Searching for a Cocktail in Rockport, Massachusetts


Rockport, Massachusetts on Cape Ann

Driving the RV north along the coast towards Maine, we had just passed the Boston area and decided to get off the road early and explore the Gloucester and Cape Ann area. We’d always heard Cape Ann billed as the other “Cape” so we decided to find out how like Cape Cod it really was.  We hit Gloucester first. It is an old fishing town that unfortunately has grown into suburban sprawl, so we pretty much just drove through and headed to Cape Ann peninsula.

While it is considerably smaller than Cape Cod, and only has one town, Rockport, at its tip,  it was a scenic drive down this spit of land surrounded on three sides by the Atlantic Ocean. Pretty, well manicured homes, and lots of greeney lined the roads into Rockport. It started to rain heavily as we came into the town so we drove around for a while, waiting out the storm and getting oriented. Along the coast, rocky beaches and seaside parks could be seen, between sweeps of the wipers. The town itself was lined with lots of narrow streets, quaint old homes, artist studios and B and B’s. The rain let up and we wandered the streets of this seaport community, now converted into an artsy tourist destination. The dock area and harbor offered pretty (but foggy) scenery as well.




Catching our dinner?

There were lots of shops and galleries to poke around in, but even on a good day hubby has limited patience with browsing, and it was getting near cocktail time, so we went in search of a bar and someplace to have dinner. There was no shortage of restaurants, from seafood to pizza, upscale to take out. What we couldn’t find was a bar. We finally stopped in a art gallery and asked where we might get a drink. The response was not what we expected: the town of Rockport did not have a bar.

Lots of places to shop

Our well informed friend explained that in 1856  200 women swept through the town in what he called a “rum revolt.” They destroyed anything containing alcohol and since then liquor had been banned from town. Now if this was Utah I could understand it. But Massachusetts?  My Irish friends from Boston were no strangers to alcohol. Hubby and I looked at each other with disbelief, just our luck to visit one of the few dry towns in the state. But all was not lost. The gallery owner told us that even though there were no bars, and liquor stores were still illegal, the town had recently relented and let restaurants start to serve alcohol.

We left the Gallery with a recommendation of  The Fish Shack as a great place for fresh seafood. We had a pleasant meal overlooking still foggy Ipswich Bay, the scallops made all the more pleasant by the accompanying glasses of wine.

The ocean is somewhere out there

About JudithC99

Wanderer. Writer. Artist. Photographer. Learner. Traveler of the Red Roads


  1. I must visit Cape Cod, plenty of our American cousins live there!!

  2. nutsfortreasure

    I have so many photos of this area I Love. Did you see Hammond Castle? Near Magnolia and Beverly.
    Glad you had fun at one of my favorite haunts

  3. Rockport is one of my favorite places to visit, so beautiful. Whenever we sail there, though, my parents bring their own wine. It really threw us off the first time we went that there was no alcohol, but now we’re prepared. Kind of crazy, huh?

  4. Loved Rockport when we visited there, and yes–found out that it was a dry town. So off to Gloucester for a wonderful Shrimp Diavolo and many glasses of wine! No fish sticks for us! Another town on the coast that we liked was Ogonquit (ME).

  5. msdeebs

    Love that whole area… just came through there myself! Camden is my favorite, in spite of the HUGE tourism there

  6. You do realise that it was karma that you could not find a pub? Its because you are still travelling and The Motley Crew are all back at work! 🙂

  7. frankeeg

    Hi there,
    the photos really do show a misty cloudy rainy day and on reflection that is probably how I would expect to see the cape. Your hubby and I are alike…I have no patience at browsing… when shopping I have a list and do not deviate from that list. While the co-pilot browses I find a seat, whip out my iPod / Kindle and a enjoy a bit of reading.

    • Morning fog is frequent on the seashore, the rain comes and goes. We kind of have to put up with what we get when we get there. Always good to have a book in your pocket to wile away those boring moments you run across, better than moping and whining at the co-pilot…

  8. Fantastic post. I found myself daydreaming and wishing to plan a trip to the area.

  9. Lovely rainy, foggy day while parts of the country suffers with hot temps and fires! Safe travels, be well.

  10. I hope you can explore Gloucester some time. It’s an old working fishing town that my grandfather, the Rev. Joseph Beach, grew up in. I was there last May to bury my elderly Aunt Alice. We have family plots in the very old Oak Grove cemetery (right in town) that were purchased in 1880 by my great-great grandfather, the Rev. David Nelson Beach. Hope this doesn’t sound maudlin for while it was sad to bury my aunt, it was heartwarming and wonderful to return her to a beloved family resting place. The small gathering of close relatives had a lovely meal at Latitude 43 ( and enjoyed seeing the 1925 Fisherman Memorial ( Gloucester isn’t glamorous, but it’s soulful and so connected to the sea.

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