Thanks Pintail, mhabich, Deb M regarding Pavilion Beach.
Thanks midtempo and Liz (eneumeier) regarding Long Wharf. Thanks too Liz regarding Corliss Landing and Brown's Mill.
Thanks Deb M regarding Lane's Cove.
What we ended up doing yesterday was pulling into the small parking area off 127 across from Harbor's Point Ice Cream and next to the Porta Potties. We unloaded there and I then found a parking place on Centennial Ave, a side-street near the drawbridge. It was midday (shame on us for not getting an early morning start) and parking along 127 was bumper-to-bumper all the way to back to Stage Fort. The north side of 127 had temporary "no parking Friday 7am to 3pm" signs on sawhorses, but a lot of people parked there anyway. Overall, a bit of a zoo.
Paddle notes: 20+ knots strong onshore breeze when we started. We headed out straight into the wind along the west side of the harbor and ended up only going as far as Norman's Woe Rock, which was a nice place to explore around with a leeward break from the wind and at mid-tide. Waves two to three feet with the occasional one that went over my spray skirt when punching through. On the return the wind had settled to an estimated 10 to 15 knots so we didn't fully get the payback we might have hoped for and the waves weren't big enough to surf -- instead, it felt like I kept sliding back down waves without getting real benefit from the following seas. At this point my partner/wife was tiring and so it wasn't the time to paddle hard enough to try to ride the crests.
All and all, I'll give the day a 'B' grade. I look forward to (re)exploring some other areas from Gloucester after recent years of not getting out much at all and almost always launching from the Ipswich Pavilion Beach, Essex, or Manchester Harbor when I did get out.