About Renee Blodgett

Renee Blodgett

Renee Blodgett is the founder of We Blog the World. The site combines the magic of an online culture and travel magazine with a global blog network and has contributors from every continent in the world. Having lived in 10 countries and explored nearly 80, she is an avid traveler, and a lover, observer and participant in cultural diversity.

She is also the CEO and founder of Magic Sauce Media, a new media services consultancy focused on viral marketing, social media, branding, events and PR. For over 20 years, she has helped companies from 12 countries get traction in the market. Known for her global and organic approach to product and corporate launches, Renee practices what she pitches and as an active user of social media, she helps clients navigate digital waters from around the world. Renee has been blogging for over 16 years and regularly writes on her personal blog Down the Avenue, Huffington Post, BlogHer, We Blog the World and other sites. She was ranked #12 Social Media Influencer by Forbes Magazine and is listed as a new media influencer and game changer on various sites and books on the new media revolution. In 2013, she was listed as the 6th most influential woman in social media by Forbes Magazine on a Top 20 List.

Her passion for art, storytelling and photography led to the launch of Magic Sauce Photography, which is a visual extension of her writing, the result of which has led to producing six photo books: Galapagos Islands, London, South Africa, Rome, Urbanization and Ecuador.

Renee is also the co-founder of Traveling Geeks, an initiative that brings entrepreneurs, thought leaders, bloggers, creators, curators and influencers to other countries to share and learn from peers, governments, corporations, and the general public in order to educate, share, evaluate, and promote innovative technologies.


Latest Posts by Renee Blodgett

Finz Seafood & Grill For Harborside Dining on Salem’s Scenic Waterfront

October 1, 2014 by  

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Surrounded on three sides by windows overlooking Salem Harbor, the Finz Seafood & Grill is an ideal location to lounge on a warm afternoon on their deck. Not only is it right on the harbor, but it offers great views and people watching as the boating tours depart from the docks surrounding the restaurant.

If you visit off season and its too cool to sit on their patio, take advantage of its authentic interior which has an authentically New England style and a unique copper-topped bar, floor to ceiling glass wall, fire-side lounge with sofa seating and the built-in raw bar.

Known for its fabulous and fresh seafood, I’d recommend starting with a plate of oysters from their raw bar. Unlike most menus we had experienced to-date on our Massachusetts North Shore tour, you can choose the kind of oysters you want making it very customizable for either 3, 6, 9, a dozen or more. If I didn’t want to try some of the other delicious offerings on their menu, I likely would have ordered more oysters than I did.

I tried the Wellfleet oysters from Wellfleet Harbor (in the Cape), Goosebury and Conway Cup from P.E.I. and the Washburns from Falmouth MA. Also on the menu were Littleneck clams and Shrimp cocktail. Yum!

Like most New England restaurants in the summer, you can order the classic steamed Lobster, which I never grow tired of eating — they offered it steamed, stuffed with crab, scallop, shrimp, peppers and onions, or served New England style with littleneck clams, mussels and chorizo.

Seafood offerings included Fried Haddock with fries and cole slaw, Oven Roasted Haddock with bread crumbs, mashed potatoes, and veggies in a seafood sherry cream sauce, a Pan Seared Scallop Salad with blueberries, spinach, goat cheese, almonds and tossed in a lemon poppy vinaigrette, a Seafood Paella, served over saffron sweet pea and chorizo rice and crispy calamari with a lemon garlic aioli. Delicious!

Also on the menu was a Shrimp Picatta with garlic, spinach, roasted tomatoes, capers, white wine butter sauce and linguini, a Lobster Mac and Cheese (yes, really — this could be a good way to get your kids to try Lobster if they haven’t done so yet), a Linguine with clams, garlic, red pepper chili flakes, tomatoes, spinach and braised onions, and a Shrimp Tequilla Lima Enchilada dish. This must have been popular with the locals since I saw quite a few of them coming out of the kitchen. It is served with lobster chili sauce, peppers, onions, cheese, black bean corn salsa and cotija cheese.

