NewEnglandTravelPlanner.com Logo   Gloucester, Massachusetts Guide
Famous for fishing, Gloucester is worth visiting for its history, seafood restaurants, whale watch cruises, artists' colony, historic houses, and its fine beaches.

 
 

 

Gloucester, 33 miles (53 km) northeast of Boston on Cape Ann (map), was at one time an important shipbuilding town, and still prides itself on being the birthplace of the schooner (1713).

Like many others on the New England coast, it profited from the wealth of forests inland, the plentiful fish, and the richness of trade. Today visitors come to explore its nearly four centuries of history, to enjoy a lobster dinner overlooking its harbor, to bask in the sun at one of its fine beaches, to visit its famous art colony, or heading out on a whale watch cruise. Local hotels and B&Bs provide ample lodging. More...

Founded in 1623

The Pilgrims founded Plymouth in 1620, and three years later (1623) fishermen founded Gloucester. The marvelous natural harbor and the plentiful fishing and lobster grounds made that early settlement a fishers' paradise.

Over the years, Gloucester lost so many of its sons to the ravages of the sea that the town thought it fitting to set up a memorial to them. The Gloucester Fishermen's Memorial which includes the famous statue of The Gloucester Fisherman (also known as The Man at the Wheel) with the legend They That Go Down to the Sea in Ships, 1623-1923.

The sea was Gloucester's provider until 2014, when the US government severely limited commercial fishing in the Gulf of Maine due to dangerously low fish stocks. The restrictions provided unbearable to smaller fishing boats, most of which were forced out of business.

After nearly four centuries as a fishermen's port, "fishing boats out of Gloucester" still head for the open water, but they are the larger craft which can go farther out into the ocean, beyond the Gulf of Maine. Lobster boats still troll local waters collecting the prized crustaceans for dinner tables far and near.

The Perfect Storm

The joys, perils and tragedies of fishing from Gloucester—especially going farther out into the deep ocean—were dramatically chronicled in Sebastian Junger's book The Perfect Storm, and in the motion picture (2000) based on it.

Rocky Neck Art Colony

East Gloucester, and especially the peninsula named Rocky Neck, due south of the town center, is famous as an artists' colony. Come to see the artists at work and to visit their galleries. Also here is the Gloucester Stage, a renowned theater company staging works that often go on to worldwide production.

Gloucester Beaches & More

Gloucester has several good beaches that fill with those seeking sun, sand and sea in summer.

South of Gloucester, but on its outskirts in neighboring Magnolia, Massachusetts, is the fascinating Hammond Castle Museum, built by the brilliant (if quirky) technical genius and eccentric, John Hays Hammond, Jr. More...

Getting to Gloucester

To get to Gloucester, follow I-93 or I-95 to MA Route 128 north to Cape Ann. More...

Also, MBTA Commuter Rail trains run regularly from Boston's North Station to Salem, Gloucester and Rockport. More...

—by Tom Brosnahan


Gloucester Hotels & Inns

What to See & Do

Gloucester Transportation

Tourist Information

Rockport

Manchester-by-the-Sea

About Cape Ann

North Shore Guide

Massachusetts Guide

  Paris Girls Secret Society, the new novel by Tom Brosnahan

 

Gloucester Fisherman statue, The Man at the Wheel, Gloucester, Massachusetts

The Gloucester Fisherman
("Man at the Wheel")
in Gloucester MA.

     
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