Tag Archives: Rockport

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.



The Red Shed Film Festival is part of the Motif No. 1 Day Rockport Arts Festival. Screenings will take place at:

Peggy Brenner Room
Rockport Public Library
17 School Street
Rockport, MA 01966
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.


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.

Heath’s Tea Room … Re-opening Friday April 24th, 2015. Now accepting Mother’s Day Reservations for our 11:30 am, 1:30 pm & 3:30 pm seatings.



Here’s a slide show of one of my visits. I highly recommend the cottage pie, quiche and the Roast Turkey with Stuffing  is to die for. https://www.flickr.com/photos/joey_grl/sets/72157626793853325/

visit their website> http://www.heathstearoom.com/Home.html 

Is Fluoride an Evil Conspiracy?

Next month on Tuesday, May 5, 2015, the Town of Rockport is going to vote on whether to retain fluoride in their water system. Because I sound like I know what I am talking about when it comes to science I have been asked by several groups to voice my opinion, debate in public, discuss the finer points of a paper or papers pointing out something good or bad about fluoride.

But I won’t. I am not a biochemist or public health scientist. I can tell you the myriad ways you can analyze the expression level of thousands of genes from one human cell, (my current interest is single-cell genomics), but fluoridation is not something I study in detail.

So what do I do and how am I going to vote? I do what I always do when I have a scientific question that I am fuzzy on. I ask the scientific experts in the relevant field. I look at the consensus of the National Academy of Sciences which is charged with the responsibility of advising the President on scientific matters. (Dana-Farber Cancer Institute has some NAS members on faculty so sometimes this is as easy as walking down the hall.) In this case I also check the consensus science from the World Health Organization, the Center for Disease Control, the American Dental Association, and other experts who have studied the question and written reviews. Since we have been adding fluoride to water for 65 years these reviews are extensive. They study the hundreds and hundreds of peer reviewed papers on the subject; there are old reviews and new reviews, they all say the same thing.

The one thing I will not do is google for the answer. That would lead to the Fluoride Action Network, or Dr Mercola, or Dr Oz, or the Food Babe, or Mike Adams of Natural News, or god forbid Alex Jones of Infowars. All of those sites are anti-science full of pseudoscientific mumbo jumbo that cherry picks when it cites papers, some of them even from Harvard and MIT. The problem is that all those sites have an axe to grind. They want you to fear something so they can sell you the filter or the cure or a book. The worst thing to do is to google for the information you want that supports your preconceived notion. This is called conformational bias. This is something even the best scientists have to watch out for because it is an easy trap to fall into. That is why scientists double blind their experiments so that their own bias does not invalidate the results.

So if you go with consensus science;  fluoride is in the top five for awesome public health achievements in the past century. It saves your teeth, young and old, and there is no downside to one part per million fluoride added to your town water system.

If you go with the websites I mentioned, fluoride is a poisonous toxic waste that is being dumped into the water because Big Chemical does not know where else to put it. Big Government lets them because everyone is making money and why not medicate our citizens to make them more compliant? On most of those websites it is a big conspiracy along with vaccines and chemtrails.

To me it is simple. On the one side is anti-science. Global warming denialists, anti-vaxxers, anti-evolutionists, and anti-fluoride groups. On the other side there is real science.

You can vote to keep the fluoride in the water, or you can vote against all consensus scientific opinion and vote to take it out.

– Paul T Morrison
Principal Scientist, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Principal Associate in Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology, Harvard Medical School

Megan Fox loves the taste of Rockport water.

Megan Fox loves the taste of Rockport water.

Good Dog Gallery

While the charm and beauty of Rockport never gets old, one of my favorite parts of my evening walk/run with Marlin is the window shopping throughout downtown Rockport. Quintessential New England, for sure.  We have such a huge collection of absolutely fantastic shops with such wonderful diversity. There truly is not much that can not be purchased locally! If you haven’t, for whatever reason, spent time walking and shopping through Rockport, you are missing out.