Their starters were extensive and “fun” — from mussels,  hummus plates, buffalo wings, yellowfish tune tartare, crab cakes, baked goat cheese and shrimp to steamed edamame (interesting choice), and crispy calamari. They also had a wide variety of healthy salads to choose from, including an unusual one they the Vanilla Bean, which is a baby kale salad with boursin cheese, raspberries, pine nuts and a vanilla bean vinaigrette! Bring it on I say. They also had a caesar salad made with kale, as well as your classic caesar, a blueberry spinach salad with goat cheese and almonds and an Apple Gorgonzola Salad with sugared walnuts and a cilantro vinaigrette dressing! Be prepared for your mouth to water….

 

They serve great cocktails, so while I was going to opt for my classic Chardonnay, especially with seafood, I’d suggest trying out one of their creations or simply have a refreshing Margarita. For oyster and other seafood pairings however, they do offer 8 Sauvignon Blancs, 6 Pinot Grigio’s & Pino Gris, 9 Chardonnays, champagne and sparkling wine. They also had a delicious Muscadet from Loire Valley in France, a Chenin Blanc from The Royal in South Africa, and a Riesling (Kreuznacher, Spatlese) from Germany. In other words, plenty of options if you decided to order all seafood.

Please be sure to check out our write ups on our Salem hotels, which include Hawthorne Hotel and the nearby Salem Waterfront Hotel & Suites in our post on Two Salem Hotel Gems. They can be found in our Massachusetts Lodging section / Top Massachusetts Hotels / Top New England Hotels of We Blog the World. Also check out our Massachusetts Food/Wine section for more culinary surprises in the New England, North Shore, Cape Cod areas and Boston. (Top Boston Restaurants / Top Restaurants in Nantucket / Top Restaurants in Cape Cod / Top Restaurants in Salem / Top Restaurants in Rockport).

Details:

Finz Seafood & Grill

76 Wharf Street

Salem, MA 01970
(978) 744-8485

Note: we were hosted by the restaurant however all opinions expressed are entirely our own.

Fashion Week Exudes A Whole Lotta Fun This Year

October 1, 2014 by  

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At this year’s Fashion Week, there was a plus size runway show, the best of Paris street style, kids showed up looking more fashionable than the best women in my college class and Iggy Azalea Channels “Basic Instinct” in a skintight white dress.

J. Lo wore a dangerously sexy and daring black dress and Rihanna showed up in a Babydoll dress but it was the news that infamous fashion designer Jean Paul Gaultier known for taking incredible dares in fashion history that the 2015 Spring/Summer ready-to-wear collection at Paris Fashion Week would be the last one he’d create. It created a stir! And an extravaganza on stage followed.

It looked more like a beauty pageant than a fashion show, with models of all ages and from a myriad of different styles. There were also extravagant hats as always on stage this year. We love love love this event and one of these days, hope to be on the ground covering it in more depth.

Photo credits: Getty Images.

2 Hotel Gems in Salem Massachusetts

September 30, 2014 by  

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There are two great hotel options in Salem Massachusetts worth adding to your New England hotel list. The Hawthorne Hotel is a historical and classic hotel in the center of Salem that offers unique, boutique-style accommodations that ooze the history of the area. The property has been renovated and the rooms are all uniquely-decorated, many with antiques and oriental carpets throughout.

While it stands tall and looks proud on one of the main drags of Salem, it only  has 84 rooms and 5 suites in the main hotel and 3 rooms and 1 suite in the Fidelia Bridges Guest House, which is individually furnished and tastefully appointed with 18th century-style decor. They tout triple-sheeted bedding with twice the “squishable” pillows of other hotels, which I found amusing. 

Other room options are a little more modern, while still sticking with a classic traditional style. (see below).

