AMESBURY – Lowell’s Boat Shop will hold its 13th annual Holiday Open House and Art Show on Saturday and Sunday, with its Preview Party bash on Friday from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

The party — for Lowell's members, exhibiting artists and their guests — features live jazz, an open beer and wine bar, hors d’oeuvres, and first dibs on  artwork and silent auction items. Lowell's memberships can be purchased at the event.

The Holiday Open House and Art Show runs Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., and offers the general public free admission to this National Historic Landmark and working museum.

Lowell's, founded by Simeon Lowell in 1793, is the oldest continuously operating wooden boat-building establishment in the country, and the official birthplace of the fishing dory — the mainstay of New England’s legendary fishing industry, according to a press release.

Visitors can explore the historic shop with its numerous antique tools, well-seasoned posts and beams, and traditional skiffs and dories, all now decorated for the holiday season.

Festivities include live music by Derrick Feole and Dave Torrisi; a children’s workshop, where kids can learn to use hand tools and paint Christmas ornaments; visits from Santa (noon to 1 p.m.); a raffle for an oil painting by Ellen Doremus depicting Lowell’s Boat Shop from the river; and rum tastings with Rumson’s of Salem.

There is also a silent auction featuring a handmade wooden canoe, airline tickets, Boston Red Sox luxury box office seats for 10, sails on the schooner Ardelle, two tickets to the U.S. premiere of "The Wind in the Willows", jewelry, a lobstering outing with Lowell's Executive Director Graham McKay, and numerous gift certificates and items donated by area restaurants and shops.

The art show, titled "Wood and Water," includes paintings, photographs and sculpture inspired by local waterways, maritime history and Lowell’s Boat Shop itself.

The show represents many well-known area artists as well as works by OpArt, a collaborative program between Opportunity Works and the Newburyport Art Association that provides hands-on creative arts instruction to artists with special needs. All artwork is for sale and benefits the artist and Lowell’s.

Visitors can also buy fresh Christmas trees, Lowell's signature wreaths, holiday ornaments, locally made jams and jellies, and boat shop apparel and glassware with the Lowell's dory logo. There will also be unique wood products made by Lowell's volunteer woodworkers that can be purchased as holiday gifts.

Food is available for purchase throughout the day, and includes favorites such as PJ’s Famous Fish Chowder, Fred’s Cowboy Beans and Dianne’s Fine Desserts.

The Holiday Open House is Lowell’s main fundraiser and makes possible its youth educational outreach programs, including the apprentice program for high school students interested in learning the art and craft of wooden boat building. 

Lowell’s is at 459 Main St. in Amesbury. For further details, call 978-834-0050 or visit

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