Massachusetts and the other Cape...

When I was growing up, if you asked someone from Massachusetts which they prefer, Cape Cod or Cape Ann, many would wonder where Cape Ann was located. In my mind, that is exactly how I wanted it to stay. Send the cast of thousands to Cape Cod...we had a pretty good thing going in Cape Ann and I for one was happy to keep it that way. If you live in a seasonal town where tourists roll in and out like the waves of a stormy sea you will know what I  am talking about. The only saving grace is that when the high season is over...the residents are left with a beautiful spot all to themselves.

Fast forward those thoughts thirty odd years and it is nice to know that not much has changed. I am near the end of my weeks visit to Cape Ann and have managed to visit many of the places that were favourites long ago. There are the obvious sweeps of change..newer and bigger supermarkets, an expansion of highway here and there, new homes and business's but the heart of  Cape Ann is still the same to me. People have come and gone and come back again. The smells, sights and sounds are the same. Some may say progress is still needed and that may be true but for this once upon a time local...I will take it just as it is...thank you very much.

This is not to slight Cape Cod in any is a beautiful spot, adored by many and if you are looking for progress, you will find many spots along the cape able to accommodate your ever need. It is the gateway to Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard, two islands I would encourage any visitor to Massachusetts to enjoy. Deciding which one will be tricky, if you asked me, I would say Martha's Vineyard...if you ask another, there is no question, in their mind it will be Nantucket. Seek and you shall find something to inspire you. I am sure of it!

If you ever venture to  Cape Ann, here a few of my favourites. I should mention there is so much more than what I am mentioning here. If you know the area and would like to add your recommendations. Please can write to me and I will add your suggestions onto this post.

So...if you happen upon...

Visit Singing Beach (the sand really sings),  stop in at The Stock Exchange, Cargo and Zaks on Main Street for a bit of shopping. There are endless roads of beautiful historical homes scattered about in all shapes and sizes..I love getting lost in Manchester-by-the-Sea,

Swing through Essex for great seafood...there are many restaurants to choose from. Woodman's of Essex is a local favourite. Be prepared to slip on the lobster bib and tuck in if you do go, it is an experience! If you are into a bit of antiquing...perhaps more along the vintage variety, you will find the road from Essex to Newburyport filled with them.

The Rocky Neck Art Colony is my first stop, from there, a drive along the shoreline to Bass Rocks. There are two popular beaches in Gloucester. Good Harbor and Long Beach. My family history runs deep at Long Beach so I am partial to it.  I enjoy walking the full length of Long Beach..and back again, climbing the rocks along Pebble Beach, riding a bike on the back road from Gloucester to Rockport, kayaking on the Annisquam River, and most important of all, soft serve chocolate dip ice cream cones at Long Beach Dairy Maid. Special mention to The Bookstore of Gloucester...I can never leave town without buying at least one book, they have a great selection.

I was a shop girl on Bearskin Neck in my teenage years. It hasn't changed much which sometimes I find endearing and other times I find a bit frustrating.  The local penny candy store, Bearskin Neck Country Store and Tuck's Candies for salt water taffy and fudge (yes, I have a sweet tooth) do the trick for me not matter how I am feeling.  I love the local independent book shop, Toad Hall Bookstore. It was the setting for a movie made a few years back, The Love Letter with Ellen DeGeneres, Tom Selleck, Kate Capshaw and Blythe Danner. When I feel homesick, I reach for this movie.

There is an active community in Cape Ann...they know how to party. Cape Ann Calendar Highlights include...Essex River Race, Rockport Chamber Music Festival, Cape Ann Artisans Studio Tour, Independence Day Parades, Gloucester St Peter's Fiesta, Rockport Garden Tour, Manchester Festival by the Sea, Gloucester Blues Festival, Essex ClamFest, Gloucester Schooner Festival, Rockport Harvest Week, Cape Ann Farmers Market

Curious about Cape Ann? If so, read on here. If you would like to rent a beach house, I can recommend Atlantic Vacation Homes...they are my first stop when I am planning a visit. The images above are from the 2011 issue of Cape Ann Guide...essential reading if you are planning to visit.

In my scrapbook this week....

Collecting sea shells by the sea shore on Long Beach

 From my kayak, cottage views.

Cafe views overlooking Rockport Harbor.

Rocky Neck, where colour knows no end....

 Misty views over the Annisquam River..

From The Bookstore of Gloucester...summer reading.

Best wishes to one and all for a wonderful weekend!

Jeanne xx


  1. Hello Jeanne, (big sis) oh I am so envious. I have always wanted to go to that part of the world and somehow despite lots of trips to the US and to Boston and New England, I have never been anywhere with 'Cape' in the name. One does look heavenly and must be lovely for you to reacquaint yourself before your longer trip and new start! I watched a TV programme about Vietnam with Sue Perkins where they drove across the country. I made my whole family watch it! So interesting and their final comments were so positive and surprising about the country. I am sure you will make your own, just as you did everywhere else on your travels! Take care, Lou x

    1. Thanks Lou! The show you mentioned is new to me, I will be sure to track it down. If and when you get back this way, let me know
      and I will suggest a few ideas for you. There is so much to see and do in New England. The coastal towns around your way are beautiful...I missed seeing them while living in England. I will just have to come back! :)

  2. We explored by boat three years ago. What a treat. I'm hoping you'll one day visit our Rockport Harbor!

  3. Jeanne, I sort of have a connection to Rockport. I am an artist, and I have to say that I got a lot of excellent training via Public tv from an artist named Helen Van Wyk. This was about twenty years ago, and unfortunately Helen is deceased. Some artists on Public Television didn't always teach the best technique, but Helen was classically trained and so taught the basics which are solid and work every time. I taped her shows and read her books. She was wonderful, and died young, around 62. I don't know if you've ever heard of her, but she lived and worked many years in Rockport. Her show was called "Welcome to My Studio" I am so grateful for the education I got from her!

  4. It looks idyllic Jeanne... the perfect destination after your mad months of packing... xv

  5. Jeanne, what a gorgeous post. Despite living in the area, I rarely make it up to Cape Ann. I used to go quite a bit when my sister lived up in Ipswich, but that was a decade ago now. Lately, it seems the call of Maine and Vermont have been luring me away. But I do very much appreciate the beauty here in Massachusetts. Thanks for the reminder!

  6. I just love the names of all those little towns. And what beautiful places! I wished I lived closer to them, so I could visit more often.
    Hope you are doing well with the move, Jeanne. Thinking of you and wishing you only the best. Hugs and love!

  7. Wonderful..wonderful..I took a train ride from Seattle to Cape Cod in 2008...if it weren't for my grandkids I would move there and I must go back to see all I missed!
    Have a safe trip and a wondrous stay on that patch of earth that sounds so intriguing now that I know more about it;)


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