Friday, September 7, 2012

Essex Happenings...September 7, 2012


Essex Heritage 2012 Trails & Sails Brochure

I have just received the new 2012 Trails & Sails brochure, and it is wonderful.  It provides substantial information and directions to the hundreds of free events planned for the last two weekends of September.  I encourage anyone who wants specific information on the Trails & Sails events to obtain one of these brochures as it will provide you with all you need to plan for the two weekends of free events all over the Essex National Heritage Area. To learn how to obtain a brochure visit the Essex Heritage web site at

Visit Downtown Salem

In my opinion, the City of Salem is one of the best places to experience Trails & Sails.  I may be biased because it is the city of my birth and it is where I spent virtually all of my life either as a resident or as an employee of a company located in Salem.  But the events presented in Salem are excellent, and some are only presented during these two weekends.

          The historic Hawthorne Hotel hosts an event on both of the Trails & Sails weekends.  The hotel opens the unique replica cabin from the vessel Taria Topan located at the very top of the hotel.   The cabin serves as the headquarters of one of Salem’s oldest organizations, the Salem Marine Society.  The society headquarters has outlasted a foreclosure of the hotel and two modernizations as rehabilitation work went on around the property without disturbing the headquarters.   This tour is a very special one as it is only available as part of Essex Heritage’s Tails &  Sails.  The Hawthorne Hotel is listed as one of America’s Historic Hotels and a visit to the hotel for a meal or just refreshment is always a treat.    

The other two locations where special events are planned are at the National Park Service and the Peabody Essex Museum.   The Park Service events includes the opportunity to row “jolly boat”, a 1800s replica of the ship’s boat belonging to the tall ship Friendship.  The second event is an all day open house at the Salem Maritime National Historic Site including family and junior ranger programs and the re-enactment of the controversy surrounding the War of 1812.   Any visit to the Salem Maritime Historic Site should also include seeing the recreated East Indiaman Friendship docked in nearby the famous Custom House where Salem Author Nathanial Hawthorne once served as the Port of Salem’s collector of custom duties.  

Visitors can also travel up Essex Street where they can spend a pleasant time at the National Park Service’s regional visitor center in Salem.  There are films and exhibits that help tell the tale of this region’s history and the story of the infamous witchcraft hysteria.    The visitor center is directly across from the world famous Peabody Essex Museum where any visit is a special occasion.    The museum is a treasure trove of exhibits that tell the story of culture from around the world.  Two special tours are being offered by PEM during Trails & Sails.  These are a guided tour of the wonderful Ansel Adams photography exhibit and a special opportunity to visit the Ropes Mansion Garden and try your hand at watercolor painting.

In addition to the sites outlined above, visits to the Witch House, the only extant building associated with the Salem Witch Trials, and the Privateer Fame, a replica sailing ship, can be  special ways to spend a day visiting Salem or sailing in the waters of Salem Harbor. All over this historic city, but especially on Essex, Federal and Chestnut Streets, there are period houses and several are open for your exploration.  I would strongly recommend a day trip to Salem, where there is so much to see and enjoy and you might come to enjoy the “Witch City” as much as I do.


For the past few weeks, I have featured a list of communities and resources in the Essex National Heritage Area.  Here is the balance of the communities served by Essex Heritage that have not been previously presented in this blog.


        Derby Street Historic District 
An area of Salem prominent in foreign commerce during the late 1700's and early 1800's. Map
House of the Seven Gables The house, built in 1668, was made famous by Salem author Nathaniel Hawthorne. Map
McIntire Historic District 
Features a walking tour that takes visitors past several of architect Samuel McIntire's significant houses.
Misery Islands Misery Islands offer coastal views, rolling rocky terrain, diverse wildlife habitats, and interesting ruins that recall the Islands' past as an exclusive resort and summer colony.
 National Park Service Regional Visitor Center 
Located in the old Salem Armory building, the ENHC Visitor Center offers information on Salem and the surrounding area and also features maps, exhibits, dioramas, movies and a gift shop.
Peabody Essex Museum 
A museum of international art and culture, the PEM is America's oldest continually operated museum.
Phillips House 
A historic house museum with a unique collection from five generations of the Phillips family.
Salem 1630: Pioneer Village 
This living history museum is a re-creation of the English colony established by Samuel Conant.
Salem Maritime National Historic Site This was the first National Historic Site in the National Park System and it preserves and interprets the maritime history of New England and the U.S. Map
Salem Witch Museum Washington Square Salem, Massachusetts 01970 (978)744-1692
The Salem Witch Museum brings visitors back to Salem in 1692. Visitors are given a dramatic history lesson using stage sets with life-size figures, lighting and a narration - an overview of the Witch Trials of 1692. Their new exhibit, Witches: Evolving Perceptions, examines the stereotypical witch, aspects of witchcraft in the 17th century, modern witchcraft and the phenomenon of witch hunts.

