Archive for cape ann

Cats prefer a room with a view (who doesn’t?) at Cape Ann Animal Aid!

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I had my first visit to the Christopher Cutler Rich Shelter in Gloucester MA this week. I was amazed to learn of the thought that goes into the design of the condos for the cats! They prefer a room with a view – to better observe the wildlife at the great outdoors (!) at 4 Paws Lane, such as birds. They also thrive in designs (such as you see here), where their food is kept separate from their play and rest quarters. The divided areas offer privacy when their condo is being cleaned or food and water delivered. The two levels also offer an excuse for some cat stretching and jumping activity. I learned a lot on my tour by Rebecca Bayliss not only about the cat areas but the entire shelter. I think one fact that really impressed me was that when animals are being quarantined either because they are a new arrival or they are sick, the air in the quarantined area is also totally isolated from the air in the other rooms! Like all non profits, the Christopher Cutler Rich Animal Shelter is constantly looking for ways to fund their work and although the cat condos are not for sale, the naming rights are!

What is a “Walk Score” ?

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Walk score is becoming a new way that people evaluate a property’s location. It is a value from 1 to 100 and the higher the number the more conveniences or things there are to do within about a 15 minute stroll 0r a quarter mile. More and more people have come to value the healthy aspects of walking as exercise. Dogs which require frequent walking have become a bigger part of family and singles (!) lifestyle.  Americans are happily parking their cars, saving money by not purchasing gas and supporting small neighborhood businesses that are in their own neighborhood. As more and more people return to an urban setting  or a neighborhood style of living, local business creativity is booming especially in the eateries and coffee shop arenas. It is no secret that commuting is no fun, drinking and driving is not an option and most of us would prefer to remain in our own towns or neighborhoods. The more people interact with each other and become familiar with their neighbors the safer and more pleasant an area becomes! Passers by and acquaintances become friends. Nods become smiles. and before you know it a street or 2 or 3 is a neighborhood full of familiar faces! If  this sounds like something you value when you home hunt be sure and evaluate the “walk score” as you consider, location, location, location!

Walk score can be found for any (?) address in America at It is also included in the information that provides on their website.

The Legendary Tomato Release Day at Goose Cove Gardens

Just planted tomato plant

First time I heard this phrase “tomato release day” I was “what the heck does that mean”. In my mind I visualized tomato plants running on their roots (feet) with their branches swaying back and forth, as if they were set free from captivity….kind of like an “end of the world” scene from a movie. I was at Goose Cove Gardens in Gloucester and I was inquiring when the tomato plants would be ready for purchase. Tomato plants like warm weather, the hotter the better! Planting them earlier then consistent warm (60+) temps (day & night) does them no favors. Interestingly, you can plant them earlier, but they will produce no more tomatoes than when planted later!

Happy Tomato Plant

They pretty much just sit in the ground and shiver :) Barbara Dombrowski (and husband Hilary), the owner(s) and operator(s ) ( CEO) of Goose Cove Gardens for over 20 years does her best to insure the success of her customers and impart her plant wisdom to all of us Cape Ann gardeners.  One of the ways she has done this is by making sure we don’t plant her products at the wrong time. Goose Cove Gardens grows organically and features a fabulous supply of heirloom tomato plants. This philosophy has resulted in the famed “Tomato Release Day” at Goose Cove Gardens. Tomato Release Day is the Wednesday before Memorial Day weekend. Yes, it is very busy, yes the small parking lot is jammed, yes it is the best time to plant your tomato plants on Cape Ann and yes there are plants left to buy on Thursday! Not around the week before Memorial Day or too busy? Not only does Barbara do an excellent job of meeting demand, she does another tomato release day two weeks later!

Garden tomatoes

Greasy Pole at Fiesta

We caught some video Saturday afternoon: Gloucester’s unique Greasy Pole contest.

