Friday, August 24, 2012

Essex Happenings...August 24, 2012

Trails and Sails, Two Weekends of Walks and Water is almost here!  September 21-23 & September 28-30
This year there are 219 featured events during the six days!  For more information or to sign up to receive your own ‘hard copy’ event guide go to Trails&  or

Here are profiles on six more Essex National Heritage Area communities and the events that are being presented this year as part of Trails & Sails. 


Nahant Historical Society
 Explore an interactive exhibit showing the history of Nahant from its early days as grazing land for Lynn livestock, through its days as a fishing community, its heyday as the Summer resort community for Boston's wealthy, literary and scientific notables and artists.



  • Dole-Little House  
c. 1715 house that has been restored to reflect the original period of construction.
  • Newbury Historic District   
High Rd., Green and Hanover Sts. Contains some of New England's most important examples of First Period architecture clustered newer a pre-Revolution common.
  • Old Town Hill
 Thousands of years ago, a large and beautiful salt marsh crossed by tidal creeks was created in the lowlands and valleys surrounding the glacial drumlin known as Old Town Hill.
  • Parker River National Wildlife Refuge  
The 4600-plus acre refuge offers recreational and educational adventures such as wildlife observation, hunting, fishing and shell fishing.
  • Spencer-Peirce-Little Farm 
Built at the end of the 17th Century to impress visitors, today the house reveals three centuries of construction technologies and building stabilization.
  • Swett-Ilsley House  
Original portion built in 1670 and expanded in the 18th and 19th Centuries.
  • Tristram Coffin House  
Built in 1654, this is the oldest structure in the Newbury Historic District.



  • Harold Parker State Forest 
Provides summer hiking, winter cross-country skiing, picnic area and campground.
  • The Museum of Printing
Dedicated to preserving the history of the graphic arts, printing equipment and printing craftsmanship.
  • North Andover Historical Society 
Founded in 1913 to preserve the history and traditions of North Andover.
  • Stevens-Coolidge Place 
Formerly known as Ashdale Farm, the Stevens-Coolidge Place was the summer home of John Gardner Coolidge and Helen Stevens-Coolidge from 1914 to 1962. Gardens open year-round, daily, sunrise to sunset.
  • Ward Reservation 
The Ward Reservation represents the union of more than forty separate parcels of former farm and pasture land whose stone walls, when combined, total more than seventeen miles long.
  • Weir Hill
 Weir Hill (pronounced "wire hill") is a double drumlin that rises 305 feet and includes more than a mile of shoreline on Lake Cochichewick.


  • Brooksby Farm 
An 8 1/2-acre working farm with orchards, animals, trails and a farm stand.
  • Elizabeth Cassidy Folk Art Museum & Peabody Art Association Gallery 
The Museum features permanent and rotating exhibits of unique works from the Society’s extensive collection of folk art, including architectural embellishments, funerary art, pottery, portraits and needlework. The Museum is also the home of the Peabody Art Association Gallery, which features rotating exhibits of paintings and photographs by Association artists.
  • Felton Historic Houses at Brooksby Farm 
Built in 1644, the Nathaniel Felton, Sr., House was the first house built on Mount Pleasant (the Brooksby Farm area). The Nathaniel Felton, Jr. House's outdoor garden has become a popular spot to exchange wedding vows, before waltzing across the street to the Smith Barn for that once in a lifetime reception.
  • George Peabody House Museum 
A restored house and community cultural center features an ENHC Visitor Center with information on Peabody and the surrounding area and exhibits on Peabody's tannery history.
  • Peabody Historical Society Established to preserve the heritage of the city of Peabody.
  • Smith Barn at Brooksby Farm
The Peabody Historical Society's Smith Barn at Brooksby Farm provides an ideal setting for any private celebration you may have in mind, from office party to wedding.
  • Places to Stay in Peabody Peabody Marriott
8A Centennial Drive, Peabody MA 01960 1-978-977-9700
Ideally situated on the Boston North Shore, the Boston Marriott Peabody hotel is conveniently located near Gloucester, Rockport, and Salem.


