The Heartbeat of Haverhill

Good News from A Great City Haverhill, MA

Within an hour of home (Haverhill MA). Adventures outside the City limits.

Prepare to be shaken. The Heartbeat of Haverhill occasionally journeys outside of our fabulous city. When I do, I wonder whether my delightful readers would like to virtually tag along to see that Haverhill not only has everything, but it’s also just a stone’s throw, or a bus, train or car ride from a daytripper’s paradise. Haverhill is as much a destination as a starting point. I intend to post my finds about once a month, I hope you enjoy my discoveries.

Destination Gloucester in winter.

Fittingly we started this blog adventure on January 1 and headed to Mile Marker One Restaurant, Waterfront Deck, and Private Igloo dining. Located within the Cape Ann Marina Resort, it is just under one hour away by car with winter traffic. How did we come upon this charming spot you may ask. A friend since high school David Cummings (also a remarkable artist), happens to be a restaurant manager there. Over the years, I’ve followed David around to a lot of his restaurants because he’s always a good time and he chooses great places to work including a former position at the Ritz in Boston.

MILE MARKER ONE
WATERFRONT DECK, IGLOO & INDOOR DINING at Cape Ann Marina Resort,75 Essex Avenue, Gloucester, MA 01930 / 978.283.2122

Cape Ann Marina Resort boat docks Photo (c) Alison Colby-Campbell

Mile Marker One Restaurant in the Cape Ann Marina Resort is surrounded by docks populated by marina traffic, restaurant guests, hotel guests and working fishing boats as well as luxury yachts and smaller personal watercraft. Photo (c) Alison Colby-Campbell

TOP 6 REASONS TO VISIT

6. The hotel. There are 31 rustic rooms in the hotel. We took a tour with general manage Patrick Hurd who gave us a sneak peak of the room renovation plan. Some of the upgraded rooms will start booking as soon as February. One extraordinary room needs to be on our list of must tries for a special occasion. Perfect for sunsets AND rises, from the little balcony you can enjoy the emerging sun with your coffee. On the other side of the spacious, and decidedly not rustic room you can watch the sun set. This is the top end room on the right in the photo above, I believe. Just a gorgeous retreat in the making.

The bloody Mary everyone was raving about was made by this guy right here. Photos (c) Alison Colby-Campbell

5. The cocktails. People on either side of us at brunch were praising the Bloody Marys as being the right amount of zippy, more complex than most others with a heat that is made up of multiple peppers, definitely more than just horseradish. Up until that point I’d been happily sipping my pot of tea, but after hearing multiple accolades my resolve was broken and I requested a virgin Bloody Mary. Interestingly, the praise was not for the current trend where a Bloody Mary comes with a boatload of skewers with shrimp, pickles, grilled cheese, soft pretzels that overshadow the drink. The guests were praising the actual drink presented without all the drama. Now, this next comment is a very small thing, but I believe little details count, a lot. I have to tell you that BMary included the crunchiest freshest piece of celery I ever remember eating. So don’t rest it politely on the side of the plate, chomp away, even if it results in the people at abutting tables giggling at your decibel level, which they did.

4. The Food. We were brunching it on New Years Day, but look forward to trying additional meals soon, maybe in conjunction with a hotel stay (hint, hint, honey.) There was a time when my husband worked nights in airport operations and we became ‘breakfast date’ people. Here, I ordered the lobster benedict because I’d heard one of the sons of the owner is actually the lobster man who procures the crustaceans. I mean could you get any fresher than that! I’ve had a lot of eggs benedicts (sans the meat) Benedict Florentine (spinach and tomato typically), salmon cake benedict, portobello benedict, crab cake benedict, smoked salmon benedict, etc, and I’ve learned a thing or two about my personal hollandaise preferences. Many taste exclusively of butter and egg and are ghosted by the lemon. Others get fancy and throw in a little tarragon which I like, a lot, but that’s edging toward a Béarnaise. Here the brightness of the lemon shines through and that’s important because those super sized chunks of lobster taste as though they’ve already had a brief encounter with some rich melted butter. Man that was good. My husband ordered the M1 McMuffin, a two egg breakfast sandwich with sausage and slippery melted cheese. It was stacked high enough to require a degree in engineering to eat without jettisoning an egg or sausage out the side but he managed. Under no circumstance did we need to order more food, the portions are large, but when manager and friend David advised us that the blueberry pancakes are beyond delicious, and his personal menu favorite we indulged. We knew we could not handle an entrée serving of six, so we asked for a side order single (not on the menu) to figure out what makes it special. My husband and I agreed that the texture is the key. It had crunchy edges and fluffy interior and just the right amount of blueberries. We anticipated trying a bite or two but polished that thing off like competitive eaters.

