There's a bumper sticker that's current in Westport, Massachusetts that reads "Welcome to Westport - Now go Home." It was quoted to us by a friendly couple made curious by the oversized tripod we'd set up in front of the Harbormaster's shack at Westport Point. They smiled as they said it. They probably smile as they say it to the people who come to visit them in their summer cottage. It's not exactly a friendly thing to say but it is humorous and not entirely unfriendly depending on how it's delivered. Mostly it speaks to the truth of Westport's great natural (and for the most part) uncrowded beauty and the fact that people who've learned to enjoy it hope against hope to keep it that way. This couple had the look of summer residents. Let's hope that year round residents smile as they say it to couples like this one who come to stay during the summer. We like to think of people smiling.
There's quite a few strata in Westportian society. They don't always smile at eachother. They don't often mix at all except at town meetings and then they're sharing space and not really mixing. There are the full time working residents of Westport. They fish and farm and serve you food in restaurants which is not to say there aren't a few lawyers, doctors and financiers among them. Mostly, they build their nests for year 'round residence and send their kids to school.
Then there are the summer residents that keep second homes there and those who've even retired and decided to make it their first home. They have lots of money by local standards and generally don't have kids to put through local schools. Their kids are off at Andover or Princeton or Geneva International Boarding School for Children of the Rich and Well Monied.
Finally, there are the tourists that pack the inns and hotels or wrangle a room in a relative's cottage. The groups and their concerns are different. Go figure. They don't always get along and things get heated in the local political arena. You probably don't need to know all of that though if you're packing your bags in preparation for a visit there. It's just a backdrop. Come let the sun warm your skin and buy one of those bumper stickers if it makes you laugh.
Our visit to the working harbor at Westport Point had its genesis years ago. My wife lived there and was at least a temporary member of the local residents tribe though she never got the secret tattoo. I've often suspected her of lifetime membership. I've seen the wistful looks when we visit so I've looked everywhere for the tattoo and failed to find it. It's not there "on the flesh" but it may be buried somewhere deeper. We married at the church up the road from the harbor and had our rehearsal dinner at the Paquachuck Inn which figures quite nicely in the photo. She lived for years in the little apartment in the harbormaster's house just up the road. The tidy little shack in the foreground is where he conducts his business to this day. (www.westport-ma.com/harbormaster)
It's just a shack though, go full screen and spin around to the south. The stars of the show are the fishing boats. You'll find them in every size and shape, tailored to their use and done up in rich shades of red and green. Feel the warm sun on your face. Feel the welcoming breeze on your skin .... and then .... go home!
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