Gloucester, Mass.: An Imperfect, Perfect New England Travel Destination
Gloucester, on the North Shore of Massachusetts, is a worthwhile New England coastal travel destination, but not in the precious, slick and refined ways that have come into vogue lately by the sea.
Yes, you will find some great lodging, seafood dining, beaches, a classic harbor and so many earmarks familiar to a typical New England ocean vacation, but what’s overwhelmingly evident here is that it’s a working class community with a long fishing history. It is America’s oldest seaport, discovered in 1623 by an offshoot group of the Pilgrims three years after they landed at Plymouth, MA. You can see the history in the old buildings and homes, and the narrow crooked streets and sidewalks, Some of Gloucester represents the best of coastal New England, while other city elements show a need for revitalization. Gloucester certainly doesn’t share the gentle, gentrified look of neighboring Rockport and Manchester, but it’s just as much worth a visit for very different reasons. For example, Gloucester has done a great job moving the city in the right direction — especially the wonderful,classic seaport downtown with interesting little shops and restaurants, charmingly tucked away in the narrow streets around the corner from the sea. It’s full of character and doesn’t have a phony bone in its strong community foundation. This is the real New England, not some Hollywood set with all the latest retail bells and whistles full of elitism and attitude. There’s a humble, modest feeling here, quite understandable given the city’s working class roots.