Jocelyn Pierce has built her Rockport company just like the best desserts: from scratch.
A Cape Ann farmer muses on seeds on the cusp of the growing season
New England farming is a brutally difficult business — but you can get by with a little help from your friends.
Meet Charlie McNeil, “The Captain” of the Essex clam beds
Lynzarium’s Plant Shack is further proof that the local maker movement is, uh, growing.
A young couple’s dream comes true on Rockport’s Bearskin Neck
A couple enlist a long-time friend to bring a new soul to the historic Rockport Lodge.
Winter surfing is a one-of-a-kind experience — but it takes a pretty thick skin.
“There is nothing that compares to being out on the water in the dark days of winter.”
For Erin Canniff, 51, a physical education teacher at Rockport Elementary School, winter surfing is a special kind of joy. “This place blows me away — and the fact that I can drive ten minutes and get in the water to surf in such a beautiful place — that just never gets old. Even when it’s 20 degrees outside.”
The more rational among us might, with very good reason, ask ‘WHY?’ Why shimmy and slide into that thick wetsuit? Why freeze your butt off when you don’t have to? Why get into the frickin’ icy Atlantic Ocean? In New England? In February?
As the mantra of extreme athletes goes: because it’s there.
. . . . .
“It’s called the ‘home break,’” says Lanesville resident and surfer Courtney Hayes, 51, founder of CetoSurf and a video producer. “The home surf spot. People generally have an affinity for their home break.”
Cape Ann’s home break is roughly 30 miles of irregularly-shaped coves, with a few interruptions of wide-open sandy beach, like Rockport’s Long Beach and Gloucester’s Good Harbor beach.
Hayes says that it is exactly those nooks and crannies, the unique contours of this island, that make winter surfing here so extraordinary. “There is absolutely nothing in this world like surfing in a blizzard,” she says.
“There are a lot of places to explore. If it’s a heavy nor’easter, you might be able to find a spot that works — if it’s not in the direct path of the storm,” she says. “That kind of gaming the weather isn’t possible on an even coastline. But on an island like this, you get to play with the wind.”
Sometimes the surfing isn’t even onshore. Canniff said one of the best moments she’s ever had was at the mouth of the Annisquam River, near Wingaersheek Beach in West Gloucester, being towed out to the breaking waves by boat.
. . . . .
The weather is the boss of this show.
“Weather becomes a part of the excitement, the adrenaline rush,” Hayes says. “There’s a lot less consistency here, which is a big part of it. Here, we wait, and wait, and wait, for the really great days; winter is when you anticipate the power and energy of the ocean.”
And don’t ever question that power and energy.
Jay Gustaferro, 63, a Gloucester fisherman and activist, has surfed Cape Ann long enough to be considered a legend. “I’ve surfed more at Good Harbor beach in the last fifty years than any other human,” Gustaferro says. “The Northwest Atlantic generates some great waves.
“We don’t get the consistency of the Pacific, because storms move from west to east across the planet. The west coast gets more consistent waves than we do, but we get world-class storms.”
The Perfect Storm of October, 1991, generated 35- to 40-foot swells, to name drop just one legendary world-class Cape Ann meteorologic event.
. . . . .
The history of Cape Ann winter surfing has had its own share of swells and breaks. The most recent wave — yes, we just said ‘wave’ — of enthusiasm has been buoyed (yep, ‘buoyed’) by two factors that make it just not that damn cold anymore: the wetsuit and the weather.
Back in the 1960s, when Gustaferro was a teenager, he remembers Cliffy Amero returning from a roadtrip to California with a van full of surfboards.
Amero set up the first-ever Gloucester Surf Shack, right across Thacher Road from the Good Harbor beach gates. Gloucester’s original hippies, according to Gustaferro, made that scene. Those were the days of Frankie Avalon and Gidget. And the Beach Boys. And Wipe Out. Then, in the ’70s, the boards got shorter and harder to handle. And by the ’80s there were only five or six guys surfing Gloucester, including Gustaferro.
And those guys were winter surfing.
“You have to realize winter wetsuits were bad back then. They were basically diving suits; they were very restrictive. We would freeze.”
Gustaferro says their hands would be so hypothermic they weren’t able to turn the keys to start their cars, so they could finally get warm. “We started keeping a pair of pliers in our cars, using them to turn the keys with frozen, clumsy hands.”
Courtney Hayes says if you want to be serious about surfing in New England, you have to surf in winter, when the swells roll in, and the swell periods — the surfer term for the intervals between waves — are right.
She admits that the recent upgrade of wetsuit technology has really changed the game, inviting a whole new generation of winter surfers into the water.
“I was out recently,” Gustaferro said, “it was 20 degrees, maybe a little less. I was cold in the face, but not that deep, hypothermic cold like before.”
Gustaferro shrugs off temperature, not only because wetsuits are so much more efficient today, but also because the warming of the ocean is a reality.
“NASA reports that the Gulf of Maine has seen more warming in the last five years than any body of water on planet Earth. Typically in February we’re seeing slush and ice cubes in the creek at Good Harbor Beach.” Not these days.
A water temperature of 38 degrees “is when it really starts to hurt under a wave. This year, it’s been in the mid-40s most of the time. So far, we haven’t seen those really low temperatures.”
Gustaferro has justifiable environmental fears, but even after 50 years, the waves’ siren song is no less potent.
. . . . .
“The last day I surfed is always the best day — and the worst. And that day would be yesterday. I paddled out alone. After two hours, some guys came out and we had some great rides.”
Beyond just being damn cold, winter surfing on Cape Ann has its own special set of challenges.
Jonathan Kozowyk, 36, a photographer based in Watertown, Mass., who has lived on, and surfed, Cape Ann at different points in his life, says being obsessed really helps.
“It’s a lot of work,” he says. “It’s hard to get that stupid thick wetsuit on. With gloves. With boots. All of which are heavy and make paddling that much harder. You drive around a lot. You’re chasing tides, wind, wave size, swell directions. But, if you put the work in, you can get some really, really fun, memorable days. You have to really love surfing in the winter on Cape Ann to continue to do it.”
And they do. They love it.
“In winter you have the place to yourself,” Canniff says. “You’re in the ocean, in the water, it’s a moment in time that never repeats itself. The days are short and the window and opportunity to surf is small, but when things line up — no work, good tide, the right swell, enough daylight, and decent wind — my winter happiness factor increases enormously!”
► For more information on surfing Cape Ann, contact Surfari, with shops in Gloucester (210 Main St., 978-283-7873) and Manchester (26 Central St., 978-704-9051).
Heather Atwood is a Rockport-based writer and the managing editor of TheOtherCape.com. Jonathan Kozowyk is a Boston-based photographer and an avid surfer.
A Brief History of Cape Ann’s Sea Serpent
As a Rockport native currently living in California, I identify where I come from to strangers using short, questioning phrases: “Rockport? Gloucester? Perfect Storm?” That last one usually does the trick if the first two don’t.
For its relatively small size, Cape Ann has historically been disproportionately well-known. This was especially true in the early 1800s, when the name “Gloucester” spread throughout theaters across the United States, specifically in the form of a play entitled The Sea Serpent; or, Gloucester Hoax: a Dramatic jeu d’esprit in Three Acts.
Written by William Crafts, a playwright from Charleston, South Carolina, the drama tells the story of what purported to be a real-life sighting of a sea serpent in Gloucester Harbor, entirely in rhyming iambic pentameter. Other than answering the question of what you can possibly come up with to rhyme with “affidavit,” the play tells the story of the excitement stoked by the sighting, the scientific and monetary hopes piled on the creature, and the subsequent anti-climax when the serpent is revealed to be nothing but a “horse-mackerel.” (By the way, the answer is “knave it”).
The play is … not great. But it remains an important piece of cultural history for the other Cape, because in the summers of 1816–1818, many locals and tourists to the area did believe that they had seen a serpent off the shores of Gloucester and Rockport. As Captain Solomon Allen III attested, “I saw a strange marine animal, that I believe to be a serpent.”
Fishermen observed something unusual while out in their boats and others saw a large, unknown creature as they stood in small crowds on the beach. They described a long form, cutting its way through the waters off shore, with a head like that of a dog or a horse.
• • • • •
As tales of sightings came pouring in, news of the serpent finally reached The Linnean Society of New England, and they commissioned a report on the creature.
At the time, America had gained its political independence from England, but was still struggling to assert itself as a reputable scientific community. It was also trying to remind the world that America was home to just as much biological diversity as the rest of the world. To be able to announce the discovery of a new species — and not just that, but a cool one! A new species that might solve the age-old question of sea serpent sightings across the globe would give the United States some much needed clout.
Judge John Davis, the head of The Linnean Society, commissioned Gloucester’s justice of the peace, Lonson Nash, to question some of the eyewitnesses, taking their sworn statements as evidence that would then get compiled in the report. Nash carefully recorded their testimony and then submitted his report to organization.
