Author Archives: Bridgette Mathews

H.A. Burnham launch of the Maria

It was a gorgeous day out in Essex yesterday as the Burnham’s launched their Friendship sloop  originally built back in the 60s by Harold Burnham’s grandfather and now rebuilt by his grandson and named after Maria the Grandmother.  After a 2 hour delay they greased up the rails and let her go!



Piccalilli anyone?

I’ve never canned anything before but my parents’ garden is full of green tomatoes and I remember my Great-grandmother “Nana Roberts” used to make a piccalilli that my Dad always loved to put on his baked beans.   So I went “on the line” to find some piccalilli recipes that might look like what she used to make and decided to give it a try and see what happens!   I’m posting here in hopes that maybe someone might be able to give me some pointers on their own “family piccalilli” recipe that I could tweak this one with.   All I know is that my house definitely “smelled” like Nana’s so I know I’m heading in the right direction!    The true test will be when my Dad finally tastes it!


Here’s the recipe I followed:


Makes about 4 pints.

This spicy condiment is a snap to make. Don’t bother peeling the tomatoes; simply throw them in the pot. Some piccalilli recipes call for cabbage, but we like it better without.

  • 1/2 c. kosher salt
  • 1 quart (4 c.) water
  • 1 quart (4 c.) green tomatoes, cored and chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 c. white wine vinegar
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 2 tsp. allspice berries
  • 2 tsp. pepper berries
  • 1 tsp. mustard seeds
  • A few whole cloves


Heat together the salt and water to make a brine. Combine the tomatoes, peppers and onion in a large pot, cover with the brine and allow to sit overnight.

The next day, drain off the water. Heat the vinegar and sugar in an enameled or stainless steel pot until the sugar dissolves. Meanwhile, tie the spices into a cheesecloth bag or put into a tea ball. Pour the vinegar mixture over the vegetables and bring to a boil. Add the spices and boil gently for 30 minutes.

Remove the spices and ladle the piccalilli into hot sterilized pint jars, allowing 1/2-inch headroom. Process jars in boiling water for 10 minutes. Remove jars and cool. Check lids for seal after 24 hours. Lids should not flex up and down.

Nutrition information per 2 tablespoons:

Calories 19 Fat 0 g Sodium 73 mg Saturated fat 0 g

Carbohydrates 4 g Calcium 4 mg

Protein 0 g Cholesterol 0 mg Dietary fiber 0 g

Diabetic exchanges per serving: free food.


Say it isn’t so!

Prepackaged Italian rainbow cookies?? What? These were at Walgreens and of course I bought some to see how they were lol! Clearly not Cafe Sicilia or Sista Felicia’s but in a pinch they weren’t terrible. A little waxy and fake almond tasting but not terrible. But c’mon…just walk a couple blocks down the street for the real thing!!

In remembrance

In remembrance of 9/11.  16 years ago but the fears and feelings of that day are still very raw.  21432735_10210482067071270_4097580264963530328_n

If you get a chance to go to NYC you must to go to the 9/11 Memorial and take a moment to absorb the enormity and reality of how our country and the lives of thousands changed in just one morning.DSCF7176-EditDSCF7171-Edit

Colby Farm Sunflowers in bloom

For anyone needing a mood lift, make a little trip over to Colby Farm in Newbury and check out their beautiful sunflower field which has just started to bloom! As always show Colby Farm some love by putting a few bucks in the donation box or visiting the farm stand next door…and be respectful so everyone can enjoy!! (no picking the flowers!). Here are some of my past favorite pics. Enjoy!

Schooner Roseway

The Schooner Roseway has arrived for this weekend’s Schooner Festival and is hanging out in the harbor.   Hoping the weather cooperates this weekend so we can have a great Parade of Sails.   Check out the Gloucester Schooner Festival site for up to date schedules and a list of participating schooners!IMG_5239IMG_5238

Off the island…St. Louis

After our visit to Kansas City and Kaufman Stadium we took the 3 1/2 hour drive over to St. Louis to check ballpark #13 off our list.   Our hotel right across the street had a great view of the Stadium so Neil got to watch the Friday night game against Tampa from the comfort of our room!   Busch Stadium is a great stadium right in downtown St. Louis with great views and great vibe.   I’d put it on the top of the list of the fields we visited so far (behind Fenway, Camden Yards and far!).   The specialty food of this park is “Dinger Donuts” which are 50 donuts in a plastic hat with choice of vanilla or chocolate glaze.   Yum!   We have had a busy, but super memorable few days….next up we are tossing around a Tampa, Miami and Georgia road trip!



Off the island…Kansas City

We are enjoying a beautiful few days in Kansas City and especially some Baseball in our annual field tour!  We are hitting our 12th ballpark here at Kaufman Field.

One thing we try to do each year while we enjoy the game and tour the fields is fund what delicacy each park is infamous for.   Kaufman Field boasts the “pulled pork patty melt” which is a funnel cake, with pulled pork, cheddar and Monterey cheese, jalapeño, onion straws and coleslaw sprinkled with powdered sugar.   Sounds unappetizing but surprisingly it was pretty good!  The second item was a sunrise dog which was a hot dog with sausage gravy, bacon, cheese and fried egg on top.  That one was not so appetizing lol!

Fun viewing

I think it was more fun to watch everyone in Facebook land watching the eclipse then the eclipse itself!  It was so awesome to see everyone united in just having some fun!   Thanks to everyone who shared their pics with me!

AND…in case you didn’t get the award winning shots of the eclipse..I share with you these stunners from NASA and Andrew Studer

NASA view of Solar Eclipse 2017

NASA view of 2017 Solar Eclipse


Solar Ec_ipse…

Everyone is ready for the Solar Eclipse…even Howard’s Flying Dragon Antiques in Essex!   The question I’m getting a lot today is… where do I plan on photographing the Eclipse.   Now I know it’s disappointing, but I will not be flexing my shutter today.   Unless you have a really good (and costly) Solar Filter you shouldn’t be either!   Just as the sun will be dangerous to your sight without proper solar glasses, it too will fry your camera sensor without the proper filter on the lens.  If I wasn’t working today I’d head down to the Fisherman’s Statue and hang with the Gloucester area Astronomy Club and take a peek through their awesome setups!!   In any event if you are like me, stuck inside the office, live stream from NASA is next best thing…no glasses or filters needed!  Enjoy!  (Eclipse starts 1:29pm, Peak 2:46 pm, Finished 4:00 pm)


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