Salty & Sat­is­fy­ing

Power & Motor Yacht - - 32 -

The sun is just ris­ing above the trees across the river. My bare feet feel each board on the dock, damp with dew, as I make my way up to the shower. It’s brighter when I emerge, and though it’s early, it’s al­ready warm and sticky. It’s 7:00 a.m. and I do what ev­ery­one in town does: Shuf­fle my feet and head to­ward Es­sex Cof­fee and Tea. Jog­gers bounce along Main Street; there are no cars on the road yet. I pet a Golden Retriever and re­mem­ber to say hello to his owner. Fa­mil­iar faces in fa­mil­iar places.

At this point I usu­ally tear off to the of­fice to dive into the emails stacked up like cord­wood, but on this day I have a little time on my hands so I grab a seat out­side with the old-timers.

I’m feel­ing es­pe­cially nos­tal­gic this morn­ing, so I start to think about my sleepy home­port, on the banks of the Con­necti­cut River.

I first vis­ited Es­sex as a kid. I re­mem­ber it had a book­store where I was able to snag the new­est Harry Pot­ter. There was also an ice cream store and a pool, so in my book, Es­sex was up there among the great boat­ing des­ti­na­tions. My par­ents seemed to re­ally en­joy the live mu­sic at The Gris­wold Inn—a quaint old bar/restau­rant said to be the old­est con­tin­u­ally run­ning inn in the coun­try. I re­call sip­ping Sprite and won­der­ing how a band con­sist­ing of some­one play­ing the spoons and a banjo could en­ter­tain any­one. (I’ve changed my tune, now that I’ve up­graded from soda to their Rev­o­lu­tion­ary Ale.)

When I first moved here a few years ago I was be­mused by the quiet town. Hav­ing grown up in the shadow of New York City and then the bustling sea­far­ing com­mu­nity of New­port, Rhode Is­land, I was quick to joke about its small-town quirks. Big craft fair this week­end. See you guys down there? I’d joke with a col­league. Where should we go for drinks, the Gris or the Seal? We could re­ally mix it up and go to both.

I was with a group from out of town here re­cently when I was dished a taste of my own medicine. “Wow, big night at the bar, huh?” said one of the vis­i­tors.

I got de­fen­sive in an only-I-can-pick-on-my-brother kind of way. “Well, Ab­bys got their liquor li­cense and Es­sex Boat Works is work­ing on ap­proval for a new bar/restau­rant. There’s some op­po­si­tion from the mu­seum, but a lot of the town is be­hind it,” I ex­plained to glassed-over stares.

Not long ago I saw a boat­ing cou­ple (their foul-weather jack­ets and back­packs were the give­away) walk­ing along the red, white, and blue striped Main Street head­ing for the su­per­mar­ket. I’d seen that look be­fore from vis­it­ing tran­sients. It’s a long walk and the store is next to our of­fice, so I of­fered them a lift. They were quite taken with our small home­port and pep­pered me with ques­tions. I car­ried on about the town’s his­tory with pride.

“It ac­tu­ally used to be a ma­jor ship­ping port in the 1700s and 1800s. They used to ship brown­stone down the river to Man­hat­tan to build the first brown­stone build­ings. Then dur­ing the War of 1812 the Bri­tish ac­tu­ally oc­cu­pied the town and stole rope and bar­rels con­tain­ing, at the time, more than $100,000 worth of rum. I dare any­one to try that again to­day! But any­way, you’re go­ing to en­joy it here. There’s a lot of his­toric charm.” “Sounds like a per­fect place to call home,” the hus­band of­fered. I paused. “Yeah, I guess it is.” Those mem­o­ries and many more flooded back as I fin­ished my cup of cof­fee. It’s a funny thing, how a place can be­come your home with­out you re­al­iz­ing it.

Now that you’ve heard about Power & Mo­to­ry­acht’s home­port,I want to hear about yours. Shoot me an email at in­box@pmy­mag. com ex­plain­ing what makes your home­port or fa­vorite des­ti­na­tion spe­cial. We’ll con­sider your sugges­tions for our up­com­ing fea­ture high­light­ing Top 25 Boat­ing Towns, and it’s a chance to win­some­of­fi­cial­swag.

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