Italy Day 6: Ravello

Start the day driving from Positano to Ravello for cooking class with world renowned Mamma Agata. Ravello just edges out Positano for favorite small place in Italy. Classy, laid back, naturally beautiful and less touristy than Positano and much less than Amalfi.

The cooking class like this trip is a once in a lifetime kind of experience. Mamma Agata and daughter Chiara exude that same warm genuine friendliness like my Grandmother Felicia had.

The food spectacular, the hospitality wonderful, the views priceless.

Observation about Italian food (not Mamma Agata’s but in general):

I’ve eaten lots of bread since I’ve been here and for some reason it’s rather blah. We should be very grateful for the special bakeries we have in Gloucester. I haven’t had bread anywhere in Italy that comes close to Virgilio’s, Sclafani’s or Alexandrea’s. Nowhere near as close. Our breads are nice and crusty on the outside soft in the inside and pack way more flavor than the Breads I’ve eaten here.

This isn’t the case for pizza dough or pastry. The pastry here are outrageous creations of art and the pizza dough is light and wonderful.

On coffee:
While espresso is nice and cappuccino is everywhere I miss a good ol cup of coffee from Lone Gull, Cape Ann Coffee and Pleasant Street like you read about. In a large paper cup-to go-to sip on over the course of a half hour or so.

We couldn’t ask for better weather and the Mrs itinerary has been spot on, with help from our friends Randy and Stephanie. Wouldn’t change a thing with the places we’ve stayed or eaten or length of visits for each.






Cape Ann Chamber of Commerce Golf Tournament

On Monday, May 7, under a clear blue sky, more than 75 golfers took part in the Chamber’s 23rd annual golf tournament at Bass Rocks Golf Club. From the numerous sponsors to the array of golfers, the support was incredible and made for a successful event on Cape Ann. Because of this the Chamber will help to fund scholarships for local high school students through the Business Education Collaborative and give the leaders of tomorrow another opportunity to succeed.

New Moon this Weekend Sunday May 20

Kim just posted shots of the Super Moon fifteen days ago. Stumbling around in the dark to get that shot can be a trial but her shots make it worth it.

But there is another moon out there that doesn’t get as much glory as the full moon and that is the new moon. That’s when the moon is right on top of the sun so you cannot even see it. So how do you take a photo? The trick is to get out there before sunrise when the sliver of a fingernail moon rises before the sun. It can be just as cool as the full moon and since no one usually even notices it since it is pretty much impossible to see once the sun is up, it makes it that more special.

The details:

Thursday morning May 17 moonrise 3:18  AM 14% of moon left, sunrise at 5:17 AM

Friday morning May 18 moonrise 3:47 AM 8% of moon left, sunrise at 5:16 AM

Saturday morning moonrise 4:18 AM 4% of moon left, sunrise at 5:16 AM

On Sunday the new moon rises just after the sun so no way can you see it. Now here is the killer. The moon moves around quite a bit where it rises during the month. This weekend that little sliver will be rising right between the twin towers of Thacher if you set up out on Good Harbor Beach on the bridge end. Get out out there. Low tide is at 4:30 AM on Friday. You could get a nice shot across the wet sand to the towers. Too far inland or at the other end of GHB and the moon rises behind the headland.

Saturday morning with only 4% left will be tough to shoot. The sun will be up and you’ll have a very small window to photograph it. Friday morning may be epic. And if you get the shot on Thursday and Friday you will be warmed up for exactly where the moon will be on Saturday. Very few people ever see the sliver of moon the day before a new moon.

Rubber Duck Quick Tip: the minutes tick off and where is the damn moon? Just a wee bit of fog or moisture will obscure the faint fingernail as the twilight starts brightening the sky. I’ve often missed the moonrise then picked it up when it is five moon diameters above the horizon. If you roll out of bed and hear the fog horn just go back to bed.

For the super serious: bring a compass. The moon rises at 76, 70, then 66 degrees on Thur, Frid, Sat, respectively. For the non serious, that would be east.

For the super super serious, download The Photographers Ephemeris and map your location. It’s free.


Dylan Thomas once wrote, “Time passes. Listen. Time passes.”  

While this is true, it doesn’t have to be true for the thousands upon thousands of pixels that make up your most treasured memories. 

Whether they are five years old, or fifty years old; printed photographs are quite vulnerable to the elements. Not unlike other relics of a bygone non-digital era, photographs require just as much maintenance as your beloved vintage vinyl! 

When caring for your photos, I can offer you two powerful words of advice; preventative maintenance. Here are some useful tips to help you get started.

1. Paper and Plastic: While photo albums are a great way to preserve your memories, always remember to check the paper quality of the album before placing the photographs inside it. Acidity levels in the paper can destroy your photos over time; erasing the color and detail. When shopping for an album, look for “acid-free” or “archival-safe” labels on the album , stay away from “magnetic pages” and avoid using corrosive adhesives. Keep the same idea in mind when considering the plastic sleeves, common in most photo albums. While plastic sleeves are a great way to keep your photos “fresh”, if you’re not using “lignin free” plastic, your photos will erode over time, become stuck to the plastic more easily and may even develop a yellow or orange hue. If you choose to store your photos in a photo box, the same rules apply… make sure the box is acid-free!

