Author Archives: Pat D

Schooners in our Lives

The Schooner Festival is coming up so of course, my thoughts turn to the role of such vessels in my family’s life in Gloucester.

This is a picture of the schooner Concord, owned and operated by Captain John Duguo, an ancestor-in-law a couple of generations back who sailed about the same time as my direct ancestor Captain John Bentley. This picture puts in perspective for me the relative size of the ship to the men and to the sea. Yikes. Those guys sure look small there and it’s a wonder ANY of them ever came back from these fishing trips.

John Bentley was born in 1847 in County Galway Ireland. I have not yet found the siblings he surely must have had. To my knowledge, his parents Henry and Kate never came to America. He arrived in New York from Ireland before he was 18 years old, perhaps in 1863 when he would have been only 16.  He made his way to Cape Ann and  married Mary Catherine Costello (Kate) Christmas Day 1864 in Gloucester. (17 years old if we accept the dates on the various records). There were 6 children born to this couple.

Captain Bentley and his father in law, Martin Costello, died at sea in February 1882 when he was only 35 years old. His wife was left with 5 living children, the youngest only 8. Kate Bentley died just 3 years later of “natural causes”. By this time, the children were older and probably taking care of each other, but I’ve often wondered what life was like for them after they lost their father and then their mother in such a short time. An article in the October 1886 The Century Magazine called Gloucester Fishers states “Few men who fish on the Banks live to be old, and the result is there are comparatively few old fishermen in Gloucester.” And many fatherless children.

Seeing the schooners in the harbor is glorious and it’s worth taking a minute to remember the high price Gloucester has paid to get to this point.


Hiding in Plain Sight

Monarchs in the backyard. It’s great to see them again. Peek-a-boo! I see you…




If you look carefully on the right side of the photo, you will see the bee that startled Monarch away.


It’s hard to stop. I love the contrast of color provided by Mother Nature.


Essex River Cruise

We finally took the Essex River Cruise that we’ve been meaning to take for quite a while now and it was delightful.  Under the leadership of Capt. Larry, who narrated; and his first Mate Joe the nearly full vessel sailed out to the ocean and back in about 90 minutes.  High tide was just going out and the breeze was a refreshing change from the recent heat wave.  One passenger even put a sweater on against the cool ocean air.

I’d recommend the ride if you haven’t taken it yet.  I think I’d like to go back when the leaves are changing.


These are greenfly traps, in case you were wondering like I was…….


Several terns accompanied the ride


Fun to see the beaches from the water side.


A very pretty day for such a ride!




Sweetest Lemonade in Town

These sweet young ladies were selling lemonade on a hot downtown street this week. Of course, GMG Jimmy always stops at these stands to pitch in.  I hope the girls had a good day for themselves! Their sweetness made the lemonade even better! And props to their security guy! Pretty sure that’s Dad…..I can see him in their faces.


It’s a Dog’s Life

I recently came across a new service called Dog Spots on the New York State Thruway that travellers may be interested in: dog-sized sanctuaries available for travellers so you don’t have to leave your dog in the car while you run errands, etc.  Using an app on your phone (DogSpot by Dog Parker), you can lock/unlock and monitor your pet while they are enjoying the climate controlled environment. After your pet leaves, it sanitizes itself.  For 30 cents a minute!

This service is currently available at some rest areas on the NY Thruway and is apparently coming within the year to several cities including Boston. Membership includes one dog and two dog parents and is $25 but, the website says they are currently waiving membership fees. Here’s a news video if you are interested.

An image borrowed from the website gives you an idea:



All Hail Stacy Boulevard

Some of this ground has been covered in previous GMG posts (shout out to Manny and Catherine especially), but I thought it might be worth a reminder for you perhaps as you sit awaiting bridge access.  Look around you and think about the past and how this beautiful esplanade came to be.  It’s just under 100 years old, as we know it today.

As stated hereThe half-mile of clean arc of Stacy Boulevard from the Tavern to Kent Circle along Gloucester Bay has struck travelers as rivalling the Via Caracciolo on the Bay of Naples, and as colorful when it’s lined above the tide from one end to the other with the canopied booths of vendors offering their wares during the mid-August Gloucester Waterfront Festival. The esplanade was conceived by George Stacy when that flamboyant hotel man became park commissioner in 1908, brought to reality on the inspiration of the three hundredth anniversary celebration in 1923, and restored in 1988. To make way for it, Gloucester (which has always had a partiality for moving heavy things around) relocated up in the back streets the houses that crowded the harbor side of Western Avenue. Fill was dumped; a new seawall was made; trees were planted; the esplanade was laid out; the benches were bolted down; and three years before his death in 1928, Mr. Stacy saw his boulevard done, his promise kept.  (I like the part about how Gloucester has a penchant for moving heaving things around!)

Pre boulevard Aug 6 1921 GDTGDT pre Boulevard Aug 6 1921

These are from the Gloucester Daily Times August 6 1921 and give us a little bit of an idea of how far this concept has progressed over the years. The Boulevard undergoes nearly constant repair, updating and improvement and is a testament to the City’s dedication to presenting itself as a beautiful historic seaport. So, turn off your engine while you wait for the bridge to open and look around you.

Cake Ann Saves the Day

GMG Jimmy’s family had a mini-reunion on Long Island recently and we were to bring some dessert. So, of course, I went to Cake Ann and asked for something we could take that would withstand the ride. And, boy, did we get fixed up! These turnovers and treats left Gloucester at the unholy hour of 4:30 AM and made their way to the Cross Island Ferry to the party to be served more than 12 hours later. Not only were they a big hit, but they were also deeeee-licious! Thanks, Cake Ann, for saving the day. I’m not well known for my cooking skills and these made me look like a genius.  And we could all use that when visiting the in-laws!


We All Scream for Ice Cream at White Farms on Essex Ave

We decided to stop at the new White Farms Ice Cream stand on Essex Ave near the Causeway recently, and boy…was that a good decision!!

I like that the flavors are divided up in a way that you can see all the “chocolate” choices in one place.

This is Tara who dove right into the mega gallon container to get my Chocolate PB Cup Kids Size serving. You can see ice cream there on her arm to validate her efforts. Thanks Tara!!

Cape Ann Coffee Loves Turtles

And though I do not “love” turtles, I am on board with reducing use of plastic straws. I’d be happy not to see another poor turtle with a straw stuck in any bodily orifice. However, I confess to not being all on board with metal straws….just unappealing to me. I will harken back to my youth and seek paper straws and hope their durability has improved over the years.

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