ROCKPORT — Put on your woolies and mittens for an off-season walk around this historic seaside spot at the tip of Cape Ann. The town of 7,000, with charming Victorian homes, juts forward like the figurehead at the prow of a ship facing the sea. Rockport, which has a small fishing industry, is home to artists and the beautiful Shalin Liu Performance Center, open year-round. These days there are few tourists and plenty of parking.
Wander up Bearskin Neck, past the gift shops and galleries, to a surround of stone boulders and a long breakwater that invite you to sit, inhale, and take in the view. Walk back toward Bradley Wharf and one of the most photographed scenes in Massachusetts: fishing boats and lobster buoys bobbing against the backdrop of a red wooden building known as Motif No. 1.