(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.
White light flashing every 5 seconds.
Directions: Eastern Point Light is easily reached by following Eastern Point Boulevard to its end.
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.
Checkout some of the different sailing opportunities on Cape Ann! Companies below vary from educational and historic sails to private charters. There’s no better way to take advantage of Cape Ann’s beautiful location than to get out on the water!
Frayed Knot Sailing
Ashland Ave, Manchester
23 Harbor Loop, Gloucester
33 Harbor Loop at Maritime Gloucester
Defiance Sail Charters
211 East Main Street-Beacon Marine Basin, Gloucester
Schooner Thomas E. Lannon
63-R Rogers Street
Good Harbor Beach
Route 127A (Thatcher Road)
With shining white sand stretching out into the Atlantic and picturesque views of Thacher Island’s twin lights, beautiful Good Harbor is one of the most popular beaches on Cape Ann. At low tide, one can take a leisurely stroll out to Salt Island while at high tide one can enjoy body surfing or styrofoam boogie boards (all other floatation devices and surf boards are prohibited). Lifeguards are on duty daily from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend.
- Carry In – Carry Out policy for trash, so all visitors should bring
a trash bag with them.
- Alcohol is prohibited. Concession stands are open during the summer so patrons may purchase food, drinks, toys and other items as needed.
- Restrooms and showers are open from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm each day.
- Parking (buses prohibited) is available during the week at a rate of $25 per vehicle, and on the weekends and holidays at $30 per vehicle. Non-resident parking is limited so arrive early in order to get a parking space, especially during the summer months. Gates open at 8:00 am and are locked at 9:00 pm. The beach is handicapped accessible.
- Directions: Take Route 128 North into Gloucester. Follow the signs for East Gloucester/Rockport, and continue on through two rotaries. At the first traffic light take a left onto Eastern Avenue (Route 127 N) and follow for approximately ½ mile to the Shaw’s Plaza on your right. Turn right at the end of the plaza onto Barn Lane. At the end of Barn Lane turn left onto Thatcher Road and the beach lot will be approximately ¼ mile on your right.
#1 WATCH THE BIGGEST MAMMALS ON THE PLANET
Make sure whale watching goes on your bucket list. People say: “It’s a lifelong dream fulfilled,” “It’s the best thing I ever did,” and “It made me cry,” reports Paul Frontierro of Gloucester, who has never tired of running whale watches for almost 30 years. Every single day is different. You might see mothers and calves, or whales breaching, flipper slapping, blowing or tail lobbing. On an extraordinary day, you could see 40 or 50 whales. Seasoned whale watchers go out several times a year.
#2 SOAK UP CULTURE AT THE SHALIN LIU
Like a fairytale palace with perfect acoustics, the Shalin Liu Performance Center rises from the Rockport waterfront. Its huge oceanfront windows let you watch the sun set over the harbor behind the performers while enjoying concerts of all stripes, plays, high def Met simulcasts and film festivals. What’s not to love?
#3 DIG DOGTOWN
A wild, mysterious wood blankets Cape Ann’s vast middle, a place of storied ghosts, pirates and murder. All that’s left are cellar holes and words painted on boulders: “Courage,” “Never try, never win.” So you don’t get lost, join a tour (contact the Chamber), or park on Cherry Street at Dogtown Road in Gloucester and follow the fire roads in and back. Don’t go late in the day. Bring your cell.
#4 VISIT “THE ANTIQUES CAPITAL OF AMERICA”
So many antiques shops crowd Essex’s waterfront on Rt. 133 that you’ll have to pick and choose: Americana, white elephants, fine art, European imports, something for everyone’s collection. When you weary of shopping, sample the seafood establishments also lining Rt. 133.
#5 BEACH IT UP
We have them all: spectacular barrier beaches like Wingaersheek and Good Harbor; shallow, child-friendly beaches like Rockport’s Front Beach; a beach with a dune made entirely of rocks, and even a beach that sings. Take your pick. Just don’t forget your camera.
#6 DINE WITH A VIEW
If you love seafood the way we do, you’ll love it even more with a view. You can have lobster in the rough at a rocky cove, elegant linen service overlooking the ocean, and everything in between. Bon appétit.
#7 COME FOR CHRISTMAS, STAY FOR WINTER
Nothing stops Rockport’s town tree lighting, not even a nor’easter. Santa comes by lobster boat, you can watch candy canes being made by hand, and see a live nativity with real animals, a torchlight procession, and a community carol sing. In Gloucester, Santa parades from the State Fish Pier all the way down Main Street to Stacy Boulevard for their tree lighting, and the Middle Street Walk shows off period houses. A Christmas tree made entirely of lobster traps glows above Main Street.
