Not surprisingly, this one square mile municipality (pop. 3400) is a desirable place to live.
This 383-year-old settlement is a model of an orderly, deeply rooted New England community. It's a very middle class place, with one of the lowest poverty rates I've ever seen, but not a particularly high median income. Despite being part of the vast Boston megalopolis, Nahant is 97.11% white, which may explain why it voted for Obama only 60-40 over Romney.
One solution is to provide a public beach for outsiders along the dreary causeway that connects Nahant to the mainland town of Lynn, MA.
Without a Residency Sticker ($5 per year to residents, unavailable to nonresidents), you can park legally in front of the one convenience store on the island for 30 minutes, which gives you enough time to walk down the cliff to 40 Steps Beach, skip some stones in the Atlantic for five minutes, and then hustle back.
And you can park in the beautifully sited cemetery for as long as you want to putter about there, admiring the chapel by Ralph Cram Adams (Collegiate Gothic-style architect of Rice U. and much else).
|Ellingwood Chapel, Ralph Cram Adams, 1919|
For example, the MIT European Club holds an annual bike ride from Cambridge to Nahant:
On Nahant, we will sit together for a nice picnic on the premises of the Northeastern University Marine Science Center, a place that offers spectacular views over the shoreline of Cape Ann. After the picnic we will ride our bikes to Nahant's legendary 40-steps beach. This beach is a pebble beach, accessible only through wooden stairs. The 40 steps lead to an enclosed bay where warm seawater gets trapped during the summer to offer an exceptional ocean swim experience to its visitors. There are no changing rooms at 40-steps beach. Please be advised to bring a large towel for changing clothes the American way.
After the swim we will go to "Tides Restaurant and Pub" for refreshments and bathroom break, Nahant's only restaurant. ...
Due to practical considerations this trip is limited to 10 participants.
Occasionally, a philosophy major pundit like Matthew Yglesias will grasp the logic of this argument and therefore demand that, just as America should take in 165,000,000 more immigrants, Nahant should be covered in Blade Runner-sized apartment buildings. But most pundits would think that it's okay for the citizens of Nahant to mind their own business, but that it would be hateful for the citizens of America to do the same.