After heading back south through the Cape Cod Canal we decided to explore some of the anchorages at its mouth in an area known as Buzzards Bay. An area 28 miles long by 8 miles wide with many small bays and anchorages. Buzzards Bay was named by colonists after the birds they saw and called Buzzards. The birds are actually Ospreys, and some remain.
We had a relaxing two nights in Onset, a bay just to the southwest of the canal. We took the dinghy up some of the inlets and also spent some time getting used to the paddleboard. Going ashore with the bikes one day we found ourselves in the annual Cape Verdean Festival – With over 70 vendors, music and a great party atmosphere, groups of descendents from the Cape Verdes celebrate their heritage the other side of the Atlantic. Cape Verdean communities come from Florida, Texas, Georgia, Ohio and as far as Ontarion, Canada to join in the fun.
A short trip east took us to Phinney’s Harbour, another quiet pretty anchorage but with a little less to explore.
Leaving Phinney’s Harbour we headed for Fairhaven, a town on the east bank of the Acushnet River, directly opposite New Bedford on the west bank. Our reason for visiting here was to collect a spare skin fitting which might help us with our ongoing issue of the fridge losing gas.
There is a tidal barrage across the entrance of the river and having entered the river we could find nowhere to anchor for the night so left and anchored outside since the harbour master was not responding by radio or telephone. In the morning we called and were pleasantly surprised to hear that we could use one of the mooring buoys inside free of charge as long as we left before night time, and there was a dinghy dock we could use close by. How welcome we felt. We picked up the buoy and took the bikes ashore to collect the fitting and enjoy an afternoon exploring the towns. The New Bedford Whaling Museum was fascinating and even included a 30 minute movie – the first time we had been to a cinema for a long time!
We had arranged for some spare parts to enhance our battery monitoring to be delivered to Newport so we left the next day for the sail southwest. As Newport appeared in the distance we spotted a delightful looking bay that looked like it would give us a pleasant sheltered evening, so we changed our plans and dropped anchor off Third Beach, just north of Flint Point on the Sakonnet River.
The next morning we sailed the short distance west to Newport where we had first arrived in the USA a month or so earlier.
Since the large supermarket was right next to the place where our parts had been delivered to, Lesley was in her element re provisioning in a familiar store.
Previously in Newport we had visited one of the mansions and our ticket allowed us to visit a second one, so we duly took the opportunity to see more opulence at The Elms which was the summer residence of Mr. and Mrs. Edward Julius Berwind of Philadelphia and New York. Mr. Berwind made his fortune in the coal industry. In 1898, the Berwinds engaged Philadelphia architect Horace Trumbauer to design a house modeled after the mid-18th century French Chateau d’Asnieres outside Paris.
Construction of The Elms was completed in 1901 at a reported cost of approximately $1.4 million. The interiors and furnishings were designed by Allard and Sons of Paris and were the setting for the Berwinds’ collection of Renaissance ceramics, 18th century French and Venetian paintings, and Oriental jades.
Mrs. Berwind died in 1922, and Mr. Berwind invited his sister, Julia, to become his hostess at his New York and Newport houses.
Mr. Berwind died in 1936 and Miss Julia continued to summer at The Elms until her death in 1961, at which time the house and most of its contents were sold at public auction.
The Preservation Society of Newport County purchased The Elms in 1962 and opened the house to the public.
Sightseeing, shopping, ideas of grandeur and collections completed, it was time to start working further west into Long Island Sound.