On the first day of the new year, hundreds strolled along Stacy Boulevard to get a breath of fresh air.
Children zipped past their parents on scooters on the boulevard, dogs sniffed other dogs, and below the boulevard, couples searched Pavilion Beach's rocky shoreline for sea glass. It was almost like the beginning of any other year.
But something was different; people skirted around each other to keep a distance of 6-feet apart and everyone wore masks.
Both the distance and masks were reminders that while all had entered into a new year, the pandemic that enveloped 2020 was still at the forefront of everyone’s mind.
Lisa Lacombe is hopeful that someday soon, thanks to an approved vaccine, she and her husband John will be able to enjoy a nice dinner at a restaurant with no worries.
“We haven’t gone out to dinner since March,” she said. “Just to be able to sit down and have a glass of wine in a nice atmosphere.”
The couple from southern Massachusetts sat on a bench along the boulevard, explaining that their goal for the new year.
“We hope to find a home in 2021,” John Lacombe said, looking over at his wife.
For Elaine Halverson of Gloucester, the new year is all about getting back to a sense of normalcy.
“Getting rid of the mask, being able to get together with people again, and seeing the grandchildren,” Halverson said. “I want all of it.”
Her husband, David, mentioned his anticipation of the reopening of the Rockport Golf Club course.
“I want the golf course to open early,” David Halverson laughed, his eyes squinting to reveal a childlike grin behind his mask.
As runners raced down the boulevard and past the Fisherman’s Memorial statue, a reporter could not keep up with their pace to catch what their resolutions for 2021 might be.
Instead, a family from Pepperell shared their insights of the new year as they slowly walked their dog in Stage Fort Park.
Having reviewed their resolutions on the eve of the new year, the Butterfield children were ready when asked.
“Mine is to make sure not to try to annoy my pets,” said Max Butterfield, 11, pointing at his black Labrador retriever Marble. Max noted that he also has a cat named Snaps that he sometimes likes to tease.
“If they are in a bad mood, I am not going to pet them,” he elaborated.
His younger sister, Avenly, 7, noted that she wanted to “not leave my trash out.”
The family waved as they walked to their car, eager to find some locally sourced seafood to start the new year the Cape Ann way.
Taylor Ann Bradford can be reached at 978-675-2705 or firstname.lastname@example.org.