Tag Archives: Stage Fort Park

Upcycled pallets vs international playground design: one dad’s inspiring backyard ninja course, Stage Fort, and BSA Extraordinary Play


“And on to the zip line. Once again, she has a lot of stuffed animal friends to cheer her on the course today…one-handed over the water bottles, and she makes it no problem…” (the father’s sweet narration)

The inspiring viral video of one dad’s DIY backyard obstacle course for his daughter could easily have been featured in Design Museum Boston‘s  excellent Extraordinary Play exhibition which was held at the BSA space, Boston Society of Architecture.  Extraordinary Play featured the best international public playground design, mostly big budget projects. Based on the posters, my sons and an older cousin thought the sky playground in City Museum, St. Louis, the Blaxland Riverside Park in Homebush Bay Australia, and the Globe Dokk1 Aarhaus in Denmark look amazing!




We’d visit any of the BSA notable playgrounds in a heartbeat if we traveled nearby: Geopark Stavangar, Norway; Adventure Playground, Berkeley; Parque Gulliver, Valencia, Spain; The Globe Dokk1, Aarhaus, Denmark; Maggie Daley Park, Chicago; and Brooklyn Bridge Park, NY. (Scroll below to see those posters.)

Gloucester is lucky to have several good playgrounds. My children loved the gigantic truck, pirate ship and lighthouse at Stage Fort, plus so many paths, boulders and expansive fields and vistas. (I don’t think the sea serpent was there when they were little. We hope they might come back to supplement the excellent swings and climbing structure)


The BSA Space is just across the bridge from the Boston Children’s Museum and alongside the Greenway. The exhibitions are free.




A tip for visitors coming to Massachusetts for the first time is to stop by the BSA lobby to check out the model of the city.

Go before the Freedom Trail! Very helpful- reminded me of the old display at Gettysburg.



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THE FIREWORKS ARE A GO!!! Hold onto your hats, we’re going to be treated to an extra fantabulous spectacular display!

Barry Pett shares that the response for requests for assistance with the Schooner Festival/Labor Day Weekend fireworks show has been tremendous. He gives a heartfelt thanks to everyone for their contributions. He’d also like folks to be aware that the City contributes greatly, with support from Mayor Romeo Theken’s administration, the Police and Fire Departments, and the DPW.

Barry provided some history about the fireworks, which have been annually displayed from Stage Fort Park since at least 1880. This beautifully poetic Winslow Homer watercolor titled Sailboat and Fourth of July Fireworks, dated July 4th, 1880, was painted during the year that Homer lived on Ten Pound Island. Unfortunately, the painting is currently hidden away in storage at the Fogg Art Museum. It is Barry’s hope that for Gloucester’s quadricentennial the painting will travel to Gloucester and be displayed at the Cape Ann Museum.

Barry Pett has been creating Gloucester’s fireworks shows for over twenty five years.


Winslow Homer: Poet of the Sea

Two more days and Stage Fort Park becomes Gloucester’s shoreline amphitheater for Country Fest. @cassadeepope headlining, also Houston Bernard Band and Southern City Band


Apparently and not surprisingly Ringo helps Boston Fence set in the fences at Stage Fort for Gloucester’s first country fest,  coming this Saturday noon -5 (gates open 11 AM). I didn’t stop to chat or take more photographs because we were in the middle of a Gloucester beaches challenge. What an unforgettable venue to listen to Cassadee Pope (big single out right now and Voice Season 3 winner. Who was her coach?) and Boston bands Houston Bernard Band and Southern City Band ! Cassadee Pope’s twitter photograph features beach/dune background. Wonder where it was taken? Everyone will have some good photos from Stage Fort. You can listen to Ringo and Emily talk to Joey about the Country fest on the podcast.





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




The view from the Beauport Hotel restaurant looking towards Stage Fort Park. Happy 4th of July!

Gloucester Fireworks July 4 2016 -9 copyright Kim Smith

Gloucester Fireworks July 4 2016 -12 copyright Kim Smith

Gloucester Fireworks July 4 2016 -11 copyright Kim SmithGloucester Fireworks July 4 2016 -7 copyright Kim SmithGloucester Fireworks July 4 2016 -5 copyright Kim Smith

Red, White, and Blue Grand Finale

I thought the fireworks this fourth extra stupendous. If you agree, the Gloucester Fireworks Committee is looking for donations, small and large, for the fireworks display during Schooner Festival over Labor Day Weekend.  If you haven’t already contributed, they would appreciate your help. You can donate by clicking here or sending a check to:

The Gloucester Fund
45 Middle Street
Gloucester, MA  01930

Please make the notation on your check “Fireworks.”

