you who are here made it through that security line in time. I’ve been working at RDU for 9 years and I have never seen the line that long when it wasn’t the day before Thanksgiving or Christmas.”

On board, I was thrilled to find out that my 1A seat was by itself, as it was a smaller plane with one seat on one side of the aisle and two seats on the other. And then, bonus, no one ended up sitting in seats 1B and 1C. This was a relief, because I have a cold and I was afraid I’d be getting evil eyes if I started coughing during the flight.

There was a man behind me with 2 kids, who was incredibly annoying. He couldn’t sit still. Before we even left the gate, he got up three times to get something out of his carry on, which was stored in the overhead bin across from me. The third time, he pulled out some headphones that were bigger than his head. After sitting down for about 2 minutes, he got up again and went to the flight attendant area to get a paper towel, with which he started wildly cleaning the screen of his iPad. During the flight, he twice walked up to the flight attendant’s drink and snack cart to request one thing or another—after having already been served at his seat.

Just before landing, the flight attendant had already locked the bathroom door, and one of his 2 boys came up to use it. The flight attendant said, “Gotta make it quick, we’re about to land.” As soon as he started opening the door to come out, the other kid came to the bathroom. Wash. Rinse. Repeat. He came out, and the flight attendant locked the door again. Then their father came up again! She unlocked the door again, repeated her warning. OMFG. Can you say high-maintenance family?!?”

We landed about 15 minutes early, and my baggage came out fairly quickly. I never pay to check a bag, but I got two free bag checks with my ticket, so I took advantage of it.


THE BUS RIDE FROM BOSTON TO HYANNIS

At the ground transportation place where I was catching the Plymouth & Brockton bus to Hyannis at 9:15, the 8:15 bus was still there since it was 8:12, and when I showed the guy my ticket he said, “The tickets are good for any bus, so you can get on this one; there’s still room.”

I took the front seat on the passenger side, so right in front of the entrance door. We made 4 more stops within the airport and each time people started boarding, I coughed to signal that I had a cold, which kept everyone moving past the open seat next to me. At the last stop, the bus was starting to get full, so a man took the seat beside me anyway.

He was a bit of a bigger guy, not huge, but big enough that his right knee rubbed against mine when he said down. He immediately started rocking back and forth in his seat, and after a few minutes he said something that I couldn’t hear, but it turned out not to matter, because he wasn’t talking to me—but to himself. I thought for a moment that he might be “on the spectrum,” which would of course would have been fine.

To my surprise, after a while, he asked the bus driver, “Is Plymouth & Brockton hiring any drivers?”

To which the driver responded, “Do you have your CDL?”

“I don’t,” he replied, “but my wife does, and she’s looking for a job.”

The conversation turned into a long one that devolved into various aspects of working for Plymouth & Brockton including route selections, wages, vacation, and medical benefits.


THE FERRY FROM HYANNIS TO NANTUCKET

I alighted at the Hyannis stop, and the bus driver announced that there was a black courtesy phone inside the station to call the steamship authority for a free shuttle to the terminals. I picked up the phone, which rang 3 times and then went busy. I asked a lady in the nearby information desk about it, and she said, “Darn it. That phone is out of order again. Let me call them for you.”

The van picked me up, and after driving for a minute, the driver asked, “Are you on the 11:35 to Martha’s Vineyard?”

“No,” I said, “the 12:35 to Nantucket.”

“Oh, you must be on the Hy-Line Ferry. This shuttle is for the Steamship Authority boats only, and I’m not allowed to drop passengers off at the Hy-Line. You’ll have to get off at our stop and walk over to the Hy-Line Ferry area.

“Oh, I’m so sorry. I didn’t realize there were two different places there. I’m happy to walk the rest of the way.”

“It’s not that far, really,” he said sounding a little guilty that he’d come across so harshly.

I said, “Oh, it’s no problem. I really am happy to walk.”

“Well, maybe I could cheat just this one time and drop you off over there,” he said.

“Thanks,” I said. And when he did, I said, “I appreciate you.”


Although I already had a printed reservation with a barcode on it that I assumed could be used to check in on the ferry, I went to the window at 11:10 to confirm with a human being.

“Oh, you’re on the 12:35 to Nantucket, but the 11:20 is getting ready to leave. Did you want to switch to that one?”

