Essex, which is about 30 minutes north of Boston, has been nicknamed "America's Antiques Capital" with over 25 shops within a mile of each other--each with its own distinct character. The town also had a prosperous ship-building history and is recognized for having built more two-masted wooden fishing schooners than any other pace in the world. The Essex Shipbuilding Museum has one of the area's best maritime art collections.
As Essex is on the Essex River and part of the Great Marsh, the largest salt marsh in New England covering over 20,000 acres, water activities such as kayaking, canoeing and boating are very popular. Landlubbers can choose from among a wealth of hiking and walking trails.
Essex Parks & Beaches
Essex is surrounded by stunning natural beauty. This includes protected land, sandy beaches, river tours, and more. Essex is a great summer getaway, but can be enjoyed all year-round. Fall brings colorful foliage, winter brings snow and the potential freeze of the Essex River and spring is a great time to take in the greenery and colorful flowers. Discover the variety of bodies of water, lakes, and reservations in Essex:
- Chebacco Lake - a 209-acre lake for public use of swimming, boating, and year-round fishing
- Conomo Point - a popular summer destination with many waterfront cottages for rent along the Essex River Conomo Point has a boat launch at Clammer's Beach
- Crane Wildlife Refuge - salt marsh and a collection of coastal islands, great for hiking or kayaking
- Cox Reservation - 31 acres of conservation land made up of farmland, salt marshes, and wooded trails
- Stavros Reservation - a hilltop reservation with stunning views of Essex River and Crane Beach
Essex Things To Do
An ideal place to call home, Essex is also a popular tourist destination with many opportunities to explore the marshes, ride and the river and to discover local history. Essex River Cruises & Charters offers summer cruises along the Essex River. For an active day on the water, Essex River Basin Adventures offers guided kayak tours and lessons.
For historic experiences, visit Cogswell's Grant. The restored Colonial-era farmhouse features a collection of local and American "country" artwork amassed by renowned collectors Bertram K. and Nina Fletcher Little.
Restaurants and Eateries
Essex is known for fresh shellfish and, according to local lore, is where fried clams were first created. Some of the best restaurants include:
- CK Pearl - friendly and welcoming dining experience on the Essex River.
- Down River Ice Cream - fresh, homemade ice cream, frozen yogurt, and sorbet
- Essex Seafood - retail and wholesale seafood sales and generous portions of fresh seafood in the dining room.
- Windward Grille Restaurant - located in a 1680s historic farmhouse, serving New England classics
- J.T. Farnham's - "seafood with a view", try fried clams right on the coast of the Essex River
- Woodman's - home of the "Fried Clam" invented by "Chubby" Woodman in 1914 and known for its clambakes and no-frill seafood specialties
- Shea’s Riverside Restaurant and Bar - Shea’s Riverside offers a variety of entrees which will suit even the most discerning palate
- Blue Marlin Grille - a local favorite for pub fare and seafood
- The Boathouse Grill - recently renovated, offering a large selection of beers and wine along with unique drinks and a variety of daily dinner specials
- Riversbend Restaurant - Riversbend showcases seaside campfire cooking with panoramic views of the Essex River and a quintessential New England coastal town
- Periwinkles Restaurant & Bar - exceptional waterfront dining in Essex, Massachusetts with critically acclaimed cuisine. Enjoy Periwinkles’ fresh local seafood, sushi, pasta, steaks and salads
- The Village - award-winning Fresh Seafood on Boston’s North Shore
- The Farm Bar & Grille - the amazing food and outdoor recreation are a perfect match
Essex students attend Essex public schools, which share a district with Manchester.
Living in Essex
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