And this story of the Gloucester sea serpent might be remembered by history differently, had the residents of Gloucester been a little less eager to help. One day, in the middle of sea serpent mania, a group of Gloucester residents walking in Loblolly Cove discovered a small black snake on the beach. It’s back was lined with tiny humps, and some of the locals excitedly proclaimed that they had found one of the sea serpent’s offspring. They packaged up the deceased snake and sent it to The Linnaean Society to provide them with the physical specimen they desired.
The Society was ecstatic and promptly named their new species Scoliophis atlanticus — until the “baby serpent” was dissected and was discovered to be nothing more than a juvenile of the black racer species with tumors on its spine. One deformed baby snake was enough to deflate the whole theory — with the baby’s identity confirmed, the public quickly lost faith in the idea of the sea serpent in general.
For sea serpent believers, the tales of the “New England Sea Serpent” remain a staple for the field’s history — never before had so many eyewitnesses testified to seeing a creature like this on the same day, in the same place. For residents of and visitors to Gloucester and Rockport, this story should be a reminder of Cape Ann’s wild side.
When downtown Gloucester and Bearskin Neck are packed to the gills with tourists, it can be easy to forget. But for those who have spent enough time there — especially time when the tourists have gone home and the winter waves threaten to swallow Beach Street whole — there is wildness and mystery to Cape Ann.
Katja Jylkka and her cold New England heart are currently living in California. She is a PhD student who writes about food, animals, and trolls, much to the dismay of her professors. You can read more of her writing at The Toast.
A nationally-renowned chef brings a tasty new concept to Manchester
Imagine a fast food setting with a fine dining pedigree. A full bar, a big TV, and a charred kale salad with honey and preserved lemon dressing.
Imagine bonchon — the savory Korean fried chicken that tastes like biting into a cloud with juicy meat in the center — ordered at a counter before you grab a stool at a communal table.
Imagine a restaurant that offers edgy dishes crowded with flavor in an equally edgy space, where you can pop in on a random Thursday night when you just don’t feel like cooking.
Now imagine that place is in Manchester-by-the-Sea.
. . . . .
This is how the Superfine story begins:
Chef Matthew Gaudet’s career had whirred by like film footage played at high speed — jobs in prestigious kitchens (Aquavit, Eleven Madison Park, and Jean-Georges in Manhattan, and The French Laundry in Napa Valley), awards rolling in — followed shortly by the opening of his own four-star restaurant, West Bridge, in Cambridge, Mass., where he was voted one of the country’s Best New Chefs of 2013, and wound up on the cover of Food & Wine.
Fast forward to the fall of 2016, when the film jumps the sprockets.
Gaudet stands in a tiny box of a space, formerly occupied by Christo’s coffee shop on Manchester’s main drag, with his partners, Paul Emmett and Chris Robins (both fine-dining chefs with long resumes, most recently from Boston’s Aquitaine Group and West Bridge).
A late lunch crowd — single business people, moms with toddlers — lingers over their burgers and fries. A young girl and her mom lean into a fontina, leek, and mushroom pizza like they are afraid of losing it. The only sound is the low clatter from the kitchen.
As the saying goes, “there’s no talking when the food is good.”
. . . . .
What’s happening here in Manchester is happening all around the country. It’s called “fast casual.” Or “fast casual 2.0.” Or, sometimes, “fast fine.”
The trend of fine-dining chefs proving they can make good food fast began with Danny Meyer’s Shake Shack, which launched ten years ago in Manhattan’s Madison Square Park. Meyer, the owner of Union Square Hospitality Group (Union Square Cafe, Gramercy Tavern, and fine dining restaurants around the world) was an integral part of the rehabilitation of the park, which had become a hangout for the, uh, unsavory.
The park project inspired chefs from his Eleven Madison Park (where Gaudet once worked) to set up a temporary hot dog stand amidst the construction.
Their hot dog stand concept — great dogs, burgers, and milkshakes — was a smash hit. Today there are 100 Shake Shacks in the U.S. — including four in the Boston area — with dozens more from Seoul to Jeddah.
Spanish-American chef José Andrés, who owns high-end restaurants across the country, calls it “fast good.”
He opened his first place-your-order-here restaurant, Beefsteak, in Washington, D.C. last year. The restaurant was immediately serving over 900 people a day.
. . . . .
Indeed, the lure of simpler times and lower costs — and one page of payroll — make a fast-casual kitchen smell very sweet to even the fussiest French-trained chef.
Matthew Gaudet’s evolution sounds like this:
“After twenty years of fine dining, and four years at West Bridge, it just wasn’t me. I wasn’t enjoying myself. Everything I was doing with West Bridge was something I had wanted to do for years. And I was able to do it, and was successful at it, and that was great. But I never did a dish twice. Once I nailed it, that was it. I was done with it.
“I had always wanted something more relaxed. It was on my radar. The challenge with fine dining is the staffing, the costs, the stress, the amount you spend on doing it all. Time, money, relationships, livelihood, health — everything is impacted.”
Guadet and his partner, Alexis Gelburd-Kimler, closed the Kendall Square eatery in December 2015.
At the same time, Gaudet’s wife, Miranda, was longing to move closer to Manchester, her hometown, so that their daughter could spend more time with her grandmother.
His long-time friends, Emmett and Robins, joined as partners.
. . . . .
But running a hip, fast casual restaurant in tiny Manchester — a town that is not blessed with a sophisticated restaurant scene — presented its own unique set of challenges.
“Take out? We weren’t prepared for that!” Gaudet says. Emmett and Robins moan in unison. It created another unexpected problem: on busy nights the takeout boxes fill almost all of the space in the restaurant’s compact kitchen.
“The customer base is different on the North Shore, but they are no less hungry,” Gaudet says. “In Cambridge, because of what we were and who we were, there were a lot of creative minds who came in and wanted to break it down, for better or for worse.
“Here on Cape Ann, people are curious as to what’s going on (in the restaurant), they’re excited when they taste new things. The feedback has been really positive. But Superfine is about just having a good time: relax, have fun, and don’t take it too seriously.”
Gaudet says the menu took a while to figure out.
“Trying to bring in some of West Bridge didn’t work; it wasn’t what we were going to be,” Gaudet said. “I wanted to keep our calamari and cockles dish on the menu here, the one that Food & Wine loved so much: herb broth, sun gold tomatoes, and calamari cut like noodles — it’s like a nice day at the beach.”
But the calamari and cockles didn’t sell.
Steak wasn’t popular either. And there was originally a locally-sourced clam pizza on the menu. It didn’t fly. But, oddly, the Brussels sprouts pizza did, and it’s still on the menu, as are the ribs, the barbecue specials, and the fish of the day. Burgers and pizza remain Superfine’s best sellers.
As Boston chef Jody Adams, who has recently opened her second Greek-inspired fast casual restaurant, Saloniki, advised Gaudet, “You tell everybody what you want to be, and then the community pushes back and tells you what you’re going to be.”
. . . . .
Gaudet says keeping business simple allows for better food.
“We’re extremely sustainable. Part of it, too, is eliminating floor staff — having that one-page payroll. And a small footprint. Our labor is not extreme, so we can put all the money we’re saving into the product. We dress down the style to add to the product. It brings everything down to earth.
“This is a pizza place!” he conceeds, ironically, “but we’re also providing the setting to have a good time. The food’s a byproduct of people getting together.”
Nonetheless, Gaudet, Emmett, and Robins spent serious chef time building the dishes. The pizza dough, for instance, involved “fairly detailed experimentation.”
“Our sourdough was erratic,” Emmett says, “We made a lot of pizza. Some of it was great, then it was OK, and then it was awesome again. We kept going back to the cookbooks.
“What we like about Cape Ann is the quality of ingredients we can get locally. I had no idea what was available here. We wanted to source locally, and there are unbelievable products from farms in the area,” says Emmett.
As if on cue, Tucker Smith, from Cedar Rock Gardens in West Gloucester, stops in to drop off several wooden crates of arugula and autumn vegetables.
Superfine serves a lamb sausage and pepperoncini pizza with stracciatelle from Amesbury cheesemaker Wolf Meadow Farm. The fish of the day comes from “Steve in Ipswich.” Superfine makes its own pickles — and chocolate chip cookies, too.
Robins says the best part about opening Superfine is the town. “Manchester is a modern-day Mayberry. I’m just waiting to see Andy Griffith walk down the street. But my favorite part since we opened the restaurant is the reception we’re getting from the locals.”
“That’s what I said!” Gaudet shouts from the kitchen.
Robins continues, “I really like working in a town like this and not in the city. People just seem a little more appreciative and less critical about stuff.”
“That’s what I said!” Gaudet repeats, louder.
“It’s really something,” Gaudet continues, “when the guests are leaving and you can see they enjoyed their meal and they actually give you a heartfelt ‘thank you’ for opening a restaurant like this in town, where they can eat, have fun, and bring their kids and their families. That is a big deal for me.”
