Dogtown Trail Run Sunday May 20, 2018 9 AM Race Start

Join Cape Ann Trail Stewards for a 5-mile trail race through Dogtown. All participants will earn a one year membership to Cape Ann Trail Stewards, and all profits from this race will go back to trails on Cape Ann.

This race will cross landscapes that are unique to Cape Ann, providing runners with a technical, exciting course guaranteed to challenge even the most nimble runners.

Racers will enjoy running through Dogtown, past many cultural and natural features such as the cellar holes, Babson’s motto boulders, Whale’s Jaw and Peter’s Pulpit.

Race Sponsors: Timberline, Cape Ann Savings Bank, Cape Ann Tree Service Inc., Common Crow, Ipswich Ale Brewery, Coastal Greengrocer

Pre-registration fee is $25 and $30 on race day. You can register on our website, see link below, payment via PayPal. Mail in forms available as well.

Contact us with any questions. Visit our Facebook page for trail map, periodic updates and race day information.

Parking is available at the O’Maley School, 32 Cherry St Gloucester, just a short walk from the race start.

Pre-registration and info –

Email –

See Events   –

Registration form –



Thank you to all the friends of our Good Harbor Beach Piping Plovers, to dog owners who are staying away from Good Harbor Beach, and to all who are advocating for the PiPl.

Early this morning I found both Mama and Papa feeding in the intertidal zone, along with our little Bachelor. The second pair has not been seen since they were chased off the beach last weekend. There seemed to be fewer dogs on the beach this morning and I am so grateful to the dog owners who are helping to watch over the Plovers.

Yesterday was a much needed quiet day for the Plovers; it was cold and rainy, and an on-leash day. There were folks with dogs off-leash, though they weren’t near the PiPl. But there were fresh tracks running through the nesting area.

Here is why, at this very critical time during Piping Plover breeding, it is imperative to keep dogs and people out of the nesting area. The Plovers are actively courting. What does that mean exactly? 

  • The Plovers first stake out a territory. For the third year in a row, they have chosen the area around the big rock, by boardwalk #3.
  • Both male and female actively defend the territory from other Piping Plovers, as well as other species of large and small birds.
  • Throughout an average quiet day, the male PiPl builds many “nest” scrapes for the female to inspect. If the female is interested, the male displays an involved courtship dance. If she continues to be interested, he will mate with her by jumping on her back where they join together cloaca to cloaca, but for only mere seconds. During that time the male fertilizes the female’s egg.
  • Piping Plover courtship requires a tremendous amount of energy, and each courtship episode takes about twenty minutes, from nest scrapings to mating. If the birds are constantly interrupted by dogs tearing through, and people walking through, the nesting area, courtship and mating are delayed, over and over again.
  • If the Piping Plovers are allowed to mate early in the season, the chicks will be born that much earlier. The earlier the chicks hatch the greater their chance of survival, especially in the case of Good Harbor Beach, Gloucester’s most beloved and heavily trafficked beach.
  • In addition to repeated courtship interruptions, we are having an unseasonably cold April. The Piping Plovers are spending a great deal of energy just trying to keep warm. This is evidenced by how often they stand on one leg to thermoregulate.

Papa Plover defending all things Mama Plover.

Papa Plover vigorously building shallow teacup-sized nest scrapes.

Papa Plover inviting Mama Plover to inspect.

Male Plover cloaca. All birds have a cloaca, the V-shaped vent from where sperm, eggs, and pooh are emitted. During courtship, the male’s cloaca swells considerably.

Meet “the Bachelor,” the bird bane of Papa’s existence.

How You Can Help the Piping Plovers

1) Under no circumstances is it acceptable to enter the Piping Plover nesting area.

2) Keep ALL dogs far away from the nesting areas. A Piping Plover’s brain does not differentiate between a dog on- leash versus a dog off-leash. When a dog, off-leash or on-leash, comes within twenty feet of a PiPl, they immediately stop what they are doing, whether foraging, courting, mating, or resting.

3) During courtship, the Piping Plovers tolerate one or two quiet persons, from a distance, but crowds of three or more put them in panic mode.

4) Help spread the word about the Good Harbor Beach Piping Plovers.

5) Sign up to be a Piping Plover volunteer ambassador by emailing Ken Whittaker at

Thank you, but most importantly, the Piping Plovers will thank you too when chicks hatch and chicks fledge!

