Tag Archives: Rockport

WHAT’S THE ART DISPLAYED BEHIND GOVERNOR BAKER? Here’s a tip for all those political handshake photographs: please add the artist and art to the list of names

Cat Ryan submits-

Joey, Good Morning Gloucester is really something! After my post about local artists and art displayed in City Hall and the White House Collection, the artist, proprietor, FOB, and fun Pauline Bresnahan sent me a picture with a note. She was thinking about art at the State House:

“Yesterday the Mayor was sworn in at the State House (for the Seaport Economic Advisory Council) and she put some photos on FB and I was wondering who did the painting over the Governor’s shoulder in the photo that I attached and am sending to you?”

Here’s Pauline’s attachment


The dramatic harbor scene is on loan from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and was created by JONAS LIE (1880-1940), The Fisherman’s Return, ca.1919, John Pickering Lyman Collection, Gift of Miss Theodora Lyman.

You read that correctly. His name is ‘Lie’. I know, located in the State House—the state capitol and house of government—the symbol of the Commonwealth of MA, politics and its people—it may seem at first an unfortunate selection when you read the surname.

Not to worry, his painting skills and life story are a great fit for the State House.

Lie was a well-known early 20th century painter and his peers considered him a master. One example of his stature and connections: Lie, Stuart Davis and Eugene Speicher were charged with the selection of paintings as members of the Central Arts Committee for the legendary exhibit, American Art Today at the 1939 New York World’s Fair. Holger Cahill was their Director. Artists John Gregory, Paul Manship and William Zorach selected sculpture. John Taylor Arms, Anne Goldthwaite and Hugo Gellert selected the prints and drawings.

Is there a Gloucester, MA, connection? You bet –and one you can see in many of Lie’s works. He was a summer traveler to Cape Ann before WW1 along with other New England locales through the 1930s because he was a mainstream American artist of his time. He had a studio on Bearskin Neck and lived on Mt. Pleasant in Rockport. Later the studio was Max Kuehne’s. 

Lie was born in Norway to an American mother, Helen Augusta Steele of Hartford, Ct. His Norwegian father, Sverre Lie, was a civil engineer. One of his aunts was the pianist Erika Lie Nieesn and he was named after an uncle, the major Norwegian writer Jonas Lie. After his father died in 1892 he went to live in Paris with family, before joining his American mother and sister in New York City the following year. They settled in Plainfield, NJ. After art studies, Lie found work as a shirt designer, took more classes, exhibited and received prizes. William Merritt Chase bought two works in 1905. In 1906, he traveled back to Norway to visit family and again to Paris. He was deeply inspired by Monet. When he returned he resumed his art career. He admired the Ashcan artists and their American style. Another trip in 1909 to Paris, Fauvism and Matisse. 

Lie painted the engineering project of his time, the building of the Panama Canal. The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Detroit Institutes of Art acquired a work from this series. The rest were eventually gifted to West Point in 1929 as a memorial to US Army Corps of Engineers Colonel George Washington Goethals, Chief Engineer of the building of the Canal. Goethals was credited with having the forethought to ensure that a record of the project was preserved in art. Art form(s) actually. Leave it to the engineer to appreciate the art and beauty in industry. Right?

Lie was invited as a guest of General Goethals along with Joseph Pennell who created the gorgeous etching portfolio The Building of the Canal, 1912. Goethals also selected artist William B Van Ingen to paint 4 large murals, mounted on site in the rotunda in 1915. The Panama Canal opened softly the preceding year, on August 15, 1914 as World War 1 eclipsed any coverage.

Lie was involved with the installation of the famous Armory show of 1913, and 4 of his works were exhibited. In the printed matter, his name shows up alphabetically between Fernand Leger and George Luks. See the 1914 journal advert. Charles Hawthorne urged summer students to Provincetown while the New York School of Fine and Applied Art hoped that students would paint with ‘Jonas Lee, one of America’s foremost painters’.  He was quite active in the arts community. He organized the Society of American Painters in 1919. He purchased a home in the Adirondacks to be near the hospital where his wife sought treatment for and eventually succumbed to TB. In 1933 he gave Amber Light, a painting of FDR’s yacht to the President, his friend.

Lie is known for his vivid color and impressions of New England harbors, boats and coves, painted during summer visits, his New York City scenes, landscapes, seasons, Utah copper mines, and the Panama series.

What about the Governor’s suite, the historic restoration, the Governor’s portrait, protocol and tradition?