Robins summarizes for the team: “At the end of the day we’re not putting a man on the moon here. We’re doing this food that we really like. We’re buying really good ingredients. We’re treating it right.”
Does Gaudet miss anything about West Bridge?
“I miss the quiet storm before the service with the brigade hunkered down, and it’s all really about to happen. But it’s just that, day after day, going back to my busiest days as a line cook in New York — everything has to be perfect, or you’ll get ripped to shreds.”
He shakes his head. “That, I don’t miss.”
► Superfine, 25 Union Street, Manchester-by-the-Sea. (978) 526 0964. Hours: Tue.-Thu., 8 a.m.–9 p.m., Fri. 8 a.m. – 10 p.m., Sat. 10 a.m. – 10 p.m., Sun. 10 a.m. – 9 p.m. Superfine also has a surprisingly robust breakfast service featuring dark and smooth coffee, pecan sticky buns with cinnamon toffee (made in-house), and avocado toast with miso-tahini spread.
Late last spring, Lila DeLuca, a braided 10-year-old Rockporter, quietly slipped off to Los Angeles. She reported to her elementary school that she would be accompanying her father, Scott, on an “indefinite business trip.”
This, of course, was cover for the strict code of silence the Fox Broadcasting Company imposes upon its MasterChef contestants — even the juniors.
In her 2016 audition video, DeLuca had proven to the MasterChef Junior talent team that she had the right stuff to be one of the 40 kids qualified to endure — with all due adorableness — celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay’s famously menacing temper and the lofty standards of his co-host Christina Tosi, the high priestess of pastry at New York’s Momofuku Milk Bar.
For the next six weeks, DeLuca would proceed to croûton, coulis, caramelize, and squeal for joy — like 10-year-olds do. While the show has concluding taping and the results are in, DeLuca is prohibited from sharing any of the juicy details. But she can say that, yes, there was school (as California laws require). And there were field trips, intended to keep young minds working in between the intensity of shooting, and, of course, there was the once-in-a-lifetime experience of being on the set of a nationally-televised, wildly-popular TV show.
Of her experience, DeLuca says, “I learned a lot more about techniques and styles of food. I really opened up to different types of cooking.” She learned how to consider different spice combinations. She learned to love rosemary and paprika, the latter for making rubs. She learned to flambé. She even learned how to use a blowtorch. (Guess what was at the top of her Christmas list this year).
• • • • •
Here’s the thing about Lila DeLuca: despite her age, she’s an authentic and skilled cook. She grew up among the pea tendrils, strawberry beds, and yards of swiss chard and kale at Appleton Farms, the Trustees of Reservations property in Ipswich that features a growing agricultural business and a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program. It’s a DeLuca family tradition. Her parents joined Appleton Farms’ CSA before Lila was born, so she has spent her entire life making the weekly visits to this North Shore gem from spring through fall.
Kale makes Lila very happy. “We cook kale a lot at home; we bake it, sauté it, put it in smoothies, and we are always looking for more recipes,” Lila says. “And we cook fish a lot, too. In the summer we catch fish from our boat — stripers and, sometimes, flounder.”
• • • • •
From the age of seven, Lila DeLuca, along with her younger brother, Anderson, has been a constant presence at Rockport’s Harvestfest, an annual celebration showcasing New England food producers under a giant tent on the town’s historic T-Wharf.
“Every year we go to Harvestfest,” DeLuca says, “and we love the Seafood Throwdown (a competition-style showcase between two local chefs) because we cook fish a lot, and we’re always on the lookout for new ideas. And then we make them at home.”
The DeLuca family likes to travel, which has opened up even more opportunities for Lila to experience new cultures and learn about what they eat. She knows her tikka masala. Trips to Mexico, Costa Rica, and the Galapagos have made the DeLucas big fans of rice and beans.
One of her favorite memories was in Europe. “There was this restaurant very near the tip of Spain; I remember they made this juice that had orange blossoms in it. It was amazing.”
• • • • •
“I made a ton of friends on MasterChef,” she says, jumping back in the moment.
Modeled on the adult version, Masterchef Junior takes 40 talented kids between the ages of 8 and 13, and puts them through a series of challenges in which some of the contestants get eliminated and the field gets smaller and smaller. Ultimately one lucky child takes home the MasterChef Junior trophy and a whopping $100,000 grand prize.
It was TV cooking that originally pushed DeLuca into the kitchen.
“Every summer we would go visit my mom’s college roommate on Martha’s Vineyard. She had older kids who loved watching cooking shows. That’s how my brother and I learned to love them. We started watching them at home — and I liked Masterchef Junior a lot.”
“I knew something was happening,” Scott DeLuca says, “when, after one evening of watching Masterchef Junior, we heard Lila down in the kitchen the next morning at 6:30. She was making croquembouche,” an elaborate tower of cream-filled profiteroles held together in a crystalline web of spun sugar.
Sounds like a winner to us.
Portions of this article originally appeared in the Gloucester Daily Times.
► Season 5 of MasterChef Junior, airs on Thursday nights at 8 p.m. EST on Fox
Heather Atwood is the managing editor of The Other Cape and a Rockport-based freelance writer. Her first cookbook, In Cod We Trust: From Sea to Shore, the Celebrated Cuisine of Coastal Massachusetts, is available at Amazon. Jonathan Kozowyk is a commercial photographer based in Boston and New York — and also a new dad!
It all began with a chilling documentary. And a shed.
On the recommendation of his wife, Meg, a counselor at the Landmark School in Manchester, Tim Ferguson Sauder, a design professor at Olin College of Engineering in Needham, Mass., and their three children spent an evening watching The Dark Side of Chocolate, a 2010 documentary about the exploitation and slave-trading of African children to harvest chocolate, a practice which continues nearly ten years after the cocoa industry pledged to stop it.
It was a life-changer.
“From then on, we decided as a family that we would only be consuming fair trade chocolate and coffee,” Sauder said.
But it didn’t stop there.
When the family wanted to rebuild an old shed in the backyard of their Lanesville house into a work/live space, “we made the decision that for the rest of the project, whenever possible, we would only use fair trade, recycled, or homemade products.”
Now their passion has snowballed into a new family business.
“What started with our shed — a ‘small’ project — became something that wove itself into every part of our lives,” he said. “If a focus on fair trade, sustainable, and recycled could work for the shed, then why not for the rest of our lives? We decided to attempt to go all fair trade, to really push what we could do ourselves and try to work recycling into as many of our projects as possible.”
To that end, the family recently launched Crafted Fairly, a web “shop” that highlights “the products and projects that we feel worth including in our lives.”
“We’re hoping to inspire more families to give this a try, so we’re searching for products that we can all really believe in,” Sauder said.
As the current season of mass consumption — and “Black Fridays!” and “Cyber Mondays!” and “Storewide Savings!” — winds down, the Sauders would like to share a slightly different perspective.
“It’s the perfect time to reflect on what’s important in life.”
• • •
What’s your background?
Meg and I were both brought up in families where creating was important.
I went to school to study printmaking, ended up in an internship with a cabinet maker, and then worked with an Amish work crew on a modern home.
Meg has been a knitter her whole life. She grew up dyeing wool with her mom and siblings. Her favorite room growing up was an enormous craft room outfitted with two sewing machines, a loom, and basket-weaving supplies.
After we got married, the projects gradually got bigger. What started as gifts made for friends and family turned into small-business projects — book-topped birdhouses, baby apparel, custom Christmas ornaments, cutting boards — and in the midst of all this we were also picking up furniture at flea markets and yard sales and fixing them up. We didn’t have the money to buy the furniture that we wanted so we ended up making a lot of it ourselves or refinishing things that other people no longer wanted.
Eventually we decided it was time to buy a house. We found one that was in a great location, but we could only afford something that needed a lot of work.
We gutted the whole thing and worked on it for the next five years to get it to a “finished” state. I think that’s what really helped us to acquire the skills needed to design and build the shed.
The shed was actually a welcome side project for us — it was not in our living space, it was small, and it seemed manageable compared to our house. Plus we were building from scratch so things could actually be straight and true unlike our house, which was built in 1860.
What led to your decision to the seek out fair trade products?
Meg had worked with grassroots development organizations and was confronted with real poverty before we were married.
In this country it is convenient to ignore where and how products are made and, although we attempted to live simply, our choices were based more on design and price than the ethics surrounding those purchases.
About four years ago Meg joined a faith-based women’s group whose mission was to learn about social injustice and then do something about it. After she watched The Dark Side of Chocolate with the group, she showed it to our family and we immediately decided to buy and consume only fair-trade chocolate.
From then on, we decided to do the same for tea, then bananas, and so on. The more we looked into it, the more we decided that we’d try to only support companies that produce their products ethically.
And that was three years ago.
What was your initial goal with the shed and how did the project evolve once you got started? How long did it take to complete?
