Planning a trip to the North of Boston area? It wouldn’t be right if you didn’t visit at least one of our beautiful beaches. Whether it’s on the ocean or a lake our beaches are a top destination for tourists and locals alike.
Back Beach, Rockport
On Beach Street. Toilet facilities available, but no bathhouses. Limited parking for visitors. Parking stickers are required.
Black and White Beaches, Manchester-by-the-Sea
On Ocean Street, off Route 127. Resident parking only. No lifeguards or restrooms.
Brackenbury Beach, Beverly
Brackenbury Lane off Hale Street (Route 127). Small beach with boat ramp. No lifeguards. No parking. Dogs on leashes allowed before 8 AM and after 7:30 PM between Memorial Day and Labor Day.
Cape Hedge Beach, Rockport
South Street. Limited parking for visitors. Parking stickers are required.
Chebacco Lake, Essex
Off Western Avenue (Route 22) in Centennial Grove, fresh water swimming.
Clammer’s Beach, Essex
Conomo Point Road. Parking is by sticker, available to Essex residents. No bathhouse or snack bar.
Collins Cove Beach, Salem
Collins Street. On-street parking. Lifeguard on duty during high tide.
Crane Beach, Ipswich
At the end of Argilla Road. Open daily year-round from 8 AM to sunset. Non-residential parking fee from Memorial Day to Labor Day is $20 per car on weekends and holidays and $15 on weekdays. Motorcycles are charged $4. Those arriving by bicycle or foot pay $2 anytime. All fees are half-price after 3 PM. Annual memberships are available starting at $40. Ipswich residents can obtain beach stickers at Ipswich Town Hall. Lifeguards, rangers, bathhouses, outside showers, picnic tables, Crane Beach store, information kiosk, transportation for physically challenged visitors. Greenhead fly season is late July early August. Owned by the Trustees of Reservations.
Dane Street Beach, Beverly
Lothrop Street, off Route 127. Limited on-street parking. Lifeguard on duty 10 AM to 5 PM. Kids’ play area. Bathhouse opens June through August. Dogs on leashes allowed before 8 AM and after 7:30 PM between Memorial and Labor Day.
Devereux Beach, Marblehead
On Ocean Avenue. Parking for nonresidents is $5, on both weekdays and weekends. Annual parking stickers available to residents for $25 at the town treasurer’s office or the transfer station. Lifeguards on duty Wednesday through Sunday. Restrooms and concession stand available. Dogs prohibited May through September.
Fisherman’s Beach, Swampscott
Humphrey Street, farther north. Fish house and docks. Some swimming but no lifeguard. Some parking on Humphrey Street. Residents can obtain $12 parking permits ($6 for senior citizens) from Recreation Department Office.
Forest River Park, Salem
Off Clinton Avenue. Two beaches. Fresh-water swimming pool for residents only from 11 AM to 5 PM. Park is closed to non-residents on weekends and holidays. Parking is free for residents. Parking for non-residents is $10 per vehicle, $20 per van and $100 per bus. Lifeguards, restrooms, bathhouse and playground. Dogs prohibited without a leash.
Front Beach, Rockport
On Beach Street. Toilet facilities but no bathhouses. Limited parking for visitors. Parking stickers are required.
Good Harbor Beach, Gloucester
Thatcher Road, Route 127A. Parking is $15 weekdays, $20 on weekends and holidays. Parking is limited so arrive early. Concession stand, restroom, showers.
Independence Park, Beverly
Lothrop Street, just south of Dane Street Beach. Limited on-street parking. No lifeguards. Dogs on leashes allowed before 8 AM and after 7:30 PM between Memorial and Labor Day.
King’s Beach, Swampscott
Humphrey Street, Swampscott/Lynn. Public Beach with no lifeguard on duty.
Long Beach, Rockport
Off Thatcher Road. Toilet facilities available, but no bathhouses. Limited parking for visitors. Parking stickers are required.
Lynch Park, Beverly
55 Ober Street off Route 127. Parking for non-residents is $5 weekdays, $12 weekends. Free sticker parking for residents. Concession stand, play area, rose garden, bathhouse with restrooms accessible to the handicapped. Ocean kayaks for rent. Dogs on leashes allowed before 8 AM and after 7:30 PM between Memorial and Labor Day.
Misery Island, Salem
In Salem Sound. Transportation available via Sun Line Cruises from Salem Willows Park. Call 978-741-1900 for schedules and fares. Recreational opportunities include bird watching, boating/sailing, canoeing/kayaking, fishing, hiking, nature study, picnicking, swimming and tours. Facility is owned and maintained by the Trustees of Reservations.
Niles Beach, Gloucester
Located on Eastern Point Road. Parking is available for residents only, summer residents with stickers, or tourists with motel courtesy stickers.
Obear Park, Beverly
Off Kernwood Avenue and Upland Road, on the Danvers River in the Ryal Side neighborhood. Kids’ play area. Parking is free. No lifeguard. Dogs on leashes allowed before 8 AM and after 7:30 PM between Memorial and Labor Day.
Old Garden Beach, Rockport
Off Old Garden Road. Limited parking for visitors. Parking stickers are required.
Pavilion Beach, Ipswich
At the end of Jeffreys Neck Road. Limited free parking. No lifeguards. No bathhouse or restrooms. Greenhead fly season early to mid-August. Dogs prohibited Memorial to Labor Day.
Pebble Beach, Rockport
Penzance Road. Limited parking for visitors. Parking stickers are required.
Phillips Beach, Swampscott
Lifeguard on duty. Resident parking on Ocean Avenue. Resident can obtain $12 parking permit ($6 for senior citizens) from the Recreation Department office.
Pleasant View Beach, Beverly
Porter Street on the Bass River in the Goat Hill neighborhood. Limited parking. No lifeguard. Dogs on leashes allowed before 8 AM and after 7:30 PM between Memorial and Labor Day.
