My call from Buzzards Bay to the Menemsha harbormaster to inquire about renting one of only two moorings inside the tiny basin got a “shouldn’t be a problem” reply. No surprise, I suppose — it was after Labor Day.
Once through the well marked channel and safely tied to the town-owned rental mooring, it was calm and quiet inside the small basin. However, from our cockpit I could see a good deal of car and pedestrian traffic. One road runs along the small harbor, dead-ending at the expansive and beautiful public beach that flanks each side of the inlet. Menemsha is a working harbor — my favorite kind — and it looks like one from the water.
In the dinghy, we explored the interesting harbor. There’s even one of those enchanted little lagoons that meanders inland and peters out at the end. Along its quiet banks are some fishing docks and sheds stuffed with fishing gear.
A beautiful old boat tied to a dock, a herring seiner from the past, was being looked after and prepared by a young fisherman. Not far away, a Hinckley picnic boat, fishing rods onboard, was tied. With its fishing heritage, both commercially and for sport, Menemsha is a busy little harbor.
On shore, above the commercial docks, there are a few fishmongers, a bait shop-variety store, and solar heated showers for boaters and bathers. Outside the harbor are a few interesting stores, restaurants, and shops in easy walking distance.
Rowing across the powerful flow of the inlet that runs up into Menemsha Pond, we explored the beaches on the other side. Great shore access and room to roam.
At the end of the day as the sun went low, the scent of fresh seafood lured us into the docks. With lobster crates for tables and chairs, we suspected Larsens might be a good spot for dinner, and we were right.
The local oysters on the half shell, well-iced with just a lemon squeezed above, will last in our memory for a long, long time. Fresh, amazingly clean local steamers were cooked just right — almost not cooked at all. Local scallops, fresh enough to eat “neat,” were so good that we bought more to take with us when we left.
We “dined” as a lobsterman unloaded his catch and aloof tourists shuffled along the dock. The late-season setting sun illuminated our bottle of iced Rosé (Menemsha is dry, but our icebox onboard is not), and I believe improved the taste.
We noticed several people gathering at the beach to watch the sunset. It was stunning. Then, as the sun set, cars and pedestrians seemed to disappear from Menemsha.
Fishing is everything in Menemsha. I noticed many residents carry rod and reel like Londoners carry umbrellas. Rowing back to our boat as the sun disappeared below the horizon, a talkative group of local fishermen enjoyed the sudden peacefulness on the breakwater.
With the hordes of summer now gone, they had things to themselves again.