A huge shout out to Thacher Island Association and president Paul St. Germain for winning an Essex National Heritage Area partnership grant to restore the elevated pedestrian lighthouse walkway on Straitsmouth Island.

Paul St. Germain writes, “We will restore the original C 1850, 220-foot granite and wooden timber walkway to provide safe and easy access for the public to visit the lighthouse from the keeper house. This walkway has been there since 1854 and was destroyed sometime in the 1930’s. Besides its usefulness it has also been an iconic signature of the island’s profile for over 80 years.”

This unique 1906 photo shows the 315-foot walkway, the oil house, and keeper house, as well as Thacher Island’s Twin Lights in the distance.

Facts about Straitsmouth Island Light Station

  • First lighthouse was established in 1835 to mark the entrance to Rockport Harbor.
  • The lighthouse was rebuilt in 1851 and again in 1896.
  • A 6th order Fresnel lens was installed in the lantern in 1857.
  • The current Victorian styled keeper house was built in 1878 similar to the one on Thacher Island.
  • In 1932 the light was converted from white to green.
  • Coast Guard moved the station to shore at Gap Head and sold the island to private parties in 1934.
  • Coast Guard continues to maintain the light as an official aid to navigation today. In 1967 the island (except for the lighthouse) was donated to Massachusetts Audubon Society who maintains it as a wildlife sanctuary.
  • Straitsmouth Island was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1987.
  • In 2010 the lighthouse and 1.8 acres of land was given to the Town of Rockport by the coast guard.
  • In 2014 the Town of Rockport signed a long term 30 year lease with Mass Audubon for the use of the keeper and oil houses.


Straitsmouth Island pounding waves after March nor’easter

Beautiful Fish: Menhaden -By Al Bezanson


Menhaden: Pogy, Mossbunker, Fat Back, and 30 other common names.

The menhaden, like the herring, almost invariably travels in schools of hundreds or thousands of individuals, swimming closely side by side and tier above tier. In calm weather they often come to the surface where their identity can be recognized by the ripple they make, for pogies, like herring, make a much more compact disturbance than mackerel do, and “a much bluer and heavier commotion than herring, which hardly make more of a ripple than does a light breeze passing over the water,” as W. F. Clapp has stated to us. Also, pogies as they feed, frequently lift their snouts out of water, which we have never seen herring do, while they break the water with their dorsal fins, also with their tails. And the brassy hue of their sides catches the eye (as we have often seen), if one rows close to a school in calm weather.

No wonder the fat oily menhaden, swimming in schools of closely ranked individuals, helpless to protect itself, is the prey of every predaceous animal. Whales and porpoises devour them in large numbers; sharks are often seen following the pogy schools; pollock, cod, silver hake, and swordfish all take their toll in the Gulf of Maine, as do weakfish south of Cape Cod. Tuna also kill great numbers. But the worst enemy of all is the bluefish, and this is true even in the Gulf of Maine during periods when both bluefish and menhaden are plentiful there. Not only do these pirates devour millions of menhaden every summer, but they kill far more than they eat. Besides the toll taken by these natural enemies, menhaden often strand in myriads in shoal water, either in their attempt to escape their enemies or for other reasons, to perish and pollute the air for weeks with the stench of their decaying carcasses.

From Fishes of the Gulf of Maine by Bigelow and Schroeder (1953) online courtesy of MBL/WHOI


Currently, according to the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, based on the 2017 Stock Assessment Update, Atlantic menhaden are neither overfished nor experiencing overfishing.  More here on the commercial harvest for reduction to fishmeal and oil and the commercial and recreational bait fishery.

Al Bezanson



Lowell’s Boat Shop 

Lowell’s Boat Shop in Amesbury, will be carrying out urgent and emergency projects including the structural repair, stabilization, and shoring of facility footings and foundation piers, which are being eroded and causing the building to sag. Funding from the Essex Heritage grant program will enable Lowell’s Boat Shop to construct a proper footing that would mitigate erosion and allow them to slowly return the structure back to level and set it on a foundation pier that will be permanently stable.