Plum Cove Beach, Gloucester
Located on Washington Street. Parking is available for residents only, summer residents with stickers, or tourists with motel courtesy stickers.
4,600 acres of wildlife trails, fresh water marshes and miles of quiet roadway will remain open year round. Take a long walk, jog or ride your bicycle down the refuge’s six miles of roadway. Parking lot 1, the largest lot inside the refuge gate, also offers restroom for all visitors. Visitors can wander the winding paths of Hellcat trails. The two trails run off parking lot 4. Two restrooms, which are accessible to visitors with handicaps, also stand nearby. The refuge charges $5 for cars, trucks and motorcycles, $2 for bicycles and pedestrians over 16 and free for those younger. A $15 Duck Stamp can be purchased for unlimited entry after July 1 to national wildlife refuges for a year from that date.
Preston Beach, Swampscott
Lifeguard on duty. Resident parking off Atlantic. Residents can obtain $12 parking permits ($6 for senior citizens) from the Recreation Department office.
Rice’s Beach, Beverly
Off Ober Street next to Lynch Park. Parking available at Lynch Park. Lifeguard on duty from 10 AM to 5 PM. Dogs on leashes allowed before 8 AM and after 7:30 PM between Memorial and Labor Day.
Salem Willows Park, Salem
Off Fort Avenue. Two sandy beaches. Free on-street parking and parking lot. Restrooms, play area and concession stands. Lifeguard on duty at high tide at Willows Beach. Dogs prohibited without a leash.
Salisbury Beach, Salisbury
Offers six miles of sandy beach arcades, batting cages, miniature golf courses, go-cart tracks, amusement parks and fast-food booths. Salisbury Beach State Reservation features a playground for children, nature trails and a ramp for boaters. Three modern bathhouses are open to the public, two of them featuring outdoor showers. All are handicap-accessible. Lifeguards will be on duty daily from 10 AM to 4:45 PM on the three-quarter mile of beach from the rocks near the Merrimack River to the Pavilion. Parking costs $7 per day, with season passes available for $35 for Massachusetts residents and $45 for non-residents.
Sandy Beach, Danvers
Off River Street on the Danvers River, directly across from John George Park. Free Parking, restrooms available to the handicapped, outside shower, play area. Lifeguard on duty three hours before and after high tide from June 21 to Labor Day.
Singing Beach, Manchester-by-the-Sea
At the end of Beach Street. Parking at beach for residents only, but non-residents can park, for a fee, at a private parking lot a half-mile away. Lifeguard on duty on weekends starting Memorial Day weekend, then every day from mid-June until Labor Day. Food and restrooms available.
Cressy Beach and Half Moon Beach at Stage Fort Park, Gloucester
Hough Avenue at end of Route 133. Parking is $10 at all times. Small Beach with lifeguard, larger beach without lifeguard. Bathrooms, showers, concession stand.
Tuck’s Point, Manchester-by-the-Sea
Tuck’s Point Road, off Bridge Street to Harbor Road. Resident parking only. Restrooms available. No lifeguards.
Whale’s Beach and Eisman’s Beach, Swampscott
Both off Puritan Avenue. Parking lot for residents near both beaches, accessible by Humphrey Street. Both beaches have lifeguards. Residents can obtain $12 parking permits ($ for senior citizens) from Recreation Department Office.
White Beach, Manchester-by-the-Sea
On Ocean Street, open to the public, but parking, with stickers, is for residents only.
Wingaersheek Beach, Gloucester
Atlantic Road, off Route 133 and Concord Street, along Annisquam River and Ipswich Bay. Parking is $15 on weekdays and $20 on weekends and holidays. Parking is limited so arrive early. Concession stand, rest rooms, showers.
Winter Island, Salem
Winter Island Road off Fort Avenue. Facilities for swimming, picnicking, RVs, camping and more. Bathhouse available. Camp store with sandwiches, ice cream, gifts and camping supplies. Parking free for Salem residents. Parking for non-residents is $10 on weekdays and $15 on weekends and holidays. Boat launch is $5 or $150 for the season. Dogs prohibited without a leash. Function hall and picnic areas available for rentals.
If you’re like me, having your dog with you puts you in a better mood. That’s why I love to bring him with me wherever I go. Going on a vacation is so exciting until you realize you are not going to be able to see little Fido for a while. That look on his face as you drive out of the driveway is heart wrenching. Thankfully North of Boston has a fix for that. I have compiled a vacation planner for you and your furry friend.
You have so many options with places to stay, they all range from different parts of the budget and location. Best Western in Haverhill is a great budget friendly hotel with convenient access to 495. If you are looking for something more historic Salem Inn and Hawthorne Hotel both except dogs and are in the heart of famous Salem MA. Garrison Hotel in Newburyport is also a great option. If you are visiting during summer I would recommend staying at Salisbury Reservation Campground. It offers spots for campers of all sizes as well as tents. They offer leashed dogs all over the campground and beach.
Once you settle into a hotel the next thing you want to do is find something to eat. The restaurants in Newburyport and Rockport there are your best shot, because most offer deck seating which dogs are allowed. Make sure you call ahead to confirm they allow dogs and their deck is open. Top Dog is a great restaurant in Rockport that has a casual vibe and is very dog friendly. There is bound to be a restaurant that you want to go to that isn’t dog friendly so if that happens you could always drop your dog off at a day care if you don’t want to leave your dog at the hotel so you can enjoy a stress free evening.
Things to do:
Newburyport is a great place to walk around with your furry friend because a lot of the stores are dog friendly. Stores like Marco Polo and Oldies Marketplace are very dog friendly and little Fido might even get a treat. You can get your Dog a gourmet treat at Just Dogs bakery also located in downtown Newburyport. Rockport follows suit with Newburyport in letting dogs enter most of the stores on historic Bearskin Neck. Rockport offers a great off-lease Dog Park to get some energy out. The Sea Shuttle out of Salem gives tours of the harbor and misery island and leashed dogs are allowed on the boat and on the Island.
