Saturday, July 31, 2010


The Beauport Sleeper-McCann House on Eastern Point, Gloucester, is a real gem. It is a forty room mansion built by one of America's first professional interior decorators. DuPont, Rockefeller, Henry James, Isabella Stewart Gardner, Okakura Kakuzo, and John Singer Sargent were house guests. Henry Sleeper mixed American antiques with kitch that was contemporary to his lifetime. Sleeper died in tremendous debt and it was great fortune that the McCanns bought the house intact and left everything in place. It was bequeathed to Historic New England, then known as the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities. It is open seasonally to the public for guided tours.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Hammond Castle Museum in Gloucester

John Hays Hammond Jr. (1888-1965) was an inventor, and was lucky enough to meet Thomas Edison, and travel to England as a boy. His father was a mining engineer. The son built the Castle 1926-9 as a gift to his wife. It is splendid overlooking the ocean with beautiful grounds.

Inside is his pipe organ; as well as his Roman, medieval, and renaissance art collection. There are stained glass windows and a covered court yard much as in the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. The little boys seemed to love the museum and the full body armor. It is possible to get there by public transportation on Saturdays.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Howling with Wet Wolves

Took the the commuter rail to Ipswich where I boarded the Ipswich Essex Explorer bus to Crane's Beach. Beautiful white sand and a spotless bath house. Then on to the The Clam House for an acceptable meal. The highlight of the day was a visit to Wolf Hollow , where I saw four wolves and one brown wolf/dog mix. There was a downpour so thankfully we were under a roof. The wolves got totally soaked and were very appealing. Cheese is their favorite food.

The director gave us a talk that lasted more than an hour and was very charming with explaining wolf pack behavior to the children. Wolf Hollow had been the idea of her late husband. It seemed a good deal for only $7:50. The Ipswich Essex Explorer bus cost $5 for unlimited rides including a walk on fee to the Beach. Tom, the driver, seemed to know everybody in town and was full of good cheer and excellent advice. The bus stops at so many other interesting restaurants, such as Woodman's, and historic house museums.