Inspiration in a bottle! Not what you think…..

Inspiration in a bottle! Not what you think…..
by Jacqueline Ganim-DeFalco

It’s 2017, a big year for me – preparing for the upcoming Cape Ann Artisans Studio Tour in June, closely followed by Art in the Barn and later this year, the Celebrate Wearable Art Runway Show in October.   Time for something new and fresh!  I knew if I looked hard enough, I would find inspiration somewhere in my studio.  With the diverse sizes and shapes of sea glass, it’s usually not far away, but alas – how to turn it into something wearable!  For many years I have been looking at antique sea glass bottlenecks wondering how to make them more elegant and dress them up.   I also flirted with using them horizontally.  But one day, it occurred to me finally to match them with lovely glass beads I had collected.   Then the idea got better when I realized I could incorporate some really fabulous beads from fellow artisan Beth Williams.  The bottlenecks are a limited commodity – hard to find and preciously old.   But if they are to be worn, they should stand out and be statement pieces.  I have matched them to a collection of vintage chains to accentuate the age factor & give them a bit of funkiness.   Then I thought, they really aren’t always recognizable for what they were in their original life, so the wonderful Clark Linehan photographed them for me with my antique bottle collection and now “voila” they are in context and even more appealing.  I can’t wait for them to be out in the world again as conversation pieces – where they likely started lives – a medicinal cure, a social cure, or a charming scent, or a “nip” at the end of a long work week!  Let your imagination run wild!

To shop or learn more about these beautiful designs check out this link:

The Tale of Ipswich Ale Brewery and the Green Crab

The Tale of Ipswich Ale Brewery and the Green Crab
By Jamie Green Klopotoski

Sometimes you never know where life will lead you! As event manager at Ipswich Ale Brewery, I’ve been organizing our first annual Cask & Clam Week, May 8-13, to celebrate Ipswich’s clamming and brewing culture. The week of events, including an environmental panel discussion, a paint night, and a clambake, will culminate in a Cask & Clam Fest on Saturday, May 13 in downtown Ipswich.

Part of my research in organizing the Ipswich Ale Cask & Clam Week led me to the discovery of the green crab, an invasive species with no natural predators that, last year alone, reduced Ipswich’s clam population by 30%. A new local nonprofit, the Green Crab R&D Project, is working to eradicate these crabs by turning them into a marketable food item. In Italy, green crabs are a delicacy; everything from soft shelled crabs, to caviar, to stews made with green crab broth are all the rage. For our Cask & Clam Fest, I’ve asked twelve local restaurants to offer a sample dish using the green crab, so you can taste for yourself how delicious they are.

The Cask & Clam Fest will also feature live music on two stages, food trucks, Tapmobiles, a cask ale pavilion, and activities for all ages.  All proceeds will be donated to the Green Crab R&D Project and the Ipswich River Watershed Association to support the local clamming industry. We hope this community-oriented event will bring awareness to the problem of the green crab, as well as be the catalyst for implementing the solution. Hope to see you there!

For more information check out the attached links:

Ipswich Ale Brewery:

Cask & Clam Week:

Cask & Clam Fest:

Green Crab R&D Project:

Ipswich River Watershed Association:


Hocus Pocus Filming Locations


Blog by Brittany from Destination Salem

It might be difficult to believe that Hocus Pocus, the famed cult classic starring Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy debuted 23 years ago, on July 16, 1993. You are probably familiar with the film’s story, which focuses on the Sanderson Sisters, who are executed as witches after casting a spell on young Thackery Binx, dooming him to roam the streets of Salem as an immortal black cat. 300 years later, a teenager named Max finds himself in the home of the Sanderson Sisters, where his lighting of the infamous black flame candle brings the trio back to life on Halloween night. Max, along with his sister Dani, and crush Allison, and Binx the cat of course, must then work together to put an end to the Sanderson Sisters once and for all.

Pioneer Village
310 West Ave |
The opening scenes of the film, featuring Binx as a human prior to his cursing as a cat, were filmed in Pioneer Village, a living history museum located at Salem’s Forest River Park. Pioneer Village was built in 1930, and is America’s first living history museum. Tours of the village are offered seasonally through September, and today the park is home to different events and festivals throughout the year.

Phillips Elementary School on Salem Common
The Phillips Elementary School building conveniently ended its run as a functioning school in 1992, making it the perfect location for a movie filming in Salem that required some exterior high school footage. While the building is not open to the public today the exterior can still be viewed from the Common.

The Ropes Mansion
318 Essex Street |
One of the most memorable scenes in the film was when Max attends the Halloween party at Allison’s house, the exterior of which was actually filmed using one of the most prominent 18th century homes in Salem. The gardens located behind the mansion are free to visit and open to the public.

Old Town Hall
161 Essex Street |
The other classic party scene in the film was actually filmed just a few blocks away at Old Town Hall in Derby Square. Famous in the film for Bette Midler’s rendition of “Put a Spell on You,” the building today is open to the public, and hosts the Salem Museum and performances of “Cry Innocent.”

Salem Common
Many of the outdoor scenes in the movie were filmed at Salem Common, where ironically enough the film is shown each year during Haunted Happenings. This year’s showing of Hocus Pocus on the Common will take place at 6 pm on October 29.

8 Ocean Avenue
This house on the end of Ocean Avenue was home to Max and his sister Dani in the film. While Hocus Pocus fans are welcome to view the exterior of the home from the street, please be advised that this site is private property.

Old Burial Hill
Orne Street, Marblehead, MA |
The day-time cemetery scenes showing Max interacting with his new, not-so-welcoming classmates actually were not filmed in Salem at all. This footage was shot in nearby Marblehead at Old Burial Hill, one of the oldest graveyards in New England.

Count Orlok’s Nightmare Gallery
285 Derby Street |
While this museum was not featured in the filming for Hocus Pocus, it is home to an impressive figure of Winifred Sanderson, portrayed in the film by Bette Midler. Count Orlok’s is located at 285 Derby Street and is open as a museum and haunted house throughout October.

Do have a good time visiting some of the locations from this classic film, but please don’t“run amok!”

7 Reasons to Visit the Topsfield Fair

Top 7 reasons to visit the Topsfield Fair

By Hillary Rogers

The Topsfield Fair is a fall staple for many people. It’s the first major event where you break out your jackets and stroll around drinking warm apple cider. Personally, I’m obsessed with the fair and if I would go every day I could. Why do I love the fair so much? Here are my top 7 reasons:









The Animals 

The Topsfield Fairs claim to fame is that it is “America’s Oldest Agricultural Fair.” With experience comes excellence, and the Topsfield Fair is no exception.
There are animals all over the fairgrounds. There are pigs, cows, llamas, sheep and so many others that kids and adults can enjoy. The best part? Most of these animals come from local area farms.








The Giant Pumpkin 

Remember being a kid and going pumpkin picking and trying to find the biggest one in the field? The Fair takes that and does it even bigger, literally. Last year the giant pumpkin weighted 1992.5-  only 8 pounds short of being one ton. Pumpkins the size of polar bears- I bet you don’t have that in your backyard.








The Gardens Building

Do you ever drive by those houses with beautiful luscious gardens and just stare with envy? That’s what this building is. Local florists and garden centers put their best foot forward to showcase their abilities. Want to buy plants or copy the gardens? Everything is labeled.


The fair is known for bringing top notch bands and entertainment. This year they are having the Brothers Osbourne. Personally, I am so excited. The best thing about their concerts is that the majority of them are free. I would highly recommend looking up the line up to see what/who is coming. If music isn’t your scene, check out Daredevils for some alternative entertainment.

The Canadian Royal Mounted Police 

If you are not familiar with what this is you have look up a video. These only come every other year (and they are coming this year!) and it’s always well attended.  It’s basically like synchronized swimming but they are Canadian police on horseback. Mounties? Check.

The Tractor Pull 

Now, some people might not have any idea what a tractor pull is or how it works. I’m here to tell you that it is thrilling. But don’t take my opinion for it, check it out yourself.









The Sandcastle

The sandcastle is another huge draw. Every year one guy creates a custom sandcastle during the fair. If you show up during the day, you can even see him working on it.

The Food 

Last but not least- food. They have everything! Candy Apples, German Fries, and Chocolate Covered Bacon on a stick- all of that and more. You know you won’t be dipping bacon in chocolate and garnishing it with a stick at home, so the fair is the perfect place for new food adventures. I would suggest pacing yourself so you can try all of your favorites.

Remember, these are just the top reasons to visit Topsfield from September 30-October 10. The fair has endless opportunities for fun for all ages. Check out more on their site.

Looking for more North of Boston activities and adventures? Check out our website and Facebook page to learn more!


Gloucester Summer Checklist

2016 Gloucester Summer Checklist

By Katie Bassett, Trulia

Gloucester’s summers are definitely not a season to skip out on. If warm, white sand and a salty breeze drifting off the ocean doesn’t sound intriguing, the endless activities Gloucester offers in the summer will most definitely capture your interest. In fact, spending just one summer in the area may just convince you to move to Gloucester indefinitely.

How should you to spend your summer in Gloucester? With a plethora of events and activities happening each day of the week, it’s hard to decide on what to do. For the full Gloucester experience, check out a few of these summer events and activities:Veggies at Farmers Market in Newburyport

  • The Magnolia Farmers Market. Check out what all of the local Magnolia residents are doing each Monday at the Magnolia Farmers Market. Shoppers and taste-testers flood the street of Lexington to sample local produce, check out small boutiques, and support the community.
  • Harbor Loop Concert Series. Every Thursday bands from all over come together at the Harbor Loop to perform a variety of shows. At this free event, you can lay out a blanket, set up a picnic, and sit back and relax to live tunes.
  • Gloucester Waterfront Festival. Clear your calendars, the Waterfront Festival comes to Gloucester Augusts 20th-21st. The family friendly festival hosts a collection of art and entertainment that is impossible not to enjoy.7 Seas Whale Watch
  • Whale watching. Cape Ann Whale Watch in Gloucester offers whale watching tours all summer that are unforgettable.
  • Local Gloucester Restaurants. No trip to Gloucester is complete without experiencing a lobster roll at Seaport Grill or a dozen oysters at Pigeon Cove Tavern. Splurge on all of the dining options Gloucester has to offer!
  • Beach Day. If you’re in the mood to lounge around the beach or possibly set up a volleyball court, the Wingaersheek Beach off of Atlantic street is a must see in Gloucester that families gather at for some fun in the sun.Gloucester harbor
  • Catch Up on History. The town of Gloucester glows with historic architecture and homes that date back to the 1700s. If you’re a history buff, check out the Sargent House Museum, built in 1782 for Judith Sargent Stevens Murray, a philosopher and early advocated for women’s equality.

Convinced to become a resident yet? After hearing about the variety of options that are fit for any family, it’s hard not to think about buying a place in Gloucester. If that is the case, Trulia can help you find the perfect, quaint Gloucester home to fit any family’s needs. Regardless of your intention, get out to Gloucester and experience a summer your family won’t forget.

Beaches North of Boston

Planning a trip to the North of Boston area? It wouldn’t be right if you didn’t visit at least one of our beautiful beaches. Whether it’s on the ocean or a lake our beaches are a top destination for tourists and locals alike.

Back Beach, Rockport

On Beach Street.  Toilet facilities available, but no bathhouses.  Limited parking for visitors.  Parking stickers are required.

Black and White Beaches, Manchester-by-the-Sea

On Ocean Street, off Route 127.  Resident parking only.  No lifeguards or restrooms.

Brackenbury Beach, Beverly

Brackenbury Lane off Hale Street (Route 127).  Small beach with boat ramp.  No lifeguards.  No parking.  Dogs on leashes allowed before 8 AM and after 7:30 PM between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

Cape Hedge Beach, Rockport

South Street.  Limited parking for visitors.  Parking stickers are required.

