There are a lot of things to love about Cape Ann. We’re just looking for 10. But not the easy ones (“It’s so pretty!”). We’re most interested in the little things. Often they are intangibles, but they’re the things that move you and, likely, your neighbors, too. Here, in your words, is what makes The Other Cape such a special place to live.
1. I go to Pleasant Street Tea Company all the time to do my homework. I love their Vanilla Chai Latte.
2. I like going to Studio Crepe for the live music. Some of my friends sing there.
3. If it’s summer, I’m at Steel Derrick (the quarry in Rockport). It’s really peaceful.
4. My friends and I go to Millbrook Meadow to chill. We had a birthday picnic there recently.
5. I like Silvana who runs Wicked Peacock. We connect on a lot of things, including friends.
6. Vespas! Rockport is the perfect scooter town.
7. Everybody knows where you’ve been when you’re walking home with that iconic little white paper bag. You’ve been to The Country Store on Bearkskin Neck.
8. Bonfires on Cape Hedge beach. The best!
9. I love how charming Gloucester is. It has its own character. And I love seeing the familiar faces.
10. I like the atmosphere at the Common Crow. It’s about the people — and the vegan vegetable soup!
1. The villages of Cape Ann: tangible evidence of past settlement and present predilection. (If you live in Lanesville, Rocky Neck is a vacation.)
2. How everybody is talking about the same thing. New hotel opening! Coyote sighted on the Hill! Those tulips!
3. How the train pulls into Rockport and has to turn around. End of the line.
4. Dogtown boulders. Visitors think it’s a tall tale, ’til we come across one in the woods.
5. Three centuries of architecture — Georgian gambrels to English Tudors — means never a dull walk.
6. The Back Shore: I still can’t get over it, crashing popples and that cleansing smell of brine!
7. Addison Gilbert Hospital. Only in a Norman Rockwell town (and our little city) will your colonoscopy nurse be your kid’s best friend’s mom.
8. The deck at The Studio on a hot day in a short season, with a wet gin-and-tonic and a breeze off Smith Cove.
9. When low tide reveals a sandbar aisle to Salt Island at Good Harbor Beach, and I’m there at the right time.
10. What I love about Cape Ann is coming home: airport chaos left in the woods at Exit 18, driving over the bridge, a wave of gratitude.
1. My backyard on Woodbury Street is my favorite place. I just finished the house (making me the most empathetic general contractor on Cape Ann!), but the garden is my kingdom.
2. Flat Rocks at sunset with a couple of logs burning in a natural fire pit and a Dark ’n’ Stormy; Ipswich Bay puts on the show.
3. Dogtown is special any time of the year, but my favorite spot is Annie’s path in spring with my Irish Terrier. We both enjoy how good it smells, although I’m not sure we agree on what that is?
4. 5pm at Short and Main. Dollar oysters that are fresh and varied, but it’s the mignonette that seals the deal for me.
5. Steel Derrick at dawn. The depth, clarity, and stillness of the water is magic.
6. Breakfast on the porch at The Market in Annisquam. The best egg sandwich with a view (and you don’t have to go to Salem to get fresh A&J King’s breads!).
7. Lanesville Package Store; I run out to get milk, but get lost in Brett’s great wine selection.
8. The Gloucester Dog Park has a great agility course where enthusiastic dogs can keep spectators entertained for hours.
9. Who can resist Lighthouse Beach? But it’s the meadow above at Squam Rock Preserve that I love. An afternoon under the shade trees with my daughter can’t be beat.
10. Halibut Point State Park is popular; my favorite time is during a winter storm wearing ski goggles and 10 layers. The wave action makes it worth it!
Two Sides of the Same Coin:
1. Good Harbor Beach/Beach traffic gridlock
2. Blue Heron/seagull droppings
3. Back Shore Drive/Roundabouts
6. Ocean view/Demolition derby in the harbor
8. The Boulevard/Roadsidiums (traffic barrels) — a/k/a the Ohio state flower, and now an invasive species in Massachusetts
9. Snow/pot hole
10. The natives
1. Sitting at the counter at Brothers Brew coffee shop with my kids. Unless one of them is crying because the glazed doughnuts are sold out.
2. The way that Manchester-by-the-Book smells like a library from the 1950s. Just breathing the air in that space makes you feel better about humanity.
3. Recycling — and snagging — old stuff at the Rockport transfer station’s Swap Shop. Favorite find so far: a Technivorm Moccamaster coffee maker. Still reeling.
4. Long Beach in winter — a great stretch of sand, with the wind coming off the water and the cottages all buttoned down.
5. The windows at Andrew Spindler in Essex.
6. Walking down the long lane at Seaview Farm before stopping by the farm store for honey sticks.
7. Blueberry picking in Rockport’s South Woods in late July.
8. Charles Olson’s 1965 letter to the editor of the Gloucester Daily Times, on display at the Cape Ann Museum, lamenting the urban renewal-fueled destruction of Middle Street.
9. East Gloucester envy. I don’t live there, but from the outside it looks like the best neighborhood on Cape Ann.
10. All the wharves in Rockport and the way everyone takes these engineered marvels for granted — just another one of our abundant sources of beauty.
1. A drive to Rockport from Folly Cove for a hot fudge sundae at the Dairy Train with one of my daughters along for the ride pretty much makes a perfect day.
2. I’ve been finding just the right card for my wife at The Paper Mermaid ever since Mary opened the store. I’m guessing that’s about 15 sweet, tasteful birthday and anniversary cards!
3. Kathleen Erickson at Savour Wine & Cheese has the perfect bottle of wine for you. No matter the price point, it’s there. Whether you’re going Thai or Bolognese — she’s got you covered. I’m there pretty much every day, and I’m planning on asking Kathleen for a job when I retire.
4. If you don’t already know where Andrews Point is, I’m not saying. I’ll just say this is a favorite place for me and a favorite place for a few striped bass.
5. Those flat rocks at Folly Cove are pretty much my therapy from July through September. A cold swim in the cove, a lawn chair perched on my chosen rock, this week’s Sports Illustrated in hand, need I say more?
6. My house. I grew up in New Jersey. For me, places like Cape Ann were just heartbreakers. They were places I always had to leave in late August, and go home to suburbia. Almost every day I still think it’s just amazing I’ll never have to leave all this.
7. I love crossing the A. Piatt Andrew Bridge over the Annisquam River, because I’m almost home.
8. The Melanzane pizza from Surfside. New York pizza on Cape Ann. A miracle.
9. Sunday, Monday, Tuesday — there is no night I don’t want to go to Short & Main for dinner. The wines are always interesting, and you can get just the right kind of meal for your mood — from briny oysters, to pizza, to artful salads to the roasted meats coming out of the brick oven.
10. My wife, Heather. She’s one of my favorite Cape Ann things, because, without her here, the rest don’t matter.