Friday, December 4, 2009

Moak in New Job, Essex Heritage Explorers, holiday Events, Celebrity Server



It was announced in the local newspapers this morning that outgoing Newburyport Mayor John Moak has been named the Board of Selectman’s choice to become the next Town Administrator of the Town of Pepperell. Negotiations will begin immediately and the Town hopes to have their new Administrator in place by early next year. Moak decided not to stand for re-election in Newburyport and former City Councilor Donna Holaday will fill that position in January. I report this information, as during Mayor Moak’s time in office as the Mayor of Newburyport, he was a good friend of Essex Heritage. In the summer of 2007, Essex Heritage and the National Park Service organized a visit by the replica sailing ship. Friendship to that historic port city, and the trip would not have been possible without the support and commitment of Mayor Moak. That visit made in conjunction with the Greater Newburyport Chamber of Commerce and with the support of several local banking institutions was a wonderful success and the visit was going to be replicated in the summer of 2009, until a substantial repair project had to be undertaken on Friendship. Essex Heritage truly enjoyed working with John Moak during his tenure in office, and we certainly wish him well in his new position in Pepperell. We are certain that he will provide the same level of commitment to his new position that he provided to the City of Newburyport during his time leading that community.


One of the most participatory and highly valued programs offered by Essex Heritage is the Explorers Program. This is an initiative that truly reached out to the residents of this region. Each quarter a new theme is established and then three events are structured that allows participants the opportunity to “go behind the scenes” and gain access to a site or a home or an exhibit not generally available to the general public. The program has been in place now for several years and many of the 300 members of the group are charter members, who faithfully renew their commitment to membership. That annual renewal helps support he program, but more importantly provides broad financial support to enhance the work of Essex Heritage.

This quarter’s theme is the material culture of this region, and visits are planned to the Leather Workers Museum in Peabody, the Northeast Document Conservation Center in Andover, and the Lynn Museum and Historical Society. Each of the three visits is unique and different from one another. The visits are usually limited to about 30 Explorers and meaningful commentary about the site and the event is always one of the highlights of the visits. Planning for the next quarter is already underway, and as the weather gets a little more temperate the visits can include some outdoor experiences and the theme will be the rivers of Essex County. Elizabeth Rankin is the manager of this program, and I say without any question, Elizabeth treats every one of “Her Explorers” like there were her best friends or neighbors, Come and enjoy one of these events, and you will become a regular and look forward from event to event to learn a little bit more about the region we all call home.

If you need more information about this program or want to sign up as an Explorer visit www.essexheritage,org. The time that you commit to research on this program will be well spent, and if you join the Essex Heritage Explorers you will find the time spent enjoying the program even more satisfying.


As we get closer to the Holiday Season there are more and more events that are worth noting and pointing them out here might help the organizers insure that their efforts are fruitful.

  • This weekend, Historic Salem will be holding their annual historic house tour. This year this popular event will focus on homes in the historic Salem Common area. Tickets are still available and can be purchased at several downtown Salem businesses, or they can be purchased on line at This is spectacular event that I have attended in past years, and all of the proceeds from the event are used to pursue the preservation initiatives of Historic Salem.
  • On Saturday, December 5, 2009 the hard-working women of the Danvers Garden Club will hold a greens sale at the Barn at Endicott Park in Danvers. The sale that will include wreaths, boxwood trees, kissing balls, and holiday arrangements will be held from 9:00 am until 2:00 pm. Refreshments and baked goods will also be available and all of the profits from the sale will be used to advance the many programs of the Danvers Garden Club that includes visits to local nursing homes, seasonal decorations across the town and the maintenance of a garden at Hospice House in Danvers.


Today, after an earlier cancelled date, I took my place behind the counter at Brother’s Restaurant and Deli as a celebrity server. It was a great experience and I enjoyed meeting many of the most faithful customers of the popular downtown eatery. I was also pleased to see many of my friends and staff associates from Essex Heritage who came to see if I preformed without dropping or spilling the wonderful food I was expected to deliver. If that was their expectation, I managed to deliver all of the food without mishap. We passed out material highlighting the work of Essex Heritage and hopefully made some new friends for Essex Heritage. All in all, everything went well, and all of the staff at Brother’s made me feel right at home. They even offered to add me to their emergency staff list that they call at 4:00 am when a regular calls in ill. I thanked them for their confidence, but said I would pass on being added to their sub list.

As always we value your comments, questions and observations about the work of Essex Heritage. Please contact me with your thoughts at Thanks. Tom Leonard

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