It’s been a wet couple of days or three or five, but still August, and still pretty warm. We needed to get out, and the North Shore promised some cooler temperatures, so we headed for Cape Ann, destination Halibut Point State Park in Rockport. Little did we know that just a short distance from the highway, towns right along the way were nearly underwater from torrential rain. Lucky for us, we were able to get through, and found in Rockport misty weather, some sprinkles, a little rain,
but mostly a lovely day (for ducks, and us!) at the shore.
We paid a small charge for parking, and found broad, level, well-marked walking trails (no bikes allowed) out to the shoreline.
Along the way we spotted scrap heaps of granite that had been quarried and rejected, then left in place. Here and there were small pools of water where quarrying activity had taken place.
An easy loop took us around a large quarry within sight of the ocean. Throughout our walk around the quarry, the crash of waves sounded, and salt smell filled the air.
A numbered, self-guided walk explained the evolution of rock quarrying technology, from hand chisels to rounded drills, to much larger drills.
Strangely shaped chunks of stone stood in random spots throughout the walk, with short explanations of their significance.
This park offers not only grand views of the ocean just below the rocks, it also offers trails down to the rocks along the shoreline. As we made our way through the somewhat narrow path to the shore, we stirred up clouds of swallows, clearly drawn to the area by the multitude of insects they could feed on.
Surprisingly, we did not get many bites, but with all the standing water in this area, it would be odd if mosquitoes did not take advantage of the landscape. But never fear, the swallow are ready and waiting.
The visitor’s center is presently undergoing renovations, but the WWII era watch tower is still visible. It appears to be intact, and hopefully when renovations are complete, we will be able to return and enjoy the views from this structure, a reminder of darker times in our country’s history. And lucky for visitors, the park has several port-a potties in place while the visitor center bathrooms are closed.
We found a shoreside lunch spot just north of the park, and enjoyed some tasty seafood overlooking a quiet, rocky cove. After lunch, we continued the circuit of Cape Ann, and encountered Annisquam,
where we found a cool footbridge over the Annisquam River. The river was forced through a couple of constrictions.
The change of tides was clear in these restricted flow areas.
While this was a long ride from where we live, near the Rhode Island border, it was a lovely break from hot weather. For those who love summer, the days are surely going quickly. For those of us who struggle with the heat, fall cannot return soon enough!
Marjorie Turner Hollman is a personal historian who loves the outdoors, and is the author of Easy Walks in Massachusetts, 2nd edition, More Easy Walks in Massachusetts, 2nd edition, and editor of Easy Walks and Paddles in the Ten Mile River Watershed. Just out is her latest book, Finding Easy Walks Wherever You Are.
She has been a freelance writer for numerous local, regional, and national publications for the past 20+ years, has helped numerous families to save their stories, and has recorded multiple veterans oral histories, now housed at the Library of Congress.