Though it barely feels like spring, Easter is just a few days away! Grab your best hat and celebrate the season with one of the many marvelous regional events hop-pening in the next week (we hear that the Easter Bunny himself will be making a few special appearances!).
Andover Easter Egg Hunt
Saturday, March 28 | 10-11:30am
Children ages 2-10 will enjoy games, prizes, arts & crafts, pictures, with the Easter Bunny, and egg-decorating at the Andover Easter Egg hunt! An egg hunt will conclude the festivities. Pre-registration required at andoverdcs.com/events/egghunt.
Egg-cellent Easter Adventure at Appleton Farms
Saturday, April 4 | 10am-12pm
Go on the “Egg-cellent” Quest around the farm and learn about the journey from egg to chicken, collecting Easter eggs at each station to complete the Quest! Enjoy homemade refreshments in our Carriage Barn, visit with the calves, and play games in the stone paddock!
Rockport Community Egg Hunt
Saturday, April 4 | 2pm
The Rockport Division of the Cape Ann Chamber of Commerce sponsors an Annual Rockport Community Egg Hunt the Saturday before Easter for the children of the town each year. In addition to an appearance by the Easter Bunny, an assortment of candies and chocolates are distributed and the hunt also features a number of special eggs to be redeemed for prizes.
Easter Brunch at the Salem Waterfront Hotel
Sunday, April 5 | 10am-3pm
Our entire staff invites you and your family to one of the most celebrated dining experiences on the North Shore – Easter Brunch at Salem Waterfront Hotel & Suites! The Easter Bunny will be visiting all day for photos. Complimentary dining for children 3 and under.
For reservations, call 978 619-1120.
Easter Sunday Grand Buffet at the Hawthorne Hotel
Sunday, April 5 | 10:30am-7pm
Enjoy delicious food and meet the Easter bunny at Salem’s historic Hawthorne Hotel. For reservations, please call 978-825-4311.
Danversport Yacht Club’s Bountiful Easter Dinner Buffet
Sunday, April 5 | 12-5pm
Easter Dinner Buffet in the Garden Terrace-Featuring Carving Stations, Pasta Stations, Salad Stations and Delicious Desserts!
Easter Brunch Jazz Cruise on the Beauport Princess
Sunday, April 5 | 1-4pm
Join us for live jazz, a gourmet buffet brunch, a cruise around our lovely harbor and even an appearance from the Easter Bunny himself! It’s a perfect way to enjoy Easter with your family! Call early for reservations, this cruise always sells out – 978-865-3210
Seeing as it’s Valentine’s Day, we thought we’d bring you a little something sweet to celebrate (we admit it – we’re notorious procrastinators when it comes to Valentine’s gifts). Last year, we brought you on a delicious field trip to Harbor Sweets. This year, we took another field trip to Salem to explore Salem’s So Sweet Chocolate and Ice Sculpture Festival, an annual event that celebrates February’s defining characteristics: cold weather and chocolate.
Every year, just as love starts to warm up the chilly February air, Salem shows off its sweet side. Kicking off with a Chocolate & Wine Tasting event, Salem’s So Sweet brings 2 weeks of sweet, savory fun to help you fight off the harsh winter weather. The Golden Ticket, available at many participating businesses, is your key to special discounts and offerings throughout Salem. Receive 15% off your purchase at Harbor Sweets, fabulous discounts in the Salem Witch Museum’s gift shop, or try the delicious Salem’s So Sweet Special at Finz. Don’t forget to have your ticket validated – you can enter to win the wonderful Salem’s So Sweet gift basket. Could it get any sweeter than that?
Well, yes, it can! As you walk around the city, enjoy the ice sculptures placed around downtown. Sponsored by local businesses and attractions, these sculptures range from the whimsical to the humorous, thought-provoking, adorable, and fun.
Unfortunately for us, the frequent snowstorms this year had delayed our trip to the festival. This cloud has a silver lining, however; thanks to the extremely cold weather, the ice sculptures have been wonderfully preserved throughout the event. So, why not spend Valentine’s with your sweetheart and explore all that Salem has to offer this winter? The Festival runs through this Sunday, February 15th. For more information, please click here.