Our initial goal was to create a beautiful space that could function as a design studio, an extra bedroom for visiting family, and a play space for the kids.
We had just spent five years remodeling our very old house and we were excited to build something a bit more modern — and something that we designed from scratch. We were also interested to see if it was possible to build a beautiful and functional space that looked new but was made using mostly recycled materials.
How did you source your materials?
We started the project buying the framing, sheathing, and drywall from local building supply sources, but as the project moved on we began to get more and more of our materials from dumpsters, craigslist postings and people just getting rid of things.
We grabbed our flooring from a condo that was being demolished behind Cheers (the iconic Boston bar and inspiration for the popular 1980s TV show) in the Back Bay. Most of the framing for the deck came from a dumpster two towns away (I got a call at work that I could take as much as I could grab — before sunset).
We got the sliding door from a local fireman who was replacing his own, the windows came from multiple Craigslist posts, and the siding from three different people who were clearing out wood they had used on previous decks.
Meg also befriended some demolition crews and they would let us know if they were getting rid of anything they thought we might be able to use. We liked that this approach was cost effective as well as being more environmentally sound than purchasing new.
Throughout the building of the shed we met a lot of interesting people and were surprised at how generous and helpful so many of them were. It was a really positive part of the project.
You had a strong design direction for the shed. Was it hard to find the materials that fit your vision?
That was one of our favorite parts of the project. We spent a lot of time finding just the right materials to use that would match our vision of the finished product. We were very choosy but we also had to be realistic given our budget.
So we refinished and rebuilt a lot of things to make the shed look the way we wanted. For example, the Murphy bed was bought used at a yard sale, but we completely re-wrapped the unit in wood to make it look more modern and clean.
The wood for the floor was free, but had to be sanded seven times to get it down to a clean and even surface. Reusing materials takes a lot more time and planning but it was rewarding to end up with something that didn’t look “recycled” but that had an interesting past.
What’s your favorite thing about the shed?
We love the way the space feels with its high ceilings, sparse decorations, and its location away from our house and the nearby road.
We have also come to really appreciate the shed’s ability to transform from a work space to a living space — we use it in so many different ways and it feels just right for each of them.
You’ve packed a lot into a small space — and there is a lot of ingenuity in the design. How did you decide on the layout?
We started with a very clear list of things we wanted the space to allow us to do and we stuck to that list as a guide for all of our decisions as we designed the building. I think the simplicity of the space and the focus on it achieving just a few things: work space, sleeping space, kids play space allowed us to keep things simple and not fill the shed with things we didn’t need. I think that fewer things in a small space is always more effective.
How do you use the shed as a family?
We use it a lot. Tim uses it as a studio for his freelance design jobs. We use it as a sleeping space when family comes to visit — we’re both from big families. Our kids use it as a play space for knee hockey games and basketball, and we eat a lot of dinners over the firepit with friends and family.
What about that amazing outdoor shower?
The shower was completed a year or two before the shed. What started as a basic shower and a two-week project turned into a two-month experiment! We decided to try to design a round shower that was tall enough that people walking by on the sidewalk above it couldn’t look down into.
The whole family worked on it together and it’s become one of our favorite parts of the summer — rinsing off after surf sessions in what the neighbors often refer to as “The Silo.” The antique shower head was another thing grabbed from a friend who was cleaning out their basement.
What are some of your favorite self-made projects?
The outdoor shower is definitely a favorite because we all get to use it so much and it’s something that provides such a beautiful experience. We also just built a new kitchen counter extension from the wooden sides of some old chairs that were being thrown out, and we love the way that project has made it easier for us to congregate and spend time together as a family.
You have a very full and rich life. Do you struggle with the busy pace?
We do struggle with finding a good balance in our lives of work, family, projects — all of it. It really helps that we are both in education and that we can all spend our summers together.
Spending time together as a family is a choice that we made once we had our first child and we are so grateful for the ability to co-parent and really be all together so much.
It also makes it easier that many of the projects we take on we do together so that they don’t feel like something that’s taking away from family time. But balance is something we talk about often. One thing that really helps is that we don’t really watch TV, which saves a lot of time for projects and family time.
But I definitely wouldn’t say we’ve got it all figured out!
How do you make decisions on purchasing new products?
When purchasing new products we work hard to make sure that the companies we’re supporting are creating their products ethically. If we can’t be sure about their ethical practices we try to look elsewhere or at least buy things made in the US, because their working environments are easier to track.
As for specific brands that are featured in the shed — you can get more information on our blog about those companies, but here is a little taste so you can go out and support these incredible artisans:
◼︎ The outdoor chairs are made by our good friend Tim Miller. We love his ability to create simple beauty and his chairs around the fire pit seem more like sculptures than furniture. We all fight over who gets to sit in these chairs.
◼︎ The artwork in the shed is made by an incredible artist and another good friend, Bradford Johnson. His work is based on historical photographic essays and have wonderful narratives behind the imagery he portrays. His artwork is affordable — although we don’t think that will last long as more people find out about him — and technically beautiful (he uses some really intricate methods to replicate the look of old photographs).
◼︎ We love Coyuchi bedding. The high-quality organic materials and the subtle colors are a perfect combination. All of their products are ethically produced. The sheets on the Murphy bed are soft yet have a linen feel. The cascade blanket is a perfect weight for the summer. Meg is obsessed with bedding and Coyuchi is her all time favorite.
◼︎ The patchwork yellow blanket on the bed is made by Sari Bari. From their site: “Sari Bari makes and sells beautiful, handmade, upcycled sari products. The heart of Sari Bari is its women, survivors of Kolkata’s red light areas who have taken brave steps into new life, freedom, and hope. Each product is marked with the name of the woman who made it and with your purchase you become a part of her freedom story.”
◼︎ The beautiful bath towel/blanket is made by Creative Women. We love their woven pieces in the shed and we have the striped bath sheet and hand towel in our house. From their site: “Creative Women works with women-owned- and led- studios around the world to create a positive impact in communities through long-term, reliable employment that ripples out into better health, education and opportunities for families.”
◼︎ The beach tote/linen hamper in the shed a created by The Dharma Door. Their aim is to bring the highest quality designer Fair Trade homewares to an audience that values contemporary design (something we are always on the lookout for). We love their mission and their products!
• • •
What advice would you give to someone just beginning their “crafted fairly” journey?
Take the time to educate yourself. If you don’t have the time to do that — start small and stay committed (remember, we started with just chocolate!).
And remember that behind every product is a person and a story. We believe that our role is to value every human being and our beautiful planet. Living with less makes the prospect of buying ethically attainable.
I would say that it has been a challenge for our family, but entirely worth it. We’re raising our children with a global awareness. And to realize that small changes can make a big difference.
We also love the organization International Justice Mission. They do such incredible work around the world and are a great resource for the kinds of changes we’re trying to support.
Note: This interview originally appeared in, and is reprinted with permission from, Pure Green magazine.
Celine MacKay is the founder and editor-in-chief of Pure Green, an independent digital magazine focused on building a “stylish green lifestyle,” based in the Muskoka region of Ontario, Canada. She is also a partner in Sustain, a purveyor of fine green goods. Beverly-based Mark Spooner specializes in wedding and lifestyle photography.
“It is my earnest hope — indeed the hope of all mankind — that from this solemn occasion a better world shall emerge out of the blood and carnage of the past, a world founded upon faith and understanding, a world dedicated to the dignity of man and the fulfillment of his most cherished wish for freedom, tolerance, and justice.” — Douglas MacArthur
• • •
At 9:08 a.m. on September 2, 1945, on the deck of the battleship USS Missouri, which was anchored in Tokyo Bay, US General Douglas MacArthur accepted Japan’s surrender from a delegation representing Emperor Hirohito.
With that, World War II was over. It was the most widespread war in history, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries. Over 70 million combined military and civilian lives were lost.
Along with 16 million of their fellow Americans, thousands of men and women from Cape Ann served our country during the Second World War. More than 5,600 of the roughly 25,000 residents from Gloucester alone joined the conflict, serving in every branch of the military.
Of those, 119 never made it home.
As we once again pause to recognize the selfless service of so many, we have to acknowledge that fewer and fewer of our “Greatest Generation” remain among us. Their actions, their history, and their stories are an integral part of who we are as a nation.
Though we continue to see hostilities around the world, with men and women stepping up to serve our nation, it is unlikely that we will ever see such an epic, world-wide conflict again.
My goal has been to photograph our local veterans to honor and recognize their service to our country — and preserve their place in our history.
These are ordinary men and women who were called upon, at times, to do extraordinary things.
Jason Grow, a Gloucester-based commercial photographer, began his Cape Ann World War II Veterans Portrait Project in 2014. It was originally exhibited at Gloucester City Hall on Veterans Day 2015. See the entire portfolio here.
