Tag Archives: Plum Cove Beach

Are you up for the 13-2 Gloucester beaches challenge? 13 beaches. 2 jumps. 1 city. Go!

A mid-week vacation day is the easiest. Oh, and you’ll need your resident beach sticker. We prepped our car with a picnic blanket for the seat, extra towels, and ice waters. Start early and grab a big  “lobsterjack”  breakfast because you’ll need the fuel. End late.

Let’s establish some base rules here.

First off, you need to spend at least 15 minutes at each beach. (You can tweak this a little if you want.) Next, you need to dive under. We suggest a ritual for each beach, e.g. ‘The Five and Dive’. Finally, you have to stop for ice cream and candy. Remember, you can do these beaches (or others in Gloucester) and jumps in any order. Be flexible for unexpected delays like staying at one beach for hours, or a friend asking you to drop off a sub (*cough* Joey *cough*). Most importantly, you have to do at least 13 beaches and 2 jumps in one day. Mind the tides. Be grateful we have so many choices.

The Beaches- partial list

alphabetical order

Annisquam lighthouse.  Coffin’s beach.  Good Harbor beach.  Long beach. Magnolia beach. Niles beach. Pavilion beach (by Beach Court). Pavilion beach bonus (by the cut). Plum Cove beach. Rocky Neck Oakes Cove beach. Stage Fort Park (1) – Cressy’s beach ( our alt. title ‘sea serpent’ big beach). Stage Fort Park (2) – Half Moon beach. Wheeler’s Point. Wingaersheek beach.

The Jumps- partial list

Annisquam bridge. Magnolia Pier.

*We do this challenge at least once each summer. Yesterday we started off with breakfast at Willow’s Rest and continued from there. Our timing was random especially as we spent hours at Wingaersheek. The second meal to get us through the day came from the sandwich counter at Annie’s by Wingaersheek. Yes, they have a sandwich counter.

Gloucester Beaches sandwich directory



Call ahead for the best subs of summer. Gloucester beaches sandwich directory.


Hungry? Pack light. You’ll pass great sandwich shops, locally owned and operated, en route to Gloucester’s magnificent beaches. Jeff’s Variety can set you up for a good lunch to go wherever you’re headed including Good Harbor Beach, Long Beach, or the back shore. Jeff says that there are many repeat customers that come back each and every season–for years–on their way to Good Harbor Beach. IF you have a big group, you can order trays with finger sandwiches. Sandwich platters featuring Virgilio’s rolls need at least two days notice to prepare. They’re open Sundays. What else? “Yes!” the answer to my question if they have plenty of call ahead requests from cars caught in traffic. Passengers calling only, please!

Scroll down the post for a one-stop, sub-shopping Gloucester directory with phone numbers and links. I could add in our favorite choices from each place.




*the great 2013 Good Morning Gloucester Italian sub winners

on the way to Gloucester’s GOOD HARBOR BEACH

on the way to Gloucester/ Rockport LONG BEACH

on the way downtown headed in any direction to Gloucester beaches: Pavilion, Cressy, Half Moon, Niles, Good Harbor

  • Cafe Sicilia (978) 283-7345 sandwiches and pizza slices
  • Cave (978) 283-0896 for baguette/cheese French picnic style fare
  • Cupboard (978) 281-1908
  • *Destino’s Subs 
  • Cape Ann Farmer’s Market (Thursdays) fresh produce & baguette/cheese French picnic style fare
  • *Jeff’s Variety (978) 281-5800
  • Leonardo’s  (978) 281-7882
  • Last Stop (978) 281-2616
  • Mike’s  (978) 282-0777
  • Morning Glory (978) 281-1851
  • Poseidons (978) 290-4313
  • *Sclafanis (978) 283-6622
  • *Virgilios (978) 283-5295
  • Yellow Sub Shop (978) 281-2217

on the way to Gloucester’s NILES BEACH

  • Last Stop (978) 281-2616
  • Sailor Stan’s to go (978) 281-4470

on the way to Gloucester’s PLUM COVE BEACH / ANNISQUAM/ LANESVILLE 

  • Captain Hooks (978) 282-4665
  • Plum Cove Grind (978) 281-3377
  • Willow Rest  sub and/or the farmer’s market fresh produce, cheese, specialty prepared meals picnic option (978)283-2417

on the way to Gloucester’s WINGAERSHEEK BEACH

  • main concession stand at Gloucester’s Wingaersheek beach (978) 281-9785
  • Annie’s Variety  (978) 283-2887
  • Marshall’s Farm Stand (picnic route rather than sandwich counter)  (978) 283-2168 (pints of fruit, munchies, loaf artisan bread, mozzarella specialty cheeses)

