An hour from Boston, and an easy drive from everywhere else, the village of Rockport is intriguing and inspirational.

It is not a ‘dress to impress’ vacation spot, although the crowd has been known to keep quiet about the movers and shakers of large international corporations who prefer privacy and to blend into the surroundings.

Upon your visit, you could find yourself sitting on a bench with a Fortune 500 company president, talking about who has the best lobsters in town, only to mistake them for the local lobster fisherperson. At the same time, Rockport is a community of artists, designers, and makers who want promotion and recognition for their quality art and products; they too will talk you up and make you feel comfortable and feel like you belong. 

Street off Bearskin in Rockport, Massachusetts

The amalgamation of lifestyles and talent is a draw to tourists from all walks of life, and one of the first places everyone wants to visit is the parking lot on the inner harbor.

Of all the sites found in the towns and a city that make up Cape Ann, nothing is more iconic than “Motif Number 1.” It is believed that a painter by the name of Lester Hornby (1882–1956) was the first to reference the spot as “Motif Number 1,” according to Roadtripping USA: The Complete Coast-to-Coast Guide to America.

Set on the end of a granite pier known as Bradley Wharf, the original ‘red’ fishing shack, built in 1840, was lost during the Blizzard of ‘78. “Motif Number 1” is recognized for its stunning location, the harbor’s configuration, and near-perfect lighting; its importance to artists worldwide (and the town) was identified, and a replica was built. 

The scene is thought to be one of the most painted and photographed locations in the US.

Bearskin Street, Rockport, Massachusetts

Rockport is home to art and cultural events, with over 30 galleries, including the Rockport Art Association and Museum. Live entertainment can also be found at the impressive Shalin Liu Performance Center and the historic campus of the Windhover Center for Performing Arts.

As for shopping, there is nothing like Bearskin Neck. The busy lane may seem to resemble a miniature version of Cape Cod’s P-Town, but it has an inimitable vibrance and style and is less commercial and more local. With its narrow streets and dozens of galleries and shops, it is the go-to place for people watching, relieving stress, and finding great food and gifts.

Walking the easy incline to the top of Bearskin Neck, visitors meet at the award-winning My Place by the Sea Restaurant, flanked by the historic Transit Tower circa 1892; the two buildings with dramatic views of the Atlantic Ocean function as the entrance to a jetty which seems to go on forever!

If you plan to stay, and you should, there is an assortment of Inns offering the finest hospitality and comfort to guests. Be sure to pack for a day in the sun because Front Beach and Back Beach are on Sandy Bay’s shores—only minutes from town and worth the journey.

Rockport is the quintessential New England fishing village, but it has become so much more over the years; now is the perfect time to add it to your summer vacation list—you are going to love it!