Every now and then I get to combine hobbies—in this case motorcycles, movable bridges, and boats. I’m just back from a weekend bike trip to Gloucester to get my fix of New England fishing boats and towns. In Gloucester I stayed at the Crow’s Nest, the bar made famous by the book and movie The Perfect Storm. Upstairs from the bar are hotel rooms—nothing fancy, but they’re clean and relatively cheap. There is no extra charge for the stale smoke smell. That’s the Crow’s Nest in the background:
It was pretty chilly during the ride up. Like Howard Blackburn, I thought I would let my hands freeze around the grips lest all be lost. Unlike Howard, I got to keep my fingers.
Gloucester has one two movable bridges. This is the Blynman Bridge:
It’s a double-leaf bascule bridge and was built in 1907 to honor Richard Blynman. In 1643 he dug the canal—known as the Cut—that connects the Annisquam River with Gloucester Harbor. (See the comments for an interesting note about this bridge.) This shot shows the counterweights that assist with opening the leaf:
The bridge operator on duty was kind enough to let me in to the control house so I could get a picture of the control panel:
Nearby Essex was a center for shipbuilding. Of the estimated 6000 schooners built in Essex, seven have survived. Here’s the bow of the schooner Roseway (built in 1925), on the hard at the Gloucester Marine Railways for its annual haul-out:
The Gloucester Marine Railways have been around since 1859, making them the country’s oldest continuously operating marine railways.
This is the bow of the Evelina M. Goulart (built in 1927), undergoing restoration at the Essex Shipbuilding Museum:
Also at the shipbuilding museum is a sailing model of the schooner Ernestina (ex-Effie M. Morrisey, built in 1894). Ernestina currently resides in New Bedford. The model is named Effie M Morrisey Jr:
Here’s my dad, to provide scale:
The model can actually be sailed by a person lying prone on the deck.
The schooner Adventure (built in 1926) is based in Gloucester:
The oldest surviving Essex schooner is the Lettie G. Howard (built in 1893), currently owned by the South Street Seaport Museum in New York. In this photo by Karen, the Lettie is seen sailing wing-and-wing down the Hudson:
The Lettie was originally sailed out of Gloucester, and though this may ruffle some feathers here in New York, I think it’s time for her to be repatriated. She belongs in Gloucester.
Another type of Gloucester boat is the dory. This one was made in the dory shop at the Gloucester Maritime Heritage Center:
It was being raffled off to raise money for the Gloucester International Dory Racing Committee, and despite the confidence I display in the following video, I did not win.
(video courtesy of GoodMorningGloucester)
The original shack was destroyed in the Blizzard of 1978; what you see now is an exact duplicate.
Finally, here are some Gloucester fishing boats:
And some from Pigeon Cove:
For the complete gallery of pictures from this visit to Gloucester, please click here.