Overall, North of Boston is a great place for the whole family including your furry friend. The things you can do with your pet by your side are endless when you visit our beautiful seaside towns.
Fall is a terrific time to visit the North of Boston region! There’s so much to do during your visit – come explore the changing of the leaves, apple and pumpkin picking, hayrides, festivals, and more during this wonderful time of year!
Click here to view our Fall Newsletter and get information on upcoming events, lodging and dining deals, activities, and more!
Every summer, the North of Boston region is host to numerous outdoor music festivals, concert series, and more. Music of all genres is in the air throughout the entire region. So, come enjoy terrific summer weather and great music during…
Castle Hill Picnic Concert Series
Thursdays, through September 3
Castle Hill on the Crane Estate
290 Argilla Road | Ipswich, MA www.thetrustees.org
The Trustees and Castle Hill on the Crane Estate invite you to enjoy a series of evening picnic concerts this summer. Set on Castle Hill’s spacious lawn, attendees are welcome to bring a picnic supper or purchase seafood, empanadas, pizza, and ice cream from on-site vendors. Ipswich Ale and Mill River Winery will sell beverages on-site at a beer and wine garden. Click here for more information, including the concert line-up.
2015 Summer Concert Series at Salisbury Beach
Saturdays, through September 5
Salisbury Beach | Salisbury, MA www.beachfests.org
Get your groove on this summer at Salisbury Beach! The Summer Concert Series features a different performer every Saturdays night. Enjoy concerts from Entrain, The Lisa Love Experience, Joshua Tree, and more! Click here for a full concert line-up.
Enjoy a day of music and fun as the nation’s finest performers play on scenic Cressey’s Beach. Featuring performances by the Juke Joint Five, Mitch Woods, Lil Ed & the Blues Imperials, and more, the event also includes a beer garden and marvelous food and craft vendors, making for the perfect summer day in Gloucester. Click here to view the full lineup.
Cool cats and jazz neophytes rejoice! The 4th Annual Rockport Jazz Festival is almost here and features a fantastic lineup of jazz musicians, including Mikarimba, a star-studded ensemble of Mika Stoltzman, legendary drummer Steve Gadd and the incomparable Eddie Gomez. The Festival continues with artists like the soulful Alicia Olatuja and the incredible jazz guitarist Julian Lage. For a full schedule of concerts, click here.
Salem Jazz and Soul Festival
167 Fort Avenue | Salem, MA www.salemjazzsoul.org
The Salem Jazz and Soul Festival is a FREE weekend-long event at the historic Salem Willows. Featuring concerts, a beer garden, artisan fair, kids’ tent, and more, this is one weekend you won’t want to miss! Parking is limited, but the Salem Trolley and Mahi Mahi Cruises and Charters will be on hand offering alternate transportation to and from the festival. Click here for a schedule of events and concert line-up.
Newburyport’s Riverfront Music Festival
Saturday, September 5
36 Merrimac Street | Newburyport, MA www.newburyportchamber.org
Spend the day on the waterfront in Newburyport! The Greater Newburyport Chamber of Commerce and 92.5 The River invite you to enjoy a musical Labor Day with a fantastic lineup. Come early and enjoy great food & shopping while waiting for the concert to begin. Click here for more information.
There’s so much to do this summer in the North of Boston region! From open studios and classic car shows to 1920s lawn parties and numerous festivals, there’s something for everyone! The only problem is fitting it all into your schedule – but don’t worry, you have all summer to explore, navigate and play!
Click here to check out our awesome summer newsletter, which includes great events, restaurant deals, hotel packages, and more!
The first blossoms have arrived and the air is fragrant with sweet aromas – the garden season is just about here in the North of Boston region! Throughout this spring we have brought you a series of blogs on the region’s many gorgeous gardens and are wrapping up with three more wonderful places to visit. Yes. we know that we have barely scratched the surface when it comes to these hidden gems, but we don’t want to spoil the fun in discovering a new garden to explore. Along your journey, though, you should definitely visit..
The summer home of Henry Davis Sleeper, one of the first professional interior designers in the United States, Beauport is an Arts and Crafts-style mansion housing a curious and fascinating collections of colored glass, china, folk art, and more. No two rooms are similar and each room is uniquely spectacular. This spectacular attention to design and detail continues outside in the immaculate garden “rooms” which overlook Gloucester’s scenic waterfront. These Arts and Crafts-style gardens were recently restored to reflect their original 1920s-30s appearance. Beauport’s grounds are open Tuesday – Saturday, May 23-October 17. Visitors are welcome to visit the grounds and gardens, bring picnics, or rent them for small gatherings/weddings. For those especially interested in learning more about Beauport’s gardens, we recommend their Creating Beauport’s Historic Landscape event on May 21. Learn how the landscape evolved over time, the philosophy behind the 2011 landscape restoration, and how the exterior of the house and the landscape play together.
The Jeremiah Lee Mansion, owned and operated by the Marblehead Museum, is a marvelous example of Georgian architecture. Built in 1768 by the wealthiest merchant and ship owner in Massachusetts, Jeremiah Lee, the spectacular and imposing mansion hides a wonderful secret – its historically-inspired gardens. Maintained by the Marblehead Garden Club, the Lee Mansion Gardens are set out in a series of outdoor “rooms” (a configuration that we’ve come to see in many gardens while researching this blog). The perennial border surrounds the large upper terrace, which overlooks the sundial garden with its octagonal-pattern of boxwood bushes. The herb garden features a wide array of herbs authentic to the 18th century and a pea-stone path navigates through the lower garden with its native trees, wildflowers, and shade plants. The beauty of the outdoors continues in the mansion where visitors are greeted with beautiful floral arrangements in the entry hall. The Lee Mansion is open Tuesday through Saturday, June-October and visitors are welcome to take a self-guided tour of the gardens with a new brochure the Marblehead Garden Club has put together.
