Last Saturday was the annual 20-mile “around Cape Ann” Howard Blackburn race for anything you can row or paddle. Also, more water and wildlife this week.
Even though it was a little cloudy on Sunday the beach and Magnolia Pier never disappoints.
At 1430 Coast Guard Station Gloucester was conducting training on the CG 47322 in the vicinity of Ten Pound Island when they were diverted for a search and rescue case involving 2 injured boaters on board a 23ft vessel, one with a reported back injury, near Thatchers Island. At 1454 MLB 47322 arrived on scene and transferred 2 Station Gloucester personnel to the vessel to render aid. The Coast Guard personnel assessed the patients and rendered appropriate first aid and proceeded to closely escort the vessel into Rockport Harbor where EMS was standing by. Once safely moored the Coast Guard members transferred both injured boaters to Rockport EMS for further evaluation and transport to the hospital. Many thanks to all our port partners, Gloucester and Rockport Fire Departments and the Gloucester and Rockport Harbormaster’s for their continued support!
The Gloucester Blues Festival is back this coming Saturday, August 14th at Stage Fort Park, and once again my friends and I will be setting up a tent to promote the Blues Foundation. This is our third year supporting the foundation and its work for furthering blues music today through its Blues Music Awards, aiding musicians with its HART fund, and promoting music education through its Blues in the Schools program. My production company sponsored this year’s Blues Music Award for Best Emerging Artist Album which went to King Solomon Hicks—he’ll be performing at the festival Saturday afternoon. The lineup is going to be a great one, and we’re hoping music fans of all stripes come and enjoy a day of outstanding talent. We will also be taping interviews for the Blues Trail Revisited podcast, so please come by our tent, we would love to meet you all!
Wander into Arts Abound on Lexington Street in Magnolia, and you’ll find a quiet world of local art. Fine art photography, watercolors and paintings, hand painted silk clothing, gifts, jewelry, and even home accessories. There are two common threads running through the shop—local creative talent and Susan Wheeler.
First, Susan Wheeler. An artist herself and a former pastry chef, the idea of opening a retail store with a cooperative bent and filled with unique, hand-crafted things just felt right. Wheeler had been coming to Cape Ann regularly from Vermont to visit her mother, Vivian, 93, who had moved to Magnolia in 1980. Eighteen months ago, she moved here permanently, and as she got to know Lexington Avenue and its retail community, Wheeler first thought there might be room for a creative meeting place to run art workshops, offer graphic design and maybe some retail items for purchase.
“I started with an open mind,” said Wheeler. “But there’s so much artistry here on Cape Ann. It hasn’t been a problem finding talented people who make beautiful things.”
Nearly two years in, Arts Abound has established itself and evolved. The store in the spirit of other Cape Ann retailers focused on local artists, like Local Colors, the artists’ cooperative retailer on Main Street in Gloucester or Gallery 53, the juried art gallery run by members of the Rocky Neck Art Colony, also in Gloucester. Today, Arts Abound has 23 artists on her roster, nearly all from Cape Ann. They help Wheeler by offering their pieces on consignment, and Wheeler promotes and sells their work. And she is an enthusiastic promoter of their work, their talent, and their artwork.
The journey It hasn’t been without challenges. Less than six months into her new venture, the pandemic hit and like most businesses, Wheeler adapted. She offered hand-sewn masks (selling hundreds), offered appointment-only shopping, personal shopping and home delivery. She also put plans for workshops and education on the back burner and took on freelance graphic design projects.
Wheeler has also really gotten to know her retail neighbors along Lexington Avenue, where by chance nearly all are women-owned and the community is tight. There’s Shakteau Interiors, All Purpose Flowers, Jennifer’s Hair Salon, among many others. This summer, the neighborhood brought back its popular Sunday Magnolia Farmer’s Market, which closes down Lexington Avenue, brings in music, and most retailers set up displays on the sidewalks outside. It’s a real community feel.
Wheeler packs the space with all manner of artists, spanning painting, photography, pottery, glasswork, silk-screen, collage, and more. Besides Wheeler’s own work, there is Stephanie Mason, Brenda Malloy, Melissa Cox (the photographer, who is the artist behind Local Colors in Gloucester), Karen Keough, Lisa Knebel, Tin Can Sally, Donna Ardizzoni, Dave Fernandes, Erik Hahr, Alissa Cohen, John Abisamra, Alan Bourgault, Kaitlyn Manley, Christine Gauthier-Kelley, Derek, Miriabilio, Hermit Hill, and Larry Parsons.
“We’re not just a local independent store,” she said. “Of all the artists featured here, and just about all of them are local.”
Looking ahead, Wheeler is excited about continuing to celebrate the work of local artists. She’s also excited to reconnect with some of her original ideas about making a space for people to mix and learn with artists’ workshops and reception that boost a bigger sense of community.
Last week, we decided on George’s on Washington Street for our margarita Monday. Great choice on our part, I have to say. David was our bartender and server and he made up a great strawberry basil margarita for me. And, because it was the 2nd of August, I chose to have a second margarita featuring blackberry (YUM). We also had the Fiesta Wrap and Steak Bomb stuffed into a baked potato (genius). They are doing some nice work here with the food and bar menu.The experience was relaxed and a perfect start to our week!
The world is full of chaos. Technology has us constantly connected and always providing some new story for us to be excited about. Home has increasingly become a place where we need to cultivate peace and stillness. Sometimes we just need to escape the chaos and reset. This family home in Essex was designed for just that.
Cookouts are Back!
Join us next Fridayfor one of Eric’s famous hamburgers & hot dogs!
11 am – 1 pm