Private dining igloos at Mile Marker One restaurant deck were designed by General Manager Patrick Hurd based on principles used to shrink wrap boats. The festive doors were added not just for their quirky adorableness but also to creat easier access for waitstaff. Photo (c) Alison Colby-Campbell

3. Custom Outdoor Dining Igloos in Winter and early Spring. In the summer the deck and tiki bar are the place to be. Crisp umbrellas protect guest from the glaring sun during the day, and the view of the active docks and marina are enchanting. But in the winter for a little romance (hmmm Valentines???) or some quality family time the igloos offer a private getaway. They are heated and comfortable, and were custom designed and built onsite using principles adapted from boat wrapping services at their marina. The cheerful doors were added to look festive but more importantly to make it easier for servers coming in and out. Renting an igloo is comparatively inexpensive at $9 per person not including food. We ate inside the restaurant with a wall of glass windows showcasing the marina’s view. But next time, I want this igloo right here for a future visit. Igloos are scheduled to remain up through April and umbrellas return the first of May.

Staff at Mile Marker One in Gloucester. L-R Patrick Hurd GM, Steve Murdock Restaurant Manager, David Cummings Restaurant Manager Photo (c) Alison Colby-Campbell

2. The people. Yes, I know David Cummings (looking handsome in the red jacket) and always look forward to seeing him, but everyone on staff was so engaging. We arrived a bit breathless, a few minutes late for our reservation due to a wrong turn. Steve Murdock, restaurant manager (center) greeted us. I’d never met him. He stopped me when I started to apologize for running late and said something to the effect, “you are here now at the perfect time; come on in and relax.” And I let out a breath and I did relax. What a wonderful start to our meal. General Manager Patrick Hurd is pretty tall but you can’t tell in this photo because David and Steve are on an elevated part of the deck. Thought you should know that for clarity. What impressed me about Patrick was the obvious pride he took in the property and the excitement for its future plans. Can’t tell you all the details but there are things happening beyond the new hotel rooms that will be a big draw for guests, so you will see some construction. Overall, the whole property is welcoming. The product they produce is very high quality and while they take their responsibilities seriously, they don’t take themselves too seriously. The atmosphere set by the team is friendly and fun, knowledgeable and efficient. Our server, Yuri, was lovely and obliging too.

1. The view. Personally I need the ocean, the salt air. It soothes my battered spirit. I head to the ocean at every opportunity and so many people have that same need. So this property just gets to me. The setting sun in one direction and if you linger long enough, the rising on the other. We walked a loop around the property maintaining our balance on rocking docks. There are birds to see including swans, waving grasses, and sparkling waters. It is romanticized in my brain. But that is not the only draw. People are visiting this marina from all over the world to try and catch a look at the fishermen from Wicked Tuna. The National Geographic reality television show is in its 11th season. The bluefin tuna fishing vessels call Gloucester their homeport and three of the boats are docked at the Cape Ann Marina. The show is such a draw with thousands of people making pilgrimages to the area to try and catch a glimpse of captain, crew or vessel that Discover Gloucester hosts a custom Wicked Tuna map on its website to pinpoint which boats are docked where.

Whether you come for the food, drink, views or fishing boats, I think Mile Marker One is worth the trip, and heck, it’s just an hour from Haverhill.

Photos and text (c) Alison Colby-Campbell

2 comments on “Within an hour of home (Haverhill MA). Adventures outside the City limits.

  1. Jackie Taylor
    January 13, 2023

    Love, love, love this, thank you ! Keep the adventures coming. (A place we have gone to for a couple of nights get-away is https://www.historichotels.org/us/hotels-resorts/wentworth-by-the-sea/ Great bar and restaurant, “Salt”. In-door and out-door pool, massage, etc.)

    • Brain4Rent/THoH
      January 13, 2023

      Thank you. I’ll need the suggestions and I’ve never been there.

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Alison Colby-Campbell

Brain4Rent/THoH

Brain4Rent/THoH

Full-brain user demonstrating a healthy(?) obsession with marketing, promotion, writing/storytelling, photography, house rabbits, the natural world, big and small problem solving, reading, hiking, HGTV and the flotsam & jetsam of everyday life. My three blogs Brain4Rent, The Heartbeat of Haverhill, Alison Colby-Campbell Photography are Wordpress based.

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