Good read! Front Page Rockport art show in Cape Ann Beacon

Cape Ann Beacon front page_20200217_Betty Allenbrook Wibert and Cape Ann Reads Rockport show February 2020
photo: Cape Ann Beacon Front page | Twin Lights, February 17, 2020

“…In 1954, I met my husband Lars-Erik Wiberg outside my father’s Rockport studio while he was working on a car. Yes, in those days one could park there. We married in 1957 and lived at the Fish House, 27 Bearskin Neck, while I transferred to UMass Art…” – excerpt Betty Allenbrook Wiberg

The front page Cape Ann Beacon story, Rockport is show’s final stop: Betty Allenbrook Wiberg is featured artist for Cape Ann Reads picture book exhibit, published on February 14, 2020, includes a great note by Wiberg. You can read the complete piece on the Beacon’s website here https://gloucester.wickedlocal.com/news/20200214/rockport-to-host-once-upon-contest . The exhibit is on display at Rockport Public Library through Feburary 29, 2020. There is a reception February 29 starting at 11am. Wiberg installed a concurrent temporary installation in the children’s room and display case in the hall, across from the wonderful Recchia Mother Goose sculpture.

Betty Allenbrook Wiberg is the Cape Ann Reads Invited Artist #RockportMA | Pine needles, foam, playhouses and gnomes – custom toys, miniatures and games spanning 1969-2019

Presented by the four libraries of Cape Ann, the group exhibit, Once Upon a Contest: Selections from Cape Ann Reads, featuring original children’s picture books, is on display at the Rockport Public Library until February 29, 2020. Rockport is the 5th and final stop and hosting a reception on February 29th at 11am. At each venue, a Cape Ann Reads participating artist was invited to create a special temporary installation. Betty Allenbrook Wiberg is the Cape Ann Reads Invited Artist for Rockport. The show is made possible with support including the Bruce J. Anderson Foundation.

BETTY ALLENBROOK WIBERG

Pine needles, foam, playhouses and gnomes – custom family toys, miniatures and games from the artist’s archives and attic spanning 1969-2019

The Invited Artist for the Rockport stop of the travel show Once Upon a Contest: Selections from Cape Ann Reads is Betty Allenbrook Wiberg, a long-time Rockport artist and resident and former Bearskin Neck gallery owner. Wiberg has installed original toys she’s made over 50 years inside a display case and Children’s Room at the Rockport Public Library. Made by hand with love out of common materials found at home and in nature– like paper, foam core, seeds and acorn caps– these personalized toys were inspired by her children and grandchildren’s favorite books, hobbies and changing interests. In particular she chose examples of characters and worlds brought to life from the pages of books. Wiberg hopes the menagerie of custom toys for those dear to her will engage young and old alike and inspire ideas to try at home with any ready materials at hand.

As Wiberg placed acorn cap people within the display case, she explained how she was aiming for fanciful “haphazard” children’s worlds as when kids play. The red gnomes and stylized forest might blend together with the world of air dry, clay acorn figures, boundaries or not.  Painted sculpey villagers parading past tiny painted blocks, a stand in for Bearskin Neck in Rockport, might stop for tea at an outdoor blue chairs circle. An interior scene inspired from Beatrix Potter books is draped with sculpey play food and housewares, set atop tables and hutch, dining seats and floor. Wiberg can’t help but design family directly into these captivating scenes. (The Allenbrook and Wiberg family trees are steeped in the arts.) Charming ephemera associated with loved ones, or expressed as figures and actions, are intrinsically dispersed and personal. A few of the acorn capped musicians were inspired by her son-in-law, a performer and musician. Her mother and daughter Kristy are painted waving from the window of the teeny Bearskin Neck home. A Lilliputian trophy was hers when she was a little girl.

In preparation for this installation, with help from her daughters pulling boxes from the attic and dusting off these cherished family toys, Wiberg recalled a favorite book from her childhood, Maida’s Little Shop (by Inez Haynes Irwin*), and how much she wanted to have a toy shop like the one in that story. With so many creative toys adapted for kids and grandkids spilling across every surface imaginable unearthed and under consideration for this installation, her family didn’t miss a beat. “You do have a toy shop!” they laughed.

