Live in the sunshine, swim in the sea, drink the wild air.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson
I’m a little late on posting this. Other work got in the way, and, to tell the truth, the heat sucked the life out of me this week. At any rate, let me tell you why the Emerson Inn is in a great location for going to the north shore.
Located on the tip of Cape Ann about 40 miles northeast of Boston, Rockport is the easternmost town on the cape. The harbor still has an active fishing fleet, and visitors can watch lobstermen hauling their catch. Unlike the more commercial fishing town of Gloucester (Thank Gorton’s.), Rockport is more laid back and artsy. From the Inn, visitors can partake in activities all over the Cape. These are a few of the things I recommend.
Walking from the Inn is relatively easy and, in my opinion, a better option than driving and trying to find a place to park in town. The two-mile walk to the peaceful village is easy, beautiful, and free. Along the route are beautiful homes, the post office, the fire station, and ocean views. In addition, the Rockport Chamber of Commerce has a guide that outlines seven (SEVEN!) scenic walks that will take you everywhere from Bearskin Neck to Dogtown to Cape Hedge, along the Atlantic Path, and through Halibut Point State Park. Walking is free, and it’s good for your health.
SWIM or SUN
Rockport has two public beaches near the downtown area, and both are free to the public. The water was calm, and the beaches were clean and not as crowded as I would have thought. In addition to swimmers, I noticed people sitting on the large granite boulders just enjoying the sun on their faces.
GET ON THE WATER
If you love to be on the water, renting a kayak or boat might be just your thing. You’ll find places all over Cape Ann where you can rent kayaks, take a lesson, paddleboard, etc. Personally, I like the bigger boats where I can just relax and enjoy the sites as we pass by. There are options that will take you around the area, and one or two that are
shuttles around Gloucester. One of the boats, the Ardelle, is an historic schooner.
I’m quite taken by these large creatures, and there are a number of companies that do whale watch tours out of Gloucester. I didn’t have time to take one, but I overheard a number of people talking about how much they enjoyed their tours. If you’re lucky, you’ll see seals, puffin, and a variety of whales.
DEEP SEA FISH
You have to figure that if an area is popular with commercial fishermen, it must have good fishing. If you like deep sea fishing, there are a number of companies that will take you out for half- or all-day fishing adventures. (yankeefleet.com, coastalfishingcharters.com)
There are, believe it or not, a number of museums on the cape that you can visit. You’ll find everything from the Shipbuilding Museum in Essex to The Paper House in Rockport, from the Manchester Historical Museum to Maritime Gloucester, and more.
There are a number of festivals all summer throughout the area, so if you’re lucky, you’ll time your visit for one of them. I had planned to go to a festival (St. Peter’s) in Gloucester while I was in the area, but after I drove around for almost an hour trying to find a parking spot, I gave up and went back to the inn. Moral? Time your arrival so that you can actually find a parking spot and attend the festival.
Let’s be honest. You can’t go to a town like Rockport and not shop in the eclectic mix of stores that line Bearskin Neck and the harbor. I found that a good majority of the businesses I visited in Rockport and Gloucester are local businesses. Yes, there are a few chains, but for the most part, the boutiques and stores are locally owned.
I don’t like fish, but I’ll eat some seafood (as long as it’s not staring at me from the plate….whole lobster or crab, for example), but I did finally try a lobster roll. I liked it. I really liked it. I also tried some of the ice cream, cookies, and coffee from area shops.
I have to tell you that, personally, I found the relaxing atmosphere at the inn the absolute best thing about my entire weekend there. I’ll be honest in saying that I could have survived doing nothing but sitting on the porch or the lawn or the parlor, eating in the restaurant, and just soaking in the sea air and sunshine. The ambiance and atmosphere were just what I needed. I would, as I said before, go back in a heartbeat.
For more information on the inn or the area, click the links below