Since this is the last in my series about touring Massachusetts (category New England), I’ve decided to make it easy on myself by copying some entries from my journal. Hopefully, readers will still enjoy it.
The Cove at Rockport
October 19 – 21, 2022
We are staying at the most gorgeous place for the next three nights–The Cove at Rockport. I’m sitting in the empty community room right now, it’s Tuesday and slow, but I love having the place to myself. It’s all self-serve, so no managers around, self check-in and door codes. But I like it because this place is so clean and well supplied, and I was able to get hold of a customer service agent on the phone when I needed something.
We are in room #11, “The Lookout,” on the 3rd floor of a small three-story building. There is no elevator and the stairs are steep. We have windows and a small balcony that overlooks a perfect little cove. A creek runs into the cove from the park behind us, and there’s an old graveyard practically next door. It dates from 1630! I will definitely be exploring it tomorrow.
Tonight we ate haddock tacos and a burger in a casual lobster shack (can’t remember the name), then walked down a quaint (there’s no other word for it) alley filled with artistic shops. (The alley is actually a small peninsula known as Bearskin Neck.) We had the place to ourselves! And with the ocean water lapping on the side it was magical. There was also a full moon over the water and homes with twinkling lights.
Bearskin Neck was so cute. The street got more crowded with people and cars as the week continued, but it wasn’t bad at all. I’m told In the summer it gets to be a zoo! Sometimes 18-wheelers drive through even though they are supposed to use the streets behind the shops.
The Rockport Graveyard
What a great day. Blue sky, mid-60’s, light breeze–perfect! Bill needed to rest from a mild cold so I mostly did stuff on my own. I spent about an hour in the graveyard walking around and taking photos. A couple of times I sat in front of a group of grave markers to take it all in: so many dead children and young people. It’s sad how many of them succumbed to disease. Some drowned as well; one captain lost four grown sons to the sea! There were several Revolutionary War grave sites as well.
The Old Country Store
One store I really liked was the Old Country Store. They have a nickelodeon inside that is actually a player-piano with multiple air tubes (powered by electricity), that engage percussive instruments encased above the piano. The man who used to run the store set the extra instruments up and kept the piano in tune. He passed away in 2019 (only age 62!), and now his two daughters run the store. The nickelodeon broke down after their father died, but they found someone to fix it. Now they keep a plaque hung up outside the store dedicated to their father’s memory. I told the ladies that their father’s spirit lives on because I came back three times to play the nickelodeon!
Sometimes it’s the people
One morning I walked into a store called the Galleree and began looking at the nice wood carvings of sharks and dolphins scattered about the place. Besides the proprietor, I was the only one in there. I asked if the carvings were made here and he gruffly replied, “where you from?” I ignored him and picked up another object, then asked again, “are these made locally?” Even grumpier, he again asked me, “where are you from?”
“I’m from California,” I called over to him, “and I don’t know anything!” So he came over to me– an old man with thick silver hair and a mustache.
“Let me explain something to you,” he said. “The people in this town are artists, that means they paint. They don’t build anything, because they don’t want to hurt their hands. I buy these at a warehouse . . .”
I liked this grumpy old man! So I wandered over to his counter and saw a photo hanging up of a young military man. I asked if that was him (it was), and just like that we were friends. We talked about his war service in Korea, the importance of family, coming from New York (“in a conestoga wagon,” he joked), living in Rockport (“it’s like a fairy tale here.”), being 89 and still working (“I get to meet nice people like you.”), and how in warm weather he closes up shop each afternoon to go swim in the bay. When we were done talking, he said goodbye and wished that all my “dreams come true.”
“They already have,” I answered. “I’ve got my family!” And a new friend. I came back to visit him with Bill, and then one more time to say goodbye. He was a classic grumpy-on-the-outside old man but with a heart-of-gold on the inside. I hope he’s still doing well.
I hope readers traveling to Massachusetts can visit Rockport. It’s a lovely place, especially in the off-season. If you missed any of my series on Traveling Massachusetts (unofficial name), check out the New England category.