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





Had My 1st Beer at Top Dog

My husband, Finn, and I went for a bike ride throughout Rockport yesterday while Thatcher was out sailing.  We stopped at Top Dog for lunch and, after hearing that if I were to order a beer it would be the 1st one they poured that day, I had to have one.  Mind you it was 1:30 in the afternoon…and perfectly acceptable.

Super yummy lunch and a very cold beer.

The last photo shows a VERY happy customer raving to the owner and cook about the fact that her fried clams were the absolute BEST she has ever had.


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.


Top Dog is Open!

It’s that time of year again!  Top Dog is officially open…now with burgers too.

I don’t know about you, but I can’t get down there fast enough.  I know two little boys and a dog who will be happy too.  Stay tuned for their new menu.

Spring Hours:

Monday -Thursday 11-4
Friday-Sunday 11-7


Oracle Rubber Duck Says: Winter of Our Discontent is Over!

It’s March! What’s so awesome about March Rubber Duck? It’s followed by April! And April is when we start making “Seasonal Openings 2015!” From Top Dog usually the last day of March to The Rudder right around Tax Day with Lobsta Land, Capt Carlos, Dairy Train, sprinkled in between. What tastes like spring more than a Fish and Cheese sandwich at The Cupboard? And the snow will melt soon! Look at WeatherSpark for next week:

This next week spends most of the time above that nasty freezing line.
This next week spends most of the time above that nasty freezing line.

So here is my lineup starting today for things to do to get you in the mood.
Friday March 6: Stones Pub for a Blue Duck Spring Burger. (Blue Cheese Portabella mushrooms, bacon, hold the sprouts between your knees.
Saturday March 7: Wash the car at Maplewood Carwash. It’s not for the car, it’s for you. You will feel better! Drive home slowly. Do not splash.
Saturday March 7: There is something else big today, what is it?
Sunday March 8: Spring Forward! That’s right, drive home from work and the sun is still shining!
Monday March 9: Big Apple announcement. Buy a watch? A retina MacBook Air?
Tuesday March 10: If you are going to grow tomatoes from seeds, sow them now!
Wed March 11: Run around in shorts! It’s 44 degrees out! After this winter that will feel like 85!

Thurs March 12: Have you ever seen Uranus? I have never seen Uranus! But you can this week. As Mars and Venus set in the evening if you scope them out with binoculars they will be very easy to find. Venus is wicked bright. Very close by will be an unblinking tiny blue dot. That is Uranus! Now you can say Rubber Duck showed you Uranus!

Saturday March 14: Pi Day! Biggest Pi Day ever because it is 2015 which means 3/14/15 9:26AM and 53 seconds all nerds head’s will explode with nerdiness!
Sunday March 15: Ides of March: Greg Bover posts an awesome quote from Caesar or Brutus et tu?
Tuesday March 17: Saint Patrick’s Day! Plant your peas! Still two feet of snow in your garden? Start digging. You have to plant them on Saint Patty’s Day or the world will end.
Wednesday March 18: EJ and Brenda Malloy and Jeff Amero and everyone else who has been rubbing it in on Facebook that they are in Florida will be dragging their sun tanned butts back to Cape Ann!
Tuesday March 31: Get your boat in the water by today and you win a prize!

Friday, March 20: at 6:45 PM EDT First Day of Spring, Equinox, equal day, equal night!

Wednesday April 1: Seasonal Openings really get underway. You can make it. Meet me at the Rudder or The Studio, who is going to open first?

Then this happens Sunday April 5th
Then this happens Sunday April 5th

GloucesterCast With Guests Craig Kimberley, James and Anna Eves and Host Joey Ciaramitaro Taped 4/9/14

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GloucesterCast With Guests Craig Kimberley, James and Anna Eves and Host Joey Ciaramitaro Taped 4/9/14

Topics Include: Crappy Coffee, Cape Ann Giclee, What Would You Lop Off Of Your Body To Go Back To 23 Years Old?, Cape Ann License Plate Debate, No Entry With A Codfish, The Angriest Most Hate Filled People In The Country, Custom Bumper Stickers, Bad Tattoos, Craig’s Prison Tat, The Rudder Opening Thursday Night, Peepers vs Crickets, Vernal Pond People, The Studio, Seaport Grille Tuna, Two Sisters Chipolte Hollondaise Eggs Bene, Patriot Strata, Tasty Burger, Top Dog, Yarde House, SRM Auto Detailing, iPad Not For Content Creation, Latest iPhone Image A Fake?, Joey’s Idea For A No Compromise Cell Phone Named The Brick, Joey’s Kickstarter, Throw Out The Weight Part Of The Equation, Give Me Some Guts, Apple Desktop Screens and Why Is There No PC Equivalent, Stitcher, Some Other Great Podcasts, Plugging In Your Cell Phone To Your Car’s Auxiliary Port, Email Subscribers Who Don’t Realize That They Can Access GMG Directly Through The Link , The Internet Just Happened

The GloucesterCast Has Been Been Invited To Be A Station On Stitcher Radio On Demand! 

