Long before the A. Piatt Andrew bridge connected the island of Cape Ann to the rest of the country, Gloucester and Rockport supported isolated, largely self-sufficient communities. This relative distance from other established cities cultivated a wide range of independent enterprises, including the well-known deep-sea fishing industry, the quarry industry with the related shipping industry, and one of the most influential hives of American art: Cape Ann School. What is it about isolation that breeds creativity? Is loneliness oppressive or formative? What role does nature play when human contacts decrease in frequency or amplitude?