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Ipswich MA

Just north of Hamilton-Wenham and south of Rowley and Newbury, Ipswich Massachusetts is the perfect Northshore town to explore in any season! Whether you are interested in walking its expansive nature trails, lounging on the beach, antiquing, or eating a lobster roll with a view, Ipswich is a perfect town for summer activities. In the fall, its many farms provide apple and pumpkin picking, hayrides, and beautiful views of the changing leaves. 

When looking for outdoor activities on the Northshore, Ipswich has just about everything. This beautiful town has beaches, rivers, marshes, and plenty of history. Incorporated as a town in 1634, Ipswich used to be comprised of fishermen, farmers, and shipbuilders. In the 1800s, its economy became more heavily based on the mills built along the Ipswich River. Today, you can see Ipswich’s rich past in the historic architecture of its homes and public buildings. It is approximately 33 square miles and home to almost 14,000 residents. Interested in visiting or relocating to Ipswich? Here are our top recommendations for food, views, and activities. 

GROCERIES AND SNACKS

Ipswich Fish Market

If you are looking for fresh fish to cook at home, or pre-made meals and sides for a picnic on the beach, the Ipswich Fish Market has an extensive selection of the best local catches and more. 

Ipswich Butcher Bros

Visit Ipswich Butcher Bros this summer to find everything you need for a fantastic backyard barbeque. As one reviewer writes, “The maple bourbon steak tips alone are worth a half day’s journey.”

Shaw’s

For essentials, Ipswich has a Shaw’s location near its downtown area! Although Shaw’s is a chain grocery store in the Northeast, this particular location has wonderful local ties, and its workers participate in Ipswich’s yearly Chowderfest.

Appleton Farms

One of the oldest continuously operating farms in Massachusetts, Appleton Farms features a wonderful store that sells their produce, meats, breads, pastries, and more!

Sandpiper Bakery 

In the mornings, visit Sandpiper Bakery for pastries and coffee! They also feature a breakfast and lunch selection with sandwiches, salad, and more. 

GORGEOUS VIEWS

Hamlin Reservation

Only accessible at low tide, Hamlin Reservation is a must-see for birdwatchers, nature lovers, and hikers alike. It features a one-mile loop trail through beautiful fields and marsh meadows. 

Sandy Point State Reservation

At the southern tip of Plum Island, Sandy Point State Reservation offers swimming, educational programs, hunting, and magnificent ocean views. 

Crane Wildlife Refuge

Comprised of islands and salt marshes, the Crane Wildlife Refuge is an incredible place to spot rare birds. Go for a boat tour, kayak trip, or a guided hike of Choate Island. 

DELICIOUS EATS

Clam Box

A nationally recognized landmark built in 1935, the Clambox is probably the #1 must-see on your visit to Ipswich. They have perfected their recipe for fried clams, and we recommend visiting on a weekday to avoid the (understandably) long lines!

Choate Bridge Pub

Located in historic downtown Ipswich, Choate Bridge pub is the perfect place to end a summer day. Classic American pub fare and seafood, what’s better than that?

Fox Creek Tavern

Visit Fox Creek Tavern for incredible flatbreads, burgers, or fish. They also offer brunch on the weekends! 

The Brown Dog

A well-loved local American food spot with outdoor seating, The Brown Dog is always a fan favorite in Ipswich’s yearly Chowderfest. 

HAVE SOME FUN/SHOP SMALL/THINGS TO DO

Russell Orchards

If you find yourself in Ipswich any time between May and November, you have to visit Russell Orchards. Pick your own berries, see the barnyard animals, or buy food and wine in their store! Whatever you do, don’t leave without one of their cider donuts. 

Crane Beach

Crane Beach is a big attraction for both locals and tourists alike. If you want a full beach day, Crane Beach is worth the cost of admission, but the price is reduced after 4:00 pm. With four miles of beautiful sandy beach and dunes, this beach is the top summer spot in Ipswich. 

Castle Hill on the Crane Estate

A personal favorite, Castle Hill on the Crane Estate is a beautiful and historic spot to spend an afternoon. The Trustees offer guided tours through the Great House, as well as events and concerts on the beautiful rolling lawn. You may recognize it from movies such as Witches of Eastwick or Little Women (2019)! 


Looking to buy or sell in Ipswich? Contact me to learn more.

