Cohasset

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Welcome to Cohasset

THE FIRST OBJECT MOST BOATERS NOTICE AS THEY APPROACH COHASSET IS THE TOWERING GREY FORM OF MINOT’S LIGHT. THE ICONIC LIGHT, BUILT OF GRANITE BLOCKS BETWEEN 1851 AND 1860, RISES MAJESTICALLY OUT OF THE SEA 1/2-MILE OFFSHORE BETWEEN THE SOUTH SHORE TOWNS OF SCITUATE AND COHASSET. IT REPLACED AN IRON STRUCTURE THAT WAS DESTROYED IN AN APRIL GALE IN 1851, KILLING 2 LIGHTHOUSE KEEPERS. (A FASCINATING HISTORY OF THE LIGHTHOUSE CAN BE READ HERE AT NEW ENGLAND LIGHTHOUSES: A VIRTUAL GUIDE.)

The light stands as a warning, not just of Minot’s Ledge, but of the minefield of reefs and boulders that pepper the surrounding waters. Consider this quote, circa mid-1800s, by Capt. William H. Swift of the U.S. Corps of Topographical Engineers (precursor to the Army Corps of Engineers): “Minot’s Rocks… lie off the southeastern chop of Boston Bay. These rocks or ledges… have been the terror of mariners for many years; they have been, probably, the cause of a greater number of wrecks than any other ledges or reefs upon the coast.”

Once you make it through the gauntlet of rocks, Cohasset appears as a kind of idyllic Brigadoon. Massive homes dot the rugged coastline, some perched on rocky promontories such as Windmill Point, to starboard as you approach the channel to Cohasset Cove. To port is an expanse of shallow mud flats that closely border the narrow channel leading to the inner harbor. Pay close attention to the channel markers here, as it’s easy to let your mind wander and find yourself aground.

The docks and brown-shingled clubhouse of the Cohasset Yacht Club, established in 1894, appear to starboard as you enter the cove. Today the venerable club hosts annual sailing events and a fishing tournament, as well as adult and youth sailing programs.

Once past the Yacht Club, Cohasset Cove opens up, yet is crowded with private moorings. The Cohasset Harbor Marina, whose docks fringe the shore along a small finger cove behind Bassing Beach, offers occasional transient slips (call ahead). The town launch ramp is next to the marina, but you’ll need a sticker to park.

Two restaurants—the Old Salt House and Atlantica—are on the northwest side of the cove. Both have floating docks, but call ahead to see about docking for lunch or dinner.

A town landing and dinghy dock are located next to the restaurants. Contact the harbormaster for information on tie-up rules.

A short (1/2-mile) walk up Elm Street from the harbor will bring you to Cohasset’s downtown area—a quaint collection of shops, restaurants and businesses. If the area looks familiar, it might be because many scenes in the movie The Witches of Eastwick were filmed in Cohasset.

You can enjoy coffee and delicious pastries at the French Memories bakery, take tea at the Windsor Teas Shop & Tea Room, or grab lunch at the Red Lion Inn or Bia Bistro, which recently was honored with a “Best of Boston” award by Boston Magazine. Farther along, on Ripley Road, is the South Shore Art Center, which offers showings and exhibits throughout the year. If you’re looking to restock the grog locker, stop in at the Village Wine and Spirits.

Paddlers can explore a part of Cohasset that few visitors get to experience. The Gulf River is a tidal estuary that meets Cohasset Cove in a whitewater rapids at certain stages of the dropping tide. Kayakers and canoeists can put in at the town ramp and park along the street in select areas, but will have to wait until the right high tide level to access the river—and get back. Paddlers can also put in upstream where Gannet Road passes over a small tributary of the main river. Parking is available just up the road at a dirt pull-off. Experienced sea kayakers can head out to the ocean and explore the rocks and beaches of the coast if conditions allow. A great source of information on kayaking in and around Cohasset is the Wild Turkey Paddlers website.

GETTING THERE
Charts: NOAA 13270

Cohasset Chart

Cohasset boasts a wonderfully protected harbor, but one that’s fairly tricky to access. The approaches comprise a minefield of reefs and boulders, while the narrow channel leading to Cohasset Cove is bordered by shallow mud flats. In other words, pay close attention to your instruments and electronics as you enter and leave thisharbor. Also, unless an accomplished boater and familiar with the local waters, it’s probably best to avoid the area in strong easterly winds and swells.

