I drive up to Rockport because it takes only an hour and a half at the speed of Janet. However there are hundreds who come to Rockport each year via their bus tours. This year a shop owner told me that I noticed more French and English travellers because of the time of the year that I visited. Seems that the Europeans show up in October...along with many travellers from Pennsylvania. Don't know why...but that's the routine. He also told me that the age of the tour groups has been less than in the past. Perhaps it's the price of gas that is forcing even the 30 and 40 somethings to use the bus for their transportation and perhaps the economy of a package deal. At any rate, it appears to be the mode of choice for many.
One of my favorite pics is my daughter, Susan arriving on the commuter train from Boston to spend a few days with me in Rockport. This is the last stop on the commuter line. It's a lovely ride through beautiful little towns all the way along. The execs take the train out of the city to their mansions by the ocean.
These were always such happy days for Susan and I. Rockport is pure relaxation for both of us.
Trying to park in Rockport during the summer can be a hair-raising experience to say the least. The town's narrow streets were not built for cars. There is no parking lot for visitors and on-street parking is at a premium. The best solution to this problem is to park in the free lot just outside of the downtown on Rte. 127 and take the shuttle bus. The lot is about a mile from the town. The shuttle bus comes every 25 minutes or so and costs $1.00 per person each way--exact change only. The only real drawback to this is that the lot closes at 7 PM, so if you plan on being in town later than that you may need to fight for a spot on the street.
If you're coming from Boston and you want to avoid Rockport's bad parking situation, or if you just don't feel like diving, you can take the train there from North Station. The trip takes about an hour, about the time it would to drive, and has several stops along Massachusetts' North Shore. The train station in Rockport is within close walking distance to the downtown.
Rockport is way out at the end of a long peninsula about 40 miles northeast of Boston; it's not close or convenient to anything. It's the last stop of the MBTA commuter rail from North Station in Boston, which is different from the 'T' system and runs much less frequently. The local CATA transit system is only helpful during tourist season, when shuttle buses and trolleys run during daylight hours only. Fortunately, two taxi companies offer 24 hour service, so don't worry about getting stranded.
It depends what part of town you're staying in. Rockport is a spread-out community. If you're at an inn in the Pigeon Cove section in the north part of town or at beachfront accommodations along Marmion Way to the south, you might not want to walk to downtown. See recommendations above.
Drive--you can fly into Boston, but there are major freeways to get you to Rockport
Having a bike would have been ideal for me, but a car is nice to get from place to place, though don't even attempt to bring a car into Bearskin Neck--travel by foot there!
AUTO SEEMS TO BE NUMBER 1 MODE BUT BUS TOUR COME EVERY DAY ALONG WITH TRAIN TRIPS FROM BOSTON
WALKING ABOUT TOWN IS EASY, IF YOU WANT TO SEE THE REST, TAKE A LOCAL TOUR BUS
CATA buses run regularly around the Rockport and Gloucester area. Schedule & fare depends on which route you're on. They have a wave-a-bus program, where you can flag the bus down from the side of the road if you're not at the bus stop. Wave-A-Bus is not in effect during school pick-up and drop-off hours.
Cape Ann Transport is a colorful trolley that circulates and brings you to the main square of Rockport.