The deal is this: Rockport is dry. Period. If you want wine or beer with dinner....you can bring it with you and they will be fine with that. Or.....you spend the day around Rockport, and go "next door" to Gloucester (next town over....10 minutes) and visit the pubs, restaurants and bars which are plentiful enough. Including the bar where the guys hang out from the movie Secret Storm. We chose not to stop in there....kinda seedy looking....but whatever your pleasure!
HOT NEWS ! Rockport has changed their liquor laws for the first time since the 1800's when Hannah Jumper led the abolitionists to throw every single bottle of booze into the harbor. Now you can have a drink with your dinner. ONLY with food, however. Unless you order appetizers or dinner, you cannot have a drink in Rockport. Ya gotta love these old noreast salty dogs.
"Situated between the Atlantic Ocean and Main Street in Rockport, the Shalin Liu Performance Center lies at the heart of one of the country's oldest art colonies. It combines intimacy, extaordinary acoustical quality and a spectacular natural setting."
Initial funding for this fabulous venue was given by a philanthropist... Shalin Liu... and there is a 20 million dollar fundraising campaign under way to continue their work.
They even stream the MET from NYC into the theater so the performances can be enjoyed long distance.
When the back curtains and screens at the stage are raised... what a view! The entire back wall is a huge window looking at the ocean. What a backdrop if they had a piano recital in front of that window. (see one of my pics) I haven't seen a performance there yet, but look forward to it on another trip. The workmanship in the building is excellent... and the theater is like no other I have ever seen.
They removed a store that I used to visit in order to build the theater. Although it is built in the style of an 1800's building, it is a reproduction...done very well. Famous artists and designers have created a masterpiece here. The building dwarfs the little building next door which is where their business office is located.
Classical concerts, Cinema series, Jazz concerts, and National Theatre can be enjoyed at the new Performance Center in Rockport.
Forget about nightlife in Rockport; it's non-existent except for dining out. Rockport has been a permanently 'dry' town since the mid-19th Century. According to legend, there was a serious alcohol problem among the town's fishing families during that era. The husbands stayed home during the months outside of fishing season and ran up huge bar tabs while they waited to return to sea, creating all sorts of problems at home. The fishermen's wives cried on the shoulder of a feisty septuagenarian seamstress named Hannah Jumper, who led a midnight raid of 200 axe-wielding women on a rampage through the taverns downtown, smashing every barrel of liquor in sight. Since that fateful night, there have been no bars, no nightclubs and no liquor stores in Rockport, and the local police are camped everywhere with radar. At most local restaurants, though, you can bring your own alcohol and pay a modest set-up fee for the ice and glassware. Every now and then, the innkeepers and restauranteurs try to change this policy, only to be met with fierce resistance. As you drive around Rockport, you'll notice many cars bear a yellow bumpersticker that reads 'HANNAH LIVES!' No kidding!
Since there are no bars in Rockport, you can get a cheap flat-rate taxi to Gloucester. Please don't drive back to Rockport and risk getting caught by the police while traveling along the long, dark roads late at night!
Dress Code: Cape Ann is a very unpretentious place. When you see people overdressed, they are frequently wedding guests because people come here in droves to get married by the ocean!