Christmas Season on Bearskin Neck, Rockport MA
I'd really be out of my element if I ever left the Northeast. I'm a New Englander through-and-through (even though I eschew seafood, but that's a technicality). One of my favorite New England places in Summer or Winter or any season in between is the small town of Rockport on the tip of Cape Ann on Boston's North Shore, just past Gloucester (pronounced locally as "Glosta").
Last Saturday I took my two oldest daughters up there so we could finish up on our Christmas lists in the shops, boutiques, fudge & taffy makers', and artists' studios that run out onto to Bearskin Neck, which extends into the harbor. It's really nice up there this time of year. They have lit-up Christmas trees on all of the telephone poles, and on the weekend before the Gallery Stroll they have a big tree-lighting ceremony and Santa Claus arrives in a fishing boat.
Unfortunately, I didn't take the pictures for this post. I shamelessly pilfered them from elsewhere.
Man, it was cold after sundown, with the wind whipping in right off the ocean, but it was great. We went to the Fish Shack and warmed up with some good hot chocolate and dinner. Then we drove home and sang along at the top of our lungs to the really bad Christmas carols they play on the oldies radio station.
The only disconcerting note... It was really quiet up there. It was late in the afternoon when we got there, but I had no trouble finding a parking spot near the shops, and that's pretty unheard of. One of the local merchants told me that the week after Thanksgiving was brisk business, but that things had dropped off significantly. I saw some gallery and shop owners dozing behind their counters. Others, in a selling point specifically tailored to today's economy, were pleading the case that "art is one of the best investments you can make." I noticed that the artist who made splendid portraits of our kids last year had closed her studio (although I heard that she's still painting). You could feel a real pall of nervousness hanging in the air.
It has been sort of a tough Christmas season to get into, what with all the bad economic news, but still I feel hopeful about the new leadership coming in.
In addition, I've been working huge amounts of overtime this month trying to finish up some end-of-year commitments, so that's made it difficult to get in the spirit too. In fact, I'd better get back to work now...
Our first snowstorm was this weekend, which helps. Yes, White Christmas!
Here's a Christmas Playlist from our local classical music radio station.
(Click image below)