Michael Prince travels the world taking photographs for big clients — Google, Bank of America, Verizon, and Pepsi among them, as well as a few magazines you may have heard of like Forbes and The New York Times Magazine — but his real photographic joy happens a few steps from his front door in Magnolia.
Born and raised in Miami, Prince took off shortly after graduating from the University of Florida, headed for Florence, Italy, to study photography. He returned to the U.S. to begin a career as a photojournalist, and later ventured into fine art photography. He has had solo exhibitions in New York, Chicago, Seattle, San Francisco, and Los Angeles galleries.
Prince and his family — wife Kristin, son Noah, and daughter Nina — ultimately settled down on Cape Ann around 2005. It wasn’t long after that he started jumping off the pier and launching a craze.
It’s like Magnolia’s Got Talent and everybody’s talent is jumping off a pier.
When did this obsession start? Your portfolio of jumpers runs deep.
Probably around 10 years ago. As a photographer it was visually appealing, and as a guy that likes to do dumb stuff, it definitely piqued my interest.
Miami’s a long way from Magnolia — how did you wind up here?
After college I was working in Boston, and met my future wife at a bar there. She’s from Ipswich and after we got married, we moved in with her Mom. Soon after that we moved to NYC and got our careers started. We loved it there, but after 9/11 it was kind of sad for us so we moved back to the North Shore.
I’ve lived here for over 25 years and I still often feel like the new guy in town. Has that been your experience, too?
It’s funny, there are some places around here where everyone knows me (like the pier) and others where I am a tourist.
Ok, back to the pier. Your subjects seem stoked to ham it up for your camera. Was it always like that, or was there warm-up period?
I think the fact that I am a jumper helped me earn the kids trust. My terrible, terrible back flip is always a source of merriment. Plus, they love the pictures. We give each other ideas for new jumps. Everyone has different skill sets.
Ever seen anyone get hurt?
Well, everyone gets minor scratches and cuts sometimes, but fortunately I have never seen anything serious.
You seem to have a few regulars — anything you can tell us about them?
Oh yeah, there are definitely some kings of the pier. A couple of generations of them too. The top regular guys are probably Dylan Spellman and Jeremy Nestor. They also act as unofficial lifeguards and keep an eye on the younger kids. Dylan can do incredible flips and crush the landings. Jeremy is one of only a few guys who can do the Boardwalk, which is a dive from the back rail, over the front rail into the water. It’s terrifying and something I stay well away from.
There are a couple of little kids that you can tell are going to be great, they are already doing cool stuff. Sammy Parisi comes to mind, he is a future pier king for sure.
There are so many things I love about pier jumping. First-timers conquering their fear and leaping into the air, the joy on their faces when they emerge from the water — alive! — and usually right back up to do it again.
I see it as a right of passage too: conquering that fear is part of growing up and it is really hard for some kids.
One of my other favorite things about the pier is how encouraging everyone is to the jumpers (adults as well as kids) who are afraid. The regulars talk them through it, and let them know they will survive.
Michael Prince is a Magnolia-based commercial photographer.
To serious riders, early October in New England is known as “North American Cyclocross Holy Week.”
It starts with the KMC Cross Fest in Thompson, Connecticut, is followed by the Night Weasels Cometh race in Shrewsbury, and climaxes with the CRAFT Sportswear Gran Prix of Gloucester, which took place last weekend at Stage Fort Park.
Cyclocross is the steeplechase of cycling. The sport is a mix of road racing, mountain biking, and running on an obstacle-filled course that snakes through every corner of the race venue. Races typically take place in the autumn and winter (the World Cup season runs from October through February), and consist of several laps of a short (1.5- to 2-mile) course featuring pavement, wooded trails, grass, steep hills, and obstacles that require a rider to quickly dismount, carry the bike while navigating the obstruction, and remount.
For the past 18 years, nearly a thousand racers of all skill levels have descended on Cape Ann for the two-day series, which is likely the only professional sporting event Cape Ann has ever hosted. The course, which masterfully uses nearly every inch of available space in Stage Fort Park, was designed by Tom Stevens of Bolton, Massachusetts, whom GP Gloucester executive director Paul Boudreau calls the “Christo of American Cyclocross.”
“Gloucester is one of the most iconic races in the U.S.,” Travis Livermon, a rider from Winston-Salem, N.C., who finished 10th this year’s top race, told Cyclocross Magazine. “It’s always great to spend time at that amazing venue.”
The top three finishers in this year’s Elite men’s division were Curtis White of Schenectady, New York; Michael van den Ham, of Edmonton, Alberta; and Daniel Summerhill of Centennial, Colorado. The top women’s Elite division finishers were Helen Wyman, a UK racer who resides in Oudenaarde, Belgium; Emma White, Curtis’ younger sister, also from Schenectady; and Crystal Anthony of Beverly, Massachusetts.
Christopher Zigmont, a cycling industry veteran, summed the weekend up best.
“There is something about that place. It’s got a soul,” he told the Boston Globe. “I’ve been everywhere in the world that cyclocross races, and little comes close to the aesthetic drama of Gloucester.”
Jonathan Kozowyk is a commercial photographer based in Boston and New York. Patrick Mitchell is the founder and content director of TheOtherCape.com
I first met Jonathan Kozowyk at Long Beach in the winter of 2002. It’s where my family and I laid our heads for awhile when we were between houses.
Jonathan and his brother, Christian, were living in the condo next door. We’d often bump into each other as I was loading my kids into the car to take them to school. The Kozowyk brothers usually had their surfboards in hand, as they were headed out to catch the morning swell.
Oddly, in the nearly 12 months that we all lived at Long Beach, the brothers and I never got around to talking much about work. If we had, we’d have quickly found out how much we had in common.
You see, the Kozowyk brothers are both commercial photographers, and I am a magazine designer. That, in the business world, is what we call a “synergistic relationship.”
We would later figure that all out and begin a fruitful collaboration that continues to this day. (And even to this page!)
• • •
Jonathan Kozowyk is a Massachusetts native and an avid surfer — two things that don’t necessarily go together. But he swears there are waves here, you just have to know when and where to look.
Which does explain why this surf fanatic has spent so much time on Cape Ann.
In addition to the Long Beach rental, Jonathan spent about five years living in one of the most iconic buildings on Cape Ann: Beacon Marine Basin, a historic marine building that sits on pilings above the harbor in East Gloucester.
Back in 2004, on the advice of his friend Jason Grow (another Gloucester-based commercial photographer), Jonathan snapped up the Beacon Marine apartment that Grow’s babysitter had recently abandoned for a move to Ireland.
The small apartment (one bedroom, galley kitchen) came with “an amazing porch overlooking Rocky Neck, Smith Cove, and downtown Gloucester across the harbor,” said Kozowyk.
Jonathan confirms that the place is legendary for its somewhat rowdy past. “It has had its moments. I think there was a pretty heavy party scene back in the day. When I mention that I lived there, locals get a kind of knowing look on their faces,” he said.
“I had a few parties myself — they were mellow — but there are lots of stories out there about that place. I mostly remember some pretty great grilling sessions on my porch,” he says. “And the smell of the ocean, though on days when Gorton’s was cooking up their batter and the wind was out of the NW, there was a whole different flavor.”
Occasionally, even the fish around Beacon Marine would get in on the partying. “Sometimes, on quiet nights when the stripers were out and about, I would wake up to this crazy splashing sound of them feeding on bait fish just below our place,” Kozowyk remembers.
“There was also a gigantic seagull — one of those weathered-looking birds who’d clearly seen better days — that would land on my porch railing and stare at me through the window, like creepy-close to the glass, while I was working at my desk.”
There were tough times, too, like the day “some scumbag stole my bike from the hallway outside my apartment.”
“The craziest thing that happened there was the day I came home from a late winter/early spring surf and I noticed that there was a ton of smoke billowing from one section of the dock. I noticed some little flames coming up from the spaces between the planks, so I grabbed one of the boat hoses, and just started soaking the area. Then I lifted up the planks that were smoking and saw that there were even more that were smoldering on the underside. I was freaking out! It must have looked bizarre to anybody watching. I was still wearing my hooded winter wetsuit, boots, and gloves, with a bathrobe over it all (because who wants wet car seats?). But I got it under control before there was any serious damage.”
I asked Jonathan if he’d do it again, given the chance. “Yes, definitely. It was a great experience. The people were mostly great, and those sunsets! The whole apartment would turn this incredible bright red-orange.”
These photographs are part of a personal project that Jonathan Kozowyk began shooting in 2008.
Jonathan Kozowyk is a commercial photographer based in Boston and New York. Patrick Mitchell is the founder & content director of TheOtherCape.com
I read once that home is not where you live, but where you’re understood.
I have two very different places that I comfortably call home, and where I’m fortunate enough to feel understood.
When I moved to Manhattan from Rockport, I was like all 22-year-olds who move from Small Town, USA, to the Big City: I was naïve and I was hungry. Hungry for something to happen, to carve out my spot in the world, to make The City mine. (I was also literally hungry because groceries are so expensive.)
