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The study of Mass (Cape Ann, Cape Cod, Concord)


Rockport, MA (Cape Ann)

Rockport, MA (Cape Ann)

I’m an explorer at heart, so living in such a history- and beauty-rich place as Massachusetts has been fabulous. But now that I only have five weeks (!) until we hit the road for our post-Air Force adventure in California, I’ve been trying to visit a few more places on my must-see list before we leave.

Last weekend my husband and I jogged around Cape Ann (part of our training for an upcoming half marathon) through Gloucester and Rockport. I loved the seaside views, the inviting and walkable main streets, and the beautiful homes. Unfortunately, we didn't get a lot of pictures because I didn't want to stop every three minutes (because running) and it was drizzling most of the time.

house with buoys

Gloucester, MA

Rockport beach access

Rockport beach access

lobster traps on restaurant roof

Lobster traps on the roof are a thing on seafood restaurants around here…

On Sunday hubby and my youngest son took me to Provincetown at the tip of Cape Cod for Mother’s Day. So much fabulous ocean time in one weekend! And New England—parts of it anyway—is just so darn quaint. That’s one thing I’ll definitely miss.

buoys for sale in Ptown


door in Ptown


Pilgrim monument in P-Town

Pilgrim monument in P-Town

buoys on pier

Are you sensing a theme yet? Pier in P-Town.

beach in Ptown


Gwen at Herring Cove Beach

At Herring Cove Beach

Cape Cod National Seashore

Cape Cod National Seashore

Another example of a nice downtown is Concord. On Tuesday, my writer friend Maura Troy came up from Connecticut for the day and we walked the town. Since I’ve already been to the Thoreau and Alcott homes and Walden Pond, we toured Old Manse (Ralph Waldo Emerson’s family home) and the Old North Bridge battle area where “the shot heard 'round the world” marked the first victory for the colonists on the opening day of the Revolutionary War. (The “shot heard 'round the world” was coined by Ralph Waldo Emerson in the Concord Hymn, a poem that’s engraved on the statue “Minute Man” at Old North Bridge, which was in his family’s backyard.)

Nathaniel Hawthorne and his wife Sophia rented Old Manse for three years early in their marriage, and literally left their mark on the place. Sophia liked to record interesting moments by inscribing them into the glass window panes with her diamond wedding ring. Seems kind of rude to me—especially for a renter—but it's cool from a historical perspective. Hawthorne was inspired to write Mosses from an Old Manse here, which inspired the home's name.

emerson's desk

Emerson's desk, which he often took outside to write

Hawthorne's desk facing the wall. It ratchets up and down to change height.

Hawthorne's desk facing the wall. It ratchets up and down to adjust the height and angle.

writing on the window

Sophia Hawthorne's writing on the window

fire buckets

Every family had to have their own fire buckets and respond to a neighbor's fire or risk a fine

Old North Bridge looking west across the Concord River

Old North Bridge looking west across the Concord River, and the Battle of Concord monument

Concord river view

View across the Concord River from the backyard of Old Manse

Minute Man statue

Statue “Minute Man” by Daniel Chester French (sculptor of Lincoln in the Lincoln Memorial in D.C.)

Up next before we move: Whale Watching! And a few other adventures.

Are there any places near where you live that you want to/really should visit? Make a plan to do it this summer!

Tell your friends!


  1. Lison Dubreuil


    Hi Gwen,
    What a great idea to visit around especally in New England.
    The great french writer ‘Marguerite Yourcenar’ leaved in Northeast Harbor, Maine. I visited her house 3 times. (I think it is still open for visit.) She was the first women to be accepted at the ‘Académie française’ after 345 years of creation!
    Your photos are just great.
    Have a good day,

    • Reply

      Thanks, Lison! There’s so much more I’d like to see of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Nova Scotia… I’ll just have to come back for a visit sometime, I guess. 😉

      • Lison Dubreuil


        Hi Gwen,
        I’m doing exactly the same as you do, all across america.
        I was fascinated by the site of the Civil war. Well organised, well presented!
        Have fun and let us know…

  2. Reply

    I’d love to visit P-Town this year. My current set of novels take place on Cape Ann, and tomorrow I start a scene in P-Town with my little witches. It’s a fun area to visit.

    • Reply

      P-Town was great, Cassidy. Especially nice because it was off season and not crowded. The rain might have helped with that. 😉 How cool that your books are set on Cape Ann. That area is so pretty, and Rockport’s downtown is adorable. My book club read The Boston Girl last year and in it the main character goes to Rockport Lodge every summer. It was fun to be able to see the town/area in person after reading about it. Happy writing!

  3. Frank Jennings


    Hi Gwen,
    I thought that Ptown was quite popular with gays. Oh well, I guess it’s politically incorrect for you to comment.
    Best wishes,

  4. Reply

    Gwen. Thanks for this jog about. The pic of the structure just above the first pic of you. Tell me about that. Interesting decorations on the wall. ” Post Air-Force adventure…” ? Is he done? And, the stop over in Cali. Gotta be another adventure.

    • Reply

      Hi, Curtis! I think that house/barn with the buoys was essentially an advertisement for a small buoy-making business. But I thought it was cute and colorful.

      Yes, my husband is retiring from the Air Force this summer. We’re excited to be choosing our next adventure which starts with several years in Sacramento while he goes back to school for a new career in physical therapy. He’s tired of sitting behind a desk all day. 😉 Hope you’re doing well!

    • Reply

      loujenhaxmyor: How cool! BU has a cool campus. Glad you enjoyed the photos. There’s so much here to see, you could probably spend a lifetime and not get to everything. 😉

  5. Reply

    I had such a great visit with you in Concord! I wish you were staying longer so I could visit again. There’s still so much up there I’d like to see. 🙂

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