MARSHFIELD, Massachusetts — Upbeat and armed with shovels, people in this coastal town set out Wednesday to clear damage from the blizzard — a devastating direct hit that shattered a seawall, ripped decks clear off houses and encrusted chain-link fences with ice.
"It was pretty violent," Joe Hackett, a carpenter who lives along the water on Bay Avenue, told NBC News. "It's emotional, of course, but you have to press on and get it back together."
"I have barricades that people make fun of," he added, but "that barricade took four big hits, and those big hits would have been right through my living room. So I saved my house."
He said he figured the cleanup would take months.
The National Weather Service certified that Marshfield was battered by blizzard conditions for 14 brutal hours on Tuesday. The weather service recorded 25 inches of snow here and wind speeds up to 61 mph.
The blizzard sent walls of water from the Atlantic Ocean coursing into town. Enough sea spray froze on road signs to make them illegible.
At high tide, "You're lying in bed and the house is shaking and the bed is shaking," said Bill Kates, who has lived in Marshfield more than 15 years. "When I came out to see the wall that cracked, the wind was pushing me so hard. It was in my face pushing against me. I had to run."
He said that his wife and daughter stayed inland for the storm, but he rode it out.
"I stayed because a captain goes down with his ship," he said. "So that's what I did. I stayed with my ship."
On Wednesday, the roads were full of slush. Homeowners got out to assess the damage and shovel away what they could.
"It's crazy to see it happen," said Wendy Sturtevant, who lives in Marshfield. "It's heartbreaking. But I also get that this is part of living on the coast. You have to be a pretty hardy soul to take on a property like this."
Some of the homes along the seawall are owned by people who spend only summers there. The worst-hit home is owned by a man who spends his winters in Florida, a neighbor said.
Marshfield police Lt. Steve Marcolini also said the area is more protected than other nearby towns. In addition, he said, many of the houses are elevated because of devastating storms in the past.
Hackett compared the blizzard to what is known as the No-Name Storm, a hurricane that lashed the Eastern Seaboard in 1991, sank the ship Andrea Gail and inspired the George Clooney movie "The Perfect Storm."
"If we measure that and call it a 10, this was probably a 7 or 8," he said.
Sue Bourget, who lives in next-door Duxbury and used to live along the seawall in Marshfield, said that people who live there love the sea and "all appreciate the same thing, so we help each other out. Everyone rallies to help one another."
And, she offered, "We have an absolutely fabulous summer."