Welcome to Essex

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Essex A Town Built By Building Ships
Essex is a scenic small town that has retained much of the character and charm of its nineteenth century shipbuilding heritage. Today you'll find Essex to be small, but bustling along its main roads, routes 133 and 22 and quiet and rural on the back roads. There are a number of attractions to lure you for a day or longer, especially the restaurants, antiques, and river cruises.

Boats in Essex River 

Boats in Essex River

Much of the history and present day activity in Essex revolves around the Essex River. This beautiful tidal estuary winds its way back and forth, eventually reaching clam flats and sand dunes behind Crane Beach Reservation, then finally through a narrow mouth to the Atlantic Ocean.

One of the best ways to experience this unique town and its place in history is spending an hour or two in the Essex Shipbuilding Museum. Located at the end of the Essex River and adjoining a boat yard, here you'll find out how this small town of a few thousand people became one of America's premier shipbuilding centers in its heyday. When visiting Gloucester you'll see exhibits of the "great age of sail," when Gloucester's fishing fleet sailed to the fishing grounds on mighty schooners. It was here that many of these incredible ships were built, and they were built here in Essex, with hand tools and remarkable skill.

The natural highlight of Essex is the river, and your visit isn't complete unless you see this beautiful tidal estuary. There are a few different ways to do this, including a scenic narrated boat tour, sailboat charters tours or even on a kayak. You'll easily find them in our Find Attractions section just by searching for "Boat Rides/Tours/Cruises" in Essex.

Essex Restaurant 

One of about a dozen fine Essex restaurants.

Essex the Dining Mecca
Have lunch or dinner here at least once during your stay. Essex has about a dozen restaurants and has recently become a dining Mecca of sorts because of the variety and quality of the establishments. Essex restaurants run the gamut from "in the rough" seafood to gourmet, and everything in between. The most famous is Woodman's, which is said to have invented the fried clam, a claim which is disputed by a restaurant in Connecticut. In any event, Essex fried clams are worth a trip from anywhere.

The Antique Capital of the North Shore

Essex Restaurant 

Great anitque shops in Essex.

Essex is an antique town, and the 30 or so shops range from fine antiques to interesting collectibles and "stuff", so serious antique collectors and non-serious browsers will both find something here. Most of the shops are located along Route 133 and Route 22, the two major roads through Essex.

Other interesting things to do in Essex include a walking tour of the Dexter Reservation, which is just off of Route 133 on the right as you drive in from Gloucester. This is a self-guided tour around a scenic area that takes you to the Essex River. It's a nice area for a picnic, or just or a walk.

To see the attractions of Essex, use the Find Attractions search engine on our front page. When you reach the search page, just pick the attraction type you want and type "Essex" in the town box. Essex is a small town, so you might want to choose "All Attractions" instead of choosing a particular type of attraction.

Essex has only a few lodging establishments so the number of rooms here is limited, but it's a nice town to stay in. Find your perfect lodging on Cape Ann using our Find Lodging search engine.

 

Welcome  Info Booth  Find Lodging  Find Attractions  About This Site

See Gloucester  See Rockport  {See Essex} See Manchester-by-the-Sea  See all of New England
 

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