Cape Ann is a hidden gem. Because of the working nature of its waterfront and lack of large hotels, it has loads of untapped charm. This makes it the perfect place for a daytrip. You can wind along Route 133, passing through salt water marshes and beautiful farm land, making stops at antique shops and restaurants along the way. I took a brief day trip recently, below are some of the highlights.
8:30 in Newburyport: Start at Souffles for coffee to energize your day. Take a peak at the unique cooking items and rifle paper gift cards.
9:00 in Ipswich: Visit the Crane Estate, wander and imagine the property in its prime. Don’t miss the Casino. In warmer months you can play checkers and croquete on the lawn while over looking the Atlantic.
10:30 in Essex: Go antiquing. I had a great time chatting with Rick Grobe, owner of the White Elephant Antique Shop. He unrolled a large bird’s eye view photograph of Essex and gave me a brief history of the town. In the mid 1800’s Essex was the leading producer of schooners in the United States. Fishing boats were built in town and sailed up to Gloucester. Be sure to visit the Essex Maritime Museum to learn more about the town’s rich history. The picturesque Main St. is dotted with loads of antique shops, the White Elephant and the Howard’s Flying Dragon Antiques were by far my favorites. Drool over the furniture at Walker Creek. For lunch, eat at the Blue Marlin or the famous Woodman’s. On your way out of town visit the Allyn Cox Reservation that offers stunning views of Essex Bay.
2:00 in Gloucester: After leaving Essex, I had lunch at The Causeway and perhaps the best Fried Haddock sandwich of my life. This place always draws a crowd, if there is a line, just wait. With little time left in my day, and inspired by my lunch, I visited Connolly’s Seafood and picked up everything needed for an easy cioppino dinner.
4:00 back home in Newburyport: Begin dinner prep and have a cup of tea.
This trip is just barely scratching the surface at everything Cape Ann has to offer. You could easily spend a full day in each town mentioned above. I look forward to returning and sharing my finds with you.