This walk is a MUST if you're visiting Rockport, MA. If you're walking from The Seafarer Inn, depart the house to the left, take a right at Old Garden Rd., and take Old Garden Rd. all the way to the end of the street, which will naturally enter the territory of The Headlands. Keep going until you see stone benches. The Headlands overlook downtown Rockport, Rockport Harbor, Pigeon Cove, Granite Pier, and, on very clear days, you can spot Acadia, Maine sticking out over the horizon.
Distance from The Seafarer Inn: 0.7 miles
Parking: Limited Resident Sticker Parking
Nothing in Rockport is more well-known as Bearskin Neck. Named for a bear that was caught by the tide and killed in 1700, this neck is what most people think of when they think of visiting Rockport.
Although justly popular, the real treat is the walk there from The Seafarer Inn. Take the route listed in the directions and walk past Old Garden Beach, the headlands, and Rockport Harbor all on the way to get some coffee and souvenirs in one of Bearskin Neck's many shops. Since it's in the center of town, you could continue your walk to many other nearby destinations, such as Front Beach, Motif No. 1, and the Shalin Liu Performance Center.
Distance from The Seafarer Inn: 1.3 miles
Parking: N/A--this is a walk.
While most of this reservation protects more than 50 acres of salt marsh, its most popular feature is Whites Hill, a coastal drumlin that offers unobstructed views of Crane Beach, the Crane Wildlife Refuge, and Halibut Point.
A loop trail leads you along a field and up the hillside to a broad, open meadow. Here stands the fieldstone base of a 50-foot, three-level tower built by Lamont G. Burnham in the 1880s.
As you loop back down the hill, you'll trek through a thicket of Devil's walking stick, broken only by a small hillside clearing that offers views over the salt marshes to Castle Hill.
3/4-mile trail. Moderate hiking.
When to Visit
Year-round, daily, sunrise to sunset. Allow a minimum of 1/2-hour.
Watch out for ticks! Wear pants with long socks and a long sleeve shirt. Check yourself after the hike. The ticks can carry Lyme disease.
Distance from The Seafarer Inn: 13.7 miles
Parking: Free. Park on Island Rd--just past the golf course on the right.
Halibut Point State Park
Halibut Point State Park is a great place if you want to fish, visit a historic site, picnic, overlook a scenic area, go cross-country skiing, or just go for a walk.
There are three main attractions at Halibut Point--the Visitors Center, the quarry, and the Sea Rocks. The Visitors Center is built into a WWII fire-control tower. With clear visibility, you can walk up a spiral staircase into the tower, offering views stretching from Crane Beach in Ipswich to Mount Agamenticus in Maine and the Isles of Shoals off the coast of New Hampshire. The Visitors Center has a variety of displays, which help tell the story of the World Way II tower. The former Babson Farm granite quarry has a spectacular view and a self-guided tour for those looking for an informative stroll. An adjacent property, Sea Rocks, is owned by the Town of Rockport and open for public use. Here you can explore the park's trails and tidepools, picnic on its rocky ledges, enjoy its sweeping views, and learn about Cape Ann's historic granite industry.
Distance from The Seafarer Inn: 4.3 miles
Parking: $2.00 to park
Hours: The park is open 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. daily from Memorial Day to Labor Day; the parking lot gates will be locked after dark, so be prepared!
Attempting to traverse the 3,600 acres of Dogtown without a map is a foolhardy venture. A compass may be useful, too but, because the terrain is so bumpy, it's easy to get lost if you stray from the trail. All trees and boulders tend to look alike when you get turned around. While the trails are fairly smooth, it does help to have a good pair of walking shoes. Be aware that hunting season is October 19 through April 1, and hunting is allowed in Dogtown - but never on Sunday.
Distance from The Seafarer Inn: 7.7 miles
Parking: Free, street
Hours: Year-round. Hunting season--Oct. 19 - April 1.