We had planned to visit the Essex Shipbuilding Museum, but we first stopped by its adjoining shipyard. So many were the fascinations, that we never left. From Richard, a boat carpenter, we learned not only about the volunteer operation of the shipyard, but also about several local, environmental issues of great concern to him. At our parting, when I complimented Richard for his deep grasp of these issues, he quoted Socrates: "An unexamined life is not worth living."
From its earliest days to World War II, Essex, Massachusetts was a boat-building center. In 1998, the Museum commissioned the Lewis H. Story (shown here under repair). It was a re-creation of the chebacco boat, a small, two-masted fishing vessel. The chebacco became a precursor to the grand fishing schooners later built in great numbers in the Essex area. The Lewis H. Story serves as the museum's flagship and roving "ambassador." Today, the town economy centers on the antique trade, and the many restaurants serving the famous Essex clams and other locally caught seafood.