Chebacco Lake, Essex

Off Western Avenue (Route 22) in Centennial Grove, fresh water swimming.

Clammer’s Beach, Essex

Conomo Point Road.  Parking is by sticker, available to Essex residents.  No bathhouse or snack bar.

Collins Cove Beach, Salem

Collins Street.  On-street parking.  Lifeguard on duty during high tide.

Long view of Crane Beach in Winter SAPearson

Crane Beach, Ipswich

At the end of Argilla Road.  Open daily year-round from 8 AM to sunset.  Non-residential parking fee from Memorial Day to Labor Day is $20 per car on weekends and holidays and $15 on weekdays.  Motorcycles are charged $4.  Those arriving by bicycle or foot pay $2 anytime.  All fees are half-price after 3 PM.  Annual memberships are available starting at $40.  Ipswich residents can obtain beach stickers at Ipswich Town Hall.  Lifeguards, rangers, bathhouses, outside showers, picnic tables, Crane Beach store, information kiosk, transportation for physically challenged visitors.  Greenhead fly season is late July early August.  Owned by the Trustees of Reservations.

Dane Street Beach, Beverly

Lothrop Street, off Route 127.  Limited on-street parking.  Lifeguard on duty 10 AM to 5 PM.  Kids’ play area.  Bathhouse opens June through August.  Dogs on leashes allowed before 8 AM and after 7:30 PM between Memorial and Labor Day.

Devereux Beach, Marblehead

On Ocean Avenue.  Parking for nonresidents is $5, on both weekdays and weekends.  Annual parking stickers available to residents for $25 at the town treasurer’s office or the transfer station.  Lifeguards on duty Wednesday through Sunday.  Restrooms and concession stand available.  Dogs prohibited May through September.

Fisherman’s Beach, Swampscott

Humphrey Street, farther north.  Fish house and docks.  Some swimming but no lifeguard.  Some parking on Humphrey Street.  Residents can obtain $12 parking permits ($6 for senior citizens) from Recreation Department Office.

Forest River Park, Salem

Off Clinton Avenue.  Two beaches.  Fresh-water swimming pool for residents only from 11 AM to 5 PM.  Park is closed to non-residents on weekends and holidays.  Parking is free for residents.  Parking for non-residents is $10 per vehicle, $20 per van and $100 per bus.  Lifeguards, restrooms, bathhouse and playground.  Dogs prohibited without a leash.

Front Beach, Rockport

On Beach Street.  Toilet facilities but no bathhouses.  Limited parking for visitors.  Parking stickers are required.

good harbor beach 2

Good Harbor Beach, Gloucester

Thatcher Road, Route 127A.  Parking is $15 weekdays, $20 on weekends and holidays.  Parking is limited so arrive early.  Concession stand, restroom, showers.

Independence Park, Beverly

Lothrop Street, just south of Dane Street Beach.  Limited on-street parking.  No lifeguards.  Dogs on leashes allowed before 8 AM and after 7:30 PM between Memorial and Labor Day.

King’s Beach, Swampscott

Humphrey Street, Swampscott/Lynn.  Public Beach with no lifeguard on duty.

Long Beach, Rockport

Off Thatcher Road.  Toilet facilities available, but no bathhouses.  Limited parking for visitors.  Parking stickers are required.

Lynch Park, Beverly

55 Ober Street off Route 127.  Parking for non-residents is $5 weekdays, $12 weekends.  Free sticker parking for residents.  Concession stand, play area, rose garden, bathhouse with restrooms accessible to the handicapped.  Ocean kayaks for rent.  Dogs on leashes allowed before 8 AM and after 7:30 PM between Memorial and Labor Day.

Misery Island, Salem

In Salem Sound.  Transportation available via Sun Line Cruises from Salem Willows Park.  Call 978-741-1900 for schedules and fares.  Recreational opportunities include bird watching, boating/sailing, canoeing/kayaking, fishing, hiking, nature study, picnicking, swimming and tours.  Facility is owned and maintained by the Trustees of Reservations.

Niles Beach, Gloucester

Located on Eastern Point Road.  Parking is available for residents only, summer residents with stickers, or tourists with motel courtesy stickers.

Obear Park, Beverly

Off Kernwood Avenue and Upland Road, on the Danvers River in the Ryal Side neighborhood.  Kids’ play area.  Parking is free.  No lifeguard.  Dogs on leashes allowed before 8 AM and after 7:30 PM between Memorial and Labor Day.

Old Garden Beach, Rockport

Off Old Garden Road.  Limited parking for visitors.  Parking stickers are required.

Pavilion Beach, Ipswich

At the end of Jeffreys Neck Road.  Limited free parking.  No lifeguards.  No bathhouse or restrooms.  Greenhead fly season early to mid-August.  Dogs prohibited Memorial to Labor Day.

Pebble Beach, Rockport

Penzance Road.  Limited parking for visitors.  Parking stickers are required.

Phillips Beach, Swampscott

Lifeguard on duty.  Resident parking on Ocean Avenue.  Resident can obtain $12 parking permit ($6 for senior citizens) from the Recreation Department office.

Pleasant View Beach, Beverly

Porter Street on the Bass River in the Goat Hill neighborhood.  Limited parking.  No lifeguard.  Dogs on leashes allowed before 8 AM and after 7:30 PM between Memorial and Labor Day.

Plum Cove Beach, Gloucester

Located on Washington Street.  Parking is available for residents only, summer residents with stickers, or tourists with motel courtesy stickers.


Island, Newburyport

4,600 acres of wildlife trails, fresh water marshes and miles of quiet roadway will remain open year round.  Take a long walk, jog or ride your bicycle down the refuge’s six miles of roadway.  Parking lot 1, the largest lot inside the refuge gate, also offers restroom for all visitors.  Visitors can wander the winding paths of Hellcat trails.  The two trails run off parking lot 4.  Two restrooms, which are accessible to visitors with handicaps, also stand nearby.  The refuge charges $5 for cars, trucks and motorcycles, $2 for bicycles and pedestrians over 16 and free for those younger.  A $15 Duck Stamp can be purchased for unlimited entry after July 1 to national wildlife refuges for a year from that date.

Preston Beach, Swampscott

Lifeguard on duty.  Resident parking off Atlantic.  Residents can obtain $12 parking permits ($6 for senior citizens) from the Recreation Department office.

Rice’s Beach, Beverly

Off Ober Street next to Lynch Park.  Parking available at Lynch Park.  Lifeguard on duty from 10 AM to 5 PM.  Dogs on leashes allowed before 8 AM and after 7:30 PM between Memorial and Labor Day.

Salem Willows Park, Salem

Off Fort Avenue.  Two sandy beaches.  Free on-street parking and parking lot.  Restrooms, play area and concession stands.  Lifeguard on duty at high tide at Willows Beach.  Dogs prohibited without a leash.

large Salisbury Beach_031_credit Gary Miles

Salisbury Beach, Salisbury

Offers six miles of sandy beach arcades, batting cages, miniature golf courses, go-cart tracks, amusement parks and fast-food booths.  Salisbury Beach State Reservation features a playground for children, nature trails and a ramp for boaters.  Three modern bathhouses are open to the public, two of them featuring outdoor showers.  All are handicap-accessible.  Lifeguards will be on duty daily from 10 AM to 4:45 PM on the three-quarter mile of beach from the rocks near the Merrimack River to the Pavilion.  Parking costs $7 per day, with season passes available for $35 for Massachusetts residents and $45 for non-residents.

Sandy Beach, Danvers

Off River Street on the Danvers River, directly across from John George Park.  Free Parking, restrooms available to the handicapped, outside shower, play area.  Lifeguard on duty three hours before and after high tide from June 21 to Labor Day.

Singing Beach in Manchester by the Sea by Ann Marie Casey

Singing Beach, Manchester-by-the-Sea

At the end of Beach Street.  Parking at beach for residents only, but non-residents can park, for a fee, at a private parking lot a half-mile away.  Lifeguard on duty on weekends starting Memorial Day weekend, then every day from mid-June until Labor Day.  Food and restrooms available.

Cressy Beach and Half Moon Beach at Stage Fort Park, Gloucester

Hough Avenue at end of Route 133.  Parking is $10 at all times.  Small Beach with lifeguard, larger beach without lifeguard.  Bathrooms, showers, concession stand.

Tuck’s Point, Manchester-by-the-Sea

Tuck’s Point Road, off Bridge Street to Harbor Road.  Resident parking only.  Restrooms available.  No lifeguards.

Whale’s Beach and Eisman’s Beach, Swampscott

Both off Puritan Avenue.  Parking lot for residents near both beaches, accessible by Humphrey  Street.  Both beaches have lifeguards.  Residents can obtain $12 parking permits ($ for senior citizens) from Recreation Department Office.

White Beach, Manchester-by-the-Sea

On Ocean Street, open to the public, but parking, with stickers, is for residents only.

Child at Beverly Beach

Wingaersheek Beach, Gloucester

Atlantic Road, off Route 133 and Concord Street, along Annisquam River and Ipswich Bay.  Parking is $15 on weekdays and $20 on weekends and holidays.  Parking is limited so arrive early.  Concession stand, rest rooms, showers.

Winter Island, Salem

Winter Island Road off Fort Avenue.  Facilities for swimming, picnicking, RVs, camping and more.  Bathhouse available.  Camp store with sandwiches, ice cream, gifts and camping supplies.  Parking free for Salem residents.  Parking for non-residents is $10 on weekdays and $15 on weekends and holidays.  Boat launch is $5 or $150 for the season.  Dogs prohibited without a leash.  Function hall and picnic areas available for rentals.


If any information is incorrect people e-mail

4th of July North of Boston!


 Bakers Island Light Station Firework Spectacular
July 4th | 7-10:45pm
Join Essex Heritage aboard landing craft, Naumkeag for an exclusive July 4th excursion at the historic Bakers Island Light Station!  After a half hour boat ride, 18 lucky passengers will disembark on a stone beach for panoramic views of several cities’ fireworks over Salem Harbor.  After the fireworks, passengers will board Naumkeag and safely return to the Blaney Street dock.  Feel free to bring a picnic dinner, bug spray, flashlights, and a blanket.

Watch fireworks at the Beauport Sleeper Mccann House
July 3rd
You can also experience Gloucester’s fireworks on the terrace and lawn of the BEAUPORT, the SLEEPER MCCANN HOUSE, 75 Eastern Point Boulevard. (Adults and children over 12 years)Tickets $20.00 and $12.00 for members. Registration is required in advance.

Boston Harbor Cruises Fireworks Viewing
Saturday July 2nd
Boston Harbor Cruises is offering various types of Firework viewing cruises around Boston Harbor.

Boston Harbor Salute to Freedom Cruise
July 4th | 12-2:20pm
Fourth of July is first rate when you set sail with Boston Harbor Cruises. This 2 1/2 hour tour features expert narration from USS Constitution Museum historians, who will explore Boston’s maritime history, as well as the city’s vital role in charting America’s course toward prosperity and independence. We’ll also pay homage to “Old Ironsides,” currently undergoing a three-year restoration. And let’s not forget lunch—from fresh lobster rolls to clam chowder and more, it’s a festive feast on the Fourth!

Celebrate with Salem
July 4th | 4-10pm

“There’s no better place to celebrate Independence Day than in historic Salem,” said Mayor Driscoll. “Start off bright and early at Salem Common for the annual reading of the Declaration of Independence, spend the day visiting the City’s numerous historic sites and attractions, dine at one of dozens of remarkable restaurants, and end your day at historic Derby Wharf for all of the festivities.”


July 3rd
This parade been a tradition since some of the first settlers came to Gloucester. Featuring creative costumes, floats, flying candy and more!  There is also free CONCERT by the Runaround Band starting at 5:00PM and FIREWORKS at 11:00pm over Gloucester Harbor. A great place to view all of these events is by the Fishermen’s Memorial Statue in Gloucester.

