Video- Straightsmouth Island Restoration Project

Joey, Here is a terrific video of the work being done out on Straitsmouth Island and some footage of Bill Lee’s Ocean Reporter going down.I was on board at the time showing the National Geographic film crew around Thacher and we stopped by Straitsmouth for some photos.We got more than we bargained for.

Paul St.Germain
Thacher Island Association

2012 Douglass Family New Year’s Day Plunge,Good Harbor Beach Plunge, Bruno Morel Rocky Neck Plunge Kayak Pic

Julie Douglass Writes-

The oldest Rocky Neck family, the Douglass’, participated in their own polar plunge on New Year’s Day, in remembrance of their father, grandfather & father-in-law Capt. Fred Douglass who passed away on 1/1/2006.  This was taken on “Flynn’s beach”- Wonson’s Cove at 4:30 in the afternoon as the sun was setting.

Thanks Joey!

Julie Douglass

Tony Sapienza Writes-

Happy New Year from the crew at the Blue Shutters Beachside Inn. 

We wanted to share some photos of two of our New Year’s traditions – our January 1 Good Harbor Beach plunge and a New Years Eve ugly sweater contest.

We may have had a smaller group than other New Year’s Day plunges around Cape Ann, but the water was just as cold and the support was just as strong for the “Blue Shutters Dips” as they braved the frigid waters of Good Harbor Beach on the morning of January 1.  This is the third year for this New Year’s tradition.

Here are some shots of Innkeeper Patty Sapienza and friends Mary Igo of Burlington , Kim Reardon of North Andover and Deb Raymond of Waltham , as well as the group that was there to cheer them on.  In one of the shots you’ll also spot a surprise diver emerging from the waters:  Patty’s son Mike.

Finally, we tossed in a photo from the ugly sweater contest held on New Year’s Eve.  I think you’ll agree – they’re all pretty damn ugly.

Happy New Year

– Tony and Patty Sapienza & Ed and AnnMarie Comer

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2012 Rocky Neck Plunge Pic- Kayak View From Bruno Morel

JoAnn Bell Writes-

Hi Joey
Thought this photo was particularly good at capturing the Plunge.  The
photo was taken from the water by Bruno Morel who was out in my
husband’s kayak so he could get some action shots from the front. 
JoAnn Bell


Photos of those that did not plunge but watched from Denise Merlino Felock

Hello Joey,

Thanks for your web site, my husband John Felock follows you daily and is getting me hooked. We attended the Rocky Neck Plunge this year for the first time with friends and their 94 year old mother. We had a blast, here are two photos. We moved to Gloucester 3 years ago and love it, we are hooked on the strong sense of community.

Keep up the great work.

Denise Merlino FelockCrop 2012 Rocky Neck LaRosasDunkSwan plus Gabizo-IMGP0170

Did You Know? (Goose Cove Bridge and Memorial Walkway)

That the Goose Cove Bridge on Washington Street at Goose Cove was built in 1952, which makes it older than me and therefore probably really in need of the stone repair work that is being done to it?  I have been told it is also the landmark that separates Riverdale from Annisquam.  This bridge has a lovely walkway, dedicated in May of 2004 in memory of Stephen Ross, a Gloucester High School freshman who was struck and killed by a drunk driver while walking home.  I have walked across this bridge many times enjoying the views of Wingaersheek, Annisquam and Goose Cove, but just noticed the memorial plaques for the first time.  It never ceases to surprise me when I notice something for the first time that I have walked by repeatedly, and makes me wonder where my eyes and mind were every other time I passed it.  I have a whole new appreciation for this walkway now.

In memory of Stephen, there is also a STEPHEN B. ROSS SCHOLARSHIP.  This scholarship is given to deserving Gloucester High School seniors every year.  To donate, send contributions to Bob Gillis at the Cape Ann Savings Bank, 109 Main St., Gloucester, MA 01930.

E.J. Lefavour

Chelsea Berry tickets are Selling like hotcakes!


According to the Gloucester Daily Times:  Gregg Sorensen, a Rockport Music spokesman, said all concerts are selling well, but Chelsea Berry and the New England Gospel Ensemble, are “selling like hotcakes,” and The Kingston Trio concert in February is almost sold out.  see the full article here.

