Monarchs flying into the trees to roost for the night.

As I wrote briefly last, this past week I traveled to Cape May and Stone Harbor. The coastline of New Jersey, as is Westport, Massachusetts, yet another region where the Monarchs are known to gather in large numbers on their southward migration. I was hoping to investigate and possibly capture some footage for my documentary film Beauty on the Wing: Life Story of the Monarch Butterfly. I was inspired to take the trip by sightings of Monarchs reported by my daughter Liv. Over the weekend she had seen quite a few on Coney Island, Brooklyn, as well as at Battery Park, located at the southern tip of Manhattan. Checking the weather report, I know that after a day or two of bad weather during the butterfly’s migration, the Monarchs are often seen in good numbers the following day. So Saturday and Sunday were great conditions for migrating Monarchs in NYC, Monday and Tuesday bad weather was predicted–in all likelihood no Monarchs on the wing–so perhaps, I thought by Wednesday the Atlantic coast Monarchs would possibly be moving through New Jersey.

After the long drive Wednesday I arrived at Cape May at 3:00, with little time to spare. The skies had become overcast and the afternoon was turning chilly. Very fortunately, I arrived just in the nick of time to film a batch passing by the Cape May Lighthouse, located at Cape May Point. If I got nothing else, those first few minutes of the visit would have been well worth the time spent driving!


I next headed over to Saint Peter’s by-the-Sea, a tiny charming church tucked on a side street where the Monarchs are sometimes seen, roosting in the trees on the grounds of the church. Only a few could be located. Very fortunately, a man pulled up and got out of his car near to where I was walking. He was obviously a birder, dressed in camouflage, a sun hat, sensible shoes, and toting binoculars around his neck. “Hello, sir, have you seen any Monarchs today?” I inquired. “No, he replied, yesterday yes, but none today.” A few minutes later he was joined by a whole slew of birders and, with unbelievably good luck, a few moments after that, one birder came running up, excitedly showing me a photo on her phone, exclaiming that numerous numbers were spotted further north, at Stone Harbor Point. “Find the parking lot, hit the dunes, locate the dirt road, and there you will find them, at the end of the road,” she said. Oh my, I said to myself, I’ll be looking for yet another needle in a haystack, this time in completely foreign territory, and, more driving. Happily, Google maps got me there in half an hour but by now it was getting very close to sunset.

Miraculously, I found the butterflies! Ten thousand, at least. They were swirling around the dunes searching for tree limbs and shrubs on which to take shelter for the night. One tree in particular, an old Japanese Black Pine that was tucked at the base of the dunes, and out of the wind, was hosting thousands. Watching the movement of masses of Monarchs flying for me never ceases to be a magical experience and I filmed the butterflies well into the lingering twilight. The afternoon had been cloudy gray and overcast, except for the last twenty minutes of the day, when the sun lit up the dunes and butterflies in tones of yellow and gold. I wondered as I was filming if these were the very same Monarchs that I had seen in a large roost at Eastern Point in Gloucester ten days earlier, or that Liv had seen in New York several days earlier.

Located on the adjacent beach was a noisily chattering flock of American Oystercatchers, and I shot some photos and footage of these fascinating shorebirds as well, because migrating birds are an integral part of Beauty on the Wing. American Oystercatchers breed along the Jersey shore and the south coast is at the northern end of their winter range.

Yak, yak, yak!

As I was completely unfamiliar with the area, I had planned to be tucked into my cozy hotel room on the beach by sundown, under the covers with a warm dinner, recharging camera batteries and myself. But now it was pitch black, I hadn’t yet checked in, had missed lunch and was super starving, but worse, was out of gas and didn’t know where to find a gas station that was open this late in the season.

Part Two tomorrow.

Stone Harbor Point

The dunes are covered in Seaside Goldenrod

Recycling and trash barrels!

American Oystercatcher Range Map

Friends of the Monarch Butterfly: If you would like to help towards the completion of the documentary film Beauty on the Wing: Life Story of the Monarch Butterfly, please consider making a tax deductible donation here:


Donors contributing over $5,000. will be listed in the credits as a film producer.

For more information, visit the film’s website here: Monarch Butterfly Film

For an overview of the film’s budget, please go here: Budget

Thank you so very much for your help.