Living History Labs
Saturday July 2nd | 11-2pm

During the 150th birthday commemoration of our founder Caroline Emmerton, kids and kids-at-heart can take part in our hands-on history programming that will feature activities from The House of the Seven Gables Settlement House. Included with admission.

Marblehead Fireworks & Harbor Illumination
Saturday, July 4 (rain date July 5) | 9pm
Come and see the fireworks show that Coastal Living Magazine continually ranks in the Top 10 Spots to Celebrate the Fourth in the entire country!  The Harbor Illumination is scheduled to start at 9 PM when flares are lit all around the perimeter of the harbor, creating a magnificent ring of light that sets the stage for the main event: at about 9:15 PM or a few minutes thereafter the fireworks are launched off a barge at the mouth of Marblehead Harbor, which creates ideal viewing opportunities for the public from the parks at Fort Sewall, Chandler Hovey Park, and Crocker Park.

Red, White, and Blue Pancake Breakfast
July 2nd– Tucks Point

The 27th annual Red, White, and Blue Pancake Breakfast will start the July Fourth 3-day-weekend celebration in Manchester-by-the-Sea. This breakfast is a true-blue slice of Americana and draws crowds of all ages, townies and newcomers alike. Enjoy a hearty breakfast of pancakes with blueberries, strawberries, and whipped cream, scrambled eggs, bacon, and home-fries in one of the most scenic settings on Cape Ann.  There will be free parking for everyone, an opportunity for out-of-towners to visit Tuck’s Point.

Salisbury Beach Events
Friday, July 1st-Sunday July 4th
Join Salisbury beach for a weekend of various events ranging from fireworks to a pet parade. The weekend is packed with things for the whole family to enjoy.

Sea Shuttle Firework Cruise
July 2-4th
Please join the Sea Shuttle crew at 8:30 PM on July 4th for unobstructed views of Salem and Marblehead Fireworks.   Tickets are $30 each and include light refreshments.   The Sea Shuttle is also offering six cruises from July 2nd-4th.  Please see their website for more information and to purchase tickets online / 888-400-0601

Tiki Patio Party
July 4th | 12-5pm
The Regatta Pub patio at the Salem Waterfront Hotel & Suites will be serving burgers, hot dogs and tropical drinks.


Woodman’s of Essex Celebrates the 100th Anniversary of the Fried Clam
Sunday July 3rd | 11am-10pm
Guests will enjoy a free fried clam sample (cooked by descendants of Chubby) provided by Woodman’s loyal clam vendors Ipswich Shellfish and Ipswich Maritime as well as local brew from the Ipswich Ale beer wagon. Entertainment from Dave Birkin will liven up the hourly giveaways of tee-shirts, gift cards, and more. The day will be filled with other surprises and the Woodman family invites everyone to celebrate with them at this fun and commemorative event.



July 2nd

Salisbury Beach | 10:15

Methuen | Riverside Drive  – 9:30

July 3rd

Amesbury- Woodsom Farm- 7-10pm

Andover | Andover H.S. – 9:20

Gloucester | Gloucester Harbor – 9:30

Haverhill | Riverside Park – 9:30

Lynn | Barge near Red Rock – 9:15

Manchester | Singing Beach – 9:15

North Andover | Hayes Stadium – 9:30

July 4th

Marblehead | Marblehead Harbor – 8:45pm

Salisbury Beach | 10:15

Salem | Derby Warf 9:15

Swampscott | Pier – 9


If any events are missing or incorrect please e-mail

Sips, Suds, and Spirits Trail in Essex County Massachusetts

SSS Logo

Get in the Spirit!

In 1637, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts proclaimed that no person should be in a tavern “longer than necessary occasions.” There was no clarity on length or what “necessary occasions” were, the region has since gone through various bans and prohibitions.

Some bans were self-imposed. Rockport until the year 2005 was a ‘dry’ town. The fishing village north of Boston, was suddenly disrupted when a group of hatchet wielding women, leg by local spinster Hannah Jumper, took it upon themselves to rid the town of its “demon rum.” On July 8, 1856, the hatchet gang destroyed every bottle, jug, keg, and cask they could find, to the upset of local tavern and restaurant owners.

Today, local brewers, cider houses, distilleries, meaderies, and wineries North of Boston are resurrecting and reinventing old recipes into new ones, making their mark in the world of craft-style drinks. These businesses will be happy to share ideas to pair with your meal! Visit our website to learn more about local tours and tastings.

Click here to see our interactive map

Download Brochure Here

The Devil’s Footprint, 1740

Imprinted into the rocks in front of the First Church in Ipswich is the footprint of the devil, left there forever in a legendary encounter with the traveling English evangelist George Whitefield in 1740.


The devil’s footprint is embedded in the rocks of Meeting House Green in Ipswich, and the story of its hellish origin has an element of truth. It is probably a xenolith, confirming that 400 million years ago, Town Hill was in a chain of volcanic islands.

Young, energetic and extremely cross-eyed, the widely proclaimed Whitefield was on a tour of New England, and this was his second trip to the church in Ipswich. (View a Google map of the present-day church)

On that early fall day he preached a long and energetic sermon of such great intensity that his voice could be heard for miles around. Thousands flocked to the Green. The church being insufficient in size for such a gathering, he made the ledge outside of the church his stage.

Behind the pulpit in the church was a large curved mirror, the origin and purpose of which has never been known. Some folks believed that on Sunday mornings the Devil would hide behind it and glare at the people seated before him. On this day, the Reverend Whitefield’s resounding voice outside of the walls, complete with condemnation of Satan and threats of fire and brimstone must have infuriated Old Lucifer to the breaking point. The words were harsher than he could bear, and he burst forth before the startled masses gathered on the hill.

What happened next has been told with infinite variations since that fateful day, but it is agreed by all that the devil and the young Reverend went at it, wrestling like maniacs, pushing and shoving each other back and forth.


Whitefield gave chase and soon they were face to face at the pinnacle of the steeple with the horrified congregation watching below. The esteemed pastor uttered forth with his commanding voice, accompanied by a mighty push. The devil was hurled to the rocks below, landed on one foot and scrambled down the hill in terrified leaps and bounds, never to return.

This was apparently such a normal occurrence for the Reverend that he wrote modestly in his journal, “Tuesday, Sept. 30, Preached at Ipswich about 10 in the morning to some Thousands; the Lord gave me Freedom, and there was great Melting in the Congregation.” News of his evangelical prowess spread throughout England and America, and the “Great Awakening” was born, giving rise to the Methodists, who built a church on the green with an even more massive steeple.

The legend of the Devil’s Footprint has a symbolic truth–Town Hill’s hellish origin was a chain of volcanic islands that “floated” here due to continental drift.


Image from the Mural painted by Alan Pearsall at the Ipswich Riverwalk

This is where the story gets really weird!


The Reverend George Whitefield

Received so well, the Reverend Whitefield chose to make New England his home. He died on Sunday, September 30, 1770 in Newburyport and is buried there in a crypt under the pulpit at the Old South Church, the very church where he had planned to preach the next day. It is estimated that there have been well over 30,000 visitors to his crypt since it was relocated there in 1829. Visitors are invited to sign the log book located near the crypt.

Whitefield’s body was considered a sacred relic, and in 1829 a visitor from England managed to steal a bust of Reverend Whitefield, as well one of the arms from his skeleton. The thief was never apprehended, but the items were anonymously returned twenty years later in a small wooden box. Two thousand people joined the Newburyport procession for its return to the vault, with the exception of a mummified thumb which is on display at the Methodist Archives Center in Madison, N.J.


The plaster skull and bible casting shown above are at the Old South Church and were made from Rev. Whitefield’s skull in 1834 by William B. Fowle in Boston, who sent the skull anonymously to London to a leading phrenology expert. In a letter contained in the church archives to a committee overseeing the casting of Whitefield’s skull, Mr. Fowle remarked,

“Perhaps it will interest you to know that those of us who have studied the character of Whitefield, and compared it with his skull, find so great a coincidence that our belief in phrenology is much strengthened. By placing the skull in a natural position, and drawing a vertical line from the orifice of the ear to the top of the head, you will find, what you rarely find in the head of a great good man, that the larger part of the brain falls behind the ear. This indicates more feeling than intellect; and is not this the key to his wonderful power over others?”


This blog was written by Gordon Harris from

Harbortown Arts Market

Gloucester’s Harbortown Cultural District is excited to present a weekend of creative events that celebrate arts and culture in the heart of Downtown Gloucester over Memorial Day Weekend on Saturday May 28 and Sunday May 29.

The highlight of this weekend is the Harbortown Arts Market, an eclectic open-air marketplace to be held at I4C2 (65 Rogers Street) on Saturday, May 28th from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. Harbortown Cultural District is proud to produce this event in collaboration with Gloucester’s own Rusty and Ingrid Creative Company and Mill Gypsies, an art market producer. This novel market brings the best of New England’s vibrant indie-maker scene to Gloucester’s inner harbor with over 30 designers, artists, and vintage curators from Cape Ann and across Massachusetts to sell their handmade wares and hip vintage finds. In addition to free on-site parking, this market will feature a gourmet BBQ food truck and an Asian-fusion food truck.


This weekend Arts Festival will also include numerous festive events hosted by downtown businesses and cultural organizations, including Music in the Courtyard with Henri Smith at Cape Ann Museum; the installation of monumental banner image of a painting by Laureen Maher on the harbor-side of 189 Main Street, which houses Trident Gallery and Wisdom’s Heart; an origami master class at Law & Water on Pleasant Street; the grand opening of Art @ The IceHouse at Cape Pond Ice; and, many more engaging activities for the whole family. The complete calendar of events is below.


The Harbortown Arts Festival is made possible by funding from the Cultural District Initiative of the Massachusetts Cultural Council.



10:00 am – 4:00 pm: Harbortown Arts Market. Free parking. 65 Rogers Street.

10:00 am – 4:00 pm: Sea Glass Jewelry-Making Demonstration. Premier Imprints. 48 Main Street.

10:00 am – 4:00 pm: Art @ The IceHouse OPEN HOUSE, Cape Pond Ice Company. 104 Commercial Street.

11:00 am – 1:00 pm: Music in the Courtyard with Henri Smith, Cape Ann Museum, 27 Pleasant Street.

2:00 pm – 6:00 pm: Origami Master Class – “Know When to Fold Them.” Law & Water Gallery. 18A Pleasant Street

5:30 pm – 7:00 pm: Talk and Talkback with Gloucester Photographer Nubar Alexanian. Trident Gallery, 189 Main Street.



9:00 am – 3:00 pm: Art @ The IceHouse OPEN HOUSE, Cape Pond Ice Company. 104 Commercial Street.

2:00 pm – 7:00 pm: Retrospective Exhibition of Gloucester Etchings with Lecture and Demonstration. Cornelius Sullivan Studio at The Fort, 27 Commercial Street.

2:00 pm – 5:00 pm: Celebrating Harbortown, Gloucester Unitarian Universalist Church courtyard, 10 Church Street.

History of Peabody

As many towns North of Boston start thinking about their 400th anniversary we have one town that just turned 100. Peabody, or known by some ‘The Leather City’, was incorporated as a city in 1916.

The area was first settled as a part of Salem in 1629 and in 1752, the area was removed from Salem and incorporated as a part of Danvers. It then broke away from Danvers to become South Danvers in 1855. The name was changed to Peabody on April 30, 1868 after George Peabody, a famous philanthropist. It would then be incorporated into a city in 1916.

Below is the brief History of Peabody written by the Peabody Historical Society.