Salem is a city filled with beautiful historic homes. Some, like the House of the 7 Gables or the Phillips House, are open to the public as museums. But do you ever wonder what architectural treasures are contained within Salem’s numerous Victorian, Colonial, and Federal-style private residences?
Luckily for us, the Christmas season offers something more than holiday cheer, gifts, and gatherings with family and friends – it also gives us, through the annual Christmas in Salem tour, a rare glimpse into some of these wonderful private homes. decorated for the holiday season. We were excited to go on this tour for the first time this year and even happier that it surpassed all of our expectations. Touring through the homes was akin to walking through a high-end magazine – each house was exquisitely decorated with floral arrangements, whimsical trees, stockings hung by the chimney with care, and much more.
This year’s Christmas in Salem tour focused on the beautiful homes of South Salem in honor of the centennial anniversary of the Great Salem Fire of 1914. In June of 1914, a fire started on Boston Street and, over two days, spread across the city. Over 1,000 buildings (including private homes) were destroyed and 18,000 people were left homeless (For more information, Destination Salem offers a wonderful map and overview of the Great Salem Fire). The homes featured on the tour either miraculously (and often times, narrowly) escaped the fire or were rebuilt in the Colonial Revival style.
Christmas in Salem doesn’t just stop with the house tour, however – there are many additional walking tours, wine tastings, discounts, and deals available for ticket holders. Proceeds from this tour help support Historic Salem, a non-profit group dedicated to preserving the city’s historic resources.
Christmas in Salem is a unique opportunity to see a side of Salem that is usually not made available to the everyday visitor. This window of opportunity, though, is a small one – as Christmas only comes but once a year, Christmas in Salem arrives only for the first week of December. Don’t miss out on next year’s tour, December 4-6, 2015.
For more information, visit christmasinsalem.org.
As we’ve mentioned in earlier blogs, the North of Boston region has a very rich history. From great literature, to visits from George Washington and military firsts, it’s no wonder that in the 1940s, Life Magazine photographer Walter Sanders was inspired to capture the region’s historical significance. In summer 1944, Sanders (and model Rose-Ellen Cameron) staged a historic-inspired photo shoot at the Whipple House in Ipswich. This was the result:
Photo by Walter Sanders
We can only assume that 1944 was a very different time.
According to the article published in the October 2, 1944 issue of Life:
“During the late summer heat wave in Massachusetts LIFE Photographer Walter Sanders took pictures of the Whipple House, historic landmark in Ipswich. Powers Model Rose-Ellen Cameron, posing as a young Purtain, sweltered under a very modest and heavy dress. The low, antique ceilings and white-hot floodlights made matters worse. When the ordeal was finally over, Rose-Ellen was delighted. “I’m so happy I could jump out that window and kick sky-high,” she remarked. She did and the pictures below are the result.”
We won’t post the aforementioned pictures below as it becomes painfully obvious that Miss Cameron, well, didn’t have much else on under her “modest and heavy dress.”
We’re still not entirely sure what the purpose of this photo shoot was or whatever happened to the “serious” photos of a demure Puritan girl modeling in a historic home, but we like think that this bit of Thanksgiving “cheesecake” boosted the morale of a soldier or two stationed abroad fighting World War II. Who needs Betty Grable when you can have Pilgrim Girl?
Looks like we spoke too soon about Walter Sanders and Betty Grable… Photo: http://jnpickens.files.wordpress.com/2010/08/cold-cream-betty-walter-sanders.jpg
The 4th of July is a very important holiday in the North of Boston region. The history of the North Shore is deeply entwined with that of the United States – many of the first settlers made this area home (and left us with a wealth of “First Period” architecture), George Washington slept here, the US Coast Guard was formed in Newburyport, and the US Navy began in Beverly/Marblehead. Even one of our most beloved patriotic songs, “America” (also known as “My Country ‘Tis of Thee”), was written in Andover in 1831. Thus, it’s only fitting that the North of Boston region goes all out when it comes to July 4th celebrations. If you live here or plan on visiting the region, you can’t miss…
Fireworks Over Gloucester Harbor
Experience Gloucester’s annual fireworks display from the terrace and lawn of Beauport, the Sleeper-McCann house and enjoy an abridged evening tour as the house transforms at night. Bring blankets, chairs, picnics, and mosquito spray.