 Schooner Fame of Salem Pickering Wharf Marina, Salem, MA 01970. 978-729-7600 
The full-scale replica of the 1812 privateer Fame sails three times daily from Pickering Wharf in Salem. Fame is also available for private charter and hosts summer camps for children.


Witch House 
The only house still standing in Salem with direct ties to the Witch Trails of 1692
Places to Stay in Salem



Hawthorne Hotel 18 Washington Square West Salem MA 01970 978-744-4080.  Elegantly restored full service hotel located in the heart of historic Salem. The Hawthorne Hotel offers 89 individually appointed rooms and 7,000 square feet of meeting function space. Walking distance to all museums, cultural sites and waterfront makes it an ideal location. Proud member of the Historic Hotels of America, a designation of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. 


Salisbury Beach State Reservation 
Five miles of accessible white sandy beaches.
Maria Miles Visitor Center 
Since opening in July of 1999, over 2 million travelers have visited this Information Center. Facilities include tourist information, ATM, pay phones, restrooms, and vending machines. Free Internet access is also available to visitors. The well trained and knowledgeable staff answer visitors' questions and promote the North of Boston Region

Breakheart Reservation
640-acre park boasts scenic views of Boston, 2 freshwater lakes, birding and more.
Saugus Historical Society
Special events throughout the year: Strawberry Festival, Old Fashioned Picnic, Christmas Stroll and others.
Saugus Iron Works This National Historic Site is also an ENHC Visitor Center that provides information on Saugus and the surrounding area. Come and learn about the nation's first fully integrated ironworks from 1646.

Fishermans Beach 
Swampscott beach with public swimming during the summer months.


Bradley Palmer State Park
This 721-acre former estate features pine needled paths, acres of sunny rolling meadows and spectacular rhododendrons which line old carriage roads.
Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary
Massachusetts Audubon's largest sanctuary,this property covers 2,800 acres of diverse habitats, including fields, vernal pools, forests, swamps, islands, eskers, and eight miles of the Ipswich River.
Topsfield Historical Society 
c. 1683 Parson Capen House and c. 1710 restored Joseph Gould Barn.

Alfalfa Farm Winery 
Visit Alfalfa Farm Winery and taste what New England has to offer! An historic farm that mixes New England charm with the latest wine making technology. Free wine tastings and functions.    978-774-0014
. 267 Rowley Bridge Rd. Topsfield, MA 01983 


  Wenham Museum 
The Wenham Museum invites visitors of all ages to explore how we have lived, worked, dressed and played from the 17th Century to today.


 Ferry To Operate From South Shore to Salem at Halloween

During the final two weekends in October, the company that operates the Salem Ferry will offer several trips from the Hingham Shipyard on the South Shore to deliver a new market of Halloween revelers to Salem.   Boston Harbor Cruises will offer their fastest and largest boat that ran all summer from Boston to Provincetown and will run trips on the final two weekends in October including Halloween.  The fast ferry will run between Hingham and the Salem Ferry terminal.   The trip will take one hour as opposed to a possible three-hour trip by private car.  This new route over the final two weekends in October will be promoted by the boat company to its regular Hingham-Boston commuters.   I think that this opportunity will add a substantial number of new customers for this short but busy period.  Store and attraction operators all over the city should see increased visitation and that will be most positive for many in Salem.

Schooner Adventure’s Rehabilitation is Nearing Completion
The Schooner Adventure, the last of the great Gloucester fishing schooners, is nearly complete after a major rehabilitation project.   For the first time in decades, Schooner Adventure led the parade of ships at the Gloucester Schooner Festival on Labor Day weekend. The boat, built in 1932, has been tied up at the Gloucester Marine Railways where it has been under reconstruction for a number of years.  We are pleased to hear that these years of work are almost done.  Adventure is a great source of pride for both the community of Gloucester and the entire region.

Tourism is on the Rise All across the Region
Massachusetts tourism has been on a major upswing for most of this year and this is wonderful economic news for many.   Maritime tourism, small museums, restaurants and the lodging industry have all experienced a most positive season.   We still have the fall visitation season and the crowd that comes to the region as leaf peepers and as visitors to attend the numerous festivals like the Essex Heritage’s Trails & Sails and numerous farm weekend visitations for produce purchases and apple picking.   These events, along with the ten-day  Topsfield Fair scheduled in October, are revenue builders for many in the region  All of these will add to a visitation rate that is fast approaching an increase of ten percent or better across the region.

