July 3rd Tides

Many towns on the Massachusetts South Shore celebrate the nation’s Independence Day by having a July 3rd bonfire.

That may or may not be legal in your town, and I advise you to check with local authorities before assembling a 20-foot Inferno… or just be really sneaky, get a few scouts on either end of the road and build the fire very quickly before the police arrive.

One thing that can screw up a bonfire is a bad tide. Ideally, a bonfire is lit at night, but not so late at night that it does not provide entertainment for the children.

That part isn’t hard, unless there is a 9 p.m. high tide. You either have to light the bonfire at 6 p.m. or drink beer until 1 a.m. and light it then. Not much good comes from lighting 20-foot bonfires at 1 a.m.

However, Uncle Sam is smiling on the Irish Riviera this year, as tides look to be ideal for bonfires.

Here are some local July 3rd tides, information, which is of course useful to people who aread not assembling semi-legal conflagrations.


Brant Rock, 3:53 PM

Scituate Harbor, 3:47 PM

Plymouth Harbor, 3:39 PM

Hull, 3:53 PM

Hingham, 3:57 PM

Cape Cod Canal, East, 3:47 PM

Cohasset, 3:52 PM

This puts low tide pretty close to 10 PM for most of these places.



Surf Check, 4/16/18

We went to Duxbury and Marshfield to check out the waves from a mini nor’easter.
Technically, it was some spelling of sou’easter, as winds came from the Southeast.
You could call it “Southeast winds from a nor’easter way offshore,” because I have been writing this column long enough to know that some people get touchy about these designations.
It wasn’t a bad storm, maybe a C or a C-.


We got to Fieldston, Ocean Bluff, Brant Rock, Green Harbor and Duxbury Beach.  That’s our author in the picture above, and Fieldston  (featuring Hardcore Logo) in the video below.




Two paths to Burke’s Beach above, and Ocean Bluff below.


This storm was a minor test for the seawall repairs.
The strong SE wind put the waves into SE-facing Green Harbor, and made life a bit easier for NE-facing Duxbury Beach.
Duxbury residents had no choice but to fill in their yards after the major erosion of the March storms, violating the “don’t do yard repairs until late April” guideline.
They seemed to hold up OK.
You can see the value of a good seawall down in Green Harbor, in the background, or Brant Rock, below…


As you can see, big boulders will be the order of the day until they replace the seawall.
End of an era… the infamous Public Stairs have been destroyed.
Homeboy had better get his Flag Game together.
My assistants running away… Burke’s Beach/Green Harbor below


Green Harbior has a sort of curve to it that makes it an optimal photo platform no matter where the storm winds are blowing in from…
The storm was impressive enough to overwash the jetty at Green Harbor.
The Brant Rock side of the channel took some shots, too.
I go to the Green Harbor well more than once, but never too often. We also have more Brant Rock, below…


Sometimes, you get a soaking on this job.
Seagulls were doing some air-surfing over the waves.
Brant Rock, I believe… and we finish at Duxbury Beach, below…




Surf Check: Brant Rock And Duxbury Beach

A large ocean storm just missed us this week, but it was strong enough to send surf back our way for a few days. I got there a day late, as someone else took that shot of the wave breaking on the house at the top.
Had it shifted towards new England a bit more, it would have been the 5th in 24 days. As it was, it still sent heavy surf at the South Shore and Cape Cod.
They also had an 11 foot tide, which you can see where the Cut River meets Green Harbor. Our photographer gets soaked at the end of the video below, filmed in Brant Rock.