I have been getting a kick out of photographing door fronts and displays during this sleepy season as Rockport begins to wake up from it’s winter nap.  It will not be long until ice cream is dripping down arms, the doors open full-time, and the shopping can begin in full force.  Make a point to visit…and visit often.

That all being the case, I was very happy to hear from Pamela Wasserman, of Good Dog Gallery on Bearskin Neck.  I am also happy to share her words…

“When I first heard Black Dog was coming to town I quickly realized exactly what it means when they say “competition is good for a town!” I immediately wanted to make my place bigger and better than it was before.  However, just as I was securing a new, larger space, my mother fell ill and I spent the entire winter assisting her. The pressure of simultaneously renovating a bigger, more expensive space was simply not possible.

Another dog-themed store will only portray Rockport as an even more dog-oriented town! Someone came up to me the other day and said, “There’s TOP DOG, there’s GOOD DOG and now there’s BLACK DOG!” Rockport is indeed known to be very a very dog-friendly town. It may be due to such a low traffic level on Bearskin Neck.  The lack of traffic encourages people to come walk their dogs, shop, and especially to grab a treat at Roy Moore’s and then over to Good Dog Gallery. Water dishes line the streets of Bearskin Neck, waiting for thirsty pups.

Celebrating Good Dog Gallery’s 10th year in Rockport, I am proud and honored to have so many returning customers dropping in to say “hello”, to grab a treat, or to do some shopping after the long, wicked winter we’ve had! Spring is a wonderful time to see all those familiar faces, wet noses and wagging tails!

Having moved here after 20 years in Woodstock, Vermont, I chose Rockport to showcase all the doggie goodies we have today. Those items include the delightful art, books and gift items of celebrated dog artist and sculptor, Stephen Huneck, whose flagship gallery that I managed for years, was located in Woodstock, Vermont. He has since passed, but his delightful, light-hearted dog art remains very popular, recognizable and highly collected.

We at Good Dog Gallery not only take doggie humor very seriously, hence the GREETINGS mat in the window, depicting one dog sniffing the other dog’s butt, but we take pride in all the products we offer. We assist in fitting each dog to the proper harness, sweater, or coat. There is a great selection of collars and leashes to choose from. We maintain a gourmet “Barkery” with all natural ingredients made in New England.  We even feature the ever popular crispy, crunchy, dehydrated and locally caught, Cod Skins, made right here in Rockport! Yes….Good Dog Gallery’s owner has the glamorous job of hand rolling and dehydrating those cod skins for up to 14 hours! As our slogan states: “Everyone makes the same face, but they keep coming back for more!!!!” And boy, do they!

We may be small, with only one location to focus our passion on, but we have gone to great lengths to find and offer dog art and unique gifts for every dog-lover and a great selection of dog gear + treats that keep tails waggin’!

So, as we say at Good Dog Gallery, “C’mon in and have a sniff around!”  GOOD DOGS WELCOME!”

Good Dog Gallery

Tail Wagging Art, Gifts, Gear, and Treats!

for Dog Lovers and The Dogs We Love!

49 Bearskin Neck, Rockport, MA 01966

978.546.1364    info@gooddoggallery.com


Image Image 1

Hello, Black Dog!

You may have already heard the great news….but, just in case you haven’t…get ready to shop at The Black Dog on Bearskin Neck!

So exciting.  It’s quite an honor, if you ask me, for Rockport to have been chosen as The Black Dog’s newest location.  Rockport now joins a pretty fantastic list of other oceanside communities that are home to Black Dog shops.

Familiarize yourself with some of their great merchandise now…and start making your wish list…by checking out the Black Dog here!  FYI, they’re also hiring.

