Thursday, August 27, 2009

Best Idea Program, Fall Explorers Program, Trails & Sails and Thacher's Island

National Park Service Best Idea Event

The National Park Service/Essex Heritage event at the Salem Visitor Center yesterday to close out the summer camp program with the Boys and Girls Club was a great success. The program that was funded by the National Park Foundation was both a critical success and a "lot of fun" for the youngsters. There were about a hundred campers and several officials from the Boys and Girls Club as well as a number of National Park Service and Essex Heritage officials The campers showed off exhibits that they had prepared and demonstrated some of the skills that they learned during the camp sessions. The video preview of the documentary by Ken Burns that will show soon on PBS, was compelling and made you want to pack up for a trip to a number of National parks right away. Watch for the show when it airs on a local Public broadcasting System station in this area. You will enjoy the work, as Burns is a wonderful visual story teller and his work is first class,

Essex Heritage Trails & Sails Weekends

It truly seems that summer has just begun, and with the warm weather only arriving in early August, the summer season was late in arriving. With that thought in mind, strange as it may be, the fall season is soon upon us. The official start of fall in now less than a month away, and one of the best events of the fall season is scheduled just after the start of the season. This year on the weekends of September 18-20 and September 26-27 Essex Heritage will once again present Trails & Sails. This year there is a completely new twist, and participants can sign on to a newly created web site, and review the entire listing of one hundred events and prepare you own personal itinerary and schedule. Essex Heritage is indebted to our presenting sponsors for this annual event and we thank TD Bank, and Northeast Health Systems, and their two medical facilities, Beverly Hospital and Addison Gilbert Hospital for their support. Join us during the final two weekends in September and participate. We are certain that you will be glad you signed up.

Essex Heritage Fall Explorers Activities

As you may know, Essex Heritage has a wonderful membership program called the Explorers. Throughout the year, Events are offered that allow the members to access some of the wonderful resources that are not always available to the general public. This has been a program that has been well received by the many friends of Essex Heritage who have signed up to participate. Membership in the program has been growing year to year, and the currents membership numbers in the hundreds. Information on the program and the opportunity to sign up can be found on the Essex heritage web site at The fall program this year will focus on visits to some of the great estates in this region. Visits are planned to the Stephens Coolidge Estate in North Andover, The Tenny Gate House in Methuen and Willowdale Estate. I am certain that you will enjoy the fall program and all of the other events planned for 2010.

Thatcher’s Island and the Twin Lights

In a recent edition of the Boston Globe North, there was a wonderful story about the historic island in the harbor of Rockport, Ma. The story focused on the volunteers who keep the island and its twin lighthouses in as good shape as is possible in these difficult economic times. Several years ago, Essex Heritage provided a series of Partnership Grants to the association that manages the island, and we know first hand the work that has been accomplished to keep the facility in workable condition. The Essex Heritage Partnership Grant program was temporarily suspended this past year when we lost state funding, but certainly hope to restore that program as soon as possible, as we recognize the importance of the program to the region. In the years that the program was operating, Essex Heritage provided over $1.7 million in grants to over 200 not for profit organizations and municipalities. Grants are more and more difficult to obtain in these times and the volunteers that are helping out, on the island are even more important than ever. Essex Heritage is now taking on maintenance responsibilities at Baker’s Island in Salem, and can certainly understand the challenges that are faced by the Thatcher Island Association. We wish them continuing good luck, as they address their “labor of love”.

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