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Day trip from Boston to Salem/Gloucester

New York City, New...
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Day trip from Boston to Salem/Gloucester

hello all. I wanted to get out of Boston for a day and read about Gloucester and Salem as a good day trip in scenic "cape Ann".

I was hoping I can get recommendations on a good itinerary. I am planning to go sometime next week. I read whale watching is the main attraction in Gloucester and it was where the perfect storm was filmed. Unfortunately all I really know. I am interested in whale watching but afraid of rough seas and perhaps will take up much time? I just wanted something that lets make take in what Gloucester is about. Is it just hanging and walking in rockport? Getting some fresh catch on the harbor? I want something unique to experience in that area.

As far as Salem I understand it's a town passed on the way to Boston and figure why not check out some history with the witchcraft tales and all.

So if someone has done these two in a day road trip from Boston, I'd love some ideas :) we are active and open minded. Will be a group of 4 first time in this area.

North Shore, MA
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1. Re: Day trip from Boston to Salem/Gloucester

ekandinov, will you have a car or be using public transportation? It will make a difference in the suggestions we offer. For now, let me add that it is too early in the season to go on a whale watch. Come back in the summer for that (and also note that there are seasonal whale watch trips out of Boston).

New York City, New...
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2. Re: Day trip from Boston to Salem/Gloucester

I see rockport, Essex, and Gloucester as all great places. Which would I focus on in terms of best experience of cape Ann? Which can I omit considering a quick stop in Salem on the way back?

North Shore, MA
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3. Re: Day trip from Boston to Salem/Gloucester

Again, will you have a car or use public transportation?

New York City, New...
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4. Re: Day trip from Boston to Salem/Gloucester

Car.. My apologies

North Shore, MA
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for Salem
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5. Re: Day trip from Boston to Salem/Gloucester

Driving will give you more flexibility. Since spring has just arrived (with more snow!), I think you will want to spend most of your time indoors and seeing scenery as you drive. Some places will not be open yet, particularly in Rockport and Essex. I suggest taking the highway to Gloucester (Route 1 north to Route 128). If you like museums, the Cape Ann Museum gives a nice overview of the area's history and culture; it was recently renovated and I haven't visited since the renovations were completed. Then you could drive to the Gloucester waterfront, the center of the commercial fishing industry on Cape Ann. You can walk around there for a bit. Then take Route 127/127A around Cape Ann, stopping in Rockport to take a walk out to Bearskin Neck. I don't think you'll find much open especially if you visit on a weekday, but it's quaint and has picturesque ocean views. You might stop at Halibut Point State Park in Rockport, but I suspect the trails to the coast and abandoned quarry will be snow covered or too muddy. Then continue around Cape Ann and pick up Route 133 to Essex, which is very pretty and has great restaurants. You could then backtrack to Route 127, but this time head south to Beverly; there are some nice ocean views along the way. Then take Route 1A into Salem.

I don't know how much time you want to spend in Salem, but depending on time you could cut out the trip to Essex or spend less time in Gloucester or Rockport or take the highway (128) south rather than Route 127 south on that last leg to Salem. There are many ways from 128 to Salem, but Route 114 is probably the easiest. Hope this gives you some ideas.

New York City, New...
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6. Re: Day trip from Boston to Salem/Gloucester

Thank you very much for your reply. I will surely look into your plan. How much time would you say is necessary to feel out Salem. I hear Hawthorne's house, the witch Museum, and just a cute town are really the essence of Salem… Would a couple of hours suffice? Also would you think Salem is a better idea in the morning or on the way back from Cape Ann? I assume with much stuff closed around the Cape as you suggested I will have more time in Salem? What I'm really looking for is great scenery, something different than to city, and some stuff I can only experience in that area. Any specific scenic places to consider or restaurants you recommend that are a must?

North Shore, MA
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7. Re: Day trip from Boston to Salem/Gloucester

Most folks probably spend a long half day to a day in Salem, though some spend a couple of hours and others a couple of days. The Peabody Essex Museum is Salem's star attraction, but you may not have enough time to do it justice. You may enjoy a drive, or better yet, a walk, down Chestnut Street to admire Salem's architecture. The House of the Seven Gables (Hawthorne) is interesting, too. For witch trials history, I recommend the Witch Trials Memorial, Old Burying Point, and the Witch (Corwin) House. Here are some links that may be helpful:

http://salem.org/

http://pem.org/

nps.gov/sama/planyourvisit/upload/McTrail.pdf (for Chestnut St. and more)

Salem is a small city and certainly different from Boston and NYC, but if you are looking for time outside a big city, I think you will enjoy Cape Ann.

If your day will get off to an early start, you may wan to start on Cape Ann and end in Salem. Most of Salem's attractions won't open until 10am whereas in Cape Ann you will spend time looking at scenery (no opening time!). Also, while most Salem attractions close at 5pm, the House of Seven Gables offers its last tour at that time and the Memorial and cemetery are open in daylight hours, so you could potentially extend your time a little. Enjoy!

New York City, New...
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8. Re: Day trip from Boston to Salem/Gloucester

Awesome. Thanks for the detailed info. Greatly appreciated!

9. Re: Day trip from Boston to Salem/Gloucester

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