Gloucester is one of the oldest fishing villages in the continental United States. It is a top destination if you want to savor the flavor of an old New England town. Fishing is the lifeblood of the town and the memorial to the fishermen and their wives are iconic images.
My suggestion for your day trip into Gloucester begins in the Town of Ipswich which you will have to pass through on your way. Ipswich is known as the birthplace of the fried clam and it is definitely one of the best places to get delicious fresh fried seafood. There are three signature restaurants for fried clams in Ipswich all three of which is top notch; Woodman’s, the Clam Box and J.T. Farnhams. My suggestion is you stop at Farnham’s as it is the closest to Gloucester. As you make your way into town the restaurant is on the left just before the Ipswich/Gloucester border.
Order takeout and proceed to Stage Fort Park in Gloucester. Find a place on the grass or the rocks overlooking the harbor and enjoy some of the best seafood in New England.
After walking off your dinner in the park make a stop at the Gloucester Visitor Center before heading to the downtown section of the city. There is a long pedestrian walk along the cor-niche where you will find the Fishermen’s Memorial.
There are shops and restaurants farther down the road past the cor-niche. Your next stop should be the Eastern Point Lighthouse and the Gloucester Breakwater Light. To get to the lighthouses take the first available right after the cor-niche and continue to the end of the road. You will pass several private beaches and several signs saying residents only no other vehicles. Proceed pass these signs and continue to the lighthouse where there is a small parking area. The lighthouse itself is a private residence but you can walk the perimeter and take pictures. The breakwater out to the Breakwater Light is open all year but be careful during bad weather as it is very exposed.
There is a small swimming beach at Plum Cove and If the weather is very windy you can catch some great surf crashing at viewpoints after the cove.