Don’t miss this magical (and first annual newly reinstated) “Deck the Halls” holiday event at Hammond Castle. Each of the main rooms of the Castle has been exquisitely decorated by local florists and landscapers, and also draws from the Museum’s own vintage holiday decorations that had been packed away several decades ago.

“Deck the Halls” is just one of the many events designed to engage the greater Cape Ann community. Linda Harvey, the Museum’s Executive Director, and her staff, are transforming Hammond Castle, from a sleepy museum into a vibrant member of the Cape Ann arts and culture institutions.

“Deck the Halls” is open daily through the week, from 10am to 3pm, closing on Friday, December 20th. Plus, if you stop in at the gift shop and purchase an item in an amount greater than $20.00, admission to the Museum is FREE. This is a wonderful deal because the gift shop is chock-a-block full of unique, castle-by-the-sea inspired presents, especially for the youngest on your holiday gift list.

*Note- The nutcrackers are handmade in Germany, not Chinese factory made.

Thank you to Mayor Sefatia for the suggestion not to miss the exhibit, and to bring bring my camera along so our readers will also want to pop on over 🙂




Rockport Winter Farmers Market on SATURDAY. Plus more stuff…

Christmas in Rockport this year has been Christmas-ier than I can ever remember it being in the 14 years I’ve been around (now you all know that I’m 14 years old, because of course I was born a Rockport native). You will get in the spirit in spite of yourself, even if the weather is so mild it’s more like June (which is always so freakin cold here) than December.

TOMORROW the Rockport Winter Farmers Market features fresh food from actual farmers who grow stuff and have been growing stuff specifically for this market and the Cape Ann Farmers Market (next Saturday 12/19 in Gloucester!). So don’t let the farmers down and come buy fresh, local food. The market will also feature baked goods, nisu bread, pickles, fruits, granola, nuts, and more more more. 9am to 1pm at the Rockport Community House at 58 Broadway.


A raffle to support the work of the nonprofit Rockport Exchange (organizers of the farmers’ market) will be part of the fun. A bag of Rockport Farmers Market swag will be raffled every hour on the hour (10am, 11am, 12pm, 1pm) so buy a ticket for just $1 and have a swell time winning stuff, supporting the market, and most importantly, supporting local food producers.

RFM swag bag

Also: Spiran Lodge has the annual Jul Fest tomorrow! This is a fantastic Rockport tradition and a nod to the village’s heritage. Pickled herring can be yours, along with tons of other great food and crafts. 9 to 1pm at Spiran Lodge on Broadway. And Rockport’s annual Gallery Stroll is tomorrow, with Rockport artists welcoming visitors to town.

AND the entire Charlie Brown Christmas album will be featured at the Old Sloop Coffeehouse Saturday night! This is just too much…. come for the Rockport Winter Farmers Market and stay for the day, ending the evening listening to live music, sipping coffee at the Old Sloop Coffeehouse at the beautiful First Congregational Church on Main Street in Rockport.


a Holiday Celtic music session at the Dog Bar Sunday evening, 5:30-8:30 12.28.2014

Dog Bar Tonight!

Michael O’Leary
“Join us for a Holiday Celtic music session at the Dog Bar Sunday evening, 5:30-8:30 – I’ll be joined by David de la Barre, Linda Shields Swicker and Adrienne Howard – and rumor has it that Stringman Steve Levy will be joining us as well, so them strings will be singin’!”


dog bar

65 Main St Rear (20 Rogers St)
Gloucester, MA

(978) 281-6565

2 Annual Bang-A-Song Holiday Jam/January Open Studio kickoff party. Monday December 15th 6pm – 9pm.

2nd Annual Bang A Song Holiday Jam and January Open Studios FlyerEVENT: 2nd Annual Bang-A-Song Studio Holiday Jam
WHERE: 72 Rogers Street, Gloucester
WHEN: Monday, December 15th
TIME: 6-9pm

WHAT ELSE: We’ll have pizza and beer for jamming, instruments and
amplifiers for eating.  Come meet Tony and Warren, sign up for a January
open studio slot, and perform your best version of “Jingle Bells”,
“Christmas with the Martians” or  “Santa’s Got an Airplane”!!!!  Kids
are welcome.



The Best Christmas Decoration EVER! (Not to Overstate it)

This year I was lucky enough to acquire one of the limited-run wall hangings created in printer Julia Garrison’s studio & shop, The Sarah Elizabeth Shop, in Rockport. The piece hangs near our dinner table and I stare at it during every meal, surprised every time by the beauty and the level of detail in the design.

