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Posted by Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism

On a beautiful Saturday in April, I decided to drive north to Cape Ann and visit the seacoast town of Rockport. I needed to, among other things, shake off the cobwebs from winter and breathe in the wonderful salt air of this favorite destination.
Rich in art galleries and small boutiques, Rockport has so much charm. It’s the perfect spot for a spring or summer afternoon stroll. Plus, cafés and restaurants are plentiful in the picturesque downtown area.
Need some caffeination to start? There are plenty of coffee shops on Bearskin Neck and Main Street.
Helmut’s Strudel shop has a glorious deck facing the harbor. Enjoy a warm apple strudel and iced coffee and daydream the day away.
Rockport April 2015 Helmut's Deck

The view from Helmut’s is as good as advertised

The Bean and Leaf Café also offers prime ocean views on their back deck. In fact, many of the shops and eateries have porches or decks that are hidden from the street view, so when you stick your head in, make sure to take a look around. There are often sweeping ocean views out back, plus interesting tidbits from the shopkeepers inside.
As I munched on my fried native clam roll at Brackett’s Oceanview Restaurant, I watched some early season beachgoers on the sand below. Diners at the next table, whose voices carried over, mentioned that they found a treasure trove of beach glass earlier in the morning. I wish I had worn shoes more suitable for walking the beach, because it’s always thrilling to find a natural souvenir to take home.
Rockport April 2015 Motif No 1

Walking towards the water in Rockport

After filling up, I made a purchase at the Wicked Peacock boutique, where the displays always seem to catch my eye. Eight Bells is another interesting shop on Bearskin Neck. When I visited, they had colorful chandeliers in the window made of recycled plastic, although you never could have guessed the material without taking a closer look.
Rockport April 2015 Eight Bells Chandeliers

Chandeliers at Eight Bells. Would you have known?

La Provence, one more Rockport shop that has beautiful selection, will transport you to France via the lovely scented soaps and colorful table linens.
Rockport April 2015 La Provence

The entrance at La Provence

For music lovers, the stunning Shalin Liu Performance Center is the perfect place to enjoy a spring or summer concert. Just exploring the venue is an experience in and of itself; the entire back of the stage is framed by windows and there is a spectacular view of the ocean.
No trip to the ocean is complete without a saltwater taffy purchase, obviously. Grab your favorite flavors from Tuck’s, where there are all kinds of good things, ranging from chocolates to fudge to candy.
Rockport April 2015 Tucks

A modest preview of the selection at Tuck’s

With so many interesting places to shop and eat, not to mention the stunning oceans views, you will probably want to spend more than one afternoon in Rockport. I know that ever since I experienced the charm of this small coastal town for the first time, I’ve been moved to return time and time again.
Elaine Foley is passionate about New England, caffeination in all forms, blogging and photography. You can read her blog, Café Chatelaine – Life in Sweet New England, at You can also follow her on Twitter @chatelaine08.