Essex has a Toy Land Parade, Santa’s arrival at the town landing, and breakfast with Santa.
Christmas by the Sea in Manchester finds open houses in the shops, the Jingle Bell Walk,
and the lighting of the Friendship Tree.
Rockport hosts an alcohol-free New Year’s Eve celebration throughout downtown, with clowns and puppets for children, and every kind of musical concert imaginable, from jazz, rock and roll and country and western to classical, Cajun and sea chanteys.
Between New Year’s and spring, you can enjoy some spectacular winter birding, snowshoeing, and walks in the woods. Others enjoy mountain biking in the snow, surfing the winter waves, or just plain storm watching. The less adventurous might prefer to book an inn and curl up in front of a toasty fire, hot mulled cider in hand.
Author: Patricia Mandell
King Charles I named our Cape about 400 years ago in honor of his Mother, Ann. Today Cape Ann is quickly becoming recognized as a not-so- hidden gem whose qualities and attractions improve every year. Cape Ann uniquely possesses all the best of what New England has to offer, in a compact and easily traversed area. From its expansive green saltmarshes in Essex and Gloucester and incredibly beautiful and historic harbors of Gloucester, Manchester-by-the-Sea and Rockport, to its wide, pristine beaches, and amazing rocky coastline, Cape Ann truly has it all.
Savor a relaxing porch-front view of the Atlantic Ocean at an historic inn or upscale hotel along the Gloucester and Rockport shores, walk along beautiful, wide open beaches, find unique and fun shopping, and experience a vast array of dining experiences in all four Cape Ann communities. Cape Ann is famed for the best fried and steamed clams in the region, and visitors have an array of dining options from eat-in-the rough lobsters and clams to fine dining establishments. Shop at unique boutique stores, cast-off from a dock and sail around spectacular harbors and travel farther out to the famed Stellwagen Bank for incredible whale watching and deep sea fishing. See world class art, dig into history and enjoy the stories of our earliest settlers whose homes remain intact to this day.
(Photo Credit: Arlene Taliadoros)
As the birthplace of the fried clam, this picturesque community yields some of the finest seafood on Cape Ann. Whether you care for a cup of clam chowder or a plate full of steamed clams, you will not be disappointed. But the quiet town of just over 3,000 residents has much more to offer than great seafood. Antiquing, a premier Essex attraction for generations, remains a favorite pastime for the locals as well as visitors. Shipbuilding has been part of Essex’s heritage for more than 400 years, and draws people from far and wide to admire what it takes to build the beautiful watercraft, some still sailing Cape Ann’s harbors and waterways today! The Essex Shipbuilding Museum is one stop that is a must see to truly appreciate the incredible ship building heritage of this small community. Kayaking or taking a cruise down the Essex River will surely give you a unique view of the tidal salt marsh as you meander with the river out toward Conomo Point and Ipswich Bay.
(Photo Credit: Cape Ann Chamber)
America’s oldest Seaport, this city of nearly 30,000 residents has a storied history that in the late 19th Century was the fishing center for North America. . Fishing is still a way of life for many in Gloucester and a majority of the local restaurants relying on the hard work done at sea and the fresh catch that comes in daily. Like its neighbor Essex, many of Cape Ann’s historic fishing vessels and schooners were built in Gloucester, where reputedly the first one was assembled in 1713. Take a stroll along the HarborWalk and Gloucester’s authentic working waterfront, visit the panoramic vistas of Gloucester Harbor at the Fishermen’s Memorial Statue (The Man at the Wheel) on Stacey Boulevard or from Stage Fort Park, tour Rocky Neck and its art colony and cultural district, and take to the water with a fun sail or motor tour around Gloucester’s historic and beautiful Harbor, or venture farther off shore and experience the best whale watching and deep sea fishing in New England, All this and more provide a varied taste of Gloucester’s amazing history, incredible beauty, and abundant attractions.
(Photo Credit: David Stotzer)
Founded as Jeffrey’s Creek in the mid-1800s, this town is located at the southern end of Cape Ann. In 1989 the state legislature made the name official as a means to differentiate the town from its larger neighbor to the North. A trip to Singing Beach, aptly named because of how the sand resonates when you walk on it, or Tuck’s Point is worth your time and then some. Beautiful retail shops, restaurants and galleries fill the town of just over 5,000 residents. The Manchester Historical Museum’s Trask House is a must-see to get the complete story of this town known for its beautiful historic architecture.
