Outdoor fun, simplified for those of us who could use some simplicity.
Sign up for the Boston edition of Outdoor Fun Club and receive expert outdoor advice in your inbox every week. Be ready for the weekend.
Outdoor fun. Simplified.
Subscribe to the Boston edition of Outdoor Fun Club and receive expert outdoor advice in your inbox every week. Be ready for the weekend.
May 2, 2012 / Issue #4
Spotlight: Cape Ann
A preseason weekend with the “other cape”
If you live in New England, you’ve probably been to Cape Ann. You’ve probably bought salt water taffy, window shopped on Bearskin Neck, and waited in crazy traffic jams to get anywhere. In those ways, it’s not all that different from the other, bigger cape in Massachusetts. And just like Cape Cod, if you open your mind to exploring the less touristy, but more outdoorsy spots, you’ll see it in a whole new light.
This week we shine a light on Cape Ann and share ways to soak it up before the peak season hits. Enjoy the beautiful outdoors, climb on the rocks, hike the trails, camp out even! Just have a blast and build some memories with the people that matter most to you.
If it isn’t raining, it’s worth driving to The Farm Bar and Grill in Essex for lunch or an early dinner. They have an outdoor patio and a fenced in backyard area complete with horseshoes, corn hole, and a volleyball court. It’s the kind of place parents can watch their kids run around and have fun while sipping an adult beverage and relaxing in an Adirondack chair. At that point, the quality of the food doesn’t matter much, but it is good bar and grill fare with a commitment to solid barbecue. The pulled pork nachos are great.
All three of the inns listed below are right in the heart of downtown Rockport and they are all family friendly. Rockport is a great place to stay when the crowds are lighter (Read: not July or August). Yes, Rockport, we love you more now than we do in July. There, we said it.
Captain’s Bounty On The Beach offers you the opportunity to stay in the inn where the writer of this post, during a fit of rebellion, smoked his first clove cigarette with a group of welcoming, if disgruntled local, teens.
The Peg Leg Inn costs a little more, but it does offer the opportunity to pose in front of a wooden pirate.
Looking for a walk you could do in your flip flops? Or perhaps, you’ve got kids that you don’t feel like carrying back. A quick hikelet that is in downtown Rockport can be found by starting at Bearskin Neck and walking to Atlantic Ave. Follow it to the end and then enter the short (100 yards or so) trail to The Headlands. Views await.
Danger no longer lurks, but it’s still kind of weird.
Are you aware that in the olden days there was a “town” between Rockport and Gloucester? It was called Dogtown and ne’re-do-wells would lurk in the woods, waiting for a chance to jump passersby to steal their money, or worse. Well what did they expect it to be like when they gave it a name like Dogtown?
Photo Credit: Justin Snow
These days, other than the interesting remnants from centuries past it has evolved into a set of cool hiking and biking trails. For information on the Babson Boulder Trail - where you’ll find boulders emblazoned with “inspirational” epithets – we recommend Robert E. Farmer’s list of walks and hikes. He has spent a lot of time on these trails and he’s got the nitty gritty details.
Photo Credit: Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism
The hikes all go in circles, so you won’t get lost. And the ocean is involved.
Located at the tip top of Cape Ann, Halibut Point State Park is an excellent, doable hike for just about everyone. Novice hikers of all ages can enjoy trails that circle a huge quarry and lead to a rock scramble that ends at the ocean. From the high point of the state park, you’ll be able to look across the quarry and out over the ocean. In a way, the view is evocative of the Virgin Islands. That’s right. The Virgin Islands.