Andover Historical Society

Based on a successful 2017 pilot program intended to augment a lack of local history in the school curriculum until 3rd grade or even high school, Andover Historical Society will be offering “Discovering my Neighborhood,” in which students will examine objects, photographs, and maps that tell the story of their neighborhood and the town. Students will be able to consider how Andover has changed, how it stayed the same, and how it might change in the future. The program will be tailored to each neighborhood, the historical development of Andover being reflected in its five school districts.

Bread and Roses Heritage Committee, Inc.

Taking place September 3rd in the historic Campagnone Common, Partnership Grant funding will be used to make possible The Bread and Roses Labor Day Heritage Festival, a unique event commemorating the Great Lawrence Textile Strike of 1912, now known world-wide as the Bread and Roses Strike. The free, family-oriented event that hosts the city’s many community organizations, educational workshops, and discussions on historical and contemporary issues aims to bridge the relationship between the immigrants of the past and present by revealing common struggle through music, theater, dance, food, art, historical tours, presentations, and family activities. Historical interpretation occurs through  guided trolley tours, walking tours, at talks and discussions at the Lawrence History Live! tent, and by exhibitors in our History and Labor area.

Marblehead Museum

With the goal of maintaining and protecting the 1768 Jeremiah Lee Mansion, the Marblehead Museum will be working to continue re-stabilizing the 20 front windows of the building using a durable putty to seal the glass to the frames and secure all framing members, effectively protecting the mansion and sealing out the elements. The two-to-four week long project will be carried out this summer, proactively preventing the glass from coming loose from the frames, and moisture being allowed to continue damaging the internal plaster and floors.

Middleton Stream Team

The Middleton Stream Team with utilize their Essex Heritage grant in order to construct an unpaved walking path in the Henry Tragert Town Common, along which they will place unobtrusive interpretive signage displaying short narratives on the natural and historical significance of the area.

Historical Society of Old Newbury

The Historical Society of Old Newbury will use their partnership grant to update their current museum, which was last updated in 1995 and was victim to unfortunate water damage. Partnering with five local schools to offer new programming, the museum will be turning its focus to its collections and exhibits relating to the American Revolution and Civil War to provide deeper interpretation of these two major conflicts that figure prominently in local history. The update will also ensure that these events are well-represented by the museum’s collections, and align with the curricular interests of local school groups by paying special attention to the events effects on a local level.

Theater in the Open

Theater in the Open will utilize an Essex Heritage grant to engage a qualified contractor to repair the roof and help to replace the exterior shingles of the Maudslay Gatekeeper’s House garage and garden, designed by William Gibbons Rantoul and built in 1903. The garage and garden are both highly visible from the road, making a big impact on the appearance of the Gatekeeper’s House to all visitors to Maudslay State Park. This spring, visitors will also see a completely restored entrance porch to the main house and significant improvement to the grounds.

Peabody Historical Society and Museum

Partnering with the City of Peabody and the Peabody Historical Commission in their efforts to improve Crystal Lake Park, the Peabody Historical Society will be implementing the “Witch Trials Legacy Trail of Peabody” by developing and providing three new interpretive displays clarifying witch trial history as it relates to Peabody as well as removing and re-placing two signs already at Crystal Lake Park to compliment the new design. In addition to the improved signage, the Peabody Historical Society will be developing an interactive audio tour, information for which will be displayed on the new signage.

Thacher Island Association

Thacher Island Association will replace the original c. 1850, 220-foot granite and wooden timber walkway to provide safe and easy access for the public to visit the lighthouse. This walkway has been there since 1854 but was destroyed sometime in the 1930’s. Besides its usefulness it has also been an iconic signature of the island’s profile for over 80 years. The walkway provided access from the keepers house to the lighthouse, and the rebuilt walkway will serve the same function for visitors to the lighthouse once the island is reopened to the public next year.