Derby Summer House, Glen Magna. Photo by Amanda Levy, courtesy of Essex Heritage
Much like Beauport, Glen Magna stands as a prime example of early 20th century summer living in the North of Boston region. The property, anchored by a Colonial Revival house, encompasses eleven acres of scenic grounds and award-winning gardens. In the late 1800s, Ellen Peabody Endicott, granddaughter of the property’s original owner Joseph Peabody, expanded and enhanced the grounds; work that paid off handsomely when she was awarded the Hunnewell Gold Medal from the MA Horticultural Society. This prestigious award is given to the owner of an estate whose grounds are adorned with “rare and desirable ornamental trees and shrubs in a tasteful and effective manner so as to present successful examples of science, skill and good judgement as applied to the embellishment of the country residence.” Most noted in the gardens is the Derby Summer House, a 1789 two-story “summer house” moved to the property in the early 20th century. Glen Magna Farms is currently owned by the Danvers Historical Society, who restored the gardens to their Ellen Peabody Endicott-era appearance and continue to uphold their noted (and beautiful) reputation. Check out the Glen Magna Farms Gardens blog for photos and information on upcoming events.
This spring, we’ve been bringing you a series of blogs on gardens in the North of Boston region (click here for part 1 and here for part 2). Today, we decided to give you a “live” glimpse into spring in the North of Boston region, courtesy of some fantastic Facebook pages (follow the links below and give them a follow!). The way things are looking now, we’re in for a colorful spring and summer!
Earlier this month, we introduced you to one of the North of Boston region’s best hidden treasures – its numerous gardens! As we get further into the spring and closer to the peak garden season, here are three more floral gems to visit as you navigate the region’s living history…
Behind the Colonial Revival-styled Ropes Mansion in Salem’s McIntire Historic District lies a not-so-hidden secret: a formal garden. Originally built in the Georgian style in 1727, the mansion underwent a Colonial Revival-inspired renovation in 1894. In 1912, a garden was laid out to reflect the home’s new style. Surrounding a central sundial, the paths of the garden lead you through grounds displaying a vast array of roses, hydrangea, and delphinium, as well as plenty of benches to relax on and a stocked koi pond. Fun Fact – Don’t be surprised if the Ropes Mansion looks a little familiar upon your visit. It was filmed as one of the characters’ homes in the movie “Hocus Pocus.” (Thank you to the Salem Inn for additional information on this garden).
A popular backdrop for weddings, proms, and family photos, the gardens at Atkinson Common are a Newburyport staple. In the 1870s, an open field off of High Street was left to the City of Newburyport. The local families of the Belleville neighborhood worked to convert this blank canvas into a public park and garden and thus the Belleville Improvement Society was born. For over 100 years, the Society has continued to preserve, maintain, and improve Atkinson Common, with its winding walkways, elaborate gardens, historic gazebo ,and lily pond.
The Common also features a Civil War statue and Soldier and Sailors Tablets to commemorate Newburyport’s Civil War veterans as well as a 50-foot stone observation tower.
137 Andover Street, North Andover
Gardens open daily, year-round, 8am-sunset.
Home closed to public with the exception of special tours and events
Inspired by the luscious gardens of Europe, the property formerly known as Ashdale Farm transformed into a chic, elegant estate under the care of Helen Stevens. In the family since the early 1700s and farmed for generations, the property was inherited by Ms. Stevens and underwent a long transformation after she and her new husband, John Gardner Coolidge, made the farm their summer home around 1914. Stevens, from one of North Andover’s founding families, and Coolidge, a descendant of Thomas Jefferson and the nephew of Isabella Stewart Gardner, were inspired by their travels around the world. The country house, redesigned by Joseph Chandler (who, as we mentioned in our earlier post, had previously laid out the Seaside Gardens at the House of the Seven Gables), featured art and furniture from the couple’s trips around the world (Coolidge served as a diplomat in Mexico, Nicaragua, Europe, and Asia). For the gardens, though, Helen Stevens and Joseph Chandler looked specifically towards France.
Featuring numerous perennials, roses, informal shrubs, herbs, fruit trees, and potted greenhouse plants, the gardens recall a French Chateau. Organized into outdoor “rooms,” the gardens were meant to have a feeling of “…simplicity and an indescribable air of peace,” according to Chandler.
Upon Helen Stevens Coolidge’s death in 1962, the property was left to the Trustees of Reservations who renamed it the Stevens-Coolidge Place to honor its former owners. Admission to the property is free (on-site donations welcome). While visiting the gardens, you may catch a glimpse of the many butterflies and birds attracted to the wide array of plants and flowers. Foxes, owls, hawks, and frogs have also been known to visit the property as well. On Fridays and Saturdays, in July and August, visitors are invited to purchase bouquets in the pick-your-own Cutting Garden.
Why spend April vacation in front of the TV when there’s so much to do and to explore? The North of Boston region offers a myriad of awesome Vacation Week activities for kids of all ages – here are just a few of the fun things to do during April vacation (to check out more events, visit our school vacation calendar of events).
Dig into the farm and roll up your sleeves in the kitchen! Discover how delicious food grows on the farm and ends up on your plate every day. Follow the life cycle of a plant from seed to harvest, learn how a cow can turn green grass into creamy milk, meet our farmers and much more. Get a taste of our Appleton Cooks! program as we take our fresh ingredients and prepare a scrumptious and healthy lunch in our farm kitchen every day. Please call 978-356- 5728 ext.18 for more details.
The Wenham Museum has week of April Vacation Fun planned for kids of all ages. Learn about reuse and recycling while creating recycled art and engaging in other outdoor activities during the Earth Day Celebration. Have your silhouette created by artist Carol Lebeaux or make your own art as you create your own character in your very own four-page story. Don’t miss their Frozen: The Real Story of Ice on Wenham Lake exhibit – from a sock-skating rink, fun, child-size ice house, and costumes too dress up like your favorite “Frozen” characters, this exhibit is too cool to miss!
