European travelers flock to...
European travelers flock to Rockport. So do people making an overnight stop while driving between the New York City metropolitan area and Maine -- you can see the same dramatic rocky coastline here! The tourists vanish from Rockport by the third weekend of October, leaving the locals spectacular oceanfront beauty to enjoy in peace and quiet year-round!
Romancin at Flat Rock
Flat Rock is a very romantic spot to listen to the surf...sit in the sun....day dream....or whatever....
Seems to affect everyone the same way, no matter who I bring there. It's rather remote. You have to know where the tiny path through the underbrush is. There is a sign that marks it at the turn of Eden Road.
Motif #1 WEDDING PROPOSAL
WILL YOU MARRY ME?~ROMANCE IN ROCKPORT*
The story begins with a lad from Ireland who found my pages about Rockport, Massachusetts on VIRTUAL TOURIST and wrote to me for help with his trip to the states in October. Seems he and his "Welsh lady" would be doing a bus tour to include Rockport and he had an idea for a creative proposal of marriage! I helped him with a few contacts which gave him permission to post a banner on Motif #1 (a popular red fishing shack everyone photographs). His banner would read.....
........................... WILL YOU MARRY ME?
My husband and I went up to Rockport to meet Tomas and "his lady"... taking Aussie along for the ride (cause she loves a good love story too). We found the banner on Motif #1 as scheduled. We waited and waited... wondering as each couple came past... would this be them? I had no photo of Tomas and didn't even know how old he was... or anything else about him. A photographer from the Gloucester Daily Times came by and waited with us for an hour or so...hoping for a pic to accompany the human interest story scheduled to be in the newapaper.
Soon a harbormaster motored past and motioned to us... where are they? We laughed to think people around the town seemed to know what was happening today. (later we learned the Harbormasters helped by posting the banner)
Occasionally a couple would come by and read the sign and we would ask, "Are you Rosalind?" Two of the couples were celebrating their wedding anniversaries and they waited with us for a while hoping to see the lovebirds... but everyone gave up and finally left.
Yet another harbor master came by and asked... where are they? We were getting discouraged when it was turning into a 2 hour wait. We finally went for chowder and checked back later. Banner was still there. I attached my business card to it and we decided to leave.
Passing a young couple as we left, we decided to watch from afar. Sure enough...it was them!
I photographed from a distance..zooming as much as possible.
Thankfully Rosalind said "yes" to Tomas' proposal of marriage posted boldly on Motif #1 when they arrived from Ireland on a bright Saturday in October. Their tour made a brief stop in Rockport, where he had arranged for a banner to pop the question for him. We watched at a distance as he knelt before her... and we could hear her glee as she realized the banner was for her... and the moment was so joyous she could hardly contain herself. They reported heavily beating hearts and Rosalind... total surprise.
We later joined them and celebrated with a cappachino while we got to know a bit more about this sweet couple. We all had a quick but fun visit before they had to board the tour bus and push off to the next stop. The tour guide was so tickled when Tomas told her the story that it all had to be told to the busload of tourists before they got underway. Everyone was tickled by the story.
We're hoping we see them again on another trip to the US or if we should pass through Dublin or Wales. Don't you just love happy endings?
More pics of the happy young couple in my Local Customs tips.
** Update ** Recently heard from Tomas who sent wedding pictures of a most gorgeous day. Must check his VT page to see if he's posted them there.
The Best Scuba Diving on Cape Ann
Rockport has the best scuba diving sites on Cape Ann. From May until October, the water is arguably warm enough for a 6.5 to 7 mil wetsuit, though many divers dive dry year-round. In May, water temperatures range from low or mid-fourties at the surface to high thirties at about 30 feet deep. In August to September, the water warms up to the high 50's at the surface to low fifties at 30 feet, and high fourties at deeper ranges. September is probably the most pleasant time to dive here. The water is at its warmest and the air temperature starts to drop, making for a much more pleasant gear-up & gear-down than in July or August.
Visibility can range from about 5 to 40 feet, with an average of about 15 to 20 feet in the summer months. Visibility is much better when the water is cold.
Lots of divers fish for lobster and flounder, though the legal-sized lobsters are getting harder & harder to find. Go to the MassOutdoors website to get more information about obtaining fishing & sport lobstering licenses.
You see a wide variety of critters here on Cape Ann: Lobsters, rock crabs, hermits, giant snails, flounder, stonefish, lumpfish, monkfish, dogfish, cod, striped bass, and a variety of anemonies, sponges & more! Hopefully soon, I'll get an underwater housing for my camera to get some photos of the local underwater flora & fauna. Most instructors recommend the 6.5 to 7 mil 2-piece farmer-john type wet suit. I've used this type of suit for the last 3 seasons and will switch to a one-piece jumpsuit with an additional hooded-vest combo as soon as I can afford it. The farmer-johns leak too much and you get cold water down your back. Brrrr!!! Just the one-piece without the vest (but with a separate hood) will be fine in Aug-Sept. Sometimes - but not very often - you can dive hoodless in shallow water in late summer.
As always, a diver-down flag is required. Round about 3:00 or so, the Massachusetts Environmental Police make the rounds at the more popular dive sites, checking to see if divers are using their flags and asking to see your catch if you are fishing or lobstering. They'll give you a ticket if you're caught without your flag, or worse, if you've got an illegal catch.
The only dive shop nearby is Cape Ann Divers at Cape Ann Marketplace on Rt. 127 in Gloucester. They are rather expensive and some of the staff can be rather unhelpful. But if you're stuck for an air fill, they're the only game in town. At last check, they charged $6 for a fill.
They do have a very helpful web site and they also offer boat dives at a reasonable price. I've done the Chester Polling wreck dive with them and was very satisfied.
Cast your line from Flat Rock
There are always fishermen at Flat Rock. No doubt it's a treasure trove, given that the gulls live happily between the granite boulders and the lobster traps of the fishermen.
The coastline is wonderful even in mid-October...when the fishermen are still trying to hang on to the last of their season. Those warm Indian Summer days are absolutely perfect along this rocky stretch.