People from Cape Ann, Massachusetts, call their area "The Quiet Cape," to differentiate it from its more famous neighbor to the south. And while Cape Cod may be a more popular tourist destination, the residents of the towns that make up Cape Ann - Gloucester, Rockport, Essex, and Manchester-by-the-Sea - seem content that they have less crowds, less traffic and less noise than that "other cape."
Not that Cape Ann doesn't have its own tourist attractions and claims to fame. For years the area has served as a haven for artists who are drawn by the region's beautiful seascapes. And the blockbuster 1999 movie, "The Perfect Storm," about the dangers braved by Gloucester's fishing fleet, has drawn many tourists who want to follow the footsteps of the characters played by George Clooney and Mark Wahlberg. But whatever your reason to visit, you're sure to find Cape Ann a worthwhile destination.
Following is a list of attractions that you'll want to see on Cape Ann:
-Whale Watching: Cape Ann calls itself the "Whale Watching Capital of the World," and expeditions go out through the end of October from Gloucester. Most boats offer "guaranteed sightings."
-Lighthouses: There are five historic lighthouses (actually six, counting the Thatcher Island "twins," as two) on the cape, some only reachable by boat.
-Hammond Castle: a medieval castle overlooking the rocky coast, built by inventor John Hays Hammond. It contains priceless European art objects.
-"Motif No. 1": a classic lobsterman's shack at Bearskin Neck in Rockport, it's one of America's most photographed and painted buildings.
-The Fisherman's Memorial: this famed sculpture, often called "The Man at the Wheel," commemorates "they that go down to the sea in ships."
-The Cape Ann Historical Museum: contains paintings by such famous maritime artists as Fitz Hugh Lane, Winslow Homer, and Maurice Prendergast, as well as marine artifacts and historic fishing vessels.
-The Maritime Trail: a group of historic sites, buildings and attractions in Gloucester, many of them familiar from the movie "The Perfect Storm." It includes St. Ann's church, scene of the emotional funeral in the movie.
-Antique Hunting: Essex is known as "America's Antiques Capital," with over 35 shops and restoration centers, most within walking distance of each other.
-Halibut Point State Park: offering sweeping views of the sea from its rocky shoreline, and the chance to picnic on the ledges of a granite quarry.
-The Paper House: a house and furnishings made entirely of 100,000 varnished newspapers, including a desk made totally out of articles about Lindbergh's flight.
-Restaurants: Cape Ann has some of the finest seafood restaurants in America. The chowder at The Gloucester House is itself worth the trip.
-Accommodations: The Addison Choate Inn is a charming and welcoming B&B;, a short walk from Rockport's harbor.
For further information, contact the Cape Ann Chamber of Commerce at www.capeannvacations.com, or call (800) 321-0133. Enjoy!