Many deals and packages available for families to enjoy a fun day of swimming, slides, and more at Massachusetts’ largest indoor water park, CoCo Key. With the “Family Four Pack,” families save up to $30 on day passes. Or, buy one pass, get one free on “Thrifty Thursdays” (offer valid 4-9pm).
Spread your branches to celebrate the return of spring and join the Peabody Essex Museum’s Earth Day festivities! Enjoy art-making, demonstrations, and so much more! Make your own paper or even learn to “leaves”drop on the inner (secret!) life of trees!
Join the Cape Ann Museum Activity Center for a great week of programs for kids of all ages! Explore poetry and painting, learn about the many types of fish native to Cape Ann, make your own stamps, and much, much more! Click here for an event flyer and more information. These programs are FREE for children (with the purchase of adult admission).
Visiting the North of Boston region this spring and summer? We’ll let you in on a little-known secret – one of the region’s best hidden treasures may be right under your feet. And now that spring is (finally) here, and the snow is melting away, we can once again enjoy these beautiful, scenic, and incredibly photogenic gems – gardens! Scattered throughout the North of Boston, these gardens reflect the history and beauty of the region. Each garden has a unique story to tell, so while you’re in the region this spring, why not visit…
Set in the center of the North of Boston region, the Willowdale Estate is a 4-acre estate located in the spacious Bradley Palmer State Park. Constructed in 1901 as the summer home of Bradley Palmer, Willowdale is a gem of subtle elegance and great charm. It is a marvelous venue for weddings and its beautiful garden makes for the perfect backdrop for your outdoor event. Maintained by the extremely talented Kim, the garden is a picturesque butterfly-attracting wonderland. Willowdale offers a series of great events; including cooking classes, a Halloween party, and free house tours; throughout the year. While you are visiting the estate, be sure to take a walk through the garden
The House of the Seven Gables is a literary and historical landmark that attracts visitors from around the world, but it’s the Gables’ Seaside Gardens that invites visitors to stay a little longer after their tour. The Gardens reflect four centuries of planting schemes and hearken back to plantings of the Colonial era. The garden beds were laid out by a landscape architect, Joseph Chandler, hired by the Gables’ founder Caroline Emmerton in 1909. Emmerton wanted the gardens to be an “oasis of beauty” enjoyed by all and was fastidious in regards to the gardens’ maintenance (these high standards are still in practice today). The gardens feature a rose trellis, delphinium, sweet William, chrysanthemums, impatiens, lavender, santolina, a Wisteria Arbor, and many more beautiful plants, herbs, and flowers. Most prominent are the lilacs whose unobtrusive color and lilting scent set the serene environment of the garden.
Sedgwick Gardens – Long Hill
572 Essex Street, Beverly MA
Open daily, year-round, 8am-5pm. Guided tours offered in the spring, summer, and fall.
Long Hill is a 114-acre property purchased by publisher Ellery Sedgwick in 1916. Sedgwick’s wife, Mabel, was a talented gardener and horticulturist with an ambitious green thumb who designed a whimsical landscape which continues to inspire 100 years later. The Sedgwick Gardens are laid out very much like a house – each section is a separate “room,” if you will, with its own distinct features and decoration. After Mabel Sedgwick’s death in 1937, the gardens were enhanced by the second Mrs. Sedgwick who had an extensive knowledge of rare and exotic plants (Mr. Sedgwick had a thing for green thumbs, apparently…). Fun Fact: Does the last name sound a little familiar? Ellery Sedgwick’s older brother’s (Henry Dwight Sedgwick) great-granddaughter is actress Kyra Sedgwick. And thus, Long Hill is only a few degrees away from Kevin Bacon.
The 16 acres known today as David S. Lynch Memorial Park were originally known as Woodbury’s Point. With its seven-gun battery, the fort at Woodbury’s Point was an important location to keep Beverly’s port safe and secure – after the British troops closed Boston Harbor, the coastal town of Beverly had become an important port from which to cut off British supply lines. By the 20th century, Beverly had become a posh location for Boston’s wealthy to spend their summers. Many luxurious summer homes were built and Woodbury’s Point became Burgess Point. The Evans family built one of the finest summer estates on the North Shore on Burgess Point and one of their cottages was rented by none other than President Taft during the summers of 1909 and 1910. Apparently, Mrs. Evans was not fond of the hoopla and bustle surrounding her celebrity tenant and informed the President that the summer of 1910 would be his last on her property as she was taking down the cottage and putting an Italian rose garden in its place. President Taft moved to a summer home on Corning Street, the cottage was moved to Marblehead, and the rose garden, with its gorgeous imported plants and shrubs, still stands today.
But wait, you may ask, who was David S. Lynch and where does he come into this story? Lynch never actually lived at Burgess Point – he was the owner of a leather factory who wanted to make sure that everyone in Beverly had a beautiful outdoor place to visit and enjoy. When he died in 1942, he left $400,000 to the Lynch Park Board of Trustees to buy and maintain a public park. At that time, Burgess Point was owned by Beverly Hospital, who found the land expensive to keep up and happily sold it to the LPBoT for $50,000. The hospital was happy to have the land off its hands and the city of Beverly had a splendid piece of land for everyone to enjoy.
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!).
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
The oldest continuously-operating farm in the United States, Appleton Farms was established in 1636 by Samuel Appleton. Nearly 400 years (and many generations of Appletons) later, the farm stands as both an Ipswich landmark and a wonderful CSA providing shares to more than 800 families and donating more than 10,000 pounds of food annually to local food pantries. But, as we learned on our field trip last week, Appleton Farms is so much more than the 200 varieties of vegetables, fruits, herbs, and flowers grown and produced.