When approaching from points west in boats drawing 6’ or less, it’s safest to follow the Western Channel (marked on charts). Pick up RN “2W” marking Black Ledge and proceed east to RN “4”, then onto RN “6W”, which marks Sutton Rocks. Be careful not to stray too far off course here, as there are nasty reefs and rocks to either side. You can pass on either side of G “5” marking Barrel Rock. Once you clear RN “6W” you can turn south and pick up R “10” marking the narrow channel to the inner harbor, or Cohasset Cove. Again, follow the channel markers closely, as mud flats lie to either side.

When approaching from the east, head for the G “1DL” fl G 2.5s Gong and head toward Minot’s Ledge Lighthouse, keeping north of the light. After rounding the light, turn southwest and head for GC “1S” off East Shag Rock. This approach gives you plenty of depth (8’ MLW). From GC “15” head for RN “6” and then to R “10” marking the channel to Cohasset Cove. Again, follow the channel markers closely, as shallow mudflats lie to either side.

Once you pass the Cohasset Yacht Club (to starboard) the harbor widens a bit, although it’s filled with private moorings. To reach Cohasset Harbor Marina, steer to port as you pass the southern tip of Bassings Island. The marina’s docks line the shore to starboard. The Atlantica and the Old Salt House restaurants are near the head of the harbor. You can sometimes dock here for lunch or dinner if space is available. Best to call ahead.

There is a 5 mph speed limit in the harbor.

There is no fuel in Cohasset Harbor. Nearest fuel is in Scituate Harbor.

Dockage, Moorings & Service:

  • The town maintains at least 4 transient moorings at a cost of $35 per night. Contact the harbormaster. Free tie-up at the town landing.

  • Cohasset Harbor Marina (781-337-1964): Sometimes has transient slips available if customers are away; call for availability. Offers electric, water and bathrooms. Can accommodate boats to 42 feet.
  • Cohasset Yacht Club (781-383-9633)
  • Bayside Boatworks (781-383-8777)
  • Mill River Marine Railway (781-383-1207): Haulout and repair.
  • Pumpout: The town provides free pumpout service. Contact the harbormaster on VHF 10 or (781-383-0863).

Anchorage:

Boaters can drop anchor in the outer harbor in 5 to 11 feet of water west of Strawberry Point and east of the channel when winds are from the south or west. There is no charge for dinghy tie-up at the town landing.

Harbormaster:

Launch Ramp:

town ramp is located at Mariner’s Park at the end of Parker Ave. You must have town sticker to park.

Boat & Kayak Rental:

  • Cohasset is a great place to kayak and canoe. Non-residents may have trouble finding non-sticker parking along the street, especially on weekends.
  • Billington Sea Kayak (508-746-5644): Rentals and sales in Plymouth.
  • Boating in Boston (617-299-3392)

Cohasset kayaking information:

The following is from the Wild Turkey Paddlers website (above):

  • Cohasset harbor itself is a safe area for flatwater kayakers. Keep clear of the main channel and keep an eye out for powerboaters. You can go around the perimeter and see some of the boats, properties and restaurants that line the harbor.
  • The Gulf River is a tidal estuary that feeds from the harbor. This can be a very dangerous area, because with the exception of short periods of time during the tide schedule, the current is very fast and is flowing over boulders. This area is quite popular with the whitewater set.
  • One hour past high tide, the water under Atlantic Ave. comes to a dead stop and slowly reverses. Half an hour later, the flow is swift again, and I wouldn’t recommend waiting longer than this to exit.
  • There is free public parking on the harbor side of the street.
  • The more well-known and popular launch point is further down Border Street. You will cross over the Gulf River, and take and take your first left. You should see the harbormaster shack in front of you.

Things to Do & See:

  • A short stroll up Elm Street from the harbor will bring you to the “downtown” area, where you’ll find a variety of shops, galleries and good restaurants.
  • South Shore Art Center (781-383-2787): Located on 119 Ripley Road about a mile from the harbor, the SSAC is a non-profit organization. The facility features galleries and teaching studios. Also offers exhibitions and gallery programs, sales of fine arts and studio crafts, courses and workshops, outreach to schools and special events.

Where to Eat:

  • Atlantica (781-383-0900): Large restaurant located on the harbor. Call ahead for dock n’ dine availability.
  • Ava Cucina (781-383-8300)
  • Old Salt House (781-383-0900): Smaller, pub-like restaurant with outdoor patio adjacent to Atlantica. Call for dock n’ dine availability.
  • DiNeros (781-383-2339)
  • Red Lion Inn (781-383-1704)
  • Feng Shui (781-383-3328)
  • Bia Bistro (781-383-0464)
  • Atlantic Bagel (781) 383-8700)
  • French Memories (781-383-2216): Fresh baked goods and coffees.

Where to Stay:

General Information:

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