Robert Ackerman Northern Lights Photo Taken In #RockportMA


My name is Rob Ackerman, I am sophomore at Endicott College. Last night, September 7th, I went to Old Garden Beach in Rockport to photograph possible northern lights. I was successful in my endeavors!!

I would like to share with you the best photograph from the night.


We can hope our Little Chick is taking his time migrating southward. Perhaps he has traveled only as far as Cape May, New Jersey, or maybe he has already migrated as far as Cape Lookout, North Carolina. Migrating shorebirds often travel shortly after a low pressure system and hurricanes are a part of the environment to which wildlife like Piping Plovers have adapted. However, no wildlife has in the recorded history of the world had to cope with a storm the magnitude of Hurricane Irma.

Piping Plover foraging, building fat reserves for the southward migration. The above PiPl was one of four of a small flock traveling in Gloucester, spotted on August 24, 2017.

Extraordinary weather events can push endangered species over the brink. High winds, storm surges, and wave action destroys coastal habitats and flooding decreases water salinity. Songbirds and shorebirds are blown far off course away from their home habitats, especially young birds. A great deal of energy is expended battling the winds and trying to return to course. Songbirds have it a little easier because their toes will automatically tighten around a perch but seabirds and shorebirds are the most exposed.

Shorebirds like Piping Plovers feet have evolved to run over sand easily and do not grip well with their toes.

Numerous Piping Plovers winter over in the low-lying Joulter Cays, a group of sandy islands in the Bahamas, and one of the areas hardest hit by Hurricane Irma. Perhaps migrating PiPl sensed the pending hurricane and held off before crossing the Atlantic to reach the Bahamas and other Caribbean Islands. The flock of nine PiPl in the above photo were seen last year at the end of August in Gloucester (August 29, 2016.)

One famous shorebird, a Whimbrel named Machi, who was wearing a tracking device, became caught up in the eye of a powerful storm but made it through to the other side of the storm. Tragically, he was subsequently shot dead in Guadeloupe. Many migrating birds like Whimbrels know to avoid places like Guadeloupe where unbridled shorebird hunting is allowed, but Machi had no power over where he made landfall. Sea turtles too are severely affected by the loss of barrier beaches. Staggering loss of life has been recorded after recent powerful hurricanes–fish, dolphins, whales, manatees, baby crab and lobster estuaries, insects, small mammals, all manner of birds–the list is nearly as long as there are species, and nothing is spared.

A pair of Whimbrels at Brace Cove in July 2015

If you see rare or an unusual bird after a storm or hurricane, please let us know and we can contact the appropriate wildlife official.


“Flight of the Monarch” Makes Triumphant World Premiere

By Tom Hauck

Even by the high standards of the Gloucester Stage Company, one of America’s most respected venues for new dramatic works, “Flight of the Monarch” has made an astonishing first impression. This new work, penned by Jim Frangione and directed by GSC Managing Director Jeff Zinn, and featuring just two actors, Nancy E. Carroll (Sheila) and J. Tucker Smith (Thomas), hits the stage as a fully formed and incisive examination of a question that every person asks themselves at some point in their lives: “What do I have to live for?”

The premise, like many great dramas, is simple: The lights come up on Sheila, a woman of advanced age, who is lying in a hospital bed. But she’s not passive; she’s on the phone, arguing with her sister. Defiant in her confinement, she just wants to get on with her life. Her younger brother Thomas, who has been dozing in a visitor’s chair, wakes up, and the siblings waste no time in exposing the family’s secrets. As the layers are ripped aside, we quickly learn that under Shiela’s fiesty exterior she’s losing faith in herself. She feels only the crushing weight of what she believes has been a lifetime marked by failure.

In crafting the peppery dialogue, playwright Jim Frangione, himself a working actor, thankfully avoids the temptation to be clever. Sheila and Thomas feel like people we know, and it’s easy to forget that we’re not hearing transcripts of actual conversations. Frangione’s ear for dialogue is spot-on and the plot elements are true to life. Yes, there are plenty of laughs in this drama, but none are forced, and they come from the heart, not from a playwright seeking to pander to his audience.

The direction by Jeff Zinn is what it should be: invisible to the audience. The play unfolds with such ease and naturalism that we forget we’re watching a consciously crafted presentation. As the actors verbally attack, retreat, and make peace – often with the span of a few seconds – we stay with them, never feeling as though we’re seeing anything other than real people with real problems.

