A Drive to Manchester by the Sea

Earlier I proclaimed my monumental love of Sundays, so in some ways this is a continuation of that post. I went and detailed the GTI today, getting her back to that show room quality appearance, and then proceeded to do what any other car enthusiast does after giving their car a good wash. I went for a drive.

I knew I wanted to get away from Boston, so my only option was to go north. But I knew I wanted to stay near the water, and allow myself to hit some of those stellar windy roads that New England has, as well as, continue to soak in the beauty that is the North Shore. As I made my way north along the Revere Beach parkway, I was given the option to divert from the water and go to Route 1 or to continue on towards the Lynn Parkway and route 1A. Regrettably I chose the faster option to get to 128 to head towards Gloucester, where I knew I could hop on the Essex Coastal Scenic Byway.

I made my way, spiritedly no less, along to Route 1 and eventually to 128. What a great road 128 is when there is no commuter traffic! The sweeping left and right hand turns it has, the way the road rises and falls, I had nothing but a smile on my face as Jackie did an outstanding job of handling the roads and putting up with me getting hard on the accelerator.

A sign caught my eye. School St Manchester Exit 15. Manchester by the Sea popped into my head. A critically acclaimed motion picture about Lee Chandler, and loaner, who’s brother died and becomes the guardian of his nephew. “May as well check it out” I said to myself. Down shifting through the gears, Jackie revs begin to bellow and I go into the tight right hand off ramp with nothing but confidence and as I gleefully start making my way along School St. Immediately I noticed the sheer beauty of the town. Gorgeous homes, sprawling yards, beautiful stone walls, all lined the road as I pushed my right foot deeper and deeper into the pedal.

I quickly arrived at town center which was absolutely breath taking. I got out of my car and breathed in a deep breath of fresh air as I looked out at, what I learned was, Days Creek. I took a seat down at Masconomo Park briefly, and took a picture thinking how truly beautiful the town was. I looked behind me to see a quant New England downtown of brick buildings and loyal customers shopping at Crosby’s Marketplace. I started a slow walk, looking around at the businesses thinking how cool these stores were. They weren’t anything new or groundbreaking, which to me was the best part about them. They seemed to be storefronts steeped with stories of a sleepy community, and how they’ve seen a world continuously change, but they’ve remained steadfast, reminding citizens and visitors what it means to be a part of a community.

I continued walking up and instantly recognized a building that said Town Hall on it from the movie. The police station, in the same building but with a side entrance off to the right, reminded me of the heartbreaking scene where Lee is being questioned by the police and fire chief about where he went as his house caught fire, killing his children. Lee’s attempted suicide in the police station makes it all that much more horrific to learn what has happened to this man. I shift back into reality looking over at a beautiful restaurant across the street. I decided to go in and grab a bite to eat. I hadn’t eaten breakfast or lunch and it was just past three in the afternoon at this point.

I walked into a gorgeous interior, that reminded me very much of the cape and gave me ideas how I want the inside of my home to look like. Friendly service, a cold beer, and a delicious meal, I was happy to get back into my car and resume my Sunday afternoon drive.

I left Manchester by the Sea feeling very relaxed, but also melancholy. Replaying scenes of the movie again in my head, it made me think how some people really do have these monumental pains that prevent them from moving on in life. Part of me wanted to try to find the streets where the scene between Casey Affleck and Michelle Williams happens when Randi admits her love to Lee again, while Randi is pushing a stroller with her child whom she had with another man. An absolutely gut wrenching scene, I elected to continue down the Essex Coastal Scenic Byway and make my way back to Winthrop.

As I continued into Beverly, I couldn’t help but wonder why I was feeling this emptiness and sorrow; however, at the same time I felt at peace. Maybe Manchester by the Sea casts a certain spell on people. Maybe I, like Lee Chandler, don’t anything “there” anymore and that resonated deeply with my being.

Either way, Manchester by the Sea was a gorgeous town, and I can’t wait to go back.

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