Dog Walking in Dogtown

Dogtown StrongOver the weekend I took my dog for a walk in Dogtown.

Say that phrase and people almost instinctively conjure up a mental image of some dog nirvana but actually it’s the site of a long-abandoned town next to Gloucester and Rockport. One of the earliest settlements in New England, residents started leaving when they realized the ground was lousy for farming and fishing was much more productive.

As the population thinned out, the town got a bad reputation complete with tales of witchcraft and packs of roaming dogs – the genesis of the Dogtown nickname. It is difficult to find any traces of the town now but there is an eerie feeling hanging over it. Walking around it makes you understand what inspired H.P. Lovecraft to write the stuff he did.

keep out of debtAdding to the weirdness are the carved stones with various inspirational sayings.

These sculptures were commissioned by a man named Babson as a means of providing work to unemployed stone masons during the Great Depression. They are a major draw for tourists, dog walkers, and mountain bikers.

It is impossible to see this rock and not burst out laughing. It is wise advice and not one you hear often enough.

study-rockThere are rocks all over the place in Dogtown and it makes you wonder why the hell the settlers ever thought this was good land to farm.

Finding the inspirational saying amongst them without a map becomes a fun game of scavenger hunt. Some are easy to find, like this one right next to the trail.

sp-rockOthers are harder to find. I had to do a little minor bushwhacking and look at the backside of a boulder to find this one. There are 36 in all and I found about 10-12 during my hike.

intelligenceSometimes my dog poses so well I wonder if he actually understands the concept of photography. This shot required almost no coaxing.

get a jobAdvice takes on a whole new level of seriousness when it’s given to you unexpectedly by a 20,000 pound rock. The experience made me laugh out loud just about every time it happened. I am considering printing some of these, framing and putting them on my desk as useful reminders.

07-search-for-truthBefore I left the park, this conversation actually happened:

Wandering Person: “I am looking for truth.”
Me: “I just came from there. It’s over that hill.”


This is perfect music for watching snow fall. I break it out every time there is a snowstorm. Like today, April 4th.

Last year during a snowy night I went for the full effect by playing this album after lighting a candle and shutting off all the lights in my apartment. I live on the top floor of a large apartment complex and the snow looked beautiful as it came down on the surrounding buildings and trees.

My daughters enjoyed it for about a minute before getting bored and asking me to turn the TV back on and “When’s dinner?” But later my youngest said to my mother, “Daddy played some nice music when we had the snowstorm.”