The Wonders of Bearskin Neck

The Best Parts of Bearskin Neck and the Backstory of What it Used to Be.

Present day Motif #1 that was rebuilt after being destroyed several times.

Present day Motif #1 that was rebuilt after being destroyed several times.

Will Cahill, Student

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






Bearskin Neck is home to one of the most painted buildings in America. It’s a bit of land that juts out from Rockport Harbor out into the ocean. Many would consider it to be a very popular location for locals and tourists to spend time. It is a legend that settlers came here and found menacing bears and hunted them. Bearskin Neck was named by the fishermen that found a dead bearskin lying on the rocks out to dry. John Babson was a settler here that was said to have fought off a bear with his bare hands and a knife. He managed to kill it and the land was named Bearskin Neck from then on. At the tip, there was a fort that was used during the War of 1812 against the British and was used several times but was later turned into a docking area like it is today.  

Bearskin Neck is home to the Motif #1. It was originally built in 1884 and was used to house fishermen gear, tools, and catches. Now it is one of the most painted building in America by artists.  It has been destroyed and rebuilt several times due to weather. During the blizzard of 1978, it was knocked into the Harbor but was rebuilt another time. The Blizzard of 1978 destroyed lots of land and property that ended up costing around 520 million US dollars. It killed about 100 people and injured 4,500 more. Bearskin Neck has lots of art galleries to visit these days. Today, many people, including tourists, visit Bearskin Neck to view the beauty it has to offer. Artists come to capture the scene of Bearskin neck and it’s beauty during the summer.

More popular attractions are local events for people to come and watch or be a part of. On the Fourth of July, you can come to Front and Back Beach to watch the Fourth of July fireworks. There is a huge bonfire that takes place before the fireworks, but continues while the show is going on. It is a good idea to get there early because it gets very crowded around 5-6. Even if there are too many people, there are other places to watch the fireworks. Some people go to the Headlands to watch the fireworks. You can get a great view of most of downtown Rockport at night with fireworks and the bonfire. If you want to do more interactive activities, the Harvest Festival is where you should go. It occurs in the fall around October and spreads from Bearskin Neck to T-Wharf with tons of different interests for everyone. Local shops usually set up tents and sell their foods and goods for anyone who is looking to purchase it. There are musical acts, cooking competitions, and lots of food. During December, in the middle of Doc Square, every year the town puts up a gigantic Christmas tree. A couple weeks before Christmas there is the tree lighting. Tons of people gather to watch the lighting to take place and sip on hot chocolate with their friends, family, and the town. Santa comes before Christmas on a boat coming in from the harbor. Bearskin Neck is home to the Shalin Liu Performance Center. Lots of musicians come to share their music with the town. The Rockport Middle School and High School perform with their Band, Orchestra, Chamber Music, and Jazz Band groups to share what the students have worked hard on. It is definitely worth checking out the next time you are around there. Shops are the main attraction of Bearskin Neck. There are lots of fascinating art galleries that are spread throughout downtown that have lots of amazing artwork. Roy Moore’s is a restaurant that has wonderful seafood. There is also a Fudgery, candy shops, and ice cream shops. If you are looking for street food, then go to Top Dog. They have tons of different hot dog options, fries, fried seafood, and hamburgers. If you ever visit Rockport, you have to visit Bearskin Neck because if you don’t, you will be missing the best of what Rockport has to offer.