When describing the five towns comprising Greater Cape Ann, it’s easy to use the same words over and over: unique, charming, quaint, picturesque, etc. Writers strive to find new descriptions that “paint the picture” (pun intended) and spark your imagination while avoiding the trap of clichés. One wonders, though, if it was actually Cape Ann that inspired those words to begin with. Rockport, located at the tip of the Cape, and its jaw-drop-ping views of the Atlantic and stunning coastline, will simply take your breath away,

Similar to Gloucester, European settlers in the early 1600s identified the waters off Rockport as a fertile fishing ground and settled there, beginning industries in granite, timber and fishing. If you walk or hike through Halibut Point State Park, you’ll come across the old granite quarries, still impressive today. Pack a picnic because you’ll find a great spot to enjoy more incredible views of the Atlantic. A stop at the renovated visitor center at the beginning of your stay will point you in the right direction.

Rockport’s history as a magnet for artists holds true today. You’ll find a thriving com-munity of artists and galleries – not to mention incredible talent. If you’re a seasoned collector or just beginning, you could spend days roaming in and out of the studios and galleries along Broadway, Dock Square, Main Street and Bearskin Neck, meeting the artists and watching them work. As you wander, you’ll also discover excellent restaurants (from hot dog shacks to lobster in the rough and fine dining), weathered storefront cottages and, if you stroll Bear-skin Neck to the top, you’ll arrive at the ultimate spot for a selfie—with the vast Atlantic as your backdrop.

Music and performance are plentiful throughout the year along with many special town events. In the summer, there are free concerts at the Back Beach Bandstand and

Fourth of July celebrations; in the offseason, community events abound. The Shalin Liu Performance Center offers a year-round program of opera, classical, pop, jazz, film and more. And the holidays? “Christmas in Rockport” will become your new family tradition. Festivities include fairs and shows, strolling musicians, Santa’s arrival by lobster boat and special offers for holiday shopping. Ring in the New Year with Rockport New Year’s Eve’s family-friendly, cultural celebra-tion featuring entertainment and concerts throughout town. Even in the fall and win-ter, the beaches are no less inviting. There is something so beautiful about a seaside town in the midst of a gentle snowfall.

When booking lodging, you’ll have many options to consider—from intimate inns to family-friendly hotels. There’s something for every need, budget and “view preference”—whether overlooking a beach, the Atlantic, or a pleasant, tree-lined side street, you’ll under-stand how hard it is to avoid the clichés.

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