Avoid the crowds and the chaos ‘ join the seaside family-friendly celebrations that cap off a fun-filled holiday season.
The holiday season is filled with opportunities for families of all shapes and sizes to celebrate together ‘ and on Cape Ann, that includes a family-friendly New Year’s Eve! This year, consider Cape Ann for traditional holiday merriment culminating in New Year’s Rockport Eve, featuring six hours of continuous entertainment in cozy, charming downtown Rockport. From 6 pm ‘ midnight, clowns, cowboys, magicians, musicians, dance, drama and puppets mean a great start to the year for the whole family!
Starting with Gloucester’s and Rockport’s reason to skip the mall, their very own ‘Shop Local Black Friday’ on November 28 featuring downtown shops opening at 6:00 am in Gloucester and 9:00 am in Rockport with special discounts, then followed by Gloucester’s 42nd annual Ladies Night shopping event on December 4, Shop Rockport Night on December 5 and Gloucester’s 40th annual Men’s Night on December 18th, the 2014 holiday season on Cape Ann has something for everyone!
In the seaside spirit, Santa will forego his usual flying sleigh for a lobster boat, arriving at Rockport Harbor’s T-Wharf on Saturday, December 6th. Then Santa will climb up onto a Rockport Forest Fire truck and head to Dock Square to kick off the Tree Lighting festivities, before beginning his long return journey to the North Pole. Event timing includes:
‘ 3:45 pm Welcome Santa Claus at T- Wharf
‘ 4:00 pm Tree Lighting ceremony, with carols and a stirring rendition of “Christmas in Rockport.’
On December 7th, from 11:00 am-5:00 pm, there’s a fresh, new event on the Christmas in Rockport calendar, featuring a delectable mix of Rockport’s finest accommodations and private homes: the Seashells and Jingle Bells Inn & Kitchen Tour! Sponsored by Rockport High School and benefiting the RHS DECA program, the Tour provides a wonderful opportunity to visit the beautiful seaside homes and inns of Rockport, all decked out for the holiday season.
Step into an old-fashioned New England holiday at Gloucester’s Middle Street Walk on Saturday, December 13th, 10:00 am-3:00 pm. Open houses, concerts, special programs and traditional decorations will be featured throughout the afternoon, focused in and around postcard-perfect Middle Street. Events include:
‘ Gingerbread House display and contest ‘ build a house, bring it to Gloucester City Hall before noon on Friday December 12th and register!
‘ The newly renovated Cape Ann Museum will be open all day with special tours of the historic Elias Davis House. There is also a special concert by the Plum Cove singers and a variety of children’s activities at the Museum!
‘ Buoy Painting Day 10:00 am-4:00 pm, Cape Ann Art Haven ‘ Make a buoy you paint part of Gloucester’s Lobster Trap Tree!
‘ Have a favorite buoy on the tree? Watch the Art Haven site for a ‘save the date’ in late January, for the Buoy Auction + Family Fun night to benefit Art Haven, helping the organization to boost arts education on Cape Ann.
December 13-14 is also Rockport’s Seaside Village Open House and Art Gallery Stroll, featuring holiday fairs and shows, strolling musicians, and more. Find unique gift ideas and refreshments in the shops throughout downtown Rockport. Events include;
‘ December 13, Scandinavian Jul Fest at Spiran Hall, from 9 am to 1 pm.
‘ December 13, Noon-2 pm, the Solstice Singers return, strolling through town singing songs of the season
‘ December 13, 1 pm-3 pm, Quintessential Brass will perform traditional carols, holiday classics, and jazzy Christmas favorites throughout downtown Rockport.
‘ December 13, 1 pm-3 pm Hayrides along Bearskin Neck pulled by a team of Belgian Draft Horses
‘ December 13-14, Noon-4 pm, the 13th Annual Gallery Stroll
December 13th ‘ Come to downtown Gloucester at 4:30 pm for the lighting the famous Lobster Trap Tree! Located on Main Street, this landmark of the season averages 45 feet high, is made up of around 300 lobster traps donated by local fishermen, and is adorned with Lobster Buoys, decorated by the children of Cape Ann Art Haven, a community art space.
December 20th brings the 69th Annual Christmas Nativity Pageant in Rockport
‘ 5:00 pm: torch lit procession, starting at Dock Square and proceeding up Main Street, with a brief stop at the Rockport Art Association, representing the Bethlehem inn, and then on to the stable at the Congregational Church.
‘ Throughout the Pageant: narration and Christmas hymns sung by a full choir.
Located 35 miles north of Boston, Cape Ann is easily reachable by car (multiple exits off of a major highway), rail (commuter rail from Boston), air (between two major airports) and sea (ferries from New England locations north and south; cruise port). The largest city on Cape Ann, Gloucester, features a walk-able downtown, centered on a historic Main Street and filled with museums, restaurants and caf’s for every palate, boutiques and antique shops, bookstores and more. Just a few miles north, the Town of Rockport has over 100 quaint shops and art galleries, seaside inns and the world-famous Shalin Liu Performance Center.
To learn more about the events listed above, including lodging options during the holiday season such as the Blue Shutters Beachside Inn, and the elegant Julietta House in Gloucester, or the cozy inns to grand hotels found at www.innsofrockport.com, please visit www.gloucesterma.com and www.rockportusa.com. Prefer to speak with a local source directly? Call the Cape Ann Chamber of Commerce at (978) 283-1601.