Author Archives: Pat D

No Butts about it

We’ve been curious about what’s been going on at the corner of Herrick and Main, near the Crow’s Nest.  So GMG Jimmy set about to find out!


Artist Susan Waller has been working on this project for about a week and expects it to take another 10 days or so.  It is her way of asking smokers and other litter-ers to think twice about creating pollution.  Susan says “I’m a smoker too and I say, if you are going to smoke, clean up after yourself.”   Yes, please. Clean up after yourself just like Mom taught.  Thanks GMG Jimmy for helping out here.

Thursday Stroll Up Main St.

We started at Cafe Brew & Spirits for lunch but the quarters in the meter only allowed us to get as far as the Dogtown Book Shop.  It was a lovely afternoon for a stroll.  There are all kinds of lovely things for your eyes to feast upon.


And this is what we brought home:


It might not look like much, but that’s a 1945 Flicker Yearbook I got at the Dogtown Book Shop for a MUCH more reasonable cost than EBay!!! And Virgilios bread, of course.  Believe it or not, I consider each of these a staple: the yearbook for local history and the bread……well, it’s Virgilio’s Italian bread, for heaven’s sake.

A Study in the Past

We ventured “off island” again.  Took the train from West Gloucester to North Station; walked over to South Station and found our way over to UMass/JFK Library.  My destination was the Massachusetts State Archives, which is next door to the beautiful JFK Library.

Construction at UMass has blocked much of the pedestrian access to that area, so shuttle busses are provided.  Sort of reminded me of the railway repairs interrupting commuter travel right here on Cape Ann.  Unfortunately, we did not get the “shuttle bus” option figured out until long after we hiked our way over there.  I was grumbling that now I knew why people (Donna Ardizzoni most recently) say they never want to leave the island.

BUT, once I got there, I was handsomely rewarded.  The staff was very helpful, a bright light among some state level departments (at least in New York).  I got my own researcher card, laminated and everything!  I was seeking some vital record information on family members.  Lucky for me, the records I was seeking were not yet microfilmed so I got to use the actual record books!  Anytime a researcher can use the actual records is a huge bonus.

One of the volumes I used was entirely made up of Gloucester death records from 1923.  I paged my way through the entire book, taking note of how the stories hinted at on these pages reflects the history of the city in a very special way.  There were Irish, Portuguese, Finn and Canadians.  Deaths resulted often from influenza, pneumonia or premature birth.  Some were accidental, as was the case with my ancestor. It was a valuable lesson for this researcher in learning the history and culture of Gloucester.


As Confucius said “Study the past, if you would divine the future.”

Seaport Grille Hits the Mark

Sunday evening we returned to the Seaport Grille for dinner and it was a great experience!  Trainee Dawn and Trainer Chris served us with just the right amount of attention and were well informed about the menu.

Jim had the cioppino, a kind of seafood stew which came complete with a lobster bib!  He needed it—the cioppino was full of a variety of seafood.  I splurged on the lobster pie.  There was plenty of lobster to bring home for a future meal.

The highlight of the meal (for me) might have been the Seaport Coffee!!!  Yummmmm. Highly recommended. As we were having dinner, fireworks went off just across the water which added to the atmosphere but gave me a bit of a fright at first.  When you hear that noise these days, fireworks isn’t first on the list of possibilities unless it is July 4th.  Regardless, it was a nice little bonus on a lovely evening at the Seaport Grille.

**I am currently having trouble uploading pictures for this post.  Your loss!  The food even looks fabulous in the pictures **

The sky is showing off tonight

The Spirit of Cape Ann

Ryan & Wood Distillery produces fine gin, vodka, and whiskey.  I don’t pretend to totally understand the process, but I am enthusiastic about the product!  Today, Bob Ryan spent a generous amount of time explaining a little bit about what happens post production with some of the by-product and it was very intriguing.


These are the fermentation tanks.  You’ll note they’ve been named after some well known local vessels.  Ryan & Wood is careful to select “ancient” or “heritage” grains for their products.  Some of what is leftover after distillation is sent to the Sea View Farms for use.  A smaller amount is mixed with potting soil and used for growing vegetables like potatoes, beets and peppers.



Bob Ryan demonstrating some of the techniques used with the spent grain to produce these potatoes.


The potatoes hearken back to Bob’s Irish roots.  Bob told me he began distilling partially in order to be part of the change in Gloucester as the city adjusted to the reduction in the fishing industry.  We have heard a great deal recently about the changes in the fishing industry and potential ways for the area to maintain its heritage and also thrive.  Ryan & Wood is one way to contribute to the Spirit of Cape Ann.

As  much as we are all moving forward, using leftover ancient grains to grow and fertilize staple vegetables seems a perfect example of “the cycle of life” that was part of the lives of those early Cape Ann settlers.  Returning to the soil in the most basic way!  Thanks for sharing this with us, Bob, Kathy  and Doug!

Busy Sunday at O’Maley

The O’Maley school facilities were getting a workout on a beautiful Sunday afternoon. Flag football outside:



Even the dogs were getting into the spirit of the game.  I think he’s got your flag, buddy!


Inside, at the rink, the little ‘uns had time on the ice.  These guys are around 6-7 years old, so we’ll be seeing them in on the high school teams in about 10 years.  More future of ice hockey for the Gloucestermen! Quite an inspiration for me, who cannot skate on blades or wheels!


It’s very nice to see the available fields and facilities put to such good use.  Kudos to all those accompanying parents that make the dream come true for their children.

Clean Up at Good Harbor Beach

The beach was dotted with bright yellow bags and dogs this morning for the clean up sponsored by Clean Gloucester/ Gloucester Clean City Commission.  Coffee provided by Happy Belly (thanks so much!) brightened up the damp morning.  Ainsley told me that almost 40 people helped out by picking up garbage and recyclables at Good Harbor Beach this morning.  It seems the weather did not hold anyone back!  Great turnout.  GMG was well represented by Donna Ardizzoni and FOB Melissa Cox was helping out as well.

These people take the “carry out” rules very seriously!

The Clean Gloucester people were very efficient and friendly.  They even re-use the yellow collection bags!!  Now, that’s in the spirit of Clean Gloucester!  Well done, everyone.

CB at Stage Fort Park During Gran Prix prep

Stage Fort Park is being prepped for the 19th annual Gran Prix cyclocross race this weekend.  However, despite the markings on the ground and the stakes placed to guide the riders, the Park still has many beautiful settings.

However, anyone considering a crystal ball purchase should be VERY AWARE that it is very very easy to start a fire, as you can see here.  The leaf got too close for comfort, so it was reminded to keep its distance by setting it ablaze.  Yikes.  This is a very serious warning that these can be very dangerous, especially at this time of year.


Glosta @ Work

GMG Jimmy was loose on the town today while I did some research at the library.  He needed his glasses adjusted and the nice folks at Vision Depot helped him out (thanks Joe W!).  Once he could see straight, he noticed the work on the tracks at the Gloucester station.  What a job this is!  Thanks guys for your hard work!

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