Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Sails and Trails Recapped, Essex Heritage Membership Month, and Northeast Harvest Newsletter Published


Ninth Annual Essex Heritage Trails and Sails Event Concludes

This morning at the Essex Heritage staff meeting we spent a fair amount of time looking at the process over the last two weekends of Trials and Sails to set some planning for 2011 in place. The event next year will celebrate the tenth anniversary of the event and hopefully there will be some nuances built into next years event that will help bring attention to that decade anniversary. This year’s event seemed to all of us to most successful. We are discovering that the name Trails and Sails itself might be a little bit more well known that even the name of the sponsoring organization, Essex Heritage. Next year we might institute some routing changes when inquires come in seeking information that might focus attentions even more directly on Essex Heritage. During the last thirty days the section of our web site devoted to Trails and Sails saw an incredible increase in “traffic” as visits to the site were up over 40 % from the previous thirty day period. We have asked our webmaster to quantify those increases for us, and hopefully in the very near term will be have a more comprehensive overview of where those ”visits” came from during this peak period.

We have also learned that the mobile application that was created for the first time this year was also most successful as four % of the total visits were made by visitors with smart phones. The primary devices used were Apple I- Phones, along with I -Pads and I -Pods. Over the two week period of the event and the time leading up to Trails and Sails Essex Heritage registered 860 new participants bringing the grand total of all participants to over 2300 in total. We were also pleased to hear today from our long time friends at the Phoenix School in Salem, who noted that as in the past, their students and parents visited many sites as part of their annual Trails and Sails homework assignment.

My Personal Trails and Sails Events for Week Two

The second weekend of Trails and Sails is complete and over this past weekend I participated in several events that were both entertaining and informative. On Friday evening on what turned out to be a summer evening rather than the fall weather we were expecting, I was pleased that I was able to participate in any event where I was able to wear two distinct hats. The Danvers Historical Society hosted a classical concert in the recently restored Tapley Hall on Page Street in Danvers, and the evening was most successful. About three dozen residents of the area attended and enjoyed the hour long concert performed by the Danvers Historical Society’s artists in residence the Essex Harmony Coral group. I was pleased to be able to introduce the program and provide a little background on the balance of the weekend’s activities during Trails and Sails 2010. It was also a pleasure to be able as a member of the Board of Trustees of the Danvers Historical Society to provide an introduction of the singing group that has meant so much to the Society. Their presentation was wonderful and the newly restored Tapley hall was a perfect setting for the presentation.

On Saturday, I traveled again to the historic port city of Newburyport and participated in a most informative session at the Coast Guard Station, Merrimack River. The group that I participated with were treated to a most informative and instructive tour by a young seaman who was in the middle of a six year tour of duty with the Coast Guard. His presentation was complete and most instructive and he provided a wonderful inside look at the services provided to the boating public from that and other Coast Guard facilities. We learned that the three dozen both male and female members of the Coast Guard who are assigned to this location take their responsibility most seriously. We viewed the communications center for the region that handles maritime distress calls for that region and had the opportunity to visit and learn about the crafts that are at risk whenever they leave port to head out on a rescue mission. Merrimack River station is part of a coastal network that includes locations in Portsmouth, NH and Gloucester, Ma that provides security to the boating public in this region. Our tour was enhanced by the presence of a cadet who was in his last year at the Coast Guard Academy in New London, Ct, who provided some insight into the training that a cadet is subjected to before he ever begins to be part of the life savings group of dedicated Coast Guard personnel.

We finished our summer like morning in Newburyport with a visit to Newburyport’s oldest church, the old South Church. That church that was built in 1756 for the Rev George Wakefield has a long a storied history and the team from the church that provided that discourse was well informed and did a great job in providing the needed information. The visit to the church included a stop at the basement crypt under the main altar where the body of Rev. Wakefield is interred.

Essex Heritage’s Focus for October to be Membership

Over the next thirty days, Essex Heritage is planning to place a high emphasis on gaining new participants for the recently revamped Membership Program. This program has already received substantial attention and the “sign ups” during the first months of the effort have been most gratifying. The focus for the next thirty days will be on current Essex Heritage Commissioners and friends, and recent Trails and Sails participants along with lapsed Explorers. In addition to those efforts that will focus on individual memberships, Essex Heritage will continue to seek corporate memberships and just recently we are pleased to announce that financial support has been committed from Crosby’s Markets headquartered in Salem and operating on the North Shore, Atlantic Hospitality (Blue Ocean Music Hall) in Salisbury and Henry’s Market in Beverly.

Northeast Harvest Newsletter for September

The September issue of the Northeast Harvest newsletter has been published. The publication that is a joint venture of Essex Heritage, the Essex Agricultural Society, Massachusetts Grown, and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is filled this month as you might expect with news about apples, and where to pick them. As we drove around this past spectacular weekend wherever we turned in both Essex and Middlesex Counties we viewed large crowds at farms picking and sampling apples and other products. Stop by a local farm or orchard in this region this month and early next month to experience an important part of the heritage of this region, the agricultural resources. Also do not forget that the Topsfield Fair will be kicking off early next month and at local farms like Connors Farm in Danvers, where you can experience and enjoy a maze that can be enjoyed by young and old alike. If you wish to subscribe to the Northeast Harvest newsletter, contact Essex Heritage at www.essexheritage.org.

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 www.essexheritage.org. 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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