Monday, September 28, 2009

No Fly Getaway

A few years back there was a web site called No Fly Getaway that Hovey House was included on. The web site is now gone but the information about Gloucester was so helpful to so many people that we are including here:

Come to Gloucester, America's Homeport

Gloucester, the safe harbor that has weathered many storms
Gloucester, a place of serenity, strength, simple pleasures and spectacular beauty
Gloucester, the perfect Noflygetaway

A Land Where Time Stood Still
If you have read The Perfect Storm, or seen the movie based on the best-selling book, you already know Gloucester. You know that it's a gritty fishing port. You remember the sleeves-rolled-up working harbor, the raucous barroom, the belligerent yet appealing characters. That image wasn’t a Hollywood fiction, friends, that's Glosta - all grit, gristle and gumption.

Gloucester's insular character was shaped by the Annisquam River, which severs its perch on the tip of Cape Ann from the rest of Massachusetts. The island is connected to the mainland by a single span of concrete and steel, and it's said there are people here who have never crossed that bridge.

Rugged individuals who operate at extremes, Gloucester folks are, on the one hand as big-hearted and, on the other, as cantankerous as any people anywhere. Island folk, while uniting fiercely against the outside world, are equally apt to bite each other’s noses off over the slightest internal squabble. Local historian Joe Garland likens Gloucester to a barrel of squirming crabs: When one gets himself up a little higher than the rest, the others grab him and pull him down.

The population here has stayed around 30,000 for more than a century. Family names in these parts go back six and more generations. For as long as anyone can remember and longer, grown kids could afford to buy the house next door to their parents, and their kids could do the same.

The gentrification that has spit polished all the surrounding communities on Boston's north shore bypassed (most say mercifully) Gloucester. Too working class here, too rough around the edges for soft-handed sorts. Artsy types have always been attracted to the asperity; Rudyard Kipling, Henry David Thoreau, Winslow Homer, T.S. Eliot and Isabella Stewart Gardner—all flocked to these shores.

Time slowed to a dawdle and arrested here, held its breath here, turned its back here. While the rest of the world underwent a sea change, these seafarers were exempt. Year after year Gloucester measured its days, its years, its lifetimes by the tides alone.

But no more. Today the fishing industry that was the heart and soul of Gloucester has been decimated by dwindling fish stocks. Tourism, once vilified as a sissy's business, is slowly expanding to fill the economic void. Retiring baby boomers looking for natural beauty, culture and recreation have discovered Gloucester. They've sold their pricey homes in affluent Boston suburbs, packed up their fat inheritances and their stock portfolios and poured into Gloucester. Real estate values have skyrocketed. Gone are the days when parents could expect their kids to be able to afford a house in their hometown.

The tensions between the old and the new are palpable at every turn. Food stamps and canned beans pass through the lines at the supermarket alongside truffle oil and sushi. Developers and residents eye each other with suspicion. Looming new trophy houses cast long shadows over vintage summer shacks. What unites everyone, however, is the conviction that Gloucester must remain true to itself, whatever that self is—a little rough, a little edge-y, authentic, uncontrived, real. But who knows how realistic that may be?

Joe Garland on Glosta
Our future is driven by our past, and nowhere around these parts does this seem more the case than in our inward-looking enclave, buffeted and washed from land and sea by forces more than ever beyond our control. Old Glosta hangs in there against rising odds. We have become one of the rare metaphors for the ever more desperate search for individual, social and cultural identity and, yes, moral identity on a planet in the throes of inevitable global homogenization. Nowhere is the past more prologue than here.

From The Gloucester Guide—A Stroll through Place and Time

Joseph Garland is author of more than a dozen books on Gloucester.

The Cape Ann Historical Museum
27 Pleasant Street. 978 283-0455. The nation's largest collection of works by master luminist painter Fitz Hugh Lane (1804-1865). A Gloucester native, Lane is now recognized as one of America's most important 19th century artists. Also works by other Cape Ann artists including Winslow Homer, Maurice Pendergast, Milton Avery and more. Two galleries celebrate Gloucester's proud fishing and maritime heritage with exhibits of artifacts and photographs of the most productive fishing port on this continent. "There is no more attractive small museum in New England" - Art Museums of New England. For special events and hours, visit or call.