Mahi Mahi Fireworks Cruises
July 5 & 6 (**NEW DATE**)
Party like it’s Independence Day aboard the Hannah Glover or Finback! You’ll get your oohs and ahhs as the annual 4th of July fireworks shoot across the sky above us. Enjoy unobstructed views out on the water as we cruise through Salem Sound. Great for all ages, this cruise is the perfect way to spend your holiday with family or friends. After celebrating a 4th of July with Mahi Cruises, we’re sure that you’ll be back next year!
4th of July Weekend at Salisbury Beach
This Independence Day weekend, join us at Salisbury Beach! On Thursday, July 3, enjoy Rhythm Coalition (9-piece band with horns) on the beachfront stage. RB Entertainment will provide music to celebrate the 4th in style! Spend the day on the beach. Our kid-friendly activities start at 5pm – Hula Hoops, Karaoke, Line Dancing and Sing-along with DJ Ralphie B, and so much more!
Salem Celebrates the 4th!
July 6 (**NEW DATE**)
Bring your beach blankets and folding chairs to enjoy the 42-piece Hillyer Festival Orchestra on Derby Wharf at the Salem Maritime National Historic Site for a grand celebration of our nation’s Independence Day. Featuring a Pops concert, a Kid Space play area, and fireworks launched over Salem Harbor, this is a quintessential celebration of the 4th of July. Fireworks begin at 9:15pm.
Amesbury’s 4th of July Fireworks and Music
July 5 (**NEW DATE**)
The Annual Fourth of July Fireworks display at Woodsom Farm starts on Friday July 4th 2014 at sunset. Bring your friends and family and join us for music, fireworks and tons of fun!
4th of July Fireworks Aboard the Sea Shuttle’s Endeavour
Welcome aboard for an unforgettable tour with coastal fireworks galore. We will see fireworks from Lynn to Gloucester. There will be snacks and thirst-quenching libations for purchase on board. The Endeavor will depart from the Salem Willows Park Pier at 7:45PM and will return at 10:30.
4th of July on the Beauport Princess
Cruise with us on the fourth of July! Great buffet, watch fireworks all around and enjoy some great music on Cruiseport Gloucester’s newest cruise line, the Beauport Princess!
Photo by Jeff Folger
Marblehead Fireworks & Harbor Illumination
July 5 (**NEW DATE**)
The Marblehead Fireworks & Harbor Illumination happens every year on July Fourth in the Town of Marblehead, Massachusetts to celebrate Independence Day! The Fireworks are scheduled for Thursday, July 4th, 2013 approximately 9:00 p.m. The Harbor Illumination will begin at 8:45 p.m. and immediately following we will light this fuse in this year’s fireworks!
Even if you don’t find yourself in the rotogravure or have a sonnet written about your bonnet, there is still a lot to do this Easter on the North Shore! Here are just a few hop-pening events and delicious treats on the way…
Chococoa Baking Company
50 Water Street
The Tannery, Mill Building #1
Newburyport, MA 01950
Chococoa’s to-die-for Whoopies are getting all dressed up for Easter! Chococoa is partnering with Jenny’s Wedding Cakes to bring you special Easter-inspired designs which look almost too good to eat! Designs are available for their scrumptious chocolate/vanilla whoopies and lemon/lemon whoopies. Supplies are limited, so order yours today at 978-499-8889 or e-mail Getwhoopie@Chococoabaking.com (we can’t guarantee that you’ll be able to make them last until Easter!).
