Traveling Dog Lady: Road Trip Travelogue: Rockport, Massachusetts

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Road Trip Travelogue: Rockport, Massachusetts

When I sold my vacation cottage on Cape Cod, it occurred to me that I would be able to go to other places. What a concept! If you own a vacation home, you pretty much have to go there on your vacation. Sure, you can go someplace else, but then your house is empty, or you're renting it out, or family and friends are using it. You feel bad not using this house that you're paying all sorts of money to own and maintain. It was a huge relief to sell the place, quite frankly. And, it enabled me to go other places, which is what I decided to do in 2017.

In the spring, I went to Myrtle Beach. It's now on my list of potential retirement places - if I can drag myself away from Massachusetts some day, that is!

To kick off the summer, I spent one day on another southeastern Massachusetts beach: Duxbury, just to see what it was like. It was quite lovely, easy to get to, and I intend to return regularly.

Duxbury Beach

But for my real vacation this year, I spent a week in Rockport, Massachusetts, on the north shore, by Gloucester.

Gloucester is where the events of "The Perfect Storm" took place, and there also happens to be a restaurant there named Passports, which I have to eat at every time I go there (because I work at the other Passports -- the student tour company -- which is completely unrelated, although we get their email all the time!). Great food, by the way. I highly recommend, despite the name.

Rockport is a "dry town". That means that there are no liquor stores, no stores that sell beer or wine, and no bars. Some, only some, of the restaurants serve beer and wine, but no hard liquor.  Now, for me, this is perfectly fine since I've been clean and sober since 1988 (one day at a time!). But, this might not be your cup of tea (oooo, pun!) if you like to party at a bar, your hotel, cottage or the beach. Ok, most beaches don't allow alcoholic beverages anyway.

Rockport is, however, a dog-friendly town. Hooray! Sort of. Dogs are not allowed on the beach. And you better have a superbly well-behaved dog.  Of which, Charlie and Cooper are not. Sorry fellas.

Booooo, mom didn't take us on vacation!

I had initially booked my accommodations at Captain's Bounty on the Beach Motor Inn (yup! Motor Inn! lol!) in one of their pet-friendly designated rooms. As my trip dates approached, though, I decided to leave the hounds at home, and I'm really glad I did. The rooms are tiny. The hotel is very compact, and they would have barked at everyone walking past my room. The hotel is not high-security. In fact, it's low-security -- like a throwback to the 1950s. You close the slamming screen door with a hook and eye, then you lock your inside door, then you use a chain to lock it further. Just like my cottage on Cape Cod, but not exactly what I wanted at a hotel. There is a fridge, and a/c, but no safes, so when I left the room for longer than a few minutes, I locked my laptop and camera gear in my car. Not ideal, since the temps were soaring, but it was the safest option.

You can walk to the town with no problem. The views from every room (EVERY room faces the ocean) are incredible. That was worth the trip, just to get these great sunrise photos every morning.

Sunrise shots, from my balcony, on two different mornings. Beautiful!

When I first looked at the photos of Captain's Bounty's pet-friendly rooms on their website, it looked as though ever-so-tall Charlie could certainly jump over the balcony onto the beach. Once I got there, that was probably not the case, but he might have tried. Especially if he saw a seagull or a child running. Even the first-floor balcony (pet-friendly rooms are on the first floor only) is quite high off the ground -- more like a second-story. But if he had tried it, he might have been successful. That was reason number one for leaving the boys at home. Secondly, they could not be left in the room unattended. That would have meant no shopping or beach for me, since I'm single, and it wouldn't have been fair to ask any of my traveling companions, "Gee, can you stay behind with my dogs so's I can go out and have fun?" Strike three was that dogs are not allowed on the beach. You heard right: dog-friendly town; dogs not allowed on beach. Oh well.  The water is astonishingly colder than on Cape Cod, just an hour or two south, which surprised this hearty New Englander. I actually had to wear my long-sleeved sun-protector shirt to swim. Never had to do that on the Cape!  (By the way, Gloucester/Rockport is on the other Mass. Cape = Cape Ann.)

