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Essex Real Estate
Essex is a small coastal town of fewer than 4000 residents located 26 miles north of Boston. The town combines a close knit community with heavily forested areas, wetlands, and open spaces. Properties range from classic New England colonials and saltboxes to sprawling contemporary waterfront estates and condos. Students in Essex and Manchester-by-the-Sea share a consolidated school system and high school.
Situated along the river, Essex is home to some of the best clam flats in the world. The central part of Essex lies on marsh land that surrounds the Essex River which feeds Essex Bay, along with Castle Neck River and several creeks. Essex clams supply commercial restaurants up and down the North Shore, as well as the iconic fried seafood mecca, Woodman’s of Essex. With a total of 15.9 square miles, Essex has little in the way of contemporary chain stores. Despite its small size, the town is known as “America’s Antiques Capital” because of its concentration of more than 25 shops within a mile of each other. Read more about Essex.
Essex is bordered by Ipswich to the north; Manchester-by-the-Sea to the south; Gloucester to the east and Hamilton to the west. The closest MBTA Commuter Rail Station is at Ipswich along the Newburyport/Rockport Line. During the summer the Ipswich Essex Explorer bus provides weekend service to Crane Beach as well as to the Commuter Rail. Residents can access Route 128 in neighboring Manchester-by-the-Sea and Gloucester to points south.
As part of the largest salt marsh in New England spanning more than 20,000 acres, Essex offers residents a variety of water activities, including kayaking, canoeing, and boating. Waterways include protected land, sandy beaches, and small creeks with many options for exploring the local area by land and by sea. The Crane Wildlife Refuge is ideal for hiking while Chebacco Lake is a local favorite for swimming, boating and year-round fishing.
Off the beaten path, Cogswell’s Grant is a colonial-era farmhouse that features a collection of American country artwork by collectors Bertram K. and Nina Fletcher Little.
Starting in the 1800s, Essex made its mark in the shipbuilding industry and is known for having constructed more two-masted wooden fishing schooners than any other shipbuilding center in the world. The Essex Shipbuilding Museum features more than 8,000 artifacts related to local maritime history including documenting the evolution of the wooden shipbuilding era. Today the main sources of income for Essex are the shellfish industry and tourism. Antiques and fresh seafood are the main draws for visitors with Essex residents maintaining the fried clam was invented there. Legend has it that Chubby Woodman created the fried clam recipe in the early 20th century at the request of a guest at his roadside stand.
Essex is the backdrop for several films, including “The Crucible,” starring Winona Ryder and Daniel Day-Lews and “Grown Ups” starring Adam Sandler. The actor filmed much of the movie’s water scenes at Chebacco Lake. Woodman’s restaurant also makes a cameo appearance.
Photo: Gail Frederick
For fresh seafood, antiques and more, make time to discover the quaint Town of Essex. This tiny North Shore town may not be large in size, but it’s filled with antique shops, specialty stores and plenty of history.
In fact, the picture-worthy, coastal town is said to boast more antique shops per square mile than anywhere else in the nation. Whether you’re in search of handcrafted items from New England artisans, Victorian, Mid-century modern or American antiques, ... Read More
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