Tag Archives: gloucester

Gloucester, Mass.: An Imperfect, Perfect New England Travel Destination

By Eric Hurwitz

Gloucester, on the North Shore of Massachusetts, is a worthwhile New England coastal travel destination, but not in the precious, slick and refined ways that have come into vogue lately by the sea.

Yes, you will find some great lodging, seafood dining, beaches, a classic harbor and so many earmarks familiar to a typical New England ocean vacation, but what’s overwhelmingly evident here is that it’s a working class community with a long fishing history. It is America’s oldest seaport, discovered in 1623 by an offshoot group of the Pilgrims three years after they landed at Plymouth, MA. You can see the history in the old buildings and homes, and the narrow crooked streets and sidewalks, Some of Gloucester represents the best of coastal New England, while other city elements show a need for revitalization. Gloucester certainly doesn’t share the gentle, gentrified look of neighboring Rockport and Manchester, but it’s just as much worth a visit for very different reasons. For example, Gloucester has done a great job moving the city in the right direction — especially the wonderful,classic seaport downtown with interesting little shops and restaurants, charmingly tucked away in the narrow streets around the corner from the sea. It’s full of character and doesn’t have a phony bone in its strong community foundation. This is the real New England, not some Hollywood set with all the latest retail bells and whistles full of elitism and attitude. There’s a humble, modest feeling here, quite understandable given the city’s working class roots.

– See more at: http://www.visitingnewengland.com/gloucester-ma.html#sthash.5tbNcbUj.dpuf

CAPE ANN WINGED CREATURE UPDATE

Featured: Brant Geese, Black-capped Chickadees, Black-crowned Night Heron, Blue Jays, Cardinals, American Robins, Mockingbirds, Savannah Sparrows, House Finches, Red-breasted Mergansers, and Common Grackle.  

Beautiful iridescent feathers of the Common Grackle.

Spring is a fantastic time of year in Massachusetts to see wildlife, whether that be whale or winged creature. Marine species are migrating to the abundant feeding grounds of the North Atlantic as avian species are traveling along the Atlantic Flyway to summer breeding regions in the boreal forests and Arctic tundra. And, too, the bare limbs of tree branches and naked shrubs make for easy viewing of birds that breed and nest in our region. Verdant foliage that will soon spring open, although much longed for, also obscures nesting activity. Get out today and you’ll be richly rewarded by what you see along shoreline and pond bank.

Male Red-winged Blackbird singing to his lady love.

Once the trees leaf, we’ll still hear the songsters but see them less.

Nests will be hidden.

Five migrating Brant Geese were foraging on seaweed at Loblolly Cove this morning.

Red-breasted Merganser Bath Time

LET’S HELP BACKYARD GROWERS WIN A $35,000.00 GRANT- IT’S EASY, JUST VOTE!

Soooo exciting and very best of luck to Backyard Growers!!! Please share this post with your friends and ask them to vote, too.

Lara Lepionka, Executive Director of Backyard Growers, writes,

Hello Friends of Backyard Growers,

Backyard Growers is one of three finalists in the b.good Family Foundation’s competition to win a $35,000 grant! In all of Greater Boston, we were chosen as one of the finalists because of the work we are doing right here in Gloucester—so proud!

We are now at the public voting stage. Please do the following to help us win!

Thank you! Lara

 

In the news: Congratulations Kurt Lichtenwald for leading Gloucester High School robotics and engineering program and students to another recognition–this one national! And those smart Monnells…

Well deserved. See wonderful story by Ray Lamont in today’s Gloucester Daily Times: GHS Engineering program wins national award, Photo by Mike Springer shows Kurt with students Austin Monnell and Conor Williamson.