I bet, in 1960 or so, there were two guys who are very old now, and they argued about wherever they thought the weak point of the seawall was. Whoever had that area above, and he may be dead now, was correct.
Brant Rock was named after Brant Geese, which nested on these rocks and probably some others. Ocean Bluff used to be called Hewitt’s Point, named after Jennifer Love Hewitt some guy named Hewitt. Hewitt got the land from a guy named Winter, who had taken to calling it Winter’s Island. However, Winter got tried for fathering his own grandchild, and that was all she wrote for Winter’s Island on the ol’ map. I think Hewitt may have even been that grandchild. “Ocean Bluff” sounds better, anyhow.
One can follow the Cut River into Duxbury’s Great Salt Marsh. The tide, as you might guess, was also high over here.
This is all old storm damage or old repairs, it wasn’t that bad when I was there, I should have gone to Eastham.
The poor public stairs lose by TKO to Mother Ocean.
Duxbury’s seawall was absolutely torn apart in March. The replacement wall is estimated to cost $4.5 million. 
Or, you can just buy some iron plates and roll a few boulders around…
There is work to be done beyond the wall, as well.
Crikey! As you can imagine, with seawall damage like that, sump pumps are working overtime… see video below:
Watch that first step…
That was a lawn, once…
The surf came over the wall a bit, but nothing like earlier in the month.
Buoys always get in the mix if we see them.
Looks worse than it was, and that is Duxbury in the video below…


Duxbury’s marsh in Saturation mode.
Powder Point (Bridge and Road) in the background.
The beach is level with the seawall in some parts of Duxbury.
Onward through the fog, to Clark’s Island.
Duxbury Beach, residential area, pre-storm, from above.

The Irish Riviera

I grew up on Duxbury Beach, an isolated neighborhood on a peninsula stretching out into Cape Cod Bay.

Duxbury Beach, a cottage neighborhood in the 1970s, was very much unlike Duxbury Proper. As is the case with any isolated kids (during the height of the Baby Boom, my neighborhood had 3 other kids in an area of about a square mile), I was different than the kids in town.

Many people who I went to high school with thought that I was from Marshfield. Others thought that I was “spiritually” from Marshfield, as Vegas villages like Green Harbor and Brant Rock were effectively closer to my home than any Duxbury neighborhood.

People closer to the truth (myself included, for a while) thought instead of a run of “Beach People” stretching from about Quincy to the end of the Cape.

In reality, I was just a citizen of Duxbury’s very small chunk of the Irish Riviera.


Hull, courtesy of Nathan McKelvey

We’ll be talking Irish Riviera today, to get your mind all proper-like as St. Patrick’s Day draws near. We shall explore what a Riviera is, why we have so many Irish, how so many of them ended up on the South Shore and whatever else comes into my head as I bang away at Ol’ Momma Keyboard here.

Let’s start by discussing what a Riviera is. The famous one is the French Riviera/Cote d’Azur, which is France’s coastline on the Mediterranean Sea.

The Cote d’Azur is a resort area. You know how they say that the French all take August off? This is where they go. British, continental and even Russian tourists also started arriving in droves. A 1763 British author wrote of the benefits of oceanfront vacations, and by the end of the 19th century, it was the thing to do.

Originally an aristocracy thing, this newfound (coastal people were generally thought of as a sort of salty hillbilly for much of history) love of seaside resort life soon spread down to the proles.

In the United Kingdom, factories would often close for a week or two in the summer to service and repair the machines. This would loose the workers upon whatever resort areas they could afford to get to. They frequently chose the seaside… maybe get a cottage on the Isle of Wight, if it’s not too dear.

This love of seaside resorts definitely bled down to the Irish. Pale and hard-drinking, they were the perfect candidates for the brief two-month-summers of Massachusetts beach life. They just didn’t figure it out until they got to America.


Marshfield, thanks to Annaliese Sviokla!

The Irish love America, and the 33 million of them here today equal about 10.5% of the US population. There are more Irish in America than there are Irish in Ireland.

As you probably guessed, most of America’s Irish live in California, followed by places like Texas, Florida and Ohio. However, those are just population numbers. When you get to the leaders by % of Population as Irish, your leaders are New York, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts.

Massachusetts takes the title via a robust 21.2% hit of Irish in their population. That’s about double the US average. Six of the top ten Irish towns in America are in Massachusetts, and we dominate the top 20, top 30 and top 100 as well.