The Massachusetts State House includes the state legislature and the offices of the Governor. The 1798 building was designed by Charles Bulfinch and was designated as a National Historic Landmark* in 1960. This magnificent landmark needed an overhaul and major renovations. Restoration has been happening throughout the structure, mostly for the first time in a century.  It’s difficult to invest in heritage and modernize facilities without public criticism. Years of research span terms. The Governor suite in particular came under fire for its historic restoration. It was expensive.

“The executive office now looks like it did in 1798, Petersen said. It cost $11.3 million to renovate and restore these 19,000 square feet of the State House, including the lieutenant governor’s office, constituent services on the second floor, and what will soon be an emergency response room on the fourth floor. The executive offices now have temperature control, wireless Internet capability, sprinklers, blast-resistant storm windows, security cameras, including some with facial recognition, and sensors that can detect if a room is occupied.”

Daunting! I can understand why Governor Baker selected the former Chief Of Staff’s office for his everyday office. “I want a regular office where I can spill a cup of coffee and not worry about it,” the governor said.

The Jonas Lie painting is prominent in nearly every ceremonial signing and photograph because it’s hung directly behind the Governor’s desk. It is difficult to find any mention of the artist and painting. When staging formal photographs if there is a featured artwork in the frame, it is my recommendation and hope that credit to the artist and artwork are listed along with people featured in the photograph.

The State House is working on their website and there’s a great virtual tour. Visit https://malegislature.gov/VirtualTour

So what does the Governor see from his vantage of the signing seat during ceremonies and meetings? More tradition, history, and art. Each incoming Governor selects a portrait of a former Governor which is installed above the mantel and across from the desk.  Former Governor Patrick’s choice was John Albion Andrew, Massachusetts 25th Governor. Governor Baker selected former Governor John A. Volpe, a North Shore Wakefield native, who served 1961-63 and again 1965-69, the first 4-year term in MA. He resigned midterm in his final year to accept President Nixon’s appointment to head the Department of Transportation. You can read more about it here http://www.nga.org/cms/home/governors/past-governors-bios/page_massachusetts/col2-content/main-content-list/title_volpe_john.html

The incoming Governor selects this portrait fairly quickly. Volpe’s national policy led to Amtrak. With the winter and MBTA crises at hand, comparisons can be drawn…I will ask! I haven’t been in the Governor offices. But Fred Bodin and I had a great look around earlier this year and Senator Tarr gave us a brief impromptu tour. Ask him about the Cod. There was an installation of local artists in the hall outside the Senate Chamber. 

*Boston has 58 properties with National Historic Landmark designation. Gloucester has 2: Schooner Adventure and Beauport. City Hall should/will have this designation.

Link to yesterday’s post https://goodmorninggloucester.wordpress.com/2015/08/11/this-is-what-gloucester-looks-like-at-the-white-house-and-city-hall-its-all-local/

Also find it at Joey_C’s twitter http://t.co/upEgxcTajq

Rockport Retail: It’s Gettin’ Hot in Here

by Rockport artist Stefan Mierz

Rambling in Rockport

Yesterday, a post went up on GMG written by the venerable Joey C. on his Saturday a.m. shopping experience in the equally venerable town of Rockport, Mass. The post has since been edited in response to the wail that went up from Main Street and parts of Bearskin Neck — a wail that could be heard all the way in East Gloucester, ringing through the antennae of the crustaceans piled up on the dock as Rockport shop owners rose up in protest. (The protest is mostly on Facebook if anyone wants to read along for some insight into what I’m talking about).

It seems that Joey came to Rockport on Saturday no less than twice (which is two times more than a whole lotta other locals) in an effort to procure some goods from some stores that had caught his eye on Instagram, but both times he was thwarted. Once, because he showed up with the not-unreasonable plan to eat breakfast and shop after the stores open (in theory anyway) at 10 am and the other time — after he was stymied the first time — because he couldn’t find parking. A parking pain we have all felt from the regular schmuck just trying to buy a doughnut from Brothers’ Brew to the the highest Selectperson in the land, just trying to buy a doughnut from Brothers’ Brew. In frustration Joey had no choice but to go to Bed Bath & Beyond or worse, maybe Kohl’s — I don’t know, it was some terrible place way far away with a couple of football fields of empty parking spaces — and line the pockets of our Corporate Overlords with his hard-earned dollars.

The point of the original post seemed to be twofold: 1) Talk about how genuinely great the shops in Rockport are, mention how awesome the Rockport Farmers Market is (yes it is!) and give a well-deserved shout-out to breakfast at the Blue Lobster Grille, and 2) Call out the shops for contributing to shopping difficulties by opening after 10am when securing a downtown parking space in Rockport in July is roughly worth the price of your firstborn.

