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Manchester-by-the-Sea - as charming as its name.

We're ready to move! Okay, maybe not quite ready, but it wouldn't take much arm twisting!

This little town of 5,000 or so is beyond charming and so very welcoming.

We were greeted at the dock by a young man named Max (15) who welcomed us with handshakes and told us we were the first big boat to stay at the new town dock. He explained they just started with DockWa and are excited about the opportunity it will bring to the harbor. A bit later I could hear him showing some younger boys the boat and when we returned from town, we found he had neatly coiled all our lines. Check out the perfection of the line coils along the dock!


My only knowledge of Manchester-by-the-sea was the 2016 movie that many loved, but I found bleak and depressing. I'm so glad I did not judge this town by the movie.

Originally named Manchester when settled by English colonists in 1629 and officially incorporated in 1645, Manchester was formed from territory taken from Salem (that portion since given to Beverly) and Gloucester. Like Gloucester, Essex, and Rockport, Manchester-by-the-Sea is a part of the townships that make up Cape Ann and sits at the southerly end of Cape Cod. In 1990, to distinguish itself from other New England Manchesters and 18 other Manchesters in the United States it was renamed Manchester-by-the-Sea. This marked the first name change in Massachusetts since 1907.

Thriving as a fishing community for more than 200 years, in the 1800s Manchester started to attract summer residents from Boston. In fact poet, Richard Henry Dana Jr. was one the first of Boston's high society to build a home here. There are still many summer mansions along the shores, but with a train station in the center of town and only a 45-minute ride into Boston, it has also become a bedroom community for the big city.

The Town

All the reviews told us Captain Dusty's has the best homemade ice cream in the state, and I did propose a challenge to test ice cream at each, Dusty's was our first stop. The reviews were right!

I like to try a new flavor in each port and

Tad likes to get the same thing (Cookie Dough) and compare. I had a scoop of fresh creamy Banana that was delectable and Tad confirmed Captain Dusty's was quite possibly on the top of his list.

The stroll through town was equally delightful. I stopped in a few shops and found a gift for my friend Cecilia who will be hosting us for a weekend in August as well as something for my friend Stephanie who is watching our house. I find I am always thinking of family and friends when we travel and so often wish they were with us.

As you scroll through the pictures of town, you will find one of many charming houses, the police station with a memorial to those who have fallen, a beautiful stone Library (1888), a pretty church (1809), Seaside Fire station Museum (1885), an old fire engine on display (1832), and a seaside rustic brick beauty,

We don't eat out much, but one of the shopkeepers recommended we try dinner at Black Arrow. OMGosh, it was such a great choice! I don't usually take pictures of my food, but confess to doing so. Tad had Panko Crusted Haddock, and I had Mango Chicken. Our spicy waitress gave Tad the evil eye when he declined the dessert, triple chocolate cake it was!

Singing Beach

Yes, they say it sings! There are many theories (air, silicon, depth, etc.) as to why the sand sings, but we learned one element needed was a warm day - which we did not have - so it didn't sing for us. Regardless, the walk to the beach and the beach itself was breathtaking. Singing Beach has a lifeguard, changing cabana, restrooms, and a snack bar. There is a fee of $7 for visitors, but as you can see it's well maintained and not crowded - well worth the cost. Scroll through the pictures below. Does it remind you of the Carolina's?

Manchester-by-the-Sea may be our favorite spot so far. In fact we liked it so much, we extended one more day and did it all again!

Marina Info:

Town of Manchester-by-the-sea

This is the town's new transient dock located in the heart of town. It's an easy walk to restaurants, shops, parks and beaches. The dockmaster and the young man attending were such a joy to chat with. There is a train track that runs parallel to the dock, but I felt it was part of the hometown charm and it only runs once at night. At this time there is no water or power, so this is more like a luxury buoy, and at a great price of just $60 a night!

Pump-out: yes

Town Amenities: Nice larger grocery store (Crosby's marketplace), hospital within 5 miles, and great restaurants.

1 Comment

Cecilia Daley
Jul 22, 2019

Hello friend!! I've been catching up on your 'diary'! I am SO impressed by your writing it's beautiful! You have a wonderful gift my friend! Can't wait to see you and spend time with you in a couple of weeks! Our love to both of travels home! Love you!

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