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Autumn in New England - the quaint seaside village of Rockport, MA

Europe will always be a favorite destination for us, but sometimes travel close to home brings some rewards of its own. We drove a short five hours to reach this beautiful part of the New England coast this past September and discovered just how much beauty our own country has to offer. Rockport, MA is the quintessential New England seacoast getaway. In late September, you can have it almost to yourself. There's a wonderful harbor and a well known fishing shack that always fascinates photographers.

Around these parts, it's called Motif #1 because of how often it's been painted and photographed. If you're not looking at it for real, you're looking at it in one of the galleries!

This is a major art center, but there's lots of shopping and dining in Bear Neck Cove - a place to just relax and enjoy after the summer crush of visitors.

It's a major lobstering town as well, and you'll see signs of it everywhere you turn.

Lobster cages line the wharfs and compete with the church steeples for your attention.

The dining's not always fancy, but if you want a good low cost lobster lunch, this is definitely the place to come!

There are some wonderful views to be had if you climb up just a bit above the town - especially early in the morning on a blue sky day in September.

I can't paint but I can try to turn one of my photos into something approximating one! This view was just so amazing that I created my own impression of it...

If you venture out just a bit further on the Cape Ann peninsula, you'll find somewhat wilder seascapes to enjoy. The big rocks were deserted and we had the crashing waves all to ourselves out here.

No matter where you stop, you'll find fascinating views out over the New England coast.

Drive just a few miles from Rockport, and you're in Gloucester - perhaps the most well known seafaring town around. It also has some of this country's best whale watching boat trips - and whales are pretty much guaranteed.

It's a major thrill when the first whales are spotted...the first was just a tail fluke but it got better!

A mother and her calf followed our boat for miles. The water was so still and so clear that even when they were below the surface, they were visible as phosphorescent green images.

Rockport, off season, is a wonderful place to spend a few days. It epitomizes quaint...

and it's certainly well-named; rocks are everywhere and the views are mesmerizing.

There are so many wonderful inns and B&B's to choose from in this little town. We found and loved Seven South Street Inn where the four course breakfasts were decadent and the owner is the most friendly inn-keeper you'd ever want to meet.

...but the Inn on Cove Hill looked equally appealing as we walked past it each day.

There are beaches to relax on and you'll have them mostly to yourself off-season...

Sunflowers were in bloom everywhere in town and looked like they were going to survive forever nestled on their white picket fences...

I have a feeling Rockport will call us back again...it's a haunting sort of place...

...well worth discovering.

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Comment by Bill Kover on October 30, 2007 at 6:40pm
We've been to the Cape Anne area of New England several times. It's a beautiful part of New England. Nice job with the blog post and photos.
Comment by Marlene Hench on October 31, 2007 at 2:23am
There is nothing that can match the Fall on the East Coast. Frank and I took a New England vacation a while back in October. The colors were ablaze. I have a picture of Motif #1 (taken from the other side) hanging in my bathroom. Guess you can add 1 more to that collection! I love the Fisherman's Memorial in Gloucester. I'll post a picture of it. (It's also hanging in my bathroom). Ate fish chowder in the Crow's Nest there. Site of "A Perfect Storm" filming.
What we really enjoyed about New England was the variation of sites...history, nature, lighthouses, covered bridges, ocean, mountains. You name it, it's there.
Thanks for reminding me of how lovely it is this time of the year.
Comment by Doris M on October 31, 2007 at 7:52am
Thanks for the comments, Bill and Marlene. This was our second visit but the first was just a day trip. I didn't get a picture of the Fisherman's Memorial so would like to see yours, Marlene. I did get a shot of the painter on the hill which I love. Also missed the Crow's Nest - so we'll HAVE to go back!!
Comment by Marilee Taussig on October 31, 2007 at 8:30am
Makes me want to go right now....You do have a way with words and pictures, Doris!
Comment by Shirley Thornton on November 5, 2007 at 1:09pm
Thanks for the beautiful photos with your comments. Have been to Rockport several times and many other places in New England. The first week of Oct. this year I spent time in the Adirondacks in New York. Wonderful color.
Comment by Doris M on November 7, 2007 at 5:25pm
I love the Adirondacks too, Shirley. Even the drive up there is spectacular - think it's been designated one of America's most beautiful highways. The fall colors have been slow coming to our part of NY this year, but I must say that's making for a much prettier than usual November!!
Comment by Sallymp on November 7, 2007 at 8:59pm
Absolutely loved the pictures and the comments. I live about 25 miles from Rockport and Gloucester and they are two of my favorite places. The whale watching out of Gloucester (I recommend the Yankee Pride fleet on hwy 133) is always a treat and they have fishing boats in the area that are in radio contact and always know where the whales are. They also are very strict in following the federal guidelines about how close you can get before you're considered to be harassing the whales and I have been onboard when they have spoken to other private boats warning them that they are too close. If you don't know, Gloucester was the location written about and filmed for the book and movie "A Perfect Storm." It's not a bad introduction to the fishing industry there and the town beneath the tourist places. While in the area, please also check out Ipswich and Essex especially if you love antiqueing.
Comment by Doris M on November 20, 2007 at 6:33pm
When we go back to Rockport, we'll definitely try the Yankee Pride fleet for our whale watching. Ours seemed very environmentally conscious too which is very important to us. We loved the movie "A Perfect Storm" and wish we could have discovered even more of "the town beneath the tourist places". We love Essex but haven't been to Ipswich - however, it's now on our list of places to visit next time. Thanks Sally!
Comment by Marlene Hench on November 20, 2007 at 8:00pm
Going back to the movie "A Perfect Storm", I mentioned we ate lunch (fish chowder) at the Crow's Nest. It was really yummy. They touted it across their front window. Although its location is different from how it is made to look in the movie (on the next street -- not right on the wharf), you know you are there as soon as you walk inside. When we walked thru the door into the Crow's Nest, we felt we were walking into the movie. The setting was the same and similar people were gathered around the bar eating and drinking and just shooting the bull. They had photos on the wall of the cast of "A Perfect Storm" and the locals but there was no signs of commercialism found here. They really wanted to just go on with their lives and forget the tragedy. It had just been a few years since the Andrea Gail sank. We were told by someone else that the studios wanted to bring the replica of the Andrea Gail used in the movie back to the harbor for show, but the town voted it down. They said it would hurt too much to see it there. Have to give these people credit for their sensitivity!!!
Sitting there, we had the greatest urge to pull out our cameras and capture the moment, but we were content to keep it in our minds only. Sitting there just observing as we enjoyed our yummy chowder and a beer, was enough. We didn't want to spoil the scene.
The next time you are in Glouchester, you must stop in the Crow's Nest. It's located on the main street going thru town....just up the road from the Gorton's plant.
Comment by Sallymp on November 20, 2007 at 8:18pm
Just a little local color here. When you watch the movie, when they have the memorial service for the crew, it's in the Gloucester City Hall council rooms and the guy with the brown hair and glasses who is sitting on the left side of the aisle on the first seat is a friend of mine who was an extra.


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