What’s a cape anyway?
“So what brings you to Maine?” people asked when I was driving up the coast and the answer is so silly because it started out basically for one thing – the lobster. When I have a wedding in Massachusetts to go to my mind automatically thinks, “I’m already in New England, I may as well drive up to Maine and get some end of summer lobster meals.” Then, logically, my next thought is, “Well if I’m that far north I should just drive the rest of the way and see Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia.”
Once I convinced myself this is a totally normal thought process, off I went on my first big road trip, driving through ten US states, 3 Canadian Provinces, four weeks total travel and clocking in over 3,500 miles. In organizing my itinerary I based my stops in several capes up the coast, and I realized I wasn’t even sure what makes a cape, well… a cape. So after some looking into it, I have a better understanding of what allows us to call certain locations capes. Geographically speaking, A cape is a headland (a high point of land that drops into a body of water) that extends to the water, usually the sea. So, why the hell isn’t that a peninsula you’re asking? Yep, I had the same thought and that’s when things get a little confusing. A peninsula, in Latin means “almost island” or is nearly all surrounded by water SO that means some smaller peninsulas can also be capes. So a peninsula is a cape and a cape is a headland? Enough with the geography lesson, I figured I’d just drive up and check it out in person to get a first hand look. Once I added Nova Scotia into the mix I had the idea to make it a true “Cape Tour” stopping around the capes from Cape Cod to Cape Breton. I headed out from Providence, Rhode Island on the first leg of the journey.
Cape Ann is located in northern Massachusetts, north of Boston. The tourism slogan for Cape Ann is “Massachusetts’ Other Cape”, conjuring feelings that Cape Ann is the little sister to Cape Cod, just as pretty and talented but forever in the shadow of her big sister. It was exactly what I had envisioned a New England beach community to be. Summer homes clad in cedar planking, small streets weaving around the picturesque harbor, and kids sporting their suits running down to the beach into the water to escape the heat. There is a lot of great shopping and dining in this little community so be sure to window shop and grab some souvenirs and lunch while you’re there.
Bear Skin Neck is a street that juts out into the Rockport Harbor. It is filled with shops and galleries and don’t miss the most adorable little ice cream store I’ve seen. Also make a stop into the Wicked Peacock for some trendy accessories.
I had lunch in town at a great restaurant called The Red Skiff. A small restaurant with a couple of red and white checkered tables, one of the local shop owners recommended it to me and it didn’t disappoint. I had their homemade fish cakes which were lightly breaded and stuffed with flaky Haddock. If this is any indication of the seafood I’m eating while on this trip, I will be one happy freckled lady.
Heading further north I stopped in York, Maine to check out Cape Neddick. It’s an adorable little seaside town and I stopped to get a look at their lighthouse. Such a quaint town should have a cute name for their lighthouse and Neddick came through with the “Nubble Light”. Upon arrival I pictured a character from Thomas the Tank Engine, an animated, friendly lighthouse helping ships guide their way home. Although Nubble isn’t a Shining Time Station character, it does have a charming, friendly presence. It rests on an island right off of Sohier Park and it is the perfect place to sit, admire the view, read a book, take a walk or I guess fly a kite (there were several different kite flyers while I was there). Nubble is small but mighty and full of rich history. Illuminating the sky since 1879, Nubble is arguable one of the most iconic light houses in New England.