About 6000 individuals live year round in a thin collection of villages stretched across the northern third of the unnamed island 35 miles north of Boston commonly referred to as Cape Ann.
After about 400 years of European settlement the rough industrial subsistence community has been polished smooth like beach glass. Unrecognizable perimeter garrisons host posh dinner parties. Deep rooted farms have dried up into dusty middle class stable houses. Towering stone lighthouses made efficient though electric automation. Thick trans-Atlantic cables crawl out of the surf to nowhere. The wide granite quarries are abandoned to the measurement of the annual rainfall. Commercial sea harvesting is handled by factory fleets sailing out of larger communities, if they sail at all. The monstrous Port of Refuge breakwater erected clear across Sandy Bay by the U.S. Navy lies in ruins.
Drifting aesthetes, wandering artists and the rough landscape create a halo effect around the town. Gray beards speak a local code referencing the patchwork of numbered motifs sprinkled about the shoreline. Shades of the unknowns stumble over the rocks through the salt breeze. Every once in a while a glimmer of recognition for a Homer, Elliot, or Hancock. Galleries line the narrow streets full of paintings, some fair, some questionable. The children grow up hearing they live in an artist colony. It affects their minds more subtly than the pounding of the regular nor'easter.