I had this brief trip planned before my friend decided she wanted to go to Gloucester for our Labor Day weekend trip. I had not planned what I wanted to do when I booked but I had a plan by the time I headed north.
I was lucky enough to book the final outing for the Cape Ann Lighthouse Tour by Cape Ann Harbor Tours. I also spent quite a bit of time at Stage Fort Park. I had been here before but usually just drove in, took a picture or two and drove out. Because I stayed this time, I got to see a cruise ship though I wasn’t sure if it was coming in or going out.
On the morning I was leaving I had decided on a restaurant for breakfast only to arrive and discover they were closed. There was however a lovely beach across the street so I visited there for a few minutes because…well, I paid for an hour of parking so I figured I might as well get a few minutes out of the fee I paid. During the season I would guess that this small beach might only accommodate a few locals who can walk to the beach because there are only a few parking metered parking spots. The restaurant was Nate’s at Front Beach…the beach obviously Front Beach! I mention it because though I was not able to eat there the reviews were all positive and I want to go back some day.
I had booked two different hotels because when I originally booked it was just going to be for two nights but a day later I decided I wanted to stay an extra night and my hotel of choice did not have that extra night available. Both spots were lovely and I would have a hard time deciding which of them I might pick to return to if I decided to stay in Gloucester again. Both had great views, great rooms (though one slightly better), great restaurants and great staff. You can decide…
My one night stay was at the Cape Ann Marina & Resort and the Mile Marker One restaurant was here also. The indoor, more formal part of the restaurant was not opened on this evening but the outdoor part was and it was like party central! The sunset here was stunning!
This is my room…it included a small balcony but no chairs overlooking the harbor. More of those when I post some of the sunset shots…
Mile Marker One deck portion of the restaurant…I ordered but could not finish the Gloucester Platter…a group of 3 woman were sitting a few seats down from me and they were asking what I ordered so I offered them the plate when I could not finish and they were more than happy to take it off my hands! It was so good!!
Sunset at the harbor with all of the boats there and reflecting in the water…captures my soul and makes my heart sing! I don’t often go out for sunsets when I am traveling because I am not familiar with the areas and do not want to be out alone after dark. If I get a sunset it is generally from the comfort of my room, out a window with or without a screen or from a balcony. Here I could capture it from my balcony but also after dinner, walking around the hotel property. Stunning!
After checking out I headed for Stage Fort Park. This park is the site of Gloucester‘s first settlers. The park is huge and as much time as I spent here during this visit, I only saw a small portion of it. You can see a lighthouse from here as well as the Hammond Castle. I noted above that I had seen a cruise ship and didn’t know if it was coming or going but looking at the photos again now…it is clearing coming into the harbor. I don’t know if it was here or further up the coast.
I made this a relatively short day because I needed to check into my new hotel, The Beauport Hotel. This very elegant hotel is on Pavilion Beach. I was surprised staying here was within my budget…because it is after Labor Day? I had a beautiful room with a balcony overlooking the beach and the Harbor. I could see one of the Lighthouses off in the distance, my room overlooked the outdoor patio portion of the restaurant and sunset was available also…all I had to do was open the doors! Sunset was lovely but not quiet as spectacular as at the Cape Ann Marina & Resort.
The first night there I ate outside on the patio…the second night I went a little more formal but in both spots the food was delicious! The last three pictures above were taken from this outdoor patio.
Got to enjoy a little bit of a pick up basketball game…
Saw fisherman come in as well as a cruise ship and private small craft…I was curious to see where the cruise ships actually go…I can not image Gloucester or Rockport Harbor being big enough for a cruise ship and I have never seen a ship in either port but its true!
I think I mentioned there is a lighthouse off the coast…can’t remember which one but I saw it when I went out on the lighthouse tour.
And of course…sunset!
Except for the fact I love lighthouses I am at peace now in an ocean-side happy place! Time to rise & shine for the lighthouse tour!
My lighthouse tour was with Cape Ann Harbor Tours. It is a 2.5 hour tour along the coast from Gloucester, Rockport, Essex and into the Annisquam River back to Gloucester Harbor. We went on the King Elder which I thought was small but it held quite a few passengers. At one point going toward Essex the captain pointed out southern ME and Mt Agamenticus…I was amazed to see that you could see ME from here! I have been to Mt Agamenticus and to see it from MA was incredible.
One this tour you can see:
- Annisquam Harbor Lighthouse. White light flashing every 7.5 seconds with red sector. …
- Straightsmouth Island Lighthouse. Green light flashing every six seconds. …
- Thacher Island Twin Lighthouses. White light flashing five times at 20 second intervals. …
- Eastern Point Lighthouse. …
- Ten Pound Island Lighthouse
We were lucky enough to see not only all these wonderful lighthouses but sailboats, someone on a paddle board paddling along the coast, several houseboats/cabin boats, and the area where all the discarded granite was dumped when it was deemed unacceptable. As we were heading toward the river we passed the hotel I am staying at…see the third picture from the end…and people clamming!
I always thought it would be cool to spend a night or two on one of the houseboats noted above but the captain told us they have no bathrooms as we expect and most to note have a refrigerator or stove…food is kept on ice in a cooler, usually out on the deck and perhaps cooked over a hot plate. Not sure if all that is true but it makes sense! I did a Essex River Cruise a few years back and some of the houseboats I saw on that trip were close to falling apart and appeared to be uninhabitable compared to these. We were told on that trip that no new houseboats could be put in the water. If you didn’t want yours any longer to had to pass it on to a family member…they can not be sold. Interesting!
Once again it is time to head for home. As I mentioned above, I headed to Nate’s at Front Beach in Rockport but it was closed. As I said, I did check out Front Beach while I was there … a tiny beach I am assuming is intended for locals since there are few places to park and the beach is small. There is also a tiny park with a beautiful small garden that I enjoyed for a few minutes. I sent everyone a text before I left saying “hey, look! I saw a whale!”…and included a picture of the whale below. 🙂 Here is Nate’s, the tiny park & Front Beach!
Here is where I went after leaving here…for a very enjoyable breakfast in a small local place that I heartily recommend you try if you are in the area! George’s Coffee Shop…I don’t know how it would compare to breakfast at Nate’s but I would come here again!
My next trip ended up being my last for 2019. My sister came home after being in the hospital and rehabilitation since May and she was not comfortable about being on her own. She did end up back in the hospital shortly after getting home but that fortunately was a short stay!
This mid-October trip is by train so be sure to come back for this journey!
You know the routine by now….come visit me at my page on Facebook, on Instagram and at my website. If you find something you like on my blog and you don’t find it for sale, please contact me. I will give you a quote.
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See you on the road!