Blog

A Visit to Maritime Gloucester

Maritime Gloucester was established back in 2000 by a group of almost 300 locals with a strong vision and a love for this community. Located on Harbor Loop, Maritime Gloucester is a non-profit organization created to serve this wonderful community as well as the greater Boston area. The organization caters mainly to schools and children’s programs through hands-on education in a number of areas.

Visitors to Maritime Gloucester can expect to be immersed into four centuries of nautical history. They operate with a philosophy of “looking to the past to inform the future.” There are many programs offering a diverse array of educational experiences like sailing and ship building. They also offer exhibits on local maritime history and the development of fishing vessels over the years. Not many people know that Maritime Gloucester and the rest of the community act as working harbors. At the heart of this community is Maritime Gloucester’s marine railway. This is the oldest operating marine railway in the country. To this day the railway still sets ships and schooners off to sea.

Maritime Gloucester isn’t just about history; they also look  towards the future. From the robotics program to the wet lab, Maritime Gloucester is involved in finding new ways to study, learn and educate others in all aspects of sea life. One of the coolest exhibits is the Sea Pocket Aquarium. Visitors can explore the aquarium and its touch tanks as well as participate in the Creature of the Week Program. In the Coastal explorers program visitors can board the Schooner Ardelle and sail to a variety of destinations while observing a wonderful array of sea life.

Whether you have a passion for history of science, there is fun to be had at Maritime Gloucester. Maritime Gloucester offers a diverse selection of programs for kids of varying ages. Programs can be a week-long or you can drop in for a short but educational activity.

Open Memorial Day Weekend through Columbus Day
Hours of operation: Monday-Saturday 10:00am-6:00pm, Sunday 10:00am-5:00pm.
Location: 23 Harbor Loop, Gloucester, MA, 01930
Phone Number: (978) 281 0470

Article and photos by Joe Codrington

Half Moon Beach

Half Moon Beach at Stage Fort ParkHalf Moon Beach

Route 127 (Western Avenue) to Hough Avenue

Half Moon Beach is a quiet, intimate, crescent-shaped beach located at historic Stage Fort Park. Surrounded by a rocky hill and ample shady spots, it offers more seclusion from the rest of the park. Lifeguards are on duty daily from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend. All flotation devices and surf boards are prohibited. The beach is handicapped accessible.

  • Dogs are allowed in the park but are prohibited on the beach.
  • Restrooms are located within the park.
  • Parking is available at Stage Fort Park at a rate of $10 per vehicle weekdays and $15 on the weekends and holidays.
  • Alcohol is prohibited.
  • Directions: Take Exit 14 off Route 128 North. At the bottom of the ramp, bear right onto Route 133 toward Gloucester. Follow to the end with the Harbor in front of you. Bear right onto Western Avenue (Route 127) and then take an immediate left on Hough Avenue into Stage Fort Park.

Half Moon Beach, Gloucester

Half Moon Beach, Gloucester

The Paper House in Rockport

The Paper House is a unique structure once used as the summer home of the builder, Elis Stenman. Its uniqueness comes from the newspaper used in the making of the walls and the furniture. An estimated 100,000 papers were used over a twenty year period. The furniture is sturdy, it was used at one time but is strictly for display at present.

This is one of those things that has to be seen to be believed. Located on a quiet street in the Pigeon Cove section of Rockport it may be a bit hard to find but worth the trip just for the adventure.

The Paper House Rockport

Visit paperhouserockport.com for more information.

Niles Beach East Gloucester

Niles Beach

Niles Beach Gloucester

Eastern Point Road, East Gloucester

Tucked away from the busy crowds, Niles Beach is located on Eastern Point Road in East Gloucester. It is primarily enjoyed by residents (a resident sticker is required for beachside parking), unless you can walk from another location. Not usually crowded, you can enjoy a quiet family beach day without the expected commotion that comes along with a summer beach day. Enjoy breathtaking vistas over Gloucester Harbor and the Boston skyline on the horizon.

  • Lifeguards are on duty daily from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm from Father’s Day weekend through Labor Day weekend. All floatation devices and surf boards are prohibited.
  • Portable restrooms are available seasonally.
  • Alcohol is prohibited.
  • Directions: Follow Route 128 North to its terminus at the Route 127A traffic lights in Gloucester. Proceed through the light and follow East Main Street through East Gloucester for approximately 2 miles. Niles Beach is located on Eastern Point Blvd., approximately 1/3 mile beyond the junction with Rocky Neck Boulevard and on the way to Eastern Point. A public parking lot is located along Rocky Neck Boulevard, offering easy access to Rocky Neck and a short hike to Niles Beach.

Niles Beach, Gloucester

Pavilion Beach Gloucester

Pavilion Beach

Gloucester Pavilion Beach

Western Avenue (Route 127) at the eastern end of Stacy Boulevard

Near Gloucester’s famous Fishermen’s Memorial Statue (The Man at the Wheel), Pavilion Beach on Gloucester Harbor is the perfect site for beachcombing and for gazing upon the plethora of watercraft as they head out to the channel. Located a short walk from downtown Gloucester, the beach is perfect for a quick dip before a trip to many of the nearby restaurants and shops just waiting for you to explore. The beach, a mix of sand and stone, does not have lifeguards on duty.