Hamilton Hall

Arriving in Salem from Curacao in 1798, John Redmond took up living quarters in an apartment at Hamilton Hall, serving as its caretaker upon its completion in 1805. Working as a barber, caterer, and restauranteur, Redmond became the preferred caterer and provisioner for all social events at the Hall, and over time he came to be known as “principal restauranteur” in Salem, and his family went on to be active in the early abolitionist movement. Hamilton Hall will use their partnership grant to develop inclusive narrative content about John Redmond’s life and the role that he played in Salem and Hamilton Hall’s early history, complemented by visual interpretive aids to broaden their reach to better reflect the culture and population of Salem.

Topsfield Historical Society

Originally built in 1683 and largely unaltered, the wood frame edifice of the Parson Joseph Capen House is a well-known icon arguably ranking among the most architecturally significant structures in the Essex National Heritage Area and is considered by many authorities to be one the finest extant examples of Colonial Era architecture anywhere. The Topsfield Historical Society will use their Essex Heritage grant to replace deteriorating clapboarding of various materials – including oak, pine and cedar – and prevent damage to and decay of the structure caused by allowing moisture to penetrate the frame.

Wenham Historical Association and Museum

As the Topsfield Fair marks its 200th anniversary, the Town of Wenham also celebrates its 375th anniversary and the Wenham Museum its 95th anniversary. To highlight an important and often overlooked facet of local history, the museum seeks to install this exhibition on Col. Timothy Pickering, whose legacy is common to all of these entities, this year. Using their partnership grant from Essex Heritage, the Wenham Museum will create an interactive exhibit devoted to Col. Timothy Pickering’s life in Wenham, his impact on agriculture, and his role in founding the Essex Agricultural Society, as well as improving the museum’s Pickering Library.In the exhibit, visitors will see historic Pickering Family textiles, such as a crest and wedding coat. Correspondence, reproductions of portraits, a family tree, visual interpretations of agricultural “best practices,” and text relating to the founding of the Essex Agricultural Society will also be included.

Congratulations to our 12 recipients, who will be working to implement a diverse range of educational, interpretive, and preservation projects throughout Boston’s North Shore and the Merrimack Valley over the next year!

Cape Pond Ice truck job

Summer is Coming – but several of our stellar Cape Pond Ice drivers have “graduated” & moved on, to the US Marine Corps & other “less Cool” but “real jobs”, so we have Driver openings we are looking to fill this Summer –  Job Description below.

We are launching smart new “RouteMan” GIS delivery software, hand-held Tablets and Bluetooth printers,, instead of old fashioned paper delivery slips, & have a brand new Ford F750 joining our ice truck fleet – but it’s still cool, hard work, requiring physical fitness & a good driving record!

Applicants should submit an e-mail of interest with resume to Ian or Larry at:  or

Seasonal Non-CDL Ice Delivery Driver – NO CALLS PLEASE.

Full-time Summer job

Job Title: Seasonal Non-CDL Ice Delivery Driver (full- or part-time, seasonal)

Location: Gloucester, Peabody & Lawrence, serving Cape Ann, the North Shore & Merrimack Valley

General Description:

PLEASE READ JOB DESCRIPTION THOROUGHLY BEFORE APPLYING. Responsible for timely, safe, and accurate delivery of packaged ice. The work you will be performing, if employed, is often hard, physical labor, and consisting of handling, delivering, and loading freezers with mostly 35 lbs (and up to 40 lbs) bags of ice. The job entails regular lifting, pushing and pulling, for which physical fitness, flexibility, strength, coordination and agility are all essential requirements.

Basic Requirements/Working Conditions:

+Exposed to wide range of temperatures and weather conditions.
+Frequently climb in/out of truck, 30-40 times per day.
+Ability to frequently lift 35 lbs and 40 lbs bags of ice.
+Ability to operate two-wheeler dolly, typically loaded to 300 lbs.

