Dogtown in Cape Ann, MA | Abandoned Settlement Mystery
After the summer of 1931, Marsden Hartley returned to Dogtown one last time, in 1934. But, like a fickle lover, Dogtown withheld from him its previous charms. Or maybe it was Hartley who had changed. Distracted by financial worries and the looming war, he could no longer find the magic of the place. And there was something else: Hartley, in his time away from Dogtown, had embellished it in his mind. “I had lived it over so intensely in my imagination,” he wrote, “that the thing looked like nothing when I got here.”
Maybe this, then, is one secret of the place: Go emptied of expectation. Plan nothing, set linearity aside, and let Dogtown offer what it will.
In Massachusetts, take Route 128 north to Grant Circle, a traffic rotary, in Gloucester, and turn north on Route 127 (Washington Street), toward Annisquam. In one mile, take a right on Reynaud Street and follow it to the end. Bear left on Cherry Street and turn almost immediately into the entrance to Dogtown, up a steep drive on the right. Public parking is available on both sides of Dogtown Road before the gates. For guided-tour information and reservations, contact Seania McCarthy and Dee McCanus at 978-546-8122, walkthewords.com.