Many of you are familiar with South County, Providence and even Boston, but you should head a little more northeast to the North Shore and see Gloucester. Gloucester is a well-known, quaint fishing town, most commonly associated with the film, “The Perfect Storm”. Not only does Gloucester have great beaches and restaurants, but it’s history is deeply connected to its surrounding ocean.
Gloucester is an important port in the fishing industry and was one of the first English settlements in the Massachusetts Bay area. It was originally founded during an expedition named the “Dorchester Company”. These were men who come over from Dorset England. Gloucester took its name from a stronghold Parliamentarian town in Southwest England, which defended The Earl of Essex against Siege of Gloucester.
Fishing has always been a major focus for Gloucester since 1713, when shipbuilding became a considerable development for the area. Shipbuilders then had the opportunity to fish off the coast of Georges Bank and Nova Scotia and Newfoundland, which catalyzed the fishing industry boom in 1849.
One place to check out is the Gloucester Maritime Heritage Center: Oceans of Discovery. Not only does this museum have exhibits of all the oceans, history of Benjamin Franklin and the Gulf Stream, humpback whales and profiling Stellwagen’s Bank (just to name a few) it also has a whole exhibit on Gorton’s Fisherman, their ships, their products and history. The Maritime Museum also has an aquarium as well as tall ships to explore! The museum is not open until May so after this chilly April is finished check out the history of New England and Gorton’s Fisherman.
Gloucester is not just about shipbuilding, fish and their history, but it also has plenty of beaches around Cape Ann, with just as many options for delicious food. Stop at Virgilio’s for an awesome sandwich. It has everything from your average cold-cut to their specialties such as a St. Joseph’s Sandwich. It also has amazing baked goods, which is just what one needs after a day of exploring the history, the beaches and the culture of this historic New England port town!