Disclosure: This post is part of a hosted stay. All opinions are my own.
New Year’s Eve is relatively low-key in our home. We’ve occasionally gone to parties, but have never ventured out to a First Night celebration. When we were invited to check out New Year’s Rockport Eve in gorgeous Rockport, MA, I thought it would be a great option for us. We headed out to Rockport on the 31st for a quick family vacation.
Rockport MA Vacation With Kids
Staying in Rockport MA
Upon entering the Rockport, MA area, we headed right downtown to our host for the night, the Halyard Guest House. A guest house offering a bedroom and a suite, Halyard Guest House is located right near downtown Rockport. Innkeeper Dawn answered when we knocked on the front door, and brought us to the suite, which has a separate entrance.
The suite at the Halyard Guest House is absolutely perfect for a family of four. It has a separate entrance from the main house and offers a kitchen, bathroom, living room (with pull-out couch), and master bedroom. I could definitely see renting this for a week in the summer – it’s such a beautiful spot. As a guest house, the innkeepers are available if you need them, but it’s a little more private than a bed and breakfast. Parking is included, which is great in this busy area.
Since we arrived right around lunchtime, after settling in to the guest house, we headed out for some lunch. Because it was winter, some of the local restaurants were closed, but we found the Yelp-recommended Red Skiff, just steps from our Inn. The Red Skiff is a popular breakfast and lunch destination among locals, and we enjoyed our seafood lunch. A kids’ menu is also available. Get there early, though, because there’s a limited seating.
After lunch, we visited the shops of Bearskin Neck, the quaint downtown area of Rockport, MA. Although some of the shops were closed, we found many to be open, including my favorite – the Pewter Shop, which offers jewelry, figurines, souvenirs, and other gifts.
We also enjoyed just looking at the beautiful scenery of Rockport, especially the famous Motif #1, which I kept taking photos of.
Because the festivities of New Year’s Rockport Eve started at 6pm, we headed out to dinner early. We drove a few miles in to neighboring Gloucester, MA to Latitude 43 Restaurant and Bar.
Latitude 43 is located right on the Gloucester waterfront, and offers a variety of delicious meals, including fabulous seafood dishes as well as sushi. It’s got a wonderful atmosphere – casual, yet upscale, with a bar in the front and the main restaurant and sushi bar in the back. The sushi appetizer we ordered was my favorite part of the meal, although my fried clam entree was absolutely delicious. The clams were fried to a perfect golden brown. They offer a great drink menu, as well as a kid’s menu, and free parking is available.
Once dinner was over, we parked back at our guest house and headed directly to New Year’s Rockport Eve. This fun annual event is family friendly, and offers dozens of activities over the course of the evening. Buttons are sold in advance which provide admission to all of the entertainment (they are also available for purchase on the day of the event). Maps with the entertainment schedule are handed out when you purchase your buttons.
One of the things I immediately noticed when looking at the schedule is how the kids’ events were scheduled for the beginning of the evening. If you have kids that need to go to bed early, you’ll definitely appreciate this. The later evening events were also kid-friendly, however. During dinner, we reviewed the schedule, and had a plan before venturing out.
We started out watching local band Above Water, and then toured around from then. We also saw two a cappella groups and a puppet show. My daughter, who has recently started singing, especially enjoyed the a cappella groups. In addition to the shows, the Gloucester Area Astronomy Club had telescopes set up right in Dock Square. My son especially loved this – the volunteers were so patient and helpful as they showed him the moon and its craters.
New Year’s Rockport Eve is such a great option for families – with the free parking, family-friendly entertainment, and reasonable prices, it’s a nice way to celebrate New Year’s Eve. I’d definitely recommend staying right near the downtown area, because then you can just walk around.
To learn more about Rockport, visit this website.