Dogtown, just a short drive from Rockport, is one of America's oldest ghost towns! Originally settled in the late 1600s, its rocky, highland, inland location offered protection from pirates and other enemies. Over time, it was comprised of mostly women; wives, widows of seamen and husbands who left to fight in the American Revolution. In the 1800s it is alleged that the area was a haven for witches. Legend is that Dogtown earned its strange name from the dogs these women kept for protection. As the settlers gradually moved towards the harbor, dogs were allegedly abandoned and roamed the area. The rustic dwellings were eventually removed and the area was left in its natural state.
As you hike the trails, you will see giant rock formations called erratics, left behind when the glaciers melted. What you will also surprisingly discover is a public art work commissioned by Roger Babson, an MIT engineer, philanthropist and founder of Babson College. During the Depression, Babson commissioned unemployed Finnish quarry workers to carve his values on 26 of these boulders, such as, Courage, Integrity, Loyalty, Kindness, Truth, Initiative, Work, Study, Save and inspirational phrases such as "Prosperity follows Service" "If work stops values decay." He also had the workers number 40 cellar holes of the settler's rustic dwellings.
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The Babson boulder trail, is befittingly referred to as "Walk the Words". Be sure to wear proper hiking footwear as you will need to navigate an inclined trail composed of tree roots, and rocky terrain. There are 5 different ways to enter Dogtown from different directions that easily connect with one another. See the information below for directions and helpful links and further information.
Along the trails you will also see scenic views of the Babson Reservoir. The Babson family gave Babson Reservoir to the city of Gloucester to ensure an independent water supply, and in return, the city agreed to keep Dogtown an undeveloped public park. Since 1985, the Dogtown Advisory Committee has fought to preserve the natural environment of Dogtown, in the process creating a detailed topographical trail map of Dogtown available at local bookstores. When you come, be sure to document your visit with plenty of photographs of this truly unique and historic place. You're guaranteed to see things never seen before, and to get a glimpse into the history of how our nation was originally settled.
When you come to visit, linger for a memorable weekend, or treat yourself to a longer stay and settle in at one of our cozy Inns. Our special little village in this spectacular setting will become a cherished part of your memories and a place to come back to, again and again.