Gloucester MA

When many think of “coastal New England,” Gloucester is the first town that comes to mind. From picturesque seascapes, quarries, lighthouses, lobster-boats, and more Gloucester is one of the most beautiful towns on the North Shore. Gloucester even served as the backdrop of the Academy Award-nominated film CODA this past year.

Did you know Gloucester was one of the first colonial established communities in New England? The town was first settled in 1623, just three years after the pilgrims arrived at Plymouth Rock. Today, Gloucester is home to just over 30,000 residents!

Just a 45-minute ride from Boston, and accessible via the Newburyport/Rockport Line of the MBTA Commuter Rail, this small fishing town has grown into the ideal destination for residents and vacationers alike. 

This gorgeous coastal community is full of hometown spirit, maritime history, job opportunities, independent shops, and vistas for everyone to enjoy. 

Whether you’re looking for ​​ocean-front homes, estates, modest cottages, antiques, turn of the century dwellings, mid-century homes, waterfront condos or apartments read on to learn why Gloucester should be your next home base.

GROCERIES & SNACKS

Looking for a quick bite? Try these great shops:

  • If you’re looking for creative & classic breakfast & lunch fare, try Sugar Magnolias. They always have yummy specials and even a pancake of the day!
  • Castaways Vintage Cafe is one of the coolest spots for coffee on the North Shore. Not only do they sell great coffee and healthy snacks, they also sell curated vintage clothing and unique beach shirts in a laid back California-inspired atmosphere.
  • Have you been to Ryan and Wood Distilleries? Stop by to visit and tour the first legal distillery on the North Shore since Prohibition! Their spirits are incredibly flavorful, aromatic, and smooth.
  • Common Crow Natural Market is a locally owned health food store with an emphasis on supporting locally grown organic agriculture. Common Crow offers a wide variety of organic fruits, vegetables, meats and shelf staples, along with health and beauty options, from vitamins to protein supplements. Check it out for yourself!
  • At The Cave, in Downtown Gloucester, they will show you the world of cheese, wine, chocolate, gourmet delights & local specialties all at affordable prices!

GORGEOUS VIEWS:

Lush parks, stunning sunsets, and beautiful ocean vistas are just some of the sights you won’t want to miss in Gloucester.

There’s no shortage of lighthouses in Gloucester. Eastern Point, Annisquam and Ten Pound Island Lighthouse are all worth the visit if you’re looking to see some of New England’s finest!

You’ll have to see the crystal clear water at Wingaersheek beach to believe it! From the white sand to the picturesque rocks, Wingaersheek is a Gloucester favorite for those who love to walk for miles along the beach.

Resting on a granite base along the Stacy Esplanade, the Fisherman’s Memorial Monument in Gloucester is set looking out over the harbor to memorialize the thousands of fishermen lost at sea in the first three centuries of Gloucester’s history. ​​Take a walk along the esplanade and admire the beautiful sculpture and the scenic ocean views.

Need a spot to watch the sunset? Visit Plum Cove! This small, quiet beach is the ideal spot for families with small children, summer picnics, and beach games.

DELICIOUS EATS

Gloucester Seafood is as fresh as it gets! If you’re looking for lobster or just for a great meal, check out these spots:

  • The Beauport Hotel Gloucester has made a significant impact on Cape Ann and brought a high level of sophistication and luxury to both Gloucester and the North Shore.  It features stylish upscale accommodations and dining.  The 1606 Restaurant and Oyster Bar provide an idyllic oceanfront deck and dining showcasing the very best in New England coastal dining and spirits. The outdoor deck is the perfect place to meet friends and family to enjoy the stunning ocean vistas and appreciate Gloucester’s nautical and maritime history!
  • Seaport Grille is a Gloucester staple! The restaurant is located directly on the harbor with two decks for classic water view dining and some of the most beautiful views of the ocean.
  • The Causeway Restaurant is a local favorite offering Italian dishes, fresh seafood, and fried favorites. Located right downtown, it’s also a quick walk or drive from Stage Fort Park and Stacy Boulevard.
  • In the summer months, the Studio is one of my favorites! Located near the Rocky Neck Art Colony, the Studio serves up delicious seafood, great cocktails, fresh oysters, and even sushi. It is a true Gloucester landmark!
  • Looking for great Italian cuisine on the North shore? Try Tono! The sister restaurant of the North End’s Prezza, you can trust Tonno to deliver an authentic Italian meal featuring special catches right from the harbor!
  • The clam chowder at Milemarker is one of the best around! Their “trap to table” cuisine is always fresh and never disappoints. Stop by and check out their seating options, from waterfront views, outdoor igloos in the colder months, and fireplaces!

