ARTICLE IN THE LONDON SUNDAY TIMES FEATURING CAPE ANN: Seafood and Dunes: New England’s Lesser-known Cape
In the distance is the glimmer of the Eastern Point lighthouse, the last sight of home for many Gloucester fishermen before they sailed into the vastness of the ocean. Dotted around the harbour are small wooden houses from which fishermen’s wives would look anxiously into the bay.
Fishing has run thick in the blood of Gloucester since English settlers arrived in 1623. The city — the oldest seaport in America — is on Cape Ann, which juts into the Atlantic just north of Boston. Across the Cape, stretched over some of the most beautiful coastline in America, are working fishing towns, beaches of white sand, marshes, old colonial buildings and, of course, bucket loads of fresh seafood.
In the winter, with the fishermen at rest, the pace of life slows to match the region’s calm, understated beauty. This is perhaps the reason that Manchester by the Sea, the brooding drama starring Casey Affleck and Michelle Williams, was filmed here in the winter months. Although the movie (most of which was filmed in Gloucester) follows the lives of a working-class family, Manchester-by-the-Sea itself, which lies to the west of Gloucester, is unabashedly wealthy. Just off the main road are $14 million mansions with great sea views.
When we Brits think of the Massachusetts coastline, we think of the dreamy panoramas of Cape Cod. Indeed, most Bostonites head south to the sand dunes and salty air whenever they take a break from the city. If Cape Cod and its quaint little villages possess a special kind of serene beauty, so does the lesser-known Cape Ann. And with fewer tourists, Cape Ann — unlike Cape Cod — stays in character.