Early Settlement

PHS early_map.jpgThe settlement by the English of the area known today as Peabody began when the Massachusetts Bay Company established the Town of Salem in 1629.  As the population of Salem grew, emigrants began to settle to the north and west of the immediate coastal area.  These outlying areas of Salem were referred to as Northfields, The Farms or Brooksby, and would, through a series of mergers and name changes, evolve into what is today the City of Peabody.

In the 17th century Peabody was largely wilderness, with many meadows, large hills, swamps and pastures and an extensive network of rivers and streams.  The majority of the early settlers were farmers, but Peabody was also a center of industry.  The first industrial venture began prior to 1635 when Captain William Trask established a grist mill at the head of the North River, the location of present day Peabody Square.  In 1670, Joseph Pope opened the first saw mill, and in 1685 Jeremiah Meacham, a clothier, built a fulling mill for the preparation and processing of cloth.  A glasshouse opened in the Aborn Street area in 1638, possibly the first of its kind in America.  The leather industry, for which Peabody became famous, began as early as 1639, when Philemon Dickerson was granted land for tan pits and the dressing.

Pottery Industry

PHS paigepottery_copy.jpgDuring the eighteenth century Peabody became a center for the production of redware, a type of earthenware pottery produced from the iron-rich clay found in abundance on the banks of the North and Waters Rivers.  The clay is gray, but takes on a distinctive red color after firing.  Early potters produced redware by “throwing” the clay on a potter’s wheel and baking it in a kiln that had been dug into the earth.  The first pottery in Peabody was established by Jonathan Kettle in 1731 on Andover Street.  In 1736, Joseph Osborn opened the first of several potteries run by the Osborn family in the Central Street area.  Over the next century, the Osborns became the leading producers of redware in the region.  Redware made in the Osborn shops became known as “Danvers Pottery.”

By 1775, seventy-five potteries were operating in the two towns of Danvers and Peabody.  During the first half of the nineteenth century, demand for redware decreased because of an increase in the availability cheap imports.  By 1855, only two potteries remained in Peabody.  One was owned by Joseph Reed, who had purchased a pottery on Central Street from the Osborn family.  In 1876, Reed sold the pottery to Moses B. Paige.  Paige Pottery was the last establishment in Peabody to manufacture redware.  Paige Pottery remained in operation until the 1950s when it was destroyed by fire.

Image: Paige Pottery, Central Street, Early 20th Century

Leather Industry 

PHS leather_workers_copy.jpgBeginning in the late 18th century, Peabody experienced a tremendous growth in industry and manufacturing.  The most far-reaching and lucrative of these ventures was the production of leather.  By 1855 there were 27 tanneries in South Danvers and 24 currying establishments (which processed finished leather to make it more flexible and waterproof).  Railroad tracks crisscrossed downtown Peabody as trains from Boston and beyond carried leather hides into the city to be tanned and exported all over the world.  In 1919, Peabody was recognized as the world’s largest producer of leather, and was widely referred to as “The Leather City.”  At this time, there were 91 establishments dedicated to the production and processing of leather.  The industry began to decline with the onset of the Depression.  A major leather-worker strike in 1933 further crippled the industry as well as devastating fires throughout the 20th century. By the 1970s, most of the remaining companies moved overseas, while others closed due to increasing state and federal environmental regulations. Today the Travel Leather Company is the only tannery still operating in Peabody.  In 2009, the City of Peabody opened the Peabody Leatherworkers Museum on Washington Street (adjacent to the George Peabody House) to celebrate the rich history of the leather industry in Peabody.

Peabody Today

Though the loss of the tanneries was a blow to Peabody’s economy, the city has been able to compensate, in part, by other forms of economic development.  In 1930, the Eastman Gelatin Corporation took over the American Glue Company factory on Washington Street to produce the gelatin used in Kodak film.  Eastman was a boon the city during the Great Depression, and the factory continues to operate today.  Centennial Industrial Park, which was developed by the Peabody Community Development Authority in the mid-1980s, is the headquarters of many medical, technological and manufacturing firms.  The retail industry has thrived in Peabody since the opening of the North Shore Mall in 1958, which was then the largest shopping center in New England.

But Peabody’s main resource continues to be its people. Every September the city celebrates the diversity of its heritage with the annual International Festival in Peabody Square, where thirty-six nationalities and cultures are represented through exhibits, art, and cuisine.  In 2012 we were among the 100 Best Cities to Live by Money Magazine and in April 2009, Forbes Magazine listed the City of Peabody as Number 14 on its list of most livable cities in America, signifying that Peabody remains a vibrant and flourishing community.

Timeline for the Evolution of Peabody

1629 – Settlement of Salem.  Peabody was referred to as Northfields, The Farms or Brooksby.

1710 – Formation of the Middle Precinct of Salem consisting of the area between Salem Village (now Danvers) and Salem Town.

1752 – Founding of the District of Danvers.  The Middle Precinct became known as the South Parish of Danvers.

1757 – Official separation from Salem and incorporation of the Town of Danvers.  Peabody was still known as the South Parish of Danvers.

1855 – Official separation from Danvers and incorporation of the Town of South Danvers.

1868 – Change in name from South Danvers to Peabody.

1916 – Incorporation of the City of Peabody.

See the full History here

10 Family-Friendly Things to Do on Cape Ann

Halibut Point Gloucester, ma

Halibut Point Gloucester, ma

Cape Ann is filled with fabulous places to go and things to do and see.  Made up of the wonderful coastal communities of Essex, Gloucester, Manchester-by-the-Sea and Rockport, Cape Ann certainly offers a variety of fun things to experience both indoors and outside.  Though it can be hard to narrow it down, today we have a list of 10 family-friendly things to do in the area.

  1. Cape Ann Cinema & Stage in Gloucester – A great after dinner or rainy day activity. Families can relax and enjoy a film in a cozy atmosphere with couches and armchairs. You can even bring in food from local restaurants.
  2. Cape Ann Lanes in Gloucester – This bowling alley is fun for all ages! There is even an option for bumpers for small children and an area with arcade games.
  3. Coolidge Reservation in Manchester-by-the-Sea – This is a beautiful spot for families who love spending time outdoors. A Gorgeous setting along the water with wide-open stretches for kids to run and play.
  4. Essex Shipbuilding Museum in Essex – Learn about the history of wooden boat building. Stop in this museum on the Essex River and see how boats are put together piece by piece.
  5. Maritime Gloucester in Gloucester – Families can spend time indoors and outside at Maritime Gloucester. Families can see local sea critters in the “touch tanks” and experience the interactive exhibits to understand what Gloucester is all about!
  6. The Get Outside Center in Gloucester – During the Summer months drop-in programs are offered that take kids on adventures throughout Cape Ann.
  7. Halibut Point State Park & Atlantic Path – If your family enjoys hiking and exploring, this is a wonderful place to visit. Beautiful vista views in every direction and a quarry smack dab in the middle.  Pack a lunch for the family and enjoy the day!
  8. Harbor Tours, Inc. in Gloucester – If you’d prefer to spend the day on the water with your family, this is a great option! There are different options for tours around Cape Ann.
  9. North Shore Kayak Outdoor Center in Rockport – You can also get out on the water and explore on your own! Families often enjoy renting kayaks for the day.
  10. Tompson Street Reservation in Gloucester – Another great option for a family hike. Many different paths to explore and quiet areas for picnics. Dogs are even welcome!

Visit for more information about the area and great ideas for activities and where to shop, eat stay.


Blog written by Michelle Budrow from



Annisquam Lighthouse Credit Tim Grafft

Annisquam Lighthouse Credit Tim Grafft

Annisquam Light- Gloucester, MA

Location: Wigwam Point, Northern end of Annisquam River, Ipswich Bay

Visiting: No public access to interior of lighthouse

Annisquam Harbor Light Station, formerly known as Wigwam Point, was first established in 1801 and is now one of the oldest light stations in Massachusetts. The original wooden octagonal tower was replaced around 1897 by the existing brick tower. The site includes elements of the original light station complex (completed by 1814), such as the keeper’s house and an oil house. An elevated wooden walkway leads to the 41-foot tall tower, which rests on a stone foundation. An enclosed brick passageway provides access to the tower.

Derby Wharf Lighthouse- Essex Heritage

Derby Wharf Lighthouse- Essex Heritage

Derby Wharf Light- Salem, MA

Location: Derby Wharf

Visiting: No public access to interior of lighthouse

Derby Wharf Light Station has aided navigation in Salem Harbor since it was first lit in 1871. The Derby Wharf Light, along with the Hospital Point Light in Beverly, Massachusetts, and Fort Pickering Light Station on Winter Island in Salem, were designed to “mark the main channel leading into this anchorage, with the view to its becoming a harbor of refuge which may be safely entered at any time,” in the words of the 1870 report of the lighthouse board to the U.S. Treasury. The lighthouse is located on the end of Derby Wharf. Derby Wharf Light is about twelve feet square and about 20 feet high to the top of the cupola.

Eastern Point Light- Credit Ed Bolton

Eastern Point Light- Credit Ed Bolton

Eastern Point Light- Gloucester, MA

Location: East Side of Gloucester Harbor Entrance

Visiting: No public access to interior of lighthouse

The lighthouse was originally planned in 1829 and was erected by 1832 on the east side of the Gloucester Harbor entrance. It was first lit on January 1, 1832. The tower was rebuilt in 1848 and again in 1890. The third and current conical brick tower stands 36 feet tall. The lighthouse has an attached two-story keeper’s quarters, built in 1879. Its white light is visible for 20 nautical miles. It was automated by September 1985.

Fort Pickering Light- Credit Stanley Slysz

Fort Pickering Light- Credit Stanley Slysz

Fort Pickering Light – Salem, MA

Location: Winter Island, north side of entrance

Visiting:  No public access to interior of lighthouse

Winter Island Light, also known as Fort Pickering Light, was built adjacent to the site of the former Fort Pickering in Winter Island Park, in 1871 – the same year as Derby Wharf Light in Salem Harbor and Hospital Point Light in nearby Beverly. The lighthouse, built of iron lined with brick, exhibited a flashing white light 28 feet above sea level. The lighthouse, originally painted red, was built slightly offshore.

Marblehead Light- Credit SAPearson

Marblehead Light- Credit SAPearson

Marblehead Light- Marblehead, MA

Location: Northern Tip of Marblehead Neck, entrance to Marblehead Harbor

Visiting: The grounds are open all year. The interior is open by special arrangement.

In August 1831 Congress gave the money for a 23 foot high tower and it was built in 1835 and commissioned on October 10, 1835. Despite the work on the tower and associated keepers’ house, the tower fell into poor condition and by 1893 a new light was requested. This new light consisted of eight cast iron piles on concrete foundations. It was first illuminated on 17 April 1896 as a fixed white light. Later in 1922 it was changed to fixed red and then in 1938 to fixed green. In 1960, the light was automated and a new 300 millimeters optic was installed. Marblehead Light is the only tower of its type in New England.

Newburyport Rear Range Lighthouse

Newburyport Rear Range Lighthouse

Newburyport Harbor Range Lights- Newburyport, MA

Location: Newburyport Harbor, Merrimack River

Visiting: Generally there is no public access to interior of lighthouse but for a donation of $350 you can eat on top of the lighthouse

The rear light is a brick tower, 53 feet in height, located close to Water Street near the Merrimack River Coast Guard Station. The tower was traditionally painted white on the upper third of the river-facing side, with a thick white stripe down the rest of the facade. That side is now painted entirely white, while the other three sides are unpainted. The tower is topped by an eight-sided lens room, which is surrounded by an iron balcony and railing.

Plum Island Lighthouse- Credit Essex heritage

Plum Island Lighthouse- Credit Essex heritage

Plum Island Light (Newburyport Harbor Light)- Newburyport, MA

Location: Northern Tip of Plum Island, Ipswich Bay, entrance to Merrimack River

Visiting: No public access to interior of lighthouse, but is occasionally open on weekends during the summer.

