ESSEX — The last summer of Conomo Point — at least Conomo Point as it has always been — is something the people who summer on this majestic corner of Essex Bay have long feared. That’s because they have never owned their sliver of paradise on Cape Ann; for a century, since a time when the area was little more than a bunch of clam shacks, they leased the land from the town of Essex.
At the end of 2011, that 100-year lease expired, and town voters long ago decided it would not be renewed. Now everything is in turmoil. A year-to-year lease is in effect while the situation shakes itself out, but many people have already walked away from homes that have been in families for generations. “For Sale” signs are as much a part of life as the bugs from the salt marsh.