A coupla things. First off, in the eyes of this very lame GMG occasional contributor, Joey stepped up by editing the post to reflect that he did not plan his shopping visit to Rockport with a strategy that included the realities of a shopping visit to Rockport. In Rockport, there’s not much about the retail scene that is like other places. The shops are independently owned, many of them run year-round by the same person (in spite of the assumption that everything is seasonal) who at some point has to see his or her family and take a shower, and then there is the consumer. Residents and tourists in Rockport follow ancient traffic patterns that involve a complex algorithm of when/if the sun is shining, vacation alcohol consumption recovery times, and preferred side of the street to walk on (I’m serious about the last one). Showing up in Rockport just minutes after the sun rises — which, on Rockport time, is more or less 10 am — is an exercise in futility, unless you are planning on going to the farmers’ market, eating a strudel, heading out in a boat, or staring at your fingernails while you sit on an empty bench. It may sound nuts from a consumer standpoint, but there is a method to the Rockport retail madness.

For most shops (multi-generational places like The Pewter Shop or John Tarr’s notwithstanding), opening at 10 am is equally an exercise in futility, with shop owners waiting in vain to make a sale to the approximately sixteen potential buyers that are out strolling Bearskin Neck and/or Main Street at that hour (a count that actually goes down to around seven people when adjusted for the ones who “forgot their wallet” — oldest excuse in the book — because they’re walking the dog or just aimlessly wandering between coffee places). Maybe the Rockport Farmers Market, which is only in its third year, will help change this, as shopping patterns shift to earlier in the day. I hope so.

Secondly, for those of you who read the Facebook thread in response to the original post, the merchants make some valid points, even if these points are cloaked in dismay, sadness, and even one or two expressions of rage.

People who come to Rockport, and maybe even more so people who live in Rockport, have no idea what running a shop in Rockport is like. It’s hard to write about this, because readers will immediately go into Mach-Defensive mode, rushing to explain to merchants everything they’re doing wrong, starting with the brilliant point that no one is forcing anyone to own a shop in Rockport (as though, because shop owners aren’t forced at gunpoint to run a business that means any point they make about the REALITIES of running that business become moot. Which is bizarre. So don’t bother with your “no one is forcing shop owners to own a shop” nonsense comments. I mean, you can bother with them, but I’ll just know you’ve got nothin if that’s your opener.)

Getting Real

Owning a small retail shop is a lot like owning a mom-and-pop restaurant in the sense that literally every single customer that walks through your door — or stands outside of it because your shop is closed — thinks, at some level, that they can do what you do. Imagine how crappy that feels for a second. Every single person thinks they are an expert on your work, when in reality they most likely know next to nothing about retail in general (let alone retail in Rockport), which demands a mix of smarts, financial wizardry, aesthetic gifts, salesmanship, and lots and lots of luck. Because weather is involved. It’s a lot like farming, actually. You have to anticipate what will sell at market six months in advance, throw everything you have ($$$) at it and pray like crazy the sun shines at the right time. Then you have to show up, pretty much all the time, but chances are (and by chances I mean literally, by chance because retail is also like gambling — you are always playing the odds), it will be still be the wrong time for someone, who will tell you how you screwed up. Which could be true, the screwing up, but if nearly every shop is closed in tandem at the hour you want to shop, then chances are there aren’t enough people shopping at that hour and the issue is with consumer patterns, not store owners.

I used to own a shop on Main Street in Rockport, and if I had a nickel for every soul who came in and stood at my counter and began a sentence with “I’ve always wanted to own a shop” or (the always-fantastic) “You know what you should do? You should…” well then I would still have closed my shop because I would be so incredibly rich I would have bought my own island, named it Cape Get Out of My Face I am So Very Tired and moved there.

Story time: one hot summer day years ago, I was standing in my shop in Rockport contemplating whether this was the right time to leave the store to dash to the bathroom. That’s right. Because I did not have a bathroom in my shop, even though I paid a rent that would make your ice cream melt, because several Rockport landlords have decided toilet facilities are optional. Anyway, a woman came in right at that juncture, when I was choosing between the health of my bladder and losing a potential buyer who might wander in and help pay my toilet-free rent. I looked at the woman — might this be a customer? who is always right? — as she stood blankly in the middle of the room, her mouth hanging open. I honestly thought she might need help of a non-retail variety because she she seemed so disoriented and aimless fifteen seconds into her visit. Suddenly she whipped her face toward me, a face distorted in rage and shouted “I might have BOUGHT SOMETHING if you had said hello to me!”  I was shocked. Before I could even respond she spun on her heel and stomped out the door. (Follow up: I chased her up the street and begged her forgiveness at the same scale at which she screeched at me. More confusion ensued.)