NATIONAL AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE FROM THE INTERNATIONAL TECHNOLOGY AND ENGINEERING EDUCATORS ASSOCIATION  

TEACHER EXCELLENCE AWARD 

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It’s close to Kurt’s 20th anniversary at Gloucester High School. Here’s a throwback photo I took in February 2012 at East Gloucester Elementary. Kurt brought the high school students in to the elementary school to lead science and robotic stations for all the kids. He told me then about his approach:

“For too long; students who could memorize facts were considered highly intelligent. In my classes students must learn to apply the knowledge and prove that they learned the topics. This is a different kind of intelligence (kinesthetic – hands on intelligence)  that for so long has gone unappreciated and unrecognized.  Mixing the two types of intelligences (multi level) in a class just makes common sense and great products (student work).”-Kurt Lichtenwald

 

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IMPORTANT SAINT PETER’S FIESTA DATES FOR 2017

The dates of Saint Peter’s Fiesta are June 21st through June 25th and the schedule will be posted on the Saint Peter’s Fiesta website. There is a rumor circulating that Fiesta falls on the following weekend, which is definitely not true. This information comes straight from Fiesta committee member Al Millefoglie.

Tremendously exciting that this year marks the 90th anniversary of the Saint Peter’s Fiesta. I think it’s going to be the BEST FIESTA EVER!!

Celebrating 63 Years in the USA Today

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This day  March 23rd, I celebrate my arrival in Gloucester in 1954 from Lajes do Pico Azores.

Many thanks to my parents Anibal and Adelina for all their scarifies bringing our family to this great country.

Photo of my parents as God Parents during a christening in 1969.

#blizzard2017 UNDERWAY!

Blizzarding! I hope everyone is keeping warm and cozy indoors

Ten Pound Island with Common Loons and Eiders

Snowy morning Backshore #gloucesterma #blizzard2017 #blizzard

A post shared by Kim Smith (@kimsmithdesigns) on

Ten Pound Island #blizzard2017 #blizzard #gloucesterma

A post shared by Kim Smith (@kimsmithdesigns) on

GLOUCESTER HONORS INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY

The following is Mayor Sefatia’s message from this morning and tonight, the light at City Hall tower is shining red in honor of International Women’s Day.

“Today, March 8th, is International Women’s Day, a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for women to take action helping to show unity and strength, with many also participating in “A Day Without Woman” which asks women take the day off from their job.

Here in Gloucester, we ask people to wear red to show support and for those of us who cannot afford to take the day off, we will be sounding the bells at Gloucester City Hall at 12 Noon and lighting the tower red. At that time, we will be taking a moment of silence to honor all women. If you are with another woman at 12 Noon, please show appreciation directly. Though many are asked not to shop today, if you are, please shop locally today and support businesses owned by women. By recognizing the enormous value that women of all backgrounds add to our socio-economic system and taking actions in solidarity with other community, we are proud of all women and we remind all in our community to cherish one another today. Thank you!”

Motif Monday New England architecture: religious conversion

So many titles! This Old Church. When a house of worship is a house. I wonder about the people and the history behind their unique architecture, and smile thinking about dedication and reverence. What were the maddening, fascinating and funny stories of the houseproud chapters?

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Read more

What if…a section of Dogtown brush was cleared away? If you missed Chris Leahy at Sawyer Free Library last week come to a summit by Essex County Greenbelt & Mass Audubon at Cape Ann Museum March 4

“This Saturday morning forum is offered in collaboration with Essex County Greenbelt, Friends of Dogtown, Lanesville Community Center and Mass Audubon and held at Cape Ann Museum. The forum will be moderated by Ed Becker, President of the Essex County Greenbelt Association.”

Register here

UPDATE: Cape Ann TV is scheduled to film the event!

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Edward Hopper Cape Ann Pasture watercolor drawing (ca.1928) was gifted to Yale University in 1930

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East Gloucester Atwood’s Gallery on the Moors as seen on the left in 1921–open vistas at that time

 

Chris Leahy gave a presentation at Gloucester Lyceum & Sawyer Free Library on February 23, 2017: Dogtown- the Biography of a Landscape: 750 Million Years Ago to the Present
A photographic history through slides presented by the Gloucester Lyceum and the Friends of the Library. Mary Weissblum opened the program.

