I live in Upstate New York but I’m in love with New England: Amesbury, Massachusetts especially. I learned of its existence through a friend. I come from a rather small town in New York. There’s one streetlight and the “downtown” consists of the school and a tiny shopping plaza whose main businesses are a CVS, Subway, grocery store and dollar store. Businesses don’t stay in business where I come from so I fell in love with Amesbury’s beautiful, historic downtown during my very first visit.
Seeing Amesbury’s downtown with so many shops in business is a lovely thing! I can feel the residents’ pride in their community and their dedication to helping it thrive. I’ve shopped in a couple of the stores and purchased items for my daughters because even though I’m not a resident, I feel a great desire to help support the area in any way I can.
Whenever I visit Amesbury, the people there are so exceptionally nice to me I’m taken by surprise. There isn’t that level of friendliness where I’m from and most people don’t even seem to know I exist. In Amesbury, people say hi to me, give me directions when I’m looking lost and encourage me to put my artwork up even though I’m not from the town.
Yesterday evening after I was all settled and unpacked in the hotel in Seabrook, NH, I was trying to think of what I could do. It was cloudy out but still relatively warm and not raining so I decided to head into Amesbury and visit Lake Gardner beach. I wanted to see what the colors were like there and they didn’t disappoint!
The park was set to close 20 minutes after I arrived so after a bit of wandering around at Lake Gardner I drove into town and parked in the lot by Crave. It was just starting to get darker and walking around downtown with all the street lamps on was truly magical. I walked around by Powwow River Falls and tried to take pictures of things most people might not. I look at the world in my own unique way and I try to capture beauty that others overlook. I don’t know that I succeed but at least I try.
Eventually I wandered by Jon P. Mooers Artist Gallery and Studio on Main Street. I went inside during my June visit so I was just peaking in the windows at the displays. A woman walked out, greeted me pleasantly and suggested I go in because there were many lovely paintings inside. I couldn’t turn down such a suggestion so in I went. I’d only made it a few steps inside when Jon Mooers welcomed me and invited me to come into the back of the gallery because there was food and wine. I looked toward the back, saw a gathering of people, and thought that perhaps they were there to support the gallery. Unable to resist my curiosity and being rather hungry once I smelled food, I walked back. I saw Ed Justen from Workspace 36 once I got back there so it seemed safe to stay.
Jon was giving a speech about supporting local artwork instead of buying mass produced stuff from Wal-Mart and I found it quite interesting and on point. I don’t buy artwork, I paint it myself and my walls are overflowing with my creations. I truly understand the merit in buying local artwork and supporting local artists. There are tons of beautiful paintings in the gallery and I’m not sure my talent is anywhere near that level. If you live in Amesbury or are just passing through, I highly recommend you visit Jon’s gallery and take home one of the amazing creations hanging on the walls!
Once Jon was done speaking a well-dressed man in a suit started talking and I realized it was the current mayor of Amesbury, Mayor Thatcher Kezer. That’s when I realized that oops, I’d just inadvertently crashed a little pep rally for the current mayor. Rather than make a hasty exit, I remained where I was and listened to what Mayor Kezer had to say about Amesbury and the continuing efforts to revitalize downtown. I thought he made some very good points. I don’t involve myself with politics much but the fact that he was holding his rally at Jon’s gallery obviously showed his support of and belief in local businesses.
Once the speeches were finished, I chatted with Ed Justen a bit and then sampled the food and wine. There were three chowders to sample and I liked he one made by Jon Mooers the best. It had the best flavor and not too much spice. I’m not a food critic or taster; I just know what I like. There were many good appetizers there and I had one little glass of cold, sweet white wine, which is pretty much my favorite drink. I thought it was a shame that there weren’t more people there because it was a great spread and an awesome location for a gathering.
I didn’t get a chance to meet the Mayor (that probably would’ve been a bit awkward since I’m not a resident) but I did meet his wife and she was very friendly. She seemed a bit surprised when I told her I was from Upstate NY but I’m somewhat used to that reaction by now. That look of “You’re from NY? Why do you like Amesbury so much?” It’s a very understandable response. Perhaps my blog posts help explain my love for the area a bit.
As I left the gallery, Jon Mooers came out to thank me for coming and introduced himself. I gave him my first name and where I was from and he too seemed surprised. We chatted for a little bit and he told me about painting the mural across the street to cover up an ugly wall left exposed once an old wooden building was torn down. I complimented his work and we chatted a bit more before he had to go back inside and be a good host. Once outside I saw the sign I totally missed when I walked up. Apparently I’m good at seeing cosmic signs but not seeing tangible signs in big bold print…
I may not be from New England (yet) but I know what a good thing Amesbury has going and little old me will continue to do what I can to help out my favorite town.