“This show has me remembering books,” Wiberg stated. “I’ve never forgotten that that little book arrived in a bushel of books delivered as a gift by artist friends of my parents. Perhaps they were from a library sale. To this day I tend to give other children books, because they’ve had such an impact on me and my daughters.” 

Betty Allenbrook Wiberg illustrated the children’s picture book, Little One, written by her eldest daughter, Kirsten Allenbrook Wiberg, which they submitted for the Cape Ann Reads contest. Little One is about a small elephant that struggles with growing up, encounters danger, but survives to live a long life.  The story is illustrated with 13-14 pages of Betty’s stunning, full-size black and white images of African wildlife focusing on the small elephant and his/her family. Little One earned a Cape Ann Reads Gulliver Award. Kirsten Allenbrook Wiberg, eldest daughter of Betty, lives in Gloucester where she has maintained her therapeutic body-work practice since 1991.

In addition to the children’s picture book, Little One (included as part of the Once Upon a Contest group show), and these personalized toys she’s shared in public for the first time, examples of Wiberg’s still life and portrait fine art are also on view.

About the Artist

Betty Allenbrook Wiberg was born in London and moved to the United States as a child. She received a fine arts scholarship to attend Boston University, and she completed her formal training at Massachusetts College of Art. She continued to study under her father Charles T. Allenbrook, a well-known portrait artist who resided and worked in Rockport and Florida. In 1957, she married Lars-Erik Wiberg and they settled in Rockport, Massachusetts, where they raised three daughters. Betty created designs for George Caspari Cards, designed fabrics for Bagshaws of St. Lucia, served as an artist in Federal Court, provided artwork for the Hoosac Tunnel documentary, and operated a gallery and studio on Bearskin Neck. Wiberg recalls bags she created for the Rockport Public Library toy check out and drawings of England, local freelance work for the Lions Head Tavern menu at King’s Grant Inn on Rt.128***. She presently maintains a home portrait studio in Rockport. See her artist statement below.

*** bonus photos north shore fun fact: King’s Grant Inn Lion Head’s Tavern menu that Betty Allenbrook Wiberg illustrated

Betty Allenbrook Wiberg artist statement, Feb. 2020

BETTY ALLENBROOK WIBERG Rockport harbor painting

As a youth my family lived in New Rochelle, New York.   I remember drawing and painting from an early age and assisting my father at the local art association.  We visited Rockport for vacations when I was a child and my father painted the local landscape.   

My parents, Margaret and Charles T. Allenbrook bought “the Snuggery” in 1952 on Bearskin Neck and opened Allenbrook’s portrait studio.  It had living quarters in the rear and upstairs.  When I became more serious about my drawing, I would go out in the studio and draw portraits from my father’s models as they posed for him.  This was the way I became comfortable drawing before others. Sometimes I would entertain the children so they would sit better for my father.  I used masks and other toys to accomplish this or read them a book. When I was around seventeen I started doing painted silhouettes for a dollar and that was exciting to be earning something with my own efforts.  I also helped with framing my father’s work.   My father would give me advice and instruction on my efforts and I assembled a portfolio of my work which won me a scholarship to Boston University.  

In 1954, I met my husband Lars-Erik Wiberg outside my father’s Rockport studio while he was working on a car.  Yes, in those days one could park there.  We married in 1957 and lived at the Fish House, 27 Bearskin Neck while I transferred to U Mass Art.   After school, I opened a gallery in our home on the Neck.  I did silhouettes and sold my fanciful drawings, block prints and other handwork.   Later, we expanded the Fish house and had two daughters, Kristy and Margaret.  When our third child, Brenda was on the way, we moved to larger quarters at our present location.  

My husband made the children a large puppet theater* which sparked a series of handmade puppets of various sorts and materials.   The children were eager art explorers and we had costumes and other creative materials ready at hand.  We were regular visitors to the local library. I made cloth bags for toys which became a part of what could be borrowed from the Rockport Public Library.   

I started doing commission work part time and also did volunteer work. In the 1980s this expanded to part-time work for the TV studios which brought me into another world since I was sketching in courtrooms.  Once, I ended up on the sidewalk finishing a sketch, while the reporter waited to grab it and take it into the truck for transmission.  It was hastily done and later when I viewed it, I saw they had zoomed in for a tight shot.  I was embarrassed to see how careless the work appeared.   It was an unnerving experience at times because the culprits were sitting right near the artists while we heard testimony of their serious misdeeds.  I had a tongue stuck out at me by one of them and heard others’ lives threatened.   My work exceeded the art budget of the TV station during the Angelo trial which went on for over a year.  

