Local Haunts: Rockport Day-Trip (Part 1)
Rockport, Massachusetts is the sort of town people imagine when they think of coastal New England. It is quaint, with charming, close-quartered, weatherbeaten houses, including the famous Motif #1 building (with its red paint and hanging buoys). It is tucked away from major highways, with buildings no taller than three stories, has beaches, a rocky harbor and jetty with lobster boats bobbing in the waves.
We at Makers Journal are partial to this locale (Rusty and Ingrid Creative Company is located right on Main Street), and wanted to share with you some must-sees and must-visits for a weekend or day-trip to our town.
*As with any small New England town, the streets are narrow and public parking is limited, so for those planning on driving in on a weekend, you may want to consider skipping the traffic, utilizing the “park and ride” option: ample free parking in the town lot with a classic trolley ride for $1.00 that will drop you off in Dock Square, close to everything. You can also choose to make the trek on foot from the lot (about a one mile walk to Dock Square). For those coming from Boston via public transportation, Rockport is the final stop on the commuter rail, the train station also within walking distance to downtown.
Located only a short walk from downtown, Front Beach is free to the public (wherever you can find street parking), and a is very nice, sandy little beach. It has clean bathrooms, a lifeguard on duty, and also boasts a very unique feature to an ocean beach on the North Shore: a dock to swim out to and jump off from.
Mmmm, we know there are people who aren’t coffee drinkers, but we honestly don’t know how! Here are two great shops we recommend:
Besides coffee, Brother’s Brew on Main Street is known for their donuts! Maple bacon, butternut, and blueberry are personal faves. They also have breakfast sandwiches and a large selection of fresh pastries, including traditional Finnish Nissu, and a full lunch menu.
Bean & Leaf on Bearskin Neck is a cozy coffee shop with a nice sitting area that overlooks the old harbor. We recommend their espresso drinks, and they also have a good lunch menu.
Top Dog, tucked in on a side street on Bearskin Neck, is a favorite with tourists and locals. Hotdogs, sliders, and good chowder and seafood are all the perfect eating options for when you’re visiting the ocean. They also have cold beer on tap!
What’s a visit to the NE coast without a good, old-fashioned lobster roll? Established in 1918, Roy Moore Lobster Company is a small fish shack on Bearskin Neck, with picnic tables out back that look out over the harbor. Pick up some live or freshly boiled lobsters to go, fried seafood, or clam chowdah!
If you’re looking for the perfect restaurant for a fancy or romantic dinner in Rockport, you need to visit Feather and Wedge, but be sure to reserve a table in advance to make sure they have a place for you - they get booked up fast!
The Lobster Pool is a 5 min drive out of downtown, but one of our favorite places to grab dinner with out-of-town friends, especially with kids. There’s plenty of outdoor seating, rocks for the kids to climb on, and a sunset over the water to admire while you eat an enormous fresh fisherman’s platter (if you like fried clams). They also have a lot of other wonderful dinner options.
In Dock Square, you can watch Tuck’s Candy’s saltwater taffy machine in action through the front window! Inside, they also offer a good variety of homemade chocolates and fudge.
Ice cream shops are a tradition in New England, and Rockport doesn’t disappoint. There are five competing shops downtown, so it can be hard to know which one to stop in for that quintessential summer dessert. Here is our quick breakdown: One serves ice cream and cupcakes, Rockin’ Cupcakes, one has the best view of Motif, Sundays Rockport, one is the cutest, with views of the old harbor, The Ice Cream Store, one scoops the legendary local Richardson’s ice cream, Molly’s Sweet Tooth, and one has gelato, Robins Nest. Hope this helps to narrow it down, but if you’re in town for more than a day, you might want to try a few for yourself and pick your own favorite!
(Stay Tuned for Part Two, where we look at shopping locales and hiking in Rockport!)