Sea breezes wafting over my bare skin, the smell of salt air, warm sun, gentle waves lapping on the shore….
In complete contrast to my last post on the Lake Superior ice caves, I’m presently traveling to a warm weather spot, at least in my mind. I’m pondering plans for summer travel and looking fondly at my pix from last summer on Cape Ann, north of Boston, Mass.
Minnesota is beautiful in summer, but there’s just something captivating about New England that time of year and Cape Ann, known as Massachusetts’s “other cape” is a great place to experience it– in Gloucester, which is still a fishing town, and just to the north, the village of Rockport which has, for the most part, shifted from fishing to tourism. Rockport is so darned adorable that on visits there my husband requires a periodic dose of ESPN to counteract the charm overload.
Everything in this part of the country is really old, like 1600s old, hence the charm, and the ocean has been the focus of life here for hundreds of years. So before you go, you’ll want to break out a couple of classics of seafaring literature to enhance your appreciation of the area’s maritime traditon. They include Rudyard Kipling’s Captains Courageous, a story of cod fishermen who work between Gloucester and Newfoundland; Sebastian Junger’s The Perfect Storm about the ill-fated Gloucester fishermen of the Andrea Gail; and Mark Kurlansky’s The Last Fish Tale: The Fate of the Atlantic and Survival in Gloucester, America’s Oldest Fishing Port and Most Original Town. For more area literature, see my post about nearby Dogtown.
But put down your book. There’s plenty to do on the water such as kayaking, stand-up paddling, and whale watching. And, if you’re a seafood lover, stroll down Bearskin Neck in Rockport to Roy Moore’s lobster shack. Eat it on the deck in back or take it out for a beach picnic. Last year, there was a lobster surplus so we felt it our duty to help alleviate that problem. Also, the Red Skiff gets my vote for the world’s best fish chowder.
Like any resort community, Rockport has its share of art galleries. Some of the best are on Main Street where you’ll also find Toad Hall bookstore and another gem, The Shalin Liu Performance Center, where a giant window with a view of the harbor serves as a backdrop for the music. As you can imagine, the area abounds with charming inns, B&Bs and homes for rental.
Cape Ann is one of the destinations in my book, Off The Beaten Page: The Best Trips for Lit Lovers, Book Clubs, and Girls on Getaways where you’ll find many other ideas for getaways year-round.