THINGS TO DO

There are endless options for activities in Gloucester. Whether you’re looking to go boating, sailing, kayaking, fishing, sightseeing, or enjoy festivals, cruises, and charters, I know you’ll find something great!

If you’re in Gloucester you have to stop by Good Harbor Beach! This beautiful soft sand beach is excellent for walking, body surfing, and sunbathing and is my personal favorite beach on the North Shore!

Built into the town’s stunning seaside cliffs, The Hammond Castle Museum is breathtaking. Originally built in the 1920s, the seaside castle ​​brings together a unique combination of art, architectural elements, and culture. Explore John Hays Hammond, Jr’s inventions, beautiful rooms, and outstanding grounds when you visit the North Shore’s European castle.  

Did you know Gloucester was home to an abandoned 17th-century village? Dogtown is now home to miles of beautiful trails, charming woods, giant boulders and rock formations left behind from melted glaciers. Legend has it, Dogtown earned its strange name from the dogs that women kept while their husbands were fighting in the American Revolution!

If you’re like me, you love to explore beautiful homes in the area. Perched on a rock ledge overlooking Gloucester Harbor, the Beauport, Sleeper-McCann House in East Gloucester is a National Historic Landmark. The beautiful home is known for its colorful decor. Each of the forty rooms is distinguished by a historical or literary figure, theme, color, shape, or object. No two rooms are the same and one is worth the visit.

I always love to see the great art in Gloucester. Dozens of working artists from painters, potters, and textile designers to photographers and more, display their work in The Rocky Neck Art Colony galleries during the summer months! I also enjoy stopping by the Cultural Center on Rocky Neck to check out their latest exhibits. 

Hit the open seas on a Cape Ann Whale Watch! The tour provides ​​guaranteed whale sightings out to Stellwagen Bank, a national marine preserve about 12 miles off the coast of Gloucester deemed one of the “Top 5 Whale Watching Destinations in the World”!

Looking to buy or sell in Gloucester? Contact me to learn more.

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.

Swampscott MA

Welcome to Swampscott! First settled in 1629, this seaside town is located just 15 miles northeast of Boston. Widely known as a fishing village or the home of the first lobster pot, Swampscott has grown into a bustling small town! 

With a population of 15,100 residents, Swampscott offers a friendly, welcoming, and nurturing family environment, exciting businesses and activities for young professionals, a superb public educational system, amazing public safety and support systems, and a town government that is responsive to the needs of its citizens. 

Read on to see some of the businesses that have helped Swampscott grow into a charming, safe, and scenic town.

Swampscott may be a small seaside town, but it has something for everyone!

Groceries and Snacks

Whether you’re doing a weekly shop or looking for a sweet treat Swampscott has a lot to offer. Vinnin Square, a popular shopping center in the area has everything you need. From restaurants, a variety of stores and shops, grocery stores like Stop and Shop and Whole Foods, doctors’ offices, and banks, it’s a one-stop shop for everything you need. 

Little G Eatery is a great spot for shopping or a meal. This neighborhood restaurant sells a variety of essentials like scratch meals, sauces, beer, wine, cheeses, marinated meats, and “chefs pantry” items. 

The Swampscott Farmers Market is a local staple. Open every Sunday, June through October the market features a variety of local farms, restaurants, and artisans!


Authentic flavors with a modern twist! Founded by Italian Restaurant veteran Teresa Sirignano, Cafe Avellino is a local favorite for homemade Italian pastries and paninis!

The Cookie Monstah is famous for its fresh-baked cookies! From birthday cake to salted caramel, they even have the option for you to design your own homemade ice cream sandwiches!

Gorgeous Views

Located right along Massachusetts’ gorgeous coast, Swampscott has some of the best parks and beaches on the North Shore. 

Home to a variety of beautiful tide pools and rock formations, Preston Beach  is a top pick for Swampscott residents and tourists alike. Whether you’re looking for a spot to take the kids or just to relax in the sunshine, this is the place!

If you’re near Preston Beach, you have to check out Beach Bluff Park. This small park features a dramatic Sun Circle installation which includes a 24-foot-diameter circle of ten immense stones that orient one to the passage of the sun; it’s a must-see!