A few more

Gloucester Fireworks July 4 2016 copyright Kim SmithSpectators Along the Boulevard

GloucesterCast 166 With Guests Steven Winslow, @DonnaArd , Leslie Heffron, @KimSmithDesigns and Host @Joey_C Taped 1/17/16

GloucesterCast 166 With Guests Steven Winslow, @DonnaArd , Leslie Heffron, @KimSmithDesigns and Host @Joey_C Taped 1/17/16


Topics Include:

Steve Winslow- Stage Fort Park Beautification
Stage Fort Park Beautification Meeting-

A preliminary drawing was discussed outlining the new possible location for the Farmer’s Market. Amongst several proposed improvements, my favorite was the idea to connect, via a new trail, Stage Fort Park to Ravenswood. GENIUS!! A commitment was made to continue to work with the Cape Ann Farmer’s Market, Cyclocross, festivals, neighbors, and all interested parties. Looking forward to learning more!

Powerball Lilian Lograsso misty Amero-490 plus people. love what they said-
LoGrasso laughed. “But even though we didn’t win, I feel we’re still rich — rich in family, rich in health and rich in community. This was about community, and it was a blast.”
Open door opening
Juni Van Dyke neighborhood quilting project at cape ann museum
Melissa Cox walking the walk
Clean City Commission- reduction of bags
Coyote meeting. People walked out?
Stage Fort Park Beautification Meeting-
A preliminary drawing was discussed outlining the new possible location for the Farmer’s Market. Amongst several proposed improvements, my favorite was the idea to connect, via a new trail, Stage Fort Park to Ravenswood. GENIUS!! A commitment was made to continue to work with the Cape Ann Farmer’s Market, Cyclocross, festivals, neighbors, and all interested parties. Looking forward to learning more!
Making plans between two other people when they could communicate directly
Snow blowers, shoveling or plowing
The perpetually late
Not a crime to let your kids walk to school any more
Relax, parents. Now you can allow your kids to walk, ride a bike, or take a bus to school, without you or your children getting arrested. The recently-signed Every Student Succeeds Act contains a section (858) that protects the rights of kids to walk or go out alone. The act was sponsored by Utah senator Mike Lee, who is a supporter of the Free Range Kids movement, and provides some hope for parents who feel that their kids should be allowed some autonomy to get by own their own.
Star Wars- Must See
Leslie Heffron’s Art Rundown

The Cultural Center at Rocky Neck
6 Wonson Street, Gloucester
“For the Birds” – A Juried Multi-Media Exhibition of Avian Inspired Art
January 28-March 6
Opening Reception – Sunday, January 31  2:00-4:00 P.M.

Related Lectures at the Cultural Center:

Chris Leahy, Bertrand Chair of Field Ornithology at Mass Audubon, on “John J. Audubon: His Life and Art”
Thursday, February 11   7:00 P.M.

Kim Smith, photographer and filmmaker, “Beautiful Birds of Cape Ann”,  Thursday, February 18  7:00 P.M.

Rocky Neck Art Colony galleries open this winter:

Elynn Kroger Gallery, Side Street/ Hughes-Bosca, Goetemann Gallery, James B. Hand Fine Art, John Nesta Gallery, Zinc Gallery

Trident Gallery
189 Main Street, Gloucester
“Nest”- 3rd annual exhibition in partnership with Mass Audubon’s Museum of American Bird Art- offering artworks from the museum’s collection
January 30-March 6
Hours: Sat. 10-7,  Thurs., Fri., Sun., Mon. 10-5,   Tues. and Wed. -by appt.
Saturday, February 6,  7:00 p.m.- an evening of performance art with a natural history theme
Opening reception for the exhibition-Saturday, February 13, 5-7 p.m.

Artists represented:

John James Audubon ,Isaac Sprague, Sharon Beals, Winston Swift Boyer, Nadine Boughton, Gabrielle Barzaghi

42 Broadway, Rockport
“Party at iartcolony”-internationally known artists currently represented by major galleries, museums and collectors
Hours: Friday – Sunday 11:00 a.m. -5:00 p.m. and by appointment through January 30

Abbreviated list of artists represented:
Brian Burkhardt, Tess Atkinson , Jill Whitney Armstrong, Judith Scott Larsen, Peik Larsen, Molly Segal


Tourist from St Louis Missouri

A delightful couple from St Louis Missouri who come to Gloucester at least two times a year.  We exchanged emails and they sent me a photo they took at Stage Fort Park, the lobster they said was bought off a boat at Capt. Joe’s.

