Rockport, Massachusetts – New England’s Hidden Gem
Looking for a fun coastal escape this year? The scenic seaside village of Rockport, Massachusetts is the perfect place to relax, unwind and take in the beauty of coastal New England. It might not be as well known as some other New England destinations like Cape Cod, Kennebunkport, and Newport but it’s a hidden gem that’s worth exploring.
Rockport, MA truly has something for everyone including fresh seafood, historic inns, world class entertainment, beautiful beaches, talented artists, and great shopping. Let’s take a closer look at what makes Rockport, MA so special.
When you visit Rockport, you will notice the moorings on the inner harbor filled with colorful lobster boats and wharfs with lobster traps stacked to Jenga-like heights. The village has a storied fishing history and is still home to an active fishing fleet which provides some of the freshest seafood in New England.
When in town, you can indulge in a delicious lobster roll or two right on famous Bearskin Neck. We recommend either bellying up to Bearskin Neck Bistro or the iconic Roy Moore’s fish shack for your crustacean fix.
If you’re looking for a nice evening out in Rockport MA, we recommend Feather & Wedge or My Place By The Sea, both of which offer creative seafood dishes that are perfectly prepared with freshly caught local seafood. And, if you are in the mood for some briny beauties, check out our article on the best local oyster bars.
Rockport has a storied history of historic inns that offer delicious breakfasts and first-rate hospitality, including the newly renovated Addison Choate. This stylish boutique inn pairs modern luxury with historic charm and is a perennial favorite among Rockport travelers.
Located in the heart of town, Addison Choate is just a 5-minute walk to the shops, galleries, restaurants, and live entertainment at the Shalin Liu Performance Center. Enjoy a fresh-baked breakfast each morning on their wrap around porch as you prepare for a fun day on the town.
If you’re an audiophile, you will not want to miss a night out at the Shalin Liu Performance Center.
Completed in 2010, the Shalin Liu offers visitors to Rockport a world class performing arts center with superior acoustics. The most stunning feature of the Shalin Liu is an extraordinary floor to ceiling glass backdrop overlooking Sandy Bay.
With approximately 330 seats, concert goers can enjoy an intimate evening with their favorite performers, and the list is impressive. Despite its smaller size, the Shalin Liu still draws world class musicians such as 10,000 Maniacs, Paula Cole, Arlo Guthrie, John Scofield, Suzanne Vega, and Branford Marsalis. It is also home to an annual jazz festival each summer.
If you’re thinking of heading to Rockport for a few nights, we’d recommend getting tickets to a performance at the Shalin Liu.
There’s nothing better than the sun, the sand, and a thick salty breeze on a summer’s day to bring back your inner child.
Rockport has many beautiful beaches to enjoy on your visit including Front Beach, Long Beach, Cape Hedge, and Old Garden. Nearby Gloucester beaches like Good Harbor and Wingaersheek are also popular amongst visitors to town.
The rocky coastline provides the perfect terrain to scamper across in search of local sea life, while local lighthouses on Straitsmouth and Thacher Islands provide a beautiful backdrop on the horizon and make for some incredibly photogenic sunrises, sunsets and full moons.
Skilled artists and creatives have called Rockport home for centuries and the small Cape Ann village is still home to an active art colony.
With over 30 galleries in town and an active art association, you can peruse the work of talented Rockport artists for days.
Whether you enjoy abstract, modern, expressionism or impressionism there is something for every taste in town. Inspired by the beauty of Cape Ann and the magical lighting and the ocean, much of the art has a nautical bend and is the perfect keepsake to remember your trip to this coastal enclave.
Jutting out of Dock Square into Rockport Harbor you will find an historic stretch of land known as Bearskin Neck.
Here you will find a great variety of locally owned shops located in former Rockport fishing shacks. In these humble shingled shacks you will find merchants offering everything from homemade fudge and jewelry to fish prints, pottery, and paintings. No big box retailers here just local artisans offering some fun creations.
If you get hungry on your shopping excursion, not to worry. Bearskin Neck is filled with seafood shacks, candy shops, ice cream stores, and hot dog stands to keep you fueled up for your retail therapy session.
Those are a few reasons that we love Rockport, but there are many more. Although Rockport may not have as much notoriety as some of the other popular coastal destinations we think that it has charm in spades.
There is so much to do and see on a trip to Rockport MA that it’s hard to cover in a short write up. But if you’re thinking of heading to Cape Ann for a getaway, we’d recommend taking a peek at this helpful list of 40 things to do in Rockport and we hope to see you on island this summer.