They also have a fitness room on site with access to a local gym and two pools, free wifi, and handicapped accessible rooms, which is handy and worth knowing since not all hotels can cater to someone with a disability. The hotel is also a pet-friendly hotel but you need to let them know in advance. And, the hotel lobby is a treasure, with big comfy sofas and shelves of old books.

The service was top notch and we loved our experience, especially dinner in the main hotel restaurant Nathaniels, which has a piano player on certain nights of the week who takes requests — he played all of ours and we even danced.

Details:

Hawthorne Hotel

18 Washington Square W

Salem, MA 01970
(978) 744-4080

The Salem Waterfront Hotel and Suites is just down the street from the Hawthorne Inn and is nestled right around the corner from Salem’s harbor where many of the boat and sailing ship tours depart from on a daily basis. The hotel has 86 graciously appointed guest rooms and suites and is apparently a popular option for weddings and business travelers who also require meeting room space. 

As you can see, the hotel is much more traditional and almost corporate in its look and feel, contrary to the antique and historical style of the Hawthorne Inn. That said, the beauty about the Salem Waterfront Hotel is its extensive amenities and the size of the rooms, making it a great choice for families. We found the service to be incredibly gracious and the hotel staff were knowledgeable about the area, providing maps and tips about where to go and what to see.

Built in 2004, their guest rooms and suites are the largest on the North Shore, so if you’re traveling with children, this property is your better bet and it’s also conveniently located right next to the harbor yet a stone’s throw from Essex Street, which is where most of the witch related activities and tours take place.

The rooms have Keurig coffee makers, decent sized flat screen TVs, free wifi (and it was reliable), iPod docking stations, comfortable down-alternative comforters and pillows, luxurious Sferra bed linens, cotton robes and Tarocco bath products. Outside they have a terrace/patio area which is part of the adjacent restaurant where you can grab a bite anytime of day and is where they serve breakfast daily. If the weather is decent, we recommend sitting outside.

Details:

Salem Waterfront Hotel & Suites

225 Derby Street

Salem, MA 01970
(978) 740-8788

Note: we were hosted by both hotels but all opinions expressed here are entirely our own.

Brasserie Style Merchant Boston Wows With Presentation + Taste

September 29, 2014 by  

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Brasserie style Merchant near Boston’s Downtown Crossing surprises for a few reasons. First of all, when I lived in the Boston area now close to ten years ago, I never spent time near Downtown Crossing, a central part of Boston that has some stores and office buildings, but very few great restaurants worth mentioning. So, when I learned about Merchant’s location, I wasn’t expecting much.

When you first walk in, you’re greeted with a standard brasserie style venue with a classic Boston flare, which was only surpassed by the Irish waiter, who was gracious and let’s just say, fit right in.

When I saw that they had fresh oysters on the menu, I immediately relaxed and knew the evening was going to be okay. After oysters, we moved onto the Maine mussels, which is served in a green curry with sake. Also a “must order” is the Dayboat Tuna Sashimi, something you wouldn’t expect from a Boston brasserie. The chef services the dish with avocado mousse and crispy tempura. They also do a delicious homemade country pate with whole grain mustard, carrot pickles (yes really), and of course, grilled country toast, for a l’il old world in a somewhat modern style brasserie.

Beets seemed to be on nearly every New England menu this summer. The Merchant’s beet salad was fresh and didn’t disappoint. Like all their other dishes, they seemed to once again nail it on presentation.

For unusual but delicious pasta dishes, try the homemade asparagus pasta with shrimp, asparagus and chorizo or the housemade Oxtail ravioli (YUM!!), which is served with spring vegetables and wild mushrooms in a red wine reduction sauce. And…if you’re a scallops lover….note the grapefruit and cauliflower addition! It was a perfect blend, so much so we were dreaming of the dish two days later.

