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Samuel de Champlain visited Gloucester in 1604 and was so impressed, he named the harbor “Le Beauport”, or beautiful harbor. Indeed, our deep protected harbor made it a natural place for early English settlers to come to fish. Half Moon Beach at Stage FortPark was where they set up their first fish drying stages.
The Massachusetts Bay Compact was signed here in 1623, making Gloucester the oldest seaport in the United States, even older than neighboring Salem & Boston. Since then many generations of Gloucestermen have gone to sea in search of cod, haddock, halibut, swordfish, and lobster.
Their proud history and sacrifices are honored by the Fishermen’s Memorial on Stacy Boulevard, depicted by the Man at the Wheel statue and cenotaph. Nearby is the Fisher- man’s Wife statue, which acknowledges the crucial contributions of the families left on shore.
Take some time to stroll Stacy Boulevard, overlooking the harbor. You’ll see lots of vessels heading in and out, both working boats and recreational craft. Continue your stroll to the working waterfront, a lively place with boatyards at work, fishing boats of all sizes coming and going,and fishermen working onboard their vessels. Stop and chat with an artist at work or a fisherman mending his nets. Go on a whale watch, a schooner sail, or eat today’s catch at a local restaurant.
Then search out your treasure in our downtown shopping area, an eclectic mix of galleries and shops. There are lots to see and do downtown and on the waterfront.