Tag Archives: Cape Ann

133 Days Until The Blackburn Challenge

Joey’s Christmas present was the deluxe GMG baseball cap. When he gave it to me he said, “I want to see you wear it in this year’s Blackburn Challenge.”

Joey. Mister Motivator. I did that paddle five times around Cape Ann and last year I took it off. So I was thinking instead of the GMG baseball cap I would wear a buttermilk pancake instead.

What are you looking at?

What are you looking at?

But I changed my mind. Why putter around the Cape in a motor boat when you can do it with a paddle? As of last week I am sixty years old. I already checked and there are no age brackets in the Blackburn. Not that I would have come close to even sniffing a ribbon since most of the leather and sinew paddlers in my kayak class are older than me and the last I see of them is around the Annisquam Lighthouse.

So it’s on. I have 133 days to fit into my kayak. Saturday July 25, 2015. Here is a map. Here is a timer. Here is a link to the details of the Cape Ann Rowing Club who do an awesome job on the race with food and beer at the greasy pole finish.  And the warmup is the Essex River race on May 16, 2015.

May 16. 64 days away. I’ll do that too or I’ll eat my pancake.

I'll go faster with a new hat.

I’ll go faster with a new hat.

Niles Pond Brace Cove Berm Restoration Update

Niles Pond Brace Cove berm causeway restoration ©Kim Smith 2014Progress continues on the restoration of the barrier that protects Niles Pond from becoming Brace Cove’s salt marsh.

Niles Pond Brace Cove berm causeway restoration -3 ©Kim Smith 2014.JPGThe native pussy willow trees remain intact while much of the invasive phragmites appear to have been removed. Come spring, perhaps Seaside Goldenrod and other tough, salt tolerant natives will be planted to help hold the rocks in place.

Niles Pond Brace Cove berm causeway restoration -4 ©Kim Smith 2014.JPG

RB Strong excavator bucket ©Kim Smith 2014Beautiful R.B. Strong Excavator Bucket ~ Do you think the lettering and decorative design were created by soldering metal to the bucket? The decoration must be incredibly well applied to survive daily earth-moving.

Outstanding Cape Ann Environmental News: Niles Pond and Brace Cove Causeway Restoration Underway!

Niles Pond Brace Cove casueway restoration excavator ©Kim Smith 2014.The berm, or causeway, separating Brace Cove and Niles Pond is undergoing extensive maintenance.

As has been reported here on GMG many times, the berm was severely damaged by a succession of storms, very notably after Superstorm Sandy. The causeway is also increasingly at risk because the Brace Cove breakwater has deteriorated, which means that the berm is harder hit during extreme weather.

Niles Pond Brace Cove casueway restoration excavator -2 ©Kim Smith 2014.

Over time, the rocks that were used to build the causeway have gradually been swept into the pond. The excavator is permitted to scoop up the rocks from the Niles Pond side to rebuild the height of the causeway. No rocks from the Brace Cove side were used to restore the causeway.

Niles Pond Brace Cove casueway restoration excavator -3 ©Kim Smith 2014.

The restoration of the berm is ecological progress at its best. By fortifying the causeway, the uniquely beautiful environment, where freshwater Niles Pond meets salty Brace Cove, will continue to remain a sanctuary for Cape Ann wildlife.

Niles Pond Brace Cove casueway restoration -2 ©Kim Smith 2014.

Niles Pond Brace Cove casueway restoration ©Kim Smith 2014The narrowest strip of land separating a body of fresh water from the sea. 

Niles Pond at Risk

Niles Pond or Brace Cove

Oh What a Tangled Web We Weave

Brace Cove Seals Sleeping at Daybreak

Rockport Swap Shop – for Homies


The Rockport Transfer Station has a swap shop for people and one for seagulls. People take books, furniture, and what-have-you. Seagulls gladly take as much as they can eat. Both reduce (by weight) the town’s waste disposal bill. The lucky birds don’t have to  pay a dump fee.