St Louis (1)

st l loobster

PHOTOS: Good Music, Good Food, Good Sun, Good Fun – and a free gift from Boston Fence @ Gloucester Blues Fest Today

VIP Seats Still Available.  You could be sitting here!

Setting up for the Blues Fest — VIP Seats Still Available. You could be sitting here!

Here's what the artists see.  Get down there NOW and you could be in the front row!

Here’s what the artists see. Get down here NOW and you could be in the front row!


The good people at Boston Fence replaced the old rusty fence at Stage Fort Park FOR FREE! Thank you FRANK!!

BREAKING NEWS: $28 Gloucester Blues Fest Tix still available @ Chamber

When I posted yesterday, I didn’t know the Chamber is still offering $28 tickets at their 44 Commercial St. office until Friday @ Noon.  And if you go to the Harbor Loop concert tomorrow and track down Frank Biscardi or Gary Gorczyca, you can get $28 tickets from them too.  Weather prediction is for 72 and sunny.  A tad cool for the beach, but perfect for dancing to the Blues @ Stage Fort Park!

Come dance to this!

OMG did you really wait ’till the last minute to get your Gloucester Blues Fest Tix? Save $12 get them now!

So … saving $12/ticket means nothing to you?  Really?  Here’s the thing: Advance sales END on Monday.  It’s a NO BRAINER to get your tickets RIGHT NOW — RIGHT HERE and save money! 

Every year the Gloucester Blues Festival gets better and better.  Next Saturday (Aug 8th) is your only chance to see major blues stars LIVE IN GLOUCESTER on the same stage.  Here’s a little taste of what you can expect from one of the SEVEN bands, Mitch Woods, who will ROCK stage Fort Park like you’ve never heard it done before!


Young Couple Meet Half Way To be Married

She is from Vermont, he is from the Middle of Pennsylvania, Gloucester is the mid-point. They will be married Sunday July  12th at Stage Fort Park.  Congratulations and we hope you will return to celebrate many wedding anniversaries here in Gloucester.

PA Vermont (1)

What did B.B. King think of Alexis P. Suter? See for yourself at the Gloucester Blues Fest Aug 8

The first time B.B. King heard Alexis P. Suter sing is when she opened for him in NYC.  This is what B.B. King said, “It’s a rare thing to share the stage with great talent like that young lady.”

On August 8th, only eight weeks from this Saturday, you can experience what he was talking about at the 4th annual Gloucester Blues Festival at Stage Fort Park.  Plus you get to hear 6 other blues legends too, including the guy known as “Hendrix of the Harminica,” Sugar Blue!

You know you want to be there and you don’t want be one of those people who forgets that you can save $12 per ticket by getting them now (GET TICKETS HERE).  So don’t put it off any longer.

Here’s a little taste of what you can expect from Alexis P. Suter at The Gloucester Blues Festival.


Q: Who’s the Hendrix of the Harmonica? A: Sugar Blue and you can see him LIVE at the Gloucester Blues Fest Aug 8

Three months from today on Saturday, August 8th, The 4th annual Gloucester Blues Festival kicks summer into high gear at Stage Fort Park featuring top national blues stars, including the man who’s known as Hendrix of the Harmonica, Sugar Blue. You’ve heard his signature playing on “Miss You” by The Rolling Stones. (You didn’t think Mick played that harp did you?)

Now you have the chance to see this blues icon (who’s also recorded with Willie Dixon, Prince, Stan Getz, Bob Dylan and many other) LIVE IN GLOUCESTER at The Gloucester Blues Festival on August 8th at Stage Fort Park.

What kills me is how much cheaper the tickets are if you buy them in advance — only $28 (GET TICKETS HERE) as opposed to $40 at the gate.  So stop what you’re doing right now and GET A PAIR OF TIX FOR YOUR MOM (and a pair for yourself too).

Here’s Sugar Blue live (Ooooh, what a tight band he’s got too!)

And here’s the Rolling Stones’ multi-platinum hit “Miss You” — you don’t see a harp in Mitch’s mouth, do you?

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