Peabody Essex Museum
Liberty and Essex Streets, Salem. 978 745-9500, ext. 3011 World-class collections representing more than 200 years of art and culture rooted in Colonial New England and representing the world. This wonderful museum is not in Gloucester, but just 15 minutes away in historic Salem. From Gloucester take Route 128S to Exit 25A, Route 114 East/Marblehead. Check the web site for the museum's special events or call.

Our Lady of Good Voyage
is one of the most unusual and beautiful churches in New England. Its Spanish Mission-style exterior encloses a soaring chamber of sky blue in which, at every turn, the eye beholds references to the sea:

Fabulous Foods

Visitors to GLOUCESTER often express surprise at the variety and quality of the numerous restaurants. Also surprising is how many of them offer live music. Put it down to the fact that Gloucester folks love a good time (think Fiesta weekend when the blessing of the fleet is accompanied by Mardi Gras-like hedonistic revelry.) Gloucester folks do love to eat, hence you'll find restaurants on a par with anything in a major metropolis. It ís not so surprising because these people, who for centuries have faced the perils of the sea, know what's important in life.

Little Gems off the Beaten Path
Gloucester has many tiny holes-in-the-wall eating places. If someone doesn't tell you about them, you might never find them. Many are breakfast-only joints. Why? Because the fisherman like to eat a hearty breakfast before they head out to do business in deep waters. Rubbing elbows with these guys often leads to amazing fishing tales (every fisherman has one or more of his own Perfect Storms). Most of the breakfast spots open before dawn.
Amelia's: 978-281-9553
Blackburn Tavern: 978-282-1919
2 Main Street, in the historic district. A legendary landmark. Dinner served nightly until 10 PM. Live entertainment Thursday, Friday and Saturday: 9:30 PM till closing. Sunday Jazz Brunch. Click here to see the upcoming lineup of blues, jazz and other musical events. For the latest info, go to
Boulevard Ocean View Restaurant:
978 281-2949. 25 Western Avenue. Authentic Portuguese specialties and the freshest seafood at a funky neighborhood favorite. Be sure to try the Portuguese beer.
Cameron's: 978-281-1331
Captain Carlo's Seafood Restaurant :
978 283-6342. Located on the working waterfront in the Harbor Loop. The seafood is literally right off the boat; it doesn't get any fresher than this.
Captain Hook's: 978-282-4665
Captain's Lodge: 978-283-8022
Causeway Restaurant: 978-281-5256
78 Essex Avenue (Route127). Huge portions. Reasonable prices. Good, solid Italian cooking. One entrée plus one salad is enough for most twosomes. Try to count the number of huge scallops in the delicious Scallops with Buttered Breadcrumbs we stopped at 20! Price: $11.95.
Charlie's Place: 978-281-5002
The Cupboard: 978-281-1908
Destino's: 978-283-3100
Destino's Subs and Catering 978 283-3100. 129 Prospect Street. For 4o years the North Shore's #1 sandwich shop. A favorite lunch spot of the locals.
The Dory 978 283-2408
29 Commercial Street A fishermen's hangout across from the working harbor. The sign says Fishing spoken here but the Eggs Benedict are Ritz-quality, made with real Canadian bacon and homemade Hollandaise laced with enough fresh lemon to make it taste as it should. The Hash Browns are lacey, crispy-golden cakes. Also recommended: a Portuguese favorite, scrambled eggs with linguica and onions and the superior French Toast.
Dragon Light: 978-281-1150
Espresso Ristorante: 978-283-0600
151 Main Street. A casual family restaurant offering authentic Italian food in the heart of downtown. The neighboring shopkeepers get the calzones to take home for supper.
The Franklin Cafe 978 283-7888.
118 Main Street. The food here is nothing short of superb. They don't take reservations so at prime time the line of salivating diners sometimes runs halfway down the block. You may want to go a little early or a little late. Dinner till midnight, bar open till 1 AM, 7 days. Live Brazilian or classical guitar on Mondays, a jazz trio with Herb Pomeroy on Tuesdays.
Friendly's Restaurant: 978-281-1323
The Gloucester House: 978-283-1812
On the Harbor. There are good fried clams and there are great fried clams. These are great fried clams. Casual dining, daily lunch and dinner specials, AAA and Mobile Guide approved. To try the popular Lobster Express (wholesale, retail or mail order) go to
The Gull Restaurant: 978-283-6565
Halibut Point: 978-281-1900
Is this the best clam chowder in town? Many locals think so you decide. Great handmade hamburgers, overflowing Reuben sandwiches, well chilled fresh salads in a cozy, lively setting.