Newburyport Harbor Light Station, also known as Plum Island Light, is located on the northern end of Plum Island at the mouth of the Merrimack River. The original Newburyport Harbor Light Station was established to safely guide mariners into the harbor in 1788. The present 45-foot tall, wooden, conical tower replaced the remaining towers in 1898. Set some distance back from the beach, it is constructed on sandy yet firm ground and is thereby protected from the continuously changing shoreline. Newburyport Harbor Light retains its original fourth-order Fresnel lens. Although the nearby, two-story keeper’s dwelling (1872) still stands, only the light tower is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Looking west from Newburyport Harbor Light, the Newburyport Harbor Range Lights are visible.

Straitsmouth Island Lighthouse- Credit

Straitsmouth Island Lighthouse- Credit

Straitsmouth Island Light- Rockport, MA

Location: Straitsmouth Island, off east side of Cape Ann

Visiting: No public access to interior of lighthouse

Straitsmouth Island Lighthouse was built in 1835 to mark the entrance to nearby Rockport Harbor. The Town of Rockport owns the tower and 1.8 acres it stands on. The light is an active aid to navigation and the light and fog signal is maintained by the U.S. Coast Guard. The balance of the 31 acres island is owned by Mass Audubon Society and is maintained as a bird and wildlife sanctuary. The light station is easily seen from the end of Bear Skin Neck in Rockport. The current lighthouse tower was built in 1896. The island is only accessible by boat.


Ten Pound Lighthouse

Ten Pound Lighthouse

Ten Pound Island Light- Gloucester, MA

Location: Gloucester Harbor

Visiting: No public access to interior of lighthouse.

Ten Pound Island Light Station was established in 1821 to safely guide mariners into Gloucester’s inner harbor.  The present conical cast-iron tower replaced the original stone tower in 1881. Resting on a brick foundation, the tower is 30 feet tall and topped with a fifth-order lantern. Other associated buildings include a granite oil house (1821) and a keeper’s dwelling. Ten Pound Island Light Station was decommissioned in 1956.

Thatcher Island Twin Lighthouses

Thatcher Island Twin Lighthouses

Thatcher Island Twin Lights- Rockport, MA

Location: Thatcher Island, Off east coast of Cape Ann

Visiting: No public access to interior of lighthouse, Island is open mid-June until Mid-September.

Also known as Cape Ann Light Station, these twin lights are the only surviving multiple lights on the coasts of the United States. The original 45-foot towers were constructed and lit in 1789—making them among the oldest of America’s lighthouses. The stout 124 foot granite towers seen today replaced the original lights in 1861. The two towers were constructed so that when a ship sites on both towers, they point to true north—allowing sailors to check and adjust their compasses. The island is open Mid-June until Mid-September and has 3 miles of groomed walking trails, a visitor center, and museum.


Hospital Point Light- Credit Essex Heritage

Hospital Point Light- Credit Essex Heritage

Hospital Point Light- Beverly, MA

Location: Bayview Ave

Visiting: No public access to interior of lighthouse but occasionally opens for events.

Established in 1871, the beacon marks the deep water channel to Beverly, Salem and Marblehead. The square pyramidal light tower is 45 feet (14 m) tall, made of white painted brick and is topped with a 10-sided lantern. The keeper’s house is an example of Queen Anne style architecture.

Beautiful and Stately Castles

One may not think of castles in Massachusetts, but North of Boston has four. Gothic windows, stained glass, gorgeous hard wood floors, beautiful settings and gardens grace these incredible architectural beauties.

Herreshoff Castle Marblehead

Located in Marblehead is Herreshoff Castle, created by artist Waldo Ballard who added his creative touch and love of Norse history to its style. It was sold to L. Francis Herreshoff in 1945. When Herreshoff died in 1972, he left the castle to his longtime assistant. Upon her death in 1990, the castle was sold to its current owner Michael Rubino and his wife Chris.   After purchasing the castle, the Rubinos started a large restoration which included putting running water in the kitchen and installing a refrigerator (apparently, Herreshoff would buy fresh food every day to curtail the lack of food-preserving appliances).  The Rubinos converted the castle’s carriage house into a bed & breakfast and, today, still live in the main castle.

Hammond Castle Gloucester

Driving north along the coast is Hammond Castle, built by inventor John Hays Hammond, Jr. He built his medieval-style castle between the years 1926 and 1929 to serve both as his home and as a backdrop for his collection of Roman, medieval, and Renaissance artifacts. The castle was constructed as a wedding present for his wife Irene Fenton Hammond to prove how much he cared for her.  In addition, the building housed the Hammond Research Corporation, from which Dr. Hammond produced over 400 patents and the ideas for over 800 inventions.  Second only to Thomas Alva Edison in number of patents, John Hammond was one of America’s premier inventors.  His most important work was the development of remote control via radio waves, which earned him the title, “The Father of Remote Control.” Hammond offers self-guided tours and a number of educational programs and prearranged tour opportunities for school and tour groups.

Winnekenni Castle Haverhill

In the northwest end of the region, you will find Winnekenni Castle in Haverhill, built in 1861 by Dr. James R. Nichols as a summer home for his family. Winnekenni Park sits atop a hill off of Kenoza Ave in Haverhill which looks over the scenic Kenoza Lake and Basin.  The winding road leading to the park will bring you to a strange sight indeed – a medieval castle.  In 1861, chemist, agriculturist, and future-castle enthusiast Dr. James Nichols purchased the Darling Farm (now known as Winnekenni Park).  After an 1870s visit to England, Nichols (much like Waldo Ballard a few decades later) became enamored of the country’s large stone castles and was determined to build on of his own. He wanted to use the many boulders and rocks native to Haverhill and, in 1873, construction of his castle began. Upon completion in 1875, Nichols christened his summer home “Winnekenni Castle” (after the Algonquin word meaning “beautiful”).  The castle was, and still is, beautiful and is complemented by its lush surroundings. Nichols lived in the castle for 10 years before selling the castle and its 27 acres of land to a cousin. Today, Winnekenni Castle is a popular destination for photographers and castle buffs.  Throughout the year, many concerts, fairs, parties, fundraisers, and other such events are held at the castle.  The castle is also available for private events such as meetings, family gatherings, and weddings. The trails throughout the property are fantastic for snowshoeing, hiking, biking, and cross-country skiing around Kenoza Lake.

Searles Castle Methuen History

The fourth castle is Edward Searles Castle found in Methuen. Edward Searles was employed by a design firm and was asked to go to California to do some work for Mrs. Mary Hopkins the widow of Mark Hopkins who was one of the founders of the Central Pacific Railroad. From that day on the two became friends and a number of years later in 1887 they became man and wife. They both decided to make Methuen their home. Mrs Searles died in 1891 and was buried in a beautiful mausoleum across from the estate. At this time Searles was the sole inheritor of the Hopkin’s railroad fortune which was valued at $30,000,000. Edward Searles built the Searles Castle in 1891 using his inheritance. Today the estate is the home of the Presentation of Mary Academy. There are many other estates and mansions in the region, that are majestic and stand like castles on the horizon. Visit our website for listings of historic homes and properties in the region.



As Former Speaker of the House of Representatives and Massachusetts native son and  Tip O’Neil  once said “All politics are local” and in the tourism world one might say that “all facets of tourism are local” as well. Newburyport is one of those friendly and comfy destinations north of Boston tucked along the shores of the beautiful and wandering Merrimack River that is indeed a locals and visitors paradise. Known as a very walkable and easy small City to navigate one does not have to be a local to get a sense of what it is like to visit or live here.

newburyport guide

Inn St Christmas time

Located conveniently 2.5 miles off Route 95 in the North of Boston region, Newburyport is a visitor’s delight. Arrive in the downtown, park your car, get your walking shoes on and start with a visit at the Chamber of Commerce office right on the meandering boardwalk on the edge of the river. If you want to be a real local, grab a cup of coffee and your dog too and stroll along the boardwalk to the green, lush grass of Waterfront Park. Sit for a moment taking in the amazing, quintessential seaside views with sailboats, whale watch boats and kayaks in abundance. As you make your way to the downtown you will pass by the working and active fish pier nestled in the corner of the Custom House way to the water. Pass by or stop in to see the Custom House Maritime Museum to learn of Newburyport’s maritime history. Decide to go left or right as you get to Water Street and you will find amazing and historic architecture, fine dining, yummy ice cream or gelato and distinctive and one of a kind shopping hot spots for all. Walk a couple of streets over and feast your eyes upon some of the most unique federal homes and architecture all saved by urban renewal. Why not join us in Newburyport soon. I’ll meet you for a cup of coffee and we can walk. I don’t have a dog yet so please bring yours along! Welcome to Newburyport!

Sailboat newburyport

Sailboat by Donna O’Neil

Ann Ormond


Greater Newburyport Chamber of Commerce


Blog by Christina Pfeiffer from

Cape Ann Motif #1 Rockport

Fried clams, shipbuilding history and arty seaside towns are some of the drawcards of Cape Ann.

Everyone knows Cape Cod is a playground for the rich and famous. The other cape in Massachusetts, a jut of land around 50km north of Boston, Cape Ann, may not be as glamorous but it’s certainly worth visiting.

Cape Ann Rockport Fishing

Cape Ann is a New England seaside retreat. Think rugged cliffs and picturesque fishing villages. Rockport, Manchester, Essex and Gloucester are popular for their uncrowded beaches, art galleries, restaurants and antique shops.

Here are seven reasons why you should visit Cape Ann.


Cape Ann Ships

If you’re a Clooney fan you’ve probably seen The Perfect Storm, where George Clooney plays a sea captain caught in a huge storm. Gloucester is the setting for the movie and book.

Gloucestor is the USA’s oldest seaport. It has a working harbour with lobster boats, trawlers and tourism boats used for whale watching, deep sea fishing and sailing.


Queen Anne of England was the inspiration for the naming of Cape Ann in 1623 when Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock.

These early settlers arrived at Cape Ann in search of better fishing areas. Gloucester Harbor became the fishing centre forNew England.

Besides marine activities, Gloucester is also home to one of America’s oldest continuously working art colonies. Rocky Neck Art Colony is where many local artists have studios and galleries. open to the public.


Cape Ann Rockport Shopping

The former fishing village of Rockport looks like a movie set, with colourful fishermen’s shacks house art studios, trinket shops and restaurants.

The fishing shack on Bradley Wharf, known as “Motif #1”, is one of the most painted buildings in the USA and a symbol on the Massachusetts U.S. postal stamp.

After wandering around Rockport’s Bearskin Neck (named by fishermen after a bear skin that was left out to dry on the rocks), you’ll wish you had more time to spend in the craft shops and galleries.

Cape Ann Rockport




Another reason I like Rockport is for the lobsters, which are supplied by local lobster catchers to the town’s restaurants. Lobster is served everywhere in a number of different ways: in salads, as lobster rolls, boiled and as lobster chowder.

New England is famous for lobster rolls, which is usually consumed in summer and after trying one, you could be hooked. The fresh cooked lobster meat is tossed with mayonnaise or butter and served on a grilled roll. It’s just too hard to resist.




Another New England culinary staple is the fried clam and Cape Ann is where this dish was invented.

Tuck into a creamy New England clam chowder while sitting in an old-fashioned booth in Woodman’s of Essex. Don’t forget the fried clams, onion rings and steamers, which are delicious when dipped in melted butter.


The legend of the fried clam involves Lawrence Henry Woodman, “Chubby”, and his wife, Bessie, who had a small roadside stand in Essex. They started out in 1916 selling fruit, home-made potato chips along with fresh clams from the Essex River.


Clam sales were down but the potato chip business was booming. A throw-away line by a local fisherman gave them the idea of deep frying their clams.