This all changed when my father passed away in 1988 and I joined my mother at the studio on Bearskin Neck.  I was happy to be working closer to home and sometimes could walk downtown to do portraits.  It was very nice to spend more time with my mother and be drawing people and children who posed for me instead of trying to catch them from a distance as in the courtroom.  Our daughter, Brenda later joined me and drew animal portraits from photos after she graduated from U Mass. art school.   We worked together for about three years until 1996 when my parents’ studio was sold and we moved the studio to my home on South Street.  Our daughter, Margaret, an art graduate also exhibited her art work and handmade jewelry with us. Over several years, we have had open studios and invited family and visitors to see our endeavors. Lately, this has been dormant but with grandchildren also creating their own art we are considering another open studio.  It is a grand way of connecting with others who enjoy creating with various materials and share ours.  

Thinking further about this show at the library, and Rockport, I was President of the Friends of the Rockport Library years ago, and also did some art work for them. And I spoke before the local rotary about my courtroom work long ago.

I would very much like to thank Catherine Ryan who has encouraged and inspired me to bring forth my art efforts through the Cape Ann Reads project she created with the local libraries.  It has been far more of an adventure then I anticipated and brought many local artist and writing talents to the public through an exhibit at the Cape Ann Museum and the Libraries.   I’ve had the opportunity to do a paper craft workshop at the Cape Ann Museum and hope to give one at the local library. Stay tuned in! Betty Allenbrook Wiberg, February 2020

Betty Allenbrook Wiberg is the Invited Artist for the Once Upon a Contest: Selections from Cape Ann Reads travel show at the Rockport Public Library venue, February 2020, presented by the four public libraries of Cape Ann with support from the Bruce J Anderson Foundation | The Boston Fund.

~large puppet theater gifted to The Waldorf School

detail from Rockport painting by fine artist Betty Allenbrook Wiberg

Installation views Once Upon A Contest: Selections from Cape Ann Reads 

at Rockport Public Library February 2020

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Installation view Once Upon a Contest group exhibit at Rockport Public Library_20200203_Claire Wyzenbeek made a Henrietta character to go with book she wrote & illust ©c rya
Claire Wyzenbeek

Enjoy ” Seek and find” activity sheets you can photograph to bring with you to the show or print out. (There are copies on site as well.) The first one is harder and may take longer. The mini one is geared to the youngest visitors.Rockport Seek & Find activity _ Once Upon a Contest Cape Ann Reads by C Ryan

mini Rockport Seek & Find activity _ Once Upon a Contest Cape Ann Reads by C Ryan

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Notes:

*Inez Haynes Irwin (b. 1873 Brazil – d. 1970 Massachusetts) author of Maida’s Little Shop, was a renowned early 20th century, award-winning Massachusetts author, suffragist and feminist. She attended Radcliffe. Her parents were from Boston. Haynes married newspaper editor Rufus Gillmore in 1897; they later divorced. She married William Henry Irwin in 1916.  She wrote fifteen books in the Maida series beginning with Maida’s Little Shop in 1909, first published by American publisher B.W. Huebsch**, and concluding with Maida’s Little Treasure Hunt in 1955. Haynes was the first fiction editor for The Masses. She served as Vice President and President of the Author’s Guild of America. In 1924, she received an O. Henry Award her short story, The Spring Flight. Her aunt, Lorenza Haynes (1820-1899),  was the first public librarian in Waltham, Massachusetts, then one of Massachusett’s first three ordained female ministers. The aunt’s assignments began in Maine, where she also served as Chaplain to the Maine House of Representatives and Senate. Her ministries included two in Rockport: the First Universalist Church on Hale Street (1884) and the Universalist Society, Pigeon Cove. (“She was an acceptable preacher and did good work wherever her lot was cast.” Universalist Register, 1900. Scroll up and down – fascinating to compare the complimentary entries for the male pastors in these pages. For a more detailed entry see this nutshell on Lorenza Haynes ). Inez wrote about her aunt and big family in this major  essay. In it she corrects the record that her aunt left posts because of unfair pay, not her frality as reported in biographies. 

