Gloucester, Mass.: An Imperfect, Perfect New England Travel
Hurwitz. Page updated on 11/16/16. Photo of Gloucester Fisherman Statue.
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Gloucester, on the North Shore of Massachusetts, is a
worthwhile New England coastal travel destination, but not in the
precious, slick and refined ways that have come into vogue lately by
Yes, you will find some great lodging, seafood dining, beaches, a
classic harbor and so many earmarks familiar to a typical New England
ocean vacation, but what's overwhelmingly evident here is that it's a
working class community with a long fishing history. It is America's
oldest seaport, discovered in 1623 by an offshoot group of the Pilgrims
three years after they landed at Plymouth, MA. You can see the history
in the old buildings and homes, and the narrow crooked streets and
sidewalks, Some of Gloucester represents the best of coastal New
England, while other city elements show a need for revitalization.
Gloucester certainly doesn't share the gentle, gentrified look of
neighboring Rockport and Manchester, but it's just as much worth a
visit for very different reasons. For example, Gloucester has done a
great job moving the city in the right direction -- especially the
wonderful,classic seaport downtown with interesting little shops and
restaurants, charmingly tucked away in the narrow streets around the
corner from the sea. It's full of character and doesn't have a phony
bone in its strong community foundation. This is the real New England,
not some Hollywood set with all the latest retail bells and whistles
full of elitism and attitude. There's a humble, modest feeling here,
quite understandable given the city's working class roots.
The Fisherman's Memorial on Stacey Blvd. is a highly recommended
attraction , so that visitors can understand what the City of
Gloucester is truly about. Created in 1925 to celebrate Gloucester's
300th anniversary, the statue and surrounding plaques pay tribute to
the more than 10,000 fisherman lost at sea while working their jobs.
It's a stunning reminder that the sea has a dark side, being
relentlessly violent and merciless in times of inclement weather. The
fishermen braved these rough conditions to honestly earn a living, feed
their families and often, working at something they truly loved doing.
It puts things in perspective, knowing that a community is so much than
a vacation destination. This is a lesson in history, prominently
displayed and seen by thousands visiting the area.
When it's time for rest and relaxation, Gloucester won't disappoint.
There are chanes to go on a whale watch and water tours, visit local
museums, view Gloucester Harbor with its 200-plus boats and see fishing
and lobstering fleets. Seafood restaurants like the Gloucester House
offer fresh-caught seafood as good as it gets in New England. Beaches
like Wingaersheek and Good Harbor Beach offer chilly swimming and great
ocean beach atmosphere, although parking can be at a premium during the
summer season. Rocky Neck in East Gloucester offers the Rocky Neck Art
Association the oldest continuously operating art colony in America
filled with great art and other shops and restaurants -- as well as
water views at Smith's Cove. Stage Fort Park is magnificent with trails
overlooking the ocean, Half Moon and Cressy's beaches, a visitors'
center, a privately owned restaurant open to the public, concerts and
storytelling during the summer, and a terrific playground for the kids.
You could spend a day at Stage Fort Park and get a true taste of
Gloucester, given its location by the sea and things to do for the
Gloucester might be rough around the edges, but we highly recommend
taking in this virtual outdoor seaside museum with lots to do for the
whole family. It takes getting used to, but once you feel the
authenticity and savor the stunning views, you just might want to
return again to this esteemed and historical Massachusetts seaport city.
Visit the Official Gloucester MA Web Site for more information at
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