About a 20 minutes' drive northeast of Boston, lies the route that offers you a great look at Cape Ann - Massachusetts seacoast's "other cape". This route features beautiful coastal scenery and great roadside amenities.
Along the way you'll be traveling through nice little east-coast towns and extravagant coastal mansions.
Towns/Cities You'll Pass By/Through
There are a lot of towns along this way and gas and food are never out of reach. Keep in mind that this route can be pretty crowded during the summer and fall. Try to plan your drive for the early morning to avoid some of the crowds and to catch a sunrise over the Atlantic in Rockport.
Attractions & Points-of-Interests Along the Way
There's a lot packed into this short 30 mile route. Below are some of the route's highlights that you'll find while driving from Essex to Rockport to Salem.
Essex was one of the original shipbuilding hubs of New England. There's the Essex Shipbuilding Museum where you can see great displays and artifacts and learn about the history of the Essex shipyards through dioramas, exhibits and video presentations.
You can shop for antiques south of Essex off of Rte. 133.
When you get to the port town of Gloucester Harbor, a regional hub for the commercial fishing industry in New England, you can see the famous Fisherman's Memorial and relax at one of the town's two beaches.
Just before you enter Rockport, you might want to go north on 127 and visit the Halibut Point State Park. There are some great trails that you can take for a hike along the coast.
In Rockport you can check out the downtown area and visit some craft shops nice little restaurants offering great views of the ocean. No place draws the visitors more than Rockport's famous Bearskin Neck. It is a stretch of old fishermen shacks that have been turned into artist galleries and small shops. Here you can see the famous red fishing shack known as Motif No. 1, which is one of the most painted and photographed structures in America.
The return leg of this trip will take you through Gloucester again. You can visit Rocky Neck in East Gloucester where you'll find arts and craft shops. There are also restaurants here, some with decks overlooking Smith's Cove. Or if you want, you can take a tour of the Henry Davis Sleeper's mansion. In Magnolia you'll find the Hammond Castle, the fantasy castle built by John Hays Hammond, an eccentric inventor. You can explore the castle on a self-guided tour of its four sections that epitomize a distinct periods of European architecture.