But something else connected me with most other New York City transplants: I didn’t think I’d stay.
Like many before me, I saw the move as temporary — a trial. And there have been many moments — sometimes extended periods of time — in which I contemplated, and even went so far as to actively plan, my exit from the city that never sleeps. (Side note: the city actually does sleep, but only between the hours of 6 – 9 a.m., which is still alarming for a native New Englander who wakes early and has serious coffee intake requirements.)
But here I am, in my seventh year as a New Yorker, and I have managed to ride out the bouts of uncertainty and find myself one of the permanently-addicted victims of the constant chaos and mess that is this city.
People always ask me how I put up with the incessant hustle and speed of New York, and I always answer that I couldn’t if I didn’t have a safe harbor to come back to when I need a breath of salt air (which I still insist cures everything), a friendly face that has known me for over two decades, or when I’ve seen one too many public urinations. Manhattan has the speed, but my other island has the steady.
I am lucky — so lucky — to call Rockport my original home. I think of it fondly when I’m far, and return to it as often as I can. It gave me the quintessential upbringing and is one of those towns that felt like it truly belonged to us as high schoolers.
It smells like salt air, friendship, and Friday night games. Rockport raised me nearly as much as my parents did. It does take a village. And I’m lucky to have grown up in this one.
When I return to my little town now, I feel an immediate sense of calm. I’ve never been a patient person, and part of me was always jealous of my school friends who could go with the flow, and were able to stay, and survive, in Rockport.
My impatience made me leave, but the uniqueness of it makes me come back.
Rockport allows me to connect with that dormant flexible and easy-breezy part of myself. It doesn’t rush me, and in turn, I don’t ask it to speed up. The consistency of the place — right down to the characters that walk the streets and beaches have become part of the tapestry. It all provides me with a level of comfort and happiness that nothing else can. I like knowing it’s there for me, and that it always welcomes me back with open arms.
And that is what gave me the courage to leave it.
Despite Cape Ann’s tranquility, it’s a misconception to think of its steadiness and slow pace as a lack of activity. And it’s inaccurate to think of it as a lack of movement. There’s a quiet, but constant, undercurrent of creativity and ambition. It has instilled in me a love of art and of artists. And an adoration and respect for motivation, hard work, and authenticity.
It taught me that the best way to face waves is head on, and how to deal with the ebbs and flows that life will always tend to throw.
I’m always delighted to see the same galleries, shops, and restaurants survive, and I’m pleased when I see new breath add to the color of the community. So many people I’ve known for the entirety of my life have carved out their spot in the world there, and have hustled to do so. There have been updates and additions like there are in any place and it’s always a change when I see something new added to my constant, but even as my original home grows and changes and improves and expands, it never loses its heart. And I can only hope it has taught me not to lose mine.
Rockport makes the strong parts of me gentle and New York makes the vulnerable parts of me tougher. One couldn’t exist without the other, and I am so grateful to be intimate with both worlds and move between them fluidly.
New York has taught me who I am, but Rockport won’t let me forget where I came from.
Alexandra Saville, a Rockport native, is a public relations executive in New York.
Danielle Glantz, formerly of Short & Main, is cranking out her own brand of fresh-made pasta
Danielle Glantz is an athlete. And her current sport is pasta.
Glantz recently opened Pastaio via Corta — “pasta maker on a short street” — a fresh-made pasta shop on Center Street (a short Gloucester street) inspired by the ones she visited in Bologna on her last trip to Italy.
Glantz’s first sport was softball. She scored an athletic scholarship to the University of Hartford, in Connecticut, after a stellar career at Cathedral High School in Springfield, Massachusetts, where she played softball and won a state championship in soccer.
It was in Hartford that Glantz’s passion began to slide from the field to food.
Her skills were developed as a child, working at the side of her Lebanese mother and grandmother in her home in Agawam, Massachusetts. In fact, food is her family business. Her grandfather on her dad’s side ran an old-school grocery and fruit stand in Springfield. Her mother’s father was the grocery manager at the A&P there as well. Bold, fragrant dishes created with love in a family kitchen are her culinary heritage.
In college Glantz got her first opportunity in the food business at Firebox, an award-winning farm-to-table restaurant in Hartford. There, she was able to “follow around” the GM, Dan Meiser (the son of then-University of Hartford athletic director Patricia Meiser), until, as Glantz said, she “forced her way into the kitchen.”
That’s when it all clicked.
Glantz graduated early from Hartford and went directly to the acclaimed Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in Hyde Park, New York. While studying at CIA she scored an internship at Chez Panisse, the influential American restaurant and birthplace of the local- and organic-food movement, in Berkeley, California. The Michelin Star restaurant — one of only 12 in the United States — was founded by Alice Waters, often called “the mother of American food.”
After graduating from CIA — where she was also awarded the Young Professional’s Brillat-Savarin Medal of Merit, given to a student demonstrating excellence in wine knowledge — Glantz returned to Chez Panisse full time. Her first focus there was on the butchering of whole animals, which led to her “jump-starting” the restaurant’s charcuterie program.
It was in the Chez Panisse kitchen that Glantz first met Nico and Amelia Monday — the owners of Gloucester’s The Market Restaurant at Lobster Cove and Short & Main — who were also working in the Berkeley restaurant.
It turned out that Massachusetts was calling the three of them home.
After three and a half years at Chez Panisse, Glantz decided she’d learned what she could there, and that she was ready to head back to New England. The Mondays persuaded Glantz to come to Cape Ann to be the sous chef at The Market.
“I found my own town in Massachusetts that I loved,” Glantz said of Gloucester. “I learned that I needed to be by the water.”
She became the head chef at Short & Main, the Mondays’ then newly-opened restaurant on Gloucester’s Main Street, a year later. There she helped expand the menu to move beyond their gourmet pizza and oysters.
“I’m super rustic — I cook like a grandmother,” Glantz said.
But Glantz is on a learning-and-growing mission. And, having conquered softball, nose-to-tail butchering, and cheffing, she was ready for her next challenge.
“I wanted my own restaurant by the time I was 26,” she said.
• • •
While visiting her family in Agawam last summer, Glantz’s dad dusted off her grandmother’s pasta board and brought it up from the basement. It was her “Aha! ” moment.
Pasta would be her next move.
She began planning Pastaio last September, after that family trip to Bologna, where she was inspired by seeing “all the little pasta shops” there. Bologna is the hometown of mortadella, tagliatelle, and ragù. But it’s especially famous its tortellinis.
“I believe that good food should be available to everyone. When I thought about opening my own business, I thought, if I’m entering the market as someone who is honestly concerned about farm-to-table living and sustainability, I’ll start with pasta,” a product she said she can make with local, healthy, and accessible ingredients like wheat, eggs, milk, and vegetables.
“There are enough farms on Cape Ann to support all of our restaurants,” says Glantz.
While working under Chez Panisse chefs Jean-Pierre Moulle and David Tanis, Glantz said she saw that purchasing locally meant more than just the promise of better-tasting dishes. It meant a commitment to the community.
And the Gloucester community is responding.
Pastaio via Corta opened for business on June 18. Recently, a man in bright orange running shoes that matched his silver-and-orange motorcycle helmet sat on the bench at Pastaio for a good 45 minutes.
“He just wanted to talk about homemade ricotta cheese,” Glantz said.
Another time, a woman popped into the store. “I came here for your burrata,” the woman said. “My mother says it’s the best she’s had in her entire life — and she lived in Italy for years.”
Glantz makes all of the pasta by hand in her shop. She makes four basic types: short, stuffed, long, and pastina (soup pastas). And she always makes at least one variety using Alprilla Farm-milled whole wheat fresh from Essex.
On a typical day you can walk into the sun-filled shop and see Glantz standing behind the counter rolling dough into long threads, breaking off thumb-size pieces for gnocchi, and then rolling each on the wooden board that imprints the signature gnocchi lines. Or she’s pressing tiny disks of pasta into orecchiette. Two days a week, she makes ravioli with fillings like ricotta, mascarpone, parmigiano-reggiano, cardoons, squash blossoms, olives, and basil.
“I’m just a girl making pasta,” says Glantz with a smile.
► Pastaio via Corta, 11 Center Street, Gloucester. (978) 868 5005. In addition to her pastas, Glantz makes burrata, mozzarella, and stracciatella every week, but it disappears almost as quickly as she makes it. If you’re not feeling lucky, call ahead. The shop is open every day, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.-ish. In addition to what she sells in the shop, Pastaio products are currently on the menu at Passports in Gloucester, Feather & Wedge in Rockport, Riversbend in Essex, and Lula’s Pantry in Rockport carries her dry pastas.
Portions of this article originally appeared in the Gloucester Daily Times.
