Sunday, July 22, 2007

Kennalyn Describes Modern Day Misty Cove

Kennalyn is the heroine in my novel Stormy Shores which is being re-released by Write Words, later this year. My fictional town of Misty Cove is located along the Cape Ann coast of Massachusetts and very close to Rockport and Gloucester.

Here's what Kennalyn has to say about her home town --

Misty Cove Background

Misty Cove is my fictional setting for a series of novels. The first is Stormy View and its a contemporary romance. Widow's Walk is a historical which is set in Misty Cove between 1841 and 1862. Rebels and Rogues will begin in the opening days of the Civil War and the main character will travel from Misty Cove along the battle lines of the war.
This narrative is my description of Misty Cove. Geographically the location is a few miles south of Gloucester, Massachusetts. Its a beautiful area and I hope to convey some of the history and beauty through this fictional piece.

Kennalyn's Misty Cove

Cape Ann is a beautiful section of the Massachusetts coast. It’s not as well known as Cape Cod, but the residents like it that way. They appreciate the quieter beauty of our area. Cape Cod bustles with people and that includes a lot of tourists. Cape Ann has a lot of history and tranquil beauty without the tourists.
There’s a rich history of hard working and hard living people. Misty Cove, like neighboring Gloucester and Rockport are fishing towns. Fishing isn’t a peaceful pastime. Commercial fishing is hard work and requires separation from loved ones. There’s a sense of danger involved in it. The “perfect storm" hit the coast of Cape Ann with great strength and determination. But that's another story.
Storms have hit this coast for centuries and led to a need for lighthouses and lifesaving stations. There are the twin lights of Thatcher Island. There’s also our lighthouse on the tip of Misty Cove. It’s called Stormy View Light and my father, Captain Bart is the keeper. My family members have been keepers of the light for generations.
The history of heroics in my family is great and we’re proud of it. My great grandfather led several large lifesaving missions, as did my grandfather and my father. My great great great grandfather Duncan Jones was involved in 1848 when Congress passed the Newell Act which provided for the construction of structures which would house life saving and rescue equipment in areas which were traditionally known as shipwreck areas. Duncan wasn't involved in Misty Cove, but moved there soon after.
The Lifesaving Service was being phased out as my grandfather was taking his place in the family business. In 1915, the Lifesaving Service became known as the US Coast Guard. My grandfather chose to take his place as keeper of the Light instead of joining the Coast Guard. In 1939 the Coast Guard merged with the US Lighthouse Service. Captain Bart succeeded him as Keeper of the Light when he died.
My grandmother and great grandmother were behind the scenes protecting the injured. They provided warm food and drink to help the men through the long rescues. Some rescues could take long hours and sometimes more than a day to search for the survivors and to retrieve the bodies that could be saved. The men needed to keep up their strength along with a warm fire and supplies. Sometimes the breeches buoy would break or the tow line for the rescue boat would snap and more often than not, one of my grandmothers was there to help. The women also tended to the injured. Like the future women of the Red Cross, they helped the sick, provided aid and comfort in these situations. It’s a rich and satisfying family history I want to share with my daughter one day.
As with most small New England towns, Misty Cove people hold strong views about most everything. Our friends and neighbors stand up for what they think is right. Travelers coming through our area, find it friendly and tranquil.
Misty Cove has the look of a quaint centuries old fishing village. There are piers by the water and all manor of fishing boats and paraphernalia. This includes lines, buoys, traps and fishing shacks. It’s funny how people never feel the need to repaint the fishing shacks. In the spring, summer and fall there are too many fish to attend to. And, in the winter it’s too cold.

The winters in New England can be bad. The water looks intriguing with snow falling against it and with the snow piled on the boats. Many a fishing shack has been almost covered with snow during a blizzard.
A big blizzard shuts things down in Misty Cove. For this reason close attention to the weather forecast is critical and we must stock up ahead of time. The women can and freeze food to get us through the long, lean months.
The town has many old clapboard houses and houses covered with shakes. Their paint peels and the shakes are weathered. Some houses overlook the ocean and have widow’s walks and huge bay windows. These bay windows and a large number of other windows in Misty Cove have weathered window boxes. Any paint is long since gone but the petunias and snapdragons and so on, bloom each spring.
The windows helped the women and children keep an eye out for their men returning home from sea. These areas also gave a fairly unobstructed view of the incoming storms. Many times this would only cause the families to be more concerned about their loved ones at sea. The men would sometimes fish for a couple of months at a time and with little or no communication. This would leave the collective imaginations of their loved ones to run wild.

Downtown Misty Cove area has the old lantern style street lights. These are much nicer than the harsh street lights in the big cities. Some of the windows on the downtown stores have colorful awnings which accentuate their stores and draw the customers to the windows to see their wares.
Many of the store and business owners have the shingle type signs which blow on their chains in the breeze. When a nor’easter brews, it’s a smart move to take the signs down.
There’s an old cemetery on the hill at the far northwest end of town. It’s set off by itself, but there are several hundred years of ancestors buried there. The old grave markers crumble and crack. The years of cold and storms have eroded the lettering which marks who lies beneath. Each of my ancestors are buried there and the gravestones make mention of their contributions to the town of Misty Cove.
There are many beautiful wild flower gardens. Some planted by loving hands and others the work of birds flying overhead. These plants and flowers are hardy like the residents and the beauty of each is appreciated.
It sounds like a rugged life, but Misty Cove and Cape Ann residents thrive on it. A fishing village isn’t the place for a cushy life. The only people who have a life which is a step above, are the men who live on the far hills and own the fishing boats. He has more money to work with, but he has
a lot to loose when the boats go out.
The boats and the equipment needed on fishing boats are expensive. When one of the boats sink, they loose their livelihood. This includes the boat, whatever catch was hauled in, and the supplies purchased for the trip. This is financially difficult for him, but the families of the fishermen loose their husbands, fathers and sons. Everyone on the coast pays a price when anyone is lost at sea, that’s why the lighthouse and the Life Saving Service are important parts of the community.
Walking down the streets of Misty Cove, feels like being in an old town. The passage of time seems to have missed us. That is one of the key reasons why getting away seems so intriguing to many young people.
Misty Cove is not a place to make big money. Bartering has been popular for many years. Why pay cash when you can trade something you don’t want, for something you do? Even the General Store doesn’t make its’ owners rich. They have a house furnished with a variety of things, but his bank account doesn’t bulge.
One thing that’s not tolerated in Misty Cove is crime. These things include burglary, breaking and entering, destruction of property and certainly harming another individual. Judge Stone is a third generation juror and he doesn’t put up with foolishness or maliciousness. He hands down strong punishments and that discourages repeat offenders.
Most of the young people felt the need to push Judge Stone at least once, and that’s usually all it takes. The last three Judge Stones have all ruled the bench with a strong hand and it makes Misty Cove a better place. Judge and Mrs. Stone would do anything for you, outside the courtroom. But, inside the courtroom, every criminal is at his mercy.
The soft sounds of the bird’s songs fill the air as they soar off the coast. The pelicans fly along the edge of the water and dip down from time to time to pick up their latest meal. The gulls love to see the children because they usually bring food of some kind. They fish for their own meals sometimes, but the children supplement that with bread crumbs. It’s a strange diet, but they love it. Life is different here, but that’s the way Misty Cove residents like it.

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