2. Air Supply and Climate Control: Dry air is optimal for photo preservation. Too much humidity will damage untreated, non framed photos and cause mildew. The damage caused by mildew or mold is usually permanent because it grows by “digesting” the cellulose in the paper backing of the photo. At the very least, it will cause permanent staining. I know this sounds weird, but treat your photos as you would treat yourself. Do not store them in a cold, damp basement or a stuffy, hot attic (remember that heat rises and a high temperature accelerates deterioration). Store your photos in an environment that feels comfortable to your own skin. Extreme climate fluctuations are a photo’s worst enemy. 

3. The Flat Truth: Keep your photos flat. Do not roll them or fold them. Some people have a tendency of rolling up an awkwardly shaped or too-long photograph and then using a rubber-band to secure it. I cannot stress this enough… DO NOT ROLL YOUR PHOTOS. They will become exceedingly brittle over time, making the restorative process of “humidification” very difficult. Rubber-bands contain sulphur, which will degrade photographic emulsion.

4. Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark: Light can and will hurt your pictures! If you must hang your framed originals, try to hang them in subdued light and use an anti-UV frame, avoiding direct sunlight at all costs. If possible though, it is advisable to display copies and keep your originals in the dark. 

5. Hands Off: Do not handle your photos with bare hands. Always wear gloves, preferably of the cotton variety. Oils from your fingers, even after being meticulously washed, will replenish themselves and stick to the photographs. The acids in the oils will, over time, damage your pictures. (FYI… It is possible to permanently brand a fingerprint into a photograph, simply from handling it) I’d like to point out that you should also avoid using adhesives or fasteners such as rubber cement, pressure-sensitive tape or paper clips. Paper clips, especially, will scratch your photos very easily.

Are you cringing yet… thinking about all those old photos you inherited from your great grandmother and stuffed in an old shoebox from the 1970s, which now sits, collecting dust and who knows what else, up in the attic, wedged between a box of broken Christmas lights and a rusty trunk… containing even more photographs, just sort of rolled up, secured with rubber-bands or stacked in a chaotic heap of disorderly haste?! Fear not. 

While there are a number of DIY tricks for photographic restoration, (which I just may be so inclined to do another blog post about in the future), there are also professionals, like myself, out there who can help you bring your damaged photographs “back to life” with digital restoration. 

And who am I, exactly? My name is Vignette-Noelle Lammott and I am a recent transplant to the glorious community of Cape Ann, via Chicago. My business, which I launched this past October, is called Retrocognitive Restorations. Though I have been restoring photographs professionally for only a few years,  I have studied tarnished beauty, all of my life. An antique shop enthusiast, I surround myself with old things, and can often be found rummaging through dusty used bookstores or scouting around local flea markets and estate sales. I like to think of what I do as more than just retouching your old snaps, but rather, restoring your most treasured memories.

Email me to set up a free consultation. I offer several packages, depending on how many photographs you need done and whether they are true vintage or relatively recent. You can view some samples of these packages at my website And don’t forget to look me up on Facebook, for even more free advice on photocare as well as some stunning “before and afters”.

Vignette-Noelle Lammott
Owner at Retrocognitive Restorations

Ghost writer revealed, SXSW star visits Minglewood & 2 great songs about matches

OK, we admit it.  Vickie’s GMG posts are not always by Vickie.  Sometimes they’re by Peter.  This could be because Richard Gaines  once called us “interchangeable”.  Or it could be because we’re both insanely busy and sometimes she doesn’t have time to post.  Actually, sometimes we co-write the posts.  Anyhow, that’s why we’ve newly identified ourselves as team FOBs and you now see both of us in the photo.  So you can try to guess which one of us writes each post.  Just put your guess in the comments and maybe we’ll do something about it.

Let’s all thank Pete Lindberg for bringing Tristen to Minglewood last night.  Watch the video and you’ll  see why she is SOOOOO GOOD (see what SXSW says about her).  Also check out this video of her song Matchstick Murder. (No, Tristen, we’re not afraid).

Now, we can’t mention Pete Lindberg without reference to his great new song “I Won’t Pay for Matches” (Please correct me, Pete, if I got the title wrong).  Next time you see him, be sure to request it.  We’re all waiting patiently for him to record it (well not so patiently, really).

Before I went to Minglewood, I was at Shalin Liu for Greg & Francie’s spectacular presentation/concert.  No amps, no mics.  Just a harpsichord on stage in one of the most perfect acoustic settings on Earth.  I was in the back row and I could easily hear every nuance.  Beautiful!

All this on a Tuesday night!  There’s simply no way to see all the great music on Cape Ann.  You just have to choose.  See the full lineup here for some help with that.

And don’t forget the Herb Pomeroy tribute concert on Friday that benefits the Berklee/Gloucester Scholarship Fund.

