SO WHAT’S the landmark that identifies your area?

Paris has the Eiffel Tower, Lady Liberty is to The Big Apple (or is it the just the apple?), The Big Ben is to London, etc. All across the globe, each destination may have several distinct landmarks but there will always be one that will stick to mind. Those are the must-haves behind each photograph taken when traveling hashtagged #souvenirshot #paris or #london or #nyc. It's also your #braggingright, right?

For Rockport, the town in Essex County at the tip of the Cape Ann Peninsula, a 40-minutes drive northeast of Boston, Massachusetts, the man-made landmark is not as grandiose as one would expect it to be for a popular destination. In fact, for first time visitors (like me), expect the jaw to drop and utter, "Is that it?"

One of the most famous sites on Cape Ann is the harbor town's "monument" - a red fishing shack on the rocks on Bradley Wharf, an active fish landing and storage area since the American Civil War. Built in the 1840s, a time when Rockport became home to fishermen and colony of artists, the shack offered convenient and immediate storage for gear and fish, and a favorite subject of painters referring to it as "a symbol of New England maritime life."

Hornby, a painter, is believed to be credited for naming the red "Motif No. 1" since it became the preferred theme of the town's artists. To the pupils of art and art history, this red shack is "most often-painted building in America."

The former timber and granite town, and now a tourist town of Rockport saw an icon in Motif No. 1 and took measures to preserve the structure and appearance, red hue included. After the shack was razed to the ground during the Blizzard of 1978, a replica was immediately constructed on the same year.

Today, along with the favorite Rockport vacation spots like the boulder-strewn ocean beaches and seaside parks, the Cape Anne's Bradley Wharf and its iconic red shack has become one of the most-visited spots in the North Shore area of Massachusetts.

And now, I am ready to give another go at that lobster before I head back to Boston.


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