Artist Betty Allenbrook Wiberg did not know that the little Maida book she recalled so fondly was part of a series or about its author or the aunt’s ties with Rockport. “I haven’t thought about that book until I worked on this show. It’s almost providence at work when you hear connections like these!”

1875 churches
1875 City directory

**About Inez Hayne’s first publisher, B.W. Huebsch–  His eponymous firm sponsored writers and was credited with building interest for Joyce, Strindberg, DH Lawrence, Sherwood Anderson and others. His imprint was a 7 branch candlestick with his initials BWH. Later, he merged his firminto a nascent Viking Press and continued at the helm as editor in chief. According to the NY Times obit he was a leader in the A.C.L.U.

Read Chapter 1 Maida’s Little Shop:

Continue reading “Betty Allenbrook Wiberg is the Cape Ann Reads Invited Artist #RockportMA | Pine needles, foam, playhouses and gnomes – custom toys, miniatures and games spanning 1969-2019”

Rusty and Ingrid Creative Company new #RockportMA digs on Bearskin Neck

Rusty and Ingrid storefront 8 Bearskin Neck Rockport Mass _20200119_©c ryan

Rusty and Ingrid moved from Main Street to 8 Bearskin Neck Rockport, Mass. Winter Hours: Friday, Saturday, Saturday: 11am – 5pm. Or by appointment.

Rusty and Ingrid moved from Main Street to 8 Bearskin Neck Rockport Mass _20200119_©c ryan (1)

Storm Coverage From Rockport at High Tide

We took a quick drive today between 11:30-12:15 but soon realized that we shouldn’t be on the road.  Strong winds whipped freezing cold salt water on us, my gear, and into my car before we decided to head for home.  It was hard to fight the urge to stay out longer for “the perfect shot” but sometimes you need to know when to call it a day. Waves were crashing up and onto the circle at the end of Bearskin Neck and washing probably 4 inches of water across the street and back into the harbor on the other side.  I just heard on the news that it only takes about 8-12 inches of water to carry a car away.  I’m glad I wouldn’t let my husband turn around at the very end, but made him go into reverse and stay clear instead.  #fighttheurgetogettheshot.  We turned for home before it got too bad but saw far too many people still out on the streets.  I hope they also turned for home!

 

The “Calm” Before the Storm

While the snow came later than expected, a full-blown winter storm was definitely in the air. We took a little tour of Rockport from Old Garden Beach, to Bearskin Neck, to Long Beach, and down Eden Road just before the storm blew in.  As we were driving home, the snow began to come down fast and furious.

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Thank you, Rockport!

I mean seriously.  If you want to have warm fuzzies about the town that you live in, move to Rockport and Trick-or-Treat along Main Street and down on Bearskin Neck.

That’s exactly what we did yesterday afternoon.  From 4:00 -6:00 shop owners opened their doors to trick-or-treaters and the town was hopping.  While my boys go to school out of town, they are blessed to have friends from the neighborhood, from soccer, from baseball, from sailing, from hockey, and even some from school that they’ve met while growing up in what we’ve always referred to as “God’s Country.”   It was so fun watching the boys chit-chat with friends from all different corners of their lives while strolling along downtown.

Take a lovely fall afternoon (well, at least until the rain came), adorable children in Halloween costumes, gracious shop owners/employees, friendly faces, some good laughs, and one of the most beautiful backdrops in the world….and you get Halloween on the Neck.  Throw in dinner at Top Dog….and it doesn’t get any better.

So, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU to everyone who made it possible to create such fun memories for so many children.

Here are just a few photos….including my own little Adam Levine from Maroon 5.  He kills me.

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Muffin and a View

If someone were to ask me what my favorites foods are, I’d have to say a really good cheese, sushi, a perfectly ripe watermelon, a delicious piece of fish, and the cranberry nut muffin from Helmut’s Strudel in Rockport.

So, as often as possible, I steal away solo or with the boys (who worship at the altar of the raspberry cream croissant) and grab a quick treat at Helmut’s on “the Neck.”

