Author Archives: Pat D

Ancestry DNA test kit only $59!

If you have ever considered having a DNA test done, this is the time to do it.  Ancestry’s DNA test is only $59 until April 29. The regular price for this test is $99.  This is the best deal I’ve seen for this test so if you’ve been thinking about it, I suggest you take advantage now by going to

Image result for dna images

There are other testing companies to consider, so do your homework but this is a really great deal.  I am not benefiting from this unless I gain a new cousin from one of you!

Boat House Grille

We recently spent a relaxing afternoon at the Boat House Grille Bar on Rt 133 in Essex.  GMG Jimmy ordered the meatball appetizer — the meatballs are huge! I thought he had a meatloaf on his plate.  The bartender was friendly and helpful in just the right amounts.  They serve white zinfandel, so that’s a plus for me.  We will definitely be going back.  I suggest you join us.

I noticed they are hosting a number of fundraisers, one coming up soon on May 8.  I’ll be keeping my eye on these events also.

Lobster Trap Building Blocks

Lobster traps are stacked in piles large and small all over town and remind me of building blocks.  Children’s building blocks come in all shapes and sizes; the same is not true of lobster traps.  They are certainly not toys, but rather much more like the blocks used to build foundations.  These traps are the foundation of livelihoods, families and the culture of the area.  They are beautiful.


Beautiful Daughter of Gloucester

Alice May Brotherton Campbell 1887 – 1916

A while ago, I read a book called The Black Flag written by Barry Stacks of Gloucester and enjoyed Gloucester as a main character in the book.  The Black Flag refers to ships returning to harbor flying a black flag indicating a death on board while at sea.  It’s an interesting coincidence that for my family history research, I’d been trying to verify that a William Campbell who died at sea aboard a Gloucester vessel in 1905 was the Campbell in-law that I was looking for.  My search led me to a new cousin and a new “view” on what the Ryans looked like back in the day.

This is Alice May Brotherton, daughter of Mary Ryan and John J. Brotherton.  This young lady is just beautiful!  Unfortunately she died at a very young age due to kidney problems.  She did marry C. Angus Campbell whose father William is the aforementioned death at sea I was attempting to confirm. I got this picture from a cousin who is a descendant of Angus and Alice Campbell.

This cousin, Pam, was able to verify that the William Campbell I’d found in the newspaper as having died at  sea aboard the Schooner Senator was indeed Alice’s father-in-law.  Pam was tickled that I could provide her with the verification of his death at sea and I was very pleased to obtain this picture–especially since most of those old Ryan ancestors weren’t overly fair of face. I’m certain God blessed them with other qualities.

It’s the telling of stories such as these that keep ancestors and history alive.  And, since we are starting to hear about the upcoming 400th anniversary of Gloucester,  it seems even more important to share them.

Rocky Neck Rocks

A recent stroll through Rocky Neck produced some evidence that Rocky Neck Rocks!


I didn’t notice her hair until much later.  Not sure what’s happening here, but I love it!



Opening soon I hope! 1957!!!


I think Rocky Neck is already pretty great. Pretty soon it will be hopping busy with visitors looking for beauty in all forms.

Oysters Around Town Updated!

As promised, GMG Jimmy and I drove ourselves all over the Cape seeking $1.50 or less Oysters for you faithful readers.  Here’s a handy chart.  ONLY Oysters that are $1.50 or less are included when they are offered consistently on a particular day of the week.    NOT occasional specials if you can’t depend on what day of the week oysters might or might not be offered.

This chart includes only $1.50 or less Oysters  offered on specific days of the week on a regular basis



Update from Short and Main–shortandmain@captjoe06 yes, we have it regularly every day! We currently have dollar oysters every day from 5-6PM, and again from 9-10PM Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Thursday, and 10-11PM Friday & Saturday. Closed Tuesdays

Restaurants for oysters click here for Word document

We had a good time visiting with the various wait staff and bartenders.  Thanks to all for their input!

Snail Mail for Millenials

It has come to my attention that we failed our children in at least one life lesson: how to use the United States Postal Service (USPS or “snail mail”).  There is ample evidence that we did not cover this life skill and I thought you might be in the same boat.  I believe this applies to Millenials and any younger generation such as Post Millenial or Gen Z. Share this with your children if you feel they might benefit.  There will be a test later.

