Manchester-by-the-Sea MA

Many may recognize Manchester-by-the-Sea by the film of the same name directed by Kenneth Lonergan and starring Casey Affleck and Michelle Williams. However, there is a lot more to this seaside town than just a Hollywood blockbuster. 

Settled by colonists in 1629, Manchester by the Sea or “Manchester” as it was known until 1989, was primarily a fishing village until it became a summer vacation destination for Boston residents. Covering 18.3 square miles, Manchester by the Sea sits along Massachusetts’s beautiful coast between Beverly and Gloucester. For the next fifty years, Manchester by the Sea grew into an adorable town full of seaside cottages and architectural homes.

Known for its classic New England homes perched along rocky shorelines with gorgeous ocean views, Manchester-by-the-Sea is the ideal home base for those looking for the perfect combination of charm and luxury. 

Groceries and Snacks

All the gazing at architecture and beautiful seascapes is bound to work up an appetite! Stop by these local spots for a quick snack!

Originally selling small bites off Singing Beach, the Laughing Gull Cafe has grown into a delicious cafe in downtown Manchester-by-the-Sea. Stop by for their great coffee, fresh bakery items, and friendly faces.

If you’re looking for something on the healthier side, Crosbys Marketplace is for you. From cheese to organic produce Crosby’s has all the ingredients you’ll need for a quick snack or your next dinner.

Allie’s Beach Street Cafe is a local favorite for a reason. Allie’s is a family operated full-service restaurant serving breakfast, lunch and dinner with a French Bistro flair. Make sure to try the Shakshooka if you’re in the area.

Gorgeous Views

Manchester-by-the-Sea is known for its unmatched ocean views. 

If you’ve heard of Manchester-by-the-Sea you’ve probably heard of Singing Beach. The beach is famous for its “singing sand” that squeaks as you walk along the dunes. However, if you’re not into singing sand, White Beach faces southwest with stunning views of the Boston skyline and is the perfect spot to watch the sunset. 

If you can’t find time for a beach day, one of my favorite ways to explore Manchester-by-the-Sea is by car! to Jump on Route 127 and 127A for a drive full of beautiful coastal views.

If the beach isn’t your thing, the Coolidge Reservation is the perfect destination to enjoy nature. The reservation sits on a scenic pond and a small forest of pine and oak that lead to a spectacular seaside lawn with beautiful views of Massachusetts Bay and the North Shore.

Delicious Eats

Manchester is more than scenic views. Try out these restaurants for delicious coastal cuisine. 

  • Bravo by the Sea is the place for fresh wood-fired pizza! The pizza bar uses all fresh ingredients imported from Italy. From the appetizers to their pies you have to try it all! You can also check them out on Phantom Gourmet.
  • Cala’s Food and Spirits food is “Homestyle” modern with a  “Cheers” casual ambiance. The beer and wine pours are never skimpy and their lobsters are caught right off of the shores by one of their regulars! 
  • Antique Table is a local favorite along the North Shore! The trattoria-style restaurant offers a culinary tour of Italian food and culture. Each meal is cooked from scratch and is sure to impress even your toughest critics. 
  • The Mooring is a breath of fresh air! The restaurant’s welcoming atmosphere and delicious cuisine make it a staple in Manchester-by-the-Sea. I recommend the Flatbread salad!

Things to Do

From sailing to shopping there’s something for everyone in Manchester-by-the-Sea.

If you’re looking to catch ocean views from a different point of view, head out on the high seas with Frayed Knot Sailing Charters. They provide a gorgeous vessel for parties, day trips, overnight trips, and even lessons right off the coast of Manchester-by-the-Sea.

If you need a break from the sun, stop into some of Manchester-by-the-Sea’s quaintest stores. Located downtown, 4 Beach is a lovely family owned business selling all of the coastal gifts and goodies you could ever need. Also stop by Manchester by the Book for a variety of used, new and classic books. 

Spend the day exploring the rich history of Manchester-by-the-Sea at the Manchester Historical Museum. The Manchester Historical Society was founded in 1886 “to serve the entire community through the preservation of irreplaceable town records and artifacts, its research capability and commitment to education.“ Learn more about the museum through their feature on Chronicle.