Get your tickets Now to see Chelsea!

Great music around town tonight from Dueling Painos at Giuseppe’s to Richard James Band that plays zeppelin, the dead, phish, floyd….and many more at Minglewood.  Get out and hear some great music.  Click here to see the full music lineup.

Cathy Mccarthy Writes In With A Rocky Neck Plunge Food Drive Update

Hey Joey…

Just a little note of thanks for the numerous plugs for our plunge.. We collected 610 lbs of food for The Open Door. Thanks for all the help ..Really, I can’t thank you enough..  As Sarah Grow told me, the pantry has had an increase of 33% in need during the holiday season.

We begin the year on a positive note and will carry on this new tradition in giving back in years to come… 


Cathy McCarthy

Joey’s note-

Thank you Cathy for all you and everyone on Rocky Neck does to make the entire community feel welcome and your efforts to turn a hugely fun and positive event into something that also gives back to the needy.  We had a blast at your plunge.

Did you know The Annie has the only weekly DANCE CLUB on Cape Ann?

  • Every Friday
  • Family Dance 7-9pm ALL AGES (how often do you get to dance with your kids?)
  • 21+ after 9pm (then it’s BYOB)
  • Suggested $5 donation to help keep the lights on
  • House DJ Kissinger
  • Great sound system!
  • Part of our weekly Cape Ann After Dark Events!Henry Allen

    We support The Brain Candy Project, a North Shore-based charitable foundation that provides a support system for parents living in hospitals with their critically ill children.


The boarded-up door to a (missing) fire escape, on the former St. Ann High School.

Efforts are being made to either recuperate this beautiful old building for a good purpose, or to remove it and dedicate the property to something new.  Turns out there are legal issues to work out.  I hope it is saved before it is too late.  The granite and brick work are beautiful, even in decay.



The Sarah Lufkin Memorial Scholarship Fund will hold its 13th annual benefit fund-raiser on January 10th from 6 to 10 p.m. at Periwinkles Restaurant in Essex.

The Lufkin family will host the event which will be filled with friends, food, music, raffles and a silent auction will be held to benefit the Sarah Lufkin Memorial Scholarship Fund.

The recipient of this year’s award will also be announced during the event. The scholarship was set up shortly after Sarah’s death in 1997 to award money to students who have attended Essex Elementary School and who will be studying in a field that has a direct effect on children.
"We want students who will be working with children to benefit from the scholarship, in essence, continuing what she was unable to do," according to Sarah’s sister, Kim Lufkin. "Sarah returned to Salem State part time after finishing two years of chemotherapy and made the dean’s list that semester."
All food for the evening will be donated by local restaurants and caterers while the staff at Periwinkles will donate their time and energy. Live music will be performed by Joe Militello and there will be a raffle, a silent auction, and a 50/50 raffle. Tickets are $25 each and will be available at the door.

For ticket information or information about how to donate an item please contact Sue Lufkin (978) 768-7122, Laurie Lufkin (978) 985-6532 or Kim Lufkin (978) 853-0845.

Rare Bird Sighting Bird In Danger- from Bill O’Connor


Hey Joey,

On New Year’s Eve I was headed over to Horizon Chinese Restaurant to pick up our New Year’s Eve feast, when I came across this bird literally standing in the middle of the road.  I almost ran it over, and couldn’t tell what it was at first – I thought it was road debris.  I stopped the car and got out to check what it was, and when I saw the feet it kind of freaked me out a little bit.  This bird did not flinch a bit even though it was fully lit with high beams and fog lights from my car which was only a few feet away, so I figured it was sleeping.  I snapped a couple of photos of it with my iPhone, then I nudged it with my toe a couple of times before it woke with a startle and scurried off.  

The bird’s behavior was pretty strange so I submitted it to the Mass Audubon and they determined it was a rare sighting for this area, and the bird was a young Purple Gallinule that hatched in 2011.  The one I saw looked like this:  When they are full grown they look like this:

There’s a lot of concern for the well being of this animal because it’s not equipped to survive the cold of the North, so if you see it around – report it to the Mass Audubon at ASAP.

~Bill O’Connor
North Shore Kid