Milton, MA 38%
Pearl River, NY 38%
Braintree, MA 36%
Collingdale, PA 35%
Marshfield, MA 35%
Scituate, MA 35%
Gloucester City, NJ 34%
Drexel Hill, PA 34%
Pembroke, MA 34%
Weymouth, MA 33%

The numbers are sometimes in dispute, and it depends on who you ask and what your terms are.

47.5 Scituate
46.5 Braintree
45.8 Hull
45.6 Marshfield
44.9 Avon
44.9 Pembroke
44.6 Milton
44.5 Abington
44.3 Whitman
44.2 Hanover
43.4 Weymouth
43.0 Walpole
42.2 Holbrook
41.4 Duxbury
41.2 Norwell
40.8 Hanson
17.4 Boston
23.7 Massachusetts


I’m pretty sure that she’s English, but she’s posed well

Fieldston (Marshfield) and Squantum (Quincy) sort of trade the title back and forth for Most Irish Neighborhood. Squantum is about 65% Irish, but the difference between Squantum and Fieldston is small enough that the birth of a set of twins or a multiple casualty incident on a road outside of a pub may tip the balance one way or the other.

Most of these Irish started off in Boston. Catholicism was prohibited by the Puritans in Massachusetts, so the Irish were either not coming or pretending to be Scots for a lot of our history.

In the 1820s, various projects like canals, roads and railroads needed cheap labor. Irish immigration skyrocketed. The Great Hunger, where a blight killed off the potatoes which the Irish had come to depend on disproportionately, scattered the Irish like a sort of Mick Pinata.

Two million Irish arrived between 1820 and the US Civil War. They were attracted to cities, where Irish communities were springing up. They were also popular (at least as labor) in any town with a mill. The influx was only slowed by the Great Depression.

More Irish numbers:

Number of immigrants from Ireland

1820-1830 54,338       1911-1920 146,181
1831-1840 207,381     1921-1930 211,234
1841-1850 780,719     1931-1940 10,973
1851-1860 914,119     1941-1950 19,789
1861-1870 435,778     1951-1960 48,362
1871-1880 436,871     1961-1970 32,996
1881-1890 655,482     1971-1980 11,940
1891-1900 388,416     1981-1990 31,969
1901-1910 399,065     1991-2004 62,447

My favorite anti-Irish quote, used completely out of context here… “You will scarcely ever find an Irishman dabbling in counterfeit money, or breaking into houses, or swindling; but if there is any fighting to be done, he is very apt to have a hand in it.”

Boston had 35,000 Irish (about 25% of her total population) by 1850. They have banged out 3-7 kids per family ever since. They also got scattered around, as the Irish tend to do.

How did the South Shore get so Irish? Were there mills all over Marshfield and Pembroke? When did the Eyes start arriving?

Yes, we did have some mills. There were even fringe industries that attracted Irish, like Irish Mossing in Scituate. Those features brought a lot of Green to SE Massachusetts. You’d also have Irish workers who had earned enough to get out of the city, looking for a more pastoral lifestyle. This was especially true of retiring Boston cops.

After WWII, and with the prosperity following it, many Irish returning from war took the opportunity to head for the sticks. The highway system (especially Route 3, which should probably have an Irish nickname like Mick Street or Paddy Road) provided access to what was already being called the Irish Riviera.

There was yet another Irish Diaspora that grew from the busing era. Any moneyed Mick got the heck out of Dodge when the city started getting ugly. Every town on the South Shore saw their population just about double.

Think I’m lying? Here are the population figures for both 1960 and 1980 for a few South Shore towns, and I could have drawn names from a hat in this region without screwing up my statistical model that much:

Plymouth, 14K to 35K

Duxbury, 4K to 11 K

Marshfield, 6K to 21K

Scituate, 11K to 17K (Scituate reached their Paddy allotment earlier, with the Irish Moss industry)

I’m not saying that the onus of busing involved poor Irish neighborhoods, but you didn’t see a lot of people fleeing Wellesley. The South Shore filled with Irish-Am families from Dorchester, South Boston, Charlestown, Hyde Park and so forth. I spent at least one summer as a Dorchester kid living on Duxbury Beach, dating a Boston Latin girl from West Roxbury who summered in Green Harbor. That’s straight-up Irish Riviera living, player.