This picturesque seaside village, located at the most northeasterly part of Cape Ann, features beautiful beaches, historic lighthouses and galleries galore. Rockport’s downtown area is filled with quaint shops that include bookstores, candy-making, cafés and ice cream shops as well as art galleries, specialty shops, jewelers and many places to dine. A leisurely stroll along the ever-changing Bearskin Neck will give visitors every imaginable opportunity to buy that perfect keepsake to remember and cherish their time on Cape Ann. Visit Halibut Point State Park or walk along Rockport’s scenic shores in the footsteps of Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau and be captivated as they were by Rockport’s special places and unique charm.
Imagine the possibilities inherent in hosting 25 of the 1,000 Mandela Washington Fellows selected in 2016 from various nations in Africa as a part of President Obama’s Young African Leadership Initiative (YALI) for six weeks. Now imagine being one of 36 institutions nationwide selected to host the Fellows. That is precisely what Cambridge College is doing and has accomplished this summer. The Fellows are all part of a Business and Entrepreneurship Institute hosted by the College, which highlights the relevance of servant leadership embodied in weekly themes expressed in academic content, site visits to local businesses, community service, host family visits, and cultural engagement designed expressly for the Fellows to explore the local surroundings and uniqueness of the region’s people and communities, specifically in the Greater Boston area, Massachusetts, and New England – including Gloucester and Cape Ann. On Saturday, July 9th, Mandela Washington Fellows from Cambridge College travelled to Gloucester and visited several key areas unique to the city, including Good Harbour Beach, the Cape Ann Museum, Local Colors Artist-Co-Op, the Maritime Museum, Aquarium, Harriet Webster Pier, Marine Railway, Mill Building, and Dory and Museum Shop. Mandela Washington Fellows ended their day in Gloucester aboard the Schooner Ardelle, built by the community using the 400 year-old traditions reflective of the Gloucester and Cape Ann spirit. As the Ardelle left port sailing along Gloucester Harbour, Fellows eagerly enjoyed hoisting sails, singing songs, laughing, and celebrating under bundled blankets shielding them from the chilly winds of an atypical summer evening in Gloucester. One major component of the Mandela Washington Fellowship is that the Fellows have the opportunity to experience American culture in the respective states where they are based. This experience includes everything from the food, sports, music, and culture to all else that comes from the expressive history and the diversity of the United States and its people. The trip to Gloucester lived up to this and more – touted as one of the highlights of Cambridge College’s Institute, the trip was the first time many of the Fellows ever experienced sailing and all enjoyed the fullness that the maritime community provided. This included the many businesses and local entrepreneurs reflected both in the work and spirit of the local community of Gloucester.
As a blanket of thick clouds rolled in on the early morning, this did not deter or dampen the Fellows’ spirit about their Gloucester adventure. Fellows simply huddled in the bus and took the approximate hour long trip to Gloucester from their residence in Cambridge. Most, however, were unaware of what awaited them in Gloucester and all looked forward to the day ahead. They were amazed by the hospitality of the people of Gloucester who welcomed the Fellows with open arms.
(Taleni Shimhopileni from Namibia and Maresha Beniam Hirabo from Ethiopia enjoying a day at the Marine Railway.)
(Fellows visit the Maritime Museum)
It Began with a Beach
The day-trip began at Good Harbour Beach, running on a wide expanse of sand that magically preserved the Fellows’ footprints as they melted into the sand. Despite the cold weather, blankets and windbreakers were available to all, and the Fellows enjoyed frolicking on the beach, having lunch in the sand, and playing beach soccer, which escalated both their adrenaline and much needed body warmth to endure the morning winds.
Some Art Anyone?
As far as knowing the history of a place, visiting the Cape Ann Museum was a great place to start. The Cape Ann Museum tour, guided by a local docent, provided a wonderful overview of the artists and valuable historical contexts unique to the region. Thanks to our excellent tour guide, who did a splendid job narrating the history of Gloucester, Fellows learned more about the once-flourishing fishing town that many called home.
In the midst of all the paintings and sculptures, there was one in particular that stood out for some of the Fellows, which highlighted the courage, dedication, and passion chronicled by the town’s historical figure, Howard Blackburn, a Gloucester fisherman who lost his fingers as a result of being lost at sea in 1883 and continued to provide strong leadership to the community. The Fellows were inspired by Blackburn’s story of how he became a successful businessman and returned to sailing the seas once again, setting a world record at the time.