The fog rolled in fast, and I managed to get this great shot of Front Beach socked in.

The dog-friendly factor came into play in the little town which was quite lovely. Dogs were allowed everywhere, with some exceptions. A few restaurants wouldn't allow dogs indoors, but dogs were welcome most places, particularly places with outdoor seating such as Top Dog (ha ha). There is also a dog supply boutique and my guys are way too big to have even fit in that store.

One of my favorite things that kept happening was that I kept seeing this older gentleman in a green Toyota with a cute little dog everywhere. For some reason, they kept turning up every evening -- at the ice cream store, at the convenience store, at the pizza shop.  I decided the man's name was Mr. Bojangles. And every time I saw him, I would point out to my friend who was with me... "Look! There's Mr. Bojangles again!" We kept seeing him! I wonder if he's a tourist attraction.

So, if you have a super well-behaved, small dog, and a partner or companion so you can switch off on dog duties, you'll be all set in Rockport -- even in the height of summer.  The town is so small, that once you walk through you've basically seen it all. Therefore, in my opinion, a whole week is a little too long to spend in Rockport. Watch your step at most shops -- the buildings are ancient, and the steps to get in and out are all different sizes, materials and shapes. Be mindful of the hot pavement on doggie paws, too.

Sunrise with fog

True to form, for this road trip I avoided highways and drove the country roads of Massachusetts from where I live to the north shore. It added nearly an hour to the trip, making it nearly three hours in each direction, but it was beautiful, and less stressful. Route 128 north of Boston? No thanks! I also learned of some towns I'd never been to before. In case you don't know, my favorite hobby is taking a long drive on the back roads of New England.

It's beautiful here. The Massachusetts coast (either north, or south) is gorgeous -- it's one of my favorite places in the world, and I've been to a lot of places. I mean, hey, that's why I live here! If you ever have a chance, check out the Massachusetts coastline... it won't disappoint. You can bring your dog to many areas in Mass., just be sure to do your homework and ask first. Some towns have restrictions during the summer months.

Where did you go on your summer vacation? Tell me about it in the comments!


  1. Also mixed for dog-friendliness is our favorite beach town, Cape May, NJ. It's reputed to be the oldest beach town in the US and filled with lovely Victorian architecture. The main beaches are not pet-friendly but we know a couple secret dog-friendly beaches we'll share with you if you ever take the trip.

    BTW, do you ever add the pet-friendly places you visit to Anyone can add a listing and it creates more info for all of us who like to travel with out pets.

    1. HI Pamela!! Hope you are well and enjoying the summer!! Cape May is gorgeous, and I have not been there since I was a child. It's on my list of places to go... I need to get there!! Great information on the pet-friendly secret beaches. :)

      I did not know that folks can add to GoPetFriendly's list of places. Thank you for the tip, I and my readers greatly appreciate it!

  2. Great photos! Too bad the boys couldn't come along - but I totally get it. That's a bummer the dogs can't come on the beach. Here in San Diego, we have some specific "dog beaches" where they can run wild off-leash at all hours, or others (which are the ones I go to...) where dogs can only go on-leash at certain hours in the morning or late afternoon/evening. As for vaca, we haven't had ours yet... Going to Canada to visit the hubs' family. So Rita won't get to come along. :(

  3. We don't really have specific dog beaches here, because summer is so short, and humans apparently rule. But, during "off season" (after Labor day through Memorial Day -- i.e., WINTER!) dogs are allowed on the beaches. The exception is the Cape Cod National Seashore, which allows dogs all year, as long as they're leashed. Have a wonderful time in Canada!! Poor Rita, but I bet she'll be snuggling up with Reggie, maybe? Reggie Me, Maybe? ha ha


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