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Nahant and Rainbows

So last time, I finally had us getting to the town of Nahant, which is a fascinating little community on a peninsula just off the coast of Massachussets. Well, I guess, technically, it is still part of the mainland since it is connected to the rest of the state by a (razor-thin) isthmus and causeway. But I’m not one to quibble. It’s just the kind of a guy I am. A real sweetheart. You betcha.

Where was I? Oh, yes. We drove from Rockport and arrived in late afternoon. It felt later than it was, actually, because the cloudy weather had followed us down from the Bearskin Neck.

We drove across the causeway and it struck me that--despite living for nearly forty years in New England -- I really didn’t know the area of Nahant at all. We simply didn’t go there very often. Usually, if we went to the beaches, it was at places which were closer to home.

About the photos: The first is of the rainbow, obviously, that we saw from the deck of the AirB&B. I wish I had gotten a better shot of it, but it was the best I could do.

I think...think!...we did visit the Nahant beaches a couple of times. I’m not certain. One stretch of sand and surf looks (alas) a lot like another. But...I do think I recall going there a couple of times with Martha and a very young David, and that we had trouble parking. Beach parking is always a problem, and I think Nahant’s vacant parking lots were fewer than most.

I noticed now, as we drove in, that there were new signs along the beaches. They indicated that parking was restricted to those cars with a resident parking permit. I later discovered that you need a resident’s sticker to park almost anywhere in town, except on private property. I also heard, later, that the authorities can be pretty strict, and if you don’t want your car towed or something interesting like that, you need to be careful.

That didn’t surprise me. Many communities along the coast here have similar regulations, and a small one -- and remember, Nahant is very small, just 1 square mile...needs such rules more than most. A town can only support so many cars at any one time. Ergo, it made sense for the place to be stern with even welcome guests.

And yet...

We crossed the causeway and reached the island (okay, peninsula) proper. I noticed several tourist houses and one restaurant along the route. We later discovered that there isn’t much in the way of retail activity on the island. I’m guessing that’s because there just isn’t that much room for it -- as I say, the town is a mile square. Wikipedia says it is the smallest municipality in the state, both in terms of area and in terms of population (3,334 as of 2020). So, at least from what I can tell from the web, and from what I saw when I was there, that means mostly some restaurants and a few variety stores.

There were a couple of markets, but they were closed by the time we got there. Later, when we were hungry, we drove back across the causeway into Lynn to find a grocery store and our obligatory first-night bread, wine, and cheese. I assume, frankly, that the Nahanters do much the same--driving to the mainland for food, supplies, and recreation.

Anyway, we entered the town proper. Nahant proved to be an attractive place of mostly houses...ranging in size from cozy to medium, and in style from New England traditional (the stuff you’d see on Cape Cod) to modernist with a side order of Frank Lloyd Wright. The streets were narrow and a bit convoluted, and the place seemed a little maze-like, but we did our best, and with Siri bellowing out directions and corrections every few feet (“, Left...I said, LEFT!”) we finally went up one lane and down another and found ourselves at our AirB&B.

This was a newer, rather beautiful house of the Frank Lloyd Wright persuasion set at the top and on the side of a hill (I forgot to mention. Nahant is full of hills). We parked in the driveway next to a white boat on a trailer, and looked around. As I say, the house itself was quite stunning. Our accommodations were to be a two room apartment on the first floor in the rear, with its own bit of balcony overlooking the hillside. And the view was breathtaking. Down below, we could see the town itself stretching off, and the sea beyond.

I gathered up our suitcases while Martha went to open negotiations with the door in the way that you do at such places. (“Enter the code and push the KEY button twice. Wait FIVE seconds and then touch the One and Three keys simultaneously. Then...”)

I stumbled up the step to the door with a couple of suitcases. Martha...still standing in the open door...stopped, and she turned around. “Oh!” she said.



I did. And just then the gray clouds parted, and the setting sun shown through...

...and a marvelous rainbow curved down the sky and towards us.

More to come.

My second photo, as usual, has nothing to do with the story but I just like it. It is of Martha and her sister/friend Judy on one of our trips up the tram to Sandia Peak back in 2017.


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Copyright©2023 Michael Jay Tucker

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