Headed up to Ipswich on Cape Ann yesterday, where we visited Russell Orchards and Crane Beach. We took the amiable Ipswich/Essex Explorer, a CATA shuttle from the train station to various points of interest, and learned this car-free method of accessing the North Shore may succumb to, you guessed it, government funding. Apparently those groggy folks in government can't see the benefit of removing thousands of cars from the streets and parking lots -- let alone the air -- in addition to the boon to local businesses. We learned all of this from a volunteer who coordinated the shuttle services, and we're looking to join the lobbying effort to keep the shuttle up and running.
Russell Orchards was quaint yet bustling. They had organic garlic for 95 cents per bunch, which we gobbled up, and delicious cold apple cider. It's probably a gorgeous destination in autumn, with hayrides, pick-your-own apples, and hot apple cider. We attempted to pick our own blackberries, but wound up a little confused at which were ready to be picked (city folk!). Tasting fruit wines (uck) and buying cheap dutch apple preserves was a bit more down our alley, although I had mixed feelings about supporting a farm that supports itself in part through butchering animals.
Crane Beach was relaxing, in spite of the crowds. We waded in to absolutely freezing water: it took 45 minutes to move myself from water at my feet to water at my shoulders. We didn't get a chance to learn more about the piping plover's rehab efforts within Crane's, but we will. We'll be back, if the CATA's funding cooperates.
Oh, and dinner: homemade vegan pizza with crumbled tofu, fresh pineapple, broccoli, and onions. Mhmmmm.