I haven’t forgotten Magnolia–just missing Magnolia’s House of Pizza. ON Mondays there’s Cape Ann Farmer’s market for Magnolia. “M” for Mondays, “M” for Magnolia.

Gloucester Motif Monday: Lessons On the Water

Scenic spots for Gloucester’s beach swim lessons, part 1.



plum cove-001.jpg

From Jeremy Nestor at the YMCA:

“Beach Swim lessons are offered at Niles Beach on Tuesdays and Plum Cove on Thursdays starting July 5th. The free to member classes give children the tools they need to be safe at the beaches this summer! If you are not a member do not worry. You can still register for the Beach Swim Lessons for $50. Ages 3-5 at 11:00 am and 6-10 at 11:45 am.”

beach swim lessons

Weekly sailing camp options for kids and adults are available from the City of Gloucester through the Cape Ann YMCA. I will add additional sailing options in a separate post.

From Jeremy Nestor:

“YMCA Sailing Camp is a great way to experience all the scenic views Gloucester has to offer from a boat. Kids will learn the essential to sailing and build skills to last them a lifetime. The Cape Ann YMCA partnered with the City of Gloucester to run this recreational sailing program. We also offer adult sailing lessons on Tuesday and Thursday evenings because you don’t have to be a kid to learn the fun of sailing!”

sailing camp 2016 flyer

How to Tell the Difference Between Geese and Ducks

During a recent podcast we were talking about the wonderful influx of Brant Geese that have been seen all around the coves of Cape Ann. Joey asked a great question, “how to tell the difference between ducks and geese?” Ducks, geese, and swans all belong to the Anatidae family and I could only answer that size is the predominate difference between duck and goose. If you are out on the water or onshore and trying to id whether duck or goose I think the surest way to tell is that geese are larger, with longer necks and bodies. I was curious to learn more and google led to interesting differences, some obvious and correlate to what we observe in our region, and some not so obvious.

Geese are generally white, gray, or monochromatic and both males and females are the same color. Ducks are multicolored and there are obvious pattern differences between the males and females.

Geese migrate further distances. We have seen that this past year with our Snow Goose visitor, a bird that breeds in colonies on the Canadian tundra, as do the Brants.

Another quick way to determine whether goose or duck is by what they are eating; geese generally eat grasses and grains; ducks eat fish and insects. The Snow Goose that visited Good Harbor Beach this past winter foraged for sea grass alongside the Canadian Geese.

Snow Goose Juvenile Canadian Geese Gloucester Massachusetts Essex County  ©Kim Smith 2015Snow Goose and Canadian Geese Foraging for Sea Grass

Photographer and fisherman Brian O’Connor reported that a fisherman mentioned to him that Brants are observed in an area when there is a heavy crop of sea “vegetables” and that is precisely what is occurring in our region–the “green” waves. Sea lettuce is a staple of the Brant’s diet and it is sometimes referred to as “Brant lettuce!”

Brants Cape Ann Massachusetts ©Kim Smith 2015Brants in Sea Vegetable Heaven

Please let us know if you see any Brants, where and at what time. Thank you to Zefra for writing last week about Brants at Lighthouse Beach. And thank you to Bill Hubbard who wrote to say that during the 40s and 50s hundreds were often seen, less so beginning in the late 50s.

