The Wall Street Journal: Fireworks, Fishing Derbies and Schooner Parades: A Guide to Summering at America’s Seaports

May 26, 2023

Seaports hold our imagination as places of work and wanderlust, crossroads for business and pleasure, where trawlers unload cargo and whale-watching tour boats pick up passengers.

That is true for Gloucester, America’s oldest working seaport founded in 1623, but also for much newer ones such as the port of Long Beach in Southern California (1911), where tourists can tour the Queen Mary. In port towns like Pensacola, Fla., and Seward, Ala., fishing tournaments draw locals and visitors to summer’s events.

This summer, Gloucester’s seaport turns 400 and, for those who’ve never pondered a visit, the anniversary festivities might prove a draw

Gloucester has never been just a fishing port. Artists, poets and writers summered here too. The Cape Ann Museum holds the largest collection of work by native son Fitz Henry Lane (1804-1865), a celebrated painter of the 19th-century Luminist school, which focused on the effects of light in landscapes. Other artists including Winslow Homer, Childe Hassan and Edward Hopper came to the Rocky Neck Art Colony, a cultural center on the harbor, where you can walk the Rocky Neck Historic Art Trail, past views that inspired them. Starting July 22, the Cape Ann Museum will mount “Edward Hopper & Cape Ann: Illuminating an American Landscape.” A companion walking tour will highlight existing houses Hopper painted and, for another view Hopper shared, go for a swim at Good Harbor Beach, with its stretch of white sands. 


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