June 23, 2019

Off the Beaten Path: 10 Unexpected Places and Things to See and Explore on the North Shore

by cns2020

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The North Shore is filled to brim with things to see, especially during the Summer months. There are great restaurants, museums, and entertainment. Yet, sometimes you get in the mood for something a little unusual and want to go explore something weird.

Here are 10 of the most unexpected attractions on the North Shore because, let’s be honest, there’s only so much Witch History a person can stand.

The Paper House
52 Pigeon Hill St, Rockport, MA

In 1922, Elis F. Stenman built his dream summer home in Rockport, MA. The odd thing was, he also finished it with varnished newspapers. The structure of the home is timber, but the walls, doors, and furnishings are all made of newspaper. Estimates put the number of newspapers used at nearly 100,000.

Don’t bring your dogs, they might get the wrong idea.

Dungeon Rock
106 Pennybrook Rd, Lynn, MA

Buried deep in Lynn Woods Reservation in Lynn, MA is special formation called Dungeon Rock, featuring a cave dug by a man named Hiram Marble who was in communication with ghosts. Specifically, they told him to dig a cave because he would find pirate treasure – the remains of the treasure of Thomas Veal.

Hiram passed away in 1868 without ever finding his treasure. His son took up the cause until he too passed away, treasureless in 1880.

Turns out the ghosts just wanted all the treasure for themselves.

Dogtown Trail
Dogtown Rd., Gloucester

Founded in 1693 by a small community of farmers, Dogtown was eventually abandoned during the War of 1812. Yet, while humans may have left the space never to return, legends say that the dogs stayed behind and created their very own dog-tocracy.

In the past 100 years, Roger Babson has made his own mark on Dogtown, carving sayings into boulders along the trail. Visitors can hike through the woods and wander the foot paths at will, enjoying the company of art and the ghosts of dogs long gone.

The Grave of the Boston Strangler
185 Lake Street, Peabody

Here’s a little something for all the lovers of True Crime out there. In Peabody you can find the grave of Henry DeSalvo, who was charged with the murders of 11 women and summarily nicknamed The Boston Strangler, although there is some debate about whether or not it was him who committed these murders. You can read his full bio here.

The grave is located at the Puritan Lawn Memorial Park in Peabody, MA. The cemetery doesn’t have tombstones and instead hots small bronze plaques as memorials. DeSalvo’s grave is situated near the intersection of Endicott Drive and Cummings Way.

Skull Cliff
325 Broadway, Saugus

Like Dungeon Rock, Skull Cliff is also a man-made oddity found in Lynn Woods Reservation. In 2001, an unidentified artist named “Ichabod” covered this 30-foot tall cliff face with rows upon of rows of painted human skulls. In 2017, the artist’s signature was, unfortunately, painted over, but the remainder of the work is still intact.

The trailhead is behind the Kelly Chrysler dealership at 325 Broadway in Saugus.

The Crane Estate
290 Argilla Road, Ipswich

Built in 1928, the Crane Mansion and Estate is a sprawling homestead featuring a 59 room mansion surrounded by beautiful gardens and sweeping vistas. If the mansion and gardens weren’t enough, the estate also hosts a trail system and beach access to curious outdoor explorers.

Visitors can play massive chess on the rooftop, take a ramble around the gardens, and tour the house itself. The space, managed by the Trustees is also the home of The summer Roaring Twenties Lawn Party and several other fun events throughout the year.

Herb Mackey’s Metal Sculpture Yard
10 Blaney Street, Salem

Some people have strange hobbies, and sometimes the public gets to enjoy them. Herb Mackey’s garden of metal creatures has been a longstanding curiosity in Salem, MA. Herb crafts his wonders from upcycled scrap, using bits and pieces he finds to fashion his creatures.

Located right next to the Salem Ferry Terminal, passerby and ferry riders alike get to experience the fascinating beauty of metal creatures as they go about their day.

Pink Plum Island “Spite” House
68 Plum Island Turnpike, Newbury

The Pink Plum Island “Spite” House sits on top of a salt marsh on the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge in Newbury, creating an odd vista for everyone headed to the coast. Built in the 1920s, the strange house was the result of a divorce settlement gone amiss.

During the proceedings, the wife of the man who built the house demanded that he build an exact replica of her childhood home. But because she didn’t specify where, he built it on top of an unlivable salt marsh, where it sits uninhabited to this day, proving the sweetest spite is tinged pink.

Maudslay State Park
74 Curzon Mill Road, Newburyport

Maudslay State Park is a wonder of Newburyport that often gets overlooked. Featuring 19th-century gardens (and a hedge maze), sweeping meadows, tall white pines, and one of the largest naturally-occurring stands of mountain laurel in the state, Maudslay is a place that deserves to be properly explored.

Nestled along the bank of the Merrimack River, Maudslay also hosts summer theatre events with Theater in the Open. In July, they’ll be putting on the Tempest on Saturdays and Sundays with performances at 4:00 pm each day.

Beauport – The Sleeper-McCann House
75 Eastern Point Blvd, Gloucester

Beauport, now known as the Sleeper-McCann house, was the summer home of one of America’s first interior designers, Henry Davis Sleeper. Situated in Gloucester overlooking the harbor, Sleeper used this breathtaking vista as a retreat and as an entertainment space for family and friends in the early 1900s.

Each room in the home is completely different, with themes ranging from the literary to the historical to the outright unusual. Considering that there’s 40 of them in total that’s quite a lot to explore. The home is open to the public from May to October.

Got a strange attraction or curiosity on the North Shore that didn’t make the list? Feel free to drop our editor a message at joeyphoenix@creativecollectivema.com.