So, the enterprising couple came up with a method involving shucking the clams then dipping them in a milk and corn flour mixture. Woodman’s fried clams now set the standard upon which fried clams are judged and the original recipe is still used today.




Besides fried clams, the Essex Shipbuilding Museum is another drawcard and one of the main attractions in the museum is an original ship, a schooner called Evelina M. Goulart, built in 1927.

In the 1800s, Essex shipbuilders were famous for their two-masted wooden schooners. More of these were built here than any other place in the world.




The next town along from Essex is Ipswich, where it’s worth stopping in at the Crane Estate (290 Argilla Road, Ipswich, tel: +978 356 4354) to soak up the atmosphere of the grand summer estate, which belonged to one of America’s wealthiest families.

In 1910, Chicago industrialist Richard T. Crane, Jr. and his family lived a lavish lifestyle on the 850ha estate, which has a casino, wildlife refuge, gardens, manicured lawns and a private beach.

Follow a guide through The Great House and marvel at the 18th-century Georgian woodwork, Baroque carvings and Gothic vaulting.


Down at Crane Beach, gaze across the sand dunes towards the Atlantic and ponder how the ocean has moulded Massachusetts’ other cape into the lovely place it is today.

Christina Pfeiffer was a guest of The Langham, Boston, a historic hotel located in what was once the Federal Reserve Bank’s headquarters for New England.

Valentine’s Day at North of Boston

Valentine’s day is upon us, you either hate it or you love it. I think that usually depends on your relationship status. No matter what your relationship status is there are so many enjoyable things you can do. Here is a guide with some suggestions on how you can celebrate valentine’s day in the North of Boston Region.

box of chocolates harbor sweets gloucesterGifts:

If you usually buy the typical valentine’s day gift of Chocolates and a stuffed bear, maybe step your game up a little bit this year by buying some unique gourmet chocolate. There are multiple candy houses’ in the area that sell decadent chocolate. There’s one in Andover, Danvers, Gloucester,  Newburyport, Rockport, Salem, and Salisbury. Basically, you are bound to find one in your area. Some great gift ideas also include experiences. Why not mix it up and go with tickets to a museum or a show. There are plenty of options for those in our region including: Peabody Essex Museum, Salem Witch Museum, Lynn Museum and many others. Check out the schedule of shows at the Village Theater Company, Northshore Music Theater, Blue Ocean Music Hall, Shalin Lui theater and more.


lighthouse preservation dinner


If you are looking for a sit down dinner here is a list of restaurants having a special valentine’s day dinner:

Davio’s Lynnfield Valentines Day Menu

Seaglass Big Band Bash

Seaglass Restaurant Valentine’s Day Menu

Victoria Station Salem Special Menu and live acoustic music

Capri Seaside Valentine’s day event

Seaport Grille Valentine’s Day Menu

  Beauport princess

Lighthouse Preservation

If you want to do something a little more relaxed Davio’s Lynnfield is one of many area restaurants that offers takeout of their full menu. Also, Century House in Peabody offers a wide variety oven ready take home meals.

the merchant hotel


If you are interested in making Valentine’s day a weekend check out our hotels for historic mansions, luxurious large hotels, or quaint bed and breakfasts.

Plan a Dog Friendly Vacation North of Boston

If you’re like me, having your dog with you puts you in a better mood. That’s why I love to bring him with me wherever I go. Going on a vacation is so exciting until you realize you are not going to be able to see little Fido for a while. That look on his face as you drive out of the driveway is heart wrenching. Thankfully North of Boston has a fix for that.  I have compiled a vacation planner for you and your furry friend.

beach, salisbury, dog, friendly, reservation, boardwalk


You have so many options with places to stay, they all range from different parts of the budget and location. Best Western in Haverhill is a great budget friendly hotel with convenient access to 495. If you are looking for something more historic Salem Inn and Hawthorne Hotel both except dogs and are in the heart of famous Salem MA. Garrison Hotel in Newburyport is also a great option. If you are visiting during summer I would recommend staying at Salisbury Reservation Campground. It offers spots for campers of all sizes as well as tents. They offer leashed dogs all over the campground and beach.

bearskin, neck, rockport, dog, friendly, shopping


Once you settle into a hotel the next thing you want to do is find something to eat. The restaurants in Newburyport and Rockport there are your best shot, because most offer deck seating which dogs are allowed. Make sure you call ahead to confirm they allow dogs and their deck is open. Top Dog is a great restaurant in Rockport that has a casual vibe and is very dog friendly. There is bound to be a restaurant that you want to go to that isn’t dog friendly so if that happens you could always drop your dog off at a day care if you don’t want to leave your dog at the hotel so you can enjoy a stress free evening.



Things to do:

Newburyport is a great place to walk around with your furry friend because a lot of the stores are dog friendly. Stores like Marco Polo and Oldies Marketplace are very dog friendly and little Fido might even get a treat.  You can get your Dog a gourmet treat at Just Dogs bakery also located in downtown Newburyport. Rockport follows suit with Newburyport in letting dogs enter most of the stores on historic Bearskin Neck. Rockport offers a great off-lease Dog Park to get some energy out. The Sea Shuttle out of Salem gives tours of the harbor and misery island and leashed dogs are allowed on the boat and on the Island.

Overall, North of Boston is a great place for the whole family including your furry friend. The things you can do with your pet by your side are endless when you visit our beautiful seaside towns.

5 Treasures of Haverhill

When you ask most people about the History of Haverhill they say that it used to be a hub for the shoe-making industry. Most people don’t know about all the other historical treasures hidden around one the biggest cities North of Boston.


Winnekenni Castle - Haverhill

Winnekenni Castle built between 1873 and 1875 used to be the summer home of Dr James R Nichols. A chemist who was inspired by the stone buildings he saw while visiting England. He named it and the surrounding acres Winnekenni, an Algonquin word meaning “Very Beautiful”. Winnekenni now hosts private and public events.

Tattersall Farm in Haverhill by NBCVB

Tattersall Farm is a 150 acre farm located on North Broadway in Haverhill. The Tattersall family bought the 85 acre farm in 1898 and then bought 66 more acres across the road to add to it. The farm now hosts the popular Farm Days in September.

Haverhill Firefighting Museum

Haverhill’s Firefighting museum is home to the most extensive collection of artifacts to the City of Haverhill’s Fire department.

Winter in Haverhill

The John Greenleaf Whittier Homestead is the birth place and home of American Quaker poet and abolitionist John Green Leaf Whittier. The home was built in 1688 by Thomas Whittier, the great-great-grandfather of John Greenleaf Whittier. He was born in 1807 and worked on the family farm while pursuing his love of reading. He sold the family farm in 1936 and later moved to Amesbury.

duncan house haverhill buttonwoods

Buttonwoods Museum/Haverhill Historical Society is a community museum that focuses on the preservation of Haverhill’s history. It has three historic structures, The Duncan House, John Ward House, and Daniel Hunkins Shoe Shop.


The Duston- Dustin Garrison House was added to the treasures in July of 2016. In 1697, Thomas Dustin of Haverhill, Massachusetts was building this home for his wife Hannah Emerson Dustin and their children. During construction Hannah, her newborn and her nursemaid were captured by two Native American warriors.

Feast this Fall in the North of Boston


Lobster dinner. Credit: Schooner Lannon

If we’ve learned anything from Pinterest, it’s that fall is the start of the comfort food season.  Instead of falling back on the same, old soups and casseroles, why not indulge you appetite with new flavors and temptations from your favorite local restaurants?  This fall, the North of Boston region offers numerous culinary celebrations to satisfy every appetite.

Savor Newburyport | Newburyport, MA
September 17-26

Newburyport’s newest festival, Savor Newburyport, features 10 days of celebration and highlights the coastal city’s exceptional food, drink, shopping, and cultural experiences.  Enjoy various events throughout the festival; including innovative dining experiences with unique restaurant and shop parings.  Don’t miss great events like Pizza in the Park (Sept. 18),Creating Your Own, Unique Salad Dressing (Sept. 20), Build Your Own Whoopie Bar (Sept. 25), and more!

Taste of the Gables | Salem, MA
September 20

Dozens of chefs, vintners, and distillers from across the region will showcase their specialties and vie for your vote in the Best Chef and Best Beverage competition at Taste of the Gables.  Set along the beautiful Salem harbor front on the lawn of the House of the Seven Gables, the night will feature a silent auction, with original pieces of art and other exciting items lining our beautiful garden paths.  This event is a benefit to raise money for the House of the Seven Gables important preservation projects and education initiatives.

Cape Ann Fall Restaurant Week | Gloucester/Rockport, MA
October 18-23

Fantastic food and beautiful scenery come together every year for Cape Ann Restaurant week.  For six days, participating restaurants invite locals and visitors alike to sample the flavors of Cape Ann and offer a tempting prix fixe three-course dinner menu $33 or $25.

Salem Fall Restaurant Week | Salem, MA
November 8-12, 15-19

Who needs turkey when you have Salem’s variety of culinary treasures?  For two weeks, taste and enjoy all that Salem has to offer with nominally-priced two-and three-course prix fixe options.

North of Boston Historical Figures – Crossing the Atlantic

Many incredible historic figures called the North of Boston region home.  From celebrities like “Lily the Pink” and the “Circus Queen” to the infamous Hatchet Gang and Informer of the Deer, we’ve come across quite a few colorful characters in reading up on local history.  This week, we’re bringing you the stories of two brave adventurers from Gloucester who, despite some personal obstacles, each crossed the Atlantic Ocean alone a combined total of three times – Alfred “Centennial” Johnson and Howard Blackburn.

1876 was a big year for the United States.  The anniversary of the country’s centennial, there was much hoopla and cause for celebration.  To celebrate this milestone, a 29-year old fisherman from Gloucester, Alfred Johnson, sought to do what no man in recorded history had done before – a solo sail across the Atlantic Ocean.

Centennial JohnsonÕs dory will be discussed in the tour titled ÒCrossing the Atlantic Alone 1876-1980 Ð The Single-Handed Transatlantic Journeys of Alfred ÔCentennialÕJohnson, Howard Blackburn and Philip Weld,Ó at the Cape Ann Museum this weekend.

The Centennial dory. Photo credit –

Allegedly, Johnson and his friends were playing cards and began to discuss whether anyone could cross the ocean alone in a small, open boat.  Spurred by this his friends’ disbelief that such a feat could be possible, Johnson declared that not only could it be done, but he would be the one to do it.  He purchased a 16-foot dory, named it “Centennial” for the country’s milestone birthday, and set sail on June 15, 1876.  After a stop in Nova Scotia, Alfred “Centennial” Johnson sailed into open water on June 25th.

Local fishermen, who heard of Johnson’s proposed trip, thought it a hoax.  Passing ships were concerned to find the solo man sailing a small boat in open water and attempted to rescue Johnson  who politely refused (much to the crews’ confusion).  A German passenger ship even threw Johnson a few bottles of brandy (this he accepted).

On August 12, Johnson arrived in Abercastle, Wales where he rested for a few days.  On August 21, he arrived (to much hullabaloo)  in Liverpool.  And so, Alfred Johnson completed the first solo sail across the Atlantic Ocean.  When later asked about the trip, Johnson replied “I made that trip because I was a damned fool, just as they said I was.”


Howard Blackburn. Photo via Cape Ann Museum

Johnson’s feat was the stuff of legend until he was overshadowed by the “Man of Iron” himself, Howard Blackburn.  Blackburn crossed the Atlantic twice – he sailed from Gloucester to England in just 62 days in 1899 and then proceeded to break that record by crossing the Atlantic again when he sailed to Portugal in a mere 39 days.

Did we mention that Blackburn had no fingers?  He had lost them in a winter storm while fishing for halibut.  His mittens fell overboard, leaving Blackburn to curve his freezing hands to allow him to hold the oars and row back to shore (a feat which took five days with little food, water, or sleep).  His hands were severely frostbitten and Blackburn lost all of his fingers, both thumbs to the first joint and a toe.

