Rockport: My Beloved Former Home, Part 2

While in Rockport in June, I made nostalgic visits to some significant places. I walked around Hale Street and looked at my first home in Rockport, a cottage in the garden of number 9. I was so happy in that tiny house in those early days in Rockport that I wrote a small piece called Rock and Sky: One Woman’s Life in Rockport and published it locally in 1978. It’s my story of coming to Rockport from New York to visit a friend and staying to make a whole new life for myself.  Oddly enough, a battered copy is currently available on Amazon for ten dollars!

Subsequent owners have changed the cottage almost beyond recognition. There used to be a shed roof rising toward the north, with a row of clerestory windows across the back wall. The steeple of the Unitarian Church across the street was framed in one window, and I could see the sky and the stars. That is all gone and the entire roof line altered. The outcropping of granite outside the front door is still there; that would be hard to change.

My Old Home (Much Changed)

One morning I also stopped in to see my old church St. Mary’s Episcopal and had a nice chat with the office administrator about the people I used to know in the parish.  A few have died, but many of them are still there, thirty years later. St. Mary’s was rather influential in my life when Father Bamforth was rector. He retired shortly after I moved away from Rockport, and he and his wife Pat are living and flourishing in Maine.

St. Marys Church (2)

These are a few of the windows in the church. It was nice to see them again.

When I first moved to Rockport, I was utterly enchanted with the charming old houses and the little lanes and the flowers everywhere.  Now I know a lot more about architectural history, and I’m used to Jamaica Plain, with its large stock of late 19th century houses by leading Boston architects, classic turn-of-the-century apartment buildings like the one I live in, and even beautiful triple deckers. I’ve been on house tours all around eastern Massachusetts and beyond, and I love to walk around Boston and admire the historic and also new architecture. Still I enjoy walking the village streets of Rockport and admiring the houses and gardens.

This is one of the sweetest cottages, right by the harbor. The trellised arbor with the pink roses melts my heart.

This house on High Street is classic New England–looks more like Cape Cod, the other cape.

Cottage with Roses

This is the famous Hannah Jumper House on the harbor. I love the soft blue of those shutters, and the picket fence and roses are perfect.

Hannah Jumper House

On a quiet side lane on Bearskin Neck is this simple shingled cottage with beautiful blue trim,

House on Bearskin Neck

and here is a grander house near Old Garden Beach, which was featured on a house tour a few years ago and was one of my favorites. The wraparound porch is dreamy, and the view is fantastic.

House on Old Garden Road

I saw this pretty garden nearby, on Norwood Avenue.

The whole village was in bloom. The Rockport Library has a rose garden along the side. The Art Association had peonies in front.  The most favored flower in shop window boxes along Main Street seemed to be pansies.

Of course every time I go back to Rockport, I wonder if I would be happy there again, if we were to find a house we could afford. Peter seems to prefer Maine, but Rockport has the advantage of being a train ride away from Boston and of course being a place that has been deeply home to me.


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