Down-to-Earth Vibe – Soundings Online

Previous page: The town pier is a short distance from the village. 

The first time my family and I motored into Onset Bay in Massachusetts, we were traveling from Maryland to Maine via the Cape Cod Canal and needed a place to stop to await friends. We’d had a boisterous sail up Buzzards Bay and entered the canal on a tidal flume that roiled us north until Hog Neck, and the marks denoting the entrance to Onset, came abeam.

The turn from the current-ripped canal into the narrow channel was suitably invigorating. If a boat can leave a skid mark, I’d swear ours did. But as soon as we’d cleared the first marks and backed off the throttle, there were deep breaths all around. The well-marked, if slender, channel led past gently sloping shorelines into a broad, beautiful bay. In the bay’s center stood the steep, wooded cliffs of Wickets Island, and beyond that, a long curve of beach wrapped around the village of Onset like a white lace collar on a Victorian dress. It was a startling oasis, small and welcoming. And that evening, when the locals placed flares along the shoreline to create a warm, magical glow—the annual illumination night put on by the Onset Bay Association—my crew knew we had stumbled into someplace special.

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