Monday, August 16, 2010

Friendship Sails, Bill Steelman Returns, Sales Tax Holiday, Danvers Bi-Peds, Boys and Girls Club, Cape Cod Baseball Over



In this space on several occasions, I have reported on the inaugural sailing weekend scheduled by the National Park Service ship, Friendship. This replica sailing ship built be the National Park Service to help relate the maritime history of this region is a major attraction for the region, and this is the first time ever that the ship is able to take commercial clients on board. The Friendship only sails on special occasions, as its primary role is to be present at the Salem Maritime Historic Site to help interpret Salem’s rich maritime history. This opportunity was created when the ship completed a series of sea trials this past spring and was then certified by the United States Coast Guard.

It is most gratifying to report that in recent days there has been a rush to purchase tickets for this extraordinary event. The sail on Saturday, September 5, 2010 is almost sold out and the sail into Gloucester Harbor to view that community’s special event, the Schooner Races on Sunday are moving quickly to that status as well. The prices for both sails are set at $250.00 unless you are an Essex Heritage member and then the price is reduced to $185.00. The weekends of sails will be historic as this is the first time that the Friendship has been able to sail with commercial customers. The National Park Service will be a wonderful host for both events and they have plans to provide commentary that will make the trips that much more enjoyable. Clients for both sails are responsible for their own ground transportation and will have to get to Salem and then home from Gloucester on Saturday. For the Sunday event sailing patrons will be responsible for getting to Gloucester to depart for the Schooner races and then back from Gloucester when the sail is finished. For more information and details or to make a reservation for one of the few remaining spots contact Mary Williamson at or call her at 978 740 0444. This will be a once in a lifetime opportunity and if you do not want to miss this chance ACT NOW.

Bill Steelman Back on Board

I stopped in to the Essex Heritage office on Monday morning to attend the weekly staff meeting and it was good to see Bill Steelman back at his familiar post. Bill, his wife Sue and his two sons have returned from the six- week assignment that his wife undertook at Cambridge University in the United Kingdom. The sabbatical that the Steelman family took turned out to be a wonderful experience for the entire family but was particularly good for Bill and Sue’ two teen-aged sons. At the meeting this morning, Bill reported that going forward a great deal of his time and attention will be focused on the development of specialized programs specific to the utilization of the resources connected to the Essex Heritage Scenic Byway. The Byway runs along the spectacular coastline of Essex County from Lynn to Newburyport. Speaking of the two communities that act as the ‘ends” of the Scenic Byway, on Bill’s last day in early July before leaving for England did a reconnaissance bike ride over the entire length of the Scenic Byway from Newburyport to Lynn. As many of you are aware Bill is an enthusiastic bike rider and used his avocation to scope out the entire length of the Byway. He tells us he likes what he saw along the way, and in the future will be using his trip to outline sights and sounds of the Byway for all of the residents of this region

Massachusetts Sales Tax Holiday

I visited an appliance store on the cape last weekend to purchase an appliance for my home on the cape. The store was very crowded early in the morning, and it appeared that there was substantial buying being done. From what I have read in yesterday’s newspapers the volume of purchase by consumers was at a high level It will be interesting to see the final results of this effort by the Commonwealth to stimulate the retail economy that has been weak at best. Will the economic impetus developed by the sales tax-free weekend carry over and will retail activity continue through the back to school period and then into the holiday period?

Danvers Bi-Pads Newsletter

Each month, I receive the newsletter published by the Danvers Bi-Peds and it is always filed with information. This month they reported on progress in Danvers on the rail trail, and noted that although right now it appears that it seems slow, but the expectation is that the trail will be ready in the fall. The newsletter also pointed out that the next meeting of the Town’s Rail Trail Advisory Board will be held on Thursday, August 19, 2010, and is open to the public. If any of you are interested in how the rail trail is progressing in Danvers, this might be a good time to be brought up to date at that meeting.

Boys and Girls Club of Greater Salem

In the next several weeks, the Building Committee of the Board of the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Salem will begin the process of determining the best approach to assessing community interest in a potential building project. Several appointments have been established with both national and local companies that could help the club conduct a series of interviews in the region. The purpose of these interviews that could begin as early as this fall would help the club determine the scope and the depth of any campaign to build a new facility in the near term.

The current owner of the building that houses the club has indicated that in the near term that they wish to sell the sixty-year old former parochial elementary school. Those plans have caused the Boys and Girls Club to consider several options as they look to the future. It is expected that a consultant will be picked in the next several weeks, and when that team has been established interviews of community leaders in this region will follow soon. It is expected that the series of interviews will help that club determine the depth of resources that might be available to them as they continue to explore all future facility options. Certainly, if anyone in the area wishes to provide any help to the Boys and Girls Club as they embark on this important exercise we would encourage you to contact any member of the Board of Directors or the club’s Executive Director, Joanne Scott at

Cape Cod Baseball Season Comes to an End

Late in the afternoon last Friday, on a day that had a distinct feel of fall, the Cape Cod Baseball League season came to an end with a shutout victory by Cotuit over Dennis-Yarmouth. That victory clinched the final game of a best of three game series and won the first tile Cotuit had achieved in over a decade. Over the course of the season this year, I viewed about a dozen or so games played by the Dennis-Yarmouth Red Sox and as in past years enjoyed the game the way it is played by these young collegians. At this point in their careers they are still not impacted by the big money earned by professionals and play the game with great abandon and enthusiasm. It is a long time between now and June 2011, but I look forward to another season of cape league baseball again next year. The game is played in this league the way baseball was meant to be played.

As always we value your comments, questions and observations about the work of Essex Heritage. Please contact me with your thoughts or any questions you may have at We are always striving to make Essex Heritage work as effectively as possible and your input and suggestions are always welcome. We can always provide more information and better communication, and one of the goals of these postings on Essex happenings is to provide that opportunity. Thank You. Tom Leonard

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