Duties and Responsibilities:

+Safely and responsibly operate 18ft box truck, occasionally up to 26ft box truck.
+Preview route prior to departure and discuss with supervisor if necessary.
+Incorporate incoming deliveries into route throughout the day.
+Communicate with office/supervisor about route progress.
+Check all equipment (handheld, printers, dollies, etc.) prior to departure.
+Pre- and post-trip vehicle check.
+Report any mechanical issues to supervisor.
+Deliver ice to stores:
-Safely park vehicle.
-Check merchandiser for damage, mechanical faults.
-Check with store manager for receiving procedure.
-Unload ice from truck, transport using two-wheeler dolly, load freezer.
-Get signature from store manager, service invoice, collect payment if necessary.
-Discuss any delivery problems with store manager and report to supervisor.
-Maintain customer relationships with store managers, clerks, etc.
+Pick up and deliver ice merchandisers.
+Unload and clean truck at end of day.
+Turn in paperwork and plug in tablet/printer at end of day.
+Supervise driver helper, if applicable.


+Commercial driving experience a plus, but not necessary.
+Pass the physical fitness requirements of DOT physical exam.

Other Requirements:

+Must be available for weekends/holidays as required/negotiated.
+Cell phone required.
+Valid driver’s license and clean driving record.
+Must be at least 18 years of age.

E-Mail: or
Fort Wharf, 104 Commercial St, Gloucester, MA  01930
Thanks!Scott —

Save the date

I Am More Opening Exhibit:
Hosted by Amy Kerr Draws Portraits and Ocean Alliance:

June 15, 2018 7:00 pm – 10:00 pm
June 16, 2018 9:00 am –  5:00 pm
June 17, 2018 9:00 am –  5:00 pm

32 Horton Street
Gloucester, MA 01930


We are more than our depression, addiction, grief, anxiety, PTSD, eating disorder, bipolar disorder, dysphoria and obsessive compulsive disorder. We are parents, children, and friends with loves, gifts and dreams.

Join us for the first public unveiling of the I Am More portraits, plus work by Cape Ann artists and Gloucester High students and learn how they are more than their mental challenges. Participate in an art installation to add your voice.

What a low blow: Justice Lowy clears contested Berkshire Museum art for auction

Justice Lowy’s JUDGEMENT was released April 5, 2018. The Museum may sell Shuffleton’s Barbershop, and — via Sotheby’s– the remaining 39 works free of any restrictions.

“The museum has satisfied its burden of establishing that is has become impossible or impracticable to administer the Museum strictly in accordance with its chartiable purpose, thus entitling the Museum to relief under the doctrine of equitable deviation. Accordingly the court allows the Museum’s request for equitable relief to sell the designated artwork.”



page 1 MEMO OF UNDERSTANDING Justice Lowy Berkshire Museum and AGO April 5 2018

Reaction from Sotheby’s Auction House:

“We are very pleased that the court approved the agreement reached between the Berkshire Museum and the Massachusetts Attorney General. We look forward to working with the museum to ensure a bright future for the people of Pittsfield and Western Massachusetts.” Judge Lowy’s decision came in just in time to meet the auction’s press deadline clearing for art sales this spring, else sales would have been pushed back till the fall at the earliest. The catalogue pages are ready from last fall’s prep.

Reaction from Elizabeth McGraw, President, Berkshire Museum Board of Trustees:

“This is great news for the people of Berkshire County and everyone who visits the Berkshire Museum for one-of-a-kind experiences in history, art, and science. We recognize this decision may not please those who have opposed the museum’s plans. Still, we hope people will be able to move forward in a constructive way to help us secure and strengthen the future of this museum, at a time when our community needs it more than ever. “

Reaction from Save the Art – Save the Museum (STA-STM)

“Save the Art-Save the Museum continues to oppose the sale of the Berkshire Museum’s art treasures and its unrestricted use of the resulting funds. We also regret the judge’s disregard of the public trust in which the museum held its collections. The impending sale will not only diminish Pittsfield as a city claiming to be of cultural import to Berkshire County, but will reverberate destructively for years through collections similarly held in trust throughout the state and country. As a group, we will make a more detailed statement after meeting in person to consider the loss to our community and its impact.”

Patiner flight into egypt featured in 1953 article celebrating Berkshire Museum 50th celebration

Have a look back at an inspiring 1965 Berkshire Eagle profile about Berkshire Museum Director Stuart C. Henry, and an earlier feature from the Berkshire Evening Eagle, published Thursday, Aug. 20, 1953, heralding the Berkshire Museum’s 50th anniversary. Both convey the museum’s seamless blend of high art, science, community and education.