Another “wow” for the menu: a Croque Madame (smoked ham, gruyere cheese, bechemel and a fried egg — not something I’ve ever seen on an American restaurant menu). Or, for mains, the olive oil poached sea trout, the slow roasted chicken or fish and chips. They also have a crispy duck ‘orange served with sweet and sour cabbage, a wild mushroom risotto with fontina, herbs and truffle honey, braised beef with parsnip puree, smoked tongue and shiitake confit and pork served two ways — roasted and glazed, with turnips, citrus and ramps.

More for the surprise list. For dessert, they offered an elderflower Panna cotta with sour cherries.  I looked over at Anthony and he had a surreal smile on his face as he took another bite of the beautifully presented panna cotta. He looked down at the dish and then up at me and said, “THIS excites my palate.” It’s not the type of thing he says so it also surprised me. Despite the fact that were exceptionally full from our savory delights we sampled the previous two hours, we couldn’t resist putting a serious dent one of the best desserts we’ve had in awhile.

The other desserts were out of this world as well. As always, we ordered the au chocolate option.

Also worth mentioning is their unusual tea selection–Rooibos, Herbal Chai Spice, English Breakfast, Lemon Chamomile, Crimson Berry & Moroccan Mint.

Two thumbs up! While it isn’t exactly on the beaten path (meaning, it’s not next to Faneuil Hall, the North End, Newbury Street, the trendy South End or Harvard Square), The Merchant is a definitely must visit if you happen to be a foodie! It WILL surprise and excite your palette!

Details:

The Merchant

60 Franklin Street

Boston, MA 02110
(617) 482-6060

Photo credit of inside of brasserie by: Josh Raab, InsideOutImages. All food photos Renee Blodgett.

Note: we were hosted but all opinions expressed are entirely my own.

Legal Harborside in Boston, Not Quite Like the Others…

September 29, 2014 by  

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Legal Harborside is Legal Sea Foods’ 20,000 square foot flagship property on the Boston Waterfront, comprising three floors and three different concepts under one (retractable) roof.  And, of course like other Legal Sea Food restaurants, it is notorious for its fresh and wide assortment of seafood menu offerings.

We opted for the third floor to take advantage of their exquisite chef’s cooking, the fabulous views and top notch wine list.


Legal Harborside’s third floor promenade deck offers a four-season rooftop lounge and bar as well as cosy seating in front of windows with great views of the pier.  There’s also a copper-clad fireplace which is perfect for visits in colder months.

We were there this past August, so the weather was perfect, but decided not to sit on the patio since there was a fairly noisy concert next door at the time we were there — in summer months, it’s worth checking the concert schedule if you don’t want to compete with the noise.

That said, if you do end up sitting inside, the views are equally stunning however and in my case, it allowed me easy access to the open kitchen area to see what was coming off the grill. I, as always, had to start with some fresh oysters on the half shell, which we paired with a nice refreshing Chablis.

Their beverage menu offers 27 wines by the glass, a feature which I noted in our research and in addition to their regular menu and fabulous seafood offerings, they have a sushi menu, which includes sushi party boats, a great option if you’re there as a family or with a group of friends.

They also have a collection of rare wines and we spent time with the wine guru tasting a few whites he thought our palette would remember for awhile. In Vino Veritas says Sandy Block, their Master of Wine, who is clearly proud of the selection they have curated on-site.

For example, they had a Domaine Les Hertitiers du Comte Lafon, Vire-Clesse from Macon and by the class, you could get the Domaine Henry Natter Sancerre from Loire Valley. Of course they had the more standard buttery chard’s on the menu as well like Cakebread Cellars, Neyers from Sonoma and Forman “Star Vineyard’s Chardonnay from Napa, but it was the unique choices from France and Italy that had me at hello.

The restaurant is touted as being a notch above other Legal Sea Food restaurants (locals consistently told me this). It is located in the Seaport District, which makes it a stone’s throw and easy walking distance to the Institute of Contemporary Art, the World Trade Center, the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, the Bank of America Pavilion and hotels including the Renaissance Boston, Westin Waterfront and Seaport. 

