Celebrating Dogtown Common

A Special Place

Dogtown is a wild area in the middle of Cape Ann. Its history, ecology, legends, and influence on writers and painters will be the subject of walks, talks, readings, and more. 

Saturday-Sunday, September 10-11, 2022

The Weekend's Events

SATURDAY based at the Dogtown-like landscape of Windhover Center for the Performing Arts, 257R Granite St., Rockport


  • "Dogtown Preservation": Cindy Dunn, chair of the City of Gloucester's Dogtown Preservation Commission
  • "Dogtown and the Fiction of Jonathan Bayliss": John Day
  • "The Nature of Dogtown": conservationist and naturalist  Chris Leahy, author of Birdpedia: A Brief Compendium of Avian Lore, The Nature of Massachusetts, and Birds of Mongolia 


Attendees are invited to join a guided walk in Dogtown to Whale's Jaw or make a visit to "Dogtown Artifacts," a special exhibit at Sandy Bay Historical Society with Leslie D. Bartlett, Cape Ann historian and photographer.



  • "The Archaeology and Indigenous History of Dogtown": anthropologist Mary Ellen Lepionka
  • "Place and Times: A Spatial History of Dogtown": Mark Carlotto, author of The Dogtown Guide, The Island Woods, and The Cellars Speak


Visit to "Dogtown Artifacts," a special exhibit at Sandy Bay Historical Society with Leslie D. Bartlett, Cape Ann historian and photographer.

BUFFET DINNER AT WINDHOVER UNDER THE TENT with silent auction of Dogtown-related items.


"Dogtown Common by Percy MacKaye": a staged reading presented by Windhover Center for the Performing Arts, adapted & directed by Peter Littlefield with readings by Peter Berkrot, Judy Brain, Duncan Hollomon, Cass Tunick, Brian Weed, and Deirdre Weed, and music by Kathleen Adams. Grace Schrafft will give an introductory talk about the history of witches in Gloucester. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY FROM SAWYER FREE LIBRARY Conference partner Sawyer Free Library has prepared a Dogtown bibliography for those who would like to read about different aspects of this special place. See the PDF. 

ABOUT THE WEEKEND "Celebrating Dogtown Common" is the theme of the Jonathan Bayliss Society's 4th annual conference and is the result of partnerships with the Cape Ann Museum, Gloucester Writers Center, Sawyer Free Library, Sandy Bay Historical Society, and Windhover Center for the Performing Arts. Support provided in part by the Gloucester Cultural Council and the Mass. Cultural Council.



Guided walks in Dogtown, led by local experts. Weather permitting, several walks of different lengths will explore different aspects of Dogtown's present and past. Walk leaders are Chris Leahy (nature and preservation), John Day and Monica Lawton (Babson boulders), and Mark Carlotto (cellar holes). 

AFTERNOON AT CAPE ANN MUSEUM 27 Pleasant St., Gloucester

"The Art & Literature of Dogtown":  Many artists have been intrigued and inspired by Dogtown's unique and changing landscape including Marsden Hartley, Louise Upton Brumback, Jan Matulka, Stuart Davis, John Sloan, and Helen Stein. More recently contemporary artists Ed Touchette, Gabrielle Barzaghi, and Les Bartlett have felt the pull of Dogtown just as earlier artists did. 

Writers have also flocked to tell the stories of the area including Jonathan Bayliss, Kitty Parsons, Percy Mackaye, Charles E. Mann, Roger Babson, Britta Karlberg, Anita Diamant, Mark Carlotto, Charles Olson, Vincent Ferrini, and James R. Scrimgeour. In this CAMTalk, Trenton Carls, CAM’s Head Librarian & Archivist, along with Peter Littlefield, Paul Lundberg, and Greg Gibson, will discuss the impact that Dogtown has had on Cape Ann's literary landscape. Leon Doucette, CAM’s Assistant Curator will highlight the area's impact on local artists.  During the event, two contemporary local poets will read original work inspired by Dogtown: Suellen Wedmore, a CAM Docent, and Heidi Wakeman, a Board Member of the Gloucester Writer's Center.

THERE'S MORE! - FRIDAY EVENING "DOGTOWN ON MY MIND" The Gloucester Writers Center kicks off its fall season with an evening celebrating Dogtown in the writer’s imagination today. Featuring storyteller Heather Atwood and writer and poet Diana Lynch, who will debut new work, and a reading by James R. Scrimgeour from his celebrated poetry collection Voices of Dogtown. Opening remarks and a poem from GWC Board President Jay Featherstone. Followed by a roundtable discussion and a reception. All conference attendees, and the public, are welcome to attend! RSVP by emailing Adam Tessier by Friday, September 2: adam@gloucesterwriters.org,

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