With gratitude,


Some limbs of the Japanese Black Pine were covered in Monarchs and some limbs the butterflies were more sparsely spaced.



Whether on the wings of a butterfly or the seat of a ferris wheel, the souls of loved ones return to earth to be remembered by their families and friends.

In late October millions of Monarchs begin to arrive to the magnificent oyamel fir and pine tree forests of the Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt, located in the heart of Mexico in the eastern regions of Michoacán. Their return coincides with the annual celebration of Día de los Muertos, the Day of the Dead fiesta. Native peoples and their descendants today believe butterflies are the souls of departed loved ones, returning to Earth to be remembered by their ancestors. An even older tradition connects the Monarchs with the corn harvest, as their return signified that the corn was ripe. In the language of the native Purpécha Indians, the name for the Monarch is “harvester.”

Ofrenda de Muertos Gloucester

Sidewalk Butt Buttlers

Thank you to Gloucester’s Clean City Commission for Magnolia’s two Butt Buttlers. On Wednesday, Nick, a volunteer with the Clean City Commission installed two buttlers at The Magnolia Library and at Magnolia Landing. Please remember that cigarette butts are litter and DO NOT BREAK DOWN. They get into our ocean and pollutes our air and ocean, streams, rivers and lakes. Please use these buttlers. I will be emptying them and will bring to the DPW. Hopefully this stops the mess of butts on streets and sidewalks.

Garden Blessings

The gardens are put to bed for the winter.  I will miss the beautiful days in the sun tending them this summer.  The beauty of the flowers, birds, butterflies, and all the other friends that stop by.  There is so much peace in the gardens by the sea, the waves lapping against the shore, the boats passing by, wind surfers and beach goers.  The seasons pass and the garden sleeps till spring renews!  


Alexandra’s Bread never disappoints! Besides all the goodies that they usually have, these revamped “lobster rolls” look amazing and ready for dinner! I can’t imagine the trial-n-error it took to master these. Go get one!!

Alexandra hauls in her catch.

Bread Bugs!

Everything they bake is the best! ALL OF IT!

One of Gloucester’s finest storefronts and some amazing gifts are hidden inside, too.

(265 Main St, Gloucester, MA)

Nest Real Estate Completes Gloucester’s Third Largest Single Family Home Sale in Last Ten Years

129 Atlantic Rd Gloucester --5 copy

Gloucester, MA. (October 30, 2017)Nest Real Estate, LLC is pleased to announce the sale of 129 Atlantic Avenue, Gloucester MA, known as “Terra Firma,” for a sale price of $3.85 million.

Previously linked to rumors about a potential purchase by Mark Wahlberg, the sale of 129 Atlantic is the third highest single family home sale in Gloucester over the last ten years, according to MLS records.

The sale is also further evidence of a resurgence for high-end properties on Gloucester’s “Back Shore,” as it follows the recent sale of 24 Bass Rocks Road for $4.4 million on August 30th. Sales of this magnitude are a rarity in Gloucester, as MLS records show only nine single-family homes trading in excess of $3 million over the preceding 10-year period.

“We worked tirelessly to market this listing” relates Syndi Zaiger, Nest’s founder and Chief Executive Officer. “Bass Rocks is quintessential New England, and Good Harbor Beach is one of the best family beaches in all of Massachusetts. “With direct views out to Thatcher Island,” she adds “this is one of New England’s most spectacular settings. ”

Founded in 2014, Nest Real Estate is a cutting-edge, boutique real estate agency, with headquarters at 21 Union Street, Manchester-by-the Sea, MA.

Participating in the sale alongside Ms. Zaiger were Nest agents Krista Julian and Jill Fucillio-Ciaramitaro.

good work at Good Harbor Beach

On the beach side, Precision Roofing is working on the concession topper



While on the parking lot side, Jason Burroughs continues some touch up on the original studiovo Carry In Carry Out mural. More before – after photographs coming.


Back in the Day: GHS 1944-45

I recently purchased a copy of the 1944-45 Flicker, the Gloucester High School Yearbook and was intrigued by the story it told.  So step back and take a look through the eyes of high school students in 1944-45:

Gloucester sign yearbook

The high school football team apparently had a very good season!

Remember these?