Jalapeno's : 978-283-8228
Authentic regional Mexican cuisine right in the heart of downtown Gloucester. The frozen margaritas are big, slushy and potent.
Lobsta' Land: 978-281-0415
The Madfish Grille: 978-281-4554
Maria's Pizza 978 283-7373
35 Pearl Street. Rumored to be the best pizza in town if you like a thin, crisp crust. The plain is anything but, with just the right amount of tomato and cheese topping. Tuesday and Wednesday are two-fer nights. Specials may include fried cod cheeks, a local delicacy said to come from the sweetest part of the fish. Real New England cooking at very reasonable prices. All the fried dishes are cooked in canola oil.
Nichols Candies: 978-283-9850
1 Crafts Rd.
Passports: 978-281-3680
110 Main Street. An international menu with something for everyone - seafood, beef and pasta specials nightly. Huge golden popovers, right out of the oven, arrive at your table as soon as you do.
Pilot House: 978-283-0131
Corner of Rogers and Porter Streets. Barbecue at its best. Choose from chicken kebabs, sirloin tips, ribs, grilled swordfish, salmon or halibut. Very good quality at a very good price.
The Rhumb Line 978 283-9732.
40 Railroad Avenue. A feel-good neighborhood joint with rib-sticking food and great, sometimes ass-kicking, music. Please go to to see who's playing when.
Rudder Restaurant: 978-283-7967
Café Sicilia: 978 283-7345
40 Main Street. When you finish your sub from Virgilio’s, cross the street and slip into this tiny shop for a Sicilian pastry and a cup of steaming espresso. The luscious almond macaroons come plain or bejeweled with golden pignolis, the lobster claws are a thousand layers of puff pastry shaped like a … what else? There are many varieties of pastel Italian confections flavored with lemon, vanilla and anise and many more celestial syrup-soaked fantasies filled with jam or rum flavored custard, marzipan apples, pears and even tomatoes – Oh, my! It’s sensory overload for mere mortals. (And then there’s the home made gelato in season.) .
Thai Choice: 978 281-8118
272 Main Street. As good a Thai restaurant as you'll find anywhere. The steamed mussel appetizer is redolent of lemon grass and Thai basil. Be sure to spoon up the broth. Try Masaman Curry, Wild Boar Eggplant or Crispy Whole Fish, Thai style.
Turtle Alley Chocolates: 978 281-4000
91A Washington Street. Oooohhh, myyyy! Did we just die and go to heaven? If you've ever bought those ubiquitous boxes of turtles in the drug store and thought they were delicious, wait till you try hand made fresh turtles from this sweet shop. The little critters start with gooey caramel bodies stuck with "head and legs" nuts of your choice - cashews, almonds, macadamias or pecans - all coated with a "shell" of dark or milk chocolate. Mmmmm. And could we forget to tell you about the butter-crunch? Well, there are no words. You'll just have to try it for yourself. .
Two Sisters: 978-281-3378
27 Washington Street. Owned by two real sisters. Real New England fare. Everything homemade - breads, soups, daily lunch specials. Open 6 am to 1:30 weekdays, till noon on weekends. Breakfast all day and lunch Monday to Friday. Local favorites: Patriot Muffins, (with red cranberries and blueberries, in honor of 9/11), the chili and cheese omelet, sides of fried Spam and bologna (Yes! Really! they're a regional tradition), chipped beef, sausage biscuits and gravy, fishcakes and baked beans. Across from the handsome Joan of Arc statue (a gift from France to Gloucester Vets after W.W.II.)
Virgilio’s Bakery and Deli
29 Main Street. The corny Italian music that bathes the historic west end of Main Street – “Oooooh myyy Pa Paaaa” emanates from this Gloucester archetype. Baking the “bread of the fisherman” since 1961, the business has passed into the hands of the next generation. Try one of the unusual Italian subs posted over the counter.
White Rainbow Restaurant & Bar
978 281-0017
65 Main Street. A romantic little downstairs hideaway, properly dim and atmospheric. The chef did a stint at Biba. The menu includes appetizers of the old favorite variety, such as Raw Oysters, Escargot and Shrimp Cocktail, that mingle with exotica like a Napoleon of Lobster and Caviar and a Pan Roasted Medallion of Foie Gras on a Johnny cake with cranberries and sauternes (from $10 to $16.) For the main course you might go with the Wood Fired Rack of Lamb with pomegranate molasses and a caramelized onion fig tartlet ($27), or Five Spice Pan Crisped Duck with a cinnamon scented sauce presented over Moroccan style cous cous ($25). Choose from an extensive wine list. The on-site pastry chef turns out some fine finales. Warming it all: a blazing fire in the fireplace on cold nights. Bravo!
Valentino's Restaurant: 978-283-6186