The wall hanging was printed from a block carved in 1950 by local artist Delores Rapp, who was trained by Virginia Lee Burton, the founding member of the Folly Cove Designers, so it is only fitting that over six decades later, prints are being made from the block using the same Acorn Press that was used by the Folly Cove Design Collective, which Julia uses in printing both archival and her own original designs.

Julia prints this piece in a few different colors. Mine is printed in red ink on a natural linen background.
Julia prints this piece in a few different colors. Mine is printed in red ink on a natural linen background.

This year, the current owner of the vintage block (Delores Rapp passed away a few years ago) came to Julia and they worked out an arrangement that allows Julia to print a limited run of wall hangings from the block. All the wall hangings are hand-printed and sewn locally, using archival ink on linen, which lasts forever, so your descendents will still be enjoying this pieces many Christmas moons from now.

You can purchase the hanging (and see other options for ink/background colors) directly from Julia online HERE. Or better yet, go see her in her studio/shop this weekend at 5 Whistlestop Mall in Rockport to see the wall hangings — and her other wares — in person.

This piece is bound to be an heirloom in our own family — I am already attached to it more than pretty much any other holiday item I have — and will no doubt be equally as meaningful in the homes of every one else who gets their hands on one. It is beautiful both for the amazing design (when you consider that every detail was hand carved!) and for its connection to our local and current artistic heritage.

I’m sorry my photos don’t do it justice. Check it out at Julia’s online shop or in person to get the full effect of these limited-run pieces.

Just some of the detail of the design.
Just some of the detail of the design.


Discover Gloucester Holiday & Awards Party Post re: some VIPs

Hey, Joey-

Perfect timing by EJ for featuring Potter Marty Morgan in her post yesterday, as Marty is receiving one of the three Awards that Discover Gloucester will give out at our 3rd Annual Holiday & Awards Party! We all remember, of course, that you were the first to receive one of the Awards 🙂

Marty is being recognized for her many years of work as a founding member of the Cape Ann Artisans, as well as for her thousands of hours of work and love making the Empty Bowl project such a success for The Open Door.

Joanne (Souza) Main will receive an Award for being the champion of the Schooner Adventure. Her many years of blood, sweat and tears to get the Adventure seaworthy has been quite the task- and she did it!

The third Award will go to a wonderful collaboration among Gloucester, Rockport and Essex folks: The four new MA Cultural Districts!

The Gloucester Harbortown, Rocky Neck, Rockport and Essex River Cultural District’s Committees will be recognized for their diligent work.

Everyone is invited to come honor our very worthy recipients & representatives at the Discover Gloucester Holiday & Awards Party on Tuesday, December 10, Noon to 2:30pm, at La Trattoria on Main St. in Gloucester.                                                     $20 per person for a delish Italian Buffet, payable at the door to La Trattoria. RSVPs are necessary, so Peter & his crew can plan. Let us know by Sunday if you want to attend to congratulate these fine folks- and we know you do! 

Reply to

On behalf of the Discover Gloucester Board, 

Linn Parisi  (Thanks, Joey!)

Free Advent-Christmas Concert at St. Ann’s Church

Advent-Christmas Concert at St. Ann’s Church

The choir of Holy Family Parish will be offering
its 8th annual free Advent-Christmas Concert
on Sunday, December 9, at 2PM.

Nativity scene

In addition to the parish adult choir and the children’s choir, the pastor, Fr. John Kiley, will present some organ pieces.  Not wanting to be left out of a musical event like this one, GMG contributor Fr. Matthew Green will also sing with the choir.

No tickets necessary! Come and enjoy the music!

Holy Family Parish is located just north of the intersection of Prospect Street and Pleasant Street. The entrance to the parking lot is on Prospect.

Be careful to avoid parking in the lot for Savour Wine and Cheese, which is across Pleasant Street from the church parking lot. Unless maybe you stop in to Savour and pick up some treats beforehand, and ask permission to stay in the lot…

– Fr. Matthew Green

Snow Dome Series

For the past week, while at home and in between holiday baking, at different times throughout the day under varying degrees of low winter light, I’ve been taking photos of this snowiest of “snow storms.” The light coming through the living room windows coupled with the Christmas tree lights created myriad fascinating effects, making it difficult to chose which photos to post. Click any photo to see the complete slideshow.

From wiki: Precisely when the first snow globe (also called a” water globe,” “snow storm,” or “snow dome”) was made remains unclear, but they appear to date from France during the early 19th century. They may have developed as a successor to the glass paperweight, which had become popular a few years earlier. Snow globes appeared at the Paris Universal Expo of 1878, and by 1879 at least five companies were producing snow globes and selling them throughout Europe.