She made the switch, put a $7 credit on my charge card, because I had upgraded to the “Captain’s View” on that boat, but it wasn’t available on this boat, and I ran to the ferry. My ticket got rejected because she’d printed a 12:35 ticket instead of an 11:20 ticket, so I ran back to the window to exchange, where the clerk apologized profusely, because she knew it was about time to leave.

It was a very pleasant, one-hour ferry ride to Nantucket. There were several adorable dogs on board. Here’s one:

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I resisted getting anything to eat at the little snack bar on board, including a several-minute debate with myself about a Bloody Mary.


ARRIVING ON NANTUCKET

It took longer than I would have preferred for me to get the free shuttle to The Nantucket Inn, as two people at the wharf gave me bad information about where I was to pick it up. Finally, after calling the hotel and getting accurate information, I made my way over to the correct place to pick it up.

Although check-in time wasn’t until 4 p.m., I was given my room right away. It’s a cute little room:

http://nematome.info/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/wppa/44.jpg


A WIN/WIN WALK

And after settling in, I walked one mile to a liquor store to buy some bourbon. On the way, I stopped into a little mart I passed to see if they had any seltzer water, which I’d pick up on the way back instead of at the liquor store (if they had it) to save me having to carry it for a mile-and-a-half.

A little further along the way, I passed this little park with fabulously green grass, and some cool statues. Here’s one:

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The Canadian Club bottle that’s regularly $22 in Raleigh was $29 here, which was probably more than it should be, but less than I expected it would be. On the way back, I stopped and bought the seltzer water and some salty snacks—Cheetos and Cap Cod potato chips.


HAPPY HOUR WITH TOM AND HOLLY

After pouring myself a cocktail and eating some Cape Cod chips on Cape Cod:

http://nematome.info/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/wppa/38.jpg

Someone pointed out that I should have been drinking a Cape Cod, too. Wish I’d thought of it!

I went outside to a little courtyard in front of my room:

Courtyard near my room

There I found Tom and Holly sitting and enjoying cocktails of their own. They were from Florida (still are) and had come up to Massachusetts to celebrate Tom’s mom turning 90 years old. Holly’d said, “Well, it’d be silly to go all the way and not enjoy a little time to ourselves, so we scheduled this part of the trip.”

They asked me if I was from around here, and I told them that I’d left Massachusetts 47 years ago, and that although I’d been back a few times for trips to Provincetown, I’d never been to Nantucket, Martha’s Vineyard, or Hyannis—not even during the first 13 years of my life when we lived in Fall River.

To which Tom said, “Ah. Fall River. Where Lizzie Borden took an ax and gave her mother 40 whacks…” and we finished in unison, “And when she saw what she had done, she gave her father 41.”

I told them about the time my sister and I put my parents up in the Lizzy Borden Bed & Breakfast, which had wallpaper with little hatchets on it and served sugar cookies in the shape of a hatchet with the sugar crystals dyed red along the edge of the blade part of the cookie.


DINNER AT AK DIAMONDS

I had dinner at AK Diamonds, a two-tenths-of-a-mile walk from the inn and recommended by them. This is what I had, and the chowder was out of this world!

Chowder menu description

Nantucket quahog chowder

Flatbread menu description

Pepperoni-Bacon-Flatbread


TAKING A MOMENT TO REFLECT ON MY GOOD FORTUNE TODAY

All of these things contributed to not only smooth, but unexpectedly ahead-of-schedule, travelling today:

  1. Having splurged on a first-class ticket back in June when I planned this trip.
  2. Arriving early in Boston, which allowed me to take a bus an hour earlier than the one I’d planned to take.
  3. The “huge heart” of the van driver who compromised his integrity and “cheated”—going against his company’s policies.
  4. Arriving at Hy-Line Ferry 10 minutes before the 11:20 ferry to Nantucket was leaving, allowing me to switch to that one from my originally schedule 12:35 one.

And these are non-related-to-traveling things that I’m grateful for, too:

  1. Being able to afford to take a “bucket list” trip like this.
  2. Having a husband who supports and cheers me on in everything in life, including taking this trip alone.
  3. Having a job that pays me when I’m not working, like today and next Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday.
  4. Being successful in weighing less than I have in 5 years—something I’ve been working very hard at since February.