Easter Bunny Brunch
April 20, 2014
DoubleTree by Hilton – Boston/North Shore
50 Ferncroft Road
Danvers, MA 01923
Join us the DoubleTree for an Easter Brunch. It’s a family affair, including live entertainment, an Easter Egg Hunt and pictures with the Easter Bunny! Brunch Buffet will feature Chef’s Carving Stations, an Omelet Station and Waffle Station. Adults $38, Children $18, Children 5 and under free. Sunday, April 20th. Seatings at 11:00am, 11:30am, 12:00pm, and 12:30pm. Reservations required, please call 978-750-7990.
Easter Brunch at Tupper Manor
April 20, 2014
295 Hale Street
Beverly, MA 01915
Hop, hop over to Tupper Manor and celebrate this special holiday! Enjoy a bountiful brunch buffet while enjoying the historic atmosphere of Tupper Manor and ocean views. Entertainment for the kids including the Easter Bunny & Easter egg hunt at Noon & 2:30pm. Seatings are at 11am and 1:30pm. Adults – $39.95, Seniors – $33.95, Children (3-12) – $15.95 and Chicks (2 & under) eat free!
85 Leavitt Street
Salem, MA 01970
Looking to satisfy your sweet tooth this Easter? From peanut butter eggs and milk chocolate moon bunnies to Sweet Sloops packaged in festive Easter and spring gift boxes, Harbor Sweets has something for you! We recommend the Robert L Strohecker Assorted Rabbits – solid chocolate and filled to the brim with almond butter crunch, caramel, pecans and whole toasted almonds.
Rockport Easter Egg Hunt
April 19, 2014
The Rockport Division of the Cape Ann Chamber of Commerce sponsors an Annual Rockport Community Egg Hunt for the children of the town each year. In addition to an appearance by the Easter Bunny, an assortment of candies and chocolates are distributed and the hunt also features a number of special eggs to be redeemed for prizes.
Victoria Station’s Easter Sunday Buffet
April 20, 2014
11am – 6pm
86 Wharf Street
Salem, MA 01970
Have a memorable Easter with you family at Victoria Station & Vic’s Boathouse! Enjoy their well-known, outstanding Easter Buffet with beautiful panoramic views of Salem Harbor. The fabulous menu features carving stations, banana-Nutella french toast, seafood stuffed sole, a dessert and pastry buffet, and so much more! Make your reservation today by calling 978-745-3400.
Every week, we do a “Fun Fact Friday” on our Facebook (while you’re reading this, take a moment to pull up a new tab and follow us: https://www.facebook.com/NorthofBoston. We post great pictures, events going on in the region, fun facts, and much, much more. We’ll wait while you log in.). On this Friday, our fun fact was about when Christmas was banned in Massachusetts…
Today, it’s common to hear people lament the loss of the “true” meaning of Christmas. We hear (not-so) faint whispers of “commercialism,” “materialistic,” “gluttonous intake of three times the number of calories any human ought to consume in one day,” etc. Strange as it may seem, people had similar complaints 350 years ago.
Note the lack of snow, and mistletoe, and presents ‘neath the tree.
In 1659, Puritans were pretty much fed up with Christmas. Their minor complaints dealt with the holiday being a reminder of the religious English customs they had come to the New World to escape. Besides, they thought, December 25th was selected as Jesus’ birth day centuries after he had died. Like Elizabeth Taylor’s random declaration that Michael Jackson was the King of Pop, it just sort of stuck.
But the thing that angered the Puritans most was the way people celebrated Christmas. The work-focused, no-nonsense Puritans disliked the games, drinking, and feasting Christmas celebrations. William Bradford, Plymouth County governor, wrote:
“ON the day called Christmas-day, the Governor called them out to work, (as was used) but the most of this new company excused themselves, and said it went against their consciences to work on that day. So the Governor told them that if they made it matter of conscience, he would spare them, till they were better informed; so he led away the rest and left them; but when they came home at noon, from their work, he found them in the street at play openly; some pitching the bar, and some at stool-ball, and such like sports. So he went to them, and took away their implements, and told them, that was against his conscience, that they should play, and others work; if they made the keeping of it matter of devotion, let them keep their houses, but there should be no gaming, or revelling in the streets.”
