We were lucky enough to be able to accompany my husband to the Boston area while he was working out here. For 9 weeks we lived in a beautiful house just steps from the ocean in Scituate (pronounced sit-U-it).
We found Ocean Perch (I just love a house with a name) at HomeAway.com. After seeing the photos of the house and sending Doug on a scouting mission to make sure the photos didn’t lie (they didn’t!) we secured the house to be our “home away from home”.
I am hesitant to use the word cozy to describe this house as it can tend to give off a “small” vibe. But this house is cozy. We settled in easily as this rental has all the comforts of home- comfy bedrooms, a washer and dryer, a fully equipped kitchen and a grill on the back porch. The only thing it was missing was internet access. Luckily we were able to take care of that ourselves.
There is one bathroom with a shower only. Pam (the owner), knowing we had small children, installed a very nice mounted removable shower head for us to use. All towels and linens are provided.
As are beach towels, lawn chairs, small coolers, beach toys, rafts and any other summer item you can think of (they are stored under the enclosed porch). Really, this house is stocked with whatever you may need. And Pam is just a phone call away if you ever need anything. She was a great help during our stay- suggesting sites and dropping off information (and brownies!) for us.
Ocean Perch can be difficult to find- especially if you try to map it online as the small towns run together. The easiest way to reach Ocean Perch is to take highway 3 south from Boston. Take exit 12 (Hwy 139) east. Turn left at the second stoplight (there is a Roche Brother’s grocery store on one corner and a school on the other)- this is Furnace. Follow Furnace to Ferry. Turn left. Ferry is quite curvy; just stay on the main road. Ferry will end at Bridgwaye restaurant. Turn right, across the bridge. You are now on Humarock. Turn left at the 4-way (if you continue forward you will hit the ocean) and follow that road (Central) about a mile. Newport St. is well marked; you can only turn right. Ocean Perch is the second house.
Obviously you will need a car if you stay anywhere outside of the city. I posted previously about car rentals outside the US but many of those tips work if you are in the US as well. Renting a car at Logan airport will cost you twice the amount of any other location in the Boston area. My advice: take the subway to Quincy Center or Quincy Adams or the harbor ferry into Quincy. Coordinate with the rental company to pick you up (Enterprise will do this, ask others as they may accommodate you.) To get to both the subway and the ferry catch the 66 bus at all terminals outside the baggage claim.
Things to Do
You’re staying in a house only steps from the beach. My best guess is that you plan to spend much of your time on the beach.
- Scituate. Walk along the beach below the lighthouse; play in the playground by the “castle”; see the catch being unloaded on the working harbor then walk along Front Street.
- Boston (article coming soon) is an easy commuter rail, subway or commuter boat ride away.
Quincy is an easy car ride away. The Adams National Historical Park opened the weekend we left. It looks amazing- if you like history (and we do!).
- If you decide to try out other beaches know that many require parking stickers. You can find beach information here and here.
- If the weather is nasty and the kids need to burn off energy spend a few hours at Scalliwags in Pembroke. Climbing, jumping, and sliding; a toddler area; an arcade. Free Wi-Fi and food to order.
As I mentioned, Ocean Perch has a fully equipped kitchen. Almost as well equipped as my own; I was able to make our meals easily. (A few of the meals I made: Homemade Cheeseburger Pizza, Unfried Chicken & Popcorn Cauliflower, Grilled Chicken with Sesame Noodles and Finnish Baked Pancakes.)
To stock the kitchen we visited three grocery stores:
- Village Market in Scituate Harbor:a small neighborhood store. Deals in natural foods, though you can find many other foods, too. A nice wine & beer selection.
- Roche Brothers in Marshfield: a specialty grocery with a large selection of cheeses, fresh meats & seafood, a very nice deli and nice selection of international foods.
- Super Stop & Shop in Pembroke: a mega-grocery with practically anything you could need. No frills, prices here are less than the other stores.
- For your convenience: a small convenience store is located just across the bridge in Marshfield, across from Polcari’s Bridgwaye Inn. You’ll be able to get any “last minute” items here easily.
Of course you are on vacation… There are plenty of restaurants, a few within walking distance. The following restaurants are where we ate while visiting. There are, of course, many others.
Within walking distance:
- Mad Fish Bar & Grill: this is located just down the road from Ocean Perch. Friendly service, good food; try the Herb Baked Haddock and the Shrimp Scampi. In the summer the outdoor patio is open for dining. The portions are large and they have a kids menu.