Fun to Do Things
Gloucester has many cool and fun things to do, take a look below at some of the examples.

Whale Watch Cruises
Gloucester has several Whale Watch companies that feature state of the art Yachts that journey out to see these magnificant creatures.

Canoeing the Essex Marsh
Within an hour’s drive of Boston a more splendid canoeing spot simply does not exist. The Essex Marsh is a broad saltwater estuary north and east of Essex [and just south of Gloucester], comprising the Essex and Castle rivers and several thousand acres of tidal creek and salt-marsh environment between Route 133 to the south and west, Castle Neck to the north, and Essex Bay to the east. Castle Neck, with its sand dunes and beach plum/bayberry highlands, protects the marsh from the open ocean. In the middle of the marsh sits Hog Island (also known as Choate Island), a tall island that dominates the local topography. Hog Island is a rather dramatic glacial drumlin, rising steeply on the western side to 177 feet, then sloping more gradually to the east. Drumlins are glacial deposits formed by receding glacier. They frequently look like the bowl of an inverted teaspoon, steeper on one side than the other. Hog Island and several smaller surrounding islands are owned by The Trustees of Reservations and maintained by the Crane Wildlife Refuge. In the right conditions, paddling here is wonderful- about the nicest salt-marsh canoeing you can find.

From Quiet Water Canoe Guide – Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island
By Alex Wilson
Appalachian Mountain Club Books, $12.95. Available in bookstores, or to order by phone, call 800 262-4455.

Genealogy: Digging Up The Past
We immigrant-stock Americans are fascinated by the mystery of our own roots. Great courage---or terrible desperation---led our ancestors to leave behind their familiar world in an uncertain quest for a better life. Exploring our family history is a metaphor for our own search for a deeper understanding of ourselves. Who begat whom down the years leading up to our own arrival, damp and squealing, in this most propitious of birthplaces?

Entombed in the past are the answers to our questions: From where did those voyagers bearing our DNA come? What seas and perils did they cross over to arrive in the New World? When and where did they first land? How did they live? Was there one who was wealthy or prominent; was another a scoundrel?

Many of the answers to such questions lie neatly tucked away in the Archives of Gloucester City Hall. "People come here from all over the world," says Judy Peterson, Archivist for the City of Gloucester. "We have many volunteers who help whoever comes in."

The Gloucester Archives, containing some of the oldest records in the US, are open Monday through Friday from 9AM to noon. "They do one of the best jobs I know of in organizing and categorizing their old records," says Ann S. Lainhart*, a professional genealogist and author.

What kind of information can you find here? Typically any kind of town records going back as far as the early 1600s: the vitals (births, deaths and marriages) as well as old maps, minutes of town meetings, deeds, census and tax records, treasurers' records including payments for such things as salaries of schoolteachers and even ministers, school records, militia lists, overseers of the poor records, dog licenses going back to 1860s and graveyards records, public and private. (The local churches also have information on their own graveyards.)

As a matter of fact, visiting cemeteries can be a stimulating way to pass an afternoon under the sun, engrossing rather than morbid. The wonder-struck seeker who discovers an ancestor's weather-worn and mossy headstone experiences a profound connectedness to the past.

