Here are some observations from Your Survival Guy’s Fourth of July weekend, when my family and I took our boat—the Tom Sawyer—to Mattapoisett to visit my parents, and on the way home got stuck in the fog (more on that shortly).
Family trips are a little different now than they were a few years ago when the four of us (plus our dog Louis) would travel by boat. This year our daughter had “things” she needed to do, and met us by car.
This worked out well since Louis is not a huge fan of the boat. He loves it when it’s at the dock or on a mooring. But when it’s underway, he’s less sure of his footing and needs to be held—holding a 35-pound dog for a two-hour boat ride is not fun. Louis went by car.
It was hot in Newport, so it felt great to get on the boat. One of the best feelings when powering beyond Castle Hill and leaving Narragansett Bay is the sudden drop in temperature heading into cooler waters.
It’s like driving a convertible through a dip in the road, or a valley when you can feel and smell the change in the air.
On this trip, the cruise to Mattapoisett was about an hour-and-a-half. We made great time thanks to a calm sea, cruising at 32 mph and hitting a top speed of 44 mph.
They say you can never go back home, but I do it all the time. I never get tired of seeing Ned’s Point Light House as we enter Mattapoisett harbor. It’s like a deep “good to be here” exhale.
Mattapoisett is a postcard type of town. In fact, my neighbor Chip’s mom Mrs. Cunningham, had a yellow bumper sticker on her car that was a big seller in town which read: Mattapoisett, It’s Special.
One summer, my family travelled across the country in a Winnebago Brave (yes, we were brave). We couldn’t believe it when we saw a Mattapoisett, It’s Special sticker on a car in the middle of the country.
We excitedly introduced ourselves. By the way, I think there’s a formula that the farther you’re away from home, the more excited you get when someone or something connects you to it.
Anyway, you can imagine our excitement.
I think the guy thought we were crazy because he was basically like “yeah, it was on the car when I bought it. Sounds like a nice place.”
Every year on the Fourth there’s a 5k road race in Mattapoisett. This year it was hazy, hot, and so humid you could practically see the air, and it was tough, with several runners collapsing from heat stroke. Not good.
On our morning walk to Ned’s Point Light House, I felt like I was reliving my paper-route. One of the most beautiful homes I had delivered to was owned by Mr. Young, whose father “Skipper” founded the Acushnet Co., maker of Titleist golf balls. Mr. Young provides a wonderful 70-year history of the company here.
Under the heading of small world, Mr. Young was the “other” Dick Young at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, according to Becky’s grandfather who was two years his senior.
I remember delivering the newspaper to Mr. Young and waiting on him at Oxford Creamery.
The four lobster rolls he’d order by phone came to $19.80. He’d tell me in the nicest way, “E.J. don’t worry about adding it all up (we did all the orders by hand and added them up then calculated the tax) just remember the Lobster rolls are $4.95 with tax so multiply by five and subtract the appropriate nickels.”
Mr. Young had a beautiful home on the water. He had a dock out front, and his gorgeous Hinckley Bermuda 40 moored just beyond that.
When he was older, he sub-divided the waterfront property into two lots in order to build a smaller ranch for he and his wife while keeping the dock.
When Mr. Young passed away in 2015 at age 98, the ranch home was purchased by the owners of the larger house, essentially joining the property back together.
Recently, the ranch home was sold to a family from Texas that will use it as a summer house. The dock stays with the larger home, but the new owners will have rights to use it.
Remember I told you about the bumper sticker Mattapoisett It’s Special? Well, my dad was a realtor and had the listing for Mr. Young’s house and it was when we were on this trip that it sold.
Heading home Becky, Izzy and Louis took the car, and Owen and I took the boat.
We hit some fog going around Mattapoisett Neck, heading west up Buzzards Bay.
There’s nothing eerier than boating in the fog. It’s a lot like investing. You just don’t know what’s ahead unless you have radar (I do but it wasn’t working). And even then, you need to be careful.
There’s never any harm in slowing things down.
E.J. Smith - Your Survival Guy
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