Tag Archives: things to do

Things to do on Cape Ann: Tompson Street Reservation in Gloucester

Tompson Street Reservation is a free 302-acre reservation in Gloucester. It is the largest owned by Greenbelt, Essex County’s Land Trust. You can hike its wooded trails through lowbush blueberry and pitch pine, and climb a large granite ledge, Eagle Rock, for stunning views of Cape Ann and the Great Marsh.

Sunset Mountain, at the southern end, offers another spectacular vista, perfect for catching the sunset. Bring a picnic. Your kids can hunt for many geocaches, and your dog can run off leash, one of the few places allowing this in the summer. Several trailhead entrances, on Bray, Concord and Fernald Streets in Gloucester.

Tompson Street Reservation

Photo Credit: Essex County Greenbelt

Find more information and download a map at ecga.org.

Written by Patricia Mandell

Things to do on Cape Ann: North Shore Kayak Outdoor Center in Rockport

If you’re looking to experience Cape Ann by getting out on the water, look no further! North Shore Kayak Outdoor Center offers tours of beautiful Rockport Harbor, a paddle to Thacher Island, or an overnight camping adventure. You’ll see five islands and three lighthouses. Two hour tours head to Straitsmouth Island and the 3 ½ hour tour lands on Thacher Island where you can explore the trails, enjoy the views from the top of a 124 foot lighthouse, or just relax at the landing site.

North Shore Kayak

Photo Credit: North Shore Kayak

Noth Shore Kayak Outdoor Center is located at 9 Tuna Wharf in Rockport. 978-546-5050. northshorekayak.com

Written by Patricia Mandell

Things to do on Cape Ann: Halibut Point & The Atlantic Path in Rockport

Halibut Point State Park & the Atlantic Path are a must-see for anyone visiting Cape Ann.

Halibut Point State Park: On Saturdays, from Memorial Day weekend through Columbus Day weekend, quarry tours are offered which include a granite-cutting demonstration. Other programs spotlight the park’s natural history, including wildflower walks and tide pool programs during the summer and seabird walks during the winter. Halibut Point is a uniquely beautiful coastal seascape. Looking seaward on a clear day, the view stretches from Crane Beach in Ipswich to Mount Agamenticus in Maine and the Isles of Shoals off the coast of New Hampshire.

State Park entrance and parking lot located on Gott Avenue, Rockport. 978-546-2997. Find more information at mass.gov/dcr.

Halibut Point State Park

Photo Credit: Mark Kanegis

The Atlantic Path, a three-hour public pathway along Rockport’s rugged northerly coastline, extends from Halibut Point State Park and Reservation to Cathedral Avenue in Pigeon Cove. Andrews Point, located along the Atlantic Path and accessible via a public right of way, offers panoramic vistas and is a noted bird-watching site. (Very limited on-street parking for Andrews Point is available on Point de Chene Avenue.)
Rockport Guide to Public Paths and Town Landings, available at Toad Hall Bookstore, 47 Main Street, Rockport

Written by Patricia Mandell

Things to do on Cape Ann: The Get Outside Center in Gloucester

The Get Outside Center in Gloucester is where kids get to go on adventures in the wilds of sea and shore, woods and fields, ponds and streams, getting wet and muddy in the process. In July and August, the center has daily summer drop-in programs for kids of all ages, even teenagers. The staff doesn’t script everything, letting kids learn how to deal with what happens in nature when you’re out there.

The little ones, ages 4-7, will get to “experience the world through the eyes, ears, nose and paws of a different animal each morning,” in “Being Animals.” Older kids, 8-12, can learn about outdoor survival: how to build shelters, which wild plants are edible, and how to make tools and track animals. Preteens and teens get to go on “Travel Adventures,” planning day trips each morning to explore the wilds of Cape Ann: woodlands, beaches, marshes, lakes and streams. The center also has nature exhibits and books.

Get Outside Center, Gloucester

Photo Credit: Kestrel Educational Adventure

The Get Outside Center is located at 186 Main Street in Gloucester. 978-633-7100. kestreleducation.org

Written by Patricia Mandell

Things to do on Cape Ann: Maritime Gloucester

Maritime Gloucester is hands-down the best place to show kids what Gloucester is all about: four centuries of fishing. You can spend hours here, enjoying the vibrant hands-on and interactive exhibits, indoors and out. Your kids can handle oilskins and fog horns, sail maker’s tools and handmade nets. They can pick up all kinds of sea critters in the touch tanks, from sea stars and periwinkles to whelks and lobsters.

Out on the pier stands a giant lobster trap, so big that kids can walk inside it and pretend to be a lobster, and figure out how it works. Inside the Dory Shop, they can watch a real boat builder at work on sailing and rowing dories. The Diving Locker holds all sorts of scuba gear, including a 1949 rig. Take a sail on a real schooner, the Ardelle, a 55-foot traditional pinky schooner built in Essex by a fourth-generation boat builder.

Daily drop-in summer programs start in June, such as Catch of the Day, Creature of the Week and Plankton Safari.

Maritime Gloucester

Photo Credit: Maritime Gloucester

Maritime Gloucester is located at 23 Harbor Loop in Gloucester. 978-281-0470. maritimegloucester.org

Written by Patricia Mandell

Things to do on Cape Ann: Essex Shipbuilding Museum in Essex

We are lucky to have so many wonderful historical sites and museums on Cape Ann. The Essex Shipbuilding Museum tells the extraordinary story of a small New England village that built more two-masted wooden fishing schooners than any other place in the world. It is a must on the Cape Ann to do list!

How can you build ships with wooden nails? Learn how at this very special small museum, interpreting four centuries of wooden boat building in Essex.

Essex Ship Building Museum

Photo Credit: Essex Shipbuilding Museum

The Essex Shipbuilding Museum is located at66 Main Street in Essex. 978-768-7541. essexshipbuildingmuseum.org

Written by Patricia Mandell