Mystic Seaport whaler

Jay Lloyd/KYW Newsradio

Jay Lloyd's Getaway Guide: Seaport sojourns near and far

August 31, 2018 - 1:45 pm

By Jay Lloyd

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — They can be as small as a coastal fishing village or as vast an international port as New York City. Fin food is fresh from the sea, eyefilling sights take in a far horizon. Boats and ships of every size and shape vanish in the distance. Others loom large as they approach home. Most have a history of settlement and immigration  Portuguese in New England, Scots in Nova Scotia, Asians on the Gulf. They paint a picture of ocean harvests and global commerce. Let's tour some of my favorites — beginning in nearby New York.

PORT OF NEW YORK

It was 1953. I was on Coast Guard temporary assignment to port security in one of the nation's largest seaports. It was a rare chance to watch skippers skillfully steer recreation boats, ferries, tankers, freighters and tugs over a spiderweb of channels to bustling docks and marinas. Visitors today can still drink in the amazing sights while riding a variety of vessels. The most popular is the free Staten Island Ferry. Or take a variety of ferries and tour boats on the East River, Hudson River and New York harbor. Dine at waterfront restaurants in Brooklyn and Manhattan. My go-to spot is the Frying Pan in Chelsea on the Hudson. For a spot of history, visit the Brooklyn Navy Yard Museum.

New York Harbor
Jay Lloyd/KYW Newsradio

MYSTIC AREA, CONNECTICUT

Mystic, New London, Groton  all neighboring towns near the mouth of the Long Island Sound. This seafaring community was a port for 19th century whalers. It is now home to the U.S. Coast Guard Academy. The Thames River here also holds the boatyard that builds our modern fleet of submarines and the school that trains their sailors. Visit the U.S.S. Nautilus Museum and America's first nuclear sub. Go aboard a restored whaler at the Mystic Seaport. Then take a cruise on the Mystic River. Like Lobster? Head for Abbott's Lobster in the Rough in nearby Noank right on Long Island Sound.

Abbott's Lobster
Jay Lloyd/KYW Newsradio

BAR HARBOR, MAINE

The craggy coast of Maine is legendary for its pristine harbors, picturesque villages and rugged, heavily wooded hills. They share the coast with both luxury hotels and quaint inns. Panoramic vistas gather it all together with the turn of a head. Breathtaking scenics are the main Maine attractions. Bar Harbor is a good place to stop and sample it all. A charter boat ride from the harbor lets you join the whales, playing on the surface, or cruise past the nesting ground of colorful Puffins. Nearby Acadia National Park provides a taste of the unspoiled hilltop views of sea and forest. Hike to the summits and put your camera to work. Then find a lobster house  high end or no-frills for a meal straight from local waters. If you favor an outdoor picnic table feast at sunset, look up the C-ray Lobster shack.

Bar Harbor
Mary Lloyd

HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA

Among my favorite Canadian Seaports is Halifax. It holds big-city amenities and people who stop visitors on the street just to chat. History here was written at "The Citadel" on a hilltop over the harbor. It's the site of fortresses that pre-date the American Revolution. Nearby there's a fascinating botanical garden just a short walk from the waterfront. Visit historic ships and try the seafood chowder at waterfront eateries with a view of the seaborne traffic. Then, spring for a dinner at the Five Fisherman. It was once the funeral home that saw recovered victims of the Titanic disaster.

Halifax citadel
Jay Lloyd/KYW Newsradio

BARCELONA, SPAIN

When Columbus caught up with Queen Isabella to report on his first voyage to the Americas, it was on the waterfront at Barcelona. His likeness, atop a towering column, is a landmark for visitors to the popular promenade, La Rambla. Nearby you'll find ferries to Mediterranean islands, world class marinas and the cruise ship docks. If you'll be taking one of the popular Med cruises, there's a good chance it will launch right here. And if you have a day and night to spend, enjoy waterfront dining, a pint at the Fastnet Pub. English is spoken here. Then take an aerial gondola to Montjuic, the high promontory that provides a bird's eye view of this stunning port and the sea, beyond.

Montjuic
Jay Lloyd/KYW Newsradio

Enjoy!