Swampscott’s beaches are more than just picturesque views. Have you spotted the Swampscott Anchor? Located on Fisherman’s beach, this stunning sculpture serves as a memorial for the missing ship “Tedesco.” Additionally, An English Cannon, cast in 1798 is still standing at the entrance of Fisherman’s park. 

Delicious Eats

For great brunch and dinner options, check these out:

  • Mission on the Bay– This gorgeous waterfront restaurant is the best place in Swampscott for delicious seafood, date nights, outdoor patios, and killer views! They even have a roof deck and an ocean bar coming soon.
  • Lincoln’s Landing– Calling all brunch lovers! This local-family-owned spot is known for its delicious brunch treats. If you’re in the area, you have to try the Pineapple Upside Down Pancakes. 
  • G Bar and Kitchen– This award-winning restaurant features an unforgettable marriage of food and wine in a warm and inviting atmosphere. With an ever-changing menu highlighting seasonal ingredients, G Bar and Kitchen is a must-try!

Small Shopping

Located right next to Lynn, Marblehead, and Salem there is no shortage of shopping opportunities around Swampscott. If you’re looking for something a little more unique, try these shops!

If you’re looking for a unique seaside gift, The Hiccup is for you! This small shop carries beautiful pieces made by local artisans, makers, and creators across the North Shore. They also offer a variety of fun workshops like beading and weaving. 

Located in the historic Olmsted district of Swampscott, Kats Boutique is the perfect spot to find women’s wear pieces.  They sell unique clothing & jewelry and aim to transcend the typical boutique setting by engaging with our community through educational and artistic events.

Welcome to the North Shore

First and foremost, what is the North Shore? The North Shore is the region north of Boston located along the Atlantic coast. Over the years, there has been much debate over which towns and cities should and should not be included in the official North Shore.

Some believe the North Shore includes the entire coastline from New Hampshire to Boston and is made up of the following:

Beverly, MA

Danvers, MA

Essex, MA

Gloucester, MA

Ipswich, MA

Lynn, MA

Manchester-by-the-Sea, MA

Marblehead, MA

Nahant, MA

Newbury, MA

Newburyport, MA

Peabody, MA

Revere, MA

Rockport, MA

Rowley, MA

Salem, MA 

Salisbury, MA

Saugus, MA

Swampscott, MA

Winthrop, MA 

However, The Boston Metropolitan Area Planning Council’s North Shore Task Force, defines the North Shore as also encompassing Cape Ann and several other communities:

​​Amesbury, MA

Beverly, MA

Boxford, MA

Danvers, MA

Essex, MA

Georgetown, MA

Gloucester, MA

Groveland, MA 

Hamilton, MA

Haverhill, MA

Ipswich, MA

Lynn, MA

Lynnfield, MA

Manchester, MA

Marblehead, MA

Merrimac, MA

Middleton, MA

Nahant, MA

Newbury, MA

Newburyport, MA

Peabody, MA

Rockport, MA

Rowley, MA

Salem, MA

Salisbury, MA

Saugus, MA

Swampscott, MA

Topsfield, MA

Wakefield, MA

Wenham, MA

West Newbury, MA

No matter what you define as the “official” North Shore, we can all agree that the region has so much to offer. From historic towns, stunning beaches and picturesque views it is the perfect place for a day trip, vacation or even your home base!

Looking for travel advice? Check out our North Shore guides to find out what to do, where to eat and everything else about our favorite towns and cities.

Visit Beverly

The North Shore’s best-kept secret, Beverly, has something to offer for the whole family.  “The Garden City,” only 40 minutes away from Boston’s downtown, has easy access to the city, beach, countryside and beautiful wildlife. Read On

Visit Salem

Named by TravelMag.com as one of the top 30 most charming small cities in the U.S., there is a lot to love about Salem, Massachusetts. Whether you’re interested in the atmosphere, the rich history, the people, or the restaurants, Salem has something to offer everyone. Read On

Visit Marblehead

When you think of New England coastal towns, you may think of Gloucester, Rockport, and Newburyport—gorgeous fishing towns where you are guaranteed to find a classic sailboat magnet at a cute boutique shop on the main stretch. But there’s another iconic coastal town on the North Shore that is somewhat of a hidden gem. A quaint town that offers a timeless quality and a sense of belonging. Read On