Northshore Magazine

July 2012

Northshore magazine showcases the best that the North Shore of Boston, MA has to offer.

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destination Seaside Escape right in our own backyard. By Tasmin Venn An ocean playground as a summer playground, Man- chester-by-the-Sea is said to have been "discovered" by Richard Henry Dana, the Boston poet and essayist who built a summer house here in 1845. Dana's friends followed suit, and the rush to build was on. Today, there is still so much to love about Manchester-by-the-Sea in summer: the ocean smell on Beach Street; the cool breeze in Masconomo Park; sleek sailboats in the harbor; the rocky promontories and coves; and shops selling everything from crystal to flip-flops, coolers to croissants. It's such a small town that most resi- dents can walk to Singing Beach, a half- mile-long beach bookended by rocky cliffs. You can see a steady stream of locals taking their daily walk or run to Musical Beach, as it was called in Dana's time. If it's too crowded, residents can drive over to Black and White Beaches, off Ocean Avenue, or to Tuck's Point, where the town has renovated the signature domed rotunda, for some crabbing with the kids. Summer played a big part in the town's growth. Starting after the Civil War, Bos- ton's publishers, artists, actors, philan- thropists, and industrialists sought a cool retreat and built mansions to flaunt family wealth from department stores, railroads, banking, and manufacturing. Many seaside estates still stand, making high-end real estate company LandVest a happy partner in town commerce. Meanwhile, oceanfront taxes keep the town well groomed. "What most people don't know is Man- chester was a center of fine furniture mak- ing in the first half of the 19th century," says John Huss, amiable curator of the Manches- ter Historical Museum, in the charming photographs by robert boyd Trask House (open for guided tours Satur- days from noon until 3 p.m.). Huss notes that Manchester is special because "It's gone through a transformation of a simple fishing village to merchant sea captains to furniture to summer colony. People come today for the beautiful scenery, fabulous harbor, and quality lifestyle." "For a small community, a lot is offered," says Matt Casparius, director of the town's parks and recreation department, which runs 300 programs a year. Many of those programs are open to out-of-towners, including Dog First Aid Training, the open- water swim program, poetry programs, and group tickets to Red Sox games. The increas- ingly popular Music in Masconomo Park is free Tuesday nights from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m. Boston book publisher James T. Fields, due to the enormous success of his business, was able to retire in 1871 at the relatively young age of 54. Two years later he bought Thunderbolt Hill in Manchester and built his summer house. It was Fields who adopted the town's moniker Manches- ter-by-the-Sea (he and his wife, Annie, put it on their stationery) to distinguish it from the five other Manchesters in New England. In 1990, by a one-vote margin, townspeople officially changed the name to Manchester- by-the-Sea, following the lead of the train conductors' station call. July 2012 nshoremag.com 43

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