The film is the story of a working-class family that is struggling with tragedy and rebuilding their lives. The film was produced by Matt Damon, the writer-director is Kenneth Lonergan. It stars Michelle Williams and Casey Affleck as Lee Chandler, who moves back to his hometown to care for his nephew after the death of his brother. Unlike fellow film Oscar nominee La-la Land the film uses a lot of natural locations, which whet the appetite for travel despite the sometimes sombre subject matter of the story.
Cape Ann became the location for much of the film. Filming also took place in the namesake town of Manchester-by-the-Sea as well as Beverly, Gloucester, Swampscott, Lynn, Rockport and Salem. The local North Shore community became very involved with the filming, in fact a local fisherman who was asked to share his fishing expertise ended up lending his boat, truck and dog to the movie makers.
The region is known for its beautiful beaches and scenery as well as its quaint houses all of which are highlighted in the film. Some of the driving scenes which show spectacular scenery and little weatherboard houses were shot on Route 128, near Beverly and it is the Bakers Island Light Station, Manchester-by-the-Sea that can be seen from Joe’s boat. Some seaside shots were filmed near Beacon Marine Basin, Gloucester and if you want to go to the same bars as the characters (and indeed the real-life crew) head to Fibber McGee's Bar and Grill, 102 Talbot Street, Beverly and Pratty's Bar, 10 Parker Street, Gloucester.
According to Tripadvisor the top things to do in Manchester by the Sea are to visit the Singing Beach, the Coolidge Reservation and Agassiz Rock. You can also get out on the water with the Frayed Knot Sailing Charters aboard a luxurious luxurious 46' Benateau run by Captain Claude and Judy. Or wander downtown to visit the quirky Manchester-by-the-Book bookstore or the Central Street Gallery.
Cape Ann offers some great places to stay from old world elegance and wicker rocking chairs on a classic New England hotel porch to luxury houses to rent. Along the rocky coastline of Gloucester’s back shore, there are several inns with sweeping views of the Atlantic surf . There are properties with beachside views at Long Beach and Good Harbor Beach and historic offerings in Rockport.