With many South Shore immigrants from Boston, it was just a case where buying and building up a South Shore cottage was cheaper than sending your Irish brood (save the venom, your author is as Irish as a puddle of Guinness vomit outside of Triple O’s pub) of 5 kids to private schools from K-12.

Throw in a cycle or two of reproduction, and we are where we stand today.


There is some dispute as to the borders of the Irish Riviera.

New York (Rockaway Beach), Indiana, Michigan and New Jersey all have areas known as the Irish Riviera. However, once you start counting Paddys, Massachusetts can tell all of the other states to start thinking of a new nickname.

The Irish Riviera is generally considered to be the coastal South Shore. Many use a sort of river/tributary system based on Route 3 or especially Route 3A.

Some people include the whole South Shore, as interior towns like Whitman and Pembroke also sport large Mick populations.

Some go the other way, using a Scituate/Marshfield definition. Other people stretch it on to the Cape, to the Kennedy Compound. You still have heavy Irish numbers on Cape Cod, but you should also notice that those % of Irish in a town charts I put up earlier don’t have Sandwich, Orleans or Hyannis in them.

I’d personally run the Irish Riviera from Quincy to Sagamore, after which the Cape starts importing tourists and summer people of every stripe to f*ck up the numericals. Bourne is the first town in a long run of coastal Massachusetts towns that doesn’t make it onto those % of Irish in population charts, although they are most likely in the 25-35% (Editor’s Note: 27%) range.

Besides, the Cape Cod Canal makes for an excellent natural border.


Will the Irish Riviera ever lose her unique, Irish domination of the population base?

There is some gentrification going on. Those cottages that were owned by Irish families for so long get sold now and then. Many of these people are Yuppies, looking to flip a cottage into a coastal McMansion. The Irish make for poor Yuppies.

Many of the Branns and Egans and Carrolls (and even the also-Catholic Italian families like the Leones and Palmieris) from my old neighborhood are still holding out, although the veteran Brann that I spoke to tells me that the neighborhood just ain’t the same. The Kerrigans scattered across the world, from Plymouth to Florida to Arizona to San Diego to Australia. Even that Bowden kid is shacked up with a French girl on Cape Cod.

However, it would take some Third World birth rates from other nationalities to knock, say, Scituate down from 35-45% Irish. Since the Catholics frown on birth control, they may even crank out 5 kid families for generations to come. People will still flee Boston. Irish families that grew up summering on the Riviera will move there full-time.

Other Irish families buy up neighboring Riviera houses as the kids marry off, and build little compounds. There is one corner of my old Duxbury Beach neighborhood where you could knock on 3 different doors and still get a Deehan, and tiny Ocean Road North once, in 1999, had 6 houses owned by descendants of the same branch of the Flaherty family.

In the end, we’ll end up with a thinned-out-but-still-vital Irish Riviera. You won’t beat the Mick out of this area for several generations, if ever.


Duxbury and Green Harbor Seawall Damage


We hit up Duxbury Beach and Green Harbor to check the seawall damage.

Duxbury is trying very hard to cover up the disaster response. Media was not allowed down the road into the village. I say media like Media, real media, not me.


I saw Channel 5, 4, 7 and 10 parked beyond the road-blocking cop, denied access to the scene. I doubted that Cranberry County Magazine had more pull than WBZ, so I took out my National Weather Service ID as we approached the roadblock …”NEGATIVE” was my answer. We turned around, with me thinking “I am POSITIVE that we can get by this guy.” We parked at a friend’s house and hoofed it to Duxbury Beach.


FOX got through, although she was there before dawn and was smart enough not to leave.

