Posts Tagged ‘Rockport’

Adventures in Rockport

rockport ma boats harbor

For the last few summers, my parents have flown up from Texas to visit us in Boston. We’ve walked most of the Freedom Trail, savored Italian dinners in the North End, gone to two Red Sox games at Fenway (sadly, we’ve been rained out both times), and wandered Harvard Square. This year, we decided to do something a bit different, and explore Rockport, a charming little town on Boston’s North Shore.

rockport ma harbor ocean

J and I had been up to Rockport before – some friends of ours live there, and we’ve enjoyed visiting them. But this was Mom and Dad’s first time in Rockport, and it was utterly lovely.

I drove up with my parents on a Thursday afternoon (J had to work, and joined us later that night). We checked in at the Eagle House Motel, a basic but charming hotel just off Main Street. We loved the location – it was so close to everything – and the friendly innkeeper, Gary, gave us several great restaurant recommendations.

eagle house motel rockport ma

We spent part of the afternoon wandering Bearskin Neck, a narrow spit of land crammed with shops and restaurants – lobster shacks, ice cream stands and a couple of sit-down eateries. Such fun to poke into lots of different places.

bearskin neck rockport ma

We ended up, not surprisingly, at the charming Toad Hall Bookstore, housed in an old bank building.

toad hall bookstore rockport ma interior

There’s a narrow spiral staircase leading up to a loft area (which houses used books) and down to the basement (which is the children’s section). It’s a small place, but I could have browsed for a long time. (I bought a novel set in Paris, and scored a vintage Georgette Heyer hardcover at the tiny used bookshop down the street.)

We had dinner that night at the 7th Wave, down on the wharf, and Dad got his lobster fix. You can’t get seafood like this in West Texas.

dad lobster rockport ma

We ate on the rooftop deck, and this was our view:

rockport ma boats rocks harbor

I didn’t take a picture of my oysters, but they were delicious, and the lobster bisque was divine.

After dinner, we walked back down to the water to watch the sunset.

rockport ma sunset

And to take a family selfie.


family rockport

The next morning, after coffee and pastries at Brothers Brew (the scones!), we wandered through town a bit more, then drove up to Halibut Point State Park. There’s an old quarry, now filled with water, and rimmed by rocks which J had to climb.

halibut point rocks

J and I also love the park because it gives us a chance to retell our favorite Fozzie Bear joke.

quarry halibut point state park rockport ma

I’d only been to the park in the winter before (it feels like standing on the edge of the world), but the views in summer are just as stunning. That’s New Hampshire over there.

halibut point state park rockport ma

That night, we headed to the Shalin Liu Performance Center, home of Rockport Music, for a truly stunning concert.

shalin liu interior rockport ma

Alasdair Fraser and Natalie Haas (a Scottish fiddler and an American cellist, respectively) brought down the house.

alasdair fraser natalie haas concert rockport ma

We tapped our toes and clapped along to Highland reels, and sat mesmerized as they both drew haunting, complex melodies from their bows. As you can see, the back of the stage is a window onto the harbor, complete with boats, gulls and even baby ducks. Between the music, the company and the view, it was an amazing night.

We headed back to Boston the next morning, but not before discovering that Mom and I were inadvertently matching. (We did not plan these outfits.)

mom katie red shorts matching

I snapped a photo with my sweet husband to cap off the trip.

jer katie rockport ma

All in all, a fabulous two days. Rockport, you were lovely. We’ll be back.


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Being a landlocked girl from West Texas, I’ve spent very little of my life on coastlines. I live on one now, of course, but the beach near our house is a city beach, and the view includes the skyline of Boston. It’s a lovely view, but it doesn’t quite give you the feeling of being on the coast, indeed on the edge of our continent.

But last Sunday, I found myself in Rockport, tramping through a state park with my husband and a few dear friends. And we walked to the cliffs, big chunks of granite leading down to rough rocky beaches, with red seaweed growing on the stones. The water was gray and so was the sky, with glimmers of light and the occasional duck paddling around. And it was literally impossible to tell where sea ended and sky began.

I’ve only had that feeling a few other times – standing on the shore of the North Sea in Whitby; walking along the beach or standing on Diamond Head on Oahu, Hawaii; and standing on the cliffs of the Aran Islands, watching the sunlight glitter on the sea, the wind so strong it literally pulled my breath out of my lungs. Sunday’s breeze was a little gentler, the light softer, the weather cooler. But as I stood there I remembered what it felt like to stand on the other edge of the Atlantic. And in both cases, I felt like an explorer, standing on the edge of the world, looking out to endless new horizons and possibilities.

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