Chris broadly covered the history of the local landscape from an ecological bent with a bias to birds and blueberry picking, naturally. New England is a patchwork of forested landscapes. He stressed the evolution of bio diversity and succession phenomenon when the earth and climate change. “Nature takes a lot of courses.” He focused on Dogtown, “a very special place”, and possible merits of land stewardship geared at fostering greater biodiversity. Perhaps some of the core acres could be coaxed to grasslands as when parts of Gloucester were described as moors? Characteristic wildlife, butterflies, and birds no longer present may swing back.  There were many philosophical takeaways and tips: he recommends visiting the dioramas “Changes in New England Landscape” display at Harvard Forest HQ in Petersham.

“Isolation of islands is a main driver of evolution”

“Broad Meadow Brook Wildlife Sanctuary in Worcester has the highest concentration* of native butterflies in all of Massachusetts because of secondary habitats.”  *of Mass Audubon’s c.40,000 acres of wildlife sanctuaries statewide. “The fact that Brook Meadow Brook is in greater Worcester, rather than a forested wilderness, underscores the value of secondary habitats.”

“1830– roughly the time of Thoreau (1817-1862)– was the maximum period of clearing thus the heyday for grasslands…As farmsteads were abandoned, stages of forests return.”

Below are photos from February 23, 2017. I added some images of art inspired by Dogtown. I also pulled out a photograph by Frank L Cox, David Cox’s father, of Gallery on the Moors  (then) compared with a photo of mine from 2011 to illustrate how the picturesque description wasn’t isolated to Dogtown.

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Edward Hopper, Cape Ann Granite, 1928, oil on canvas can we get this painting into the Cape Ann Museum collection?

dogtown-cape-ann-massachuestts-by-louise-upton-brumback-o-c-vose-galleryLouise Upton Brumback (1867-1929), Dogtown- Cape Ann, 1920 oil on canvas

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MARSH MAGIC

marsh-gloucester-sunset-copyright-kim-smithOur Great Salt Marsh is beginning to spring back to life. Red-winged Blackbirds can be seen, and heard, chortling from every outpost, Morning Doves are nest building, and the Mallards, Black Ducks, and Canada Geese are pairing up. Only 19 more days until the official start of spring!

morning-dove-copyright-kim-smithMourning Dove

POST FOR GMG FOB DAVE IN RESPONSE TO HIS QUESTION ABOUT WHY THERE WERE NO WILD TURKEYS ON CAPE ANN IN HIS YOUTH

eastern-wild-turkey-male-gloucester-ma-1-copyright-kim-smithGMG Reader Dave wrote recently saying that he did not recall seeing turkeys on Cape Ann when he was growing up. Although the Eastern Wild Turkey is native to Massachusetts, it was rarely seen after 1800 and was completely extirpated by 1851.

The Wild Turkey reintroduction to Massachusetts is a fantastic conservation success story and a tremendous example of why departments of conservation and protection are so vital to our quality of life.

Massachusetts was recently ranked the number one state by U.S. News and World Report and conservation stories like the following are shining examples of just one of the many zillion reasons why (healthcare and education are the top reasons, but conservation IMO is equally as important).

Reposted from the Wild Turkey FAQ page of the office of the Energy and Environmental Affairs website.

“At the time of Colonial settlement, wild turkeys were found nearly throughout Massachusetts. They were probably absent from Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket, and perhaps the higher mountain areas in the northwest part of the state. As settlement progressed and land was cleared for buildings and agriculture, turkey populations diminished. By 1800, turkeys were quite rare in Massachusetts, and by 1851 they had disappeared.

Between 1911 and 1967 at least 9 attempts in 5 counties were undertaken to restore turkeys to Massachusetts. Eight failed (probably because of the use of pen-raised stock; and one established a very marginal population which persisted only with supplemental feeding.