Decorating the Trees, Manchester by the Sea

The tree decorating for the Festival of the Trees is ongoing. Remember that the official lighting of the Freedom Tree and the Festival of the Trees is this Sunday.

SUNDAY: The 3:30 holiday concert performance at the First Parish Church. Immediately following the performance at 4:30 will be the official lighting Manchester’s Friendship Tree and the Festival of the Trees on town hall common to officially kick off the holiday season.

Essex River

Clouds over the Essex River at high tide

New Film: A Flight of Monarchs

When watching, know that the first two minutes of the film were shot in Gloucester. I think you will be dazzled by the sheer numbers of Monarchs that travel through Cape Ann’s backyards and meadows during the peak of migration.

I began photographing the Monarchs in 2006, which was a year when we had an extraordinary number of Monarchs visiting our shores. At that time, I became determined that if ever again this phenomenon were to occur on Cape Ann, I was going to have the ability to document on film, rather than only through still images, this beautiful event for my community. It’s hard to imagine without observing and here you can see what I have wanted to share.

A Flight of Monarchs begins on a September day as first one and then passels of Monarchs begin to arrive to the fields and meadows of Cape Ann, carried across Massachusetts Bay on a tailwind. By the early evening light they begin to pour into the surrounding trees, clustering to stay warm in the branches furthest away from the prevailing breezes. The following morning as the sun begins to touch their wings, they alight from the trees, seeking the freshest wildflowers from which to drink nectar to help build their lipid reserves for the several thousand mile journey south. They drink and drink until the last of the sun’s rays dip below the tree line. As they arrived on a tailwind, they again depart, and are carried to the next gathering area. For coastal Monarchs, Allens Pond, which is located in Westport, Massachusetts is often the next stop.

In the next scene, the butterflies have arrived to the sacred oyamel fir forests of Angangueo, Michoacán, deep in the heart of the Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt. It’s early morning and the butterflies are suspended in great primordial branched clusters that may become so heavy from the weight of so many butterflies the boughs of the trees bend to the breaking point. Later in the day, as the sun begins to warm their wings, the butterflies begin to stir. During the winter, it is imperative that the Monarch’s body temperature remains relatively low. They leave the sunniest branches in search of shade and a drink of water from nearby mountain streams. Occasionally in late February, as the air temperatures begin to warm with the coming springtime, for a short period during the day, the butterflies leave the trees all at once. This phenomenon is called a butterfly “explosion,” and is a truly magnificent event to observe.

A Flight of Monarchs is set to the evocative and tender “Fields of Blue,” written and performed by composer and guitarist Jesse Cook and his band, to which permission was granted by the artist for the purpose of this short film. Here is a link to Cook’s website. I highly, highly recommend attending a live performance of Jesse Cook and Company. As was I, you will be completely taken by their gorgeous music, exquisite artistry, and with Cook’s songwriting, will travel in beautiful melodies inspired from around the world.

I am currently editing my feature length documentary, Beauty on the Wing, which after months and months of organizing and editing three years of footage, is currently running at approximately twelve hours in length. At eleven hours too long, I have a great deal of editing to accomplish in the coming winter months!

A Flight of Monarchs presented here is the shorter version of the film that I created for the Berkshire Museum’s “Butterflies” exhibit. The first version is six minutes long and played on a continuous loop in the main gallery of the exhibit hall. The longer version will soon be posted on Vimeo.


Awesome Gloucester November Winner- St. Vincent DePaul of Cape Ann

Hi Joey!

Monday night Awesome Gloucester gave $1000 to St. Vincent DePaul of Cape Ann.

This charity works tirelessly to address the needs of local folks who need assistance in times of hardship.

The Awesome Gloucester Grant will go to their Christmas program which provides gift and clothing to local children in need.  What’s better than that?

Awesome Gloucester wants to remind our fellow residents… We need pitches to give away money!  If you have a great cause, idea, business, creation, etc… that you think will make Gloucester more awesome, contact us!  