Gems on the menu included their smoked trout pate served with rye toast, pickled grapes and trout roe, fennel seared tuna with white beans, pepperoncini and bottarga, caviar (YUM), and the shellfish tower (which we did NOT get) which consisted of a combo of oysters, clams, king crab and shrimp cocktail.  They also have a great prosciutto appetizer and the bread is fresh and like all their dishes, beautifully presented.

And, of course, there’s their classic New England creamy clam chowder.

And, deep fried calamari, freshly prepared and ready to be zipped out to the table.

The chilled spicy coconut soup was out of this world, served with shrimp, mango and avocado (so so fresh), as was something we weren’t going to get but in the end, were talked into — the fried oysters served with Korean short rib and kimchi remoulade. Talk about daring and not “quite” like the “other.” I was surprised just how delicious this was — we nearly didn’t order it but the waiter talked us into it. Smart move!

Grilled octopus….

More grilling with fresh vegetables, perfectly sauteed and placed on top of the fish.

Since they specialize in seafood, the lobster soup is worth trying and they serve it in a unique way, with puff pastry and oloroso sherry. The size of the shrimp in the shrimp cocktail is let’s just say fit for a King, something I was told about from a local friend who had been there several times.

A dish we didn’t try but wished we had was their black pepper linguini appetizer, served with corn uni emulsion and summer truffle. What we did try simply because it sounded too good and unusual to pass up, was the Foie Gras Duo, which is a foie mousse, banana caramel (yes, really), and grilled mango. I asked how this was done and apparently miso is involved – they carmelize in a low oven and then put riped bananas in the freezer, add the miso and then…..Never mind, just order it. It’s out of this world.

For mains, they have a fluke with grilled summer squash, smoked tomato mussel nage and crab stuffed zucchini blossom, a Loche Duart Salmon with mole negro, native corn (always good in New England), masa cake and a cilantro cream, a Sauteed California Abalone with lemon risotto, guanciale, fried capers and that yummy oloroso sherry again that they also put in their lobster soup.

They do an unusual preparation of Yellowfin tuna -- “nicoise style” with marble potatoes, a three bean salad and quail egg. Same goes for their Cap Cod Diver Scallops, which is served with a confit pork belly, sweet potato, mustard greens and peach mostarda. A must try! (photographed below)

If you must have red meat, they have a Creekstone Filet Mignon, served with Alaskan King Crab to make sure you at least try some of their seafood, all served with mashed potatoes and seasonal vegetables with a sauce bearnaise.

We went for drinks after dinner on the more casual first floor of the restaurant where you can get shareable plates, pastas and pizzas made to order in an open kitchen.  You can eat at one of the picnic tables for an authentic throwback experience or grab a seat at the oyster bar and watch their shuckers at work (up to 14 varieties of oysters are offered daily).  A large elliptical bar offers both wine and local beers on tap and you can sit on their patio along Boston’s HarborWalk for a great view of the Boston Fish Pier, the oldest working fish pier in the country, and Boston’s city skyline. 

If you think Legal Harborside can only shine in the seafood department, think again! The chef aced the desserts and we saw plenty of other options coming out of the kitchen that we didn’t try which made our mouth water despite how full we were! A big kudos and thanks to Matt our waiter, Cory the sommelier and Justin the manager for an outstanding experience.

If you have the time, visit their old-fashioned fish market where the seafood is fresh from the docks and the person behind the counter tells fish tales, knows where the fish was caught and how best to cook it.  You’ll find a wide selection of fresh seafood by the pound, live lobster, grab-and-go and take-out.

Photo credits: Lobster photo (first shot), the sushi party boat and view of the water from inside the restaurant courtesy of Legal Harborside website, all other photo credits by Renee Blodgett.