Gloucester Stage Company veteran and Rockport resident Nancy E. Carroll and GSC newcomer J. Tucker Smith carry the production with nary a misstep. They deliver astonishing performances that resonate with real passion, dreams, and regrets. They never reach for cheap laughs, which goes a long way toward building and maintaining their credibility with the audience. When they express their deepest emotions, we believe them.

The set by Cristina Todesco supports the actors and the story. When the lights come up on the second act, which is set in Sheila’s living room, you’ll swear you’ve been there before – every casually placed tchotchke evokes the kind of run-down middle-class Cape that could use a really good cleaning. The lights, costume, and sound design all contribute to the authenticity of the setting.

“Flight of the Monarch” is a poignant and astonishing family drama that aims for the heart and doesn’t miss. Congratulations to the Gloucester Stage Company for presenting this newly created jewel. See it before it triumphs in New York! Onstage now through September 30. For tickets – while they last! – visit or call 978-281-4433.


IMPORTANT REMINDER CITY HALL MEETING TOMORROW, TUESDAY NIGHT: Gloucester Vote 9/12 City Hall @ 7PM – Plastic Bag and Polystyrene Bans

Gloucester Vote 9/12 City Hall @ 7PM – Plastic Bag and Polystyrene Bans

SEP 6, 2017 — If you haven’t done so yet, you can email your councilor (or the full council) to let them know your position on these ordinances, as they will be the ones voting on the 12th. Email addresses can be found here:

If you’re inspired after reading Jack’s letter to the editor, you can keep drawing attention to our marine debris problems and submit your own through the Gloucester Daily Times website –…/f…/online_services/letter/. Read his letter here:…/article_ba33d4f5-d543-5736…

Visit Ban the Bag Gloucester on FB

Thoreau, Trails & Sails, and Greenbelt: this weekend’s all about taking the scenic route

Emily Levin at Essex National Heritage in Salem, MA, where she has directed marketing and events like Trails & Sails for nine years. The original painting commissioned for Essex National Heritage 10th anniversary (2006) was created by local Ipswich folk artist, Julia Purinton. It’s one of three landscapes: Seacoast ; Conservation Lands and Merrimack Valley (Industry)


Emily Levin of Essex National Heritage has directed Trails & Sails for 9 years and seen its growth. Levin told me that 2017 is “one of the largest line ups of different events coming together to showcase the region’s best places in the area. The historic road is already right there. Plus you can stop in all the wonderful restaurants and shops.” The Essex National Heritage headquarters moved to 10 Federal in downtown Salem, next to most anyplace on your visit. I’ll miss steady and affable Bill Steelman who has moved on from Essex National Heritage. Congratulations to Kate Day, Danvers former Town Manager, who has joined to lead the Scenic Byway efforts.

Essex National Heritage Trails & Sails 

is Essex National Heritage’s Essex County pep rally-  annual back to back weekends packed with 150+ FREE, fun, and family friendly events. Here’s the working list of the 2017 Trails & Sails events in Gloucester September 15-17th and September 22-24th. Don’t forget to sign in! The count helps your favorite organization and locale, and you might win a prize like $150 from Dick’s Sporting Goods. 


 Climb Up City Hall Tower, Hosted by Gloucester City Hall Restoration Commission
September 23 12:00 PM to 3:00 PM

bronze plaques in city hallTalking Walls of Gloucester Gloucester’s renowned Works Projects Administration (WPA era) murals. Hosted at City Hall by The City of Gloucester and Gloucester Committee for the Arts

September 23  12:00 PM to 3:00 PM open for self guided tour
September 23    1:00 PM guided talk and tour 


Decorative Painting Demonstration, Hosted by Pauline’s Gifts,
co founder of the new Woman Owned Businesses Along the Essex Coastal Scenic Byway trail map celebrating street level, local women retailers from Gloucester, Essex, Ipswich and Rowley who share a regional ‘Main Street’ – Route 133/1A, part of the gorgeous 90 mile Essex Coastal Scenic Byway. Several planned events for Trails and Sails.

September 16  2:00 PM to 4:00 PM
September 23  2:00 PM to 4:00 PM

L-R and #  on the Woman Owned Businesses Along the Essex Coastal Scenic Byway map:
#2 Shelly Nicastro, #8 Anne Thomas and next to her one of the dealers in her shop, Connie, #4 Katrina Haskell, #5 Johanne Cassia, #1 Pauline Bresnahan, #6 Ann Orcutt, #3 Georgeanne Richards, Missing from photo #7 Lorin Hesse and #9 Cathy Reardon


