If you find yourself in the Boston area, but want to take an easy day excursion out of the city to allow yourself some fresh, salt air, beaches and climbing rocks, and authentic sidelines found in a seaside town, then Rockport and Bearskin Neck may be for you.
Located approximately 25 miles northeast of Boston, at the tip of the Cape Ann peninsula, Rockport is reachable with less than an hour of driving and offers miles of beaches, boulders to climb, plenty of wooded trails, and what the locals refer to as a “magical light” that has inspired painters through the years. Much of that “light” can be seen captured in works found at the Rockport Art Association, which is home to a lovely gallery space as well as art from locals and others around the country.
Rockport’s commercial and shipbuilding center for 150 years, Bearskin Neck, was “named from a bear caught by the tide and killed in 1700,” according to the Massachusetts Bay Colony Tercentenary Commission. It’s an odd name, to be sure, but the little town in this area seems to have settled into a great combination of kitsch and charm.
The main streets through town and down to the water are an eclectic mix of history, assorted shops, restaurants and galleries, with something for everyone at many different price points.
History and Beach Treasures
History buffs can walk along the site of the Old Stone Fort—erected as protection against the British warships during the war of 1812, but captured in a sneak attack.
Walks along the jetty allow for some fairly challenging rock climbing for kids and adults alike, and walks along the beaches may turn up seaglass and shells, kite flyers, clam diggers or fortune finders with their metal detectors.
Capt. Steve’s Sea Shell shop, offers plenty of souvenirs for the taking, although, be sure to read where your shell came from, as Capt. Steve stocks plenty of shells that are certainly not of the local variety.
“Lobstah” Rolls and Other See Food
The Roy Moore Lobster Co. established in 1918 is not much more than a hole in the wall joint, but serves delicious seafood including lobster rolls, steamers, and top notch New England clam chowder, freshly made, and at reasonable prices all year ‘round. For those with kids who want seafood but also need an alternative, “Top Dog,” offers their famous fried clams and lobster rolls, as well as plenty of options for hot dogs done the way both kids and adults want them served.
For dessert, you may want to try Helmut’s Strudel or the Rockport Fudgery, featured in scenes of “The Proposal,” with Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds. When the weather warms up, ice cream is an option at a number of locations as well.
And before heading out of town, be sure to take the kids into R3 Sons Fun Emporium-home of the yodeling pickle. There they can take the wood catch ball challenge, the Presidential Challenge, the Rubiks’ cube challenge, rifle through various practical jokes, and more. You can even get away with spending as little as fifty cents here to find a small trinket to occupy the kids on the car ride…back to the city.