I wonder what happened to the marble swans over the Berkshire Museum elliptical pool designed by A. Sterling Calder, father of the sculptor, Alexander Calder, and resident of Richmond, Massachusetts, less than 20 minutes away from Pittsfield?  Continue reading “What a low blow: Justice Lowy clears contested Berkshire Museum art for auction”

April in New York

When we tell people we are from New York, the inevitable next question is “Where in New York?”, most expecting to hear something about New York City or Long Island.  We usually answer that we live near Binghamton in Central New York not far from the Pennsylvania border.

What we SHOULD say is that we are from April the Giraffe’s hometown.  Maybe you were like me about a year ago, one of millions obsessively watching the Giraffe Cam awaiting the birth of April’s calf.  April, her calf Tajiri, and the male Oliver drew thousands of visitors to our area last summer to visit Animal Adventure . It was quite the spectacle…and now that Tim Tebow is in Binghamton, another summer spectacle is about to begin.  But I digress.

I remember very clearly clutching my phone in a parking lot in Binghamton last year awaiting the imminent birth and being somewhat teary at his arrival on April 15.  Since we live only 2-3 miles from Animal Adventure, I found myself there several times last summer to coo over the 5′ 9″ baby towering over me.

He’s just adorable and the park is nicely set up for visitors to view the giraffe family.  This is the famous April the Giraffe with baby Taj peeking out at visitors.

Giraffes at Animal Adventure 015

A little attention, please

Animal Adventure with Amy and Mike 006

Just the sweetest face

Giraffes at Animal Adventure 038

But, the nicest surprise of all was how many other animals this petting zoo is caring for. I’m especially in love the the bear cubs, but there’s also an Arctic Wolf, birds, monkeys…and new for this year, lion cubs (pretty sure there will be some cooing going on at that exhibit!)


Animal Adventure has won the honor of being the top New York State attraction in a recent I Love NY voting campaign, so if you go please know you are in our backyard! On April 15, Taj will celebrate his first birthday and it will be shown via the Giraffe Cam. 

Cape Ann might have its obsession with Snowy Owls, but New York is all about April.  I’m right in there with both……

Acoustic Brunch at Feather & Wedge – April 8


Join Feather & Wedge for a change of pace this Sunday with acoustic guitarist and vocalist Peter Hoare.

Peter brings his unique style to classics from artists like Van Morison, James Taylor, Cat Stevens, Johnny Cash, and many more. He is a legend on the North Shore. Come hear why.

10:30 AM to 2:30 PM

Reservations suggested. 978.999.5917

Feather & Wedge, 5 Main Street, Rockport, MA 01966

Peter Hoare - Feather & Wedge

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Cape Ann Community

ATTENTION Gloucester High School Students (and Parents):

Applications for 2018 summer jobs are now being accepted!

Apply for a GHS summer internship for July and August. Get a jump on your friends and nail down a summer job. THERE ARE VERY LIMITED OPEN SLOTS, SO WE LOOK FORWARD TO REVIEWING YOUR APPLICATION ASAP!

As part of this internship you will:

  • Be matched with a local company where you will gain important workplace skills
  • Be paid minimum wage or a stipend
  • Start to build a solid resume for college and future endeavors

Internship highlights:

  • Open to students in 9th through 12th grades
  • Interviews being conducted NOW and we will let you know if you are accepted into the program
  • A 2.5 hour workplace skills workshop each Wednesday at GHS during the weeks of July 9th- August 17th, and an internship placement at least 10 hours per week (exact weeks/hours…

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Harold Rotenberg: An American Impressionist Gallery Talk at the Cape Ann Museum

Cape Ann Community

harold talk.jpg

Artist and gallery owner Judi Rotenberg will reflect on her father’s philosophies of observation and painting, and their years of plein air painting side by side. Space is limited; reservations required. $10 members; $15 nonmembers, includes museum admission.

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