Cute, coastal winter can be harder to come by than you might think. Last year, over “spring” break, my boyfriend and I took a road trip from town to town throughout New England. We figured we could learn to appreciate the season in a new way by going to our favorite summer spots blanketed in snow. As it turned out, many of the towns were so clearly hibernating that it only made our winter blues worse, and we resolved to run away from the ocean and towards the forest and the mountains in future winters.
But then, Cohasset. Invited there by close family friends for a birthday brunch, on our hour-long drive from Boston we passed forests, farmhouses, and estates old and new. As we entered the snow-covered town, we were greeted by an azure estuary, houses in classic colonial style, and families skating on the frozen pond in the town common. It was as if we had stumbled into a Norman Rockwell painting.
We continued on to greet our friends with big hugs all around at Atlantica, a maritime American restaurant built on the water with panoramic glass windows.
We enjoyed the bountiful buffets of cocktail shrimp, sirloin, caprese salads, haddock, and pasta, and we made good use of the crêpe station and chocolate fountain. The hit of the day, though, was undeniably the Bloody Mary bar, replete with bacon, blue cheese-stuffed olives, celery, shrimp, horseradish, and a panoply of hot sauces.
We lingered over our coffee, conversation, and sugar-dusted donut holes as we watched the harbor outside our window. We were mesmerized by a murmuration of starlings, the synchronized movement of wings making the black cloud of birds intermittently invisible. Ice floes softly broke apart and glided by on the waves. Boats hovered by the seaside forest and its miniature European palaces.
After we bid farewell to our friends, we rolled through the town to explore further. We discovered a cemetery by the sea, a juxtaposition I had never encountered before but which felt appropriate.
We also found a small patch of forest, perfectly coated in snow, and took a brief walk. We couldn’t go very far because not everyone in our party was wearing appropriate footwear, though I won’t name names. I do, however, hope to go back to Cohasset to explore its many trails and nature reserves.
To finish our day in Cohasset, we returned to the town center which had initially so enchanted us. We walked by small shops, one of which had closed early for the Patriots game, and we made our way to the town common. Families continued to skate through the snow, some small children still learning, and we were eagerly greeted by a bulky, clumsy, and very lovable bulldog, Homer.
We then wound our way homeward to take care of our own puppy, but our full and happy day in Cohasset showed me that picturesque, coastal New England winter exists not only in the common imaginary but also just down the road.