At Select Registry, getting to know about the magnificent bed & breakfast known as Emerson Inn by the Sea has reawakened our interest in the magnificent American essayist, lecturer, and poet, Ralph Waldo Emerson. Calling the Inn “thy proper summer home,” was Emerson’s testimony to a loyalty he felt to making this gracious Massachusetts inn his favored vacation abode.
A Soulful Approach to Life
Emerson was a great champion of individualism, encouraging his readers to go forward in their personal vision, developing their individuality, and finding greater freedom in personal expression. His concentration on a soulful approach to life is what brought him to the forefront of his generation, and continues to carry his philosophy into our time, as it remains eternally relevant.
A Testimony to Individualism
In this regard, it is easy to see why Emerson would choose a place like Emerson Inn by the Sea to reside during the summer months. As Cape Ann’s extraordinary grand hotel, the Rockport legend continues to reign as a historic jewel. With rooms as individual and exceptional as Emerson believed every man and woman to be, the Inn is a testimony to individualism and a vision of excellence that is everyone’s right to attain.
A Bit of History
William Norwood, a resident of Rockport, originally owned a tavern in Pigeon Cove. In 1856 his thriving tavern came to an end when a raid, created to get rid of all alcohol in the area, put an end to his business. Ever an innovative thinker, Norwood turned the The Pigeon Cove House into an inn for summer visitors, which he ran along with his wife. So inviting was his inn that visitors came from far and wide to be there, and it became especially popular amongst the essayists and poets of the time. As its popularity increased, Norwood enlarged the house. Once he died, his wife ran the inn on her own until she sold the inn in 1866 to Mrs. Robinson for $6,000. Mrs. Robinson moved the building to the corner of Philips Avenue and Green Street, where it has remained through time. The building became a rooming house, run by the McGuire family until 1911. It was then renovated and reopened as the Hotel Edward, providing guests with luxurious and modern amenities, along with private dining rooms and a fireproof garage accommodating up to 30 cars.The Edward gained a reputation as the finest summer resort in the area, attracting the likes of Henry David Thoreau, who brought his friend Ralph Waldo Emerson to Cape Ann for a hike, stopping for afternoon tea in Pigeon Cove. Emerson fell in love with the area and the Edward and brought his family there for subsequent summers. The rocky coastline and other aspects of the exceptional setting were indeed reasons for his return year after year, as it did for other guests who would come from all over the world to be a part of the fashionable set, receiving excellent service while enjoying all of the surrounding sights and locales. Tourism was booming in 1930 and additions were made to the inn, allowing it to expand and stay with if not ahead of the time. In 1964 the Wemyss family bought the Edward, reopening it in 1965 as the Ralph Waldo Emerson Inn. As serious antique collectors, the family also supported many local artists of the day, adding to the allure of their purchase by enhancing its décor. In 1998 Mr. and Mrs. Coates bought the Inn, falling in love with the building and its amazing locale right next to the Atlantic Ocean. They restored it once again, preserving the splendor of days gone by and dedicating themselves to providing the award winning service Emerson Inn by the Sea is known for today. In 2005, Emerson Inn by the Sea was offered Rockport’s first liquor license since 1933, making it the first place of its kind in town to serve a full roster of wine, beers, and spirits. After seven years of work, thirty-six stunningly appointed rooms have emerged, featuring private baths, spa tubs, private enclosed balconies, and so much more. From the great stairway leading to the living room to the impeccably chosen furnishings and colors, the owners have taken great care to preserve the essence of this unique and truly one-of-a-kind Inn.
Simplicity and Elegance
Simplicity and elegance are two words that come to mind when describing Emerson Inn by the Sea. One could also add cozy and enveloping, contributing to the peace of mind of its guests. With varying décor that accommodates every taste, the Inn makes every guest feel as unique as he or she is, which is the essence of what Ralph Waldo Emerson stands for. Standing for history, character, and individuality, one feels a sense of majesty when staying at this wonderful getaway. In addition to the thirty-six guest rooms, there are also two vacation rental cottages adjacent to inn perfect for family reunions or vacations, as well as corporate retreats. Here you can enjoy private decks with ocean views, as well as a backyard barbecue.
Boasting 19th century sensibilities with 21st century amenities, the inn offers a deliciously prepared breakfast in the café, as well as exceptional dinners in the Grand Café on weekends. With a sumptuous and diverse menu, you can enjoy an extensive wine list as you dine by candlelight overlooking the ocean. There is also The Parlor, where you will find more casual fare along with cocktails to go with the live piano music on Saturday evenings.
A Plethora of Interesting Things to Do
By day, take a stroll through Rockport or nearby Gloucester. As a well-known art colony and famed harbor, Rockport offers a plethora of interesting things to see and do. Additionally you can sunbathe on the rocks and beaches, explore the shoreline and the woods, or go whale watching. If you are a golfer, The Rockport Golf Club’s nine-hole course is only three miles from the Emerson, and if you play tennis, there are courts right nearby. With antique stores, boutiques, cultural events, and a wide array of summer and winter activities, you may do just as Ralph Waldo Emerson did by returning to Emerson Inn by the Sea again and again.