  • Halibut Point State Park 
70-acre park located at the northern tip of Cape Ann features a rocky shoreline ideal for picnicking and tide pooling.
  • Paper House
A house made of Boston newspapers.
  • Thacher Island
This National Historic Landmark off the coast of Rockport boasts twin lighthouses 45' tall. Accessible by small boats and kayaks. 

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Essex Heritage Corporate Membership News

As funding from Federal and Commonwealth sources have become more difficult to obtain, the need for Essex Heritage to encourage financial support from the Corporate Community is essential.   Towards that end, in recent weeks, I have presented information to several local organizations encouraging their financial participation and four local organizations have responded with financial commitments.  

The organizations that have responded positively with support have been: Berry Homes in Topsfield, Commonwealth Equities in Topsfield and NorthEast Community Bank, and North Shore Elder Services in Danvers.  

We are most grateful for their support.  We are very much aware that there are numerous organizations seeking funding to support their mission, and we thank them for their faith in our mission work.


Along the Essex Coastal Scenic Byway

Cape Ann Museum in Gloucester launches new website
The Cape Ann Museum announced the launch of their new and very fabulous website. Check it out!

Thursday nights throughout the summer settle in with family and friends for Thursday Night Picnic Concerts at Castle Hill on the Crane Estate. For more information.

Did you know that the first railroad station in Marblehead was built in 1839? Read more about the bumps and successes with the railroad.

"My Coastal Discoveries" by Photographer Lee Yeomans is on exhibit at The Provident Bank in Newburyport through September. Enjoy a reception with the artist on Thursday, August 23, 2012, from 5:30-7:00 pm. For more information.


Visit the Gloucester Waterfront:
There are numerous communities and locations within the Essex National Heritage Area to visit and enjoy, but a trip to the fishing community of Gloucester is very rewarding because of the incredible diversity of the many elements that make up the waterfront.  Gloucester has always been one of the highlights of the annual Trails & Sails Weekends, but can be enjoyed at any time during the year.    

 This is truly one of the few places in this region where so many aspects of life in New England can be experienced.  There are working fishing boats to view and the companies that service and support the fishing profession and there is also a vibrant art community that is well worth experiencing. 

The mission of Essex Heritage is to preserve and enhance the historic, cultural and natural resources of the region.  The storied fishing industry, the arts component, and the capricious but beautiful ocean that plays such a role in the Gloucester community are key elements in the Essex National Heritage Area. 

There is no question that any visit to the Gloucester waterfront is not complete without a stop at the Cape Pond Ice Company (established 1848) where a 45 minute narrated tour of Gloucester's historic ice company available throughout the week. Cape Pond Ice was featured in Sebastian Junger's account of THE PERFECT STORM. Tours highlight the history of the fishing industry complete with a vintage film of natural harvests, a visit to the historic ice house and the dock where fishing boats take on ice. For tour information call (978-283-0174) or e-mail to reserve spaces in the scheduled tours, or to book a special tour appointment.  Enjoy a uniquely "COOL" visit.

Also located on the waterfront is the home of Fitz Henry Lane along with a statue of him seated with paint brush and palette in hand facing Gloucester Harbor.  Lane was born in Gloucester in 1804 and lived in Boston and Gloucester until his death in 1865.   He became American’s premier maritime artist.  The clarity and light in his painting is known as Luminsim and he became famous for painting ships, harbors, and seascapes bathed in remarkable light and shadow.  He was christened Nathaniel Rogers Lane but changed his name to Fitz Henry for reasons that are still unclear.  At an early age he was stricken with polio or perhaps ingested some poisonous jimsonweed, it’s unclear but for the rest of his life his legs were paralized.   
There are numerous Lane paintings on exhibit at the Cape Ann Historical Museum including 40 of his magnificent oils paintings, a rare watercolor, and hundreds of drawings and lithographs.  The museum is five blocks uphill from the Gloucester waterfront and it is well worth a visit. 
Across the street from the museum, is Gloucester City Hall.  At the entrance to city hall are the lists of all who died at sea and on the walls inside are magnificent depression era murals.
You should conclude your visit to the Rocky Neck Art Colony, one of America’s oldest working art colonies.  Many famous American marine painters were and are associated with this colony including Winslow Homer and Edward Hopper
 All of these locations are included in the Essex Heritage Trails & Sails Weekends, but you don’t need to wait as all of the locations can be visited and enjoyed at any time of the year. 