Super Moon Photos

I am a little behind in posting my Super Moon May 2012 photos. I thought I hadn’t anything worth posting and didn’t bother uploading. Unfortunately, I broke my tripod taking the first shot. Photographing in the dark is not my specialty and the venture was my usual comedy of disasters.

Perigree Moon at Niles Pond

Birch Trees at Niles Pond for Maggie Rosa

I arrived at the Good Harbor foot bridge early and waited for the moon to rise, and waited, and waited. Nothing. Had I read the time incorrectly? Impatiently I left and as I was coming around the crest of the hill on the back shore, there was the perigree moon , in full glorious orange rising across sea. I hadn’t gotten the timing wrong, only the location. In my hurriedness to set up, I parked poorly and almost got run over getting out of the car. Struggling with my tripod in the dark I tripped and crashed and snapped off a leg; tripod is now a monopod. After all that, I was surprised to see the night wasn’t a complete waste of time. Note to self–bring flashlight and go with a friend when photographing late at night!

Wednesday’s at The Rhumb Line

Prime Rib Specials!
Wednesdays Only!

Hello everyone!
Wednesday, May 16th
This week:

Over the years, the Rhumb Line has certainly become my home
(not too far) away from home.  I do so very much enjoy taking
a full night every once in a while, singing and playing straight
through.  Such will be the case on this week’s Wednesday…
although friends and guests are, as always, welcome to join in!
~ Fly
Dinner with Fly Amero: 8 – 11pm
*Each week features a special, invited musical guest
Dave Trooper’s Kitchen…
Prime Rib Dinner –
 $10.95 (while they last)
Prepared fresh weekly by “Troop”… always good!


June 6: Ric St. Germain

Looking forward…
…to seeing you there!  🙂 ~ Fly

The”Tide Skipper” from Dom Nesta

The “Tide Skipper” from Dom Nesta

From Dom Nesta;

My boat we now use mainly for lobstering and anything you hire me to do. She’s a 20ft skiff we built the cabin on last fall. We wanted it to look pretty unique so it ended up looking alot like an easternrig.

Seven Seas Whale Watching Report 05/14/2012

Seven Seas Whale Watching

Report 05/14/2012

From Jay Frontiero;
“Hey everyone. We have been enjoying some excellent sightings recently and I just finished another whale sightings update.
This one has some great photos in it, including one of the best Dolphin shots we’ve ever taken, and some really cool (and a little bit gory) shots of a Gray Seal eating a Striped Bass.”
Anyway, you can find the update here:

Students art at the Gloucester Lyceum and Sawyer Free Library

As part of the Gloucester Public School District Arts Festival last weekend, students’ art was on display at the library, across the street from City Hall. Here are a few photos of the exhibit there. Click on any of the photos to see it bigger.

Unfortunately, it seems that some or all of the art has already been taken down. Some of it was really amazing!

TODAY: enjoy a tapas menu at My Place by-the-Sea and support Motif No. 1 Day!


On Wednesday, May 16, the Inns of Rockport, in partnership with the Rockport Division of the Cape Ann Chamber of Commerce, will be sponsoring a Dine-Around fundraiser in support of Motif #1 Day at My Place by the Sea, located at 68 Bearskin Neck Rockport.

My Place owners Kathy Milbury and Barbara Stavropoulos have generously agreed to support Motif #1 Day programming by donating 20% of sales during both lunch and dinner on May 16 to the Rockport Festivals Committee and the Chamber of Commerce.

Everyone is encouraged to gather at My Place by the Sea with family, friends, and co-workers on Wednesday, May 16 for lunch or dinner, or both. Enjoy a delicious luncheon from My Place’s regular menu, or a “Tapas Time” dinner from 4:30 to 8 from their special $10 to $14 small plates menu offered every Wednesday during the spring. You will be helping to raise money for a great cause, Motif No.1 Day, taking place on Saturday, May 19 in downtown Rockport.

For further information please contact Suzan Galpin of the Inns of Rockport at 978-546-9251, or Peter Webber of the Cape Ann Chamber of Commerce at 978-283-1601. For My Place by the information please call 978-546-9667 or visit  For information about Motif #1 Day, including a detailed schedule of events, please visit

Update: Series- A question About The 100 Year Old Gloucester Postcards From Peter Dorsey- A Gloucester Fisherman


Jonathan Olly writes-

Hello Joey C,

While doing a Google search just now I came across the postcard you posted on March 22 of the old fisherman posing in oilskins.  Would you happen to know the name of this man?  I ask because I’m a graduate student down here in Providence, RI, and I’m writing a dissertation chapter on old salts.  They’re found around the world, but in the United States they’re almost exclusively found in New England.  Your postcard photo (which is rare, and one of the old salt postcards I’m still hunting for) may have been done by Gloucester photographer/engineer Herman Spooner, who photographed a number of retired fishermen (John Scott, Lemuel Friend, Oliver Emerton, and David Stanwood among them).  But, I don’t recall seeing this image in his photo collection at the Cape Ann Museum.  So if you have any additional information about your postcard I’d be happy to hear it.

Best regards,