Heather Atwood is a Gloucester-based freelance writer. She is a frequent contributor to the Gloucester Daily Times. Her first cookbook, In Cod We Trust: From Sea to Shore, the Celebrated Cuisine of Coastal Massachusetts, is available at Amazon. Shawn Henry is a Gloucester-based editorial photographer.
A couple of ensembles — usually a piano trio and a string quartet — would come to town each week. One night each they’d perform by themselves. The next couple nights they’d mix and match for variety. That’s how the Rockport Chamber Music Festival was born.
Three decades later, the popular summer series had outgrown its quaint roots in the Rockport Art Association. The 1800s barn-converted-to-gallery was picturesque enough, but creature comforts were at a minimum — to say the least.
That’s how the Shalin Liu Performance Center was born.
The transformation from a summer chamber music festival to a year-round entertainment center — featuring performers like Wynton Marsalis, Yo-Yo Ma, Judy Collins, and others — took guts. And around $20 million. But the Shalin Liu Performance Center [SLPC] has made Rockport a destination for devotees of all kinds of music, raised its international profile, and contributed to a optimistic upsurge in what Cape Ann looks and feels like.
Now called Rockport Music, the organization is led by executive director Tony Beadle, who previously directed the Boston Pops, the Columbus Symphony, and other large music presenters. Beadle, who joined Rockport Music in February 2010, just months before the Shalin Liu Performance Center opened, had a complex task: to grow a chamber music audience into a multiple audiences, and to convince a skeptical public that Rockport could be a suitable destination for an evening’s entertainment.
The glittering performance center helped. Designed by Epstein Joslin Architects, its gorgeous full-length window, backing the stage and looking northward out to sea, defines the interior. Majestic iron beams support the ceiling, and the engineered stone interior provides a unique visual experience.
The acoustics are incredible. Carefully conceived by Lawrence Kirkegaard, perhaps the foremost acoustician in the world, it was designed for chamber players.
Designed so a singer could produce the most delicate pianissimo tones, and still be heard in the balcony. So that a string player could play a single pizzicato note, and reach everyone. So that everything could be heard, even unamplified, with utmost clarity.
Building the SLPC required ingenuity. Around 2005 the Rockport Music board began searching for alternatives to the charming but impossibly uncomfortable Art Association. Many options were considered, but it became apparent that creating a new space would be the best one.
Raising the money would prove hard enough, but finding a site — and convincing the notoriously staid Rockport community that a year-round concert hall would be a plus — were even more daunting.
The Haskins Building provided one answer. The 1860s Second Empire structure on Main Street was torn down, but — ceding to town planners — the architects created an almost exact replica of the street-side façade. It was the interior, and the inner-workings of the original Rockport Chamber Music Festival [RCMF] as well, that changed completely.
“We had to create a destination,” says Beadle of the transformation. “We had a new hall, and Rockport had always been a summer destination for tourists. We did have the summer festival, and by then a week of jazz artists. But we had to get people’s attention.
“It started slowly,” he says, “but not that slowly.”
Beadle, with what soon became a full-time, professional staff — as box office personnel, development staff, and marketing professionals replaced a small group of volunteers — went to work.
The chamber music audience grew — RCMF is one of the most high profile festivals in the world, along with Ojai, and Salzburg, and Aspen, and other tucked-away venues that dot the seasonal landscape. The jazz audience — “about ten or fifteen percent of the total,” Beadle says — was a pleasant surprise.
And pop artists — the “legacy category,” Beadle calls them, were a big surprise. “Livingston Taylor, Judy Collins, Tom Rush — they are audience pleasers, and they still sound great. We blend them in with American roots music, and younger singer/songwriters.”
Other special events, like the hugely popular Metropolitan Opera live simulcasts, as well as similar broadcasts from the National Theatre of London and the Bolshoi Ballet, filled out the schedule. Community-based educational events, almost all of them free, are another piece of the puzzle.
“The performance center was built to please the chamber music audience,” he says. “But once we got going, we knew we had to cast our net wider, and present music that other people like as well. And it’s happened. Many of our largest supporters don’t even like chamber music.
“All along we’ve kept the hall itself in the picture,” he says. “Our brand is not Rockport Music. It’s the Shalin Liu Performance Center. When artists come here, they love the intimacy. (Trumpeter) Chris Botti said to me that it was great to be able to see people’s faces instead of an ocean of black.
“The arts are no longer relegated to the large cities,” Beadle insists. “People want to support the quality of life where they reside.”
► The Shalin Liu Performance Center presents hundreds of live performances, educational events and simulcasts each year. For a complete listing visit Rockport Music or call (978) 546 7391.
You know those moments when a precious dream is shredded by an injection of unwelcome reality? This happened for me when I heard professional journalist Jake Tapper blow an interview on a nationally syndicated radio program where he’d been invited to pimp his new book about a serious issue. It went something like this:
NPR Host: This is indeed a serious issue, and it affects us profoundly as has been shown by recent events...
Jake Tapper: Yes, as I say in my serious and for sale book, some of the many consequential implications of the issue are ...
Small Child: Do you know where Mommy is?
NPR Host: ...
Jake Tapper: …
NPR Host: ... Uhhhh
Jake Tapper: ... I have to go ….
NPR Host: ... We seem to have just lost Jake Tapper …
Funny, right? Not for me.
You see, I live in Gloucester, Massachusetts, a historical seaport about 40 miles north of the Boston/Cambridge brainzone. For years it was a minimum five hours a day spent just getting to and from work downtown, much like those Tibetan monks who have to climb a Himalayan mountain every day to reach their monastery. Just replace “avalanche danger” with “30-minute delay due to wet leaves on tracks” and it’s essentially identical.
During those times, crammed between several hundred fellow commuters on a stalled train, I’d utter an oath to someday quit riding the rails, toiling for other peoples’ bottom lines, and create an independent gig for myself and maybe a few other super-cool, like-minded people. The pinnacle of this imagined life revolved around the perceived bliss of “working from home.”
So when the opportunity to leave corporate serfdom behind finally presented itself, I jumped. As if on cue, my life soon became a Jake Tapperian hellscape.
• • •
Years ago, my wife and I were foolish enough to have bought into that “attachment parenting” thing they were recommending at the time. As a consequence of creating an “unbreakable bond” between us and our children, we found you can never get the little bastards to “leave you alone” for, like, five minutes.
Even when they are slightly older, they still want to take up your precious time by, say, talking to you, asking for advice and wisdom, and showing you endless YouTube videos, some of which are actually hilarious and involve cats and hedgehogs and DID WE JUST SPEND THREE HOURS WATCHING BABY OWLS WEARING HATS HOLY SHIT I’M ON DEADLINE HERE!
Producing anything useful from home was obviously impossible, but I reminded myself I’m a self-directed mobile worker like the people in all those cell-phone commercials except, you know, dorkier. Like them I have a multi-sectioned backpack crammed with expensive wireless technology, and “I’m so all up in the cloud I need to file a flight plan with the FAA before I leave the house” would be a joke I’m trying to make, but I’m not sure if it’s working, really.
Anyway, assuming I could get anything done in the town where I live also turned out to be extremely wrong. Gloucester’s motto could be “cras repellens” (look it up, Latin fans). When my hipster cousins come up from the city and are all, “Wow, you guys really know how to do retro,” I am forced to explain that people here dress in flannel because they actually work outside.
Also, many individuals cycle, not to be cool or healthy, but because our Commonwealth’s court system has determined this is the vehicle they are still permitted to operate through process of elimination.
Overall, Gloucester is assuredly authentic and mostly charming, but if your household income is extracted not from the sea, but instead, the 24-hour, hyper-connected, data-infused global marketplace, working from here can be like trying to conduct laser microsurgery with a butter churn. Made of rocks.
Thus, presented below are all the ways I failed at living the digital life in America’s Oldest Seaport, presented for your infomusement:
The Hipster Coffee Shop
The natural location for the office-free worker, where the java flows nonstop and the vibe says “cool.” In ours, I once saw a patron set up a standing desk with an extensive set of external hard drives and a 27-inch HD monitor. That dude was clearly not from here.
Day to day you’re much less likely to see a fellow creative-class worker than my elderly aunt — it’s a small town — and her book group. She at first tries not to interrupt beyond vigorous waving because of my headphones and knows I’m jamming on my new thing, but initial resistance will be overcome by a need to connect her iPad to the network.
Also, there’s the constant risk of someone on one of my virtual teams messaging, “Let’s jump on a call.”
Taking a work call in the middle of a coffee shop is rude under the best of circumstances, but add the factor the espresso machine in there sounds like a stricken 747 trying to make an emergency landing at a monster truck rally, and you can see why this venue came up short as a long-term solution.
But if it’s all about the joe for you, try these:
The Lone Gull Coffeehouse, Gloucester: The coffee is second-to-none, great baked goods, folks hanging, reading and lap-topping; but it’s tough on the “don’t mind if I hog this table longer than the term of certain Pope’s” crowd.
