In case you did not see my post yesterday shortly after I arrived home on May 24, 2019 one of my sister’s got very sick and I made no plans to go anyway until after my sister was on the road to recovery and transferred to a rehabilitation hospital to primarily get her strength back. My friend had some vacation time coming up so we planned a trip that would keep us within an hour or so of where my sister was in the Boston area. Off to Gloucester we went for a short stay…it was short but I saw more in that short period of time than I would have if I had gone on my own. Labor Day Weekend is here and we are going to enjoy!
I had been to Gloucester a number of times during my lifetime but I had never spent an overnight here. The closest I ever got was Salem, MA which is a whole other trip. My idea of a trip is to see things that I can get excited about taking pictures of but also to see things I haven’t seen before. My friend and I both had a general idea of what we wanted to see.
I used some of my Hilton points from all my travels to “pay” for the hotel we were staying at…I had nearly a million points that I had been saving for a trip to Iceland but since I decided I wasn’t be able to go there I figured I better start using them. The free stay was in Danvers, MA…which required some drive time to what we wanted to see but hey…you take what you can get when free is involved. The hotel – Doubletree by Hilton Boston North Shore. It has a restaurant, The Tradewinds, which was a plus at least the first night and though we did not take advantage this location also has a Coco Key Waterpark…you know, in case you want to go and are interested in that kind of thing. Oh yeah…I forgot…I was selected before I arrived as guest of the day. Nothing special involved in that but I have been a Hilton member for over 2 years and had never heard they even did that.
First stop after leaving the hotel was at Putnam Pantry Candies, Ice Creams & Cafe. I don’t eat chocolate often but my friend has a very sweet tooth and this was a priority stop for her! I can’t find my pictures of this, our first stop of the day, or Richardson’s Farm Ice Cream…our last stop of the day. A lot of food was involved with this day. 🙂
Next we headed for the downtown Gloucester area. We put a lot of miles on our feet walking up and down the main road…Stacy Boulevard. There is the Gloucester Fisherman’s Memorial paying tribute to all the fisherman who died at sea, the Gloucester Fisherman’s Wives Memorial and an absolutely beautiful garden. The boulevard is also lined with the American Flag every 10′ or so. It is a beautiful walk along the ocean.
Side note…my children’s step-brother was a fisherman who fell overboard not too far from here about 4 years ago and was lost at sea. He had been a fisherman since he finished high school and died way too young leaving a wife & child at home. His family has been told that his name will be added to the wall that is here though as of the time I visited it had not yet been added.
The gardens on Stacy Boulevard are gorgeous. I was a little surprised there were still so many beautiful flowers in bloom. The Generous Gardeners are responsible for the garden. They are a group of volunteers dedicated to promoting philanthropy through gardening by designing and maintaining over 30 public garden spaces in Gloucester, MA.
We decided to call it a day after a little more driving around and headed off for dinner. Plans for tomorrow include the Hammond Castle and a lot of walking around Rockport, MA and the harbor area. Again, Rockport is a town that I have been to before but seeing it with someone else pushes me to see areas that I had not seen before. I was in absolute agony from all the walking around but my friend is very patient and there are plenty of places to sit and relax while walking around. Note…parking is often difficult in both Gloucester & Rockport. We did luck out with a parking spot in Rockport out on Bearskin Neck…I think I put money in the meter for 2 hours and we got back…just ahead of the ticket guy…with a few minutes to spare!
Anyway…off to Hammond Castle. The castle, which was constructed between 1926 and 1929, was the home and laboratory of John Hays Hammond, Jr. He was an inventor who was a pioneer in the study of remote control and held over four hundred patents. Mr. Hammond was definitely eccentric and it shows throughout the castle but the castle & grounds are amazing! I had to laugh when we got to the top floor and were walking into a vestibule between 2 rooms for the help. There was a window overlooking the pool down below and the curtains were the same ones I have in my dining room…definitely not from the days when the castle was built! See the last picture…you have probably seen those drapes in a local store near you! 🙂
After hours of walking up, down & all around the castle I could hardly walk. My friend took my keys and went to get my car because there was no way I was going to make it there. Unfortunately I did have to make it up the long stone stairway to the parking lot because there was no way to get my car down there that we could see. After resting for a bit we took off for Rockport Harbor. I don’t need to rest a long time after being that sore and we were out and walking shortly after we got there. I did have to sit wherever I could find a bench and did it often but it was a gorgeous sunny September day…how could I not enjoy it! We also went into Roy Moore’s Fish Shack Restaurant…so good! I ate here on a previous visit and the food was so good…if you like seafood baked, broiled or fried this is the place for you. It is right at the end of Bearskin Neck. I even had the same waitress as my previous visit though she was too busy to remember me. We had a seafood platter!
After lunch we went down behind the restaurant before walking up to the harbor area. This town is just so lovely. I could sit and breath the fresh sea air for hours. The red building below among the other pictures is the iconic Motif #1. I’m sure you have likely seen at least one image of it before today.
After leaving Rockport, we headed to Essex, MA for dinner at Woodman’s. This is another famous spot on the North Shore…best darn seafood! Yes…twice in one day. 🙂 I ordered the side of fried lobster tail! I was here a lot back in the 70’s and back then it was a cash only place…now they take credit cards.
As noted above, we did stop at Richardson’s Farm for an ice cream…a perfect ending to the day. Delicious ice cream. We did walk around a bit after eating the ice cream but we did not see any of the animals advertised…perhaps it was too late in the day? There were people enjoying games of miniature golf.
We head home tomorrow. I felt like we saw a lot for the short time we were here. I do come back to Gloucester and Cape Ann in a few weeks by myself and go to different areas to visit. Be sure to come back for the journey!
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See you on the road!
The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched – they must be felt with the heart. – Helen Keller