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Summer Day Trip to Rockport, MA

Please note that businesses, attractions, and events throughout New England have been modified, closed, and/or canceled in response to the COVID-19 health crisis. Please travel responsibly, and check with state guidelines and individual businesses and organizations before making travel plans.


Rockport, MA, is a coastal town of food, shopping, and seaside charm. It’s the perfect place to relax by the ocean, browse the work of an incredible number of artists, and of course, eat a lobster roll. 

Rockport, MA

Motif No. 1 is the icon of Rockport, MA.

Bethany Bourgault

There’s something special about this little town. In all of my New England exploring, I’ve yet to encounter a place that captures the essence of coastal life quite like Rockport. After all, Rockport is the inspiration behind so many works of art (it’s been an artists’ haven for almost a century — most notably thanks to Motif No. 1, pictured above) that it’s no wonder Rockport is the physical embodiment of our ideas of life by the water. And with its next-door neighbor to the north, south, and east being the Atlantic Ocean, I can’t help but feel like Rockport would rather be a part of the sea anyway.

As the tip of the Cape Ann peninsula, Rockport, MA, is in historic Essex County. It began as part of the nearby town of Gloucester, and together these areas got their start in the fishing business. Pine harvested from the vicinity was used for shipbuilding, and locally quarried granite (they didn’t call it “rock” port for nothing!) was shipped all up and down America’s east coast. It wasn’t until much later that tourism appeared on the local economy’s radar, but now that it has, there are plenty of dining, shopping, and cultural experiences for the sea-seeking explorer to enjoy.

I arrived in town just before noon — just in time to visit one of my favorite seafood restaurants, Roy Moore’s Fish Shack. I remember eating here with my family as a little girl, and trust me, the menu looks just as delicious now as it did back then. Roy Moore’s has two locations in the Bearskin Neck area to suit the preferences of any and all lobster lovers. One, a sit-down nautical-looking restaurant at 21 Dock Square, is perfect for dinnertime or taking a break from the outdoors, and the other, a more casual eatery at 39 Bearskin Neck, is a great option for diners on the go.

Rockport, MA

Roy Moore’s Fish Shack offers classic, delicious seafood and great views.

Bethany Bourgault

Rockport, MA

Lunch time view in Rockport, MA.

Bethany Bourgault

Rockport, MA

Now THAT’S what I’d call a great lunch!

Bethany Bourgault

Rockport, MA

Roy Moore Lobster Co. on Bearskin Neck in Rockport, MA.

Bethany Bourgault

Ocean-side dining complete, it was time to head to the shops and galleries, where you can find everything from prints, pottery and photography to original paintings, hand-crafted jewelry, and more. Most of these are concentrated on Bearskin Neck itself, though there are several that have spilled over to the adjoining streets. Wear your walking shoes! Here’s a quick sampling of some of my favorites.

Rockport, MA

The Pewter Shop has been celebrating the work of metal-crafters since 1935.

Bethany Bourgault

Rockport, MA

The Blue Lantern specializes in women’s accessories, like these colorful scarves.

Bethany Bourgault

Rockport, MA

Don’t forget your furry friends! Stop by the Good Dog Gallery for dog- and pet-themed gifts and art.

Bethany Bourgault

Rockport, MA

Rockport’s colorful buildings evoke a sense of whimsical seaside charm.

Bethany Bourgault

Rockport, MA

A varied assortment of beach-ready clothing awaits.

Bethany Bourgault

Rockport, MA

Ocean-inspired art in the gift shops.

Bethany Bourgault

Rockport, MA

The Bearskin Neck Country Store is a retro “blast from the past.”

Bethany Bourgault

Rockport, MA

Insert a quarter and the piano will play you a tune!

Bethany Bourgault

Rockport, MA

Penny candy, anyone?

Bethany Bourgault

Rockport, MA

For those with a sweet tooth for nostalgic candy, the country store is the place to be.

Bethany Bourgault

Rockport, MA

Colorful flower arrangements welcome visitors to Carol Lee’s Cottage.

Bethany Bourgault

Rockport, MA

Looking for some water-based adventure? North Shore Kayak offers all of the gear you’ll need, plus kayak rentals.

Bethany Bourgault

Rockport, MA

One of my favorite stops — the Fudgery. My personal recommendation? The penuche fudge!

Bethany Bourgault

Rockport, MA

Pick your favorite flavors.

Bethany Bourgault

Rockport, MA

Lula’s Pantry is full of unique kitchen accessories.

Bethany Bourgault

Rockport, MA

Tuck’s Candy Store has been popular since its founder began crafting chocolate confections in 1929.

Bethany Bourgault

Rockport, MA

So many choices at Tuck’s!

Bethany Bourgault

Rockport, MA

Stop by the information center for brochures and info on the Rockport, MA area.

Bethany Bourgault

Rockport, MA

No day trip would be complete without a little ice cream!

Bethany Bourgault

Of course, Rockport’s main attraction is the ocean that surrounds it. Every turn showcases the great blue Atlantic from a different angle, and each breeze carries the refreshing, salty air characteristic only of oceanic proximity. Several beaches dot the Rockport coast, so be sure to dip your toes in the water at least once before going home. Or, take a moment to stand at the very end of Bearskin Neck to take it all in. After all, everyone needs a breath of ocean air once in a while.

Rockport, MA

The ocean stretches as far as the eye can see.

Bethany Bourgault

Rockport, MA

Seaside flowers — prettiest in the spring and summertime.

Bethany Bourgault

Rockport, MA

Rockport is still a working fishing town, which only adds to its nautical charm.

Bethany Bourgault

Rockport, MA

The iconic sailboats of Rockport, MA, look off to the horizon.

Bethany Bourgault

Rockport, MA

Clear weather and clear sailing!

Bethany Bourgault

Have you ever visited Rockport, MA?

This post was first published in 2016 and has been updated. 

SEE MORE:
10 Prettiest Coastal Towns in New England
15 Best New England Lobster Shacks
25 Best Beach Towns in New England

The post Summer Day Trip to Rockport, MA appeared first on New England Today.



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