This quiet seaside community is such a glorious discovery. Primarily residential, Manchester-by-the-Sea oﬀers exceptional dining, shop- ping, beaches, parks and waterfront recreation. Exploring downtown on foot is the easiest way to enjoy the sights. In the town center is the Trask House, home to the Manchester Historical Museum—the perfect place to begin your day. The muse- um contains a collection of period furniture, artifacts and ﬁne art. You’ll learn about the town’s maritime history, and its later prominence as a summer vacation destination for the wealthy during the “Gilded Age.” Check the museum’s calendar for special events.
Just a five-minute walk from the museum is Masconomo Park, featuring a community bandstand for fun summer concerts, a baseball field and play-ground. Take a seat on one of the park’s many benches and enjoy the sights and sounds of this beautiful New England harbor (helpful hint: There are approximately 20 public parking spaces in the town parking lot behind the police station and two-hour street parking spaces along Beach Street).
If you prefer ocean to land, charter an overnight boat complete with a captain! Check out Frayed Knot Sailing Charters for charter opportunities and sailing les-sons throughout Cape Ann.
f you’d rather enjoy the ocean from the shore, Singing Beach is Manchester’s crown jewel. While parking at the beach is for residents only, you can ride the commuter rail into Manchester from Gloucester and walk to the beach, or bike into town. Walking to the beach is very popular—families strolling to Singing Beach is a sure sign of summer.
Another sign of summer? Manchester’s annual Festival by the Sea. It’s a celebration of all things synonymous with Cape Ann in the summertime: art, music and food. The event occurs throughout downtown Manchester and you’ll enjoy works from local artists, live music and delicious, local foods.
Manchester is a lovely off-season and holiday destination as well. Fall and spring are perfect times for hiking, biking, beach combing and enjoying the small-town atmosphere. In December, take part in Christmas-by-the-Sea—a weekend’s worth of special events, including the Manchester Holiday Stroll. Through-out the winter, enjoy cross-country skiing or hiking at Coolidge Reservation and then warm up at night with comfort food at one of Manchester’s wonderful restaurants. There’s nothing like a calm, coastal weekend to rejuvenate the soul—you may even finish that book you started last year.