Greetings from Cape Ann, Massachusetts, where I’m now sitting, on a veranda looking out across the Annisquam River over Wingaersheek Beach, around the corner from Lobster Cove and down the road from Gloucester. Have you ever read Kipling’s Captains Courageous? (This book should be required reading for every teenager in America.) It’s Gloucester fishermen who rescue young Harvey Cheyne and help turn him from a spoiled kid to a capable young man. Here one lives by the sea and all that accompanies it: the tides which determine if you can jump off the deck into 6 feet of sea water, or walk out for hundreds of yards of mud flats, the squalls that seem to appear without warning and drench you thoroughly if you can’t find cover. Cape Ann is the home of Anadama bread, magical violet skies, and some of best seafood in the country. I’m here on vacation visiting my friends Ann and Nick in Annisquam. I’m not doing much cooking at the moment, but I thought I would share with you some photographs of the local scenery.
This old heron used to be a weathervane until it flew off Nick and Ann’s house in a storm one day. The wind just lifted the bird’s wings and off it flew, to the side of the house. Its current home is on a rusty fireplace grate next to a woodpile.
Ann turned this shell into a planter. The flowers are a bit past, but it’s still so pretty in the late afternoon light.
On the back steps is the bucket, inside which you will find lobster shells which will be pounded and crushed for mulch in the garden.
A favorite thing to do around sunset time is to take a cruise around the area, out to Crane’s Beach, and past the Annisquam Lighthouse.
There is a quality of light on Cape Ann that I’ve seen nowhere else.
Yesterday we spent 5 hours on the water in a “chase boat” watching Ann and Nick’s son Nicky compete in the Squam Day sailboat regatta. When we got too hot, we just jumped off the boat for a dip in the ocean. But my oh my the water is a bit chilly here, north of Cape Cod. “Refreshing” indeed.
Next to Ann and Nick’s house is a small patch of ground, in which forager Oliver Monday has planted a small garden to supply a local restaurant with fresh lettuce, herbs, radishes, and whatnot. Oliver usually stops by in the afternoons and picks what will be on the menu that night. The restaurant, The Market Restaurant, is new to Annisquam this season, and has been receiving a fair amount of press (see The Gloucester Times), as the founders have come from Chez Panisse in Berkeley. We had a lovely dinner there the other night, of stuffed sole and heirloom tomato and avocado salad.
Well that’s it for now. The tide is in and I’m about to go jump in the ocean. Hank and I have cooked up some great recipes in advance, which we will be posting while I’m splashing in the salt water. For the complete set of photos, see the Flickr set. TTFN!