Gloucester Sea Serpent Hosted by Cape Ann Museum

September 23 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM

Gloucester Sea Serpent Mash-Up at Maritime Gloucester

September 23 12:30 PM to 3:00 PM
Gloucester’s HarborWalk: Select one of three walking toursHosted by the city of Gloucester, permanent outdoor trail and exhibit (Gloucester Sea Serpent HarborWalk marker #19)
September 15-17 (self guided – Open all day) September 22-24 (self guided- Open all day)
Historic Art Trail Walk Hosted by Rocky Neck Art Colony
September 24  2:00 PM to 3:00 PM

Historic Ice House Guided Tours Hosted by Cape Pond Ice Company
Sept 15 2-3PM
Sept 16 11-12 and 1-2
Sept 17 11-12
Sept 22 2-3
Sept 23 11-12 and 1-2
Sept 24 11-12


Hosted by Gloucester’s Magnolia Library & Community Center & Iris Weaver

September 23, 2017, 11:00 AM to 12:30 PM

September 16 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM

Step on FISH NET: Gloucester’s Award-winning 300ft Street Art temporary mural Hosted by city of Gloucester and Gloucester Committee for the Arts

September 15-17 (self guided – open all day) September 22-24 (self guided- Open all day)


A Weekend With Thoreau 

weekend with throeau 2017

Two more events September 16th:

Greenbelt’s 3rd annual bicycle ‘Tour de Greenbelt’ (begins in Essex)

Paul Cary Goldberg will be giving a short talk at 1pm on Saturday September 16th at Jane Deering Gallery, 19 Pleasant Street, about his photograph series, Here Still, fitting visit during Thoreau and #TrailsAndSails celebrations

Jane Deering Gallery Pauld Cary Goldberg Here Still Thoreau weekend #TrailsandSails

Plus on Sunday September 17th

Fish Box Derby on Rogers Street at high noon

And talk back 4pm at Gloucester Stage following matinee “Flight of the Monarch”


2017 Essex National Heritage Trails and Sails #TrailsAndSails

Phil Ochs Song Night @ Old Sloop Sunday 9/17 to benefit Family Promise North Shore

A wonderful concert for a very important cause.  GET TICKETS HERE:

Phil Ochs Song Night on Sunday, September 17 is a fundraiser for Family Promise North Shore Boston, an interfaith hospitality network that provides shelter, meals, job support and case management for homeless families. The First Congregational Church is a Family Promise host church.  The concert will feature performs Greg Greenway and Pat Wictor of Brother Sun, along with Reggie Harris and Tom Prasada-Rao.  The concert will be hosted by Sonny Ochs, Phil’s sister.

Photography Imitating Art

While welcoming vistors this weekend at the Cape Ann Chamber of Commerce, Rebecca Sway a vistor from Florida came in looking for information on locations her father(Albert Sway) painted during the 1920 -1950’s.  She had pictures of the art, I was able to identify 5 of 6 location.  The first was this watercolor.  It was easy because I  had recently taken a picture that matched it.  Love meeting people and being able to show them Cape Ann.  The best is when they email and say how much they Love Cape Ann!!!

Visitors from New York




Family from Albany New York.

The daughter will be attending college in Boston this Fall


From Waterville New York.

They were staying at Beauport Hotel.

They were chatting with parking attendant at the Chamber of Commerce


This Family is from Long Island New York.

They had just finished breakfast at Sugar Magnolias


From Oswego New York

In remembrance

In remembrance of 9/11.  16 years ago but the fears and feelings of that day are still very raw.  21432735_10210482067071270_4097580264963530328_n

If you get a chance to go to NYC you must to go to the 9/11 Memorial and take a moment to absorb the enormity and reality of how our country and the lives of thousands changed in just one morning.DSCF7176-EditDSCF7171-Edit

Captain Solomon Jacob Park

Have you taken some time to visit and enjoy the beautiful Captain Solomon Jacob Park lately?

What a perfect little spot on the waterfront!

I’ve spent a fair amount of time on that particular little parcel of land because my boys have loved visiting the Coast Guard station since they were really young. I haven’t, it would appear, taken the time to really stop and appreciate it in a while however because just yesterday I noticed how gorgeous it has recently become!

With a panoramic view of the inner harbor, overlooking the Ardelle, the Adventure, part of the Coast Guard fleet, the pier at Maritime Gloucester, and much more….sitting on one of the benches here gives you the opportunity to really appreciate how spectacular Gloucester’s waterfront really is.


Nina is teaching ballet at Magma

Nina is teaching ballet to kids at MAGMA dance center, 11 Pleasant Street (5th Floor Brown’s Mall), and working over at Happy Belly 3 Duncan Street

They’re offering free classes during the month of September


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