A couple of weekends ago, we camped with Lady T and Inky at a small rustic campground called Pines Camping Area in Salisbury, MA . We chose the Pines because it was close to Salisbury Beach and also within an hours drive to Cape Ann, which we planned on visiting that Saturday.
Unfortunately, we didn’t end up leaving until 6:30 PM because the traffic going north was backed up for hours. The drive to the Pines was just over an hour but by the time we arrived, set up, and ate dinner, it was already dark. After dinner, we hopped in Inky and cruised down to the Salisbury Beach Boardwalk for an evening walk and a soft serve treat.
Salisbury Beach extends from the mouth of the Merrimack River to the Massachusetts/New Hampshire border and is a popular destination for families, who enjoy the many free events held throughout the summer around the boardwalk area. It’s also within just a few miles of Hampton Beach, New Hampshire’s most popular beach.
The next morning, we were up early an on our way to Cape Ann. Cape Ann is located in northeastern Massachusetts and includes the coastal communities of Gloucester, Rockport, Essex and Manchester-by-the Sea. Gloucester is the country’s oldest seaport and still one of the busiest fishing ports in the country.
After driving around for a little while, we eventually found parking on Main Street and spent a half hour checking out the shops. We also attempted to visit the Eastern Point Light, a historic lighthouse located in Gloucester Harbor. If you’re driving, the lighthouse can only be accessed through a private gated community. When we approached the gate, the security person wasn’t there so we just drove through. Once inside, we still had difficulty getting to the lighthouse. By the time we found it, we were a little aggravated and decided it wasn’t worth it to pay the $10 to park.
Our next stop was Rockport, MA and Bearskin Neck. Bearskin Neck is a small neck of land that juts out into Rockport Harbor and has a unique shopping area that used to be a collection of old fisherman and lobsterman shacks. This busy little tourist area is surrounded by water and offers picturesque views of the Atlantic Ocean. We spent a couple of hours exploring the shops and took several pictures of the harbor.
On the way back to the campground, we saw a sign for Plum Island and quickly detoured. Plum Island Beach was the first beach I ever visited and I hadn’t been there in over 30 years. We drove the long, connecting road to the beach area as far as we could go and paid $10 to park in a small lot along the beach. Plum Island is home to hundreds of wildlife species and is a very popular ocean fishing area. We took a long walk on the beach just as the sun was setting, and picked up a handful of shells along the way.
I didn’t realize that Plum Island was part of Newburyport and since we were so close, we decided to end our day there. Newburyport is another popular tourist destination and the birthplace of Francis Cabot Lowell, the American textile pioneer after whom the city of Lowell, Massachusetts (our hometown!) is named.
There are lots of great shops and restaurants in Newburyport and while we were deciding whether we should eat out or back at camp, Mother Nature made the decision for us with a fast moving summer rainstorm. We ducked into a burrito place called Dos Amigos and had a delicious dinner while waiting out the rain. Afterward, we checked out a few souvenir shops and then drove back to camp with Inky’s top down, enjoying the salty summer air.
We had a lot of fun exploring Cape Ann and although we didn’t spend much time at the campground, we were happy with the service we received at the Pines Camping Area. Thanks for reading and check back soon for a special announcement!