Our Journey Raising Two Children with Special Needs

This blog chronicles our life raising two children, Nicholas 14, diagnosed with Prader-Willi Syndrome and Weston 17, diagnosed with Autism/Asperger's/ADHD. It's the ups, the downs, the joys, the sorrows and most importantly, the beauty of living a life less perfect, a life more meaningful.

Monday, July 8, 2013


It's spelled Gloucester.

But if you pronounce the name of this city correctly, then we know you are from..."rownheeah"  (around here)

It is pronounced "Glaw...stah"

We spent the 4th of July combing the beautiful sights of this ocean city.

Gloucester is located on Cape Ann. Did you know Massachusetts has two "capes"?

There is Cape Cod, the one that everyone knows.

And then there is Cape Ann, the very small arm that juts out into the sea, just north of Boston. Gloucester was discovered in 1623 by a group of English men from the Dorchester Adventure Company. They settled the city well before Boston, which was founded in 1630.

Gloucester is the (dark) red shaded area on this map of Massachusetts.

What I love about Gloucester:

It's history:

Gloucester and the neighboring town of Essex, were well known ship-building cities. Here, the very first "schooner" ship was launched in 1713. A schooner typically has only two masts, with the foremast shorter than the mainmast. These were used primarily for fishing as they were noted for their speed, handling and windward ability.

This is the schooner ERNESTINA, built in 1894, it is the oldest surviving Grand Banks fishing ship and the only surviving 19th century Gloucester-built fishing schooner. It has been named the official vessel of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
This is a photo of the fish drying process. Before the days of refrigeration, fish caught from schooners was dried on "fish flakes," the long racks you see here. (Can you imagine the smell of all this drying fish?)  
Sight seeing:
There are some very cool things to check out if you are in Gloucester, one of them is Hammond Castle:
In 1926-1929 John Hays Hammond Jr, a local eccentric/scientist built this castle as his home. He used it as a place to store his collection of interesting artifacts. It is a great place to explore, take a tour and marvel at the ocean views.
Lots of folks get married here.

 Of course since it was the 4th of July, the castle was closed.
Gloucester Beaches:
The next thing I love about Gloucester is its beautiful parks and beaches:
Stage Fort Park
Wingaersheek Beach
*Important note: water temperature on Cape Ann beaches is cold (even in summer)!
Cape Cod (southern locations) is more influenced by the warm waters of the Gulf stream, so if it is warm water you seek, head to Cape Cod

During our visit to Gloucester, we visited the Seven Seas Wharf, one of the oldest commercial fishing ports in America. Early settlers used the wharf to process fish. The fish was dried on fish flakes and sent to England and South America in exchange for salt, clothing and other goods.

Today it is used by fisherman to stow and repair nets, maintain vessels, fuel boats and load/unload lobster and fish like cod, haddock, flounder, whiting and ocean perch.

Lobster traps stacked and docked at the wharf
Weston and Nick at the wharf.
If you look way in the back of the photo you will see a building with a tall smoke stack (to the left of Weston's shoulder).
This is the old Tarr and Wonson Paint Company

This is one of the most iconic landmarks in Gloucester. Built in 1863, this company manufactured a copper based paint that was used on the hulls of ships to prevent rot. Vacant since the 80's, it has been recently purchased by Ocean Alliance, a non profit company who is seeking to increase public awareness of the importance of whale and ocean health through research and public education. It will be open and available for folks to visit this summer.
Back on the Seven Seas Wharf, this is the Gloucester House, a local seafood restaurant

We had a wonderful 4th of July holiday dining on fresh fish and scallops and touring the sights of this beautiful city. We visited a local gift shop where Nicholas purchased a lighthouse candle to add to his collection.

So if you are ever in the area, be sure to check out Gloucester, but just remember to pronounce it correctly!