August 01, 2022

A Scenic Day Traveling the North Shore

How lucky are we to live here in the North Shore, where there are so many nooks and crannies to discover. Everyday can truly be a new adventure here, and our favorite local day trip, good year round, won't disappoint. Long Beach ice cream parlor closed for the off season.

 

We usually start our adventures and day trips out in Beverly, MA where we grab lobster rolls from our favorite roadside shack, Joes on a Roll.

Joe’s main location is at 61 Federal Street, a family run operation it is a local hidden gem where you can find lobster roll combos starting at $18 for a roll, chips and a soda or add a bisque or chowder for just few bucks more. Make sure you tip the awesome staff, they’re our friends (they didn’t have a choice since we visit so often). 

Seafood takeout bag on a beach blanket by the ocean.

When then usually head up scenic 127 as it has breathtaking views no matter the time of day or weather—truly. 

Our drive starts at Independence Park in Beverly, overlooking the Beverly channel. 

This park has stunning panoramic views, often filled with sail and fishing boats. With Dane Street beach right next door it’s a great spot for a shady picnic overlooking the ocean, or a beach day.  Dane Street is free to non-residents, has bathrooms and a nearby playground for when your kiddo needs a change of scenery. 

Via 127 you can also find Lynch Park nearby if you detour right on Ober Street off. Lynch Park is absolutely stunning, one of my most favorite spots here on the shore. It’s free for Beverly residents but non-residents can pay for admission and trust me it’s worth it—-especially if you have kids.  

Mother and daughter in an elegant garden.
 

You can also get in for free after the park closes at 5. Lynch Park has a small beach, a large open grassy area with picnic tables and trees. As you walk the main path hill notice the walls to the beautiful, historic brick gardens on the left. Inside the walls you’ll find meticulous flower gardens filled with butterflies. The garden is also overlooking the ocean, and at low tide you can rock below the far wall along the rocky beach. 

The walking path wraps around almost the entire peninsula that makes up Lynch Park. As you make it toward the center you’ll find a beautiful playground and splash pad, bathrooms and a visitor center. This is truly one of our favorite spots to visit and you can really spend several hours here. 

A little further up the road driving over the cliffs you’ll discover beautiful wide open views of the ocean. Before passing through Prides crossing you’ll drive through the beautiful campus of Endicott College. You won’t miss the elaborate water fountain to your right in front of Tupper Manor, where many alumni couples have their wedding. 

Shortly thereafter you’ll also come to Beverly Farms downtown, home to some cute local shops, our favorite bakery Half Baked Cafe and Hale Street Tavern, a family friendly local favorite. 

West Beach will eventually come up on your right, which is sadly a resident only beach during the summertime but in the off season, non residents are welcome and it’s  a beautiful stroll. 

Keep heading up 127 and you’ll make it to Magnolia. This is a good time to mention that I would highly recommend getting a family Trustees pass which grants you access to so many breathtaking locations throughout the North Shore and across Massachusetts.  With a membership you can visit the beautiful Coolidge Reservation  which also gets you access to Magnolia beach!

You can take a detour right turn on Raymond Street to checkout downtown Magnolia. It’s small but adorable and ocean views are all around. This is a great spot for sunset. 

Later continuing on 127 you’ll be passing through downtown Manchester-by-the-Sea where you won’t be able to help but stare at the adorable shops, harbor, and unique restaurants. 

Continuing the road you’ll make your to historic Stage Fort Park to your right. This historic park is the site of Gloucester’s first settlers in 1623. Upon arrival the settlers quickly set up fishing stages  making Gloucester America’s Oldest Fishing Port. Stage Fort Park houses Half Moon and Cressy’s beaches, a sand volleyball court, a new playground, a baseball field, a basketball court, and tennis courts. 

A brass memorial of a fisherman at the helm.

You’ll find picnic tables throughout and a Cupboard of Gloucester, a fried food/snack bar. Parking is $15 for the day during the week and $20 on the weekends. This is totally worth, as you can access by foot Stacy Esplanade, filled with beautiful gardens and overlooking Gloucester Harbor. The esplanade is home to the famous Gloucester fisherman’s memorial, a picturesque moment 24/7/365. 

If you didn’t get lunch on the way and are eager for a quick local bite, the Lobster Roller Food truck with lobster rolls and lobster Mac and Cheeses can be found toward the far end (across from the greasy pole—if ya know ya know)!

Heading up the road either on foot if you parked at Stage Fort (totally doable) or by car you’ll come to downtown Gloucester. I have to say this is one of my most favorite spots in the world. I find it so charming, from  history to the coastal nostalgia that or me mimics a Maine harbor town. 

 Downtown hugs the harbor and fishing boats are always coming in an out. You can get fresh fish and lobster, caught by locals any day. Honestly, what’s better that that? If you having a sleeping kid in the backseat like we sometimes do you can even get drive through fresh fish form the Fisherman’s Wharf mobile seafood market. 

Keep going on 127 and you’ll soon end up in historic Rockport—a more quaint, quiet town with just as much charm. Bearskin Neck is famous for its art galleries, showcasing local artists and any kind of art you can find form pottery at Alexander’s pottery and gifts to Gyotaku at Joe’s Fresh Fish Impressions. There are lots of spots grab a bite, salty or sweet. You can’t leave without trying lobster from Roy Moore or an least an ice cream from the charming Ice Cream Factory.  Make sure to grab some candy from the Country Store or Tucks Candy Factory to snack on for the ride home. 

 

      To close out the day, if you’re looking for a quiet or romantic way to end your evening, grab your

dinner or after dinner drinks and head to Halibut point for sunset. It’s one of the most beautiful over-the-water sunset views I’ve seen on the east coast. Just pay and park at the little lot, head down the entry path, go past the quarry and make your way down to the point (Ocean View Pt.). You’ll see several smaller trails that allow you to go down on the rocks closer to the water to sit back and watch the show (sunset).  

This trip is really a foolproof way to spend any day and to have it go off without a hitch because there are so many different stops, opportunities to change plans or venture off on a newly discovered corner. It's enjoyable any time of year rain or shine--just jump in the car and go. And with good food all around you, you really can't go wrong.  

If you take the trip, let me know what you think and where you end up!