Perhaps the not-so-hidden gem of Appleton Farms is the Old House. The oldest part of the house dates back to the late-18th century (there were some later additions in the mid-19th century) but, unfortunately, the house had fallen into disrepair when the farm was gifted to the Trustees of the Reservation. The house has undergone many renovations and, using many of the Appleton family’s photographs (on view in the exhibition Of Farm & Family: Generations of Appleton Family Portraits), was restored to resemble how it looked when the Appleton family lived there. Perhaps most exciting is the latest renovation. In October 2009, the Trustees set out on a “green” renovation and update which included a biomass boiler, 2 solar panels on the roof, and much, much more. Typically, we associate “going green” with stark, “modern” design. The Old House renovation has defied this notion by “going green” but retaining the look and character of the original homestead. Today, the house is LEED Gold-Certified.
The Old House is not the only “green” thing at Appleton Farms. The farm utilizes organic farming methods, grass-based livestock production, renewable energy production, composting, and so much more.
Appleton Farms also offers 5+ miles of trails known as the Appleton Farms Grass Rides. From fun summer hikes to winter snowshoeing, the Grass Rides are a wonderful way to explore the natural beauty of Ipswich and Hamilton. This network of trails consists of forest, wetlands, and open fields. Horses are welcome on designated trails as is mountain biking. Dogs are also welcome (but a Green Dogs permit is required to walk dogs).
The cows alone are worth a visit!
There’s so much more we could write about Appleton Farms (from cheese-making to visits with the friendly cows), but experiencing something is so much better than reading about it (in our opinion). Now through April 30th, their Visitor Center is open on weekends from 11am-3pm. The Center is handicapped-accessible and is a great starting point o learning more about the farm through their classroom, research library, and family museum. While you’re there, do not miss out on a trip to the Farm Store (open Monday-Friday, 11am-6pm, Saturday and Sunday, 10am-4pm) to pick up some of Appleton Farms’ milk, cheese, and beef as well as other locally-produced foodstuffs, art, and crafts.
Did we mention how delicious the cheese (seen here being made on-site) is?
This learning space is a fun, educational environment for little farmers
We regret to say that our time at Appleton Farms was not nearly long enough – it would take at least a weekend to fully explore and enjoy all that the farm has to offer. Even that weekend would not be enough as each season brings with it new crops, events, scenery, and activities. Whatever time of year you plan to visit (and we highly recommend that you do!) be sure to check out their event calendar for great activities for all ages.
Be sure not to miss their Appleton Cooks program! They offer everything from cooking classes and workshops, to harvest-to-table dinners in the field, Friday night farm dinners, and other (incredibly delicious) events throughout the year!
(Did we mention that Appleton Farms is one of the best spots in the area for fall foliage? A mid-October visit will reveal a terrific landscape of yellows, reds, and oranges).
If there’s one thing we all seem to love most about summer, it’s being on the water. In the North of Boston region, we are fortunate to be able to enjoy a myriad of aquatic adventures from good ole’ swimming to whale watches, schooner sails, and dinner cruises. And, of course, kayaking.
For all of the kayak enthusiasts, both experts and novices alike, Marblehead MA, known for its maritime contributions and endeavors, is home to an aquatic gem – the Little Harbor Boathouse. If you’re out and about on the North Shore, taking in the last days of summer, we recommend you head out there immediately!
Little Harbor Boathouse is open 7 days a week through Labor Day (Thursdays through Sundays in September; including single & tandem Kayak & Standup Paddle Board Rentals) and they welcome paddlers of all levels of experience. If you are looking to enjoy anywhere from an hour to a day on the water, their rental prices are considerably fair and staff are extremely helpful. For beginners, Little Harbor Boathouse’s kayak, stand-up paddle board, and rowing coaches are fantastic and will create a program around your ability level, goals, and personal schedule.
They also offer rentals for groups with up to 40 people and see many corporate outings throughout the summer months (we are going to start making unsubtle hints around the CVB offices in regards to Summer 2015).
The Boathouse’s Water Sports Store is open year-round and is the Boston/North Shore authorized Hobie Kayak and Standup Paddle Board Dealer. They offer many different types of quality boards and boats that look great out of the water and work great while in. We were especially impressed with the extremely versatile Hobie Mirage Sport, a bit of a kayak/paddle boat hybrid (that will give your legs the best workout of your life!). For a bit of relaxation and fishing, the Mirage Sport also has a sail package that lets you take advantage of a breezy day and transform the kayak into a sort of a sailboat.
The Water Sports Store is currently offering their Annual Blow-Out Sale now through Labor Day. Don’t miss on big savings and the best prices of the year right now on limited stock of Hobie pedal and paddle kayaks & stand-up paddle boards! Their Annual YMCA Consignment Benefit Sale is also coming up on August 31st!
Perhaps most exciting at Little Harbor Boathouse are their guided kayak fishing excursions which run through September. These ~2 hour guided excursions of the “best fishing town in New England” are held on Thursday-Sunday mornings from 7-9am for groups of 3 (minimum). Little Harbor’s guides will introduce you to the versatile, hands-free Hobie Mirage as you enjoy a wonderful morning of fishing for striped bass, blue fish, and anything else that happens to come along!
“This all sounds great,” you must be thinking. “But what about those of us who are easily seasick?” Well, Little Harbor Boathouse let us in onto a Little Harbor Secret – ginger. If that does not work for you, then they also recommend a motion-sickness bracelet. No one should have to miss out on a terrific kayak excursion because of a little seasickness!
Whether you live on the North Shore or are just here for a visit, we encourage you to stop by Little Harbor Boathouse. Don’t forget to check out their website to keep up with their many programs, sales, rental information, and their fabulous blog (with great tips on kayaking spots, care, water fitness, and more!). While you’re online, check out their awesome Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram pages.
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 CANCELLED Website 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**) Website 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 July 3-5 Website 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**) Website 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**) Website 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
July 4 Website 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
July 4 Website 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**) Website 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!