View this post on Instagram

The good news is that I found one pair, and they are definitely a couple, in the #3 nesting area. The bad news is that while down to #1 nesting area to look for the other PiPl, dogs and their owner were in the #3. I ran down the beach to find a man scooping up his dog’s poop in the nesting area. The tracks show they were inches from where the Papa PiPl had built a nest scrape. And No Sign of the PiPl. So grateful for the dog owners that are keeping their dogs away from the nesting sites, but it is not a few dog owners ignoring the law, it is every day, off and on all day long – dogs off-leash on on-leash days, dogs in the dunes, and dogs in the nesting sites. #pipingplover #gloucesterma #shorebirds #endangeredspecies #barrierbeach

A post shared by Kim Smith (@kimsmithdesigns) on

The Perfect Fit Cast Iron Griddle For The @WeberGrills Go-Anywhere

Northeast BBQ

When I pulled this Cast Iron Griddle out of the shed to cook swordfish on the Charcoal Weber Go-Anywhere I figured that I’d probably have to drape it over the sides of the grill.  Here’s a link to buy it on Amazon  It’s $35 and that’s a steal for how versatile it makes your grill!

When I checked, it fit perfectly in the groove where the cooking grate would go without any need to modify it.  It’s like a stock accessory.  Not only that but has enough space open on the sides to allow air flow to the coals to get that cast iron piping hot for searing.



As you can see it fits perfectly inside the grooves where the cooking grate would sit.  It doesn’t impede the lid from closing , the lid still latches on the edge…

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Cape Ann Forum announces next incredible speakers: May 6 with Sarah Chayes and May 20 with Andrew Bacevich

Cape Ann Forum logo

Mark your calendars. Kathy O’Neil shares Cape Ann Forum‘s press release for their next  (local) lectures on international issues.

May 6 Sarah Chayes at City Hall


In dozens of countries, corruption can no longer be understood as merely the bad deeds of individuals. Rather, it is the operating system of sophisticated networks that cross national boundaries in their drive to maximize returns, and it has gotten to a level that it threatens global security, according to Sarah Chayes, who is speaking at the next Cape Ann Forum at Gloucester City Hall on Sunday, May 6 at 7 pm.

Chayes, author, a former reporter for National Public Radio in Afghanistan and a senior associate in the Democracy and Rule of Law program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, is not only exposing the extent of this problem—she’s advising policymakers on how to combat it. One of her recent studies focused on Honduras, the source of many of the refugees now seeking asylum in the United States.

“The strands of the Honduran kleptocratic network overlap, and personnel is shared among public, private, and criminal network elements. But the three sectors do retain some autonomy, interacting via exchanges of revenues and services,” writes Chayes.

“Revenues are captured at the expense of the environment as well as the people of Honduras, and some of the most resilient opponents of the network’s business model are community groups defending the land. These groups are largely ignored by international donor institutions, the bulk of whose assistance benefits the network.”

Sarah Chayes’s work explores how severe corruption can help prompt such crises as terrorism, revolutions and their violent aftermaths, and environmental degradation. She recently left her position at Carnegie to work on her next book, which will apply this framing to the United States.

Before joining the Carnegie Endowment, Chayes served as special assistant to the top-ranked American military officer, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen. She focused on governance issues, participating in cabinet-level decision-making on Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the Arab Spring, building on the years she reported on the region for NPR.

Chayes says it was “a sense of historic opportunity” that prompted her to end her journalism career in early 2002 and to remain in Afghanistan to help rebuild the country. She chose to settle in the former Taliban heartland, Kandahar where she founded Arghand, a start-up manufacturing cooperative, where men and women working together produce fine skin-care products.

Her first book, The Punishment of Virtue: Inside Afghanistan After the Taliban, was published in 2006. Her most recent book is Thieves of State: Why Corruption Threatens Global Security (2014), Winner of the 2015 Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Current Interest. “I can’t imagine a more important book for our time.” ―Sebastian Junger

This is the Cape Ann Forum’s last major event of the 2017/2018 season, as the organization closes in its 100th presentation since it was formed in 2001, which will be commemorated next September. The May 6 forum will also feature the announcement of the organization’s annual international awareness award to a graduating Gloucester High School senior, which comes with a $500 scholarship.

Sarah Chayes
Sarah Chayes portrait by photographer Kaveh Sardari

May 20th Andrew Bacevich at Gloucester Stage

The Cape Ann Forum is also co-sponsoring a presentation by Andrew Bacevich, a West Point graduate and Vietnam War veteran, at the Gloucester Stage Company, 267 East Main Street, on Sunday, May 20, at 6 p.m. The talk is part of a month-long program on Combat Art—“In War and Afterwards”—curated by Gloucester artist Ken Hruby and organized by the Rocky Neck Cultural Center, which will exhibit the work of combat veterans.

Bacevich is a two-time Forum speaker and a nationally known commentator on international affairs, a professor emeritus at Boston University, and the author of nine books, including The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism and America’s War for the Greater Middle East: A Military History.