Take that scenario and multiply it by a thousand, only don’t forget to account for variations — like the strangers who come in and, when, you say hello in your best cheerily calibrated shop voice, haughtily inform you that when they need help they will ask for it, rolling their eyes at their companion at what a loser you are, accosting customers who want nothing more than to fondle your merchandise in peace — and it all adds up to a lot of stress for the small shop owner. Especially since most of their net worth — and lot of credit — is tied up in that merchandise.

Anyway, I could go on as I have stories galore, both from my store and those of friends. Like the time a customer — except he didn’t purchase anything — put a 14-inch vintage knitting needle up his nostril nearly (hopefully) into his brain in order to demonstrate his sideshow prowess to a lady friend, or that one time a customer — except she wasn’t — used the corner of another friend’s store as a bathroom. Actually, maybe I should have realized that last one, using a corner of the store as a litter box, was an option. I never would have had to leave the store then.

I should add, because I need to clarify, that having the shop was wonderful, and I loved working in Rockport and connecting with locals and visitors from all over the world. I really miss those days in so many ways. It’s just that getting advice from strangers when I was already about to pass out at the counter from working 7 days a week is not one of them.

The Takeaway (with Tissue Paper and a Gift Bag)

In short, while it’s important for shop owners to listen to consumers, especially ones who are as supportive of local businesses as Joey, it is also important for consumers to listen to shop owners, and not assume the worst — that they are willfully refusing to say hello, or that they purposefully refuse to stock whatever it is you want to buy, or that they are rolling around at home in a pile of undeclared cash that they raked in from all those suckers who came in to buy a candle or a card — or whatever it is that people assume. Buying local is a two-way street, a marriage between small business owners and their customers, and just like in any relationship, mutual respect goes a long way.

A Book Party in Rockport!

BookADayinRockportPlease stop by this Sunday, July 19th and join Mary Faino at her shop in Rockport, The Paper Mermaid, along with me (aka S.D. Kelly) for a party in celebration of our new release: A Day in Rockport.

Mary created beautiful illustrations of iconic places throughout Rockport, and I wrote the text to go along with her work. It was a fun collaboration and we enjoyed the entire process, from choosing the places that would make it into the book — ranging from Millbrook Meadow to Bearskin Neck to the Headlands — to the more technical aspects of book design.

We’ll have locally-made treats at the party, a Scavenger Hunt, and a raffle to win a framed print of one of the illustrations in the book. Celebrate Rockport with us and stop by!


Rockport Bonfire Aftermath

In 2011 Les Bartlett posted a photo on his website of dawn on July 5, 2011 and I have been fascinated ever since about what the bonfire is doing the day after. Click here for his shot and links to Les’s website.

This year it was as hot as ever. You could have roasted a Seaview Farm Grass fed Steer on these coals.

This year it was as hot as ever. You could have roasted a Seaview Farm Grass fed Steer on these coals.

So immature.

So immature.

There were 24 boats moored in Sandy Bay this year up from 4 last year when I took this photo.

There were 24 boats moored in Sandy Bay this year up from 4 last year when I took this photo.

Come Sail Away: Sandy Bay Yacht Club

Since he was about four-years-old, Thatcher has known that he wanted to start sailing lessons at the Sandy Bay Yacht Club in Rockport as soon as he was old enough to begin.

Old Enough happened this week!

For as much time as I’ve spent on boats, I’m not a sailor, so it blows my mind to watch him out there in the harbor sailing solo.

I have been so impressed with the staff and instructors and I am looking forward to watching Thatch grow, learn, and advance through the ranks in the SBYC sailing program.

Quintessential summer.

Geologic Survey Underway in Rockport

Friday morning on my way into Cambridge I stopped to check on the baby shore birds that I have been filming at Henry’s Pond. Setting up on the pond’s edge, I met Zach Strommer, graduate student at UMass, and assistants Andy Fallon and Justin Shawler from the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS). Zach is a geology student of Professor John Woodruff and he is writing his thesis on historic storms. The layers of sediment at Henry’s Pond make for an ideal location to gather data. Whenever there is a major storm, the surge pulls sand and salt water into the brackish pond. I wonder how far back in time they will travel. Zach shared his email and said his thesis will be done in about a year. I’ll put it on my calendar and will check back for the results of the study.

