Day trip to Cape Ann: beach, beer, clams [MA]

We had rare flexibility on a Friday afternoon to take advantage of an unseasonably warm March day.

It’s “Locals’ Season” around these parts so we took our dog along for a long stroll on Crane Beach. Dogs (and horses) are allowed on the beach only until March 31, so we thought we’d better get to it.

Afterward we headed to the patio at True North Ales In Ipswich. The patio tables were already full at 3:30, but a lovely couple with the cutest baby shared their picnic table with us. Their sweet little one was entertained by our dog. Our dog was on super good behavior as they had food from the food truck. Win-win. I enjoyed a Holy Schnitt! helles and my husband had a Shear Hoppiness hazy IPA. A warm pretzel with mustard did the job as a snack.

My husband reports that the True North taproom itself is airy and inviting but I never made it inside. Remember, I had a dog to supervise and a tiny table mate to help amuse.

Then off to Woodman’s in Essex for an early dinner of fried clams while the light was still with us. Dogs are allowed at the picnic tables out back, which also let us feast our eyes on a gorgeous, moody view of the marsh. Sun was getting lower in the sky so we were glad to have dressed in layers.

No pictures in this report because our hands were full with the dog. :blush:

P.S. On the way back home, I noticed that the Clam Box was open though no picnic tables outside yet. Also it’s three more weeks until Down River Ice Cream opens, according to the sign out front.


Sounds like a lovely afternoon was had by all!


Thanks so much. I imagine this itinerary might strike the fancy of a few posters here, so thought I would share.


Love playing hooky (which I haven’t gone in far too long).

We have enjoyed a couple of visits to True North (I think I took B there for Fathers Days a few years ago). It is indeed a bright and airy place. Hope you can stick your head inside one of these summer (?) days.


It certainly struck my fancy. We’ve done Cape Ann often in the past, but always thought of it as a weekend jaunt.


Very nice, thank you for sharing. Its just as well there weren’t any pictures involved. sigh


TT, thanks for sharing that vignette that gives hope spring is around the corner. Here comes the sun…


A perfect outing on a beautiful Friday! I got to stand at my company’s front door with the door open for a few minutes enjoying the warmth of the day.

Your day was WAY better. :wink:


A wonderful way to spend some quality time before the crowds. Thanks for the Down River opening info. Also, Farnham’s is open, picnic tables are out (drove by - no time to stop (sigh). Did check for outside seating at Essex Seafood totally rebuilt and open after a devastating fire about a year ago (?). Maybe 6 picnic tables at the very back of the building. Did not order any food as they fry lobster now, cross contamination too risky for allergic to lobster me. Good thing there are other options in the area.


So my dream food crawl on the fried clam superhighway (LOL) would consist of fried clams from Farnham’s and onion rings from Woodman’s. A woman can dream, can’t she?

Still have yet to try Essex Seafood though.