Discover a coastal oasis full of treasures as you explore Cape Ann’s Rockport. The rich history of the town combined with friendly locals (and celebrity sightings) make this the perfect destination for those looking for a seaside getaway that has something for everyone.
What to Do
• Go for a stroll and discover Halibut Point State Park. A self-guided trail will take you around the now water-filled Babson Farm Quarry, which was abandoned in 1929 when the local granite industry collapsed. Stop by the visitor center to learn about the history of the Quarry, see artifacts and to pick up a trail map, which will help identify the meaning behind the numbers you’ll find as you walk through the park. The trail can be as long or as short as you want it to be, so if you’re planning to stay for a while, be sure to bring drinks and snacks – or a picnic lunch. Kids may enjoy searching for quartz or building mini rock formations at The Grout Pile.
• Just a few minutes down the road from Halibut Point State Park you’ll find a unique site – The Paper House (52 Pigeon Hill St., Rockport, Mass.; paperhouserockport.com). In 1922, Elis F. Stenman, a mechanical engineer, began building his summer home out of paper to insulate it. From there, he began making intricate furniture out of newspaper including a desk and chair, piano and grandfather clock.
• The water may be chilly, but Front Beach is a great spot to search for sea glass and shells – don’t forget to bring a bag to collect your treasures!
• Check out the shops that line the streets of Main Street and Bearskin Neck for fun souvenirs and memorabilia. La Provence (4 Main St., Rockport, Mass.; 978-546-5868; laprov.com) and The Pewter Shop (16 Bearskin Neck, Rockport, Mass.; 978-546-2105; rockport-pewter.com) sell home accents, jewelry and items from local artisans. Books make great gifts, too, and the kids section at Toad Hall Book Store (47 Main St., Rockport, Mass.; 978-546-7323; toadhallbooks.org) is a fun destination for bookworms of all ages.
• As you stroll along Bearskin Neck, be on the lookout for Motif #1, the red fishing shack that enjoys the title of “Most Painted Building in America.” Then drop in to the Rockport Art Association (12 Main St., Rockport, Mass.; rockportartassn.org) for a firsthand look at why Rockport’s reputation as an art haven is so well deserved.
• Take in a performance at the Shalin Liu Performance Center (37 Main St., Rockport, Mass.; 978-546-7391; rockportmusic.org). Visit their website for the events schedule.
Where to Stay
• The Linden Tree Inn (26 King St., Rockport, Mass.; 800-865-2122; lindentreeinn.com) is a charming 1850 Victorian bed and breakfast that’s in the heart of Rockport. Start your day with fresh baked treats and a hearty breakfast before you begin sightseeing in Rockport. A quick walk to Front Beach for those on a quest for sea glass, or if it’s a nice day, enjoy a leisurely stroll to Bearskin Neck.
• Rockport Inn & Suites (183 Main St., Rockport, Mass.; 978-546-3300; rockportinnandsuites.com) is a great place for families to stay. It even has an indoor pool to keep you entertained when rain is in the forecast.
Where to Eat
• Get ready to crack open a fresh lobster at Roy Moore’s Fish Shack Restaurant (21 Dock Square, Rockport, Mass.; 978-546-6667), which offers oceanfront dining, or at Roy Moore Lobster Company (39 Bearskin Neck, Rockport, Mass.; 978-546-6696), which is one of the best lobster shacks in Massachusetts. If lobster’s not your thing, you’ll find plenty of other options on the menu.
• Need a quick snack? The Bean & Leaf Café (12 Bearskin Neck, Rockport, Mass.; 978-546-7500; beanandleafcafe.net) and Brother’s Brew Coffee Shop (27 Main St., Rockport, Mass.; 978-546-3775) have tasty treats, sandwiches, soups and more that will keep your bellies full while you peruse the shops along Bearskin Neck.