Wicked Good Guides / Boston for Visitors / Day trips

Rockport: Boutiquing by the Sea

Rockport has always been a small North Shore fishing village. Now it's a small North Shore fishing village with lots of quaint little shoppes and galleries.

Rockport's main tourist attraction is Bearskin Neck, a small peninsula jutting into the harbor that is lined with boutiques, galleries and restaurants (many of the seafood variety, natch), all in old, weathered buildings that fit in perfectly with the small cedar-shingled homes that line nearby streets.

The Neck is also home to Motif No. 1, a small, picturesque red fishing shack that allegedly shows up in more paintings than any other structure in the U.S. You can gaze out at Rockport Harbor as you stroll the main street - and when you get to the end, there's a small jetty from which you can look out into the Atlantic. Oh, bonus note: In 2005, local voters ended the town's longtime ban on alcohol serving in restaurants.

Rockport is about an hour's drive north of Boston (it's also accessible via commuter rail. If you drive, you can park in satellite lots a short shuttle bus away from the center of town. If you're adventurous, though, you should be able to find a parking space within an easy walk of the Neck - you might have to hunt around for a few minutes, though.

Devotees of the weird will want to spend a few minutes pondering the Paper House, a house constructed out of rolled-up newspapers.

Rockport, MA has more details on the town.

Nearby is historic Gloucester, itself home to numerous seafood restaurants and the famous fisherman's statue (the one immortalized on Gorton's of Gloucester frozen-fish boxes).

Also nearby: Ipswich, where fried clams were invented.

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