A Treasure By The Sea | Singing Beach MA
There are so many fantastic beaches on the north shore it’s hard to choose just one!
Here at Addison Choate, our guests often ask us which beach is our favorite, and it’s a difficult question to answer. We really have an embarrassment of nautical riches here on Cape Ann.
Fortunately, we don’t have to choose just one beach to explore. If you’re staying at our Rockport MA Hotel for a few days we recommend that you explore the area and see all of the beauty that the north shore has to offer.
Some beaches that we love include Crane Beach in Ipswich, Wingaersheek Beach in Gloucester, and Long Beach in Rockport. But our favorite beach on the north shore may just be Singing Beach in Manchester By The Sea.
Singing Beach is a beautiful crescent-shaped beach nestled in between two rocky promontories, Pickwith Point to the south and Eagle Head to the north. It features clean waters, beautiful soft singing sands, a concession stand, shower and changing facility, and is a peaceful sanctuary where your worries can wash away with the tides.
The backside of the beach is protected by a hill where beachgoers can relax, sit on the benches and enjoy the view of the Atlantic, elevated from the sands. At night it’s a great spot to catch a beautiful moon shining over the waters.
While Singing beach, at a half mile, is not as large as Crane Beach, its location and private parking lot, help keep the crowds very manageable. If you walk out toward the south side of the beach and Pickwith Point there is usually plenty of beachfront to set up shop for the day. That is also the area of the beach where you are allowed to break out the football, frisbee, spikeball, cornhole and other beach games.
The town of Manchester has a rich history dating back to its settlement by English colonists in 1629. Later incorporated in 1645, the town served as a thriving fishing village for many years.
In the late 19th century, Boston area elite, along with their New York and Chicago counterparts, arrived to build summer mansions on the shores in an effort to escape the heat of the city in the days before air conditioning.
It was the Gilded Age, money from the industrial revolution was flowing and government bodies still hadn’t concocted a scheme to slip their hands in the till. It was summertime in Manchester (not “By The Sea” yet) and the living was easy.
Interestingly, one of the epicenters of social life during this time was the Masconomo House Hotel, owned by the brother of John Wilkes Booth, Junius Booth and his wife Agnes. But that’s a story for another time.
When the 19th and early 20th century elite took to the beach, they did so in their Sunday’s best. And those that were interested in braving the cold Atlantic waters had some fantastic swim attire. Stylish woolen one piece suits for the men and blouses and bloomers for the female swimmers.
Ok, so let’s turn our attention to the “singing sands.” Once you set foot on the beach you will not be serenaded by Ella Fitzgerald, perhaps it’s a sound more akin to a late Tom Waits. When Henry David Thoreau visited Singing Beach back in 1859 he noted, “The sound was not at all musical nor was it loud…I though it as much like the sound of waxing a table as anything.”
Regardless of the tone and tenor of the sand, the phenomenon is fascinating and adds to the mystique of this coastal enclave.
Why does the sand at Singing Beach “sing”? Well, there is not 100% agreement on the subject but most everyone thinks that it is a combination of the humidity, grain size/shape, and elements that compose the sand grains (quartz, zircon and feldspar). Pretty interesting stuff.
The facilities at Singing Beach open up on Memorial Day weekend. The bath house is open weekends until mid-June and then daily through the Summer.
Singing Beach MA Parking lot is open throughout the year.
June 1st through Labor Day the parking lot is open to residents with a beach sticker.
Non-residents may park in designated spots, from about mid-June through Labor Day, but there is a $25 fee that must be paid in cash or by check. There is also a $7.00 walk on fee to use the beach.
Non-residents may not park at the beach on July 4th or July 5th.
Where You Can Find Parking:
You can always find parking down at Masconomo Park or down by the train station where the Boy Scouts usually sell spots for about $20.
For additional facility details and the latest beach information you can consult the Town of Manchester Website.
Getting to Singing Beach is really easy. If you’re heading up Route 95/128 you just take Exit 15 and follow School Street down to the center of the town. Follow 127 down to Crosby’s Market. Just past the market on the left you will find Harrigan’s Liquors, and the train station. You can park in this lot.
To get to Singing Beach it is about a ½ mile walk up the aptly named Beach Street.
Alternatively, if you are coming up from Boston you can take the commuter rail right into the heart of Manchester By The Sea. You then just have to walk up Beach Street the ½ mile and you’re on the beach!
If you’re looking for a place to bring Fido to stretch his legs there are not shortage of north shore beaches to choose from. Wingaersheek and Good Harbor both allow dogs in the off-season and Singing Beach MA allows dogs from October 15th to April 14th.
There are some fantastic places to stop while in town. If you are looking for a great Independent Bookstore, Manchester By The Book is a fantastic stop. With stacks of classics, the store specializes in providing “better books.”
There are some great places to shop in town including Cargo, the Stock Exchange and Wears Woody. You can also grab some Ice Cream at Captain Dusty’s or a larger meal at the Beach Street Café or Cala’s.
If you are looking for some other great restaurants in the area, you can check out our list of 9 of our favorite Cape Ann restaurants.
We hope that you have found our guide to Singing Beach MA helpful! It’s really a beautiful spot and if you come and stay with us a for a few nights in Rockport, we’d definitely recommend taking the trek a couple of exits down for a beautiful day at the beach.