Yearbook ads

Something you will NEVER see again:

Telephone yearbook ad

And something I’m afraid we will see again, even as we have seen similar statements in the time since.  Words from what turned out to be called “The Greatest Generation”

Prologue yearbook


Emergency Motion! Berkshire Museum dramatic courtroom hearing

loose lips might sink ships goff poster.png
WWII poster, Loose Lips might Sink Ships  Seymour R Goff (“essargee“) From 1934-43, milions of New Deal and Works Progress Administration (WPA) posters (original silkscreens, woodcuts and lithos) were created from nearly 35, 000 designs for various government agencies. All the poster divisions were transferred to the War Department by 1942. Seagram sponsored this one.
On Wednesday, November 1, 2017, there was a hearing in Berkshire Superior Court concerning efforts to block the upcoming Sotheby’s sale of Berkshire Museum art. Judge John Agostini presided over the hearing. Apparently the plaintiff cases were not enough; the Attorney General’s office filed an emergency motion DURING yesterday’s two hour hearing. There was a large audience. More than one observer felt that the courtroom scene looked like a Norman Rockwell painting. Judge Agostini said he will make his decision soon.
Here’s the conclusion from The Berkshire Eagle article by Larry Parnass (they’ll be getting awards for their coverage):
Trustees acted unreasonably, she said, by treating the art collection as “fungible.”
The term refers to a commodity that can be traded for something else, such as cash.
Instead, Aladro said, the board turned away from its “core legacy” as a museum and took steps that will sever its connection to cultural institutions it needs to hold future exhibitions. “You ask what the museum did wrong,” Keating said to the judge. “They violated their own written policies.”  Briefs filed in the case show that trustees voted to sign a contract with Sotheby’s weeks before removing provisions from policies that prohibited selling art in the way it intends. Keating also accused trustees of secrecy. “They knew there would be pushback. They didn’t want to face this.” He pointed to an email sent last May by the trustees president, Elizabeth McGraw, that asked fellow trustees to keep quiet. The subject line of the email read, “Loose lips sink ships.” “They didn’t want this ship sunk,” Keating said. 
Save the Art Save the Museum Facebook
See prior posts on GMG
 A few more examples of WPA era posters

Continue reading “Emergency Motion! Berkshire Museum dramatic courtroom hearing”

Creating The Ultimate Sandwich On The @WeberGrills Weber Q 200

Northeast BBQ

The Mrs wanted a gas grill to cook outdoors.  After a search on Craigslist I picked up a Weber Q 200 that had great bones but needed a good amount of douching.  A couple of hours or elbow grease, a rubber scraper and a scotch brite pad she was ready to cook on.

I can see why a Weber charcoal BBQ guy would like the Q series as a gas grill.  They are very simple to put together, the parts are readily available (thank you Boots at Foster’s Grill Store), and they have some great features like the way the grate is designed to prevent flare-ups and grease drippings from clogging your burner tube.

I’d recommend a Weber Q over any Sears bought $100-$800 gas grill that will disintegrate in a year or two’s time.

Here’s a fantastic sandwich I made yesterday on the Weber Q 200 at the…

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Treetop Yoga Costa Rican Retreat

Cape Ann Wellness

Costa Rica retreat picturesTreetop Yoga Presents a Costa Rican Yoga Retreat in Playa Guiones, Nosara, March 18-24, 2018. $100 discount if participants register by Friday, November 3
Join Susan Himml at Olas Verdes Boutique Hotel, and explore your Wanderlust in surf and yoga Mecca, Nosara. Take time for rest, relaxation, and self-discovery, as you take your yoga practice to the next level.
Retreat Includes:

7 nights accommodation in luxury suites, breakfast each morning, morning vinyasa and afternoon workshop or restorative yoga, optional sunrise meditation, 2 group dinners including first night “welcome dinner”, round-trip transfers from Liberia International to Olas Verde in Nosara. Price does not include airfare to Costa Rica.Accommodations include luxury suites, all with A/C and private baths. Saltwater swimming pool, complimentary bicycles, and complimentary laundry services are all on site.

Luxury Suites feature a living room with a sofa (first level suites have a sofa-bed), mini-fridge, coffee maker, toaster oven or microwave oven, wet…

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