A pleasant 45-minute drive from Boston, Gloucester in Cape Ann, Essex County is America’s oldest working seaport that beautifully blends incredible food, art, adventure, shopping and culture. The heart of this fishing town beats in the vibrant Downtown and the waterfront. There is so much you can do here to experience its real flavor and quirkiness!
All things ‘fishy’
Start your day by meeting the mammoth local residents – the great whales who live just off Gloucester’s shores. The cold, rich waters of the North Atlantic draw whales from thousands of miles away each summer – from April to October – to slurp up tons of tiny fish and krill. Go whale watching just 24 km off Gloucester’s rocky shore or catch cod, haddock and tuna on a deep sea fishing trip. For most people in Gloucester, fishing isn’t just a way of life; it’s an addiction. They live by a simple philosophy: Go fish or go home. There’s nothing in between. Don’t forget to halt at the Gloucester’s Fishermen Memorial – a famous statue of a man steering a ship’s wheel, his eyes searching the horizon – at the scenic seaside promenade.
The beach life
With shining white sand stretching out into the Atlantic, beautiful Good harbor is one of the most popular beaches of Cape Ann. At low tide, you can take a leisurely stroll out on Salt Island while at high tide, you can enjoy bodysurfing or styrofoam boogie boards. Hugging the shore of the Annisquam River and stretching out toward Ispwich Bay, Wingaersheek Beach is another beach with a cosy feel. For breathtaking views of Gloucester Harbour, head to Cressy’s Beach at Stage Fort Park. Savour a seafood meal in a romantic atmosphere or have fun playing frisbee with your little one.
Art and culture
Gloucester is home to the country’s oldest art colony at Rocky Neck, with dozens of art galleries. Discover the Cape Ann Museum that houses a fabulous collection of paintings and textiles or interact with the artists to delve deeper into creativity. Maritime Gloucester is a wonderful place on the harbor to explore the historic fishing port’s past, present and future. Don’t miss its renowned music scene and summer festivals including St Peters Fiesta and Downtown Sidewalk Bazaar.
End your evening with a free tour of the award-winning Cape Ann Brewing Company. Sample their specialty craft beers with a bold flavour and character amid a very casual, community-oriented atmosphere, offering stunning harbour views. And not to forget, freshest seafood and delectable lobsters.
EATING A WHOLE LOBSTER, NEW ENGLAND STYLE!
Put your bib on; this one’s a messy meal. Start by twisting off the claws. Crack each claw and knuckle with a nut cracker and remove the meat. Twist the tail off the body. Put a fork upside down in the tail between the meat and the white underside. Pull the meat out in one piece. Take out the black gut that runs the length of the tail. Open under the body by pulling it apart from the bottom middle. Seperate it from the small walking legs on either side. Take the meat out form the leg by biting down on it and squeezing the meat out with your teeth. Use the wet napkins to clean up. Enjoy the lobster!
WOODMAN’S FRIED CLAMS
New England is rich with regional foods that are rooted in history – Native Americans’ maple sap, cheese from Vermont’s dairy farms and lobster from Maine fisheries to name a few. While seafood is a specialty and a point of pride in New England cuisine, Boston is every seafood lover’s haven. Finfish like cod, scrod, haddock, halibut, and trout, and shellfish like lobster, scallops, clams, oysters, and mussels are served throughout the city as well as the surrounding areas. Enjoy outdoor deck dining, river and marsh views and live music or drive a few kilometres to devour a hearty portion of fried clams, served with mayonnaise and tomato-chilli sauce, at none other than Woodman’s of Essex. A self-service eatery that claims to be the inventor of fried clams by selling its first batch in 1916, Woodman’s is also known for its silky, warming clam chowder, served with a pack of oyster crackers. End your meal with a custard served with American berries – blueberries, raspberries and strawberries – a dollop of cream and a cookie.
DID YOU KNOW?
Backyard clambake and beach BBQ parties are common in this area. Clambake is a traditional method of steaming shellfish seafood, such as lobster, mussels, crabs, soft-shell clam, quahog as well as sweet corn cob in butter, over layers of seaweed. Another must have!
Pick from one of the several inns located at the rocky coastline of Gloucester’s back shore. They offer sweeping views of the Atlantic surf, nearby Good Harbour Beach and the twin lighthouses of Thacher Island.