If you’re willing to admit you’re going to the other cape, we’ll give you 2 free tickets to see Peter Yarrow of Peter, Paul & Mary

Yup.  That’s right.  The other cape … On August 17, we’re presenting Peter Yarrow, of Peter Paul & Mary, at the Old Whaling Church in Edgartown, MA on Martha’s Vineyard (which you get to via that other cape south of Boston).  Now you know how much we love Gloucester and Cape Ann, but we just couldn’t pass up this opportunity to work with the most legendary, multi-platinum, multi-Grammy winning folk-singer alive today.  So we’re venturing down to the other cape in a couple of weeks and figure that if anybody else from Cape Ann wants to go, we’ll put you on our special “Cape Ann” guest list.  Just leave a comment (with your name) on this post saying that you WILL BE GOING TO THE OTHER CAPE and we’ll put you on the guest list.

How many of you remember this?

Cape Ann in August: A Festival of Good Times

Peter Webber From The Cape Ann Chamber Of Commerce Submits This Fantastic Festival Calendar For August On Cape Ann

Cape Ann in August: A Festival of Good Times
August is truly Festivals Month on Cape Ann. While great events and music, art and community festivals take place throughout the year on Cape Ann, the month of August is so packed with festivals and special events that it can truly be described as Cape Ann’s Festivals Month! Here are some of the featured events and activities:

August 2, 2014
Festival by the Sea, Manchester-by-the-Sea, 10 am to 8 pm
On Saturday, August 2nd, Manchester’s celebration of local art, music and food, Festival by the Sea, returns to downtown. The popular annual event will feature over 75 artists ranging from painters to jewelers and artisans, and it will stretch from Town Hall Common throughout town into Masconomo Park.
In the park, visitors will find not only art, but a variety of foods provided by local restaurants and food trucks as well as a beer garden featuring Cape Ann Brewing’s signature ale, Fisherman’s Brew.
On the Masconomo Park bandstand, live music will extend throughout the day featuring many Cape Ann favorites like Joe Wilkins, Bradley Royds and Allen and Dylan Estes.  The all-day event will culminate with a 6 pm headlining performance by Vermont native and current New York City musician, Caitlin Canty. 
Described by Urban H2O Music Director, Mark Miller as “clear eyed, clear voiced and singing sweetly from her soul, (Canty) captivates an audience.” Canty’s early summer performance at Cambridge’s ubiquitous Club Passim sold out days before the show.
Festival co-chair and music director, Chris Langathianos, said, “I have been following Caitlin for a while now, so I am thrilled that she accepted our offer to headline our local celebration of the arts. She will be coming directly from performing at the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival which draws as many as 15,000 attendees, so we’re going to see a special talent right in our own backyard.”
Festival by the Sea begins at 10 am and continues on into the evening with the concert in the park.  In the event of inclement weather, the rain date will be the following day, Sunday, August 3rd.  For more information, follow Festival by the Sea on Facebook.
The event is free and there will be ample parking and a complimentary shuttle to and from satellite parking areas. Mark your calendar and pack your blanket for a day of great music, inspired artistry and delicious, locally grown foods. Festival by the Sea is sponsored by the Manchester Division of the Cape Ann Chamber of Commerce.

August 7 – 9, 2014
56th Annual Sidewalk Bazaar, Downtown Gloucester
Now celebrating its 56th year, the Sidewalk Bazaar takes place on Main Street in Downtown Gloucester with over 120 vendors, street food, live music and children’s activities. Gloucester’s 55th annual Sidewalk Bazaar will be held from Thursday, August 7 through Saturday, August 9. Artists, Crafters, Food Vendors, Non-Profits, Kids’ Activities & Entertainers from near and far join Gloucester Merchants and Restaurants on the street for a fun and festive three days. The Sidewalk Bazaar is sponsored by and a celebration of Gloucester Downtown and is a Gloucester tradition that shouldn’t be missed.

