The abutting communities of Marion, Mattapoisett, and Rochester, known collectively as the Tri-Town, have distinct personalities, from Rochester’s rolling farmlands to Marion’s coastal village to seaside Mattapoi-sett, once a boat-building powerhouse. Marion and Mattapoisett have a Cape Cod feel, while Rochester is rural, home to a popular country fair
Aug. 15-18. Throughout are places for families and couples to stay, eat, shop, and relax.
Get cozy at Pineywood Farm Bed & Breakfast (599 Front St., Marion, 508-748-3925, www.virtualcities.com/ons/ma/z/maza601.htm, $165), a restored 1815 farmhouse with three rooms in a converted dairy barn, where guests can wander the three-acre grounds and cool off in the swimming pool. Great harbor views are seen from The Mattapoisett Inn (23 Water St., Mattapoisett, 508-758-9733, www.themattapoisettinn.com, from $155), a three-room inn created from a Victorian boathouse with Adirondack chairs on the porch, roses climbing a white fence out front, and a gourmet breakfast served inside or out. A new entry in area lodging is Captain’s Mate Bed and Breakfast (305 Delano Road, Marion, 508-748-2827, www.captainsmatebandb.com, from $150) with three rooms, two in-house with shared bath (one with water view), and another with separate quarters and deck.
A hot spot for breakfast and socializing is Uncle Jon’s Coffee (350 Front St., Marion, 508-748-0063, www.unclejonscoffees.com/marion.htm, breakfast from $1.50, lunch from $5.75) with a variety of coffee, smooth-ies, homemade muffins, egg wraps, panini, and soups, comfy seating inside and out, and free Wi-Fi. Grab a freshly made wrap for lunch at Harriett’s Outback (9R Cottage St., Marion, 508-748-2053, www.harrietscatering.com, from $6), a catering and prepared-food operation, and wander over to Island Wharf to watch the boats on Sippican Harbor. Eat like a local at area favorite Turk’s Seafood (83 Marion Road, Mattapoisett, 508-748-3113, www.turksseafood.com, entrees from $11), an always-busy place serving a variety of fresh seafood dishes, including its longstanding spicy shrimp Mozambique. Additions in recent years include sushi and raw bars, more seating, and a large bar, a popular local hangout. Rural Rochester has a gem in Matt’s Blackboard(565 Rounseville Road, 508-763-8544, www.mattsblackboard.com, entrees from $9), where specials change daily depending on available local ingredients, and the regular menu includes fish and chips, scallops, prime rib, pasta, and pizza. A new option opened two years ago, Tastebuds Bistro & Catering (42 Main St., Mattapoisett, 508-758-8524, entrees from $15), a small, family-run operation where seasonal dishes include lobster and roasted corn risotto. Get your ice cream fix at Oxford Creamery (98 County Road, Mattapoisett, 508-758-3847, www.oxfordcreamery.com, cones from $2.50), also serving seafood, burgers, and dogs, which first opened as Gulf Hill Ice Cream in 1931 and hasn’t changed much since, and Sea Dips (4 Cottage St., Marion, 508-748-1800, cones from $2.95) in the heart of picturesque Marion Village, serving Bliss Dairy products.
Lazy summer days can be spent at places like Silvershell Beach (Front Street, Marion, 774-217-8355, www.marionma.gov), with lifeguards and a full concession stand, where a limited number of $10 day passes are available to nonresidents upon entry. Want to walk? Eastover Reservation (Clapp Road, Rochester, 508-636-4693, www.thetrustees.org/places-to-visit/southeast-ma/east-over.html, free), a recent acquisition of The Trustees of Reservations, has miles of trails through fields, forests, and hedgerows, all surrounded by quarry-stone-capped double walls. Play a round at Reservation Golf Club (323 Rounseville Road, Rochester, 508-763-5155, www.rochestergolf.net, $27 for 18 holes), a 5,300-yard public course surrounded by woods. Arts abound at Marion Art Center (80 Pleasant St., 508-748-1266, www.marionartcenter.org), including the permanent collection of portraits by Cecile Clark Davis, the town’s most famous artist, as well as classes for children and live theater several times a year. For a retail fix, check out Serendipity by the Sea (160 Front St., Marion, 508-748-1800, www.serendipitybythesea.net), facing Sippican Harbor, a boutique shop with wide-ranging items like Lilly Pulitzer iPhone covers, Alex and Ani jewelry, and Mariposa housewares. Ropewalk Shops and Cafe (33 County Road, Mattapoisett, 508-758-9481, www.ropewalkshops.com) is where you’ll find Panache (508-758-9622), a women’s specialty store; No Kidding! (508-758-3323, www.nokiddingtoys.com), an independent toy store; and Isabelle’s (508-758-7960, www.isabellesgifts.com), selling designer stationery, Pandora jewelry, Vera Bradley bags, and home goods.
Family al fresco films are popular at Movies in the Park (Island Wharf, Front Street, Marion, 774-217-8355, www.marionrecreation.com, free) on Sippican Harbor, showing outdoor flicks through late August including “The Muppets” and “Star Wars Episode IV.” For grownups, live music, from rock to acoustic, can be found weekends at The Wave Restaurant and Bar (210 Spring St., Marion, 508-748-2986, www.thewaverestaurant.com, no cover), with rotating acts that include the Choice, Joy Pereira, and Hollow Tree, and where you can watch sports on six TVs in the bar, and the pizza is popular fare. Largely acoustic music is on tap Thursday through Saturday nights at The Inn on Shipyard Park (13 Water St., Mattapoisett, 508-758-4922, www.theinnonthepark.com, no cover) where local favorite musician Chris Richards and others play. You can test yourself in Wednesday night trivia and enjoy a full menu of seafood, steaks, burgers, and salads, with sunsets best enjoyed on the screened front porch facing the harbor.Paul E. Kandarian can be reached at email@example.com.