Snow Goose Juvenile Gloucester Massachusetts -4 ©Kim Smith 2015

Juvenile Snow Goose Good Harbor Beach Gloucester
Cosmos ©Kim Smith 2014  --8

Friend me on Facebook and follow me on TwitterInstagram, and Vine. You can also subscribe to my design website at Kim Smith Designs, and film’s websites at Beauty on the Wing ~ Life Story of the Monarch Butterfly, Gloucester’s Feast of Saint Joseph Community Film Project, and Life Story of the Black Swallowtail Butterfly.


Brant Geese Plum Cove Beach Gloucester Massachusetts ©Kim Smith 2015

Brant Geese Plum Cove Beach Gloucester

Just kidding, however, they have recently been spotted all around Cape Ann! Several weeks ago I noticed three on Niles Beach, yesterday another 20 or so bobbing and diving in the waves off a little beach in Rockport, and this morning Michelle Anderson emailed that her son Atticus, with his eagle eyes, had spotted a blizzard at Plum Cove Beach. I was working on a design project in Andover and wasn’t able to get there until afternoon. The Brants were still there! Perhaps there were 50 or so feeding at the shoreline and another several hundred further off shore.

Brant Goose Plum Cove Beach Gloucester Massachusetts ©Kim Smith 2015The geese are shy. At one point while photographing, I lay flat down in the beach grass trying to blend in with the landscape while inching forward, but they were not deceived. Too far away for my camera to get a good close up, and heavily overcast today, nonetheless you can see that they are quite beautiful creatures.

Brant Geese Plum Cove Beach Rockport Massachusetts ©Kim Smith 2015

Brant Geese Rockport

Smaller than Canadian geese, the Brant Goose, also called Brent, Black Brant, and American Brant, is a coastal bird that breeds in the Arctic tundra. It migrates along both the Atlantic and Pacific flyways. With white or buff belly, black head and neck, and contrasting white bars at the neck, Brants are easy to identify. They feed on green plants including sea lettuce and eel grass. Brants have a highly developed salt gland, which allows them to consume salt water.


Brant Geese Plum Cove Beach Rockport Massachusetts -2 ©Kim Smith 2015*   *   *
Comsos 12 ©Kim Smith 2014 copy

Friend me on Facebook and follow me on TwitterInstagram, and Vine. You can also subscribe to my design website at Kim Smith Designs, and film’s websites at Beauty on the Wing ~ Life Story of the Monarch Butterfly, Gloucester’s Feast of Saint Joseph Community Film Project, and Life Story of the Black Swallowtail Butterfly.

Plum Cove Beach Re-opened for swimming according to City of Gloucester website

Frank McCall submits-

Hi Joey,
My wife and I moved to the Lanesville area of Gloucester last September and we’re loving it! We met you and your wife at one of the recent Savour Wine and Cheese Open Tables. What a fantastic meal!
I saw that you posted yesterday about the closure of Plum Cove Beach. I thought you might want to let folks know that the beach has been re-opened (according to the City of Gloucester website). Here is a link to the announcement: http://gloucester-ma.gov/CivicAlerts.aspx?AID=498 .


June 14, 2013, 1:00 PM

Based on preliminary results of samples taken at Plum Cove Beach on June 13, 2013, the Gloucester Health Department is lifting the swimming ban related to the elevated enterococci levels from samples taken June 11, 2013.

Current enterococci levels are less than ten colony-forming units (CFUs) for the sample, well below the limits set by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health’s bathing beach standards.

The Department will return to its regular sampling schedules. For more information and updates, please visit the city website at http://www.gloucester-ma.gov or please contact:

Max Schenk
Manager – Environmental Health Services
Gloucester Health Department

I was at the beach at sunset tonight while walking my dog. Here are a couple of photos.




Due to the recent severe weather, as of today, Wednesday, June 12, 2013, the City of Gloucester Board of Health has posted a sign at Plum Cove Beach notifying residents that regularly scheduled testing discovered that bacteria counts were found to be beyond the states bathing beach limits.

Residents are advised that they swim at their own risk. 

The next scheduled test results will be available in the afternoon of Friday, June 14, 2013.  City of Gloucester Health Department will continue to closely monitor the situation. 

For more information and updates, please visit the city website at http://www.gloucester-ma.gov

For more information, please contact:
Gloucester Public Health Department
Max Schenk, Manager of Environmental Health Services