August 9, 2014
Gloucester Blues Festival (Stage Fort Park, Gloucester)
Now in its third year this annual event has brought blues lovers from far and wide to Gloucester each August since 2012. Nearly 1500 people attended last summer’s festival and this year’s show should exceed that number with the interest that has been generated. Make sure to get your tickets early as blues lovers from throughout the Northeast will look to get the best seats in this beautiful harborside park.
World-class blues will reverberate through the park from 11 am to 8 pm with some of the nation’s finest performers playing from the Gloucester Blues stage. This year’s list of performers includes Willie J. Laws, Sugar Ray & the Bluetones, Biscuit Miller, Debbie Davies, Victor Wainwright, Tinsley Ellis, and Ronnie Baker Brooks. Located right on the harbor at beautiful Cressey’s Beach, the event will have a beer garden and outstanding food vendors. Bring your own chairs or blankets (sorry, no pets, no umbrellas and no coolers). Tickets are $28.00 in advance or $40.00 at the gate. To purchase advance tickets online up until August 4, and for further information, visit gloucesterbluesfestival.com. Onsite parking is $15.00 (free on-street parking is limited to 1 to 2 hours). The Cape Ann Chamber of Commerce is the principal sponsor of the Gloucester Blues Festival, which is produced by Paul Benjamin and Bob Hastings.

August 9, 2014
Rockport Rotary Lobsterfest/ Illumination Night, Rockport
Saturday, August 9 features a full day packed with Cape Ann festivals, with Gloucester’s Blues Festival just the beginning of an event-filled day. The Cape Ann Festival scene then shifts to Rockport for the Rotary Club’s annual Lobsterfest, from 3:00 to 7:00 pm, and culminates with a spectacular Fireworks display over Rockport’s Sandy Bay. The fireworks are set to go off at approximately 9:30 pm. Come early and shop, eat and browse around town. Lanterns will be hung around town. Raffle tickets are available at Katie’s Gift Shop to win an original oil painting by Ken Knowles. All proceeds go to help fund Illumination Night, Rockport’s own Fireworks!  Anyone interested in making a donation in support of the Rockport Fireworks is encouraged to mail or deliver their contribution in person to: Rockport National Bank, Rockport Fireworks Fund, c/o Marcia Budrow, 37 King Street, Rockport, MA 01966. All are invited to like and support Rockport Fireworks on Facebook here.

August 10, 2014
35th Annual Rockport Acoustic Music Festival
Millbrook Meadow, Noon – 6pm

Since 1979, the Rockport Acoustic Music Festival has brought performers from many genres – acoustic rock, folk, world, blues, jazz, Celtic, bluegrass, world vibe, and more – from across the country to perform during the peak of the summer season in Rockport.

August 13-17, 2014
Rockport Jazz Festival
The 3rd Annual Rockport Jazz Festival at the Shalin Liu Performance Center will feature a broad range of great jazz. From the vocal styling of Cyrille Aimée and innovative jazz rhythms of drummer Ali Jackson, to the Afro-Cuban inspired sounds of pianist Donal Fox and established jazz masters of Christian McBride and Kenny Barron, there is something for everyone.  For a detailed schedule of concert performances please visit here.  
    August 16, 2014
Downtown Gloucester Block Party (Downtown Gloucester)
Celebrate summer at the Second Block Party of 2014 in downtown Gloucester. Main Street transforms into a strolling mall featuring al fresco dining; stores open for shopping; Kid’ Town games and multi-performances at five outdoor stages. Diverse bands, dance troupes and you, the audience, perform! It starts at 6 pm and it’s free! The Downtown Gloucester Block Party Series is a project of the non-profit Cape Ann Business Incubator (CABI).

August 16 – 17, 2014
Gloucester Waterfront Festival (Stage Fort Park, Gloucester)
More than 175 juried artists and craftsmen from throughout the United States will be coming to Gloucester for this festival, now in its 34th year. Live music, unique creations and delicious food will highlight the two-day event. A pancake breakfast from 7:30 to 11 am (sponsored by the Rotary Club of Gloucester) helps to kick off Saturday, August 16 in grand style while free live “family style” entertainment on both days includes puppeteers, ragtime jazz and maritime music. On Sunday the North Shore Old Car Club will return to the Waterfront Festival with a wide array of classic antique cars on display nearby. The Gloucester Waterfront Festival runs from 9 am to 6 pm each day. The site is handicap accessible and friendly pets on leashes are welcome. Free Admission. The Gloucester Waterfront Festival is sponsored by the Cape Ann Chamber of Commerce and produced in partnership with the Chamber by Castleberry Fairs.

