Tag Archives: State Fish Pier

Thank You, Grand Isle

There have been some great posts (and gorgeous photos) about the USCG Cutter Grand Isle, its years of service, and the fact that it was decommissioned earlier this week.

This may sound silly, but here in Rockport, at our tiny little home, it was sad news.

My boys have loved that vessel since they could both say, “boat.”  The several months that the Grand Isle left us back in 2011 for an overhaul in Baltimore were loooong months for Thatcher and Finn.  Such a quirky thing, but they missed her presence in the harbor greatly.

Grown-ups do coffee runs….  Thatcher and Finn have asked me to do boat runs for as long as I can remember.  I’ve written about this before, so forgive me if you read it, but for YEARS now, no matter the season, we have been doing the tour.  “The tour?”  You may ask.  Well, it goes like this….  some time in the parking lot of Cape Ann Marina to see the shrink wrapped boats, or a drive by the docks to see those in the water, down the boulevard, past the Fishermen’s Wives Statue, a quick sit at the Man at the Wheel to watch whatever traffic may be going in or out of the harbor, through the fort, past St. Peter’s Square, check on some of the fishing fleet, look for the Privateer, check on the Lannon, down Washington Street to Harbor Loop, count the Coast Guard inflatables and grey 47-footers, see who is docked behind Captain Carlos, down to Cape Ann Whale Watch to see the Hurricane, and then on to the their Disney….The State Fish Pier.   Each and every time…upon driving past Pratty’s, the boys would declare, “I think the Grand Isle is in!” or “I think the Grand Isle is out!”  “What do you think, Mom?”  They’d make me drive crazy slow to let the anticipation build until the nose of our Jeep would peak past the Environmental Police building to catch a glimpse…or not…of the mighty Grand Isle.  It took a couple of years for them to realize that if they would just look up (at high tide anyway) they could see her yellow tower rising from the harbor…hence giving her away.

Thatcher, in particular, has been somewhat obsessed with the Coast Guard as a whole for years.  I’ll never forget the day he was standing forever peering at the boats through the fence at Solomon Jacobs Park until a new hero, Petty Officer Bowen, came over and invited him into the fenced in area for a tour.  Oh my, the smile!  Petty Officer Bowen later shared with me, that having grown up in Chatham, he used to spend hours doing the very same thing.  Kindred spirits, those two.  I’m not sure he’s aware of the little fire that was lit in Thatcher that day.  But I’m incredibly thankful for it.

As the love affair continued there would be more tours of the Coast Guard Station and vessels at Harbor Loop, a Coast Guard hat for his birthday, a Coast Guard shirt that reads, “Schrafft” and the year “2025”….as in the year Thatcher would be eligible for the academy, Coast Guard patches, and even a Coast Guard Halloween costume (loved that!).  And then….there was the tour of the Grand Isle.

The boys couldn’t even believe their good fortune.  They looked forward to the day for a couple of weeks….and then clammed up like crazy in the midst of all of the excitement….but, talked about it relentlessly for months afterwards. (Thanks, Cousin Rob!)  They were so little then….yet, so in love with that boat.

As a parent, you never really know what your children will become passionate about.  We have clocked hours sitting in the parking lot of the State Fish Pier just looking at the Grand Isle.  During winter months, the boys would sip their hot chocolate after hockey practice.  Summer months….there’d be smoothies.  On so many of those days, my dad would happen to call and get a good chuckle upon asking, “What are you guys up to?” only to find out that we were sitting looking at her ….again.

I wouldn’t trade a single one of those seconds that I spent wondering who thought I was stalking them as we sat in front of her bow. I was always keenly aware that surely there was someone up in the pilot house thinking, “Yikes. There’s that Jeep again.”  I was happiest when I could put the windows down so that the boys would be visible in the back seat.

So, Thank You, Grand Isle.  Thank you for helping me foster something wonderful in my boys.  Thank you for helping to spark their interest and for being the impetus for many valuable lessons.  I know at least two little boys who will miss seeing you sit proud and strong in our waters.