Main Street Peabody Relocation and Rehabilitation Work to Continue Through Spring 2013
Work has started on a section of Main Street in Peabody that will include pedestrian amenities and a reduction in the width of the street from downtown Peabody to the Salem City border.  The work will be comprehensive and will continue through the Spring of 2013.
City of Haverhill Installs Solar Driven Parking Meters 
The City of Haverhill has installed 45 solar powered high tech parking meters in the downtown business district.  These new meters are state of the art devices and are expected to increase revenues to the community


Northern Essex Community College Professor honored
Sue Gronic of Newburyport and Dean of Experiential Learning at the college has been presented the International Exemplary Leadership Award for her work in developing relationships with local Elementary schools and the Regional College.
New Head of School named at Urquhart school in Beverly
Mr. Donald Provost has been named the new head of The Urquhart School.  Mr. Provost was previously the Head of the Nantucket New School where he was for the eight years prior to this appointment.  We welcome Mr. Provost to his new position.


Long time Red SOX Icon Passes Away

Just recently one of the longest connected professional baseball associates passed away, when John Pesky of Swampscott died at age 92.   He has been named unofficially as “New England’s Grandfather figure”.    I was most fortunate to attend with my dad my first professional baseball game at Fenway Park in Boston when I was nine years of age in 1946.  At that time, Johnny Pesky was an infielder for the Red Sox and was “setting the table” batting second in the lineup for his long time friend and teammate Super Star Ted Williams.     They were most successful in that year as they captured the American League Championship. It took Johnny many more years until he shared in the first World Championship in 86 years in 2004.
          Later in life when Former Lynn Mayor Tom Costin was honored as the second “Essex Heritage Hero” my wife and I were privileged to share the evening with Johnny Pesky at that dinner at the Hawthorne Hotel.   He was a great dinner partner, and he was as gracious that evening as he was every day of his long Red Sox association.    John lived until in Swampscott on the North Shore until his death.  Although he was raised on the upper West Coast, as an adult he considered this area as his home.  
Rest in Peace Johnny Pesky.   It was a long and fruitful life and you constantly gave back to those of us that followed your career.

2012 Olympic Events Held Without Incident
We were particularly pleased that all of the events scheduled for the recent presentation of the Olympics in London, England were offered without any security issues developing.   It was a real fear of mine that an incident during the fortnight of events would occur that would disrupt the games, but no such event happened.  In addition to the lack of security issues, the successes of the American athletes were sensational and exceeded most expectations.   Those successes included performances by several athletes who call this region and this state their home.

Youthful Irish Golfer Wins PGA Championship

Young Rory McIlroy from Northern Ireland won his second major title earlier this month when he cruised to an eight-shot win to become one of the youngest two time major golf winners of all time.  He won the PGA Championship.   He will soon be recognized by just his first name as he joined the likes of Tiger, Jack, and Seve as two time winners before he reached the age of 25.   Golf remains an important aspect of my recovery, and although I have not played this summer I do expect to return to the game.

Like all else in my life, history and past performances means a lot to me, and as I follow the progression of championship golfers, Rory has arrived.    This event was the first time that an elite group of professional golfers had gathered at the difficult Ocean Course in South Carolina since the Ryder Cup was competed for at the same location two decades ago, and the young Irishman did not disappoint as his performance was extraordinary.   This was one of the few national courses that I have had the opportunity to play, and his performance on that track with its wind, sand, and ocean was beyond description.

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