Monthly Archives: April 2016

10 Family-Friendly Things to Do on Cape Ann

Halibut Point Gloucester, ma

Halibut Point Gloucester, ma

Cape Ann is filled with fabulous places to go and things to do and see.  Made up of the wonderful coastal communities of Essex, Gloucester, Manchester-by-the-Sea and Rockport, Cape Ann certainly offers a variety of fun things to experience both indoors and outside.  Though it can be hard to narrow it down, today we have a list of 10 family-friendly things to do in the area.

  1. Cape Ann Cinema & Stage in Gloucester – A great after dinner or rainy day activity. Families can relax and enjoy a film in a cozy atmosphere with couches and armchairs. You can even bring in food from local restaurants.
  2. Cape Ann Lanes in Gloucester – This bowling alley is fun for all ages! There is even an option for bumpers for small children and an area with arcade games.
  3. Coolidge Reservation in Manchester-by-the-Sea – This is a beautiful spot for families who love spending time outdoors. A Gorgeous setting along the water with wide-open stretches for kids to run and play.
  4. Essex Shipbuilding Museum in Essex – Learn about the history of wooden boat building. Stop in this museum on the Essex River and see how boats are put together piece by piece.
  5. Maritime Gloucester in Gloucester – Families can spend time indoors and outside at Maritime Gloucester. Families can see local sea critters in the “touch tanks” and experience the interactive exhibits to understand what Gloucester is all about!
  6. The Get Outside Center in Gloucester – During the Summer months drop-in programs are offered that take kids on adventures throughout Cape Ann.
  7. Halibut Point State Park & Atlantic Path – If your family enjoys hiking and exploring, this is a wonderful place to visit. Beautiful vista views in every direction and a quarry smack dab in the middle.  Pack a lunch for the family and enjoy the day!
  8. Harbor Tours, Inc. in Gloucester – If you’d prefer to spend the day on the water with your family, this is a great option! There are different options for tours around Cape Ann.
  9. North Shore Kayak Outdoor Center in Rockport – You can also get out on the water and explore on your own! Families often enjoy renting kayaks for the day.
  10. Tompson Street Reservation in Gloucester – Another great option for a family hike. Many different paths to explore and quiet areas for picnics. Dogs are even welcome!

Visit capeannvacations.com for more information about the area and great ideas for activities and where to shop, eat stay.

 

Blog written by Michelle Budrow from Capeannchamber.com

LIGHTHOUSES NORTH OF BOSTON

 

Annisquam Lighthouse Credit Tim Grafft

Annisquam Lighthouse Credit Tim Grafft

Annisquam Light- Gloucester, MA

Location: Wigwam Point, Northern end of Annisquam River, Ipswich Bay

Visiting: No public access to interior of lighthouse

Annisquam Harbor Light Station, formerly known as Wigwam Point, was first established in 1801 and is now one of the oldest light stations in Massachusetts. The original wooden octagonal tower was replaced around 1897 by the existing brick tower. The site includes elements of the original light station complex (completed by 1814), such as the keeper’s house and an oil house. An elevated wooden walkway leads to the 41-foot tall tower, which rests on a stone foundation. An enclosed brick passageway provides access to the tower.

Derby Wharf Lighthouse- Essex Heritage

Derby Wharf Lighthouse- Essex Heritage

Derby Wharf Light- Salem, MA

Location: Derby Wharf

Visiting: No public access to interior of lighthouse

Derby Wharf Light Station has aided navigation in Salem Harbor since it was first lit in 1871. The Derby Wharf Light, along with the Hospital Point Light in Beverly, Massachusetts, and Fort Pickering Light Station on Winter Island in Salem, were designed to “mark the main channel leading into this anchorage, with the view to its becoming a harbor of refuge which may be safely entered at any time,” in the words of the 1870 report of the lighthouse board to the U.S. Treasury. The lighthouse is located on the end of Derby Wharf. Derby Wharf Light is about twelve feet square and about 20 feet high to the top of the cupola.

Eastern Point Light- Credit Ed Bolton

Eastern Point Light- Credit Ed Bolton

Eastern Point Light- Gloucester, MA

Location: East Side of Gloucester Harbor Entrance

Visiting: No public access to interior of lighthouse

The lighthouse was originally planned in 1829 and was erected by 1832 on the east side of the Gloucester Harbor entrance. It was first lit on January 1, 1832. The tower was rebuilt in 1848 and again in 1890. The third and current conical brick tower stands 36 feet tall. The lighthouse has an attached two-story keeper’s quarters, built in 1879. Its white light is visible for 20 nautical miles. It was automated by September 1985.

Fort Pickering Light- Credit Stanley Slysz

Fort Pickering Light- Credit Stanley Slysz

Fort Pickering Light – Salem, MA

Location: Winter Island, north side of entrance

Visiting:  No public access to interior of lighthouse

Winter Island Light, also known as Fort Pickering Light, was built adjacent to the site of the former Fort Pickering in Winter Island Park, in 1871 – the same year as Derby Wharf Light in Salem Harbor and Hospital Point Light in nearby Beverly. The lighthouse, built of iron lined with brick, exhibited a flashing white light 28 feet above sea level. The lighthouse, originally painted red, was built slightly offshore.

