Just like any other other post-graduate from Vermont, I was bit by the craft-brew bug. With Vermont having such a high density of world-class microbrewery operations, moving back to Massachusetts gave me the opportunity to discover an entirely new scene of brewing. During a recent weekend, I took the MINI Clubman up to Essex, Massachusetts; known for its stunning scenery, Essex is home to one of the North Shore’s newest craft breweries.
If you’re looking for a fun weekend outing, the roads surrounding Great Marsh do not disappoint. Tucked away in the various marshes and tidal rivers are some fabulous driving roads, paired with some equally stunning scenery. Just down the street in Ipswich, Massachusetts, Argilla Road connects drivers from Route 133 (a fun drive in its own right) to the famed Crane Estate.
Set atop a hill overlooking stunning ocean scenery, the Crane Estate is a great place to start. The Gatsby-esque mansion was originally built in the late 1880s, eventually changing hands to the Crane family in early 1910. While this summer’s restrictions limited events, the estate concerts are always a summer staple.
After exploring the estate grounds, head back down Argilla Road over to Great Marsh Brewing Company in Essex. One of Essex’s newest installations, GMBC is quickly becoming a staple of its own. Featuring a wonderful collection of classic New England craft brews, Great Marsh has something on the tap list for any beer enthusiast. The beer garden serves snack-style meals while the porch provides indoor seating for a traditional lunch.
If you are just looking for the quintessential Massachusetts seafood experience, Woodman’s is just next door. This culinary institution is the mecca for any fish, crab, or lobster-lover. With stunning views of the marsh, Woodman’s outdoor tent seating is what I would suggest.
Essex and the surrounding towns are a great day trip for anyone in the New England area. This fall day-trip provides unparalleled views, fun twisty roads—and perhaps most importantly, good beer.—Tucker Beatty
[Photos courtesy Tucker Beatty.]