Check It!!!
Listen to Stitcher


Spring Has Sprung: Cape Ann Seasonal Openings Part I

Today, the first day of spring, the water is a brisk 39 F but Summer is just around the corner and with it the seasonal openings of restaurants on Cape Ann.

Saturday, March 30, Top Dog of Rockport opens. A clam roll at a picnic table outside. That is Rubber Duck’s official start of the season. Ward off the chill with a Hot Chihuahua Dog with Chili Cheese Fries.

Thursday, April 11, Lobsta Land Restaurant opens. Just say “Lobsta Land!” out loud three times. Quack quack quack, Rubber Duck feels better already. RD had to check their Twitter to find the date. Their website still just says “closed for winter.” Bad Lobsta Land. Engage in all social media.

Thursday, April 11, Captain Carlo’s opens.

Friday April 12th, Dairy Train in Rockport opens.

Thursday, April 18 The Rudder opens.

Note to Restaurateurs of Cape Ann: Do you want patrons when you open your doors this season? Then update your web page!! Update your facebook page!! Rubber Duck should not have to turn over every facebook, web or twitter rock and still have a hard time finding your opening date! Too many places still had, “We’re closing this week for the winter, come back in the spring.” Not good. Update and make a comment on this post and Rubber Duck will add your restaurant to Seasonal Openings Part II.

Rubber Duck chillin' at Duckworth's Bistrot
Rubber Duck chillin’ at Duckworth’s Bistrot

Top Dog, Dog

I think Top Dog is becoming my favorite place for fried clams on Cape Ann. Their fried clams are very light, crispy and flavorful, the dogs are awesome too. It’s a great place for yummy summer food, people watching and taking a break from Bear Skin Neck shopping.

The Man’s Best Friend Hot Dog (chili & cheese) and Fried Clams at Top Dog in Rockport. 


Seasonal Openings Part V

This is another big weekend coming up. But first, who has already opened up in the past few weeks? Nate’s of Front Beach Rockport, The Lobster Pool at Halibut Point, Topside Grill in Gloucester, The Top Dog of Rockport, and last but not least just this past weekend the Dairy Train Ice Cream Shop next to the Railroad Station in Rockport.

This weekend is a real biggy. If you have not had your first 2011 summer hot dog, ice cream, oyster, or fried clam you should check your pulse if you make it through this weekend without a taste of summer.

A real spring kick off: get those veggies planted. Get down on your knees and get dirty because Goose Cove Gardens opens this Saturday April 16th. Well rooted flats of beets, to broccoli, kale to kohlrabi, leeks to lettuces and don’t forget swiss chard, onions aspargus and brussel sprouts. You say you don’t like brussel sprouts? Try growing your own and throwing them on the barbecue grill along with some baby beets. Find them on Facebook.

Thursday, April 14 @ 5:00PM The Rudder opens. They will be open for 3 days only on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays until June 19th when they open for 7 days a week. “Tax Relief” specials the first weekend and some great new items on the menu this year. Even if it is still cold and snowy on tax weekend the fireplace inside and the heated deck overlooking Smith Cove is the place to be.

Thursday, April 14, Lobsta Land Restaurant opens. Just say “Lobsta Land!” out loud three times. I feel better already. Check out their website. Countdown to Lobsta and it can be used for countdown to taxes also.

Friday, April 15, Captain Carlo’s opens with Jenny Dee & the Deelinquents playing that evening. Your taxes are in. Time to celebrate.

Seasonal establishments, add a comment and I will add you. Update your website, your Facebook page, and start tweeting. The early bird gets the fried clam sold.

Bob Dylan says it’s the weekend, partyin’ partyin’ yeah!

March, The New Year starts tomorrow

Until King Numa screwed things up in 713 BC, March was the beginning of the year. Since March is my favorite month I never followed the king’s edict so today is New Year’s Eve. The Romans started the year with March because March is from Mars, god of war and you could start a war campaign in March and not get bogged down. But there are tons of other reasons why March is the greatest month. Everything starts in March.

March 1st: Hummingbirds have just hit the gulf coast and will be here soon. Monarch butterflies not far behind.

March 1st: First day of the year, first day of spring if you don’t go by the new fangled calendar.

March 4th: Gather in crowds , yell out the name of the day, and March forth. This is a Friday so a pub crawl would be good on this day. Stone Pub, Dog Bar, Minglewood Tavern, Rhumb Line.

March 5th: New Moon

March 6th: The sliver of the new waxing moon crescent will be paired just above the setting sun with Jupiter. With binoculars you might glimpse Mercury below the pair before it sets right after the sun.

March 7th: My Birthday. Now you know why this is my favorite month, I celebrate all month long.

March 13th: Spring Ahead! DST starts so instead of the sun setting at 5:45PM the day before it sets at 6:46 PM! Gin and Tonic on the deck as the sun goes down.

March 14: Pi Day. Be an even bigger nerd and have a drink, 3/14 @ 1:59 PM and 26 seconds.

March 15: The Ides of March “Et tu, Brute?” Caesar stabbed 23 times. Toga! Toga! Toga!

