At 7:30 a.m. last week, Kris McGinn Straub and this editor met up with Susannah Winder and Christopher Stepler of the Essex Shipbuilding Museum’s boat launch and boarded an old-style oyster tonging boat as the pair took a dry run to the museum’s upcoming Great Rowing Adventure, an overnight trip it has planned with Lowell’s Shop. Ted Watkinson of the museum grabbed us at the Greenheads Gone party in Essex several weeks ago and told us of this planned museum overnight, hatched by Winder and some colleagues at Lowell’s Boat Shop. The morning was a stunner.

When the artist Winslow Homer came to paint on Cape Ann in 1869, he arrived a busy commercial illustrator for popular magazines of the time.  Over the next elven years, spending significant time in coastal areas across the northeast, including Gloucester and Manchester, Homer left a fine artist whose paintings captured evocative moments of coastal life, particularly in Gloucester and in Manchester. This was a theme in last weekend’s truly thought-provoking lecture by Elizabeth L. Block, PhD, senior editor at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, “Winslow Homer and Women’s Bathing Practices,” which was jointly presented by the Cape Ann Museum and Historic New England at Coolidge Point: The Thomas Jefferson Memorial. 

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In late July, and much to the excitement of locals, Dede and Bruce Warren purchased the downtown coffee and sandwich shop from Toby Gado, who opened Essen ten years ago, offering gourmet coffee, tea, baked goods and sandwiches in a cozy space. 

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The Manchester Historical Museum invites you to a wonderful and novel evening of fun on Saturday, September 14, from 6:00–10:00 p.m. at Bothways Farm in Essex. Watch the square dancing demonstration then do-si-do with friends, enjoy cocktails, beer and wine, savor a tasty BBQ meal and take a chance on the wine pull. 

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A couple of weeks ago, bait fish, particularly pogies, inundated Cape Ann in unusual numbers, with thick schools of them swelling outer Manchester Harborfrom here to the coast of Rockport As the food stock of the North Atlantic, the pogies brought a fishermen’s paradise of every predatory fish with them; from stripers to porpoise to tuna to sharks to whales.  For the past couple of weeks, as fishermen love to say, it’s been “fish on.” 

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There are still several months left in 2019 to celebrate the Essex Bicentennial, but if there was a weekend that was the hook to hang the celebration’s hat on, this was it.  Last weekend, it was stock full of events, all things “Bicentennial”.  

Late Sunday afternoon a nasty rush of black clouds moved in, pushing day boaters quickly home to unload when it looked like the skies might open up.  It even started to spit a little. But Mazie, the sea-loving German Short Hair Pointer was all for heading out anyway. 

What makes dinner at The Market Restaurant so bewilderingly good?  Having had yet another gorgeous meal there last week I turned this question over and over in my mind.  Then it hit me: The answer is simple — literally. 

Manchester senior citizens are invited to participate in the Massachusetts Farmers’ Market Coupon Program, hosted by SeniorCare, Inc. and the Manchester Council on Aging (COA). This program is designed to provide an opportunity for older adults to shop at farmers’ markets in the area, support local farmers, and eat more locally-grown fresh vegetables and fruits while enjoying their health benefits and delicious flavors.

Spruce up your landscape by joining the Arbor Day Foundation in August. Everyone who joins the Arbor Day Foundation with a $10 donation will receive 10 free Colorado blue spruce trees or 10 white flowering dogwood trees through the Foundation’s Trees for America campaign.

As most residents know by now, 2019 marks the 200th anniversary of the Town of Essex, and the Essex Bicentennial Committee has worked enthusiastically and tirelessly to develop celebratory programming for everyone throughout the year.

Last week, the Essex Shipbuilding Museum held its first annual “Greenheads Gone” party in celebration of the end of summer’s scourge — the nasty greenheads — which disappear every year after the first full moon in August.

This year, the weather was a picture-perfect summer day, and thousands of people flocked to downtown Manchester for the annual Festival by the Sea August 3rd, 2019.

A Friday night "soft" opening at Antique Table restaurant in Manchester-by-the-Sea in the former The Landing At Seven Central space. Familiar and yet all new. Nice to see the neighborhood spot filled with life again!

I have this reoccurring suspicion that something wonderful happens when people do not speak for long periods of time. It is clear, when they do speak, that a depth of thought has taken up residence in the space created by the silence. This is most certainly the case with Noah and Sophie Courser-Kellerman, the farmers who are Alprilla Farm in Essex. 

I've cooked in many kitchens through the years, from commercial kitchens to high-tech, marble-countered contemporary ones.   And to me, a kitchen with a Sub-Zero fridge is no better than one without electricity or running water.  Kitchens are places where love and nurturing are the main ingr…

What a great show of town support and teamwork at Public Safety Day on Friday, July 26. Thank you so much to everyone that made Safety Day so great! It was very refreshing to see all the departments work together to make such an amazing day for the approximately 150 kids that attended.

If you think about it, the history of the “American kitchen” is pretty loaded.  And we don’t often think about the history of that room.  But Nancy Carlisle, senior curator at Historic New England, has. In doing so, she takes a fascinating dive into the history of the role, function and placement of the kitchen in the American home, from the time of early settlers to our modern-day existence.

Manchester Summer Chamber Music (MSCM) celebrates its 11th season this August with five events around the North Shore. Combining the magic of warm summer nights with dynamic interpretations of chamber music gems as well as vibrant new music, MSCM offers exciting performances that welcome audiences of all backgrounds and ages. 

Stage 284 Youth Company will explore the issues many middle schoolers and high schoolers face in “13! The Musical,” which will run for six performances from August 9–18 at The Community House in Hamilton.