So, as he managed to cross the Atlantic Ocean TWICE without fingers or thumbs, Howard Blackburn became (and rightly so) a symbol of adventure and bravery.  “Centennial” Johnson never stood a chance against a story like that and was quietly swept into historic obscurity.

Alfred Johnson’s Centennial | Dory Man
Johnson Wanted to prove that he could do it alone | Greg Cook


North of Boston Fall Events & Happenings


Fall is a terrific time to visit the North of Boston region!  There’s so much to do during your visit –  come explore the changing of the leaves, apple and pumpkin picking, hayrides, festivals, and more during this wonderful time of year!

Click here to view our Fall Newsletter and get information on upcoming events, lodging and dining deals, activities, and more!

Shine Bright: The Lighthouses of the North of Boston Part III

This month, we’ve introduced you to a few of the North of Boston region’s 12 lighthouses – Salem’s three structures and the lighthouses of Rockport.  This week we bring you three more lighthouses from the southern part of the region – “the ugly duckling” lighthouse, “the heartbreaker,” and the “Lost Light of the North of Boston.”

Marblehead Light (1896)
Chandler Hovey Park (Follett Street) | Marblehead, MA

Marblehead LightIn 1834, four acres of Marblehead Neck were purchased for $375 and were to serve as the location for a new lighthouse to signal the town’s increasingly busy harbor.  This 23-foot brick (or stone, depending on your source) tower was first lit up in October 1835 and was a great asset.  In 1889 alone, the lighthouse keeper was credited with saving 17 lives.

This success, however, was diminished by Marblehead’s affluent residents who started building large houses on the land around the lighthouse.  These tall mansions blocked the flashes of light from the station and a lantern hoisted up a tall mast planted into the ground was a poor substitute.  In 1895, a 100-foot structure was in order and the town could choose between a $8,700 skeletal structure and a $45,000 brick tower.  At nearly $40,000 cheaper, the town went with the skeletal structure (which was completed in 1896).  This current structure was equipped with electricity in 1922 and then fully automated in 1960. Today, the town of Marblehead receives sporadic requests to paint the structure a more becoming white.

Marblehead Light is one of the lighthouses in the region that visitors are welcome to walk right up to.  Chandler Hovey donated the land around the lighthouse in 1947 to Marblehead with the understanding that it would be turned into a public park.  Today, Chandler Hovey Park bears its donor’s name and is a wonderful spot to visit the lighthouse and look over the water.

Hospital Point Light Station (1872)
Bayview Avenue | Beverly, MA |

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

Beverly’s Hospital Point Light Station was the third lighthouse built in a series of three structures erected to light Salem Harbor.  The Derby Wharf and Fort Pickering Light Stations were completed in 1871 and Beverly’s lighthouse came the following year.  Hospital Point’s light itself was pulled from a temporary station erected during construction (which includes one of five original Fresnel Lenses still active in Massachusetts).

Hospital Point Light Station probably rivals the Thacher Island Twin Lights for the most unfortunate naming circumstances – it was originally named for a smallpox hospital located on the site that the lighthouse was built.  According to, it is often speculated that:

“Many a Beverly maid’s heart was lost and found on the rocks beneath the faithful light.” But whether this was because Hospital Point was a local lovers’ lane or because women waved goodbye and waited there for their men to return home from sea is unclear.

As the light station is an active Coast Guard navigation aid, it is not readily accessible to the public.  However, during certain events such as Beverly Homecoming (August) and Trails and Sails (September), the station is open for tours.  The light station can be seen in from Bayview Avenue or in the distance from the Salem Willows pier.  The best way to see it, though, is by boat (Mahi Mahi Cruises offers a great Lighthouse and Foliage tour which features Hopital Point Light).

Egg Rock Light (1856/1897)
Egg Rock | Nahant, MA |

There aren't a whole lot of photos available of a lost lighthouse...

There aren’t a whole lot of photos available of a lost lighthouse…

The “Lost Lighthouse” of the North of Boston region, Egg Rock Lighthouse was constructed at the request of Swampscott fishermen to guide them in and out of the Swampscott/Lynn harbor.  This first lighthouse, built in 1856, was burned down in 1897.  A  new one (pictured) was a keeper’s house/light station hybrid built in its place.  For unknown reasons, the light was discontinued and this lighthouse was abandoned in 1922.  It had served as a training site during World War I and was even outfitted with a telephone at the turn of the century, making it seem even stranger that the lighthouse would simply be abandoned.

The lighthouse and cottage were sold for a whopping $5, under the condition that they had to be removed from the island.  Unfortunately, during the move, one of the ropes that was to lower the building onto a barge gave way and the structure crashed into the water.  Apparently, the second Egg Rock Light was just as unlucky as the first.

Bad luck aside, Egg Rock Light did have some lighter, more adventurous moments.  Milo, a dog owned by the first lighthouse keeper, would bark warnings to passing fishermen and even rescued several children during his time at Egg Rock.  The second lighthouse keeper, whose wife was in labor, managed to navigate from Egg Rock to the mainland Nahant during a storm to pick up a midwife.  On the way back, their boat capsized but even then, the expectant father and midwife of them made it back in time to deliver the baby.  A third, most likely apocryphal tale, is of a keeper whose wife died during bad weather.  Unable to leave the island, he put her in cold storage until he was later able to bring her to Nahant for burial.  While in Nahant, he managed to pick up a second wife and bring her back with him.

Shine Bright – The Lighthouses of the North of Boston Part II


The lighthouses of Rockport. Photo via

Dotted along the coast of the North of Boston region are 12 wonderful lighthouses.  We recently introduced you to Salem’s three structures.  This week, we’re bringing you the lighthouses of Rockport.

Straitsmouth Island Light (1896)
Straitsmouth Island | Rockport, MA |

Straitsmouth Island Light. Photo via Wikimedia Commons.

Straitsmouth Island Light. Photo via Wikimedia Commons.

Overseeing Rockport’s Straitsmouth Island is the Straitsmouth Island Lighthouse.  A 37-foot stone structure, the lighthouse is the third in a series of unlucky light stations to be built on the island to mark the entrance into Rockport Harbor.  The first lighthouse, built in 1834, was a 19-foot structure erected in the wrong spot.  The location picked was more convenient for the contractor, but was misleading for sailors and other navigators.  The second lighthouse, built in 1851, was an octagonal structure built 87-yards from the first location, was further away from the light keeper’s house, but better-placed for accuracy.  Unfortunately, this one fell into disrepair and was torn down.  The current, third installment, was built upon its foundation. (*Fun Fact: In 1932, the color of the light was converted from white to green.  The current green light flashes approximately every six seconds).

While the lighthouse itself is owned by the town of Rockport, Straitsmouth Island is a bird sanctuary owned by the Mass Audubon Society.  Both the island and the lighthouse are closed to the public, but the lighthouse can easily be seen from Bearskin Neck.

Thacher Island Twin Lights (1861)
Thacher Island | Rockport, MA


Thacher Island Twin Lights. Photo via Wikimedia Commons

The only operating twin lighthouses in the United States, the Thacher Island twin lights are a unique feature in Rockport.  Originally sighted by the likes of Champlain and Capt. John Smith, Thacher Island itself got its name from a shipwreck on the island in 1635.  The only survivors were Mr. and Mrs. Anthony Thacher who were “awarded” the island by the General Court as consolation for having lost their children and friends in the wreck (…we don’t know why that was considered a good idea either…).

In 1771, the Island was sold back to the government and two 45-foot lighthouses were erected (the last lighthouses to be built under British rule in the US).  These lighthouses were replaced by the current 123-foot structures in 1861.   An aid to sailors, the structures point to “true north,” allowing navigators to check/adjust their compasses.

Today, Thacher Island is owned by the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service and is protected wildlife refuge.  However, the island is open to the public June through mid-September and you are welcome to visit via the Thacher Island Association’s launch or your own kayak or boat (there are three guest moorings available).  Depending on the weather, the North tower itself is open to explore.  Camping is also available during “operating” months (amenities are basic as there are no showers, fireplaces, or electricity available).  Be sure to take a tour of the Thacher Island Museum during your visit!

Shine Bright – The Lighthouses of the North of Boston

The North of Boston region is home to 12 lighthouses.  Each of these structures offer wonderful photo opportunities and each has a unique story behind it.  This week, we’re featuring Salem’s three lighthouses…

Bakers Island Light Station (1820)
Bakers Island | Salem, MA |


Photo via Essex Heritage

Salem’s Bakers Island has a colorful history leading up to the 47-foot lighthouse we know today.  Legend has it that the 55-acre Bakers Island was named after a man who was killed by a falling tree.  While there is no evidence that said fatal accident occurred on the island, a man named Baker was killed by falling lumber in Salem in 1640.  If legend is to be believed, the island was thus (morbidly) named in his memory.  Which, in hindsight, probably wasn’t the best of ideas.

In the late 1700’s, a lighthouse was erected on the island.  Call it “the curse of Baker,” but this light station wasn’t terribly effective and there were a number of shipwrecks attributed to the lighthouse.  The Salem Marine Society, believing that two lighthouses would be more effective, lobbied to have a second lighthouse built on the island in 1820 and the lighthouse we know today was erected.  The two lighhouses were referred to as “Ma and Pa Baker.”  In the 1920’s,  however, “Ma Baker” (the original lighthouse) was discontinued and torn down.

Meanwhile, Bakers Island had become a posh summer getaway and visitors flocked to the hotel on the island during the summer months…which burned down in 1906 (the “curse of Baker” strikes again!).  Even without the large hotel, Bakers Island, with its 55 cottages remains a popular summer destination.

However, as Bakers Island is private property, lighthouse enthusiasts were not allowed to visit the light station until very recently when the Bakers Island Light Station was transferred from the US government to Essex Heritage.  With money raised via Kickstarter, Essex Heritage restored the lighthouse and is now inviting the public to access the island and visit the light station via their new landing craft, the Naumkeag.  This two-hour trip includes an hour-long tour of the 10-acre light station and ample photo opportunities.  You can learn more about visiting Bakers Island Light on Essex Heritage’s website.

Fort Pickering Lighthouse (1871)
Winter Island
50 Winter Island Road | Salem, MA


Photo via Wikimedia Commons

In the mid-1800’s, $30,000 was allocated for the construction of three lighthouses in the Greater Salem area – Derby Wharf Light Station (Salem), Hospital Point Light Station (Beverly), and the Fort Pickering Lighthouse.  These small lighthouses were strategically placed to allow ships to enter Salem Harbor at all times of the day.  Today, visitors are welcome to visit Winter Island Lighthouse.  Winter Island, with its public beach, campsites, gift shop, picnic and recreation areas, and events, is a popular Salem destination.  Compared to the larger Baker’s Island Light, Fort Pickering Light appears rather underwhelming but the beautiful scenery of Salem Harbor and Winter Island make for great backdrops for photos of the light station.  Fun fact – for most of it’s “life,” Fort Pickering Light was painted a brown or red color, not the white color we see today.


Derby Wharf Light Station (1871)
Derby Wharf | Salem, MA


Photo via Wikimedia Commons

A “sister lighthouse,” if you will, to Fort Pickering Light, the Derby Wharf Light Station was one of the three light stations built in the 1870’s to aid merchant ships pulling into Salem Harbor.  This uniquely square-shaped station is also, much like Fort Pickering, easily accessible to visitors.  Originally lit via an oil lamp, Derby Wharf Light is completely solar-powered today and flashes a red light approximately every six seconds.