March 17th: Saint Patrick’s Day, green beer on a Thursday this year.

March 19th: Full Moon. This March full moon causes Easter to occur late, April 24th this year.

March 19th: Boston Derby Dames in Wilmington, 4PM. Full moon and roller derby? Twice as crazy!

March 20: wicked low tide at 6:25PM and sun sets at 6:54PM. Take dog for a walk on Good Harbor Beach.

March 20, 7:21PM: Spring Equinox, take dog for a walk on Good Harbor Beach.

March 31st: Red Sox Baseball season’s eve. Sox are tied for the best record in baseball.

Print this list out and put it on your fridge along with the Gloucester Harbor Tide Chart to get the most out of your March. Before you know it I will be posting seasonal openings and we can all meet at the Cupboard for a Fish and cheese sandwich. Top Dog in Rockport is opening Saturday, April 2nd. OK, maybe April is my favorite month.

Top Dog Lobster Roll

Top Dog Lobster Roll, originally uploaded by captjoe06.

As much as I heartily recommend y’all going to Top Dog on Bearskin Neck if you’ve read any of my rantings about lobster rolls then you know my take on what place lettuce or celery has on a lobster roll-none.

I’d ask for it “Joey-Style” and when they look at you with a puzzled look on their face because they’ll inevitably have no idea what “Joey-Style” means, tell them “without the lettuce- DUH!

We will forgive this minor transgression because everything else at this place was outstanding.

Just Hit Up Top Dog In Rockport

Based on GMG contributor Paul Morrison’s glowing reviews I took the family to Top Dog on Bearskin Neck in Rockport.

He was spot on. This place is a gem and must go-to spot for casual faire while in Rockport. Very reasonable prices. Great food, excellent set- up, spotless bathrooms. A top notch establishment the Top Dog is.

Eight thumbs up from the Ciaramitaro family.

Thanks Paul for the recommendation. We probably never would have tried it had it not been for you!

Pics coming

Summer Tourists, Some are not.

But Cape Ann is a tourist draw so if you don’t go with the flow you are missing out on some great fried clams, onion rings, and all sorts of other stuff to clog your arteries but what the hay it’s almost summer and winter is a long way away.

With that long intro, I want to know what seasonal restaurant is open. I love walking into a place that has been closed up all winter and the formica is all shined up and hopefully the fryolators are lubricated. Ice cream too, is there a better feeling than ordering that first mint chocolate chip from the Dairy Train in Rockport? (side note, my daughter was asking to go and I pretended to be deaf, not a real hard task, and I said “Scary Train?” and she repeated and I said “Scary Brain?” and we went on and on until she had to hit me over the head, anyway, Dairy Train is Scary Brain in our house.)

So what am I missing? I know some places are open and nobody told me. Stop that. I hate that.
So I want anyone who knows of a seasonal place that has opened or has posted the date at which they will open, send the info to me or post a reply and I will make a list and check it twice.

From my own personal ramblings I know that:
Top Dog: open
The Rudder : open Thursday-Saturday
Lobster Pool: open
Lobster Land (I mean Lobsta Land!): open
Top Siders: open (Oyster night is Tuesday night)
I’ve heard mention of this Cupboard at the end of the Boulevard and I will admit I have never eaten there. I’ve never played 18 holes of golf so sue me. But does anyone know when they might open?

Mail me or reply here, I will check it twice:

Signs of Spring

As a newbie I am still trying to figure out the first signs of spring on the island. Since moving from the midwest to New England in 1970 I am really looking for my spring of childhood. March was windy but ended up warm followed by a month of flowers which continued up to race day on Memorial Day in Indianapolis. Springs are a tad shorter around here but just as good as long as you don’t miss the first signs. Saint Patrick’s Day you are supposed to get your peas planted. Well dang, now the ground is as hard as Cape Ann granite. What are my poor peas doing now?

Anyway, signs of spring I have gathered in the past two years. Home and Garden Show at Gloucester High School today. Check. Top Dog opening today for their tenth season on the neck. Double check. (If you become a fan of the dog on Facebook you can learn the secret word and get money off your dogs this weekend.)

Now I wait for the first sign of summer. Cape Pond butt crack as he fills the ice chest in front of Willow Rest while I finish off my Cuban sandwich. That’s a good one. But right now I wait for Mister and Misses Bathroom sign to announce as you enter Rockport that the pipes will not freeze and you can powder your nose while picking up brochures at the Info booth. That’s the sign I love.

What’s your sign?

Christmas Overload?

It’s the Saturday before Christmas. Have you gotten all your shopping done? Are you ready for 6 to 10 inches of snow tonight? Are you sure your pipes haven’t frozen in this cold snap? Someone home from college wants to borrow your new car? The in-laws arriving soon for a week’s stay?

Relax, only 100 days before Top Dog opens on the Neck and you can be sitting out on the back picnic table feeding a Homie your extra fries. I’m going to practice making an Old Fashioned for the rest of the week. Don’t poke, stir. Don’t poke. Stir.

Cold out there in Hoop Pole Cove this morning. Forgot my camera charger so just an iPhone quick pic: