Now really is the time to fall in love with the North Shore and Cape Ann. The weather’s warm enough to make swimming in the briney North Atlantic downright sensible, and on clear days the views up here are as dazzling as they are anywhere on the East Coast.
The jewel of the beaches in my immediate area is Wingaersheek Beach in Gloucester. Picture huge sand-smoothed rocks, tidal pools, grassy dunes, white sand, gulls and cormorants and acre after acre of shallow surf. Wingaersheek was voted the best beach in New England for children in Yankee Magazine’s 2003 issue.
The Wingaersheek Inn & Motel is just off of rt. 128, at about the point where the last of the traffic disappears, and might be a nice place to use as a base of operations if you’re looking to move to the area. The Inn is a bit far from the actual beach, but you can’t get any closer unless you rent a house somewhere. Parking for non-residents and residents alike is very limited, and you even have to pay if you walk or ride a bike. But Wingaersheek is heaven.
In the off-season, the beach is very accessible. We go up on warmer winter days and kick around the rocks until we’re too cold, gather shells, get scolded by seagulls, threaten to throw each other in.