(Guided Tour at Cape Ann Museum)
Local Colors Shine Bright
The community spirit of Gloucester can also be seen in the local boutique cooperative shop known to everyone as Local Colors. Mandela Washington Fellows were welcomed with a warm reception by the artist co-owners of Local Colors, who exhibit and sell their arts and crafts. The Fellows found the array of art, paintings, photographs, ceramics, fabrics, jewelry, and different forms of art fascinating. The diversity of arts under one roof and how the artists take turns running the store was also of great interest. Speaking to the artists, it was easy for the Fellows to visualize how the shop and artists continue to thrive for many years by simply loving what they do. Many Fellows commented on how they might pursue similar initiatives in their home countries and mentioned the level of love and community spirit exuded within the artists’ work. Fellows also enjoyed the way the artists shared their individual craft and highlighted the work of other artists. The shared, supportive interaction moved many Fellows to comment on the level of comradery and collaboration among the artists reflective of the servant leadership and investment in community talent themes embedded in Cambridge College’s Business and Entrepreneurship Institute.
An Aquatic Experience
Next on their amazing day in Cape Ann was a trip to Maritime Gloucester. At the Aquarium, Fellows had an awesome opportunity to learn about the different kinds of creatures found in the waters of Gloucester. Some Fellows were brave enough to touch and hold lobsters and crabs. All were amazed by the rare Blue Lobster (one in two million) and proudly proclaimed their leadership as the first person from their country to hold a Blue Lobster. It was easier for some than it was for others to handle the lobsters and a few Fellows had to summon all their strength and fight their trepidation to do so. It was definitely an awesome and fun experience for all involved!
The day in Gloucester would be incomplete without the opportunity for Fellows to ride the seas of Cape Ann. This they did on the Ardelle, the epitome of the city and region’s maritime heritage. Prior to boarding the Fellows learned about the craft of ship building from Harold Burnham, master ship builder Harold Burnham. On a short voyage at sea, Fellows drifted along experiencing the open waters, singing songs, and sharing stories about the wonders of their day in Gloucester.
The sad part about any day is that it only has 24 hours. And Fellows seized every second out of the minutes and hours at Gloucester. Grateful for all that Cape Ann provided, Fellows eagerly commented on their lovely trip to Gloucester and were deeply saddened that the day had finally come to an end. As the Mandela Washington Fellows returned to Cambridge and the sky transformed morning into dusk, all knew that that they would one day share stories about their Cape Ann adventure in Gloucester and what this experience meant to them. The warmth and spirit of the Gloucester community will be with all for many years to come. Long live the Maritime village of Gloucester now shared with the future civic, community, and business leaders of over 19 nations in Africa represented by the 25 Mandela Washington Fellows from Cambridge College.
Last weekend we had another fabulous Gloucester Block Party on Main Street! The community joined us on the street for great food, shopping and fun music and performances. The next and final Block Party of the summer will be held on Friday, September 2 – we hope to see you there! Visit gloucesterblockparty.com for details on participating merchants, vendors and entertainment.
Historic Stage Fort Park along Gloucester Harbor blossom into the colorful Annual Gloucester Waterfront Festival each year.
Come and view the works of over 200 Juried Artists and Craftsmen from throughout the U.S.A. Continuous live music, traditional New England Seafood, a fabulous pancake breakfast and Antique Cars complement this picture perfect seaport event!
Exhibits include Fine Jewelry, Watercolors, Pottery, Custom Signs, Bird Houses, Quilts, Silk & Dried Floral Arrangements, Wildlife Art, Dolls, Pressed Flowers, Painted Antiques, Photography, Metal Sculpture, Sand stone, Carved Birds, Maps, Fiber Arts, Stained Glass, Music Boxes, Scroll Work, Masks, Candles, Copper, Wood Burning, Slate, Tapestry Bags, Nautical Crafts, Shaker Style Furniture, Oils, Primitive and Folk Art.
Saturday and Sunday, August 20, 21, 2016
Stage Fort Park, Gloucester
Visit Gloucester on August 6, 2016 for the Blues Festival at Stage Fort Park! World Class Blues will reverberate through Gloucester’s Stage Fort Park with some of the nation’s finest performers playing from the Gloucester Blues Stage. Located right on the waterfront at beautiful Cressey’s Beach, the event will have a beer and wine garden, a guitar raffle (signed by this year’s performing artists), and outstanding food and craft vendors.
Gloucester Blues Festival
Saturday, August 6, 2016
Stage Fort Park, Gloucester
For more information and tickets, visit gloucesterbluesfestival.com.