Northshore Magazine: August 2016 issue Best of North Shore includes so much on Gloucester and Cape Ann!

20160815_100527Before we dive into Northshore Magazine’s Fall Favorites September issue, let’s take a moment to acknowledge its Best of North Shore August issue. Although votes did not come in all Cape Ann for categories you thought might be a shoe-in: best beach, bakery, breakfast, burger, clam chowder, farmer’s market, art gallery, art anything (!), museum, or attraction — Gloucester and all of Cape Ann businesses receive a lot of deserved attention! Signing in to vote may be a barrier to entry for some. Still, 150,000+ votes were cast. You can check out what won in many additional categories in the 300pp monster issue.

Congratulations to Cape Ann 2016 Best of awardees!

DINE ALFRESCO – The Market Restaurant, Gloucester

FRIED CLAMS- Seaport Grill, Gloucester and Top Dog (seasonal), Rockport; reader’s choice: Woodman’s

LOBSTER DINNER- Roy Moore Lobster, Rockport; reader’s choice Woodman’s of Essex

LOBSTER ROLL- Seaport Grille, Gloucester

PIZZA- Short and Main, Gloucester in a three way tie

ROMANTIC- Duckworth’s, Gloucester

SANDWICHES- Willow Rest, Gloucester

WATERVIEW RESTAURANT- The Market Restaurant, Gloucester

HOTEL BAR- Beauport Hotel, Gloucester

CHOCOLATE- Rockport Fudgery, Rockport (seasonal)

HOTEL- Beauport Hotel

CHARTER BOAT- Schooner Thomas E Lannon

COMMUNITY WALK RUN BIKE BY SEASON – summer Twin Lobster Half Marathon & 1 mile Race, Gloucester; winter Happy Holidays Half Merrython, Gloucester;  reader’s choice, Motif #1 Day 5K, Rockport

FESTIVAL (FALL)- Essex Clamfest, Essex

GOLF COURSE- reader’s choice Bass Rocks Golf Club, Gloucester

MARINA- Cape Ann Marina, Gloucester

NATURE TRAILS- Ravenswood Park, Gloucester

BOOKS-The Bookstore of Gloucester

MATERNITY CLOTHING- The Urchin Exchange, Gloucester

CONCIERGE- reader’s choice Tending the Sweet Life, Gloucester

DANCING- Minglewood Tavern, Gloucester





Wild, Wacky and Wonderful…Gloucester!

Story by Terry Weber

My husband and I were hiking in the Ravenswood Park area and saw this:
photo 1 first bone
Yes, it appears to be part of a human skeleton, nailed to a tree. It was about 15 to 20 feet off the ground–too high for us to touch or get a closer look.
We discussed it, saying it was creepy, and hoped it was not real. We considered all the “rational” reasons part of a skeleton could be nailed to a tree: It was fake and just a prank from someone who wanted to cause a stir and obviously needs attention. Or, it was a leftover “decoration” that no one took down from a Halloween Haunted Woods event. Or, real or fake, it was a symbol, warning, or trail marker left by an unusual religious group. And last, we thought it might be part of a crime scene. Okay, maybe we have watched too many crime or zombie-apocalypse TV shows. But, we felt that there was a 1% chance it could be real.

With the 1% chance of it being real, I decided to tell the Gloucester Police. Even though I felt silly, I emailed Chief Campanello with a picture of the skeleton so he could decide if, or how, to proceed. The Chief was in Washington DC when I made the report, and he referred the situation to two of his officers. He said based on my picture it was worth looking at, but agreed it was probably just a prank.

Next thing I knew, I was meeting Lt. Joe Fitzgerald and Officer Troy Simoes at the entrance to Ravenswood Park. After looking at the map, we entered the woods from an entrance I was not familiar with, resulting in a navigation challenge while I tried to figure out where the bone was located from a new direction. We took two ATV’s that handled the wider parts of the trail well, but the trail soon became smaller and rockier. I may have screamed and cursed a few times when Lt. Fitzgerald apparently thought he was a NASCAR driver, plowing over rocks and plunging down hills at breakneck speeds. J Okay, that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but I hardly cried at all.

After about 15 minutes of searching for the right spot on the trail, we had to get off the ATV’s and start walking. I told the officers that the skeleton would be nailed to a tree on our right. A few minutes later, Officer Simoes said “I see it!” and he pointed to the left. I looked up, confused, as I thought the skeleton would be on the right. It was a different skeleton, on a completely different tree! But, like the other one, it appeared to be the foot and lower leg of a human.

photo 2 2nd boneUpon closer inspection (this bone was lower than the one my husband and I found), both officers concluded it was a fake. They could see little seams, and said that a nail would not cause such a neat indentation in the bone. I was relieved there was no crime victim, as were the officers. We also agreed even though the skeletons were fake, they were unsightly and not a great thing for small children to see.
I apologized and thanked both officers for their time, but they said it’s always better to check something out than to ignore it. Plus, there are certainly worse ways to spend your time, riding on an ATV ride through the woods on a beautiful spring day!
After discussing my story with a few people, I heard through the grapevine that other hikers who have lived here longer than me knew about the bones.  There may be many more nailed to trees, but no one had ever notified the police (at least not in recent history).
The experience left me with a few questions: Real or fake, why are the bones nailed to trees?  How long have they been there? Who put them there? Have you ever noticed them? And, should they come down?  Share your thoughts and stories!
Special thanks to Chief Campanello, Lt. Fitzgerald and Officer Simoes. And yes, Officer Simoes is related to GMG’s own Manny Simoes.