On Wednesday, we visited Maudslay State Park in Newburyport on a quest for springtime photos of the region. A beautiful, 480 acre estate on the Merrimack River, the park was the homestead of the Moseley family at the turn-of-the-century. Where once stood two mansions, barns, greenhouses, gardens, and so much more is now a picturesque property with stunning views of the river and numerous trails.
There are still remnants of the park’s grand past – a root cellar, the gates to the original Moseley Estate, and the foundations of buildings long gone (all of which have provided fodder for a slew of ghost stories and purported hauntings throughout the years – and, while fun, are completely unfounded).
Today, the park is a fantastic space of hikers of all levels, picnics, kite-flying, horseback riding, biking, and casual walkers. They offer many programs for hiking enthusiasts and, in the spring and summer months, Newburyport’s Theatre in the Open puts on free plays and shows. If you are not familiar with the park, we recommend looking over a map beforehand – there are a few twists, turns, and dead ends and one could get lost easily.
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’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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
After the December hype of the holiday season dies down, things get pretty quiet in the North of Boston region (with the exception of the occasional blizzard – but even those become rather tedious after awhile). The rest of winter is for the birds.
Literally. For dedicated ornithologists and casual birdwatchers alike, the end of January/beginning of February bring two of the biggest birding events in the area- the Cape Ann Birding Weekend and Merrimack River Eagle Festival.
Cape Ann Birding Weekend
January 31-February 2, 2014 http://capeannchamber.com/signature-events/cape-ann-birding-weekend/
Bird watchers of all skill levels from all around flock to Cape Ann for the Cape Ann Birding Weekend. Organized by the Cape Ann Chamber of Commerce and Massachusetts Audubon Society, this event birding enthusiasts to join expert guides on tours of birding hotspots, attend birding workshops, and more. Artists will also be in attendance giving live demonstrations and showing off bird-related pieces. Explore Cape Ann’s scenic coastline and see winter seabirds, grebes, Harlequin Duck, Purple Sandpiper, and more!
Merrimack River Eagle Festival
February 8, 2014 http://www.massaudubon.org/get-outdoors/wildlife-sanctuaries/joppa-flats/news-events/the-merrimack-river-eagle-festival
The Bald Eagle makes it return to the Merrimack Valley this February! Celebrate its return at the Merrimack River Eagle Festival and join the Mass Audubon at Joppa Flats and the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge for a day full of free activities including an Eagle Tour, eagle magnet, mask or button-making, and so much more! This year, Festival is pleased to debut the Eagle Festival Eagle Eye Scavenger Hunt! Now through February 8, visit participating Newburyport merchants and find hidden eagle facts in their stores. You can download a scavenger hunt form or pick one up at the Joppa Flats Education Center or at Newburyport Public Library.
..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/
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/
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 Treesat 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
It seems like just yesterday that the fall foliage was at its brilliant peak. Trees everywhere were gussied up in leaves of yellow, orange, and red. Today, like the brilliant ballgown from the night before, the leaves are now in a sad heap on the floor (or ground…we’re starting to lose our metaphor).
Outside the Maria Miles Visitor Center in Salisbury as of 2 weeks ago. Today, these trees are nearly bare.
According to Yankee Foliage’s interactive guide, the North of Boston region is in its last throes of the leaf season (http://www.yankeefoliage.com/peak-foliage-forecast-map/). While there are a few autumn debutantes holding on to the last bits of the coming-out season (the last we checked, the Merrimack Valley region around Haverhill, Merrimac, and Andover was still bright and blooming), the trees have started to take on a bare, spooky look just in time for Halloween.
This part of the fall season reminds of the Robert Frost poem “Nothing Gold Can Stay” (we included the poem in our North of Boston Literary Lexicon blog post, but just for a refresher…).
Nature’s first green is gold, Her hardest hue to hold. Her early leaf’s a flower; But only so an hour. Then leaf subsides to leaf. So Eden sank to grief, So dawn goes down to day. Nothing gold can stay.
Frost probably didn’t have the autumn trees in mind when he wrote this poem, but it does, in a way, apply to end of fall.
Animals have (albeit savagely) caught on to our time-honored pumpkin traditions.
Pumpkins are an essential part of autumn. We pick them, cook them, vaguely flavor our coffee like them, and painstakingly carve spooky, whimsical, or funny faces or scenes on them and illuminate them on our front steps. Even after they are no longer “good,” we find uses for pumpkins, à la “Pumpkin Chunkin” (or hurling overripe pumpkins at great distances. We don’t quite get it either…).
In the North of Boston, we love to celebrate the autumn’s favorite orange gourd. Here are two pumpkin-related events happening this weekend:
Pumpkin Day at Cogswell’s Grant
Saturday, October 19th 11am-4pm
60 Spring Street, Essex MA
Celebrate all things autumn at Cogswell’s Grant. Take a hay wagon ride through the fields to choose a jack-o’-lantern from our pumpkin patch. There will be many great activities and events for the whole family including arts and crafts, games, face painting, and more! Try your hand at pressing apple cider and warm up with a cup of hot mulled apple cider and pumpkin pie (save room for the pumpkin pie-eating contest!). Decorate and carve pumpkins, compete in a pumpkin pie-eating contest, make crafts, play games, have your face painted, and try cider pressing. Afterwards, tour the house and see one of the most celebrated collections of American antiques and folk art.
Newburyport’s Great Pumpkin Lighting & Stroll
Saturday, October 19th 5-8pm
Market Square, Newburyport MA
An evening for the whole family, you are encouraged to bring a carved pumpkin to be lit and placed with other pumpkins on the stage in Market Square. Each family will receive a votive candle – the candles will all be lit at once at dusk. Watch as all of the pumpkins are illuminated and stroll downtown Newburyport and the Tannery to admire the pumpkins designed and carved by local businesses.