Details:

Legal  Harborside Restaurant

270 Northern Avenue

Boston, MA 02210
(617) 477-2900

 

Note: we were hosted but all opinions expressed are entirely my own.

Quaint Rockport For All Things New England on the Massachusetts North Shore

September 29, 2014 by  

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I love Rockport and although I hadn’t been back for years before this recent trip, I used to live in the area and spent many a’ summer and fall day and night biking, hiking and eating in her peripheral vision. This charming predominantly summer town lies about an hour’s (depending on traffic) drive northeast from Boston on the Massachusetts North Shore. (approximately 40 miles)

It had been 9 or 10 years since my last visit to the North Shore, so it was a welcome treat to get to spend so much time there this past summer. There are plenty of things to take in both in the main town of Rockport itself, the charming artist colony in Gloucester nearby (see our separate write up on Gloucester), any of the neighboring beaches or Plum Island which is a stone’s throw away.

Located at the tip of the Cape Ann peninsula, Rockport is not short of stunning views and charming landscapes regardless of which direction you look. You’re surrounded by the ocean with its ever so picturesque port where boats pull up after a lazy excursion on Atlantic waters.

In the town itself, dozens of shops, restaurants, creameries, fudge and ice cream shacks, jewelry and clothing specialty stores and more line a pedestrian walking street called Bearskin Neck that eventually takes you out to a point bathed in cliffs which jet out into the ocean.

It’s a great place to take in the sunset. The below shot was taken at one of the most charming and delicious restaurants in Rockport – My Place by the Sea, where we had dinner one night – be sure to read our write up on this fabulous establishment as it also includes lots of scrumptious photos of their dishes. Let’s just say you won’t be disappointed by the views, ambiance, the service or the food.

Along Bearskin Neck during the day, there are many things to do, from getting lost in one of the fudge shops to ordering a steamed lobster or a fresh lobster roll at one of the take out places where you’ll find freshly caught lobsters swimming around in a massive glass rank as they bring them in regularly throughout the day to keep up with incoming visitor orders.

Take a look at our video we shot of Ray Moore, showing them unloading the lobster into the tanks. Here, you can  get a sense of what you’ll experience. You can get fresh clams, oysters ($2 a pop), lobster and fish. It doesn’t get much more fresh than this — and delicious. They also have picnic tables in the back where you can eat. (see the video for more).

There are also quaint pottery shops and numerous art galleries that house some fabulous works of art from local artists in the area.

The above two shots are the ever so unusual but charming 8 Bells Shop, which we loved – it has lots of quirky things that are all so beautifully New England.




You can also go kayacking which we opted to do from North Shore Kayack located on 9 Tuna Wharf Road in Rockport Harbor.

The shop is located on one of the turnoffs from Rocky Neck, so is conveniently located and easy to find.  They have paddling equipment, sandals, and summer footwear for your outdoor adventures, as well as touring, recreational and sit-on-top kayaks. You can rent them on your own or go on one of their fabulous tours, which take you to the nearby islands. They also rent bicycles, pedal boats and stand-up paddle boards.

While their tours hit several islands in the vicinity and range in duration (their site has all the details), the one that we are eager to do at another time is the tour that heads to Thatcher Island, which is a beautiful little island about 2.5 miles from Rockport Harbor.

It hosts a National Wildlife Refuge and has twin lighthouses, erected in 1771, which align North to South and pointed the way to Gloucester Harbor and Boston for whalers and seafarers returning from afar.  Thacher Island has been mentioned in literature and films over the years – everything from Rudyard Kipling’s “Captains Courageous” to a brief mention by George Clooney as Captain Billy Tyne in the movie “The Perfect Storm”. They offer daily trips at 1:30 pm and also can take groups of 10 or more for an overnight camping trip.

The owner and staff are incredibly helpful and can help you determine which is the best option for you. We’d recommend this adventure excursion be added to your North Shore agenda.

