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These two historical New England towns have a lot to their names—clams, for one, and some of the best spots in the whole state to go antiquing or to explore nature. Below, check out a handful of some local favorite restaurants, shops, and more in Ipswich and Essex.

Eat & Drink

Sandpiper Bakery
A recent transplant from Gloucester, this bakery offers croissants and cookies, salads, and sandwiches, all made with delicious attention to quality. 29 North Main St., Ipswich, 978-879-4136,

The Village Restaurant
This Mother’s Day, the eatery is holding a Lobster Gala—including lobster pie and fried clams—yum! 55 Main St., Essex, 978-768-6400, 

Great Marsh Brewing 
A casual, brewery  serving up handmade pizzas along with world-class beer and hard seltzers. 99 Main St., Essex, 978-890-7827, 

This Ipswich institution serves up authentically tasty Mediterranean fare. New to Greek food? The welcoming staff will help guide you through the enticing menu. 25 Hammatt St., Ipswich, 978-356-0099,

Ipswich Ale Brewer’s Table
Sample one (or more) of 15 locally brewed beers on tap and enjoy lunch or dinner from a menu of eclectic elevated pub fare. 2 Brewery Place, Ipswich, 978-356-3182,

The Mill
Stop in for breakfast, lunch, or coffee, and pick up one of the prepared meals for an easy and delicious dinner. 121 Eastern Ave., Essex, 978-890-7139,

Reputed to be the birthplace of the fried clam, this seafood shack is certainly one of the North Shore’s most popular and scenic spots for casual seafood. 119 Main St., Essex, 978-768-6451,

C.K. Pearl
Enjoy eclectic fare ranging from lobster carbonara to crispy pork belly ramen, sip an inventive cocktail, and watch the meanderings of the Essex River from the cozy patio. 112 Main St., Essex, 978-890-7378,

Down River Ice Cream
Some of the best ice cream available on the North Shore, from perfectly rendered basics to indulgent and innovative flavors. 241 John Wise Ave., Essex, 978-768-0102

Shop & Renew

Andrew Spindler Antiques & Design
Offers a well-curated selection of a variety of period pieces and beautiful uncommon objects. 163 Main St., Essex, 978-768-6045,

Betsy Frost Design
Browse unique jewelry designed by the owner as well as a curated selection of gifts, clothing, and accessories. 4 Market St., Ipswich, 978-356-4040,

Sea Meadow Gifts and Gardens
This charming, shingled gift shop is dedicated to highlighting original, artisanal work, with a special emphasis on items for the yard and garden. 7 Main St., Essex, 978-768-3441,

Live & Play

Essex River Cruises
Enjoy the area from the water on a narrated, sightseeing cruise or a private charter to a tidal beach. 35 Dodge St., Essex, 978-768-6981, 

Greenwood Farm
Easy trails and a 17th-century farmhouse make this marshside walk a little like stepping back in history. 47 Jeffrey’s Neck Rd., Ipswich, 978-356-4351,

Cogswell’s Grant
A carefully restored colonial-era farmhouse, displaying a rich collection of American folk art assembled by the former owners. 60 Spring St., Essex, 978-768-3632,

Cape Ann SUP
Rent a board, take a lesson to learn the basics, or book an SUP yoga class for relaxation on the water. 2 Southern Ave., Essex, 978-233-1787,

Appleton Farms
Wander the trails through field and forest, say hello to the cows and goats, or shop for local produce, meat, and cheese at the farm store. 219 County Rd., Ipswich, 978-356-5728,

Crane Beach and Estate
One of the region’s most popular beaches adjoins a wildlife refuge and an historic estate for a full day of relaxation and exploration. Argilla Rd., Ipswich,