In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue,
In 2013, on Columbus weekend, we look for stuff to do…
Okay, so maybe the meter is a bit off, but for many, Columbus Day weekend provides us with 3-4 days free days to do as we please. So, other than the numerous sales at car dealerships and department stores, what is there to do this weekend? Here is just a taste of what’s going on in the North of Boston (for a full schedule of area events, visit http://northofboston.org/events/month/).
Fall Harvest Festival Newburyport, MA October 13-14
Held Sunday & Monday of Columbus Day weekend, enjoy great live music, art, fine crafts, food from Newburyport’s best restaurants! There’s something for the whole family, from Linsdsay & Her Puppet Pals Puppetry and Storytelling at Market Square (Sunday, 10:30-11am) to live music from the Squeezebox Stompers (Sunday) and 97 North (Monday) (1-4pm, Market Square). http://business.newburyportchamber.org/Events/details/fall-harvest-festival-5834
… Celtic Music Sail Schooner Thomas E. Lannon 63 R. Rogers Street Gloucester, MA Saturday, October 12 (2:30-5:00pm)
Join Celtic singer Michael O’Leary & Friends for a sailing ‘seisiun’ of traditional songs ‘n tunes aboard the schooner Thomas E. Lannon as she takes an early autumn sail around beautiful Gloucester harbor on Saturday, October 12, 2:30-5pm. The musicians include harper/singer Moira Kelly, fiddlers Ramona Connelly and Kate Hanlon, and singers Susan Goyette Young, Chris Leghorn and Austin O’Keefe. For more info and tix: http://schooner.org/ or 978.281.6634.
(Photo by Brian Giamberardino)
Topsfield Fair 207 Boston Street Topsfield, MA Now through Monday, October 14
A tradition for nearly 200 years, the Topsfield Fair is an Essex County staple. The oldest fair in America, the Topsfield Fair is 10 days of fun for the whole family. From the record-breaking giant pumpkin contest and sand sculpture exhibit to the mouth-watering food, countless rides, and concerts by Bobby Vinton, Cher Llyod, Tate Stevens, and many more, this year’s fair is not to miss! http://www.topsfieldfair.org/index.php
… 32nd Annual Salem Haunted Happenings Now through Thursday, October 31
A frighteningly festive celebration of Halloween and autumn in New England, Haunted Happenings has fun and activities for all ages including the Haunted Biz Baz Street Fair, Family Film Nights on Salem Common, farmers’ markets, costume balls, ghost tours, haunted houses, live music, and chilling theatrical presentations. Visit Salem this October for a spook-tacular time…if you dare. For a full schedule of Haunted Happenings events, visit http://hauntedhappenings.com/calendar
There’s just something special about apples. Between eating them right off the tree or making them into pies, cider, juice, apple crisp, strudel, using them as stamps, or finally “discovering” gravity because one fell on your head (allegedly), they’re probably the most versatile fruit.
We don’t know what you’re supposed to do with vaguely Venn Diagram-esque stamps either. (Photo from www.burstsofcreativity.blogspot.com)
The best thing about apples, though? Picking them. But where should you go?
Russell Orchards – 143 Argilla Road, Ipswich MA. Open Daily – 9am to 6pm
The best thing about apples, though? Picking them. But where should you go?
Russell Orchards – 143 Argilla Road, Ipswich MA. Open Daily – 9am to 6pm
Russell Orchards in the fall
Apple picking at Russell Orchards runs approximately from September through October (it can, depending on the season, begin as early as August). They offer Cortland (a crisp apple great for cooking), Gala (juicy and thus great for making juices and ciders), and McIntosh (sweet and tender, also great for cooking).
It’s a scenic, ~5 minute walk to the apple orchards, but during peak times, Russell Orchards offers hayrides out to the orchards.
Russell Orchards apples. Photo from: http://dirtywaterlindy.blogspot.com/p/venues.html
While you’re there, check out the store and bakery. Russell Orchards is known for their delicious cider donuts and pies. They also stock books by local authors and other assorted goods from around the world (like baskets from Ghana, handbags from Thailand, and more!).
Don’t forget to visit the rabbits, sheep, pigs, horses, goats, and other barnyard animals. For a quarter, you can even buy a handful of feed to give to the animals.
Cider Hill Farm – 45 Fern Avenue, Amesbury MA. Open Daily – 8am to 6pm
Cider Hill also offers scenic hayrides and Cortland, McIntosh, and Gala apples, among many sorts of summer apples earlier in the picking season.
After picking your peck of apples, stop by Cider Hill’s store. Located in a minimally-renovated dairy barn, the store offers baked goods (watch them make cider donuts right in front of you!), specialty meats and cheeses, produce, Cider Hill Farm Brand jams, jellies, apple butter and crisp mixes, the best chocolate milk (ever!) and so much more
Cider Hill Farm store produce section
When you visit the store, be sure to check out their observation beehive! Watch the nurse bees tend to the queen, bees caring for and feeding the babies, and bees that fan the honeycomb cells with their wings to condense the nectar into honey. The delicious honey (made from nectar gathered from the farm’s many flowers) is available in the store.
So, you’ve planned your trip for October – now what? Where should you go for the best view of the changing leaves?
We recommend taking a trip up Route 133. While on I-95, take exit 57 (Newburyport) to get on 133 and travel through scenic Newburyport, Rowley, Ipswich, and Essex, ending up out on the coast in Gloucester and Rockport. It’s a trip worth taking for the best of both worlds of Massachusetts’ fall – sleepy towns with a myriad of changing leaves lining the roads leading to the cool, coastal vista.
The area from Boston, Massachusetts' doorstep extending to the New Hampshire border is a diverse and beautiful place with historical and cultural significance. Distances are short, prices are reasonable, and the people are friendly and welcoming. Known for cozy hotels and inns, delicious restaurants, fascinating museums and great beaches, North of Boston, MA is the ideal vacation destination. The North of Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau proudly promotes the thirty-four cities and towns of Essex County as a tourism destination.