Rockport, Massachusetts is most famous as an art colony and oceanfront retreat, having welcomed famous philosophers like Ralph Waldo Emerson (of whom the Inn is named after) and David Thoreau. Today, vacationers sunbathe on the rocks and beaches, take walks through the woods or along the shore, stroll through historic Bearskin Neck, or watch the whales from boats out of Rockport or Gloucester.
With one of the most picturesque harbors in the nation, Rockport town is the epitome of quaint, New England charm. See Motif No. 1, the red, harbor-side fishing shack that is one of the most-painted (and photographed) buildings in the world. Stroll along the streets of downtown, and the famous stretch on Bearskin Neck, through a variety of antique stores, jewelry shops, clothes boutiques, and other shops.
Rockport offers a number of lovely beaches, each with its own character. A renowned scuba diver's spot, Back Beach is located between Main and Granite streets. It also offers great views. If you are looking more for peace and quiet, Cape Hedge Beach on South street is quietly tucked away – a perfect place for solitude. Front Beach is a busy beach on Sandy Bay – walking distance to downtown Rockport and its restaurants and shops. Long Beach, off Thatcher Road, is another long, protected stretch of ocean and sand, backed by a cement retaining wall and lined with summer cottages. From Long Beach you can easily view the twin lighthouses on Thacher's Island.
A thriving artist colony, Rockport features many small art galleries and art stores offering works in various forms - from paintings, to sculpture, photography, and mixed media. Click here for a list of Rockport art galleries. The Rockport Art Association sponsors exhibitions, lectures, demonstrations, workshops and educational programs for children and adults throughout the year. The association also holds an annual art auction, usually in May.
Whether you are aiming to catch a giant bluefin tuna, spy a gentle giant, or just want a quiet sail, Rockport offers the perfect boating charter and Whale Watches. Humpback, Fin, and Minke whales, and even the endangered Right whale, feed here from mid-April through October. Other sea mammals, such as dolphins, and rare seabirds, including Black Guillemots, Manx Shearwaters, Greater Shearwaters, Sooty Shearwaters and Wilson's Storm Petrels also can be spotted. Many whale boats guarantee sightings. Click here for Cape Ann Whale Watch.
We recommend the following companies:
More challenging than it first appears, the semi-private Rockport Golf Club (978-546-3340) has thick, tree-lined fairways that put a premium on shot accuracy. Although a 9-hole course, there are additional tees that can be used when playing an eighteen-hole round. Ask an innkeeper for information on public-use times. Open April through the end of October.
Straitsmouth Island Lighthouse was built in 1835 to mark the entrance to nearby Rockport Harbor. The relatively small lighthouse is maintained by the U.S. Coast Guard but the island itself is owned by the Massachusetts Audubon Society as a bird and wildlife sanctuary. The Twin Lighthouses, also known as Cape Ann Light Station, are the only surviving multiple lights on the coasts of the United States. The original 45-foot towers were constructed and lit in 1789—making them among the oldest of America’s lighthouses. The Annisquam Lighthouse in nearby Gloucester is immensly popular among tourists.
The Sandy Bay Historical Society, housed in the 1832 Sewall-Scripture House at 40 King Street, features an extensive collection of local history and genealogical information. Permanent exhibits also include the works of deceased Cape Ann artists Fitz Hugh Lane, Aldro Hibbard, Alfred Wiggin and Charles Gruppe. The Paper House is a historical site that must be seen to be believed. Built in 1922 as a summer home by Mr. Elis F. Stenman, a mechanical engineer who designed the machines that make paper clips, the house still stands today as a monument to ingenuity. Cape Ann Museum - The Museum's collections, displayed in an intimate and inviting setting, celebrate the rich story of Cape Ann's evolving artistic and cultural history.
Visitors can enjoy exceptional musical performances and events year round, including classical, jazz, folk and world music— as well as HD simulcasts from the Metropolitan Opera and England’s National Theatre -- at the critically acclaimed Shalin Liu Performance Center conveniently located in the scenic seaport village of Rockport, Massachusetts. Summer brings the Rockport Chamber Music Festival, which offers orchestral concerts from string quartets, pianists, vocalists, and trios throughout June.
Walk the Words guided tours takes you through rock formations created by glaciers 10,000 years ago, the remains of Dogtown, a colonial village from the 1700s, and boulders inscribed with inspiring words from the Great Depression.
Halibut Point State Park is owned by the Town of Rockport and is open for public use. Here you can explore the park's trails and tidepools, picnic on its rocky ledges, enjoy its sweeping views, and learn about Cape Ann's historic granite industry.
Our staff are willing and waiting to help you prepare and plan your Rockport vacation!
Give us a call today! (978) 546-6321