  • Alcohol is prohibited.
  • Limited public parking is available along Stacy Boulevard. Free public parking is also available at the nearby Saint Peter’s parking lot, located at the intersection of Rogers and Commercial Streets and adjacent to the Cape Ann Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center located at 33 Commercial Street.

Pavilion Beach, Gloucester

Cape Hedge Beach Rockport

Cape Hedge

Cape Hedge Beach

South Street, Rockport

This is a long, secluded, rocky beach separated from Long Beach by a short, seasonal foot bridge. Smooth sand is minimal at high tide. Normally a quiet beach, Cape Hedge Beach is located about 2 ½ miles from Rockport’s many unique shops and restaurants.

  • Very limited non-resident parking is available along South Street. Please observe posted parking restrictions.
  • Directions: From downtown Rockport follow Route 127A south for approximately 3 miles to fork at Cape Hedge Inn. Continue straight on South Street for approximately 400 yards to its terminus at Cape Hedge Beach.

Cape Hedge Beach

Rockport, MA Beaches

Cogswell’s Grant

Cogswell’s Grant
(978) 768-3632
historicnewengland.org/historic-properties/homes/cogswells-grant
60 Spring Street, Essex

Cogswells Grant, Essex

Cogswell’s Grant, established in 1636 and now a historic house museum, became the summer home of collectors Bertram and Nina Fletcher Little in 1937. The eighteenth century farmhouse displays their celebrated collection of American folk art, including portraits, redware pottery, painted furniture, shaker boxes, hooked rugs, weathervanes and decoys. Everything is arranged exactly as the Little family lived with it. The property has been operated as a farm continuously for nearly four centuries and offers beautiful views of the marsh and Essex River. Special events include Kite Day in April and the Lipizzan Stallions in September. The museum is open for guided tours June 1 through October 15, Wednesday through Sunday, 11 am to 4 pm.

Beaches of Cape Ann: Long Beach, Rockport

Long Beach

Long Beach

Route 127A
(Thatcher Road to Rockport Road; this beach is shared by Gloucester and Rockport)

About a mile long (hence the name), this beach offers one of the best views of Thacher Island’s twin lighthouses. Investigate the tide pools or take a casual stroll, soaking in the sun. The beach is lined with quaint New England beach houses and inns. Alcohol is prohibited. Enjoy the day at Long Beach and then head into town for a fresh lobster dinner.

  • Directions from Gloucester: Continue past Good Harbor Beach on Thatcher Road (Route 127A north) for approximately 300 yards to the fork at Rockport Road. Continue straight on Rockport Road past the ice stand toward Cape Ann Motor Inn. Parking is available at privately operated parking lots (rates vary) located off Rockport Road, a short walk to the beach.
  • Directions from downtown Rockport: Follow Route 127A south for approximately 5 miles to just beyond the Gloucester line, and then take a sharp left onto Rockport Road at the ice cream stand. Then follow directions above.

Long Beach, Rockport, MA

Long Beach, Cape Ann

Essex Shipbuilding Museum

Essex Historical Society & Shipbuilding Museum
(978) 768-7541
essexshipbuildingmuseum.org
66 Main Street, Essex

Essex Museum

Photo by Arlene Taliadoros

Shipbuilding in Essex began before 1668. More than 4,000 wooden vessels have been launched from the banks of the Essex River.  Visit the Essex Shipbuilding Museum to learn the story of how the determination and enterprise of a small village of New Englanders developed the American Fishing Schooner – a vessel that  powered the fishing industry and changed maritime history. The Essex  Shipbuilding Museum is open April through December. Summer hours:  Memorial Day Weekend to October 31, Wednesday to Sunday, 10 am to 5 pm. Off season hours, April to Memorial Day Weekend and November 1 to mid-December: Saturday and Sunday – 10 am to 5 pm. Guided Tours: Adults $10, $8 Seniors, $5 Children, under 5 years old free.  Self-Guided Tours: $7.

Eastern Point Lighthouse

White light flashing every 5 seconds.
Directions: Eastern Point Light is easily reached by following Eastern Point Boulevard to its end.

Easter Point Light House, Gloucester

Photo by Coastal Exposure

Eastern Point Lighthouse was erected on Gloucester’s Eastern Point to mark the harbor entrance in 1832. The current brick tower was built in 1890 and is 36 feet tall with a focal plane of 56 feet. In addition to the light, there is a large lighthouse station, which continues to serve as housing for the U.S. Coast Guard. One of the station’s more famous occupants was Winslow Homer. The noted artist spent a year living at the light in 1880.

Eastern Point Lighthouse

Photo by Boston Drone Works

Recent Blog Posts

cape ann guide Cape Ann Guide Cape Ann Map Rockport Map line directions line events