is an interview series to highlight and celebrate Essex Heritage’s diverse community of partners and supporters. This fall we asked Thomas Mac Donald, Director of Sales for the Hawthorne Hotel -- and just elected to our Board in October 2015 -- to share his view of Essex Heritage and why he loves the Essex National Heritage Area.
Are you an Essex National Heritage Area (Essex County) native? If not, when and why did you move here?
I am not a native. I moved to this area in 1997 and have lived in Salem ever since.
What do you find most inspiring about the Essex National Heritage Area?
The variety of fascinating and historic places to visit that are kept in almost pristine condition.
What is your favorite place in the Essex National Heritage Area?
I think I’m partial to the Salem Marine Society. I joined the Hawthorne Hotel in 2008 and became aware of the society’s mission and its unique place in America’s maritime history. Being raised in Bermuda with a love of the sea, discovering the SMS was very thrilling.
When did you first become involved with Essex Heritage?
Four years ago I began giving tours of the Salem Marine society during Trails & Sails.
What is your most memorable Essex Heritage moment, event, or program?
In 2014 the attendance to tour the Salem Marine Society during Trails & Sails was overwhelming. I needed to add as many people as possible to each tour and also added two more tours that were not scheduled because I didn’t want to disappoint anyone.
Essex Heritage is important to me because…
There are elements in the past that are always worth preserving. It gives one a sense of where we have progressed and an appreciation for how things were done back in an era when life was not so clean and convenient.
Essex Heritage is important to our region, our state, or our nation because…
I have worked in the tourism and hospitality industry for over twenty years. I guess one could say being born in Bermuda I have always been in the tourism industry. Essex Heritage is important because it puts on display the vast array of accomplishments by those that came before us. It is because of this that Essex Heritage has become a valuable way of educating people of other countries and cultures as to the development of the human pioneering spirit that built the character of Americans throughout the centuries.
Help us continue to connect people and the places that make our Heritage. Become an Essex Heritage Member.