David Calvo first picked up woodcarving as a college student at the University of Massachusetts more than 30 years ago. Since then, he's consistently showcased his skills at international woodworking trade shows, on nationally televised PBS programs such as The Woodwright's Shop and American Woodshop, and in woodworking-centric magazines, including Popular Woodworking and Woodshop News. David's studio splits its time between contemporary and classical styles, and its work?ranging from ornaments and furniture to custom-carved doors and fine art reliefs?has inhabited an impressive lineup of venues, including the Statue of Liberty Museum and Harvard University's renowned Sanders Theatre. Students hoping to learn the woodcarving craft can have David and his staff whittle skills and tips into their brains during a variety of classes, seminars, and multiday workshops offered at the studio.
Cape Ann Lanes entices pin topplers into its outer-space-theme environs with 20 sleek lanes and automatic scoring seven days a week. For two action-packed hours, don rental shoes to solo terrorize 10 pins, or bring along up to three friends, family members, or younger siblings dressed as bowling balls as backup. A cheesy pizza melts away competition-induced hunger, and a pitcher of icy soda keeps throats from asking uncomfortable personal questions of fellow lane occupants.
There's a reason Cape Ann Brewing Co. names so many of its beers in honor of fishermen, and it's not just because the brewery is located along Gloucester's historic harbor front. It's also because the beers boast the same bold character as the sailors in the North Atlantic fishing fleet, whether that's expressed in the toasty malt of Fisherman's Brew amber ale or the spicy bite of Fisherman's Pumpkin Stout.
Visit the brewery and you'll get to experience these flavors firsthand. While sipping the on-tap options or telling tall tales about the largest fish they ever befriended, visitors can also chow down on Cape Ann's pub eats, which range from burgers and chicken wings to steak tips and baked haddock. An outdoor harbor-side patio beckons during warmer months, but inside, cozy vibes and long beer hall?style tables set the stage for nightly events, including trivia, open mic performances, and local acts.
When the Ice Age ended more than 15,000 years ago, melting glaciers created the saltwater estuary that today sustains the Essex River’s myriad boaters, clammers, and fisherman. Amid this naturally beautiful backdrop, Essex River Cruises and Charters floats its two handsome spectator vessels, the Essex River Queen I and the Essex River Queen II. Guides lead daily, narrated cruises through the estuary, navigating the protected waters and pointing out the various local flora and fauna of the salt marsh.
Cruises embark daily from May to October and also include weekend cruises accompanied by coffee and muffins, during which passengers are serenaded by the plaintive cries of pelicans begging for the love of a good man. The fleet is also available for group tours and charters for up to 100 passengers at a time, and the staff caters signature clambakes and other events along the tidal beach. The cruise-curators even make big days memorable, transporting wedding parties to any of the many secluded tidal beaches in Essex Bay for ceremonies or receptions.
Capt. Bill and Sons Whale Watch started more than 50 years ago, but the late Captain Bill Cunningham can't take full credit for his business' creation. In many ways, the whales themselves founded the company, though they still made Bill do all of the paperwork. Capt. Bill and Sons originally chartered deep sea fishing trips, but the anglers would often get distracted when a humpback or minke whale breached the surface. Seeing how the majestic mammals awed his passengers, the company decided to stow its fishing rods and set out on whale-watching tours instead.
Today, the Capt. Bill and Sons team?which includes son Marc?welcome whale-watchers aboard their two-tiered ship, the Miss Cape Ann. Once they head out into the water, the experts share tips on spotting whales and insights into the animals' behavior, biology, and social structure. Passengers should look sharp for other species as well, as the waters around Stellwagen Bank and Jeffreys Ledge are also home to Atlantic white-sided dolphins and harbor seals.
Inside The-Painting-Party’s inviting brick and hardwood studio, aspiring artists of all ages unlock their creative abilities to create framable works of art. Under the tutelage of an experienced painter, participants follow step-by-step instructions to produce their own interpretation of the party’s project. Past projects have included pastoral landscapes, Van Gogh’s Starry Night, and Van Gogh's lesser known work, Pitch-Black Night. To get their creative juices flowing, of-age artists are encouraged to bring their own beverages to evening events.