The non-FOX media was not allowed in until the Governor needed a photo op… 4 days after the storm hit. This wasn’t a safety measure, as the media was kept out at low tide and allowed in at high tide. Work was ongoing at both times. Shady business…

Why all the security? I was able to drive down during the storm, and the town was driving reporters around in their new truck. This was before the wall collapsed, however- whole new ballgame after that……Could it be that Duxbury recently came up on the wrong end of the Who Pays For Seawall Repairs argument, and did not make the necessary repairs?
As you can see, the nor’easter took down big hunks of the neglected seawall. This is just one of several trouble spots.
You kow the storm was bad when it took trees.
…prolly from here
Not storm related, but this graffiti has been there in some form for 50 years and deserves an Internet presence.
Marshfield takes a back seat to no one in nor’easter stuff, so you know Green Harbor got damaged.
This breach is intentional.
Is it the end of the line for Duxbury’s public stsirs?
Back in 1954, these people declined an opportunity to plop a seawall in front of their property for $500.


We have a lot of shots, we will share them out over the next few days.

Forecast Confidence Increasing For Powerful Nor’easter

People along the coast should prepare now for a nor’easter that begins to hit us Thursday night.

We have a Hazardous Weather Advisory and a Coastal Flood Watch from the National Weather Service, and that will expand to include a High Wind Watch, a Storm Warning and a Flood Watch. Watches will become Warnings as we get within 24 hours of the event.

This storm has the potential to hit us with major flooding, both inland and especially along the coast.

There are several Uh Oh factors to this storm. For starters, it will be a slow moving storm. This means that the coast will undergo multiple storm tide cycles. 2 cycles of storm tides is a bad thing, and this storm could go 4 to 7 storm tides.

Those tides will be astronomically high, as you may have guessed.

That makes this storm an erosion machine, a beach eater, a dune killer… severe beach erosion is almost guaranteed.

A touch north of us, but telling…

We will also see N/NE winds from Thursday to Saturday. Gusts could hit 50-70 MPH, which will both pile water up at the shoreline (the tide never seems to go out that far during multiple tide storms) and fuel house-smashing waves. Structural damage is quite possible with this storm… so board up those windows, player. Structural damage also means seawalls.

This looks like a rain event for Eastern Massachusetts, but the storm track could alter that. It is not forecast to (the TV people have the rain/snow line around Worcester), but keep it in mind. No snow means that the storm won’t get a cool Blizzard moniker.

We should get a lot of rain, maybe 3 inches. 3 inches of rain would be 2 to 3 feet of snow, so be happy for this warming trend we’ve been riding.

The rain should start Thursday night, downpour all day Friday, and still be kicking like Kato on Saturday. The same goes for the winds and the tides.

If everything works out, we should have someone (possibly me) embedded on Duxbury Beach for a high tide or two. If not stationary in Duxbury,  we will hit the road for a Barnstable/Sandwich/Sagamore/Plymouth run.

Feel free to send us any storm pics, hit us up either here or on our Facebook page.



January 2018 Nor’easter Pictures

Our staff was all over SE Massachusetts as a nor’easter (blizzard to some, but only two of our staff really got snowed on hard) struck. Our people on Duxbury Beach got whaled on. The houses in the top picture are on a road about 200 yards back from the beach, and is from Diane Cheverie Mann. The wave hitting below was as fast as I can snap off three photos.


Yes, we did a lot of shooting from out of the car window. Every time we shot from near the wall, we got soaked. It was like after the tiger attack in Apocalypse Now… “Never get out of the boat.
This is us being too wimpy to get out of the car at another point on the same street (Ocean Road North, Duxbury).
Not storm related, but I never miss a chance to use the disembodied neon tuna from Sandwich Marina, especially if my phone or the odd storm lighting fail to catch the fence he’s attached to. We get back to the storminess as we drive through Duxbury in the video below.



We tried to catch the surf in a bunch of towns. We started in Sandwich, but it was pre-storm and we didn’t get any worthy ocean shots. Sagamore Beach was better, but we had bigger fish to fry.
This is where the Great Salt Marsh meets Duxbury Bay. Much of the flooding you see in the Duxbury pictures is actually the marsh flooding back towards the beach, which is sneaky if you just moved to the area and rightfully expect that your flooding problems will mostly involve waves breaking on your house. No waves hit any houses on Marginal Road or East Pine Point Place, but they had extensive saltwater flood damage. My boy Rollo lost a Jeep Laredo. Sara Flynn on the camera, btw…
We have had some complaints about South Shore bias, so we worked some North Shore action into the mix. This is Revere Beach, courtesy of Rachel Salvo or one of her students.