Just on the outskirts of town, you can find many spots to get to the water’s edge, whether that be one of more classic beaches nearby or just a mile or two outside. (below, taken in front of Emerson by the Sea, where we stayed for a couple of nights – see our hotel write-up in the Massachusetts Hotels section).

Nearby beaches worth mentioning include:

  • Cressy’s Beach at Stage Fort Park – great for summer cookouts, picnics and playing frisbee on the park’s open laws.
  • Half Moon Beach at Stage Fort Park – quiet, crescent shaped, which is surrounded by a rocky hill and ample shady spots, it offers a lot of seclusion from the rest of the park.
  • Pavilion Beach — Near Gloucester’s famous Fisherman’s Memorial Statue, is great for beachcombing and watching watercraft as they head out to the channel.
  • Back Beach — home to one of the best scuba diving areas in the region.
  • Niles Beach — tucked away from the crowds, it’s great for a quiet family beach day.
  • Plum Cove Beach — this is the perfect beach for families with small children.
  • Front Beach — Sandy Bay acts as the perfect backdrop for Front Beach and great for swimmers.
  • Pebble Beach — mostly smooth stone popples and pebbles stones blanket this long beach.
  • Old Garden Beach — a small sand and stone beach with an adjacent municipal park offers a beautiful view over the bay and grassy areas for picnics.
  • Cape Hedge Beach — long, secluded rocky beach separated from Long Beach by a short, seasonal foot bridge.
  • Long Beach – about a mile long, it offers one of the best views of Thatcher Island (mentioned above under the kayack tours).
  • Singing Beach — an immaculate beach with clear blue waters and white sands.
 All photos taken by Renee Blodgett.

The Authentic Lobster Pool, Picnic Table Style on Rockport’s Coast

September 28, 2014 by  

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A very special and unique restaurant on the Massachusetts North Shore is a gem called The Lobster Pool in Rockport. What makes this place so special and unique is that in the hands of this very casual atmosphere are long time veterans of the area who believe in keeping New England tradition alive through their love of lobsters and seafood…local Massachusetts lobster that is, NOT Maine lobster.

When we were there, it was sadly the only rainy day we had on our trip to the North Shore, so we didn’t sit outside, which is something you want to count on doing if the weather is good.

The Lobster Pool has a west-facing view over the ocean and there are picnic tables outside, all with that spectacular ocean view. While the venue may be a “humble shack” of sorts, the hospitality and service is out of this world and the lobster is as fresh as it gets. The restaurant is obviously known for their lobsters (steamed or baked), lobster rolls, Quesadillas, haddock, clams and scallops.

They source their lobsters from Captain Joe’s and Sons in Gloucester down the road, and the rest of their seafood is from Gloucester as well. Haddock and Scallops come from Ocean Crest, and other seafood is from Intershell. They get their fruit and vegetables from Cape Ann Fruit (all locally grown and they have worked with owner Lisa Waring for the past 16 or so years) and their french fries, coleslaw and potato salad from R&C Beef, also in Gloucester. (pronounced Gl-owe-ster) for those of you who aren’t local or haven’t spend time in New England.

Inside, there are also picnic tables but note, you can bring your own wine, which is a must do, to have with your lobster, steamed corn on the cob and whatever else you happen to order.  

The menu at The Lobster Pool is varied, including lobsters obviously, clam chowder that is very thick, so a bit like the kind your grandmother made, fried clams, crab cakes, seafood quesadillas, and a fried sole. For kids, you can also get hamburgers, hot dogs and chicken sandwiches.

We were staying along the same coast at the ever so charming Emerson by the Sea down the road (which we’d recommend — be sure to see our write up on the inn), so it was just a few minute drive to get to Lobster Pool. If coming from the center of Rockport, head west out of Rockport past Halibut Point State Park, then look for The Lobster Pool around the bend in the road.