The USPS is an independent agency of the federal government.  It moves paper and packages from your house to mine.  It’s pretty efficient and cost effective especially when you consider what its customers ask of it sometimes.  However, for many people, going to the post office personally can be challenging–like spending Thanksgiving night with your parents.

Despite current technologies, there will be a need for this service for the foreseeable future.  So buckle down and learn how to use it.  Stop calling your mother while she is in the cemetery to ask “how do I send this phone back again?  I’m at the post office and the lady says she can’t help me.  I have the phone right here in my hand.  What’s the problem?”

Sorry, I wandered a little bit there.  When you need to send mail out–like a birthday card to your father or a wedding invitation — you’ll need envelopes, addresses and stamps.  An envelope needs to be addressed to the desired recipient.  Put this in the middle of the envelope when it is in landscape format.  Usually you want the back flap on top but it doesn’t really matter.

There should be 3 lines: the first is the person’s name (first AND last is helpful).  The 2nd is the street address and the 3rd is City State Zip.  It’s a little like sharing on Facebook–you have to find the person by name with whom you want to share that crazy link.   This information should be clearly written to be legible by your most elderly aunt.  The print should be in contrast to the envelope (white envelope: blue or black ink creates contrast).  Avoid using gold ink on a gold envelope for example.

You MUST add postage.  One Forever stamp per envelope is generally sufficient.  Put the stamp in the upper right hand corner without obliterating any portion of the TO address.

Now there are “Forever” stamps.  You can use it Forever, I guess.  Currently they cost 50 cents each.  It will not go down.  You can pay 50 cents for a stamp today and use it a year or two from now when the cost of a stamp is 55 cents.  As millenials, you will not have that precious experience of looking across the table at a friend and saying “Remember when we stamps were 6 cents?” while smiling fondly and shaking your head.  You’ll never know how much it cost to send that envelope because the stamp won’t tell you.  Back in the olden days, looking at the stamp could tell you quite a story:Yes, this was in my lifetime thank you very much.

A third item on an envelope is the return address found in the upper left corner.  Contrary to popular opinion, a return address is not mandatory but is quite helpful if you haven’t followed USPS guidelines to the T.  The return address is your name, street address and city state zip.  You’ll get the envelope back if you fail one of the postal guidelines. 

The USPS has a great deal in common with the TSA in that the rules change regularly and you never quite know what new thing will be disallowed (and it’s always something new that you CAN’T do–never something new that you CAN do).  Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Then you have to put the letter in a mailbox or give it to the person manning the desk at the post office, which is NOT open and available to you 24/7.

That’s what these blue boxes are for–you can drop your letters in these to mail them OR  use your own mailbox.  It helps to put the little flag up to let the carrier know there’s something in there to be picked up.  It’s also a good way for you to tell if your own mail has been delivered yet since the postman will put the flag back down after he picks up your mail.

Mailing packages follow similar guidelines.  You need postage, an address and a properly sealed package.  You may re-use boxes you might already have if you scribble out any barcodes and do your best to remove any labeling that might cause confusion.

Seal it up really well –the kind of sealing up that makes people nuts when they try to open it.  The USPS designed the rules that way.  Usually you put the name and address on the top of the box–I like to use a clean sheet of paper so it stands out.

Then you’re probably going to have to take the package to the post office to pay the postage and have them put it on their trucks.  This can be tricky sometimes as postal hours can be a little finicky


Let’s Go Fly a Kite

This sounds like fun! From The Gloucester Daily Times: Saturday April 14 will be Kite Day at Cogswell’s Grant in Essex (60 Spring St) 11 AM – 4 PM.  Free for kite flyers and spectators.  Bring or build your own kite.  $10 for kite making workshop. Watch professional kite flyers from Kites Over New England. Free chowder from Woodman’s! Win-win.  978-768-3632

Hoping to see you there!

Back in the Day Gloucester

In my small collection of family pictures, I have some from “back-in-the-day” Gloucester that I thought might be interesting to some of you.  This first one is a bit of a mystery to me and I was hoping someone could help me identify the location.  My notes say it is from 1936. I’m wondering where is was taken.  I was guessing train station perhaps? I’m assuming it’s Gloucester.  That’s my dad and his mother in the darker coat.  Not sure of the identity of the other woman.

1936 Dad 001

Here’s one labeled Long Beach 1930, again with my dad and his mother. The buildings in the background are interesting, as well as the fact that my grandmother was apparently wearing a necklace to the beach!