Comsos 12 ©Kim Smith 2014 copy

Loblolly Cove ~ Red-winged Blackbird Habitat

Loblolly Cove Rockport Massachusetts ©Kim Smith 2015Loblolly Cove, Rockport
Male Red-winged Blackbird Massachusetts -4 ©Kim Smith 2015Male Red-winged Blackbird

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.

Comsos 12 ©Kim Smith 2014 copy

Stars of the Marsh

Male Red-winged Blackbird Massachusetts ©Kim Smith 2015Heard at nearly every New England marsh, one can’t help but notice the beautiful and seemingly never ending song of the male Red-winged Blackbird. From sunrise to sunset he’s calling to his girl. Early this spring I set out to record the sounds of the marsh for my Monarch film. The male Red-winged Blackbirds are the stars of the marsh and while capturing their vocalizations, I also was also able to capture footage of their fascinating behaviors.Male Red-winged Blackbird Massachusetts -5 ©Kim Smith 2015

 Male Red-winged Blackbirds Perching on Cattails (and Eating the Seed Heads, Too)

You’ll see many more males because they perch on higher ground, at the top of the cattails, phragmites, scrubby shrubs, phone lines, and treetops. They are defending their territory through song and a showy display of red and yellow wing bars. The males too, often swoop to the edge of the pond’s shoreline and peck at the sand.

Female Red-winged Blackbird Massachusetts  -3©Kim Smith 2015

Plain Jane Female ~ What’s All the Fuss About!

The female Red-winged Blackbird, with her more subdued feathers of brown and beige, typically stays closer to the ground, building her nest and eating insects.Female and Male Red-winged Blackbird Massachusetts ©Kim Smith 2015

Female Red-winged Blackbird in the foreground with male in the background. As you can see in the photo, the female looks like a large dark sparrow.

Loblolly Cove ©Kim Smith 2015Loblolly Cove ~ Red-winged Blackbird Superhighway

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.

See More Photos Here Read more

2nd Rockport First Night Tonight! 4-8 PM

Dock Square, Bearskin Neck, the other neck on Cape Ann full of wonder. Check it out. The shops and galleries are stuffed full of new stuff while keeping the old  good stuff.

When: 4-8PM and beyond, Tonight, First Friday of the month all summer.

Where: Rockport; Bearskin Neck, Dock Square and up Main Street.

Feature: The Art Nook Gallery on the Neck. Go all the way down and turn right into Helmut’s Strudel. Have a small coffee and a cinnamon roll with raisins. Make sure and get the raisins. Trust me. Then three steps right across the street is the Art Nook Gallery.

Take a selfie of you standing in front of Stefan Mierz’s freshly painted”Rockport Harbor Sunrise.” Stefan or Kathleen Miller will shoot it with your phone. Send it to Rubber Duck. Blue Duck will be shooting her Selfie at 5 PM.

Rubber Duck: "Do you see what I see?" Blue Duck: " I think they add more than fluoride to the Rockport water ..."

Rubber Duck: “Do you see what I see?”
Blue Duck: ” I think they add more than fluoride to the Rockport water …”

Meet the Cape Ann Small Business Persons of the Year and Week-long Schedule of Events June 1st through the 5th, Culminating with Mayor Carolyn Kirk Giving Keynote Speech!



The Cape Ann Chamber of Commerce salutes Cape Ann’s 2015 Small Business Persons of the Year at a series of events this week. Monday night, Manchester will honor Mike Storella of Central Street Gallery at 7 Central from 5 to 7 p.m., while on Tuesday friends and fans will celebrate Joey Ciaramitaro of Good Morning Gloucester from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Studio as Gloucester’s choice for Small Business Person of the Year. On Wednesday, June 3 Karin and Ken Porter of Roy Moore Lobster Company and Roy Moore’s Fish Shack, Rockport Small Business Persons of the Year, will in turn be recognized at the Emerson Inn by the Sea from 5 to 7 p.m. Tim and Vicky Kennefick of the Windward Grille, Essex Small Business Persons of the Year, will be feted at their own restaurant on Thursday, June 4 from 5 to 7 p.m. All will be honored together at the Chamber’s 35th Annual Small Business Week awards luncheon on Friday, June 5, beginning at 11:30 a.m., at the Sea Glass Restaurant at the Castle Manor Inn, 141 Essex Avenue, Gloucester. The keynote address at the luncheon will be delivered by former Gloucester Mayor and current Deputy Secretary for Housing and Economic Development Carolyn Kirk.


