Essex, Massachusetts may be your home town, vacation spot, or just a regular pass through you'd like to visit. We put together a list of historic fun facts to help you learn more about our beloved town. 1. A trip to the Essex Shipbuilding Museum and Shipyard is an absolute must. Over 4,000 ships have been built along the banks of the Essex River since 1668, and you will learn through artifacts, photographs, and hands-on exhibits about the crucial role these ships played in the New England fishing and whaling industry and the livelihood of its area residents. You will leave here with a wealth of facts you'll want to share with your family and friends. 2. Just a short walk away is the extremely well preserved Old Burying ground dating back to 1680. Step back in time in this cemetery where over 30 veterans of the Colonial, Revolutionary, and Civil War have been laid to rest. Be sure to take the time to read the Puritan inscriptions on the tombstones for valuable insight into a crucial chapter in our nation's history. This is likely to be an experience you will never forget.
3. Make sure to allow time to walk Essex's Main Street and visit some of the 30 most interesting and unique antique and specialty shops in New England. From furniture, picture frames, and glass to jewelry, you will not only have fun, but also gain a little more insight into the area's rich history. And bring your appetite along because Essex boasts of more innovative and fun restaurants than any other town in New England.
4. You can't miss Choate Island, the largest of the seven Crane Refuge Islands, originally known as Hog Island from an old law dating back to the 1630's requiring hogs to be fenced in there during planting seasons. This 135 acre island is a refuge for birds and other wildlife. You can hike, kayak, picnic, visit the historic farmhouses, and actually get to see where "The Crucible" was filmed back in 1995.
5. Last but not least, save time to enjoy the long sweeping panoramic views of the Essex River Estatuary from the coastal hilltop of Stavros Reservation. This reservation protects 50 acres of salt marsh and wildlife. It only takes a little more than five minutes to climb the well maintained trail, and the payoff in the view is truly worth it. (Considered a moderate hike)
Whichever of these sites and activities you include in your trip to Essex, you can be sure to experience a day you, your family, and/or friends will not soon forget.