The small Massachusetts town of Rockport is a big favorite in my family.

Long ago, when we still lived in France – in the days I worshiped rock climbing gods and thought maple syrup and peanut butter were the two pillars of North American culinary ecstasy – I remember family vacations taken around an endless foggy beach near Old Orchard, Maine, appropriately named Moody Beach.

The family focus has since then shifted south by a state towards the rockier shores of Cape Ann, but much of my mother’s beautiful tribe still migrates from Montreal every summer, and three generations gather near the ocean to replenish humankind’s most precious and easily depleted resource: happiness.

Typical Rockport scene. Water rules everything, birds are everywhere.

As for me, this year’s trip to Rockport was a short, last minute solo bounce. Marie was tied up by a book manuscript and finances were challenged by an upcoming dual South African birthday, so I gave up on unaffordable Zipcar ideas and opted for the much more reasonable trains, Amtrak from New York Penn to Boston South Station, a short subway ride, and a quaint commuter ride from Boston North Station to Rockport.

Of Rockport, I won’t say so much because I already did so two years ago, and then showed some extra views of the area, birds and a 360 panorama. But I will repeat this: once you have lived next to the ocean, salt water forever dilutes your blood and tears of sorrow and joy mix to become saltier than ever. The ocean never leaves your soul and when so distant that you are landlocked, it will call you softly, day and night, relentlessly.

So these were three days of pure fun, getting up early, roaming the docks and beaches for pictures, having a late breakfast when Helmut’s opened at 7:00 AM on the Bearskin Neck – the most amazing strawberry and cream cheese pastry (they call it a croissant, I say it’s a Danish) I know on this planet, despite the most clueless, unfriendly, untrained and oblivious staff of female teenagers who make it very obvious they’d rather be somewhere else…

Yes, it’s dinner time for everyone…

Some much needed time with my mum, beachcombing, reflecting on life, the universe and everything. Some introspection about the previously mentioned unconditional passion for – and need of – the ocean. Some time missing the two loves of my life, a women and her cat, black. The cat, that is.

I will post remaining Rockport pictures in a sequence of theme-based posts. This one is about an evening stroll around the Bearskin Neck, heart of the little town lined with ocean on one side and harbor on the other, cute shops all around, a perfect expression of marketable peace if I ever knew one.

The Bearskin Neck’s exoskeleton
Bearskin Neck streets
In Rockport, one has to have priorities
Priorities confirmed