August 16 – 17, 2014
Paint Essex & Wet Paint Auction (Cox Reservation, Route 133, Essex)
This year’s third annual Paint Essex and the Wet Paint Auction will bring numerous fine artists to Essex to paint the Great Marsh, Essex River, antiques, historic sites and landscape of Essex. Sculptors are welcome to build or donate sculptures to Sunday’s auction and 10 photographers may participate. Several antique shop interiors are available for artists, too.
Space is limited: one artist per participating shop. A Silent and Live Auction on Sunday of the weekend’s paintings, sculptures and photographs will be held at the Allyn Cox Reservation accompanied by live music by Old Cold Tater, hors d’oeuvres and a wine reception. The events are sponsored by the Essex Merchants Group. Proceeds go toward an Art Scholarship to be presented in 2015 and toward promoting Essex as a travel destination.
Paint Essex: Saturday, August 16 from 8 AM – 4 PM
Wet Paint Auction: Sunday, August 17 from 5:30 – 9 PM, admission $25 person.
Free Auction Preview: Sunday 1 – 1:30 PM
Artist Demos: Sunday 1:30 – 3:30 PM
Artist pre-registration is requested. $10 per participating artist includes one ticket to Sunday’s auction. Artists register Saturday at Essex Shipbuilding Museum, 66 Main Street, Essex, MA. For more information, to register or volunteer, please contact Teri Eramo of Eventide Gallery by email: teri.eventide@gmail.com or call 978-880-8043.

August 29 – 31, 2014
Gloucester Schooner Festival (Gloucester Harbor)
Sponsored by Maritime Gloucester with support from the Cape Ann Chamber of Commerce, the Gloucester Schooner Festival celebrates its 30th year as it takes over Gloucester Harbor once again. This annual gathering of the finest vessels from ports along the Eastern Seaboard is a can’t miss Labor Day Weekend event! Highlighted by the Mayor’s Race on Sunday afternoon and the Parade of Sail earlier that day this festival will entertain all members of the family and give visitors a chance to see the final product of work done by local builders as well as those from afar. It’s Gloucester’s major maritime event, with participating vessels coming from ports along the Eastern Seaboard. Large and medium-size vessels will be part of the vast array of schooners sailing the waters of Gloucester Harbor with more than 20 schooners expected to compete. The Schooner Festival also offers plenty of shore side events including Sunday morning’s Parade of Sail along the Boulevard promenade (Stacy Boulevard, Route 127) as the large schooners head out to sea for the Mayor’s Race.

Also, Cape Ann’s weekly Farmers Markets and multiple concert series continue throughout the month of August.  Follow the links below for further details about all of these wonderful FREE summer events throughout Cape Ann:

Cape Ann Farmers Market (Stage Fort Park, Gloucester), every Thursday from 3 to 6:30pm;
Essex Farmers Market (Shepard Memorial Park, Essex) every Saturday from 9am to Noon;
Rockport Farmers Market (Harvey Park, downtown Rockport) every Saturday from 9am to 1pm;
Gentile Bandstand Concerts (Stage Fort Park, Gloucester) every Sunday at 7pm;
Rockport Legion Band Concerts (Legion Hall Bandstand at Back Beach, Rockport) every Sunday at 7pm
Masconomo Park Summer Concert Series in Manchester (Tuesdays, August 5 & 12);
Harbor Loop Concert Series (Thursdays, August 7 & 21)
Gloucester HarborWalk Summer Cinema: Free Outdoor Movies, every Wednesday at dusk, 65 Rogers Street
Visit www.capeannvacations.com  for details, links, and information about these and other Cape Ann events, updated frequently.

While There’s No Such Thing as a Bad Beach….

