Travel to Rockport, Massachusetts

North of Boston Massachusetts there are a lot of great places to visit, especially along the coast of the North Shore area.  So, Boston doesn’t need to be your only destination.

If you have the time and resources, make sure you take a trip to Rockport Massachusetts if you’re visiting Boston.  This charming, historic town is a great place to visit during the spring, summer (its peak season) and fall.  Winter time is noticeably quieter and the shops and stores generally close earlier.   The trip takes a little over an hour if you take the MBTA train from North Station in Downtown Boston which is  a relaxing ride to  Rockport; no traffic, no hassles.  The MBTA trains are a great option for travelers because you can get to places worth seeing if you don’t have a car and fares are not too expensive.  Just an aside, Newburyport which is along the way is also a wonderful costal town to see as well as well, but my focus now will be on Rockport.

Photograph of MBTA train at the Rockport MBTA Station

Rockport MBTA Train – Flikr photographer “eddrass”

During the week, the trains start their runs at 6:30 A.M. (0630) and leave North Station about every twenty-five minutes until 10:20 A.M. (1020), then after that they run about every hour until peak travel time at 4:00 P.M. (1600) until 6:45 P.M. (1845).  The last train back to Boston leaves Rockport at 10:45 P.M (2245), so you could definitely make this a long day trip if you decide, or stop off in Newburyport, check that out and then move on to see Rockport easily.  The time I posted is the weekday schedule as of the date of this essay.

The weekend trains run less often, but you can check the train schedule for the times you’re looking for and plan your day out.  Another convenience of the train is if you have rented a bicycle, you can take it with you on the train. The conductor will guide you to where you should enter the train with the bike.  Folding bikes are always allowed on the trains, subways and buses.   Check out the MBTA’s website for information related to traveling with a bike.  Not only is the train more convenient, it’s a comfortable ride as well and you can gaze out the window or take a nap if you got up too early. :)

Once you reach Rockport which is the last stop for this line, exit the train station and go left on Railroad Ave.  When you reach the intersection with Broadway and Route 127, just head towards the left on to Broadway and that road is a straight shot to the waterfront and Rockport harbor.  Even if you make a mistake and head down Upper Main Street, just stay on that street and it will bring you down to the waterfront as well.  Along the way on either street you will have a chance to enjoy a lot of Rockport’s historic homes and even see some wonderful Inns, and Bed and Breakfasts that used to be grand homes as well.  Check out this website if you have the time and money to spend a night there.  Like every place else in our beautiful world, prices and room availability will fluctuate with the seasons.

Rockport is a very picturesque town so there are a lot of photographic subjects in store for you.  Out on Bradley Wharf which is adjacent to Bear Skin Neck, you will find a faded, red fishing shack known as “Motif Number One” right on Rockport Harbor.

 Photograph of Rockport Harbor and Motif #1

Rockport Harbor and Motif #1

Motif Number One is a very famous building, even though it’s just a “shack”, and is very well-known within the artist community.  Motif Number One has been the centerpiece subject of many artistic creations over the years.  The present Motif Number One you will see is actually an exact replica of the original structure which stood from when it was built in the 1840’s until it was destroyed during the blizzard of 1978.  Motif Number One has even appeared in a painting on a wall in the movie “NEMO” and also appeared in the movie “THE PROPOSAL” as did Bear Skin Neck.  In fact, Rockport has been chosen by the film industry several times.

Photograph of the view looking up Bear Skin Neck which shows some of the shops that line this walking street

Bear Skin Neck, Rockport

 There are some great restaurants on Bear Skin Neck and in the surrounding area you may want to try.  I really love Bear Skin Neck during the summer months when it’s thronging with visitors from all over the world.  It does, however, get kind of crowded.  Also, the photograph of Bearskin Neck was taken in August, so it could get cooler during the evening so you might want to take a sweatshirt or sweater.  Your other alternative would be to buy a souvenir sweatshirt! :)

Some places I used to really enjoy  on Bearskin Neck are The Country Store, The Village Silversmith (formerly known as The Pewter Shop), and the Amethyst Shop, but I am sure you will find your favorites as well.

If you walk out to the end of Bear Skin Neck you can view the outer fringes of Rockport Harbor and the Atlantic Ocean.  Stroll to your heart’s content and enjoy the ocean air.  Maybe during your visit you have even decided to stay the night in Rockport.  :)  If you bought a round trip ticket for the train, make sure you ask how long it is valid for if you do decide to stay a night.

Some tips about Rockport:

  • Even though this is 2012, soon to be 2013, Rockport does not have any liquor stores.  Rockport used to be a totally “dry” town which means no liquor was available for sale.  My understanding is the laws have loosened up a bit and from what I have heard only restaurants can sell liquor now.  In the past, if you wanted a drink with your meal, you had to bring a bottle with you.  The locals would have to make a “packy run” (“packy” is local Bostonian slang for a “package store”, aka liquor store) to the neighboring Town of Gloucester to buy their spirits, wine, and beer.
  • If you drive to Rockport, legal parking spaces especially during the busy season are frustrating to find.  Try not to get a parking ticket while you are there.
  • Rockport is somewhat expensive, but the restaurants generally post daily specials.
  • Try a bowl of the “clam chowdah” (clam chowder).  The chowder in New England is a white chowder and is really delicious if you like clams.

If you ever get a chance to take a trip to Rockport I am sure it will be a memorable one.

Thanks for visiting my website and feel free to leave a comment! :)

Have you ever traveled to Rockport?  What did you like or not like about it?

Happy and safe ‘wanderings’ to you! :)



About VacationWanderer

I have 'wandered' pretty much around the world but still have a lot to see and experience. My favorite things to do in life are travel, photography, and learning new languages or foreign language phrases to use along the way. "Hello", "Thank You", and "Please" in any language will open many doors for you. :-) I love to share my travel experiences with people and hope to inspire those who are still just thinking about it.


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