paris by the bay

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Dear Friend, I thought you might like to know that while you were busy getting married, we were busy falling in love: with Rockport.

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Front Beach and Rockport town, from our porch

I hope you were having as much fun as it looked like you were, the times we passed you in the street, or waved from the porch, or saw you walk dazzlingly into a room. What a social tightrope, tricky to navigate and difficult to balance: wanting to monopolize all of your time, to catch up and reminisce and celebrate! And wanting to leave you alone, out of either necessity or goodwill, because so many people needed little pieces of you that I feared – rightly or wrongly – picking you apart, one little snatched moment at a time. So it goes with reunions, though, especially weddings.

So instead we went to lunch! One day at the 7th Wave, overlooking the harbor, enjoying a glass of crisp white wine and getting to know people better, and one day at the Lobster Pool, where we ate seafood on a sun-drenched lawn while listening to the clever announcer call numbers: number eighty-four, walk through the door; number seventy-seven, seafood heaven.

We stopped in at least twice to Two Brothers Coffee Shop for lattes, sandwiches, and a homemade donut; dined in the morning at Flav’s Red Skiff; ate scrumptious Gifford’s ice cream out at the end of Bear Skin Neck; and became accomplished porch sitters.

One morning we walked into the Toad Hall Bookstore, housed in its studly, squat old granite bank. I always like to shop in local bookshops, and I like to look for the work of local writers, or books somehow situated in whatever place I happen to be visiting. In this case, it was a crime novel, a murder mystery with the local reference librarian as the prime suspect: Murder on Bearskin Neck – how could I resist?! I asked the proprietor whether or not she had read it, and she had not. (She had also not, so I discovered, figured out how to use the ‘new’ credit card reader, but see also: local charm.) It turns out that, on closer inspection later that day, the local Annie Quitnot mystery may have been self-published and it most certainly has a typo on the back cover, but whatever: art requires sacrifice (even if that sacrifice – a real one, to be sure – is a proper publisher and punctuation).

Someone else who knows about the sacrifices we make for art is Renata Fryshara, with whom we spent a fun quarter hour in her small gallery on the main drag, looking at her collection and talking about the challenges of the abstract and contemporary art market in Cape Ann, where all anyone seems to be interested in are seascapes, boats and, most of all, Motif No. 1.

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We passed you on your way up to the Headlands for morning yoga and deep breathing, and I snapped this photo before we headed off for a couple of hours relaxing in the sun on the glorious powder-sugared sand of Wingaersheek beach – walking out as far as we could onto the sandbar at low tide, marveling at the cross-hatched beauty of the waves as they slurped over the bar from different directions, creating delicate, shimmering, frothy chevrons on the sand.

Rockport Wedding

To the Headlands!

We spent a couple of hours walking in Halibut Point State Park, one of us contemplating a swim in the quarry despite all the posted no-swimming signs, the other of us anxiously plotting an escape route up the steep, slippery sides in the unlikely event he fell in (you figure out which was which). We walked on the rocks along the roiling coastline. It was a gray, windy day and the sea was alive with bombast and pull. It drew us towards it, despite the menacing waves, and we were delighted by the tide pools leftover from high tide and the brave and dazzling yellow flowers standing singularly among the wet rocks.

Bill Bird Consult

I also had a private consultation with a gull.

And then, of course, the celebrations! From our B&B to your harbor-front apartment, the Community House and, finally, to the kiosk! The people gathered, our stories merged, then blended into view – and what we saw was this: magical moments, friends and family, affection and delight.

Rockport Wedding

Rockport Wedding

Mary Bill Rockport

Rockport Wedding

Rockport Wedding

Rockport Wedding

Rockport Wedding

Rockport Wedding

We only scratched the surface; ours is a singular, superficial view, as this little travelog goes to show. What I hope it also shows is that, if we are a reflection of the people who gather around us, who rally and celebrate and elevate and love, then yours is truly a life of wealth and connection. What a privilege to be a part of such an amazing group of people who care so deeply for both of you – for many different reasons and in many different ways. I count myself lucky to be in their number, and to share with such joy in their company. They did that for you. And you did that for all of us.

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