Catherine and Paul Ryan 1930 Long Beach

The date of this is unknown but in the general time frame of the late 30s – early 40s perhaps.

Richard J Ryan Sr

And, just for fun, here’s yours truly in Gloucester in 1966 on Traverse St. I’m the one in the glasses……. stylin’ as usual……..

Gloucester Summer 66

A Spring Visit to Niles Pond

I’m not alone in my love of visiting Niles Pond. Two particular things I like to check when I visit is a large stone near the edge to see what wildlife is King of the Roost for the Day:


Another favorite view is of the ocean just beyond the causeway, especially when the waves are rocking:


Looking forward to summer views!

Cemetery Walk at Calvary

“There’s something about the confluence of springtime and death that feels right: life ends and life starts up in an explosion of pink blossoms. I’ve got grief on one shoulder and gratitude on the other…..” is a quote from author Ann Patchett that seems appropriate for a post about a recent tour of Calvary Cemetery in Gloucester.  I like to tour cemeteries, what can I say?


Each cemetery has its own personality and Calvary’s shines through as a large, open, well tended, very Catholic cemetery.  It was established by the Catholic Church in 1890, almost “new” by the standards of New England cemeteries.  And, as a Catholic cemetery you can expect to see crosses and statuary. These are quite magnificent.


Of course, signs of ties to the sea are prominent here. It should not surprise you to learn that I generally favor the older gravestones and symbols such as this beauty:


If you are caring for a loved one’s grave site, please be careful about plants.  Some can grow larger than expected and cause tombstones to tip, become unstable or hidden from view


For those interested in family history, it should warm your heart to find something like this at a loved one’s grave:


It means someone out there is paying attention to it.  These are potential cousins!

Some tombstones are adorned with photos and I like these as well.  011

There is also a trend in some places to put QR/barcodes on tombstones so visitors can scan for further information about the person.  Although I find this VERY intriguing, it also seems a bit out of place on a gravestone.

Many people find cemeteries creepy or uncomfortable, but I find a great deal of peace in them.  Give it another try if you haven’t done so recently.




April in New York

When we tell people we are from New York, the inevitable next question is “Where in New York?”, most expecting to hear something about New York City or Long Island.  We usually answer that we live near Binghamton in Central New York not far from the Pennsylvania border.

What we SHOULD say is that we are from April the Giraffe’s hometown.  Maybe you were like me about a year ago, one of millions obsessively watching the Giraffe Cam awaiting the birth of April’s calf.  April, her calf Tajiri, and the male Oliver drew thousands of visitors to our area last summer to visit Animal Adventure . It was quite the spectacle…and now that Tim Tebow is in Binghamton, another summer spectacle is about to begin.  But I digress.

I remember very clearly clutching my phone in a parking lot in Binghamton last year awaiting the imminent birth and being somewhat teary at his arrival on April 15.  Since we live only 2-3 miles from Animal Adventure, I found myself there several times last summer to coo over the 5′ 9″ baby towering over me.

He’s just adorable and the park is nicely set up for visitors to view the giraffe family.  This is the famous April the Giraffe with baby Taj peeking out at visitors.

Giraffes at Animal Adventure 015

A little attention, please

Animal Adventure with Amy and Mike 006

Just the sweetest face

Giraffes at Animal Adventure 038

But, the nicest surprise of all was how many other animals this petting zoo is caring for. I’m especially in love the the bear cubs, but there’s also an Arctic Wolf, birds, monkeys…and new for this year, lion cubs (pretty sure there will be some cooing going on at that exhibit!)


Animal Adventure has won the honor of being the top New York State attraction in a recent I Love NY voting campaign, so if you go please know you are in our backyard! On April 15, Taj will celebrate his first birthday and it will be shown via the Giraffe Cam. 

Cape Ann might have its obsession with Snowy Owls, but New York is all about April.  I’m right in there with both……

Rafe’s Chasm Cloaked in Spring Beauty

We took a walk out to Rafe’s Chasm one sunny day last week to soak in some spring sunshine.  The ocean was the blue of a gem twinkling in the sun and the waves demanded their share of attention by slapping against the rocks with authority.

One of my favorite parts of this walk is the sound of the water as you approach, and then the vista reveals itself to include the ocean, rocks and waves.


We watched the Arethusa go about its business


As the waves punished the rocks, we even got an acceptable picture of ourselves out there…. copies available upon request.


It’s just so darn beautiful out there!

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