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Rockport & Ipswich, MA - a tubed foods day

You gotta keep life interesting...why not dedicate yourself to something a little insane for just one day and see how it goes?

On one particular late-May day, staring down at my breakfast burrito and banana, I said "Hey, Amberly, look at all those tubed shaped foods! I challenge you (me) to eat nothing but foods in the shape of tubes today." And, so, it became "Tubed Foods Day".

Andy and I had a whole day of nothing planned. We decided to drive a little bit north of where we live and walk around the town of Rockport, Massachusetts. We figured we would just see where the wind took us from there. In Rockport, nobody is in any big hurry to get anywhere, which goes against many of our Masshole tendencies. It's a nice change of pace. If you're not from New England and want to get a good feel for relaxed coastal New England living, Rockport is a great place to start.

It's got a ton of history. In typical New England fashion, there's a plaque every 5 feet letting you know what happened on that spot in 1864.

It's got art up the ying-yang. There are tons of galleries and shops that sell oil paintings, seaglass jewelry, and knickknacks made from driftwood. You'll also find some more generic stores with lobster claw potholders and any number of items embroidered with seashells. Bearskin Neck was our main destination. It's an old crooked finger of a peninsula jutting out into the sea. If you know me and my affinity for finding a great lunch spot, you might have already guessed that I was way ahead of the game. The day before, I had scoped out a place that happened to fit nicely with my goal of eating foods in tubed form: a solid-looking hot dog establishment called Top Dog. I present the "Bad Dog" - bacon, cheese, and grilled onions? Ummmm, do I even need to answer? Heck yea.

There was an ice cream shack right next door. What's better than an ice cream cone on a sunny day? Not much, if you ask me. For the sake of today, cones are totally tubular. Go ahead and google "cones are tubes" if you don't believe me...actually, don't do that because it proves nothing.

In a perfect world, hikes should not follow ice cream cone consumption. That rule did not apply today. Rockport has some beautiful nature to explore - beaches, rocky shorelines, and an abundance of seagulls trying to steal your french fries. It's home to Halibut Point State Park, a bit of wilderness perched above the rocky shoreline of the Atlantic. There's a sweet quarry there. Visually, it's pretty striking to stand at the edge of a granite quarry and see the ocean just beyond it.

Overlooking the ocean from this height is so serene.

Okay, where to next? Andy had heard about a big mansion/castle one town over in Ipswich. We plugged Castle Hill into the GPS and headed there. Pro Travel Tip: Use that "points of interest" section of your GPS! There are things in there that might make you go hmmmm. We parked at Castle Hill, and trekked through some woods before it completely opened up and we were teetering above Crane Beach. What a gorgeous view of the tip of Plum Island.

I really enjoy taking photos of Andy taking photos. I'm pretty sure this is what he was photographing in that moment:

Just behind us, an enormous, rolling lawn sat at the base of The Great House on Castle Hill. As we strolled toward the house, Andy turned around and snapped this photo of where we came from.

The castle emerged. We were stoked because we'd just seen the trailer for The Equalizer, which was partially shot here. This place is oh so Gatsby, if you're into that kind of thing.

They have guided tours inside, but we opted not to do one on this particular day. We might be going back for a tour though, because I hear the view from the roof is spectacular. Whew! We were whooped and decided to go home to grill up some BBQ chicken thighs and veggies. Tubed foods or bust!


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