Gloucester has two particularly interesting graveyards; the First Parish Burial Ground, just off Centennial Avenue, is overrun with weeds but the headstones there belong to the era of the pilgrims. On Washington Street, the Oak Grove Cemetery, where several prominent Gloucester families are interred, is listed in the Registry of Historic Places. Oak Grove was designed in the 1800s by the legendary Frederick Law Olmstead who created many of the historic parks in Boston's Emerald Necklace. Gloucester's most illustrious artist, the 19th century illuminist Fitz Hugh Lane, rests here.

At Gloucester's Sawyer Free Library on Dale Avenue in you'll find more research materials. Look into Babson's History of Gloucester (both volumes), for instance, for lists of early settlers as far back as 1624. Call 978 281-9763 for information.

Grab your lap top and head down the street to the library of the Cape Ann Historical Association. Here you'll find city directories, voter registration lists, old newspapers and family papers that came out of people's homes, information on ships' captains and other pillars of the community, published books on the fishing industry, maps and church records. The First Universalist Society was founded in Gloucester and its history is recorded in the book Universalism in Gloucester, available at the library. The library also has a collection of the works of Corliss and Ryan, professional photographers who specialized in homes of the 19th and 20th century.

The hours:
Wednesday to Saturday from 10 to 1PM, and on Friday from 2 to 5PM.
27 Pleasant Street
Gloucester, MA 01930
978 283-0455

The James Duncan Phillips Library of the Peabody Essex Museum, located in nearby Salem, is another excellent resource. For a $10 ticket purchased in the lobby you can gain access to extensive genealogical records for Essex County and beyond. The library also is the repository of many rare books and manuscripts, published family histories, New England ships' logs, early Massachusetts newspapers, and extensive microfilmed records.

Call the reference line for specific questions:
978 745-9500, ext. 305.
132 Essex Street
Salem, MA
Call for hours: 978 745-9500.

The Essex Society of Genealogists, based nearby in the Lynnfield Public Library, maintains one of the largest collections of genealogical material in the area, including past issues of "The Essex Genealogist" a quarterly journal containing a wealth of information.

For information and a list of publications write to them at:
PO Box 313
Lynnfield, MA
Call for hours: 781 334-5411

Last, but not least, the New England Historic Genealogical Society offers a huge circulating library of books and manuscripts, printed genealogies (good for getting started), weekly "nutshell seminars" of how to's and tips, many in-depth seminars such as "Computer Techniques for the Nervous Beginner", and two quarterly publications. They also publish an extensive array of very useful books. Write to them for a list of titles and prices.

N.E.H.G.S. Sales department
160 North Washington Street-4th floor
Boston, MA 02114-2120
For information and to order, call 888 296-3447

*Digging for Genealogical Treasure in New England Town Records by Ann S. Lainhart is available from the New England Historic Genealogical Society.

The Genealogist's Handbook for New England Research by Marcia Melnyk
And on the Internet, check out these two sites:

The Shopping Page
There are lots of little stores that sell very unique items. This Page is not limited to just antiques, there are many other stores listed that offer a variety of items for sale.

Antiques Alley Show
Antique dealers come from all over the country to Boston's North Shore to mine the amazing wealth of vintage goods still coming out of people's attics, barns and estates.

In the early 1600s English colonists settled the towns that still form a necklace along the Atlantic: Rockport, Gloucester, Essex, Ipswich, Rowley, Newbury and Newburyport. Linking them today are Route 133 and Route 1A. These two roads, dotted with scores and scores of small antique shops, comprise "antiques alley." Antique venders hereabouts seem to outnumber just about every other type of business. One can easily spend whole days meandering through dreamy New England coastal villages and never see a mall or a McDonalds.
Much of what shows up in these shops leaves private hands and enters the market through the many local auctions. These are open to the public and are where an amateur collector will find the best pieces at the best prices.

If auctions are unfamiliar and forbidding territory for you, read on. At an auction you are often competing with dealers and that may seem to work against you. But, no, it's the other way around. If you find yourself bidding against a pro, you can safely assume he has a good idea of what the piece is and its market value. To make a profit, he needs to pay about half of what that piece will eventually sell for in his shop. So if you outbid him by a few dollars, you're still getting it almost at wholesale.

