Around Cape Ann

Cape Ann Itinerary Chart
Regional Chart:
Cape Ann
Regional Chart:
Boston Harbor
Overnight
Midday
Nahant

Alternatives

for lunch

In addition to the lunch stops listed above, you can anchor in Folly Cove, off Salt Island, or off Baker's Island.

for the night

If you want more comforts of civilization, stay in Manchester harbor instead of anchoring off Great Misery. If you'd prefer a little less time in town, try Annisquam instead of Rockport.

for a shorter cruise

Since even the furthest harbors are only a full day's sail from Boston, Cape Ann is ideal for a cruise as short as two days.

Other Itineraries

Thoreau likened the coast of Massachusetts to a prizefighter, ". . .her feet planted on the floor of the ocean, like an athlete protecting her Bay boxing with northeast storms. . ."

Of course, "Cape Cod is the bared and bended arm of Massachusetts . . ." But Thoreau's imagination embraces the "other cape" as well; his Massachusetts stands "ready to thrust forward her other fist, which keeps guard the while upon her breast at Cape Ann." {HDT/CC}

But the two Capes are far more dissimilar than a right and left arm. Cape Cod, like most of the Massachusetts coast, is low and marshy, with only a few harbors. Cape Ann is high and rocky, with a harbor around nearly every corner. Its intricate shoreline, peppered with islands and outlying ledges, offers a foretaste of cruising down east.

The region's three primary natural harbors - Marblehead, Salem and Gloucester - are vibrant modern towns with distinct maritime histories. The persistent influence of trading wealth in Salem, of the fishing industry in Gloucester, and of yachting in Marblehead, help to give each town a unique character that is best appreciated when you arrive by boat rather than by car.

The man-made harbors of Manchester and Rockport are little jewels -- their well-kept towns surround placid coves jammed with boats, as if vying with each other to see who can moor their vessels more closely together.

In addition, Cape Ann offers a number of appealing lunch anchorages, with good holding, great scenery, and enough protection for a short stop in the right weather. Scattered around all 3 sides of the cape, at least one of these lunch stops is usually right for the conditions.

You can circle Cape Ann in either direction; we usually decide at the last minute, based on the weather. Headwinds or rough seas make the inland route, through the Blynman Canal and Annisquam River a good choice. Likewise if there's no wind and you're motoring anyway, the narrow channels and varied shoreline along the Annisquam can be the high point of the day.

Timing the passage through the Canal depends mostly on the tides being high enough, and where you want to stop for lunch. See the Blynman Canal pages for a complete description.

If the day promises fair sailing, head out and around Thatcher's.

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