When I was offered a press trip to Essex Massachusetts, I jumped at the chance. I brought along my friend Cindy since we would be poking in the antique stores and we headed off to have a great three days.
Essex is an attractive town located on the coast of Massachusetts. It is one of the towns on Cape Anne about 45 minutes north of Boston. In the past it was one of the premier shipbuilding cities in the United States but today, there is only one shipyard remaining. People flock to the area to enjoy the amazing seafood and of course the ocean front location.
Antiquing is one of the big attractions as well and the main drag is lined with one antique shop after another. There really is something here for everyone with some really high end shops sells pieces for thousands of dollars to others where you can buy used books for a buck or two. Cindy and I did our share of poking, chatting up the owners and both made several purchases.
For a real feel of the area, a river boat cruise is the perfect way to appreciate not only the marsh and the people birds but the amazing homes that line the area. You will sale by historic homes as well as ultra-modern new construction. You will garner tidbits of local history and lore from your guide and it is a relaxing way to really soak up the atmosphere. Essex River Cruises is the premier operator in the area. http://www.essexcruises.com/ Be sure to bring along a sweater or light jacket and you can bring along lunch as well if you want.
If you are interested in shipbuilding or even if you are not the Essex Shipbuilding Museum http://www.essexshipbuildingmuseum.org/ is a great place to spend an hour or so. Much of this museum is actually outside so you get to walk around and see how ships are made and there are even some hands on experiences for the kids. There are guided tours offered and the amount of information offered is truly eye opening.
If like me, you enjoy visiting a historic house; Cogswell Grant is a perfect place to spend some time. While it is located in Essex it is not in the downtown area. There is plenty of parking at the house and the visit is on a guided tour. Cogswell Grant http://www.historicnewengland.org/historic-properties/homes/cogswells-grant/cogswells-grant is closed during the winter but is open June through October. One of the Historic New England Properties, it is amazing.
When staying in a historic area like Essex, MA it seems natural to want to choose a historic accommodation. The George Fuller Inn is the perfect choice. Located right on Main Street in Essex you literally can park your car at the inn and walk just about everywhere you want to go. It certainly is surrounded by great restaurants and antique shops. http://www.cape-ann.com/fuller-house/ We actually changed our room since it was a quiet time and our original room was on the second floor and was challenging for my knees.
There are many great restaurants in Essex but one that draws people from far and wide is Woodman’s. This restaurant has the distinction of inventing the fried clam and in 2013 they will be 99 years old. The clams really are delicious here as is the chowder. They can also accommodate visitors who are gluten-intolerant which is a wonderful thing these days. http://www.woodmans.com/restaurants/ They however don’t offer the view that you get at Periwinkles or Shea’s.
With the smell of the sea in our noses, mixing with the tantalizing scents of great food, it was a very enjoyable three days.