Tucked in for the Storm

The strongest October storm on record gave us a great excuse to tuck into Mamaroneck for a few days.

October 15 – 17, 2019, Mamaroneck, NY
Days 3 – 5

We are getting used to running from October gales. Last year gave us great practice, so we are finding our rhythm quickly this year. Before we even got our trip under way from Narragansett Bay, we knew we would have to duck and hide from a forecast gale in a couple of days. A careful scan of the forecast, our own speed and timing, and harbors along Long Island Sound, brought Mamaroneck, NY into focus. For so many reasons, it was a great selection to sit out a gale safely and comfortably.

Our biggest priority was excellent protection from the southeast and northwest. The inner harbor had that: check. Second, the dogs had to be able to get on and off safely and easily. Nichols Yacht Yard had that: check. Third, we wanted places to walk, explore, and entertain ourselves, as we expected to be holed up for three days. Mamaroneck had all of that, check, plus a favorite cousin of mine who I haven’t seen in years: triple-check!

Esmeralde is safely in her slip at Nichols Yacht Yard across from Harbor Island Park.

After a long 90-mile fast run from Stonington, we were alongside at Nichols Yacht Yard in time to take the pups for a nice walk. Having the expansive and mostly dog-friendly Harbor Island Park almost next door was an unexpected bonus. We enjoyed Wandering through the park, then headed up to town to see what Mamaroneck had to offer.

The historic one-room schoolhouse, built in 1816, has been relocated to Harbor Island Park.

The main drag is — surprise! — Mamaroneck Ave. It is wide, busy, and crammed with a gazillion shops, eateries, and businesses. If you need a pedicure, you can choose from, oh, maybe 50 different salons in a linear quarter-mile. Cultural texture was rich, with a strong Italian theme complemented by various Asian, Hispanic and middle eastern influences. It was a traditional sort of stretch, with older buildings and tiny storefronts. Bruce zeroed in quickly on the old-school Italian deli. More on that later.

Old-school Mamaroneck Ave has lots to offer the stranded sailor.

With so many choices at hand, we decided we had to eat out. We ended up at a new gig in town, Nonna Carola. It was kind of New-York-City-ish, posh-ish. It tried to be sophisticated and hip. We had a good time and enjoyed the food, but they need to work on the details a bit if they are to actually hit their target. Our bar tender was friendly and chatty. The parmesan truffled popcorn he gave us to start was yummy! Bruce had a lamb dish that was delivered to him inside a large glass dome that had been infused with smoke. Cool!

The next day part one of the gale arrived. It started with a blustery southeast breeze. We were protected, except for a small slop from water being driven in the channel. There was a very high tide, and flooding around the basin at Harbor Island Park.

The southeast wind from the first half of the gale brought storm flooding to Harbor Island Park at high tide.

After taking the dogs on a lengthy hike that included good coffee and a tasty snackie at the The Roaster Cafe, I went for a great run around the lovely neighborhoods behind Nichols Yacht Yard and finishing up with a loop around Harbor Island Park, where I had to take some detours to stay out of the flooding storm-driven tide.

Everybody gets a little snack at The Roaster Cafe.

That afternoon we did a deep-dive into the Italian deli, Cosmo & Alex Pisano Brothers. There was just waaaaay too much good stuff. We went home with meatballs, gravy, pasta, and a bunch of veggies. Dinner on board that evening was fantastic.

So many choices…

The gale blew in for real as we were enjoying our dinner, and the rain started. And it rained. And rained. Unfortunately the dogs still needed to go out. We wrapped them up in their adorable rain coats from Noah’s Suitcase and took them on a forced-march across the boat yard lot, where there is not a blade of grass to be found. In the pouring rain and howling wind, we finally convinced them to piddle on the stones near the dumpster. The four of us returned to the boat like drowned rats and tucked in for the night.

I woke up at midnight to flat calm. I got up and looked around, got some water then crawled back into bed. Before my head hit the pillow the wind came crashing down on us, Blam! It hit that hard, now from the northwest. Almost immediately, the headsail on a sailboat near us began to unfurl, and spent the rest of the night beating itself to death and keeping me wide awake.

We had initial gusts over 50 knots, then the storm settled in at 25 knots gusting to 45. We were fine, but damage reports later on, from up and down the coast, were substantial. By several measures this “Bomb Cyclone” was the worst storm on record for October in New England. Eastern Massachusetts got hit particularly hard.

The wind blew hard all day on Thursday. We spent our time outside exploring with the pups, inspecting Maison Margaux, a French bakery, and making another visit to the Cosmo & Alex’s Italian deli to stock up for the next few legs of our trip. So much better than Stop & Shop!

Pepper and Mattie are NOT HAPPY about having to wait outside of Maison Margaux. But it was worth the wait in the end when they got a taste of croissant!

Thursday night was the highlight of our visit. My cousin Anne, who I hadn’t seen in years, and her friend Tom organized dinner for us at a great spot just on the other side of town, a place called 25 North. It was so much fun to catch up with Anne and get to know Tom, and wow, what a great dinner we had! Bruce declared his gnocchi the Best Ever! Anne had a veal chop that would have pleased Fred Flintstone, and Tom and I enjoyed our dinners just as much. The music was a little more Miami Vice than Positano, but hey, the unusual atmosphere just added to the vibe and we had a great time.

We will definitely return to Mamaroneck. So much food still to be sampled! So many more nail salons to visit! And definitely a return to Cosmo & Alex Pisano’s Italian deli!