Marblehead Light- Credit SAPearson

Marblehead Light- Credit SAPearson

Marblehead Light- Marblehead, MA

Location: Northern Tip of Marblehead Neck, entrance to Marblehead Harbor

Visiting: The grounds are open all year. The interior is open by special arrangement.

In August 1831 Congress gave the money for a 23 foot high tower and it was built in 1835 and commissioned on October 10, 1835. Despite the work on the tower and associated keepers’ house, the tower fell into poor condition and by 1893 a new light was requested. This new light consisted of eight cast iron piles on concrete foundations. It was first illuminated on 17 April 1896 as a fixed white light. Later in 1922 it was changed to fixed red and then in 1938 to fixed green. In 1960, the light was automated and a new 300 millimeters optic was installed. Marblehead Light is the only tower of its type in New England.

Newburyport Rear Range Lighthouse

Newburyport Rear Range Lighthouse

Newburyport Harbor Range Lights- Newburyport, MA

Location: Newburyport Harbor, Merrimack River

Visiting: Generally there is no public access to interior of lighthouse but for a donation of $350 you can eat on top of the lighthouse

The rear light is a brick tower, 53 feet in height, located close to Water Street near the Merrimack River Coast Guard Station. The tower was traditionally painted white on the upper third of the river-facing side, with a thick white stripe down the rest of the facade. That side is now painted entirely white, while the other three sides are unpainted. The tower is topped by an eight-sided lens room, which is surrounded by an iron balcony and railing.

Plum Island Lighthouse- Credit Essex heritage

Plum Island Lighthouse- Credit Essex heritage

Plum Island Light (Newburyport Harbor Light)- Newburyport, MA

Location: Northern Tip of Plum Island, Ipswich Bay, entrance to Merrimack River

Visiting: No public access to interior of lighthouse, but is occasionally open on weekends during the summer.

Newburyport Harbor Light Station, also known as Plum Island Light, is located on the northern end of Plum Island at the mouth of the Merrimack River. The original Newburyport Harbor Light Station was established to safely guide mariners into the harbor in 1788. The present 45-foot tall, wooden, conical tower replaced the remaining towers in 1898. Set some distance back from the beach, it is constructed on sandy yet firm ground and is thereby protected from the continuously changing shoreline. Newburyport Harbor Light retains its original fourth-order Fresnel lens. Although the nearby, two-story keeper’s dwelling (1872) still stands, only the light tower is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Looking west from Newburyport Harbor Light, the Newburyport Harbor Range Lights are visible.

Straitsmouth Island Lighthouse- Credit Lighthousefriends.com

Straitsmouth Island Lighthouse- Credit Lighthousefriends.com

Straitsmouth Island Light- Rockport, MA

Location: Straitsmouth Island, off east side of Cape Ann

Visiting: No public access to interior of lighthouse

Straitsmouth Island Lighthouse was built in 1835 to mark the entrance to nearby Rockport Harbor. The Town of Rockport owns the tower and 1.8 acres it stands on. The light is an active aid to navigation and the light and fog signal is maintained by the U.S. Coast Guard. The balance of the 31 acres island is owned by Mass Audubon Society and is maintained as a bird and wildlife sanctuary. The light station is easily seen from the end of Bear Skin Neck in Rockport. The current lighthouse tower was built in 1896. The island is only accessible by boat.

 

Ten Pound Lighthouse

Ten Pound Lighthouse

Ten Pound Island Light- Gloucester, MA

Location: Gloucester Harbor

Visiting: No public access to interior of lighthouse.

Ten Pound Island Light Station was established in 1821 to safely guide mariners into Gloucester’s inner harbor.  The present conical cast-iron tower replaced the original stone tower in 1881. Resting on a brick foundation, the tower is 30 feet tall and topped with a fifth-order lantern. Other associated buildings include a granite oil house (1821) and a keeper’s dwelling. Ten Pound Island Light Station was decommissioned in 1956.

Thatcher Island Twin Lighthouses

Thatcher Island Twin Lighthouses

Thatcher Island Twin Lights- Rockport, MA

Location: Thatcher Island, Off east coast of Cape Ann

Visiting: No public access to interior of lighthouse, Island is open mid-June until Mid-September.

Also known as Cape Ann Light Station, these twin lights are the only surviving multiple lights on the coasts of the United States. The original 45-foot towers were constructed and lit in 1789—making them among the oldest of America’s lighthouses. The stout 124 foot granite towers seen today replaced the original lights in 1861. The two towers were constructed so that when a ship sites on both towers, they point to true north—allowing sailors to check and adjust their compasses. The island is open Mid-June until Mid-September and has 3 miles of groomed walking trails, a visitor center, and museum.

 

Hospital Point Light- Credit Essex Heritage

Hospital Point Light- Credit Essex Heritage

Hospital Point Light- Beverly, MA

Location: Bayview Ave

Visiting: No public access to interior of lighthouse but occasionally opens for events.

Established in 1871, the beacon marks the deep water channel to Beverly, Salem and Marblehead. The square pyramidal light tower is 45 feet (14 m) tall, made of white painted brick and is topped with a 10-sided lantern. The keeper’s house is an example of Queen Anne style architecture.