Be sure to talk to Lisa, the owner and proprietor - she has an interesting story and the establishment has a deep history -- and she’s incredibly warm, friendly and knowledgeable, not to mention incredibly knowledgeable about lobsters and the area. (below)

This guy has been with her since she began….there seems to be a lot of loyalty here which also works both ways as indicated by the local vendors she has been using for years.

You’ll get a taste of this very authentic lobster eatery from the video I shot below. Two thumbs up! Be sure to try it next time you head to the Massachusetts North Shore.

Details:

Lobster Pool

329 Granite Street

Rockport, MA 01966

 

Emerson Inn By The Sea, Where New England Charm Meets Ocean Views

September 28, 2014 by  

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Meet Emerson Inn By The Sea, a charming and authentic inn nestled on the ocean in Massachusetts’ historical Rockport.  The inn is intimate with only 36 rooms, all of them unique in character and presentation. Imagine a massive old historical house on the ocean that has been renovated but just ever so slightly to bring in some of the modern amenities you’d expect for a luxury boutique stay while keeping the lovely style of yesteryear.

This property exudes the charm and nostalgia of the past yet there’s wifi, TV, mini-refrigerators and air conditioning. Imagine waking up to this view every morning. Fog, rain, mist or sunshine, it’s hard to beat this breathtaking scenery.

 

Here’s a view of the inn we took as we were walking up from the water after taking a stroll along the rocks which I would recommend doing early in the morning or close to sunset.

Of course, the best part about the inn in my opinion is the front porch which is decked with Adirondack-like chairs from left to right. The very same charming chairs are scattered across the lawn as well, which have equally stunning views of the ocean.

On the main floor, you can sit and read while looking out at the ocean views in case it rains. There are books to read, and outlets if you want to bring your laptop and get some writing or work done in a serene and quiet environment. There’s endless tea on the counter as well if you do choose to spend your afternoon just lounging.

The setting is of course very historical — note the bar with the mirror behind it in the photo below. In the evenings, they have happy hour and there’s also coffee, tea and cookies available at certain times. Through the door to the right of the bar, you’ll see their classic dining room which is where they serve dinner and of course, breakfast in the mornings. To the left of the dining room, there’s a closed porch where I’d recommend you sit if you have a meal here.

In this very same sitting room, there are plenty of authentically old antiques and orientals as well as a baby grand piano which I didn’t have an opportunity to play, although thought about it on more than one occasion. There are also some quirky things about the inn, such as their attention to detail and creative additions to the rooms throughout.

More of the magical fine touches — remember it’s all the details. Not every designer or venue manager gets that however Emerson-by-the-Sea pays attention to the details spades. It’s almost as if they designed the place to specifically attract writers, philosophers, artists and nature lovers.

Our room, as I said, was ever so charming. Described as the Honeymoon Room, my guess is that it gets its name because of its soaking hot tub.

Another view of our room from the other side so you can see the “jet” bathtub, which is in the room itself — the bathroom is on the other side, which has a separate shower.

I had an opportunity to see a few other rooms briefly since we were there for a few days.  As I didn’t have my camera with me when I did, the below shot is taken from the inn’s website, but it will give you an idea of what another room looks like, this one with a small balcony that overlooks the ocean as well as the pool in the front of the property. This is called the King or Queen balcony.

Since it was Anthony’s birthday, a nice surprise was brought up to the room — we had a nice bottle of Pinot Noir from one of our earlier stops so we popped it open to sample with this delicious fruit, cheese and olive platter. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect since it was a rainy day so we got lost in our platter and wine together with accompanied novels and games which was a great way to spend a drizzly afternoon in New England. 

Two thumbs up! For the romantics, writers, artists and nature lovers among us, it’s a great place for your New England bucket list.

Details:

Emerson-by-the-Sea

1 Cathedral Avenue

Rockport, MA 01966
(978) 546-6321

Note: we were guests of the resort, but all opinions expressed are entirely our own.

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