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Think you know the area like the back of your hand? Think again. From nature trails overflowing with shadbush and cherry trees to the perfect spot to grab takeout on a busy night, there’s always something new to discover on the North Shore. 

Appleton Farms Store, Ipswich

The smell of freshly baked sourdough bread will lure you in. Load up your basket at this Ipswich mainstay with local goodies like Pigeon Cove Ferments Kombucha and Fat Moon Mushrooms, or 100 percent grass-fed beef straight from the farm.

Maudslay State Park | Photograph by Jeff Page

Maudslay State Park Ruins, Newburyport

Spring is in bloom at Maudslay State Park, where the rhododendrons are lush and the trails are plentiful. But we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the creepy-yet-fascinating ruins, graffiti-covered concrete, and crumbling cottage.

Thacher Island Lighthouses, Rockport

Two beats one. Just 900 feet apart, the Twin Lights on Rockport’s Thacher Island are the perfect spot to dock and climb 156 steps to expansive views. Just be sure to call the keeper in advance.

Andrew Spindler Antiques & Design | Photograph by Elise Sinagra

Andrew Spindler Antiques & Design, Essex

Antique aficionados and those who simply aspire to be one will find plenty of goodies to scour at this Essex mainstay, which is impeccably curated and overflowing with treasures.

Salem Food Tours, Salem

Founder Karen Scalia knows every twist and turn in the Witch City. Sign up for her afternoon strolls to learn the secret spots to sip coffee, slurp chowder, and grab the perfect gift.

Stevens-Coolidge House & Gardens, North Andover

The blossoming tulips and daffodils at this North Andover estate ring in the arrival of the spring season. Soak up the sunset over the blooms at one of their “Celebrate Spring After Hours” events.

Casino at the Crane Estate | Photograph by Shutterstock

The Casino at the Crane Estate, Ispwich

Forget slot machines—this is a different type of casino. The 12,000-square-foot Italian-inspired courtyardat the Ipswich estate features a fusion of Italian Renaissance Revival architecture and palatial landscapes.

Les Fleurs, Andover

It may be in Andover, but you’ll find a flurry of French at this floral, home and garden shop. Join their antiquing trip to France this fall to browse flea markets and street fairs in the City of Light. C’est magnifique!

DownRiver Ice Cream | Photograph by Brian Samuels

DownRiver Ice Cream, Essex

Crafted in store and boasting more than 40 flavors, this Essex outpost is a family-owned gem. Grab a scoop of White River Junction, a blend of chocolate-covered pretzels in vanilla swirled with salted caramel, and snag a pint to savor at home.

Encore Boston Harbor’s Outdoor Art Walk, Everett

Surrounded by gardens and overlooking the Mystic, you don’t have to gamble to enjoy the Encore’s art portfolio. It includes Spanish artist Jaume Plensa’s trio of stainless-steel sculpture heads, Paula, Rui Rui and Laura Asia, representing contemplation and self-discovery.

We Dream in Colour, Essex

Helmed by two sisters raised in Trinidad, this Essex shop specializes in sustainable, handcrafted jewelry and has a treasure for everyone. Stock up your jewelry box or score the perfect gift.

The Estuary, Essex

Magic is brewing at The Estuary in Essex, which carries everything from wellness tinctures and teas to children’s gifts and nontoxic bug spray. There are also events, which include sound baths and reiki circles.

Kinsman Farm Flowers | Photograph by Elise Sinagra

Kinsman Farm Flowers, Ipswich

Pretty as a peony, Kinsman Farm’s blossoms range from delphiniums to dahlias. Join their flower CSA to fill your home with tantalizing colors and scents from May to December.

Crystal Shores Conservation Area, Haverhill

There are 57 acres of natural beauty at Crystal Shores, where the wildlife is plentiful. Keep an eye out for beavers, otters, and mallards as you stroll the walking paths.

Deer Island, Amesbury

There’s a good reason that painters frequently park their easels to capture the beauty here. The only Amesbury island accessible by car, the forested area offers stunning views of the Merrimack River.

Park 9 Dog Bar | Photograph by Reagan Byrne

Park 9 Dog Bar, Everett

If a dog park and a bar had a baby, it would be Everett’s Park 9. But you don’t need a canine companion to hit the rotating food popup, featuring North Shore-based Big Pig Barbecue through the summer.

Rafe’s Chasm, Gloucester

A walk out to the water provides the ultimate reward at Rafe’s Chasm in Gloucester, where you can throw a blanket down on the rocky cliffside and watch the waves crash.

Little Harbor Lobster Company, Marblehead

While everyone associates Little Harbor with lobster rolls (and understandably so), the prepared foods here are just as delectable. Grab a lobster pot pie to stick in the freezer for a busy weeknight dinner.

Streets of Marblehead | Photograph by Shutterstock

Marblehead Public Ways, Marblehead

Marblehead has more nooks and crannies than an English muffin. Lookout Court, open to foot traffic only, leads into Prospect Alley, which offers one of the best views in town.

Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary, Topsfield

With 12 miles of interconnected paths, the picturesque trails on the Ipswich River make for a great visit. If heavy-duty hikes don’t strike your fancy, a leisurely walk through the meadow may do the trick.

Dogtown Books, Gloucester

There’s something special about a used book store, where every page has lived a full life. This gem on Gloucester’s Main Street is a treasure trove, and even features a rack of free books at the entrance.

Olde Main Street Pub | Photograph by Brian DeMello

Olde Main Street Pub, Salem

O’Neills gets the crowds, but Olde Main Street Pub has the real Irish pub ambiance locals love. Just steps from the Peabody Essex Museum, it’s the perfect spot to take a load off and enjoy a pint.

Goose Cove Reservation, Gloucester

It’s hard not to feel the tranquility along Gloucester’s Goose Cove Loop, which offers beauty along its trail (0.7 mile). Perfect for an easy stroll, the trail features blossoms of shadbush and cherry trees through the spring. 

Tasty Dumplings, Lowell

Run your eyes down this Lowell favorite’s menu to the Xiaolongbao, where you’ll find small buns prepared in bamboo steaming baskets. The pork and crab soup dumplings are always a winner. FYI: They’re closed on Mondays.