On May 11, 1659, Christmas was officially banned in Massachusetts. Anyone found celebrating the holiday was fined five shillings. This ban, however, only lasted for 22 years. In 1681, a newly-appointed governor lifted the ban and Christmas was celebrated again.
Salem Historic House tour (2013). Photo by Jeff Folger
But what about those 22 years of no Christmas? They were pretty uneventful. Christmas was not really a big to-do until it became vogue in the 19th century. In 1856, nearly 200 years after it was banned, Christmas became an official state holiday in Massachusetts. In 1870, it became a national holiday. During the Victorian Era, Christmas cards and trees became popular and the foundation was laid for the sort of Christmas that blossomed in the 20th century and we celebrate today.
And that’s the story of when Christmas was banned in Massachusetts.
And yes, that is how Michael Jackson came to be known as the King of Pop – because Elizabeth Taylor said so. And, you have now learned two fun facts today.
..to be completely and utterly stumped when it comes to buying holiday gifts for friends and family. You want to get them the perfect gift that they will love, use, and not re-gift to a vague acquaintance who unexpectedly hands them a gift. Well, fret no more: we’re here to help you find the perfect holiday gifts for your loved ones. From farmstands and local wines to museum shops and chocolate, the North of Boston region has something for everyone this holiday season!
Newburyport Gift Card
The Newburyport gift card is redeemable at a myriad of local businesses, including retail shops, restaurants, salons, inns, toy stores, and so much more! The gift card can be purchased at the Greater Newburyport Chamber of Commerce & Industry or over the phone (your card will be mailed to you) at (978) 462-6680. http://newburyportchamber.org/pages/NewburyportGiftCertificate
Peabody Essex Museum gift shop
The Peabody Essex Museum offers, both online and within the museum gift shop, a wide variety of jewelry, home décor, apparel, toys, books and more. They have something for everyone on your list. Looking for a little something to accompany the gift? Include a pass to the museum and give the gift of exotic cultures, art, special exhibitions, weekend festivals and family art-making programs. http://www.pemshop.com/
Unique gifts from the Cape Ann Artisans
The Cape Ann Artisans are part of a vibrant arts community. For the past two years Gloucester has been named one of the country’s top ten Art Destinations by American Style Magazine. The works by the artisans include jewelry, pottery, mosaics, paintings, and so much more – the perfect gift for the art-lover or someone who collects unique, one-of-a-kind items. http://capeannartisans.com/
Kits, certificates, and gifts from Woodman’s of Essex
Woodman’s of Essex offers a terrific assortment of gifts for the foodie or seafood-lover on your list. You can never go wrong with a Woodman’s gift certificate, but what about the friend or family member who lives outside of the region? Woodman’s offers Chubby’s Friend Clam Kit and Authentic Clambake kits so you can bring a delicious bit of New England history into your home. http://www.woodmans.com/shop/
Appleton Farms gift basket
Appleton Farms has a fabulous on-site dairy farm store which offers farm-fresh milk, unbelievably delicious cheese, yogurt, beef, butter, and eggs along with a myriad of other fresh, locally-made foodstuffs and crafts. We recommend putting together a gift basket for the foodie on your list. http://www.thetrustees.org/places-to-visit/csa/appleton-farms-csa/dairy-store.html
Salem Witch Museum gift shop
Bewitch your friends and family this holiday season with a gift from the Salem Witch Museum. The gift shop at the Salem Witch Museum offers a wide assortment of books, jewelry, home decor, souvenirs, games, novelties, accessories, and handcrafted local items. Passes to the museum also make for excellent gifts! http://secure.salemwitchmuseum.com/shop/
North Shore Music Theatre gift certificate
Get the gift that’s “Always the right size. Always the right color. Always appreciated” for the theater lover on your list! Surprise them with a night of a lavish musical spectacular. Make them laugh. Make them cry. Make their holiday season merry and bright! http://www.nsmt.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=61&Itemid=2241
Confections from the New England Chocolate Company
The New England Chocolate Company creates, handcrafts, and markets deliciously sweet Belgian chocolate confections at its retail location. They offer many chocolatey delights from caramels to creams and truffles. Visitors are welcome to see and learn how the candy is made. If you’re looking for the perfect gift for the sweet tooth on your list, we recommend the divine peanut butter cups. http://newenglandchocolatecompany.com/chocolates.html
Wenham Museum Gift Shop
The Wenham Museum offers a terrific assortment of toys, dolls, trains, books and more for the children on your list. We suggest putting a pass to the museum in their stocking as well – a visit to see the museum’s collection (which includes rooms full of dolls, antique dollhouses, and an incredible model train room) can be more fun than the toys themselves! http://www.wenhammuseum.org/index.html
Wines and gifts from Mill River Winery
For the wine-lover on your list, you cannot go wrong with a locally-made wine from Mill River Winery. Mill River Winery produces handcrafted wines using the finest grapes from Massachusetts and other notable wine regions. Don’t know which wine to buy? A subscription to the Mill River Wine Club makes a wonderful gift! http://store.millriverwines.com/storefront.aspx
Be prepared to be shocked: We’re daring to break the taboo and discuss the holiday season before Thanksgiving. Actually, we did that a week ago when we put up holiday decorations, but that’s another story for another time.
