September 22, 2014
Daytrip Destination: Onset, MA
Several days of shooting the Wareham, MA, episode of New England Boating TV has inspired me to encourage other boaters to visit Onset Bay this fall. It really has a lot to offer, and the town of Wareham (of which Onset is a village) is making a big effort to accommodate recreational boaters. That’s something we all appreciate.
Fall is the perfect time to drop by, as you’re more likely to find an open slip at the public dock next to the Town Pier. You can tie up here for an hour at no charge, but the harbormaster will usually allow longer stays if it’s not busy. If the slips are full, you can always grab one of the town moorings or drop anchor behind Wickets Island. Dinghies and kayaks can be left at the public docks.
From here, you have quick access to several restaurants, including Marc Anthony’s Pizzeria, which specializes in thin-crust pizza, plus subs, burgers, steamers, pasta, salads and more. It’s a big, busy place, and kids will love the arcade of video games. Adults will love the beer, served by the glass or in pitchers.
Right on the Town Pier is Stash’s, which also serves pizza, sandwiches, burgers, hot dogs and ice cream, and offers a great view of the bay. Down the road a piece, on Broad Cove, is the Stonebridge Bar & Grill, open Wednesday to Sunday for lunch and dinner. It specializes in grilled steaks, seafood and Italian dishes. It’s located at the Stonebridge Marina, which has transient slips, moorings and boat rentals, plus gas.
The Quahog Republic restaurant, across the street from the Town Pier, is a lively spot for an evening drink or a bite to eat. They have a raw bar, live music and creative cocktails.
It should be mentioned that Onset Bay is bordered by a long, sandy beach, and the water stays warm enough for swimming through September. On weekdays, the beach can be virtually deserted.
If you like to kayak or paddleboard, the bay is an ideal venue for these activities. You can paddle to nearby Wickets Island and explore the shoreline and wooded interior (watch out for poison ivy), or check out Sunset Cove and the East River/Broad Cove. Both spots are scenic and protected, as we discovered on a kayak trip with Nemasket Kayaks, which rents kayaks and stand-up paddleboards at Onset Beach until Labor Day. They also give lessons and guided tours.
If we’ve piqued your interest about Onset Bay, here are some useful names and numbers to make your trip easier.
Wareham Harbormaster: Garry Buckminster, (508) 291-3100; VHF 9-16
Dockage, Moorings & Service:
Onset Town Pier, (508) 295-8160: Transient slips and moorings ($20 per night). The town provides a launch service to and from moored and anchored boats in-season. Cost is $3 per person round trip.
Onset Bay Marina, (508) 273-0338: Full-service marina with slips for boats up to 120’. Also offers transient moorings, 50-ton hydraulic trailer, full parts department, fuel dock, WiFi, cable, laundry, showers, rack storage, pump out, and picnic area with gas grills.
Stonebridge Marina, (508) 295-8003: Friendly marina at the mouth of Broad Cove. Mostly accommodates boats under 35’, but maintains 4 deep-water slips. Offers floating docks, showers, laundry, gas, ice and complementary grills for guests. Also offers boat rental.
Point Independence Yacht Club, (508) 295-3972: Transient moorings and slips, space permitting.
Boaters can usually find a place to drop the hook in the federally designated anchorage between Wickets and Onset islands.
Stonebridge Bar & Grill, (508) 291-2229: Overlooking Broad Cove at the Stonebridge Marina, this waterfront eatery specializes in seafood, grilled steaks and Italian dishes.
Quahog Republic, (774) 678-4032: Right across the street from the Town Pier, the Quahog Republic is the local party spot, serving burgers, seafood and creative mixed drinks. Live music, too.
Marc Anthony’s Pizzeria, (508) 295-5956: Onset institution serving delicious pizza, subs, onion rings, pasta, cold beer and more near the waterfront. Great kid-friendly place.
Stash’s Onset Beach, (508) 291-7200: Waterside restaurant on the Town Pier. Specializes in pizza, seafood, ice cream and Greek and Italian dishes.
Nana’s Ice Cream & Candy, (508) 295-5956; Located next to Marc Anthony’s Pizzeria, this is a great spot to stock up on candy and frozen refreshements after a long day on the water.
Things to See & Do:
Onset Bandshell, (508) 295-7072: Outdoor amphitheater hosting concerts, movies, plays and more throughout the summer and fall.
Namasket Kayak Center, (508) 291-4900: The center offers kayak and SUP rentals, lessons and guided tours from their locations on Onset Beach and Tihonet Pond.