Hey, Everyone! So, as you know, I’m writing about our recent trip to New England, in general, and to the town...island...of Nahant, in particular. Last time, I’d just gotten us to our AirB&B, and we’d had a chat with our host about how the islanders didn’t care much for outsiders. (Yikes.)
I got our bags into the room and we wondered what to do with ourselves. We thought that, before supper, we’d head out for a walk. It was still fairly early, and while the clouds gave everything a gray tinge, it was pleasant enough, and according to our host, there was a charming park right down the way. (Specifically, as I later learned, it was Bailey Hill Park.)
Martha at Bailey Hill Park. If you look closely, you can see the mischief in her eyes, even through the dark glasses 😁
We headed out. It was very nice. The sky was hazy, and there was a touch of soft focus to everything. Seaside towns in New England are made for impressionist painters. Things slip in and out of view, hard edges are banished or at least softened, and everything is turned slightly pastel.
We walked along a road, down the way, up a hill, and along Bass Point Road. We passed a variety of houses--ranging from the small and the coastal, to the medium-sized double-deckers that would have been at home in any working middle class neighborhood of Boston, to the exotic and modern or postmodern. I noticed that one of the latter -- all sleek, concrete, wood, and steel -- was the home and (presumably) the home-office of a rather famous architect.
We did encounter a few people along the way. I wondered if our host’s thinly veiled warning about the locals not caring for outsiders would play true. And it was certain that we were noticed. People would pass us, or look out of windows, and there would be a moment of analysis. We were seen. We were recognized. In a town as small as Nahant -- just over 3K people, remember -- outsiders are noticed.
But there was no particular hostility. Maybe it wasn’t a warm welcome. No one rushed out of their house to say Hi. But, I’d have been surprised if they had -- particularly in New England. The Yankee Culture is not always open.
And, frankly, I’ve experienced a lot worse elsewhere--particularly in places which pride themselves on their hospitality and warmth. Texas, for one, where I have lived for the last four years. (You’ll recall we came here “to be near the kids.”) We’ve managed to make a home here, and we have found friends in our neighborhood and our local community.
But, still...there have been several occasions when I’ve been confronted by locals--usually over nothing!--and been harassed or even threatened. Once or twice, I’ve been in something like real danger. And it’s always at the most unlikely of places: parks, grocery stores, the air pump at a gas station. (I even did a video about one such incident. It happened while I was canvassing for a candidate in the 2o22 election. If you’re curious, you can see it here: https://vimeo.com/782739608)
And it wasn’t like that at Nahant. I had the feeling that I was under observation, yes, but...but so long as I minded my Ps and Qs...I wouldn’t be bothered.
We got to the park. I think it was Bailey’s Point, which is an open, grassy space on a the side of hill (again, a hill) with a view of the water. We strolled about. It was quite lovely. There was a touch of mist and the evening was coming on. I took some pictures. I got one nice one of Martha. I’ll reproduce it here.
We started to feel a little chill (delicious after the heat!) and noticed as well that we were starting to get hungry. “Dinner,” we said, and, after a bit, we headed back to the room. The next question was where to eat.
Which was when we discovered an interesting thing. To wit, on the island, there are few restaurants...
And those that exist were not, for some reason, on that day and time...open.
In a word, oops.
Next time, we have the adventure of finding our daily bread...and cheese...and wine.
More to come.
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