Along the shore

Never would I have picked the town of Winthrop as the ideal vacation spot… until the confluence of two events: Barbara and I had wanted to find a nearby long-weekend getaway that wouldn’t take much time to travel there and back, and we happened to read a glowing review of the Winthrop Arms, an old local hotel and restaurant. We had hoped that Winthrop would turn out to be calm, quiet, and relaxing… and indeed it was. The first image here (the one titled Along the shore) gives you a picture of what it’s like — except that the spot where I took this picture was right under a popular flight path to Logan Airport! The airport is so near that the planes are very loud… and frequent. Oh well, we didn’t have that problem anywhere else in the town, including our hotel.

The miracle of photography makes it easy for a place to look either more idyllic or more urban, depending on the photographer’s whim (or nefarious aims). For instance, a slight shift in POV makes Winthrop look isolated, even desolate (see the image titled Only the shore). Alternatively, the image through the picture window in our hotel room gives hints of the urban character of the town, even though it’s still a beautiful view (see View from the window).

Only the shore

View from the window

I shouldn’t be referring to the hotel “room,” actually, as it was definitely a suite, with a separate living room/kitchenette combination next to the bedroom. Real doors, not just doorways, made it possible for Barbara to watch TV in the living room after I went to bed at a reasonable hour, and for me to putter around the kitchenette or read in the living room in the morning while Barbara was still oversleeping. (No judgment implied.) Here are images of the two rooms:

The bedroom

The kitchenette portion of the dual-purpose room

Officially a “street,” but don’t try to drive it.

Be careful about that GPS, by the way! If it thinks you’re driving around the neighborhood when you’re actually walking, it may take you down this “street.” Fortunately we were walking at the time, so we navigated safely. As Winthrop is small, we mixed local driving with walking.

Mostly the architecture was unremarkable, with a collection of very small business districts in between residential areas containing eclectic varieties of houses — some old, some new; some small, some large, mostly medium-sized. All pleasant enough, but not the sort of community where a visitor wants to spend hours walking around and admiring the architectural styles or the beautiful houses. Occasionally, though, we did see some examples of what the Old House Journal calls “remuddling” (which, of course, my well-meaning spelling checker wants to change to “remodeling”):


Not much to say about fine dining in Winthrop, but we did have an excellent dinner the first night right there at the Winthrop Arms, and an excellent lunch the second day at the Blackstrap BBQ, owned and run by two refugees from Cambridge’s famous East Coast Grill. In addition to having great food and service, I couldn’t resist taking a picture of the oh-so-Cantabrigian sign in the front window. We did indeed feel welcome:

Blackstrap BBQ

Categories: Dorchester/Boston