Cape Ann Small Business Week is designed to highlight the extraordinary contributions of Cape Ann’s small business community for exemplary entrepreneurial achievement as well as notable civic and community involvement. This year’s Small Business Week award winners are being honored individually at receptions in their respective communities during Cape Ann Small Business Week, thanks to the generous support of presenting sponsor Institution for Savings. Please visit capeannchamber.com for a complete schedule of these receptions.


Friends, family members, and colleagues of all small business honorees are invited and encouraged to attend the receptions and the luncheon. Each reception is complimentary, while tickets for the luncheon are available to all for $30. To register online, please visit capeannchamber.com.

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

Meet the honorees (of course our Joey needs no introduction) ~

Mike Storell Head shot Cropped VersionManchester Small Business Person of the Year Mike Storella

Business career: High tech Operations, Sales and Business Development background for many years in Communications, internet and computer systems of various types. Past positions at IBM, Cisco, and a number of tech startups, presently COO at dog hunter LLC a maker of Iot devices( internet of things). Board member of Rockport Art Association and Cape Ann Chamber of Commerce. Artistic career, plein air painter: One of the Founders of the Central Street Gallery in Manchester by the Sea, MA, it is a co-operative gallery consisting of 14 working artists with 6 shows per year of new works and approaching our 7th year.

Joey Head shotGloucester Small Business Person of the Year Joey Ciaramitaro

Joey Ciaramitaro is co-owner of Captain Joe and Sons Lobster Company and creator of GoodMorningGloucester. He graduated from Bishop Fenwick High School in 1985 and Bentley College in 1989, with a BA in Economics. Joey is the father of two beautiful daughters- Madeline and Eloise Ciaramitaro, ages 8 and 9. He is one of the original founders of The Downtown Gloucester Block Parties.  Joey credits his success to the support that his mom Pat, and father Libby gave him growing up, the fantastic people he gets to work with every day, the men and women who lobster for Captain Joe and Sons, his business partner Frankie, and the incredibly passionate Blog contributors who are part of the Good Morning Gloucester family.

Ken & Karin Porter smallRockport Small Business Persons of the Year Karin and Ken Porter

Ken Porter began working at Roy Moore Lobster Company at 39 Bearskin Neck in 1979 while still in high school. He continued to work there on weekends for the next ten years, while also working as a lobsterman out of Rockport Harbor. The business was started in 1918 by Roy Moore and was later purchased by Dana Woods and operated by Dana and his son Charlie until the 1980s. In 1989, the year that Ken and Karin were married, Ken purchased Roy Moore Lobster Company. In 1998, Karin and Ken opened the Fish Shack restaurant upstairs from the Lobster Company, and operated there until moving the restaurant to its present location at 21 Dock Square in 2003.

While operating these two successful Rockport businesses together for more than 25 years, Karin and Ken Porter have also generously given back to the Rockport community for decades. For many years they have supported every high school class and the DECA program by hosting fund raising spaghetti suppers and pancake breakfasts at the Fish Shack. Every year they also provide the lobsters for and support the Rotary Club’s Lobster Fest and the Navy Committee’s lobster bake. They also support the Council on Aging with an annual dinner for seniors and the Rotary Club’s annual Valentine’s Day luncheon for seniors. Every Sunday in February, Ken runs a pool tournament at the Legion Hall to raise funds for Rockport’s Veterans Weekend, and every December since moving to Dock Square Karin has provided free hot chocolate following the Christmas in Rockport Tree Lighting ceremony.

Karin and Ken Porter live in Rockport and have two children, John and Charlene.


Tim & Vicky HeadshotEssex Small Business Persons of the Year Tim and Vicky Kennefick

Vicky and Tim Kennefick opened the Windward Grille Restaurant in August 2005 after 6 months of renovations. The restaurant was formerly known as the Hearthside Restaurant, a well-known dining destination on the north shore. Our goal was to bring the restaurant back to the reputation it had once enjoyed in the 1970s and 1980s. We have 6 children ranging in age from 30 to 14, most of whom have worked at the restaurant throughout the years. Tim is a native of Gloucester and was familiar with the area and the restaurant location. As we close in on our 10th anniversary we hope that the people of Cape Ann have enjoyed our establishment as much as we have enjoyed meeting many new friends.


The keynote address at the luncheon will be delivered by former Gloucester Mayor and current Deputy Secretary for Housing and Economic Development Carolyn Kirk.


