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A Spring Weekend for Two in Rockport, Massachusetts

by Barbara Rogers

May 1, 2018

© Stillman Rogers

Destinations / North America

The old fishing town of Rockport, north of Boston on Cape Anne, has all the ingredients for a weekend getaway for two. The town centers around the picturesque harbor with its signature “Motif #1” on a wharf at its center — reputed to be the world’s most photographed and painted fishing shack. You’ll see artists’ renditions of it at every season in the local art galleries.


Rockport, Massachusetts, 2017, May,

© Stillman Rogers


Browsing these and the Rockport Art Association and Museum’s shows is a favorite pastime, and between galleries are shops selling everything from fudge and lobster-themed coffee mugs to smart resort wear and beautifully crafted silver jewelry. The highest concentration of shops — and places to enjoy the local seafood — is along Bearskin Neck, a long point that extends along one side of the harbor to a little park on the site of a former fort. Stop for a cone at The Ice Cream Store or for coffee and a traditional Austrian pastry on the deck at Helmut’s Strudel.


The Atlantic beaches in Rockport are a bit cold for swimming before summer sets in, but spring is a perfect season for long leisurely walks on the beach, or on the shore path that leads to Halibut Point State Park. Stop for picnic makings and have lunch on the ledges overlooking the sea. On a clear day you can see as far as the coast of Maine.


Rockport, Massachusetts, 2017, May

© Stillman Rogers


You’ll get even more views from a boat. From T Wharf at the harbor you can take a tour with Loblolly Seal Cruises along the shores of Sandy Bay to see Harbor and Grey seals and seabirds and to sail past two island lighthouses. Gloucester is a short drive away, with whale watching, fishing and nature cruises. The 65-foot Thomas E. Lannon takes passengers for two-hour sails aboard a traditional Gloucester fishing schooner. Or you can go deep sea fishing from Rockport with Islander Private Charters.


Rockport, Massachusetts, 2017, May, Emerson Inn, coastline, shore, hotel, Inn, resort,

Emerson Inn. Photo: Stillman Rogers


Of course the most important part of a weekend for two is choosing the right place to stay. That’s an easy decision in Rockport, where the Emerson Inn has welcomed guests for nearly more than a century. You may not want to do any sightseeing at all once you see the comfortable wicker chairs along the wide verandah overlooking the sea.


Although historic, the hotel has been nicely updated with 21st-century amenities in its bright airy guestrooms. Large windows overlook the sea and, if you’re early risers, the sunrise view is a knock-out. You may want to pull the room-darkening shade, though, as the beds are blissfully comfortable. The large bathtubs feature air massage.


If the evening is warm enough, tables at Pigeon Cove Tavern spill out onto the porch for sundowners or even for dinner. The menu is every bit as enticing as the ocean view, with appetizers like salmon tartare or plump mussels steamed in wine and roasted tomatoes, and entrees like scallops pan-seared in citrus-thyme butter. Seafood and as many of the other ingredients as possible are locally grown and sourced.


In one weekend you won’t be able to do everything Rockport has to offer, but you can always come back in the summer for the beaches.


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