Jazz Brunch at Feather & Wedge – Sunday, April 22 – Scollins-Warsi Duo

Feather & Wedge is excited to welcome The Scollins-Warsi Jazz Duo this Sunday as featured artist for their Jazz Brunch! Their music includes a wide repertoire spanning from the Great American Song Book, to modern jazz, contemporary blues and R&B. Expect to find swinging renditions of both famous, and not-so-famous standards. Both Kevin and Sahil are graduates from the Berklee College of music – and perform regularly with each other, as well as a number of notable classical and jazz ensembles in the Greater Boston Area.

Sunday, April 22

10:30 AM to 2:30 PM

Reservations suggested. 978.999.5917

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


Today’s Cape Ann Beacon: Kim Smith An Advocate for Monarch Butterflies

Kim Smith honored Salem State University.jpg

Kim Smith: An Advocate for Monarach Butterflies. Salem State University (SSU) Earth Days keynote speaker puts spotlight on tiger striped insect’s beauty by Shelby Macri

“Gloucester nature photographer Kim Smith, the keynote speaker at Salem State University’s Earth Days Week, used vivid images of monarch butterflies to describe their lifecycle, importance in ecosystems, and imperiled future due to habitat loss and agricultural chemicals. Smith, who spoke on campus Thursday, April 12, 2018, makes nature films and contibutes to the daily blog Good Morning Gloucester. She also helps communities and individuals build gardens specifically aimed at attracting butterflies, bees and beneficial bugs…”I think compassion for all living creatures is really important,” said Smith. “Right here in our own backyards and beaches we have small winged creatures like monarchs and piping plovers that are struggling to survive…”

Pick up your paper. Lovely to see front page article for Kim, and with a Dawn Upshaw coming to Shalin Liu (tomorrow) notice same day!


Discovery Cove

We’ve been in Florida all week and have been having a great time.  We would have liked to have gone to more of a resort destination this year, but it wasn’t in the cards.  That being the case, we decided to at least plan the week to feel more like a beach vacation and less like we were hitting the pavement and lines at all of the big theme parks in landlocked Orlando.  So, we’ve been enjoying Marriott’s Grande Vista most days by taking advantage of their gorgeous pool areas, fishing piers, entertainment, and more.  We did venture to Sea World and one water park, but managed to avoid all lines and spent even those days at a leisurely pace.

The day I was looking forward to the most was yesterday.  Yesterday was the day that we had booked an all-inclusive day at Discovery Cove.  We got there just in time to enjoy breakfast and then grabbed some towels, masks, snorkels, and drinks (yup, even beer and yummy frozen drinks are included in the price of entry).

We spent HOURS snorkeling in the giant reef with massive stingrays and thousands of tropical fish.  When we could convince the boys to take a break it was to grab snacks and frozen icees…..and then to feed the birds in the aviary, float down the lazy river, and relax in the grotto.  After lunch it was right back to snorkeling.  I even took a 30 minute nap in the sun right next to dolphin cove.

Thatcher said that it was one of his favorite days ever and Finn was beside himself all day long.  I was so proud of both of them.  They are pretty fearless, needed no encouragement to make the most of the day, and were super appreciative for the opportunity to spend such a great day together.

Like many of you, we’re crazy busy at home and I never underestimate the importance of a family vacation for reconnecting and enjoying each other.

Rocky Neck Rocks

A recent stroll through Rocky Neck produced some evidence that Rocky Neck Rocks!


I didn’t notice her hair until much later.  Not sure what’s happening here, but I love it!



Opening soon I hope! 1957!!!


I think Rocky Neck is already pretty great. Pretty soon it will be hopping busy with visitors looking for beauty in all forms.

Virginia Lee Burton Folly Cove designer’s diploma from Cape Ann Museum featured in Massachusetts masterpiece trail

Virginia Demetrios is Virginia Lee Burton’s married name and author credit she used for her work as Folly Cove Designer and founder. Her linocut was curated for the MASSterpiece trail 🙂 from Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism (MOTT):

Virginia Lee Burton Demetrios

fun mass masterpiece trail.jpg
Explore them all!

CFCA 14-Day Trial Membership

Cape Ann Wellness


Not sure if CFCA is right for you? We offer a 14 day trial membership for $65 so you can test the waters before fully committing to improving your health/fitness and life!  Trial memberships start with a private intro session with one of our coaches. The intro will give you an opportunity to check out our facility, learn more about our program, watch an actual class in progress and learn some of the basic movements that we use on a regular basis. More importantly, it’s a chance for us to get to know you… (your goals, athletic background, previous injuries) and address any questions or concerns that you may have. This session generally lasts 40-60 mins. Once you have completed your intro… come to class as much as you want for the next 14 days! Get a feel for our workouts, our coaches and our supportive community. When the 14 days are…

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