Carolyn A. Kirk, Deputy Secretary, Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development for the

Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Carolyn A. Kirk joined the Administration of Governor Charlie Baker and Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito in January of 2015 and serves as the Deputy Secretary of the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development.

In this position, Kirk leads operational management and shares policy responsibility for the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development, the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation, the Department of Housing and Community Development, the Mass. Office of Business Development and its ancillary agencies of Mass. Travel and Tourism, the Mass. Marketing Partnership, and the Mass. Office of International Trade and Investment.

In addition, Kirk is responsible for economic planning and growth in the Maritime economic sector, oversees the MassWorks grant program, and provides direct support to the Lieutenant Governor’s office on a number of initiatives.

Prior to her appointment with the Baker/Polito administration, in 2007 Kirk was the first woman popularly elected as Mayor of the City of Gloucester. Kirk went on to win three subsequent general municipal elections and never lost a ward or a precinct in any of her contests and served as Mayor for seven years.   Kirk’s administration invested over $100million in infrastructure thus laying the groundwork for future economic growth.   The first-ever business class hotel is under construction in the city in a long sought after waterfront location adjacent to downtown. A new $40 million elementary school, the first one to be built since World War II and which Kirk led the effort on for seven years, is also under construction in the city.


Deputy Secretary Kirk’s professional career spans over 25 years.  She is a long-time management consultant and her clients have included many of the Top 20 banks in the US, along with Fortune 500 companies.  She and her husband Bill Kirk have two children, Sam, 17 and Baylee, 14.  Both are enrolled in Gloucester Public Schools.

A graduate of the Boston College class of 1984, Carolyn Kirk was born and raised in Clinton, NY and moved to Massachusetts to attend college.  She moved to Gloucester in 1988 where she still resides, and was drawn to the diversity and beauty of the city.

Day 2 Filming the Duckling Family

Mallard Duckling ©Kim Smith 2015The Mallard Duck family that I have been filming during the early morning hours this past week is allowing me to get very close, venturing to within two feet from where I am tucked in amongst the reeds by the water’s edge. The ducklings mirror the parent’s every action and they are are especially adorable learning how to oil their feathers. Although the female attempts to stay close, and the male is always hovering nearby, one is becoming increasingly independent, a little too independent if you ask me. I can’t get over the ducklings vulnerability–its a miracle any survive to adulthood.

Female Mallard and Ducklings ©Kim Smith 2015

The mixed flock of ducks is comprised mostly of Mallards, with several pairs of American Black Ducks mixed in. A single pair of Blue-winged Teals was spotted for several days.

Blue-winged Teal adult male breeding ©Kim Smith 2015

Blue-winged Teal Adult Male Breeding Plummage

American Black Duck ©Kim smith 2015American Black Duck

Spectacular Rubber Duck Race in Rockport Today!!

I have attended the Indianapolis 500 race in Indianapolis and it does not hold a candle to the thrills and excitement of the Rubber Duck Race put on by the friends of the Council on Aging in Rockport! A few quick shots just after the race was completed follow.


Rubber Duck and Homie mistakenly thought the race ended here after washing out to sea. They eventually figured it out and were able to get grandstand seats close to the pits with Blue Duck.


The dedicated Rubber Duck Race Officials who make sure everything including psi of all ducks are within specs.


Blue Duck has a winning ticket in here, she can feel it.


Here comes the official pace car and OMG she starts spinning out!


The Pace Car Rubber Duck blows a tire and flips as she goes by the pits!


Here comes the pack! Little pinky is edging out baby yellow!


Very few keep their head above water as the surge to gain an edge. The smell of burning rubber, the deafening quacks!


Pile up in the third turn but there is no yellow light, no caution flag in this duck eat duck race. Race results will follow. Blue Duck was seen ripping her tickets in two. There’s always next year Blue Duck! Next time I think we need to shave and wax our ducks.

Annual Rubber Duck Race in the Mill Brook; Rockport Front Beach 11 AM Saturday May 30

The Rubber Gun goes off at 11 AM but if you want a chance at winning the race you need to put some cash down on a rubbery bill before that. Rubber Duck is increasing her odds by buying four ducks at 10 AM. Her Rubber Duck Army of 88 crazy Rubber Ducks that have shown up on her porch will cheer them on.

Where: Mill Brook is that lovely park and stream that flows into Front Beach, Rockport Center.

What: Rubber Duck Race to benefit the Rockport Council on Aging

What the Duck??: The “Rockport Stuff” Facebook page has been aflame with controversy for the past few days with Duck Gate but officials have promised that all ducks will be tested for proper inflation and the winner will have to pee in a cup post race.

