Rockport Massachusetts is just a one hour ride by car or commuter rail from Boston. Situated at the tip of the Cape Ann peninsula, this artist enclave is truly one of Massachusetts’s hidden gems. In the Summer months, travelers from around the world flock to this seaside village to enjoy the beauty of its beaches and coastline. But here’s a little secret, Rockport is even better in the fall.
The beauty of the unspoiled landscape shines more brightly with the lighter tourist traffic and autumnal backdrop. So without further ado, here are 7 reasons to visit Rockport, MA this fall.
Mark Twain truly lived a full life. A steamboat pilot, confederate soldier, silver miner, journalist and author of over 20 books, Twain traveled extensively throughout his life and astutely observed, “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts.”
While we cannot be 100% certain that this quote is a reference to Rockport, Massachusetts, nor that Twain would wear his iconic white suit after Labor Day, we are sure that Twain would enjoy his time in the scenic coastal village and you would too.
The annual Rockport Harvestfest is one of the best celebrations of the year. When Rockport throws a party, they do it right!
Raised in Hannibal Missouri, Mark Twain certainly could appreciate the importance of the harvest and, we know, that he was always up for a good party. As he once famously stated, “If I cannot smoke cigars and drink bourbon in heaven, I shall not go.”
This year’s Harvestfest takes place on Saturday, October 19th from 10am and 5pm. The event features the best local food including fresh lobster, chowder, pizza, small batch jams, fresh-baked pies and pastry, locally grown produce, a wide selection of Massachusetts craft beers, and more.
There will be live bluegrass, jazz, folk, and indie rock, cooking demonstrations, community organizations, hayrides, a farm expo, and lot’s fun activities for all ages. And, the event is a great excuse to get away for a weekend to the coast and enjoy the beauty of Cape Ann.
After an extensive, multi-year construction project, Rockport Music officially opened the doors to the stunningly beautiful Shalin Liu Performance Center on June 10, 2010. The seaside venue has quickly become a cultural hub for Greater Boston and the north shore of Massachusetts.
With superb acoustics and a breathtaking ocean view, the Shalin Liu provides artists and attendees a magically intimate experience. Lead by the intrepid Tony Beadle, this charming 300 seat performance center draws some impressive talent to the Massachusetts north shore.
There is something special about live music that can uplift even the most curmudgiest curmudgeon. As Vladmir Putin once observed, “All of us contain Music and Truth, but most of us can’t get it out.” Just kidding that was Mark Twain.
Upcoming fall shows include Branford Marsalis, Grace Kelly, The Kingston Trio, the Bolshoi Ballet, the Four Italian Tenors and more! For Ticket information visit Rockport Music.
From October 6th through the 14th Cape Ann will be filled with 40 artists painting outdoor scenes en plein air. The artists will be competing to win prizes of over $20,000 and their works will be featured in local galleries, with many available for purchase.
Upholding the rich plein air art tradition on Cape Ann, Cape Ann Plein Air features artists utilizing techniques that harken back to renowned impressionists like Monet and Renoir.
Though Plein Air patrons are far more enthusiastic and supportive than our friend Twain, who dubbed the Mona Lisa “that smoked haddock,” and the Last Supper a “mournful wreck.” Perhaps Twain would prefer modern art, don’t worry, Mark, Rockport has you covered there as well!
But, you may be wondering, what is “plein air”? Well, it’s simply a French term meaning in the open air. Plein air artists work outdoors in nature, in the moment and not in a studio (sorry Bob Ross), but still painting some happy little clouds, none the less.
During the week there will artist demonstrations, dinners with the artists, a nocturne painting event and more. Please check the capeannpleinair.com website for the full calendar of events, times and locations.
Dining oceanfront provides a special connection between locally sourced ingredients, the environment, and the tradesmen who harvest the nautical bounty. The Rockport Massachusetts area has some waterfront dining options that are second to none.
With the freshest, locally caught seafood dining at restaurants like, My Place By The Sea, Roy Moore’s Fish Shack, Brackett’s Oceanview, The Market, and Feather and Wedge are well worth the trip to Rockport.
When you’re debating whether or not to order dessert, consider these sage words from Mark Twain: “Part of the secret of success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside.” We’re not sure if the Mark Twain diet is medically sound, but it sure sounds like a lot of fun!
In addition to inspired local cuisine, Rockport is no longer a dry town so you can feel free to sit back, relax, and enjoy a glass of wine, craft cocktail or microbrew and savor the ocean view. Trust us, it’s the perfect way to wind down the day. We know old Sam Clemens would be up for knocking back a whiskey or two.
Originally built as a fishing shack back in 1840, Motif #1 has become iconic in the town and a favorite subject of the many artists living in Rockport. Said to be the most painted building in the world, Painter Lester Hornby is believed to have coined the phrase Motif #1 as a reference to the popularity of the subject.
Although it has been damaged in storms such as the Blizzard of 1978, Motif #1 has always been restored and rebuilt as a symbol of resilience and the deep cultural traditions of Rockport.
If you come to Rockport for photography, you will certainly have no shortage of subject matter. In addition to Motif #1 there are many photogenic hot spots including Bearskin Neck, Thatcher Island, Halibut Point, The Headlands,Front Beach, and Steel Derrick Quarry to name a few.
But getting a pick by Motif#1 is certainly the holy grail and priority numero uno for Instagram story glory.
Downtown Rockport has an incredible selection of local shops, and art galleries to peruse. A stroll through Bearskin Neck and Dock Square is a relaxing way to spend an afternoon. Some of our favorite shops in the area include the Bearskin Neck Country Store, Sea Bags, Floating Lotus, Blue Lantern Clothing, The Fudgery, and Tuck’s Candy.
Don’t judge yourself for your affinity for finer threads. Even Mark Twain understood the importance of fashion and clothing. As he once stated: “Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.” Truer were never spoken.
With over 30 galleries featuring the works of over 400 artists, Rockport is an art-lovers paradise. Check out some of the local galleries here and be sure to head up Broadway to visit the modern art gallery of iartcolony as well. They are focused on showcasing the best up and coming younger art talent in the region.
So, if these 7 reasons to visit Rockport MA this fall didn’t fully convince you and you’re still on the fence, just steer clear of the orchards, pumpkin patches and the local haunted hayrides and set a course, pumpkin spiced latte in hand, for the road less traveled to Rockport, Massachusetts, M. Tweazy would approve. And if you need a place to crash we’re always happy to have you at our newly renovated Rockport MA Hotel.