As Published in National Geographic July 1953

10 - Copy“Let him who knows not prayer go to sea”

“Devout Portuguese fishermen of New England’s old port of Gloucester Massachusetts, who daily face the dangers of deep water, well know the truth of that old proverb. These men who wrest a hard living from the sea rely on Our Lady of Good Voyage, as well as chart and compass. And once a year, in early June, the vessels of Gloucester’s Portuguese fleet gather at the State Fish Pier to be blessed.”


Below are photos from the same; showing the Blessing of the fleet in 1953.

Times have changed.




080906 Stitch

Magazine bought at Dogtown Bookstore


State Pier Art Rock Found

The “Art Rock” I left at the State Fish Pier last week has been found. Thanks for the Email Wilmarie.

Good morning!

I found an ArtRock!! So excited to have one of your beautiful rocks, Im from Havervill, but Ive been wanting one of those since I started to be a big fan of GMG. I went to the State Fish Pier and happens that Gloucester not only let me enjoy the beautiful view, but gave me a beautiful reminder of a great day! Now is part of my Glosta collection.

Feel so lucky!


art rock state pier september 2013

Fish on Fridays

The Fish on Fridays series is a collaboration between Gloucester photographers Kathy Chapman and Marty Luster. Look for various aspects of Gloucester’s centuries-old fishing industry highlighted here on Fridays.

Repairing the nets wlll take a few days for the crew of F/V Capt Joe. The large parking lot at the State Fish Pier is an ideal area to spread out the nets, refasten them to the float line and make other repairs. When this work is complete, they will go out to fish for cod and other ground fish.



Video © Marty Luster 2013

Photos © Kathy Chapman 2013

Early Morning Hurricane Sandy Pics From Gloucester MA State Fish Pier

You may wake up and think that this thing is no big deal.  Just be aware that the big time winds won’t be here til this afternoon.  70MPH SUSTAINED winds which won’t be here til later today are damaging.

Pictures taken 6:50AM-7:00AM

Be careful and take precautions.  Better to be safe than to be sorry.

USCG Grand Isle Still Not Deployed (probably a good thing)

Fishing boats tied up securely at the State Fish Pier

Video uploading now


American Heritage

The Gloucester Fleet

“The American Heritage”

My View Of Life As a Rock Hog By Josh Serrin

Josh Serrin writes-

So I’ve been getting a lot of flak lately about the number of art rocks that I have.  To this date I have six: Good Harbor Beach, State Fish Pier, Niles Beach, Fishermens Wives Statue, Boulevard and Jacobs Landing.  My wife has dubbed me “Rock Hog” and whenever I tell Joey that I found another one I always get the response, “ Again?”  So here’s the story of each and everyone one of them. 

8/22/2010 – Good Harbor Beach

Ah, my first! At this point of the story I had never found one.  I always saw them on GMG and thought how great it would be to have one of my own.  This one, I believe, was sitting there for about an hour or two when I saw the post.  I thought for sure it was already taken but it’s a minute bike ride down from my house so I figured why not try.  I spotted it from the road and was so happy.  I’m sure all the people walking around thought I was a quack when I jumped for joy and had a huge smile on my face.  My son Jack thought it was great too (as you can see from his face).


10/16/2010 – State Fish Pier


This one was really fun.  I was outside doing some yard work, checked the blog from my phone, jumped on my bike and hauled ass down to the state fish pier.  I had to ride around for a bit looking for this white painted rock.  I knew from the post that the rock was next to it but I wasn’t familiar with the area so I had to really look.  Not only did I find an Art Rock, I figured out just how out of shape I was biking back home.

2/13/2011 Niles Beach


I remember farting around the house on this cold day, checking the blog and then jumping in my car to see if it was still there.  Low and behold it was.

5/21/2011 Cripple Cove


I did not end up getting this rock but it was really fun to watch someone snatch it.  My mother-in-law was in town and we were all out.  We live right down the street from Cripple Cove and were forewarned about a pending art rock coming up around 7:30.  We got back to the house at about 7:31 (yes, precise time is relevant), checked the blog while we were all still in the car and headed down.  We got there, say, at 7:33 but we saw a person walking the buoy around so I figured it was gone.  I decided to not get out and look.  We sat in the parking lot for about 5 minutes.  Someone showed up talking on their phone with a big huge GMG sticker on the back of there car, walked over to the buoy and jumped for joy when they found it.  I think I remember her saying, “I found it” to the person on the phone.  All along while, we were sitting in the parking lot the rock was right there!  It was really great seeing someone else get one… I already have 3 by that time so I wasn’t too disappointed.  I only wish I was able to get it to give to my mother-in-law though.  We sat for a little while longer and people kept streaming in!  In a matter of probably 5 minutes we saw about 5 cars pull up, people get out, walk over to the buoy to look for the rock and then just back into their car and leave.  Joey took this to a whole new level a couple days later and videotaped people walking around his shop looking for one.  I would have been there but I was in the hospital and came upon this little surprise… our daughter Katie!

