Nestled on a quiet street in Rockport is the Emerson Inn by the Sea. As the name suggests, this historic inn is an oasis of relaxation and tranquility with unparalleled clear views of the ocean.
The Inn is named after transcendentalist author Ralph Waldo Emerson who visited Rockport in the the mid-1800s with friend Henry David Thoreau (on an apparent vacation from Walden Pond) when it was known as the Pigeon Cove House. The House itself was a tavern before Hannah Jumper and her teetotalling Hatchet Gang raided Rockport, crusading against the “demon rum” and leaving the small town “dry” until 2005. In the wake of Ms. Jumper, owner William Norwood turned the popular Pigeon Cove tavern into a boarding house. After Norwood’s death, the Inn was sold to a Mrs. Robinson (no, not that Mrs. Robinson) who had the building moved from Pigeon Cove to its current location where it was extensively renovated and reopened as the Hotel Edward a name that stuck until 1964 when the new owners, the Wemyss family, renamed it after Emerson’s visit nearly 100 years prior. We were lucky to get a first-hand tour of the Inn from current owner Bruce Coates.
Open year-round, the Emerson Inn by the Sea features 36 rooms and suites, each carefully and brightly decorated with antiques and clever reproductions which recall the simple elegance of the turn-of-the-century. Each room is appointed a private bathroom, air conditioning, telephone, data port, wireless high-speed internet, cable television, and more – all modern luxuries that, along with the relaxing environment, help make your stay comfortable and serene.
Part of what sets the Emerson Inn apart from similar accommodations is the environment. From the moment you walk through the front doors, you are greeted by the friendly staff (all eager to help make your stay memorable and serene). Nothing at the Emerson Inn is rushed or hectic – the atmosphere is very laid back and casual.
Feeling stressed and unable to lay back and relax on your trip? Be sure to make an appointment at Le Petite Spa (located at the Inn) and enjoy a soothing massage from one of their wonderful massage therapists.
Perhaps the cherry on the Emerson Inn’s cake is their Grand Cafe. The Boston Globe surmised it the best when they wrote that “Looking out over a garden and sweeping views of the Atlantic Ocean, there are few more charming and picturesque settings than the one from this coveted seat at Emerson Inn By the Sea… The Grand Café has raised the standard for restaurants in Rockport.” Even if you are just in Rockport for a day trip, be sure to stop by the Cafe. Breakfast is available year-round (chef Gail’s fried egg sandwiches cannot be beat!) and the new lunch menu is available from 12-3pm. Looking to spend a romantic evening with that special someone? Stop by the Grand Cafe for dinner (available Tuesday-Sunday). Their Wine Spectator Award of Excellence-winning wine menu has the perfect libation to complement your romantic meal.
Whether you’re planning a cozy romantic getaway or a wedding, conference, or special event, the Emerson Inn, with its comfortable rooms and unparalleled views, is the perfect place to stay and take in the beauty and culture of Rockport and Cape Ann.
For more information on the Emerson Inn by the Sea, please visit www.emersoninnbythesea.com.
For a list of their wonderful vacation packages, click here.
Fun Fact! Remember the Hatchet Gang? While Rockport remained a dry town for over a century, this prohibition was repealed in 2005. The Emerson Inn was actually the first Rockport business to receive a liquor license – a funny turn of events, seeing as the property started out as a tavern!