Woodland Winter Greens

woodland winter greens

I love the bold greens in the woods in winter – a constant reminder that spring is just around the corner.  Ravenswood Park is a beautiful place to walk, thanks to the generosity of Samuel E. Sawyer.   In 1889, Sawyer’s will created Ravenswood Park which he named after the castle in Sir Walter Scott’s The Bride of Lammermoor.  We also have Samuel Sawyer to thank for the Gloucester Lyceum and Sawyer Free Library as much of the funding for the library came from him.  Samuel Elwell Sawyer was born in Gloucester on November 25, 1815 and died in Gloucester on December 15, 1889, at the age of 73.

E.J. Lefavour

Snapshots from Liv

Our daughter Liv is heading back to NYC tomorrow. It’s been a joy having her home for nearly an entire week and I am surely going to miss her. Liv emailed several iPhone photos from her hike with Rosie yesterday at Ravenswood Park.

Ravenswood Park Gloucester Liv Photo

We all love our mobile phones, although it is in all our interest to pause and and think about where the materials for our modern gadgets comes from and whose lives are directly affected. In Time Magazine’s August 27th Wireless Issue, Michael Christopher Brown photographed his essay A Camera Goes Anywhere: Even to the depth of the mines at the heart of its circuitry with his iPhone. Cameras are strictly forbidden in the mines of the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo where armed groups and governments have used conflict minerals as the latest way to help fund their oppressive regimes. These minerals, which include tourmaline, cassiterite, and coltan are used to make critical components of mobile phones. It is ironic that the entire essay was shot with Brown’s iPhone. Click the link to read the article and to see Brown’s photos.

Impressions of Ravenswood Park

The other day, a friend took me to Ravenswood Park for the first time.  Good thing I wasn’t alone, or I would probably have either gotten lost or missed out on some of the beautiful spots in the park! This is a great place to go for a walk. Just bring lots of bug repellant…

School vacation week on Cape Ann

From the Beacon

From Ravenswood Park to Halibut Point to the Essex Shipbuilding Museum, there is plenty for kids and families to enjoy during school vacation week. Plus enjoy art, dance and cheerleading lessons as well.

Here are some ideas:

Ravenswood Park programs

The Trustees of Reservations is hosting a series of programs “February School Vacation = Exploration!” at the Cape Ann Discovery Center at Ravenswood Park with explorations at their surrounding properties beginning on Saturday, Feb. 13 running through Sunday, Feb. 21.

Cost is $4 for Trustees member adults, $5 for non-member adults, and free for children. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

The following programs will be offered:

Ice Age Trail, Saturday, Feb. 13, 1-3 p.m.

Hermit’s Tales on the Trails, Tuesday, Feb. 16 and/or Thursday, Feb. 18, 1-3 p.m.

Snowflake Shapes and Science, Wednesday, Feb. 17, 1-3 p.m.

“Waterfront” (the movie), Saturday, Feb. 20, 3:30-5:30 p.m.

Animals of the Night: Live Animal Presentation, Saturday, Feb. 20, 6-7:30 p.m.

Beginning Winter Birding, Sunday, Feb. 21, 8-10 a.m. (at Halibut Point State Park in Rockport).

Call 978-281-8400, e-mail, or register online at

Hip-hop and shipbuilding with Wellspring

Wellspring Cape Ann Families is planning two free fun events for February vacation, open to all on Cape Ann.

Shipbuilding will be held Tuesday, Feb. 16, 10-11:30 a.m. at the Essex Shipbuilding Museum, 66 Main St, Essex. Make your own Chebacco Boat and learn about maritime history. The first 40 families will also receive a free copy of the local children’s book “Schooner.” Registration is required by calling 978-281-7856 with the number of children and adults.

Hip-Hop/Latin Dance is on Thursday, Feb. 18, 10-11:30 a.m. at WCAF, 28 Emerson Ave., Gloucester. Rock your body with local Hip-hop/Latin Dance fitness trainer Jennifer Amero from The Met: Metamorphosis Alternative Fitness Studio. Workshop is geared towards children 7 and up and parents are welcome to participate.

These free events are made possible by the Linden Foundation.

