Local Gems: Rockport (In-Season Edition!)
Ever since our winter overnight to Rockport, I have been fantasizing about living there. No joke. And while we’re not ready to take the plunge on a second property, the good news is that Rockport is just 45 minutes north of Boston -- a super easy jaunt! We spent Labor Day weekend there, thanks to a kind invite from the Town of Rockport, and the visit offered perfect fodder for an in-season counterpart to the Rockport (Winter Edition) feature!
My passion for the 14 local gems I featured in December still stands -- and two of those picks are honorably re-mentioned below! -- and I add to those 14 picks these 10 recommendations.
Our home base for the weekend, Rockport Inn and Suites is less than a mile from the heart of Bearskin Neck (we walked back and forth several times) and is very family-friendly. The rooms are clean and comfortably appointed, breakfast is included in your stay, and Laurel and Violet LOVED the pool. The property also would make for a great lodging option for a multiple family vacation. We were on the side of the property that includes two rows of rooms on either side of a walkway, bit of green space, and lawn chairs; there were a number of guests who I suspect were there for a wedding and mingled outside the rooms enjoying cocktails together.
2. Bearskin Neck Jetty
If you walk all the way to the end of the Bearskin Neck shopping area you can (at your own risk!) walk along the rocks to the end of the jetty. This was one of the first things we did when we landed in Rockport and it was spectacular. Laurel and Vi are total rock scrabblers and loved getting to the end of the point (pictured below); I was proud of myself for not falling off or peeing in my pants.
There’s a reason Roy Moore has been named one of the best lobster shacks in New England. It’s no frills or fuss at this shack in the heart of Bearskin Neck, and though there’s usually a line out the door, the service is fast and friendly. The generous sized lobster rolls are a must, as are the stuffed clams. And if you’re -- like me -- prone to “aisle shopping,” the rotating to-go items at the counter (e.g., shrimp and cocktail) will likely find their way onto your tray.
4 & 5. Front Beach and Back Beach
If you’re staying close to or in downtown and want an easy beach outing, head to the nearly adjacent Front Beach or Back Beach. Both are a quick walk from downtown and offer beautiful views (though really, it’s tough to find a bad view of Rockport!). Given that these beaches are small, I’d recommend going on the early or later sides. We enjoyed walking these beaches in the late afternoon when most of the day crowd had cleared out.
A perfect spot for families, Atlantic Pizza offers a casual atmosphere overlooking the water and quality pizza. My only regret is that I couldn’t convince Jon to order the lobster pizza. #weep
7. Stone Bridge
We had lunch with friends who live near Old Granite Pier and after lunch we took a walk that led us under the old Stone Bridge (at Granite Street) to a beautiful quarry. The bridge was built in 1872 and carries crazy echos from underneath.
8. Pebble Beach
You’ll need wheels (or a close rental) to get to Pebble Beach but it is worth the excursion. I almost cried at the beauty. The girls loved scrabbling on the big rocks and exploring the beautiful expanse of beach and all the smooth pebbles.
9. Tuck’s Candy
Much of the shopping in downtown Rockport closes in the evening and if more businesses -- like Tuck’s Candy -- stayed open, I suspect they’d make a killing. (This unscientific economic estimation is based purely on how much candy we bought that night + the amount of people milling around outside.) If you have mini-makers in your midst, head to the factory location at Dock Square to watch candy being made. The Main Street location is all candy and gifts.
10. Rockin’ Cupcakes
It was Laurel’s birthday during our visit and though I didn’t get my act together in time to order through Mayflour Confections (which I learned is run by a fellow alum from my alma mater, Wheaton College!), Rockin’ Cupcakes proved an excellent on-the-go option. Laurel chose their mint chocolate cupcake and she reported it to be moist and delicious and totally awesome (and she's picky about baked goods, given that she is a from-scratch baker!). It was CRAZY busy in this small storefront, but the service was quick and friendly.
HONORABLE RE-MENTIONS: Finally, worth honorable re-mentions from my original 14 Rockport local gems post are Bean and Leaf Cafe and Brothers Brew Coffee Shop. We descended on Bean and Leaf not long after we arrived to Rockport and I had a seriously killer bowl of clam chowder (while the rest of my family pounced on tasty baked goods). And at the other end of the trip, my last meal in Rockport was an insanely delicious fish cake breakfast sandwich at Brothers Brew Coffee Shop. At first the staff told me they were out of them and then a couple of minutes later they said they found one. Jon is convinced that someone had squirreled that last fish cake away for lunch and then decided to sell it to me. If that was the case, THANK YOU, and I look forward to buying a dozen more fish cake breakfast sandwiches on my next visit.
In a nutshell, I love Rockport, can't wait to visit again (we're thinking of renting a house for a week next summer), and I'm still fantasizing about owning property there! The town will remain lively through the Christmas season, so make a visit!
Disclosure: The Town of Rockport kindly invited me to visit. All opinions about these two gems (and the other 8 featured here) are, of course, my own.
Image credits: all images via Christine Koh, with the exception of the Atlantic Pizza and Tuck's Candy images, which were sourced from their web properties.