The first Black Dog General Store opened on Water Street in Vineyard Haven in 1992. Today, there are multiple locations of our Black Dog Stores from Portland, Maine down to Annapolis, Maryland. On Martha’s Vineyard, stores are located in Vineyard Haven, Edgartown and Oak Bluffs. On the Mainland, you’ll find stores in Falmouth, Provincetown, Chatham, Mashpee, Newburyport, MA, as well as Newport, RI, Portland, ME, Mystic, CT , National Harbor, MD, Boston, MA and don’t forget about our other island location, Nantucket!

What do these Black Dog townships have in common? The ocean, for one. A nautical heritage and a safe harbor are imperative. The Black Dog Tall Ships do visit these towns.

More importantly, these are towns that have much in common with The Black Dog, an appreciation for tradition, a love of the sea and all things authentically New England.

IMG_4623 IMG_4625


TAH-DAH, Spring….and Roy Moore Lobster Co.

Marlin and I came upon a sight for sore eyes this afternoon on our walk through Rockport.

We were both pretty excited to see the one and only Kenny Porter…and crew…wrapping up the official Day #1 of the 2015 season at Roy Moore Lobster Co.   Fantastic!

Now we just need Helmut’s Strudel and an ice cream joint or two to open up and we can get on with our happy warmer weather lives.  Winter is over and signs of spring are everywhere!

IMG_4613 IMG_4615 IMG_4616 IMG_4617 IMG_4618 IMG_4620 IMG_4621

Closing Time

This is one blog post that I don’t consider myself worthy to write for a couple of different reasons.  First of all, with only 15 years of residency in the amazing town of Rockport, I’m still a bit of a newcomer.  Secondly, my behind has never had the privilege of sitting in one of the well-worn leather seats that could tell almost 60 years worth of tales. Let alone the iconic horse saddle seat.  If scissors could speak.  What in the world am I talking about?   Well, THE hub of Rockport, of course.  Walt Julian’s barber shop.

As new parents, my husband and I made lots of decisions together…and some apart.  We agreed together on finding out the sex of our children before they were born.  We agreed together on names.  I, for example, decided on what the nursery would look like. And my husband, without consultation, decided that naturally their first haircuts would be done by the one-and-only Walt.  As if I would have argued.

Even prior to my own children, I can remember MANY an early morning that my husband would creep out of bed at a somewhat insane hour to get a jump on the line at Walt’s.  I still laugh about the day that he left at the crack of dawn as I slept on in disbelief.  I grew even more incredulous when the phone rang and it was one of his good friends….who had recently moved to Beverly…calling to see if he had already left the house.  When I said that he had already been gone for about 15 minutes all I got in return was, “Oh crap.  I’m never going to beat that line. Click.”

So, I’m sure most of you know by now, that Walt Julian has closed his barber shop. With almost 60 years of story telling, listening, laughing, trimming, buzzing, shaving, and lollipop giving….he leaves an enormous scrapbook of memories in his wake.

While I’ve only met Walt a handful of times myself…and I am not as rooted in history here in Rockport as many others are…I am thrilled and honored to have photos of Thatcher and Finn in Walt’s care.

Congratulations, Walt, on a respected and iconic career, for creating memories for generations of Cape Ann residents, and, now, on your retirement.

I wonder just how many family scrapbooks contain photos of you!  You will be missed!

One if by Land, Two if by Sea

Just a few of the things that caught my eye while out walking Marlin last night. Including “our beach” and bits and pieces of Bearskin Neck….such as one of the most photographed lanterns on Cape Ann. It was nice to be able to hit the streets again without having to battle colossal snow banks.  Bring on Spring!

Rockport Local Food Forum

Well, it’s been a while since I posted. But in the meantime, Nichole Shrafft and others have been killin’ it in the representing Rockport department, so that’s been awesome. A whole bunch of stuff is coming up, so I wanted to pass along some information, starting with a local Food Forum in Rockport scheduled for next Thursday night. We can all get together and figure out the answers to some pressing food-related issues. There’s an anonymous survey too, in case you want to make your thoughts known and submit any questions to the panelists. Click HERE for the survey.

Feel free to share the poster

Feel free to share the poster

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