For more information, call Stacy Randell, 978-281-7856,

GHS Cheerleading Mini Camp

The Gloucester High School Cheerleaders will host a Mini Camp on Feb. 16, 17 and 18 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Gloucester High School Field House. All children ages 5 to 14 are welcome. The cost is $75. Registrations are still being accepted by calling Patricia Marques at 978-283-5718 or e-mail

Art Haven special classes

While still offering the normal schedule of after-school classes, Art Haven is offering a variety of activities for elementary and middle school students next week. Individual classes are $20 or $25:

Elementary School

Paint Big: Monday, 9-11:30 a.m.; Tie Dye a T-shirt, Tuesday, 9-11:30; and Lord of the Rings Day: Wednesday, 9-3:30 $20

Middle School

Pottery Day: Monday, 12:30-3; Tie Dye a T-shirt: Tuesday, 12:30-3; Lord of the Rings Day: Wednesday, 9-3:30; Jewelry Making: Thursday, 9-11:30; Silk Screen T-shirts: Thursday, 12:30-3.

For information, visit For reservations, call 978-283-3888 or e-mail

School vacation ‘exploration’: Trustees’ series kicks off Saturday

By Gail McCarthy
Gloucester Daily Times Staff Writer

The Trustees of Reservations are hosting a series of programs geared toward next week’s February school vacation, all based on a theme of “exploration.”

Several of the programs will be held at the newly renovated Cape Ann Learning & Discovery Center located at Ravenswood Park.

The events will feature explorations at Ravenswood and surrounding properties beginning Saturday and continuing through Sunday, Feb. 21:

*Ice Age Trail: Saturday, from 1 to 3 p.m. at Ravenswood.

*Hermit’s Tales on the Trails: Tuesday and, or Thursday, Feb. 18, 1 to 3 p.m. at Ravenswood.

*Snowflake Shapes & Science: Wednesday, 1 to 3 p.m. at Ravenswood.

*”Waterfront (the movie)”: Saturday, Feb. 20, 3:30 to 5:30 p.m.

*”Animals of the Night:”a live animal presentation, Saturday, Feb. 20, 6 to 7:30 p.m. at Ravenswood.

*Beginning Winter Birding: Sunday, Feb. 21, 8 to 10 a.m. at Halibut Point State Park.

For more information, please click here.

Skiing in Ravenswood

Yesterday I spent the most peaceful morning cross-country skiing in Ravenswood Park. Although there were several cars in the parking lot, I saw only a handful of people on the trails.

The sun and trees created giant shadows on the snow. The quietness filled the air. The only sound was the flap of my skis on my boots. I followed the Quarry Rd. trail where this photo was taken. The familiar landscape of my mountain bike rides was transformed into a winter wonderland.

Know Your Place: Special events at Ravenswood Park

From the Beacon-

The Trustees of Reservations is offering a series of events at Ravenswood Park in Gloucester:

Sunday, Nov. 1, noon-2 p.m.: The new Education Center’s ExSKULLent Adventure. Families are welcome to join in the newest treasure hunt “Sweetbay Swamp Quest” and learn about this new family sport, make your own stamps, and make your own passbooks. Learn how and what animals eat with close-up views of animal skulls. Costumes are welcome. Free to all.

Saturday, Nov. 7, 1-3 p.m.: Ravenswood Rocks! Geological features tour with DCR’s John Ratti. A rock is not a thing, but a drama. It reflects universal axioms such as, “As above, so below,” and is the great unifying science of the world. Join the Trustees and Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation educator John Ratti for a unique presentation of this elegant science. Members free, nonmember adults, $5. Pre-registration required.

For the rest of the schedule, click here.

February Vacation! Stuff to do with the Kids!

Plenty for parents to plan to do on vacation this month

Parents and caregivers looking for activities for the children during school vacation week can choose from several offerings from local organizations.

Here’s a short list of the activities offered  for the weekend and into next week.

Movies–  Cape Ann Cinema, Gloucester Cinema

Cape Ann Families“Do Something Really Big!”,  Nature Crafts,  Dance Revolution, “Guitar Hero” Tournament

The Trustees of Reservations Winter birding, Snowflake Science, Winter Quest, Hermit’s Tales on the Trails, Cows in their Winter Home, Bluebird Nest Box Building

Manchester Public Library- Make a Bird Feeder  Audubon Ark Museum Passes

Check out Flapping like a Haddock for  more fun things to do!


The Hermit of Ravenswood

hermit-of-ravenswoodBIRD CALLS PUNCTUATE THE AIR WHILE THE HUM OF A bee provides a soothing song. Only the train whistle permeates the serenity of Ravenswood Park, much the way it must have done for the “Hermit of Gloucester” a century ago. Mason Walton — the Hermit — hardly needed the distant reminder of another world. The world came to him……

Click here for the interesting story of Mason Walton