Tag Archives: Good Harbor Beach


Work has begun in earnest sorting through all the Piping Plover footage and editing the documentary. In the mean time, I thought readers would enjoy this rare moment where we catch a glimpse of the new born chicks, with both mom and dad together.

Impossibly tiny—no larger than a marshmallow—moments after hatching a Piping Plover chick is on the move, running, tumbling, somersaulting, face-planting, and curious about every little thing in their brand new great big world. PuffPuff, FluffFluff, and TootsiePop are less than twenty-four hours old in this clip. Our East Gloucester neighborhood kids named the Plover family after spending an afternoon getting to know them, watching safely from outside the roped off area.

Dad Joe finds an impression in the sand and the chicks come running to warm under his protective wings. Piping Plover chicks can feed themselves at birth but can’t yet perfectly regulate their body temperature. They need Mom and Dad for protection and for the warmth they provide. After a few moments rest, Joe pops up and Joy zooms in to take his place. Watch how PuffPuff does a somersault and FluffFluff gives her a little bump out of their cozy nest. Mom runs off camera to create a new resting spot and the chicks are chided by piping calls to come join her.

In shades of bone and driftwood, note how beautifully the Plovers are camouflaged in the colors of the sand and dry beach grass. There isn’t a living thing that doesn’t pose a threat to these most vulnerable of creatures. For protection against predators they will soon learn how to stand perfectly still when Joe and Joy pipe commands, but for now, it’s willy-nilly around the beach, much to the parents great consternation.

Thanks to Esme, Lotus, Meadow, Frieda, and Ruby for naming the Piping Plover family!

piping-plover-chicks-babies-nestlings-male-female-copyright-kim-smithThe male Piping Plover is on the left, the female, on the right. The male’s little black forehead band makes it easier to distinguish between the two.

ARTICLE IN THE LONDON SUNDAY TIMES FEATURING CAPE ANN: Seafood and Dunes: New England’s Lesser-known Cape

Thanks to Good Morning Gloucester reader Peggy Matlow for passing along the following article. It was forwarded to her by Peggy’s cousin, who lives in England.good-harbor-beach-cape-annsnow-copyright-kim-smith
By James Dean
January 7, 2017
Salt hits the back of my throat. As I step out of my car, I suck deeper on the icy sea air. Freezing waves crash below me as I gaze out towards the Atlantic from Gloucester, an old fishing settlement on the New England coast, while the sun slowly drops below the horizon.

In the distance is the glimmer of the Eastern Point lighthouse, the last sight of home for many Gloucester fishermen before they sailed into the vastness of the ocean. Dotted around the harbour are small wooden houses from which fishermen’s wives would look anxiously into the bay.

Fishing has run thick in the blood of Gloucester since English settlers arrived in 1623. The city — the oldest seaport in America — is on Cape Ann, which juts into the Atlantic just north of Boston. Across the Cape, stretched over some of the most beautiful coastline in America, are working fishing towns, beaches of white sand, marshes, old colonial buildings and, of course, bucket loads of fresh seafood.

In the winter, with the fishermen at rest, the pace of life slows to match the region’s calm, understated beauty. This is perhaps the reason that Manchester by the Sea, the brooding drama starring Casey Affleck and Michelle Williams, was filmed here in the winter months. Although the movie (most of which was filmed in Gloucester) follows the lives of a working-class family, Manchester-by-the-Sea itself, which lies to the west of Gloucester, is unabashedly wealthy. Just off the main road are $14 million mansions with great sea views.

When we Brits think of the Massachusetts coastline, we think of the dreamy panoramas of Cape Cod. Indeed, most Bostonites head south to the sand dunes and salty air whenever they take a break from the city. If Cape Cod and its quaint little villages possess a special kind of serene beauty, so does the lesser-known Cape Ann. And with fewer tourists, Cape Ann — unlike Cape Cod — stays in character.