Yesterday, during a miraculous 30 minute session of sitting still at the beach, I fired off this short little post about Beach Pros and Cons….as I was contemplating which beach is “best” for my boys (ummm….and me).


So, today, I invite you to participate in this little summer poll


Please comment with additional answers if you’d like as it is impossible to adequately include all kinds of beach experiences!




FEMA flood INFO for Cape Ann From Kenny MacCarthy

Hi Joey,

Over the last few months, I’ve compiled a lot of information on the new FEMA regulations and flood zones here on Cape Ann. The links are all in one place on my blog. Just click here.

If you don’t need this, share it with someone that does. It’s a big deal and will really affect property values.

As always, let me know if I can help.



Harbor Loop Concert Series 2014 ~ The list..

harbor loop poster 2

Special thank you to all involved, Bradley Royds, Harry (Skip) Pardee, Frank Hawks, John Silviera ( the sound guys), Walter Peckham, the Police, the Mayor: Carolyn Kirk, Suzanne Egan, Gail McCarthy, Peter Van Ness, Lucky, Will Hunt, Sheila Orlando…the bands, and everyone who lives in and/or loves Gloucester…

It’s a community effort!

Stuck in Traffic and I Don’t Mind.

Waiting For The Bridge To Go Down





I am really amazed with the results I have gotten using low tunnel hoop gardening, an idea that i picked up from Eliot Coleman’s vegetable gardening book (from Maine).  Here is a picture today from part of my garden and it is only May 31st.   Goggle for more info or feel free to call

warm regards,
Calvo Studio
235 East Main St
Gloucester, MA  01930
Tel. 978-283-0231


Dave Sag’s Blues Party to host Steve Sadler and Jimmy Scoppa tonight @ The Rhumb Line 5.29.2014

dave sag rl 4.3.2014


Dave says,

I am just wiped out from all the necessary machinations incurred oner the last weekend. Played music a lot and had to soak my aching body and head in a strong solution of Epsom Salts and Tito’s Vodka for two daze, just to get the banshees to wave a white flag. It helps to rub a little on the inside, too. Presently, I’m lucid enuf to egest this at you before the little people carry me away. At least, when I get Alzheimers,  I won’t remember that I forgot.
So, this Thursday  at the “newly renovated”* Rhumb Line, let’s welcome back Steve Sadler and Jimmy Scoppa. The commodious Steve S. has just returned from a successful campaign in Gaul, where jokes and sandwiches are divided in three parts.** No one knew enuf to clap. And Jimmy, late mechanic of T.H. and the Wreckage fame,  has got his scutum and pilum in fine shape for executing  masterful maneuvers against the enemy. These two guys will show you what it’s like to be an underrated glitar hero. Unbelievable! Can you say ooh-whee? Tintinnabulations supplied by the current hotshot  drummmbler of Broomful o’ Blooz, Mr. Chris Rivelli with myself on base. So launder your Spanx®, splash  on some Stetson© and join in on the fun!


*A countertop has been painted, and the lights have been turned off, making everybody look real good. See for yourself.
** just got done re-reading all of Woody Allen’s three old books. Maybe this is where I  stole everything. I was amazed at the similarities.

40 Railroad Ave.

Gloucester, MA 01930

phone: 978-283-9732



Cool Stuff You Might Not Have Known About The New Cape Ann License Plates Video Interview

Did you know you can request your numbers for a little extra dough?

I’ve got printed applications right here at the dock if you want to pick one up.  I’ll even deliver it to the Chamber for you!

There was a ton of stuff I found out for the first time in this interview with Ken Riehl, Peter Webber, Brienne Black and Kerry McKenna.

Order your own plate personalized with your favorite numbers right at the Chamber website-


Download an APPLICATION.

For more information, please contact the Chamber at info@capeannchamber.com, or call 978-283-1601.

CA Plate to RMV 8 May

Click for video interview-


If you don’t have a printer you can head to the Chamber for an application or come down the dock and I have them here-

2014-05-20 13.24.48

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