Please don’t be upset with us – we just love the holiday season in the North of Boston region. And at least we’re not starting our holiday shopping on Thanksgiving (we have the decency to wait until after midnight, when it’s officially Friday). So, get into the spirit with us and check out these great holiday events! (For more holiday events, visit http://www.northofboston.org/holiday
Wenham Museum’s Sleigh Bell Artisan Fair
November 22 – 23, 10am-4pm
Shop local and support your community this holiday season at the Sleigh Bell Artisan Craft Fair this Friday and Saturday. Silhouette artist Carol Lebeaux will be at the museum all weekend creating keepsake hand-cut portraits. Reservations are recommended and walk-ins are welcome. Pulitzer Prize author Paul Harding will be signing copies of his newest novel, Enon on Saturday at 1:00pm. Donate an unwrapped toy to Northshore 104.9’s 18th Annual Holiday Toy Drive. Artisans will be generously donating 20% of their sales to Wenham Museum. http://wenhammuseum.org/adultprogramsandbenefits.html
Salem Holiday Happenings
November 29 – January 1, 2014
Celebrate, shop, and dine in Salem during the holiday season. Festival highlights include the annual Christmas in Salem Historic Home Tour, Christmas at the Gables, and Santa’s arrival atop the Hawthorne Hotel! http://salem.org/calendar_main/festival/salem-holiday-happenings/
Sea Festival of Trees
November 30 – December 1
From trees filled with up to $1,000 in retail gift cards and concert tickets, to those decorated with original oil paintings, polar bears, angels, trains, music, beach and recycle themes, 85 sparkling trees will delight the senses at the 1st Annual Sea Festival of Trees at Blue Ocean Music Hall on Saturday, November 30 and Sunday, December 1. Presented by The Newburyport Five Cents Savings Bank, the holiday wonderland fundraiser features Santa’s arrival by fire truck, a winter wonderland electric train display, music and dance performances, strolling characters, a candy shoppe, café and giant 10 foot high x 8 foot X 8 foot whimsical gingerbread house. Proceeds from the event will benefit Anna Jaques Hospital and the Salisbury Beach Partnership. All of the 6 foot to 10 foot high lighted trees are being donated by local businesses, organizations, elected officials, student groups and families. Attendees will have the opportunity to purchase raffle tickets and enter to win the themed trees of their choosing. Tree winners will be drawn on Sunday, December 1 at 5:00pm. http://www.blueoceanhall.com/seafestival-of-trees/about-the-festival.html
Santa Parade and Tree Lighting
December 1, 3:30-5pm
As the holiday season approaches, Santa & Mrs. Claus arrive in the most fitting way for this seaport town… by US Coast Guard boat! Welcome Santa on the Sunday after Thanksgiving as he and Mrs. Claus dock at the boardwalk and begin to parade through downtown Newburyport, then gather in Market Square for the annual Christmas tree lighting and carols. http://business.newburyportchamber.org/Events/details/santa-parade-and-tree-lighting-5835