Read the complete article here.


good-harbor-beach-gloucester-waves-copyright-kim-smithAs one bank of clouds departed, another soon took its place. The waves were wild and wooly but the surfers were out in full force at GHB and Brace Cove.back-shore-good-harbor-beach-gloucester-waves-copyright-kim-smith

Pretty Spindrift Wave

Not for the faint of heart–from where I was standing way across on the other side of the Cove you could hear the roar of the waves slamming Brace Rock–would you ever try this?surfers-brace-cove-back-shore-gloucester-waves-2-copyright-kim-smithsurfers-brace-cove-back-shore-gloucester-waves-copyright-kim-smith

And crashers #gloucesterma #scenesofnewengland #waves

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good-harbor-beach-december-surfers-copyright-kim-smithBeautiful fifty degree weather today and happy to be home to Gloucester. Running errands this morning and just had to stop at the Jodrey Fish Pier for the view and take a walk on Good Harbor Beach on this glorious and unseasonably warm day.gloucester-harbor-copyright-kim-smith



A preview of sea-level rise


At high tide today (noon) there was no trace of the creek bed. The sea had risen to the level of the road. Surfers caught waves that took them right up to the base of the footbridge. You needed high boots to enter the beach via the bridge and one funny dog wouldn’t play fetch with his friend because he had to wade through several feet of water to exit the footbridge. The parking lot was almost entirely flooded, at least a foot deep in some locations


Seaside Goldenrod is a plant worth noting in this situation. Not only is it a fantastic nectar-rich plant for Monarchs, bees, and many other species of pollinators but is also a reliable soldier in battling beach erosion. Notice in the Instagram the incoming tide swirling about the base of the plant. Seaside Goldenrod can grow in tidal zones where it is flooded twice daily. Year after year it reliably returns.

From The Washington Post, “Every year from November through February, the highest tides — called “king tides” — press onto the shores during full moons. This is a result of the enhanced gravitational pull from the full moon as well as Earth’s being closest to the sun in its orbit (at perihelion). The tides get even higher during supermoons, because that’s when the moon is closest to Earth (at perigee).”

Good Harbor Beach disappearing tidal river #gloucesterma #hightide #KingTide

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70 – 74 Thatcher Road: Brier Neck Shores construction across from Good Harbor Beach parking lot

Intersection of Thatcher and Witham Streets, behind Good Harbor Beach, next door to the construction site of the former Olivia’s/Amelia’s property.







The property is legally described as Assessors Map 184, Lots #5 and #9, also known as 70-74 Thatcher Road. Property information from a quick on line search:

Failed 2012 CPA bid has background on the property and a description of habitat and wildlife birds etc

(2014) Excerpt from Friends of Good Harbor:“… Brierneck Realty LLC has begun construction on twelve condominiums on property at 70-74 Thatcher Road at the corner of Witham Street.  The new owners are Paul St. Hilaire and Robert Messina, who purchased the fully permitted property from James Griffoni and partners. The construction of condominiums at the edge of Good Harbor salt marsh was fought in court by the City of Gloucester on behalf of the Zoning Appeals Board.  The property owners had received a comprehensive permit from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Housing Appeals Committee based upon the inclusion of 25% affordable units under Chapter 40B and won final approval from the Supreme Judicial Court in 2011.  The Gloucester Building Department granted a final permit in the spring of 2014.  The Friends of Good Harbor held a purchase and sale agreement with the owners in 2013 with the intention of restoring the property to salt marsh, however the agreement expired and the original owners were unwilling to sign a renewal.  The new owners expect to build the condominiums in stages, with the first cluster now under construction and targeted for completion in 2015. Representatives of FOGH have met with the new owners about their plans for construction as well as design and landscaping details.  In addition, conversation is taking place with respect to coordinating the early-stage planning of a Thatcher Road walkway, for which the new owners have offered their cooperation. Planning for the construction of six condominiums across Witham Street is also underway with other owners on the Thatcher Road site of Olivia’s Restaurant (formerly Amelia’s).  The property has been rezoned for residential construction…”

2016 prospectus “Introducing Brier Neck Shores at Good Harbor Beach, Gloucester’s Newest water view condos. Located directly across the street from Good Harbor Beach you’ll experience calming salty air as you enjoy expansive Gloucester scenery from every window…townhomes are delightfully modern with stainless steel appliances, recessed lighting and hardwood flooring throughout. Open concept design is perfect for entertaining guests or peacefully enjoy your own company.  Enjoy all that this exclusive area offers while being close proximity to scenic Rockport, the Rockport Country Club, spectacular local cuisine and easy access to 128.” They’d be close to Gloucester’s 18 hole Bass Rocks Golf Club, established 1899


99 Thatcher Road: construction across from Good Harbor Beach

This location was the former site of a restaurant and parking lot (Olivia’s and Amelia’s before). The first photograph was taken just over a year ago, October 4, 2015. I wasn’t setting out to document the new construction; the nocturne grabbed me. Flash forward a year; the new build is progressing. 78 Thatcher.


October 4, 2015





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