Rocky Neck has been luring artists to its picturesque shores for more than 150 years. These artists range from Fitz Hugh Lane, who painted here in the 1840s, through Emile Gruppe, who made the neck his home and painted into the 1970s.
Other famous Gloucester artists include Winslow Homer, Edward Hopper, Childe Hassam, William Morris Hunt, Maurice Prendergast, Cecilia Beaux, Theresa Bernstein, Jane Paterson, Joseph Solman, and a host of other professional and amateur artists.
Gloucester’s iconic sculpture The Man at the Wheel, a permanent memorial to the ten thousand Gloucester fisherman lost at sea, was created by Leonard Craske in his studio on the pier on Rocky Neck in the 1920s. Writers of the stature of Louisa May Alcott and Rudyard Kipling frequented the “Neck” and T.S. Elliott spent many summers here.
Being on Rocky Neck is like stepping back in time. It has managed to preserve a bygone unhurried way of life. Artist members of the colony range from year round residents to those who eagerly make the trek back each summer from all over the country, and they play host to visitors from all over the world.
The Rudder Restaurant is located in one of the few remaining landmarks on Rocky Neck dating from the age of sail. The building was originally a fish packing establishment, the fish being landed here by boat and packed in barrels with salt for shipment. The floor above was a sail loft until the early 1900s when it was converted into artists studios where many of America’s famous painters have lived.
The Rudder Restaurant has been recently renovated to include a fully heated deck and a new air conditioning system. The Rudder has been open for more than 57 years of business. The Rudder was jump started by the most vibrant fun loving woman the neck has ever seen Evie Parsons and her husband. They owned and operated it for nearly 40 years before Jeannie, Charlie and Ginger took ownership. They made the Rudder what it is today, somewhere so fall in love, celebrate life, relax and indulge in delicious food and drink. The current owner Dennis is a dynamic and gregarious individual. His generosity and kindness knows no limits.
In 2009, the Rudder was completely renovated. Joey Ciaramitaro, of GoodMorningGlouscester.com (Gloucester's most popular blog) covered the Rudder Renovations with photos, videos, and regular updates.