The video below is Brant Rock, I believe, up by where Charlie’s used to be.


I love this guy. I was gonna go chat him up, but I never disturb an artist at work. It’s like waking a sleepwalker, you just don’t do it.


Manomet, near the Lobster Pound or whatever they call that. Much of American history is shaped by the fact that Myles Standish and company didn’t get hit with a big storm like this until 1635, at which point they were already too invested in Plimoth to sail back to Europe and be like “They have winter hurricanes, f*** that place.”
I think this is the Fairview in Marshfield, right around Time To Get Away O:Clock.
Manomet is where the real wave action ends on the South Shore, but it is a good thing that they are perched on these cliffs. The lobsters at the Lobster Pound might revolt if the Pound went underwater, maybe start serving People Food.
I have been in media for some time, and I can say that it is never a good thing when the news van parks in your neighborhood. I always felt badly for the 60 Minutes reporters. I bet that even close friends got a bit nervous when they saw Morley Safer walking up the path to their house. It was probably very subtle and momentary, but I bet Safer noticed.


This video, I believe, is also Brant Rock. May be Manomet, I’ll edit this when I talk to the right shutterbug. (Editor’s Note… Brant Rock, up by the Fairview)


Courtesy of Sara Flynn, sea ice floating down Pine Point Place in Duxbury.
Courtesy of Rachel Salvo, cars flooded and frozen with seawater outside of Gloucester High School.
From Libby Carr, the Hummock River in Duxbury. Oh wait, that’s Hummock Lane in Duxbury, and it’s not of body of water… in theory, anyhow.


The adorable Teresa Neves, submitting proof that at least Taunton had a regular blizzard and not a miserable grey saltwater flooding horror show. More from Taunton below…


Jessica Allen, striking back for the grey fans in Brant Rock. That’s fifty shades of Nor’easter Bleak right there, hustler…


Duxbury Beach, below…



From Trish Hannan, a shot from Ocean Bluff.
My sister Sheila lost her stairs to this storm, and this may very well be the wave that took them. This is Duxbury Beach, btw…

Brant Rock, a day after the storm…



Duxbury Beach, also a day after…


Until next time, try to stay on the sunny side!

Duxbury vs Marshfield, 2017 Thanksgiving Game

KODAK Digital Still Camera
We headed out to Marsh Vegas for the Thanksgiving game against arch-rival Duxbury.
KODAK Digital Still Camera
Don’t be fooled by the pictures, as I was in Duxbury’s end zone for most of the game… and the “I” in question was Most School Spirit 1986 at Duxbury High School. Marshfield smacked us around pretty badly. The final score was close, but the moment-by-moment was ugly for a Dragons fan.
KODAK Digital Still Camera
Unconscious bias from a Duxbury kid, but here was the best picture I got of a Marshfield kid. Even though my boys took the L, it was nice to see Vegas coach Lou Silva go out a winner. Class act.
As if my holiday wasn’t painful enough, the concession stand sold me a hot dog in a tortilla wrap. I shared it with two opportunistic seagulls.
Parking your giant pickup truck in the FUEL EFFICIENT VEHICLES ONLY spot rules pretty hard.

Equalizer II Filming In Duxbury Today


When not killing bad guys, Denzel annexed Duxbury Beach and gave it to Brant Rock.
Equalizer II is filming in Duxbury today, using the Powder Point Bridge for a pivotal scene. 
A lot of the gear is being stored in the Duxbury Beach Park parking lot.
Filming is still on, in spite of a vicious windstorm The film features Denzel fighting bad guys in a hurricane, and would have looked mad wimpy if they had to not film the storm scenes because they were having a storm. Denzel might have to equalize someone. We didn’t get close enough to get a pic of Denzel, I’m in Fairhaven, these pics are from Sara Flynn and Becka Stamper.