- Sands End Cafe & General Store: Located at the intersection of Central and Marshfield Rd, just as you enter Humarock. Open daily for breakfast and lunch. Open weekend evenings April thru November, open all day beginning around Memorial Day thru Labor Day. Live entertainment Friday and Saturday evenings April-November. Filling breakfasts (try the linguica), a large variety of sandwiches and yummy burgers, seafood & salads, large pizzas and a kids menu. Beers and wines available for purchase.
- Polcari’s Bridgwaye Inn: just across the bridge from Humarock. More elegant dining but kid friendly. A large menu selection featuring seafood, pastas and pizza. A very nice kids menu and brick oven pizzas. Also open for lunch with a large selection of sandwiches as well.
- Dockside Donuts: a great little shop, next to the convenience store and across from Bridgwaye restaurant. Donuts, bagels & muffins. Very good coffee. Also serves hot sandwiches for lunch.
A short drive:
- T.K. O’Malley’s Sports Cafe : Located in Scituate Harbor. Part restaurant, part sports bar, completely beautiful views of the harbor. Very good food, a nice children’s menu.
- The Garlic: in Marshfield. Country style Italian food. Warm, crusty bread. We ate here twice, both times the food was great, the service was good. BUT… this is not a “fast” restaurant. Be prepared as your meal is freshly made for you- not “waiting around” to be heated. Gorgonzola Filet Mignon was possibly one of the best filets I’ve had in a long time, Spuntitori Italiano was enough food for two and delicious- my daughters devoured the meatballs. Daily specials and a dessert tray that is hard to resist.
- PJ’s Country House & Restaurant: in Scituate, on Hwy 3A. More elegant dining in the restaurant, casual fare in the pub. Very good food, not a kids restaurant though they do have a children’s menu. Known for their Baked Finnian Haddie, which Doug said was very good. They also have take-out during regular hours.
- Friendly’s: my girls’ favorite! Each meal ends with ice cream! Multiple locations, we ate at the one in Pembroke (across from Stop & Shop).
- British Beer Company: various locations, we visited the one in Pembroke. A fun British Pub ambiance with good food. Flaky fish in a light beer batter served with chips. The specials are varied and quite good.
- Bertucci’s: multiple locations, we visited the one in Braintree. Great Italian food, brick oven pizzas. Great fun for kids as they are given a ball of pizza dough to play with!
- Tedeschi Food Shops: Many locations, I have mapped the one in Marshfield. This is a great place to get sandwiches if you’re planning a road trip or a picnic by the beach.
- Ming Dynasty: Two locations, one in Marshfield, the other in Plymouth. We ate at the Plymouth location and encountered bad service and mediocre food.
When you’re on vacation shopping has a tendency to top the list of “must do”. You want a souvenir or two, yes?
- The closest gift shop is right as you enter Humarock: Humming Rock Gifts is on the right, just over the bridge.
- Following Summer Street toward Scituate is the Donna Green Studio. Donna Green has done one of the most beautifully illustrated copies of The Velveteen Rabbit I have ever seen. Stop in and browse her store. Don’t miss the amazing mosaic on the floor. At the very least pick up a rabbit and a book. Donna will even sign them for you.
- Just around the curve past the Donna Green Studio is Marshfield Hills. A sign points up the hill to the General Store. They have staple items, some trinkets and plenty of time to chat about the area. The owner may not be so knowledgeable about the area but he’ll definitely look familiar. He’s not there often; the store is really in his sister-in-law’s hands.
- Scituate Harbor’s Front Street (where T.K. O’Malley’s, listed above, is located) is lined with great shops. Trinkets, clothing, wines, music… Anything you might need- or not know you need- you’ll find it here.
- Hanover Mall is close by if you need clothing or WalMart. Or an indoor play area for the kids. Also in this area is Trader Joe’s. There is a very good Chinese restaurant here. Not your typical “mall” Chinese food.
- South Shore Plaza in Braintree has shops that include H&M, Godiva and the Disney Store.
- This is a small smattering of the shopping available. Every small town you pass through on your wanderings will have its own shops.
Getting into Boston
The very best way, in my opinion, to get into Boston is via the commuter ferry from Quincy Harbor. It’s quick and relaxing and you land in the North End.
Closer to the rental house is the commuter rail station in Greenbush. This will take you into Quincy where you can catch the subway. For the greatest flexibility of return times drive into Braintree or Quincy, park and catch the subway there.
Wish You Were Here
Just behind the Sands End Cafe is the Humarock Post Office. John and Bruce, the postmasters, are a great wealth of information. They’ll answer any questions you have. Stop in, mail your postcards and chat for a while.
Guides to the South Shore
Kidding Around the South Shore
South Shore Visitors Guide