Afraid you don't know enough to bid intelligently? Here's a tip: Buy what you love and can afford. If it doesn't end up on Antiques Road Show, you'll still enjoy owning it and the memory of pursuing it.
Another tip: You can pick up some unbelievable bargains just by sticking around to the end. The hottest competition is at the beginning of an auction. But auctioneers begin to burn out as bidders dribble out at the end of a long auction. When an auctioneer just wants to get it over with, he'll practically pay you to take it away.
Ready to give it a try? Here's how. Most auctioneers advertise their upcoming events in the Sunday edition of The Boston Globe. Show up at least an hour ahead of time, get a number at the door and drop something on a chair to hold your seat. Then carefully inspect the offerings. Make up your mind what you like and decide the most you will be willing to pay when it comes on the block. Then sit down and be ready to have fun.

Lastly, here's a warning: Going to auctions can be habit forming. There are so many fascinating elements at work when you're clutching your number and biting your lip as a coveted object is being borne to the podium - anticipation, suspense, fear of loss and the possibility of triumph.

You lean forward in your chair. The auctioneer holds up the piece. The spotlight hits it. "Can we start the bidding at…"
And the chase is on!

78 Main Street. 978 283-8806
Racks and rows of vintage clothing - all kitsch and funk and well organized and sorted - plus about 15 feet of glass cases, their shelves closely paved with neatly-arranged rows of vintage and costume jewelry. On one visit there was a lovely lace-trimmed white silk-satin night gown that looked like it could have been worn by Jean Harlow, feather boas in riotous colors, a smart little Jackie Kennedy suit and even a pill box hat, a foxy fox collar … you get the picture. Browsers welcome.
Beauport Antiques
43 Main Street. 978 281-4460.
Period accessories and smalls such as glassware, pottery, silver, antique linens. The proprietress of this sweet shop is knowledgeable about old textiles.
The Bookstore on Main Street
61 Main St. 978 281-1548
Bodin Historic Photo
82 Main Street. 978 283-2524
A downtown gallery featuring a collection of historic and contemporary photos of Gloucester and other interesting subjects. Also paintings by local artists. Some sepia-toned examples grace other parts of this web site.
Carolyn Porter Designs
1072 Washington Street.
978 281-2210.
The owner says her little boutique is the Moa Boa capital of Cape Ann. What's a Moa Boa? Why, it's a long tubular knitted scarf of a material that feels and looks just like the soft down on a baby chick. In its many Easter egg colors, it holds body heat and feels wonderful against the skin. The same fluffy stuff comes in a sleeveless sweater version. Another neat find here: a notebook-size tote of featherweight materials that opens up to make a tall cart on wheels. Just what any shopper needs for a walk to the grocery store or a day in the mall. Open 10 to 5 most days.
Common Crow
6 Elm St. 978-283-1665
These days, who couldn't use a little help from products designed for soothing and healing? Here you'll find dietary supplements, bulk medicinal and culinary herbs and spices, yoga mats and videos (even one for expectant moms). Therapeutic bath crystals, aromatherapy products such as little packets of dried twigs for fragrant burning to bring about a sense of calm - and much more. Be sure to browse the shelves of books - some interesting titles include an Ayurvedic beauty book with recipes for making your own natural cleansers and moisturizers and a complete guide to herbal healing. If all this is new to you, the proprietor is knowledgeable and available to answer questions.
The Cormorant Shop
139 Main Street. 978 282-4486.
Nothing fancy here, just good basic casual clothes in natural fibers for men and women. The sweaters are exceptional. One of the best is a real fisherman's pullover (only $78 here; you'll find them for more $ in fishing supply outlets.)Its all-season, all cotton treated with Teflon to stay clean and dry, with a smart shape and rolled neck, by Whalerknits. You'll live in this one sweater. Another great find is the nylon boat bag with leather trim that works as a purse($45). Indestructible and so light you'll never have an aching shoulder again. (Dustin Hoffman bought two of them.) Also check out the fisherman's foul weather gear - brimmed hat, slicker, pull on pants in bright yellow - just like the outfit worn by the famous "Man at the Wheel" statue.
