Photo by Salt Water New England

Friday, September 16, 2022

What to do when visiting Marblehead/Gloucester/Rockport in Autumn?

 

A reader question:

We will be visiting the Marblehead/Gloucester/Rockport MA area with grandchildren next weekend.   Have looked at the travel guides, social media reviews (unreliable, etc.) but wondered if you have any suggestions about what to do and see (I could spend the entire time in Marblehead), and any place to avoid on weekends (Salem?)  All of you are such good resources of interesting and helpful information; thanks!

 

16 comments:

  1. How old are your grandchildren?

    Marblehead -
    History: Abbot Hall to see the Spirit of 76, take a self guided walking tour (https://marbleheadhistory.org/history/walking-tour-of-marblehead/).

    If you want to get out on the water: take the Mid Harbor Launch in Salem Harbor to Salem from Marblehead (http://midharbor.org/) or take a ride on Rich Jordan's launch in Marblehead Harbor (https://jordanslaunch.com/about/). There are also great cruises out of Salem on The Finback (https://mahicruises.com/)

    Visit our parks: Fort Sewall, Crocker Park, Chandler Hovey (on the neck), the Audubon Sanctuary (on the neck). Fountain Park.

    Eat: Maddie's, The Barnacle, The Landing...we have other great options, but these are on or by the water. Shubies for everything gourmet, including picnics.

    Shop: Old Town has a great selection, including a toy shop, as well as out on 'the avenue" - Atlantic Ave.

    Salem is great, but you are verrryyyyy close to the Octobering, which brings crowds of all things witchy and carney.

    Rockport is Bearskin Neck & Motif #1. Go to the strudel shop.

    Feel free to email me! patsy@patsykane.com

    Welcome and enjoy!

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  2. On a similar note my daughter and two granddaughters ( high school freshman and senior) are visiting New England in early-mid October. They definitely plan on visiting Marblehead and Northampton. They are considering visiting Norwich and Hanover.
    I recommended they consider visiting Nantucket if they decide to not drive to Norwich and Hanover.
    We would appreciate any suggestions that the community might have.
    Thanks

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  3. It's a hike to get to Nantucket and if they go, they need to keep an eye on the weather forecast. We went there in October (just for the day) 4 years ago and fortunately, decided to take an early ferry back to Hyannis. Didn't know it then but a storm was brewing and that was the last ferry for a couple of days. We prefer Martha's Vineyard. Nantucket is lovely but MV is just more interesting to us.

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    1. Edgartown on Martha's Vineyard just got a little crowded. More details at St. Andrews Episcopal Church.

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  4. If you're there, take the gamble to go into Salem to visit the Peabody Essex Museum. Absolutely worth the entry and it has a lovely gift shop as well. It's about a 20 minute drive from Marblehead.

    Also F.L. Woods!

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  5. Gloucester native here! Will do my best to lure you out of Marblehead and into my hometown. :)

    In Rockport, someone already mentioned Bearskin Neck - that's always nice. Get a lobster roll, a stuffed clam, and chowder from Roy Moore's, take it out back beyond their deck, and eat it on the edge of Sandy Bay. If you're up for a relatively easy hike, Halibut Point State park has a lovely 1.5 mile trail that weaves through land's end. If there's an evening event at the Shalin Liu center, take advantage of that - you can watch night fall over the harbor while listening to beautiful music.

    In Gloucester, make sure to pick up a sandwich at Virgilio's and an espresso and Italian pastries at Cafe Sicilia. Brunch at Sugar Magnolia's is terrific, and the Neapolitan pizza at Short & Main is delicious. If you're a vintage record hound, peruse the racks at Mystery Train. Get an ice cream cone and walk the whole length of Stacy Boulevard to the Man at the Wheel statue. Hammond Castle is a trip, if you have a couple hours for a tour, as is the Cape Ann Museum. For live music, check out the Rhumb Line and Minglewood Harborside. Vintage 211 (bottom floor of Beacon Marine, at 211 East Main) has excellent mens' and womens' vintage clothing and curios. Dogtown Common is a great hike, and Rocky Neck Art Colony is a great place to discover local artists and sculptors - there are many interesting galleries.

    In Essex (next to Gloucester), the clams at Woodman's (my favorite) or Farnham's, and beers at Great Marsh Brewing Company, are worth the short trip down 128!

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    1. Well done, Gloucester native!!

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    2. Woodman's is a tourist trap. You're much better off going to Farnham's or Essex Seafood if you want/need your fried clam fix. If you want good, traditional New England fare, at very reasonable prices, go to The Village Restaurant.

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    3. Gloucester native again. I'm born and bred North Shore, and I think Woodman's is a great operation. Yes, they have merchandise for sale; yes, it gets crowded on nice days - but it doesn't detract from the quality of the food, IMHO, which is excellent. (And before anyone asks, I'm not a Woodman - but I did go to elementary school with one of the Woodman kids back in the 90s!). Farnham's is also great - it's just a matter of personal preference. :)

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    4. Gloucester native - agreed on Woodman's. If you go Saturday, you're going to stand in line. If you go Tuesday afternoon, there are some mighty tasty clams just waiting for you. Can't say on Essex Seafood, but Farnham's is excellent and The Village Restaurant is great!

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  6. It's been a while since I have been in that area, but having done the Marblehead Halifax Race a bunch of times, I would say if you can saunter into the Boston Yacht Club and maybe convince someone to let you have a drink or a meal it might be great fun (you might have a reciprocating connection or membership).. There are two other venerable yacht clubs in town...the Eastern Yacht Club and the Corinthian Yacht Club with a fabulous porch on the east side of the harbor. A short trip around Cape Ann many years ago had me falling in love with Annisquam cut or Annisquam Harbor, so scenic with many classic yachts by the local designer Sam Crocker. For a bit of early Americana off the beaten touristy trail, I recommend checking out the Parson Capen house in Topsfield, Mass., described on its web site as "one of the finest surviving examples of Elizabethan architecture in America." If you are lucky enough to visit Cogswell's Grant in nearby Essex, Mass., the home of Bertram and Nina Fletcher Little, I am sure you are in for a treat. It is owned by Historic New England and is open on Fridays and Saturdays through October.15 and described as a "must see for lover's of American folk art," antiques and colonial life. .I spent a few days once at the Harbor Light Inn right in the center of Marblehead and loved it, but the prices have reason of late. No matter what you see or do, you have chosen one of the most beautiful areas to visit in Massachusetts. Have fun!

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  7. I would caution against any sauntering into the BYC, CYC, or EYC, unless you have reciprocity - lol.

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  8. I would suggest checking out the Historic New England web site. Terrific houses to explore.

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  9. Thank you for all the good suggestions. Really looking forward to the trip and cooler weather.

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  10. So many wonderful choices, as Fall gets a bit closer!

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  11. If you are interested in architecture or interiors, I highly recommend the Sleeper-McCann House in Gloucester.

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