Controversy was squashed once Rubber Duck Race officials disqualified any entrant with feathers or actually having a quack. These two will be spectators.

Controversy was squashed once Rubber Duck Race officials disqualified any entrant with feathers or actually having a quack. These two will be spectators.

Time to visit the all new Bearskin Neck, Rockport

You might think ho-hum, I’ve been to Bearskin Neck over the years many times, but you should try it out again. Lots of new stuff. Two examples:

A new turn-around and new breakwater at the end! There is still the “Pass at Your Own Risk” sign but now it is so much easier to walk all the way out to the #6 harbor beacon. It really needs a good storm to wash the grit off it left from mashing 13 ton rocks into a flat top but you should try it out now.

There's a party out on #6 ATON.

There’s a party out on #6 ATON.

New artists! I’ll highlight just one but there are tons of new artists and shops out there. One gallery you have to stop in to see is David Arsenault. Leaf through his website but you have to see these in person. The very familiar, Good Harbor Beach, Old Garden Beach swing. After viewing if you go back outside on Cape Ann you realize you are living in a painting.

You've sat at this picnic table before enjoying a sunset haven't you?

You’ve sat at this picnic table before enjoying a sunset haven’t you? New owner, same table, different sunset.

Click on Bearskin.net for the latest including first Friday Nights in Rockport or click on the frequently updated Bearskin.net Facebook page.

Rubber Dick Approved.

Rubber Duck Approved.


Green Heron Massachusetts Cape Ann ©Kim Smith 2015Male Green Heron

What mystery bird, new to my eyes, was I seeing as it cautiously appeared from the knot of tall reeds? Its neck extended like a heron’s, but was smaller in size than even the Black-crowned Night Heron. I caught a glimpse and then waited for movement, and then waited, and then waited some more when the furtive bird at last flew into a tangle of trees where its shape was unfortunately barely distinguishable. I took a few photos knowing they would be far too grainy to post, thinking nonetheless that a photo would be at least useful for a bird id. Suddenly the mystery bird took flight to the far end of the pond, landing at the water’s edge. I stealthily made my way over and for a few moments had a clear view through the emerging grass and cattails and was able to both film and photograph.

The neck of the male Green Heron is a striking chestnut color and the wing backs are a gorgeous velvety deep greenish-blue gray. As usual, the female’s plumage is more subduedly colored. Green Herons begin to arrive in Massachusetts in May, where they will stay through the summer, dispersing southward in September. The heron’s population is concentrated around inland wetlands and coastal marshes.

From reading several species accounts, the Green Heron’s claim to fame is that it is one of the few animals that utilizes tools to capture prey. It will float a stick or bread crust on the water’s surface to lure small fish, tadpoles, and crayfish. Wouldn’t that be amazing to film! Green Heron’s also eat small snakes, earthworms, and insects.

Green Heron Cape Ann Massachusetts ©Kim Smith 2015



For more information on Motif No.1 Day and the Red Shed Film Festival see Sarah Kelly’s post from earlier today: Motif NO.1 Day is Gonna Be Amazing

Films are listed in the order of showtimes:

Calling All Chefs, Nubar Alexanian, Walker Creek Media

Vincent in the Present, Henry Ferrini

A Flight of Monarchs, Kim Smith

Hugh Verrier: Portrait of an Artist, Ben Gadberry

Toby MacNutt: Body of Work, Ashley DeLucco & Elizabeth Rossano, Vermont Community Access Media

Candles in Paradise, Rob Azevedo

That Asian, Akiyo Nishiyima

Stillwater, Jon Halverson

Whiskey Boys, Justin Plasse, Sensorium Pictures

Monsura is Waiting, Kevin Newbury & Matthew Principe, Principe Dynamics

Here And Now, Julian Higgins, Innerlight Films and Cinelicious

The Waiting Room, Jaret Sears

Sailing & Art, Christine Schmitthenner

Greenheads, Gordon Baird

Bless It, Michael Kelly, Trust The Vibe

The Granite Stoke, Ryan Scura & Dylan Ladds

Life by Lobster, Iain McCray Martin

This Perfect Place, Paul Van Ness and Kristina Lindborg

The Red Shed Film Festival is part of the Motif No. 1 Day Rockport Arts Festival. Screenings will be held at the Peggy Brenner Room, Rockport Public Library, at 17 School Street.

The Brenner Room is on the second floor; take the main staircase and turn left at the top, take another left at the end of the hall and you’re there.
For the documentary shorts, there will be audience voting for the favorite first, second, and third places.


« Older Entries