Last week, Finn and I enjoyed a quick muffin and croissant on our own….only to be interrupted (happily) by Thatcher who arrived on his bike on the way to his early morning sailing lesson.

Monday, prior to heading off to work for a few hours, I hit Helmut’s on my own and ate my muffin at the end of the new Rockport Breakwater.  A great way to organize my thoughts and do some strategizing before leaving town to start my day.

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Top Dog AND Beer….Does it Get Any Better?

I took an early morning drive to snap a quick photo of the new seating area at the Top Dog on Bearskin Neck this morning.  While there I had a nice little chat with the owner.  He told me, after inquiring about Joey, that they have a new yellow awning coming to shade the area I had just photographed…and, oh, the small fact that they’ll soon be serving beer.

I’m sorry if you don’t share my enthusiasm, but come on!  A loaded dog or fried clams, cheese fries, AND an ice cold beer on “the Neck.”  Quintessential Summer!

Evidently, for now, they’ll be serving Sam Summer, Harpoon IPA, hopefully some Cape Ann Brewing Company beers, and Switchback from Vermont.

Good times.

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Rockport: Bearskin Neck, Dock Square and on up the hill for those last minute Christmas Presents.

There were carolers this weekend but most of the stores I hit were going to be open all the way to Christmas Eve. So that pair of earrings or feather boa, salad bowl, or nutcracker, or that weird gift, the big stone thing to put in the garden and put a candle inside.

Bearskin Neck is a must but make sure you make it all the way down main street because there are gold mines of goodies all through town.

 

The best part is easy in and out. Rockport meters are all covered and plenty of street parking available.

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The little drummer boy said barampuh bu bum.

Time to visit the all new Bearskin Neck, Rockport

You might think ho-hum, I’ve been to Bearskin Neck over the years many times, but you should try it out again. Lots of new stuff. Two examples:

A new turn-around and new breakwater at the end! There is still the “Pass at Your Own Risk” sign but now it is so much easier to walk all the way out to the #6 harbor beacon. It really needs a good storm to wash the grit off it left from mashing 13 ton rocks into a flat top but you should try it out now.

There's a party out on #6 ATON.
There’s a party out on #6 ATON.

New artists! I’ll highlight just one but there are tons of new artists and shops out there. One gallery you have to stop in to see is David Arsenault. Leaf through his website but you have to see these in person. The very familiar, Good Harbor Beach, Old Garden Beach swing. After viewing if you go back outside on Cape Ann you realize you are living in a painting.

You've sat at this picnic table before enjoying a sunset haven't you?
You’ve sat at this picnic table before enjoying a sunset haven’t you? New owner, same table, different sunset.

Click on Bearskin.net for the latest including first Friday Nights in Rockport or click on the frequently updated Bearskin.net Facebook page.

Rubber Dick Approved.
Rubber Duck Approved.

Good Dog Gallery

While the charm and beauty of Rockport never gets old, one of my favorite parts of my evening walk/run with Marlin is the window shopping throughout downtown Rockport. Quintessential New England, for sure.  We have such a huge collection of absolutely fantastic shops with such wonderful diversity. There truly is not much that can not be purchased locally! If you haven’t, for whatever reason, spent time walking and shopping through Rockport, you are missing out.

I have been getting a kick out of photographing door fronts and displays during this sleepy season as Rockport begins to wake up from it’s winter nap.  It will not be long until ice cream is dripping down arms, the doors open full-time, and the shopping can begin in full force.  Make a point to visit…and visit often.

That all being the case, I was very happy to hear from Pamela Wasserman, of Good Dog Gallery on Bearskin Neck.  I am also happy to share her words…

“When I first heard Black Dog was coming to town I quickly realized exactly what it means when they say “competition is good for a town!” I immediately wanted to make my place bigger and better than it was before.  However, just as I was securing a new, larger space, my mother fell ill and I spent the entire winter assisting her. The pressure of simultaneously renovating a bigger, more expensive space was simply not possible.

Another dog-themed store will only portray Rockport as an even more dog-oriented town! Someone came up to me the other day and said, “There’s TOP DOG, there’s GOOD DOG and now there’s BLACK DOG!” Rockport is indeed known to be very a very dog-friendly town. It may be due to such a low traffic level on Bearskin Neck.  The lack of traffic encourages people to come walk their dogs, shop, and especially to grab a treat at Roy Moore’s and then over to Good Dog Gallery. Water dishes line the streets of Bearskin Neck, waiting for thirsty pups.

