The North Shore of Massachusetts is a region full of character and history with an abundance of places to visit and explore. Recently, Gloucester was named one of the 15 best small towns in America by CNN and was the only New England city on the list. Let’s explore a few hidden gems and underrated locations worth exploring in Gloucester.
The Hammond Castle Museum was the home and laboratory of John Hays Hammond Jr, a scientist, inventor, and antiques collector at the time. Now, the castle serves as a museum, cultural and arts center, and venue that welcomes guests daily. Stop by to tour the castle and explore its many rooms, exhibits, and beautiful coastal castle grounds! Reserving tickets in advance is encouraged.
Hammond Castle Museum is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Due to it being nearly a century old, Hammond Castle Museum is not handicap accessible.
Dogtown (Dogtown Common or Dogtown Village)
Dogtown is an abandoned inland village of about five square miles on Cape Ann in Gloucester. In 1642, Dogtown was home to the Commons Settlement. With its availability of water, it was the most prosperous part of Gloucester for a century. The land, now known for its woods as well as its boulders and rock formations, is protected, and therefore development is banned in the area. Take a walk and explore the miles of trails and abandoned roads, but be cautious as most are unmarked. These paths are sprinkled with one of Dogtown’s most notable features: the three dozen Babson Boulders, which have inspiring sayings carved into them. See how many you can spot on your journey!
The area is dog-friendly and there is parking available. Learn more about the history of Dogtown here.
Located on a rocky peninsula within the Gloucester harbor, Rocky Neck is one of the oldest continuously operating art colonies in the country. Artists who lived and worked on Rocky Neck in the 19th and early 20th centuries made an important contribution to art history by inspiring the Cape Ann style of American Impressionism. With shops, restaurants, galleries, and exhibitions radiating history and culture, there is always something to see or do on Rocky Neck.
Ravenswood Park is a nature reserve owned and managed by the Trustees of Reservations. Samuel Sawyer, a 19th-century businessman and philanthropist, purchased woodlots, old pastures, and swamp land near his home. Upon his death, he left 600 acres of land to be turned into Ravenswood Park. Guests can enjoy solitude and peaceful scenes with its woods, boulders, and miles of trails, some of which are dog-friendly. In the winter months, cross-country skiing is also welcome.
Stage Fort Park and Beach
Stage Fort Park is where Gloucester’s first settlers set up fishing stages in 1623. Now, it is home to two beaches, a sand volleyball court, a boardwalk, a playground, picnic areas, two baseball fields, a basketball court, a tennis court, and plenty of extra room, making it an incredible place for any of your weekend endeavors. During the summer season, the park hosts outdoor concerts, fireworks, festivals, farmers markets, and several other child and family-friendly events!
Dogs are allowed in the park, but not on the beaches. There is also a dog park located in the parking lot!
Gloucester has a variety of things to see and do, with abundant history behind them. You can check out more of their hidden gems and locations worth exploring here. If you are looking to buy or sell your home on the North Shore contact me today.