5/26/2011 – Fishermens Wives Statue

This is by far my favorite rock.  Not only did Paul find the PERFECT hiding place but it also looks incredible.  Again, checked my phone, jumped in the car and headed to the scene.  I walked around for about 10 minutes.  I looked in the flowers, all along the stones, under the benches, everywhere!  Art Rocks are usually at least the size of your fist so they can be spotted from afar.  This art rock, though, was incredibly small and in a little crevice under the statue.  You could be standing 5 feet from the statue and still wouldn’t be able to see it.  I ended up walking right up to the statue, peeked on top and saw the rock.

January 2012: Boulevard

This is the only one that I didn’t get a picture of.  I remember this being a pretty cold day and I was grocery shopping with my son Jack.  While in the parking lot I check my phone and saw that there was an Art Rock down at the Boulevard.  I wanted to get home though.  Jack was being a little fussy and needed a nap.  My normal routine when I’m heading home from Stop and Shop is to head over to the bridge at GHB and then a short trip to the Back Shore and then up through Bass Rocks Golf course.  We live right past the golf course so I get a nice scenic route on my way home.  Well… Jack fell asleep before we hit the Back Shore so I figured why not keep going to the Boulevard.  I pulled up to the tennis courts and saw Ed Collard walking around.  Now, it was pretty cold outside with maybe one or two brave souls walking around so I knew right away that he got it.  Ed was looking around a lot over his shoulder and doing quick loops around that area like he was waiting for someone.  I just helped Ed take down the Lobster Pot tree so I figure I’d say hi and ask him if he found it (which I knew he did).  With a big huge smile he said yes and that he was going to give it to the first person that showed up.  Well, that was me!  I said he didn’t have to but he was pretty persistent. (I think he was freezing his butt off and didn’t want to wait around for another person.)  Ed has the picture of this one laying around somewhere.

4/15/2012 Captain Solomon Jacobs Landing https://goodmorninggloucester.wordpress.com/2012/04/14/art-rocks-04142012-630pm/


Jack found the last rock.  On this Sunday morning, I had to go to the Building Center.  It was about 8:50 when Jack and I drove into Harbor Loop only to find out that the BC wasn’t open.  Instead of leaving through the TDBank parking lot, I drove down the loop.  I rarely do this but we were in no rush to go anywhere.  The Art Rock was posted the previous night and I didn’t know where Solomon Jacobs Landing was.  Well, if you didn’t know it was on Harbor Loop, then now you do and so do I!  At this point, the rock was sitting around for over 14 hours so there is no WAY that thing is still lying around… but I figure we’d get out and walk down anyway.  I wanted to show Jack the Coast Guard boats.  I parked and let him out and we walked down to the benches.  I spotted the rock at a good distance… and so did Jack.  He was the one that actually went over and picked it up.  I was planning on leaving it where it was but he didn’t.  He was really excited to find a rock, let alone an Art Rock.  And like all rocks that we find near the water they go back into the water and make a big splash!  I couldn’t let that happen though.  As soon as he made a b-line to the water I had to stop him. 


So, now you might be asking yourself what I do with all of these rocks… I have them on display around my house.  There are two in our entry way, my favorite sits alongside family pictures on a shelf in our living room and three are downstairs on my office desk which I look at every day.

So that’s the story of the Rock Hog by the Rock Hog, I guess.  I can’t say I’ll never find another one but I do know that I’ll never take from the same place twice.  I really value each and every rock that I find (if you haven’t noticed yet).  I feel so lucky to have one, let alone six.  Paul, you should know that every time you leave one of these rocks that you are not only making someone’s day but giving that person a memory that will last a lifetime.  Thank you for everything that you’ve done.

« Older Entries