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How NOT to stage a house for sale …

I just came from an open house here in Gloucester. Nice property, expensive, great ocean views. But someone forgot to tell the seller that a huge “no no” is displaying any of the following:
  • Clowns
  • Dolls
  • Shrunken heads
  • Stuffed game, birds or pets
  • Guns
  • Any clown, doll, shrunken head or stuffed animal HOLDING a gun.

If you’re selling, it’s a good idea to hire an agent that uses a professional stager. Then take the stager’s advice and remove the things that could turn off a potential buyer. In this market, you can’t afford to offend anyone.

Flag’s up!

I love it when the big flag goes up on the Boulevard. Means “no more snow”. Does anybody know who put’s it up? Is it the city?

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Goose Cove Gardens…the calm before the storm, I mean spring!

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I love to grow things (flowers, vegatables, turfgrass) and will take every opportunity to be surrounded by green things. One of my favorite places (any season) to visit on Cape Ann is Goose Cove Gardens on Gee Ave. in Gloucester.  Barbara and Hilary Dombrowski the owners, operators, founders, ceo, cfo, brains, brawn, field hands…you name it (!) exude their passion for growing plants organically every time I visit.  We have had many a conversation over the fabulous qualities of our locally produced fish fertilizer, Neptunes Harvest to Barbaras own Goose Cove Gardens’ compost tea for plants. This very early spring I paid them a visit and Barbara gave me a tour of just some of what goes on at Goose Cove Gardens long before people like you and I show up to get our annual supply of flowers and vegetables.  When Goose Cove Gardens opens on Saturday, April 16, 2011 the efforts of all their planning and work will be on display for all.  How ever, if you would like a sneak preview…

TheGloucesterCast podcast …

Click here To Listen or Download The First Episode of The GloucesterCast


  • Joey Ciaramitaro – creator of Good Morning Gloucester and co-owner of Gloucester MA Captain Joe and Sons lobster company
  • Kenny MacCarthy – creator of The Cut Bridge and Gloucester MA real estate agent guru

Joey and Kenny discuss Gloucester / Cape Ann:

  • recent happenings
  • upcoming events
  • local real estate trends
  • dog and pet talk
  • sports, technology, social media
  • anything else that comes up along the way

Want to reach us?

Episode 1 link mentions:

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Give it a listen if you will by clicking on the link above. Knowing that we have a way to go we will appreciate your feedback on what you liked and what we can improve upon. Also feel free to leave suggestions on show topics for next week’s podcast.

What’s a Cape Ann ocean view worth?

Cape Ann MA Map

Like our diverse population, Cape Ann’s waterfront properties have dramatically different types of views. But for this analysis, let’s keep it simple and boil them down to 2 types: open ocean/endless horizon views vs. boat/harbor/beach views. Eastern and northern facing properties tend to be in the “open ocean” category with their dramatic sunrises, crashing ocean front and long horizon views to NH and ME. The boat/harbor/beach view properties tend to be on the western and southern side of Cape Ann, with many on one side or the other of the Annisquam River, a deep, tidal, salt water estuary about 5 miles long that’s open to the Atlantic on both ends. Gloucester’s long and wide working harbor accounts for the vast majority of the harbor views.

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Our $1M+ real estate market

With miles of beaches and ocean vistas, the Cape Ann communities of Gloucester and Rockport MA have permanent spots on the short list of MA’s “most wanted” ocean addresses. Nationwide, real estate parcels with water views are selling briskly and the Cape Ann market is no different. Over the last decade, 2005 and ’06 had the highest # of $1M+ “water” sales at 26 and 24 respectively. 2010 currently has 21 closed $1M+ transactions and 2 more that should close before the year is out. 2007, ’08 and ’09 bottomed out with 16, 17 and 16 sales.

The median $M+ sales prices on Cape Ann peaked in 2006 at $1.71M and is currently at $1.38M, about 20% less.

What’s it all mean? Sellers have finally aligned their pricing expectations and savvy buyers are getting “ocean views” for a lot less. Look for 2011 to be the year we’ll be talking about some day as in “I wish I had bought in ’11”.