S’Wanderings: Cape Ann, Massachusetts – Bass Rocks Ocean Inn, Gloucester

Posted by on Sep 10, 2013 in Art, S'Wanderings, S'Wicked Blog, Travel

After tooling around Gloucester, we decided to take the next step in our Cape Ann journey and find our hotel and check in.

I’d done some research online, and based on reviews and location next to rocky surf, chose the Bass Rocks Ocean Inn for our overnight.

Bass Rocks Ocean Inn post-storm

Bass Rocks Ocean Inn post-storm

As we followed the roads hugging the Gloucester shore from the Rocky Neck area, we headed south first, turned gradually southeast, and then a harder left to the north, onto Atlantic Road, where we were greeted by magnificent ocean views. It was astounding. The massive boulders and crashing surf I’d only ever associated with Maine before, stretched out in front of us in a really dramatic show. Waves bashed into the rocks, the spray shot up into the air. It was gorgeous.

Atlantic Road scenery

Atlantic Road scenery

So gorgeous, I drove right by the hotel.

Bass Rocks Inn

Bass Rocks Inn

We eventually made our way back to the Bass Rocks, and checked in. The staff was friendly, and The Stacy House—which houses the “front desk,” a pretty breakfast area, various lounging areas, a billiard room, and lending libraries for books and movies, as well as three suites, upstairs—was lovely. It’s a beauty of an old house, looking out to sea, and the views are just wonderful. You could easily and contentedly spend a whole day just looking out those windows.

Patio next to the Stacy House

Patio next to the Stacy House

Once we had our key, we made our way to our room. Turns out, we had the worst room in the joint. As far back from the water as you could get, and on the first floor. Horrible, right?…

The view from our room

The view from our room

We both agreed we’d survive, though, and started to get settled in. A few notes about the room: the bathroom was very small, but adequate. Everything was clean, everything smelled good and fresh, and the linens and the bed were dreamy-comfy.

Once we had things in place, we walked across the street to one of the benches overlooking the sea. This is no cove view or harbor; this is the big, bold Atlantic. Next stop, the Iberian Peninsula. And, since we’d followed a storm, the show the ocean put on for us was spectacular. Lots of booming surf, spray exploding to the left and right. And, in the distance, Thacher Island and the Cape Ann Light Station, also known as Twin Lights. A perfect ocean view.

Ocean and Thacher Island view

Ocean and Thacher Island view

We walked north along Atlantic Road and watched the waves and the fishermen and the sky. Eventually, we tore ourselves away from all of it, and headed back to our room to get ready for our dinner reservation at Duckworth’s Bistrot.

It’s a pretty restaurant, with fantastic reviews. We ended up seated at the worst table—right next to the kitchen door. Normally, I wouldn’t care, but this was a “special-occasion” dinner, and the Womp! Womp! of the swinging door right next to me the whole meal was not the best accompaniment to a celebratory evening. But the place was packed, so we stayed put. Sadly, the food was a disappointment, too: it was seriously uneven. Soup was meh, but salad was good. Entrees were really, and I mean really salty. (And I’m kind of a salt fiend, so that’s saying something.) Maybe there was some sort of double-salting incident?

The desserts were excellent, though, and we did enjoy ourselves (you could put cafeteria food on a plate these days, and if we’re eating it quietly by candlelight with no pre-schooler interference, we’re going to enjoy it). But, we’d probably try someplace new next time. That said, based on all the reviews I read, it’s certainly still worth a try if you’re in the neighborhood. Everyone else seems to have adored it, and my guess is we just caught it during an off-moment.

After dinner, we drove back to the hotel, admiring the moonlit seascapes the whole way, and then crashed, practically snoring before we hit the pillows, into our comfy bed. The next morning, I woke up early and sneaked out of the room to sit and watch the sun rise.

Sunrise over Twin Lights

Sunrise over Twin Lights

Later, we lingered over a yummy (and extensive) continental breakfast in the hotel’s breakfast room, before packing everything up and heading out to Rockport. We would definitely return to Bass Rocks Ocean Inn, and maybe next time we’ll be able to splurge on one of their fancy suites.

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