Music in the air

Every summer, the North of Boston region is host to numerous outdoor music festivals, concert series, and more.  Music of all genres is in the air throughout the entire region.  So, come enjoy terrific summer weather and great music during…

1Castle Hill Picnic Concert Series
Thursdays, through September 3
Castle Hill on the Crane Estate
290 Argilla Road | Ipswich, MA

The Trustees and Castle Hill on the Crane Estate invite you to enjoy a series of evening picnic concerts this summer.  Set on Castle Hill’s spacious lawn, attendees are welcome to bring a picnic supper or purchase seafood, empanadas, pizza, and ice cream from on-site vendors. Ipswich Ale and Mill River Winery will sell beverages on-site at a beer and wine garden.  Click here for more information, including the concert line-up.


11249557_10153511109592490_3459831857567318531_n2015 Summer Concert Series at Salisbury Beach
Saturdays, through September 5
Salisbury Beach | Salisbury, MA

Get your groove on this summer at Salisbury Beach!  The Summer Concert Series features a different performer every Saturdays night.  Enjoy concerts from Entrain, The Lisa Love Experience, Joshua Tree, and more!  Click here for a full concert line-up.

11351325_892000850861081_2390068142578142637_nGloucester Blues Festival
Saturday, August 8
Stage Fort Park
24 Hough Avenue | Gloucester, MA

Enjoy a day of music and fun as the nation’s finest performers play on scenic Cressey’s Beach.  Featuring performances by the Juke Joint Five, Mitch Woods, Lil Ed & the Blues Imperials, and more, the event also includes a beer garden and marvelous food and craft vendors, making for the perfect summer day in Gloucester.  Click here to view the full lineup.

Shalin Liu PC-Robert Benson Photography

Shalin Liu. Photo by Robert Benson Photography

Rockport Jazz Festival
August 13-16
Shalin Liu Performance Center
37 Main Street | Rockport, MA

Cool cats and jazz neophytes rejoice!  The 4th Annual Rockport Jazz Festival is almost here and features a fantastic lineup of jazz musicians, including Mikarimba, a star-studded ensemble of Mika Stoltzman, legendary drummer Steve Gadd and the incomparable Eddie Gomez. The Festival continues with artists like the soulful Alicia Olatuja and the incredible jazz guitarist Julian Lage.  For a full schedule of concerts, click here.

newlogoheaderSalem Jazz and Soul Festival
August 15-16
Salem Willows
167 Fort Avenue | Salem, MA

The Salem Jazz and Soul Festival is a FREE weekend-long event at the historic Salem Willows.  Featuring concerts, a beer garden, artisan fair, kids’ tent, and more, this is one weekend you won’t want to miss!  Parking is limited, but the Salem Trolley and Mahi Mahi Cruises and Charters will be on hand offering alternate transportation to and from the festival.  Click here for a schedule of events and concert line-up.

Riverfront Music Festival Logo - FinalNewburyport’s Riverfront Music Festival
Saturday, September 5
Waterfront Park
36 Merrimac Street | Newburyport, MA

Spend the day on the waterfront in Newburyport! The Greater Newburyport Chamber of Commerce and 92.5 The River invite you to enjoy a musical Labor Day with a fantastic lineup.  Come early and enjoy great food & shopping while waiting for the concert to begin.  Click here for more information.

Oh Say Can You See – North of Boston 4th of July Celebrations

Steven Perlmutter_Rockport Fireworks_Rockport.  .  Courtesy of Essex Heritage

Photo by Steven Perlmutter, courtesy of Essex Heritage.

Every heart in the North of Boston rings true for the red, white, and blue on Independence Day!  From live readings of the Declaration of Independence to silly “Horribles” parades, lobster bakes, and grand fireworks displays there’s something for everyone!

Fourth of July Events

Beauport Princess 4th of July Cruises
Saturday, July 4 | 11am-2pm and 7-10pm
At 11am, enjoy a wonderful New England lobster bake aboard the Beauport Princess.  Take in all the beautiful rich history that Gloucester Harbor has to offer while enjoying music and dancing provided by DJ Scottie Mac.
Later in the evening, dance the night away with their July 4th Party Cruise featuring blues icon James Montgomery.

Danvers Family Festival – Horribles Parade and Reading of the Declaration of Independence
Saturday, July 4 | 9am, 12-1pm
Join the most “horrible” parade in Danvers this 4th of July (parade rain date on July 5).  All are welcome to dress up yourselves, your wagons, your bikes, make your own floats, or just march in your most festive 4th of July attire.  Later in the day, join your neighbors for a Community Reading of what got the Fireworks started 238 years ago.

Gloucester Independence Day Celebration
Friday, July 3 | begins at 5pm
Kick off your Independence Day celebration with a free concert on Stacy Boulevard in Gloucester and continue with the always fun Gloucester Horribles Parade.  The event ends with a marvelous fireworks display over Gloucester Harbor.

Mahi Mahi Fireworks Cruise
Friday, July 3 | 7:30pm
There are limited tickets left for Mahi Mahi’s excellent fireworks cruise!  They’ll be heading over to Swampscott for an unparalleled view of the town’s fireworks display.  You’ll get your oohs and ahhs as the fireworks shoot across the sky above.

Manchester-by-the-Sea Independence Day Parade
Saturday, July 4 | 10am

Marblehead Fireworks & Harbor Illumination
Saturday, July 4 (rain date July 5) | 8:45pm
Come and see the fireworks show that Coastal Living Magazine continually ranks in the Top 10 Spots to Celebrate the Fourth in the entire country!  The Harbor Illumination is scheduled to start at 8:45 PM when flares are lit all around the perimeter of the harbor, creating a magnificent ring of light that sets the stage for the main event: at about 9:05 PM or a few minutes thereafter the fireworks are launched off a barge at the mouth of Marblehead Harbor, which creates ideal viewing opportunities for the public from the parks at Fort Sewall, Chandler Hovey Park, and Crocker Park.

Rockport 4th of July
Saturday, July 4 | 6-9pm
Get into the 4th of July spirit with the Rockport Firemen’s parade followed by the Rockport Legion Band convert on Back Beach.  After the concert, warm up with the annual Rockport Bonfire.

Rockport Rotary Club’s Reading of the Declaration of Independence
Saturday, July 4 | 10am
Join the Rotary Club of Rockport in Dock Square for a rousing reading of the Declaration of Independence.

Salem Celebrates the 4th!
Saturday, July 4 | 9am, 4pm
Join Mayor Driscoll on Salem Common to start off Salem’s 4th of July festivities with a live reading of the Declaration of Independence.  The celebration continues later in the day on Derby Wharf at the Salem Maritime National Historic Site.  Free children’s activities begin at 4pm with the opening of the Kids’ Space and live entertainment begins at 5pm with LUX.  Opening ceremonies begin at 7:15pm when Mayor Driscoll and other local dignitaries will lead a parade down the wharf accompanied by the Salem Veterans Honor Guard and Salem Boy Scout troops and the fireworks extravaganza begins at 9:15pm with a live performance of the 1812 Overture.

Salisbury July 4th Celebration
Saturday, July 4 | 4pm

Fireworks Displays

**For a complete listing of fireworks displays in Massachusetts, please visit or WCVB**

July 3:

Amesbury | Woodsom Farm

Andover | Andover High School

Gloucester | Gloucester Harborwalk

Haverhill | Riverside Park

Lynn | Red Rock Park

Swampscott | Humphrey Street

July 4:

Marblehead | Marblehead Harbor & Crocker Park

Nahant | Bailey’s Hill

North Andover | Town Common

Salem | Pickering Wharf

July 5:

Merthuen | Riverside Park

August 9:

Beverly (part of Beverly Homecoming Days celebration) | Lynch Park

Ipswich and the Revolution

We love sharing about the North of Boston’s vast, rich history.  In honor of Independence Day, we’re going back to the birth of our country and the key role played by the North of Boston region…

We tend to associate the beginning of the American Revolution with Boston, but did you know that the Revolution actually had its roots a little further north?

In 1683, Reverend John Wise was appointed the minister of Ipswich’s Chebacco Parish (which was later to become Essex).  Wise had a the reputation of being confident and outspoken and soon gained immense respect from his congregation. It was also said that he was one heck of a wrestler and allegedly threw a horse over a fence, but that doesn’t have anything to do with this story.


Sign in Ipswich. (Photo:

Horse wrestling aside, a few years after his appointment, Reverend Wise earned his place in history.  In 1689, Sir Edmund Andros was appointed Royal Governor of Massachusetts.  Andros immediately put a “Province Tax” into order, collecting money from each town.  Reverend Wise argued that this tax violated citizens’ rights as Englishmen and that they should not be taxed without representation – a sentiment that was later echoed by outraged colonists leading up to the American Revolution.  Wise led a protest (which included fellow Ipswich-ite Samuel Appleton) and the group was arrested and tried in Boston, imprisoned, and fined for their misconduct.  The town of Ipswich paid Wise’s fines and people in Boston, now outraged and inspired by Wise, had their own uprising and saw to it that Governor Andros was arrested.  Wise had unknowingly started a small spark that would soon lead to the Revolution.

Later on in his memoirs, Reverend Wise wrote:

““The first human subject and original of civil power is the people. For as they have a power, every man over himself in a natural state, so upon a combination they can and do bequeath this power unto others, …and when they are free, they may set up what species of government they please…The end of all good government is to cultivate humanity and promote the happiness of all, and the good of every man in all his rights, his life, liberty, estate, honor, etc., without injury or abuse done to any.”

Sound familiar? Thomas Jefferson was inspired by Wise when he wrote the Declaration of Independence.  Perhaps “WIse” was more than just the good Reverend’s name…

Ipswich History Mural by Alan Pearsall for EBSCO, 2006 Local color dabbed into mural -- "Residents star as characters in painting of historic scenes" By David Rattigan,  Boston Globe ,  January 14, 2007

Ipswich History Mural by Alan Pearsall for EBSCO, 2006
Local color dabbed into mural — “Residents star as characters in painting of historic scenes”
By David Rattigan, Boston Globe , January 14, 2007



The Rev. John Wise of Ipswich

Rev. John Wise

Beverly’s “Lost” Cotton Mill

A quick Google search will tell you that America’s oldest cotton mill was the Slater Mill, built in Rhode Island in 1790.  There’s just one slight problem with this fact – there was another cotton mill built three years earlier in Beverly, Massachusetts.  This “lost” mill utilized experimental techniques and machinery (some of which were the model for the “jenny” at Rhode Island’s mill) and was praised by George Washington himself (he really got around the North Shore in the 1780s).  So, what’s the story of this lost bit of history?

When built in 1787, the Beverly Cotton Manufactory was the largest mill in the United States.  The mill, under the ownership of many partners, including the wealthy John Cabot and his brother, George, was incorporated in 1789 and was initially a success.  In October 1789, George Washington visited the mill and was impressed with its state-of-the-art machinery and utilization of horse power.  He commented that “In short the whole seemed perfect, and the Cotton stuffs wch (sic). they turn out excellent of their kind” before traveling on to Ipswich and Newburyport.


Photo via Wikimedia Commons

So, if the Beverly mill was such a success, why does Rhode Island get the credit for having the first mill?

We could not find a definitive answer to this question, in all honesty.  Due to financial issues (most likely stemming from the costs of building such a big mill and competition from the more efficient water-run mills that popped up), the Beverly Cotton Manufactory was shut down in the early 1800’s. Our assumption is that the Slater Mill was more successful and utilized the more innovative water power while Beverly’s mill, a financial disaster, was swept into the dustbin of history.

The fact that the Beverly Cotton Manufactory building itself burned down in 1828 also plays a factor – there’s nothing to show for this historical landmark which makes it even easier to forget.  Although, the Beverly Historical Society has placed a memorial stone where the Manufactory once stood.



Introduction and Early Progress of the Cotton Manufacture in the United States by Samuel Batchelder
Beverly Historical Society
The Diaries of George Washington