Celebrating Good Dog Gallery’s 10th year in Rockport, I am proud and honored to have so many returning customers dropping in to say “hello”, to grab a treat, or to do some shopping after the long, wicked winter we’ve had! Spring is a wonderful time to see all those familiar faces, wet noses and wagging tails!

Having moved here after 20 years in Woodstock, Vermont, I chose Rockport to showcase all the doggie goodies we have today. Those items include the delightful art, books and gift items of celebrated dog artist and sculptor, Stephen Huneck, whose flagship gallery that I managed for years, was located in Woodstock, Vermont. He has since passed, but his delightful, light-hearted dog art remains very popular, recognizable and highly collected.

We at Good Dog Gallery not only take doggie humor very seriously, hence the GREETINGS mat in the window, depicting one dog sniffing the other dog’s butt, but we take pride in all the products we offer. We assist in fitting each dog to the proper harness, sweater, or coat. There is a great selection of collars and leashes to choose from. We maintain a gourmet “Barkery” with all natural ingredients made in New England.  We even feature the ever popular crispy, crunchy, dehydrated and locally caught, Cod Skins, made right here in Rockport! Yes….Good Dog Gallery’s owner has the glamorous job of hand rolling and dehydrating those cod skins for up to 14 hours! As our slogan states: “Everyone makes the same face, but they keep coming back for more!!!!” And boy, do they!

We may be small, with only one location to focus our passion on, but we have gone to great lengths to find and offer dog art and unique gifts for every dog-lover and a great selection of dog gear + treats that keep tails waggin’!

So, as we say at Good Dog Gallery, “C’mon in and have a sniff around!”  GOOD DOGS WELCOME!”

Good Dog Gallery

Tail Wagging Art, Gifts, Gear, and Treats!

for Dog Lovers and The Dogs We Love!

49 Bearskin Neck, Rockport, MA 01966

978.546.1364    info@gooddoggallery.com

www.gooddoggallery.com

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Hello, Black Dog!

You may have already heard the great news….but, just in case you haven’t…get ready to shop at The Black Dog on Bearskin Neck!

So exciting.  It’s quite an honor, if you ask me, for Rockport to have been chosen as The Black Dog’s newest location.  Rockport now joins a pretty fantastic list of other oceanside communities that are home to Black Dog shops.

Familiarize yourself with some of their great merchandise now…and start making your wish list…by checking out the Black Dog here!  FYI, they’re also hiring.

The first Black Dog General Store opened on Water Street in Vineyard Haven in 1992. Today, there are multiple locations of our Black Dog Stores from Portland, Maine down to Annapolis, Maryland. On Martha’s Vineyard, stores are located in Vineyard Haven, Edgartown and Oak Bluffs. On the Mainland, you’ll find stores in Falmouth, Provincetown, Chatham, Mashpee, Newburyport, MA, as well as Newport, RI, Portland, ME, Mystic, CT , National Harbor, MD, Boston, MA and don’t forget about our other island location, Nantucket!

What do these Black Dog townships have in common? The ocean, for one. A nautical heritage and a safe harbor are imperative. The Black Dog Tall Ships do visit these towns.

More importantly, these are towns that have much in common with The Black Dog, an appreciation for tradition, a love of the sea and all things authentically New England.

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TAH-DAH, Spring….and Roy Moore Lobster Co.

Marlin and I came upon a sight for sore eyes this afternoon on our walk through Rockport.

We were both pretty excited to see the one and only Kenny Porter…and crew…wrapping up the official Day #1 of the 2015 season at Roy Moore Lobster Co.   Fantastic!

Now we just need Helmut’s Strudel and an ice cream joint or two to open up and we can get on with our happy warmer weather lives.  Winter is over and signs of spring are everywhere!

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One if by Land, Two if by Sea

Just a few of the things that caught my eye while out walking Marlin last night. Including “our beach” and bits and pieces of Bearskin Neck….such as one of the most photographed lanterns on Cape Ann. It was nice to be able to hit the streets again without having to battle colossal snow banks.  Bring on Spring!