Dogtown Book Shop
2 Duncan St. 978 281-5599
Fisherman's Outfitter
20 Main St. 978 281-0858
Fun Among Us
186 Main St. 978 282-0339
Gabriels Limited
100 Main Street. 978 281-1313.
Two floors of big, handsome pieces of furniture, paintings, mirrors, sconces, arts and crafts and other collectible pottery and glassware.
Harborside Cycle
Bikes, bike rentals, repairs
48 Rogers Street 978 281-7744
House of the Raven
141 Main Street. 978 281-1624.
A somewhat crazy mishmash of gift items. Even if you don't find just the right gift, here you'll encounter one of the best selections of funny, goofy and unusual greeting cards around.
Kids Unlimited
115 Main St. 978 283-4411
Local Colors Gallery
121 Main Street. 978 283-3996
A cooperative of more than 20 artists and craftspeople display their varied works in this one spacious gallery. Many of the pieces fall into the fun and whimsical category, the kind of tchatchkes that make you smile when your eye happens to fall on them. Jewelry is well represented here. Monday to Saturday 10AM to 6PM, Sunday noon to 6.
Main Street Antiques
124 Main Street. 978 281-1531.
A picker's paradise. Just about anything can turn up here but you won't find it unless you dig. Old books, maps and photos are a specialty.
Mark Adrian Shoes
978 283-4343
103 Main Street. If you are old enough or wise enough to have come to the conclusion that comfort in shoes is more important than glamour, turn your sore feet in this direction and hurry over. Here you'll find shoes for men and women with blocky toes and foam soles that make you forget you're wearing them. Many styles and makers to choose from.
Menage Gallery of Fine Artists and Artisans
978 283-6030
134 Main Street. The largest collection of regional art pottery on the north shore, much of it arranged on simple pine tables, chests, book cases and other useful furnishings, all hand made in Gloucester. Go down one flight of stairs and explore a brightly lit labyrinth of more of the same. One standout: a huge green-glazed bowl that would look stupendous, inside or out, filled with water, aquatic plants and a tiny fountain..
Stone Leaf
57 Main St. 978 282-3334
Ten Pound Island Book Company
76 Langsford 978 283-5299
Touch of Europe
186 Main St. 978 281-1114
The Tourist Trap
338 Main St. 978 283-9675
The Trading Post
427 Washington Street.
978 282-7744.
This shop defines eclectic in the extreme; offering old and new everythings: vintage clothing, furniture, tableware, estate items, and on and on. For instance, on one visit you may find a jeweled Indian wedding veil, an inlaid Moroccan table, a tall Turkish urn, an Alabama willow bird house, a fabulous twig-bedecked Amish porch swing, a red painted Afghani chest, a cob-webby antique lace bedspread, a set of English pearl-handled sterling fish knives and an African textile.
Turtle Alley Chocolates
91A Washington Street.
978 281-4000. OOOOhhh, myyyyy! Did we just die and go to heaven? If you've ever bought one of those ubiquitous boxes of turtle candies in the drug store and thought they were delicious, wait till you try the hand made fresh turtles from this little shop. The little fellas come in different combos of caramel with dark or milk chocolate and your choice of nuts. And could we forget to tell you about the butter-crunch? How to describe? There are no words. You'll just have to try one for yourself. The owner works day and night to keep up with Christmas orders.
The Weathervane
153 Main St. 978 281-1227

The Great Outdoors
First and foremost Gloucester is a place of extraordinary natural beauty. And a short walk will take you to many breathtaking spots. From in-town you can walk west on Stacey Boulevard along the harbor, past the famous “Man at the Wheel” memorial dedicated to the thousands of fisherman lost at sea and the new memorial to fisherman’s wives. At the end you’ll find Stage Fort Park with twisting paths to the top of a granite bluff and a sweeping view of the outer harbor. Or walk the deserted beaches where all you see are pristine sand and rolling ocean. If you’re feeling ,more ambitious, you can hike the miles of trails in Ravenswood Park, or go cross-country skiing there after a snowfall.

To be continued....