Gloucester’s Committee for the Arts to Entertain Grants Proposals
The City of Gloucester has received funding from the Massachusetts Seaport Advisory Council that will provide $50,000 in grant funds that will be awarded to local artists willing to create appropriate art work for the Gloucester Harbor Walk.   The awards will be administered by the Gloucester Committee for Arts that will award the funds to artists that qualify.  For more information on how to apply for funds or for more information contact the Committee Chairperson, Judith Hoglander at 978 525-3280

City of Salem to Conduct Recycled Book Swap
To encourage recycling, the City of Salem will conduct a book swap on September 15, 2012 at the Salem Senior Center from 10 until 1.     Participants who wish to participate in the semi-annual swap can drop off books, CD’s, DVD’s at the Senior Center on 9/14 from 6 to 7.  For more information call 978-619-5679.

DCOA Offered State Senate Candidate Debate

On Wednesday August 27, 2012, an energetic crowd gathered at the Danvers Senior Center to participate in a forum sponsored by the Council on Aging Board with the four Democratic candidates who will be participating in an election to represent several communities in this region of Massachusetts.  A number of questions were posed to each participant, and I was pleased to be able to moderate the forum.   We are hopeful that the answers helped those in attendance choose a candidate

Salem Groups Gets CPA on Ballot this Fall

A group of interested activists from Salem gathered enough signatures from residents to have the Community Preservation Act (CPA) placed on the ballot this fall – after the Salem City Council had voted 6 to 5 against making it a ballot issue.  As an organization that is most interested in preservation, Essex Heritage views the CPA as very positive the community.  If approved by Salem’s residents, the CPA will provide some new local funding for historic preservation, the acquisition of open space and the creation of workforce housing and it will leverage a substantial state match. 


           Ms. Charleen Bauer of the Metro Credit Union and a resident of Danvers and the former Branch Coordinator of Salem Five Bank was  awarded 2012 Credit Union Hero by the trade publication, Bankers and Tradesman.  Ms. Bauer is a Senior Vice President at Metro Credit Union and is a part of their senior management team.   Ms. Bauer was one of the most valuable members of the branch team when we worked together in Salem.


Information and announcements for Seniors from Danvers Senior Center

Are you interested in helping mature drivers find their perfect fit?  The new CarFit program was created by the American Society of Aging (ASA) and developed in collaboration with the American Automobile Association (AAA), AARP and the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA).  The goals of the CarFit community-based program are safety and comfort.  Its purpose is to promote conversations among older adults and families about driving safety and the continued need for mobility options to keep people participating in the life of their communities.
The Danvers Council on Aging is working with the Danvers Police Department to offer this exciting education program here in Danvers. Officer Suzanne Tibbitts will be facilitating a 4 hour workshop at the Danvers Senior Center on Tuesday, September 18th from 9am-1pm for any volunteers that would like to participate by becoming trained technicians. Volunteers must be a licensed driver, be in good physical shape, have good observational and communication skills and possess time management. Once volunteers are trained, a CarFit event will be scheduled for the general senior population sometime in October. If you are interested in volunteering or would like more information, please contact Pam Parkinson at 978-762-0208.
The Senior Center Evening Dinners are Back!!
The first evening dinner of the season will be held on Thursday, September 27th at 5 PM. The meal is provided to the Senior Center participants by Henry’s of Beverly. The menu will be: Henry’s Homemade Chicken Parmesan with a Penne Pasta side, tossed in a Marinara Sauce, Caesar Salad, Grated Cheese, Fresh Cannolis—Chocolate Chip & Traditional and desert & rolls. Tickets will go on sale Wednesday, September 5th at 10 AM. Tickets are $7.00 per person. As a reminder, this is reserved seating (tables of 8). If you are part of a group – one person should come in and purchase all of the tickets together at one time to guarantee seats together. No seats are held without payment as tables are filled, first come – first served.

Fall Walking Group in Danvers

Fall is quickly upon us! What a great time to take advantage of the cooler weather get outside to enjoy the scenery in one of the most beautiful places in the country at this time of year. Regular walking decreases blood pressure and cholesterol and increases bone density. It also releases endorphins hat increase feelings of well-being. If you have interest in joining a new walking group please contact Lisa Westrate at 978-762- 0208 x105


Labor Day

What has always been thought of as the unofficial end of summer is upon us.   The Monday Holiday is always a signal to get summer events wrapped up and to get ready for a most pleasant time of the year here in New England.    The next months can be the best time for day trips and visits to local farms and agricultural fairs and exhibitions.   If the weather continues to be good, for many it can be an extension of an already excellent tourist season.

Football Season to Begin

          For those of us who are enamored with the game of football, the season is about to begin at many different levels.     Participation runs from Youth Football to High School endeavors to local colleges and, of course, for some of us the NFL.   Let’s hope that the officials’ strike in the NFL is settled soon and the replacement officials do not spoil an otherwise excellent season.

Neil Armstrong

During the recent Patriots final pre-season game, the TV featured several incredible shots of th full moon, and the announcers noted the passing of Neil Armstrong, the first man to set foot on the moon.  He certainly was both an American and International hero of enormous proportion.   He will be remembered for his incredible accomplishment.

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