Pleasant Street Tea Company, Gloucester: Yep, it’s a “tea company” but don’t let that fool you. There’s plenty of coffee. Good coffee. And the “monster” chicken pesto sandwich is not to be trifled with. The wifi’s good and if you’re inclined to recline, there’s a comfy leather sofa in the back. And, if you’re early enough, it’s yours all day.
Studio Crepe, Rockport: You wouldn’t necessarily go there for the coffee, but the room is the best on Cape Ann. The closest thing to a hipster coworking space we’ve got, and they encourage you to come and drain their wifi. Seriously. (They also found my wallet once when I lost it there, so I owe them a plug just for saving me having to cancel one zillion cards and get a new license.)
Dunkin’ Donuts, Everywhere: They’re ubiquitous, clean, and nothing says “I’m displaced” like sitting on one of the molded plastic chairs in the color of your favorite cake frosting for three hours. Fine for a late night “need to get the hell out” quickie, but long-term working from a Dunkies feels like you’re in a doctor’s office waiting room you can never escape.
• • •
Shhhhh. (The Library)
“You should go to the library!” a friend suggested. “They have free wireless and cubbies and it’s a purpose-built studious environment.”
Yes! The library is a great public service! We support our local library! But the problem is, again, the still-critical need for impromptu voice communication. At least at the coffee shop you could have a quick update with friendly team members who are bemused when your aunt breaks in with, “does it matter if I use capital letters?” No such luck at the library. Slightly worse places to take calls than the library are: 1) A wake, 2) Lined up for inspection by the senior drill sergeant, and 3) While the judge is speaking at your sentencing.
All four towns on Cape Ann have libraries. If you’re the “quiet type” try them all. Each is housed in a beautiful historic building. Just come to terms with the fact that, other than the staff, you’re likely to be the youngest — perhaps by decades — person in the building.
The Sawyer Free Library, Gloucester: Great location. Cool building. Plenty of parking.
Manchester-by-the-Sea Public Library, Manchester: More museum than library — though there are books — with a few cozy spots to set up shop. Plus, it must be by the sea ... it says so in the name. Free wifi.
Thomas Oliver Hazard Perry Burnham Library, Essex: First, why did Mr. Burnham need so many names? Second, it’s on the National Register of Historic Places, so there’s that.
Rockport Public Library, Rockport: All-in-all, a nice, clean building with a few nice workspaces and all-you-can-eat wifi. Not a bad thing that it’s kitty-corner to the Rockport House of Pizza. Not a bad thing at all.
• • •
Your Local (“Of course I didn’t spend my entire day at a bar, Honey!”) Bar
Feel free to go with your first assumption as to why this was a poor life choice, suffice to say: You know how you think you’re way funnier than you actually are after a couple of drinks? It turns out your “edgy” emails to clients challenging their outdated norms are much, much less clever also.
But if the 3-martini late breakfast/lunch/tea-time is your thing, try these:
Stones Pub (our top choice), Gloucester: There’s a booth in the back for impromptu meetings with local collaborators, the front feels actually pub-ish not like a restaurant where you have to be on display.
Magnolia 525, Gloucester: For our money, the truest “neighborhood bar” in the West Gloucester neighborhood. That means that everybody in there is working hard (not hardly working). They understand that you’ve got a job to do, and that you might actually do it better with a double Gin & Hate. They understand the working man.
Cala’s, Manchester: I once had a “lunch meeting” there. Closed the deal. Any questions?
Riversbend, Essex: Honestly, I haven’t been there. Yet. But I can totally see myself sitting by the window [enjoying an ice cold Bad Martha Flagship Ale and a platter of Wellfleets while I watch the sun set over the Essex River ] wrestling with tomorrow’s PowerPoint presentation.
• • •
Ah, The Park
One of the reasons my (remaining) clients tend to like me is I’m an “out-of-the-box” thinker. So, I thought I’d get out of the box. Literally.
On a nice day I pack up my long-duration Chromebook, phone, and a lunch and head into the great outdoors. I select a bench overlooking the harbor under a tree and get cracking. It’s then I learn the homeless are fond of chit-chat, which makes sense if you’re socially isolated and without anything pressing to do.
Folks keep coming over and, in nothing but the most well-intentioned way, ask me about my computer and what I’m up to. Considering I’m sort of on their turf, it feels impolite to try and brush off with, “Hey, I’m working here, m’kay?”
I roll with the distractions as best I can. At one point a guy comes over and starts slurring unintelligibly, so I smile and point to my headset. He thinks I mean a spot over my head rather than my ear. He looks up to see what he thinks I’m pointing at, but his extreme level of shitfacedness causes him to fall backward, trundling down the grassy slope losing his hat, one of his shoes, and the contents of his backpack.
After a few minutes of him all splayed out and not moving at the bottom of the hill I start to worry. But he’s snoring happily when I go check if he’s OK, so I head back to the bench and start packing my stuff.
The park = no good.
However, as Thoreau always said, a man needs fresh air (or something). If the great out-of-doors is for you:
Stage Fort Park, Gloucester: Grass, a gazebo, expansive ocean views.
Millbrook Meadow, Rockport: Because it’s there. (We’ve seen it).
Ravenswood Park, Gloucester: Just dirt paths and swamps, so not a great place to work unless you want to set up a makeshift hut and do it hermit-style. I recommend a squirrel pelt vest and a beard with twigs in it. It adds to the look.
• • •
Eventually I find myself on a woodsy dead-end, desperate for a quiet place to give a virtual presentation. Of course the police, well-attuned to any variations in the normal comings and goings of their patrol area, pull up alongside and I have to go on mute and explain what I’m doing and how I’m not there for anything drug related or to dump a body, ha ha. No sir, not at all.
The cop just rolled his eyes in the middle of my stammering plea of innocence, affirming I’m nowhere near cool enough to be a suspected criminal.
“You need an office, buddy,” he cracks, pulling off to go find an offender less fundamentally lame.
• • •
Hey, What About an Office?
Explaining to my wife I was risking prison to justify the expense, eventually I give up and rent a tiny office in a rambling historical building downtown.
This was great, for a while. I had my own space, could take calls, naps, and even hung some shower-liner panels on the walls to act as improvised whiteboards. But over time the physical surroundings of my new world headquarters began to deteriorate.
Water damage from a storm was never quite repaired. Removed hallway carpet went unreplaced. Heat refused to come on or go off with the seasons. The crack in the glass of the front door spread into a spiderweb pattern and eventually an official-looking “do not use” sticker was plastered over the elevator. A banister fell off the stairs and was kicked to the side. Mail and packages stopped being delivered.
Each week, more and more (and more), it came to resemble that building in Blade Runner where Harrison Ford’s character lived. I would hardly have been surprised to find Rutger Hauer sitting on a pile of junk in one of the empty rooms going on about “attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion.” The entire arrangement has a strong sense of temporality.
So where next, assuming I don’t wind up at a desk back in Cambridge on some kind of futuristic hover-blimp full of Virtual Reality setups and free, all-you-can-drink Kombucha? The new dream that’s supplanted my “work-from-home” vision has become one a group in Gloucester is actively trying to start: A coworking space.
If you haven’t experienced co-working before you really must try it. The idea is simple: shared open workspace, conference rooms, a few cozy offices, and separate areas for calls and meetings alongside essentials like wifi, a kitchen, and a semi-industrial caffeine setup.
The whole thing is set up for work. It’s like a cool startup office but everyone is from a different company and without the constant threat of layoffs.
The ones I’ve been to are chill in vibe and high in design, where most of the inhabitants are solo or in small teams (like so many of us these days). You find startups mixed in with folks who just need a place to work that doesn’t have the pressing demands of Lego and laundry pick-up, and others who need somewhere to give presentations and hold seminars. For the remote worker, it forces you to bathe and put on pants, reforging your relationship with the human race after living like a particularly filthy hermit with only houseplants and pets as companions.
If we had a coworking space here, I could work there a couple of days a week and spend the rest at my clients’ sites as needed, without my fledgling enterprise having to bear the major expense of a full-scale office. I could chit-chat with real people during lunch rather than scan the semi-racist Facebook posts of people I went to high school with.
It’s even more ideal than my work-from-home fantasy because it’s somewhere I will have no responsibility to vacuum, stock with paper towels, or wait for the cable guy to come sometime between 2 p.m. Thursday and when our sun exhausts its hydrogen fuel and expands into a red-giant, engulfing the inner planets. My aunt could even have her book group there.
I’m even willing to help set up the IT systems. The wifi password will be: “jaketapper” all lowercase, no space.
Alas, our coworking cupboard is bare, but there are a few, well, one, CAA (Cape Ann Adjacent) option:
Workbar @ Staples, Danvers: I’m not typically down with chain-anything, but these places popping up in major metros can be useful. If I have a lunch or later meeting in Cambostown sometimes I stop there, do an hour or two of work, print out some documents at the printer center at the Staples then head in after the traffic.