In 1972-73, with the cooperation of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, MassWildlife personnel live-trapped 37 turkeys in southwestern New York and released them in Beartown State Forest in southern Berkshire County. By 1976, these birds had successfully established themselves and by 1978 this restoration effort was declared a success.

Beginning in 1978, MassWildlife began live-trapping turkeys from the Berkshires and releasing them in other suitable habitat statewide. Between 1979 and 1996, a total of 26 releases involving 561 turkeys (192 males, 369 females) were made in 10 counties (see the following Table and the accompanying map).

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Turkey Transplants within Massachusetts
1979-1996
Location Town County Year Number (Sex)
Hubbardston State Forest Hubbardston Worcester 1979, 1981 22 (10M, 12F)
D.A.R. State Forest Goshen Hampshire 1981-82 14 (6M, 8F)
Mt. Toby State Forest Sunderland Franklin 1982 22 (7M, 15F)
Holyoke Range Granby Hampshire 1982 24 (8M, 16F)
West Brookfield State Forest West Brookfield Worcester 1982-83 24 (12M, 12F)
Miller’s River Wildlife Management Area Athol Worcester 1982-83 24 (11M, 13F)
Koebke Road Dudley Worcester 1983 25 (7M, 18F)
Groton Fire Tower Groton Middlesex 1984 21 (10M, 11F)
Rocky Gutter Wildlife Management Area Middleborough Plymouth 1985-86 25 (12M, 13F)
Bolton Flats Wildlife Management Area Bolton Worcester 1986-87 24 (8M, 16F)
Naushon Island Gosnold Dukes 1987 22 (6M, 16F)
John C. Phillips Wildlife Sanctuary Boxford Essex 1988 21 (9M, 12F)
Fall River-Freetown State Forest Fall River Bristol 1988 24 (11M, 13F)
Baralock Hill Groton Middlesex 1988 16 (5M, 11F)
Camp Edwards Army Base Bourne/Sandwich Barnstable 1989 18 (6M, 12F)
Jones Hill Ashby Middlesex 1990 20 (7M, 13F)
Whittier Hill Sutton Worcester 1990 22 (9M, 13F)
Conant Brook Reservoir Monson Hampden 1991 27 (3M, 24F)
Bradley Palmer State Park Topsfield Essex 1991 18 (1M, 17F)
Hockomock Swamp and Erwin Wilder WMA West Bridgewater Plymouth 1992-93 24 (5M, 19F)
Slade’s Corner Dartmouth Bristol 1993 23 (10M, 13F)
Wendell State Forest Wendell Franklin 1993 19 (4M, 15F)
Facing Rock Wildlife Management Area Ludlow Hampden 1994 8 (1M, 7F)
Peterson Swamp Wildlife Management Area Halifax Plymouth . 1994 26 (11M, 15F)
Cape Cod National Seashore Wellfleet Barnstable 1995-96 28 (5M, 23F)
Terrybrooke Farm Rehoboth Bristol 1996 20 (8M, 12F)
Totals 561; (192M, 369F)

 

By 1996, turkeys were found in Massachusetts about everywhere from Worcester County westward, except in the immediate vicinity of Springfield and Worcester. Good populations are also now found in suitable, but more fragmented, habitats in Bristol, Essex, Middlesex, and Plymouth Counties. On Cape Cod, Barnstable County, turkeys may be found on and near the Massachusetts Military Reservation and the Cape Cod National Seashore. These birds have also moved northward from releases in Plymouth County into southern Norfolk County. On Martha’s Vineyard, wild-strain birds are absent; however, feral pen-raised birds may be found over much of the island. Turkeys are absent from Nantucket and Suffolk Counties. The average statewide fall turkey population is about 18,000-20,000 birds.

Land-use changes have historically influenced the population and distribution of the wild turkey and other wildlife. Such changes will continue to affect the natural environment. For a historical perspective, see the references by Cardoza (1976) and Cronon (1983).”eastern-wild-turkey-males-8-gloucester-ma-copyright-kim-smith

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