Tag Archives: massachusetts

A Sunny Afternoon in Rockport, MA

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Rockport, Massachusetts is one of my happy places. I spent a lot of time here in my college days, grabbing coffee with girlfriends, brunch with my parents, and dates with my then-boyfriend-now-husband.

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Rockport is most famous for it’s charming, decked out, red fishing hut with colorful buoys that sits in the middle of the harbor. I’ve been told it’s one of the most photographed places in New England. Rockport is also famous for being the location set of The Proposal. The town was temporarily decorated to look like Sitka, Alaska.

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Bear Skin Neck is the touristy area of Rockport, and I love it! A few weeks ago I spent an afternoon there with a good friend, and I thought I’d share.

Here are my favorite things to do in Rockport:

Where to Eat in Rockport:

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Tuck’s Candy Shop – If you’re looking for a sweet to nibble, pop into Tuck’s Candy Shop to watch them make homemade salt water taffy or fudge. They’ve got all the classics, like truffles, and vintage candies, as well as some new delights, like a Dark Chocolate Gummi Bear cup!


image from Cape Anne Magazine

My Place by the Sea – If you’re looking for a fantastic bowl of clam chowder, a lovely dinner date night, or a meal with a gorgeous view, My Place by the Sea is it. Whenever Moose and I debate where we can get the best bowl of clam chowder in New England, this place is always mentioned.

rockport11Helmut’s Strudel – Sharing a strudel here is not a good idea. Just sayin’. Buy your own and get it to go. Take it down to the end of the Neck and enjoy before the seagulls descend.

Honorable mention: The Blue Lobster Grill. This place has changed hands a few times in recent years, and I haven’t tried the newest version. Back in the day, it was called the Greenery and was a great spot to brunch! There is a cafe in the front (muffins! hot cocoa!), and a restaurant in the back that is all glass windows and overlooks the harbor. I can’t vouch for the food of the current place, but the view made for a wonderful experience.

 Where to Shop in Rockport:

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Lulu’s Pantry – One of my favorite kitchen shops. It’s a great place to get your favorite foodie or chef a gift, or splurge of some beautiful items, or hard-to-find ingredients, for your kitchen. The balcony off the back of the shop provides a picture-perfect view of the harbor.

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Milk & Honey – a beautiful little home decor store. HomeGoods doesn’t hold a candle to it.

What to Do in Rockport:

Bear Skin Neck: Walk (don’t be that person that tries to drive) to the end of Bear Skin Neck. Admire the ocean views and clamor around on the rock wall. Take in the salty air and sunshine.

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Gallery Hop: There are a number of fantastic art galleries in Rockport, many in which the artist makes frequent appearances! A long-time favorite of mine is George Anderson, with his colorful, graphic, and fun nautical pieces.

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Old Country Store: Pop into the Old Country Store. It’s full of vintage, hard-to-find candies, funny, nostalgic gifts, and (randomly) a large assortment of cookie cutters! Make sure you put a quarter into the old Nickelodeon and watch it play a tune!

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Walk out to the Fishing Hut: Use the colorful buoys as a photo-op, admire the lobster traps, and check out the boats.

Those are some of my favorite things to do in Rockport. Where is your favorite seaside town?

 

10 Years in Boston

My very first autumn in Boston started with a bang. It was the infamous moment with the bloody sock and a broken curse and the Red Sox had finally won the World Series. Utter chaos ensued and I wondered on to what mysterious planet I had fallen on.

The New England sports fever is (wicked) hard to beat, but especially so coming from upstate NY, where the sports fans in Rochester just don’t share the same level of passion for the Bills. Who can blame them? I got HECKLED (!) by strangers for years just because I had NY plates on my car!

Many years ago I stopped being afraid of the notorious highways (Stop sign to get on to a highway? Why not?), non-nonsensical streets, and drivers that are so mean they’ve earned their own nick name (which I shall mind my manners and not be repeat here). But I still remember white-knuckling my first drive on 95/128, which makes it a rite of passage in my mind. My mother now thinks I’m an aggressive driver, and I can pronounce all the town names like a local. I guess that’s a badge of honor.

There are still a few red flags about this girl that Massachusetts (I can spell it now without blinking an eye) hasn’t been able to ingrain in me yet – I don’t run on Dunkin, I can’t name one Celtics player, and I haven’t set foot inside Fenway (which is soon to be changed – promise!!).

In honor of celebrating 10 years in this wonderful place, I’ll be sharing top 10 lists of my favorite things to do in the city, the North Shore, the Metro West, and on The Cape.

But first, let me share 10 reasons of why I love living here:

10. Surfing, mountain climbing, city slicking or country bumkin-ing – take your pick. You can get there in an hour.

9. Boston does seasons like a champ. We get to experience all four seasons at their very worst: -15 degrees winter mornings, gray, muddy springs, humid summer nights, and fall, the season of raking. But also their very best: glistening falling snow, blooming flowers, perfect beach days, and glorious foliage.

8. Seafood right off the boat. No supermarket lobster for us – I get mine, literally, at the bottom of a bridge.

7. Boston is America’s youngest city. This means a lot of great bands, performers, and notables often pass through town, and we get to see them.

6. You can go anywhere in the city for $2.25. (My appreciation for the Charlie Card was greatly renewed when we went to London, where we had to pay 5x as much to get to our destination.)

5. Everything has a story. You can’t drive more than five minutes before crossing multiple historic locations – the battle that ended the Revolutionary War, the place where the first cross-continental US covered wagon departed from, [Insert famous person’s name here]’s childhood home.

4. Boston is quirky. The Citgo sign is a local treasure, the outdoor bookstore, the roads are ridiculous and, hello, have you heard some of these people talking?

3. A deeply renewed love for well-made clam chowder.

2. A never-ending supply of thrift stores, consignment shops, antique dealers, and piles-of-junk-for-sale to sort through.

1. Last, but not least, the accent. It can be abrasive and annoying, but also endearing and loveable. And there’s nothing I enjoy more than repeating the weird words used by subway announcers, local commercials, and overheard in conversation. It gets it your head. (It gets in yuh head!)

I love Boston! Do you? Why?

Day Trip to Newburyport and Plum Island

Day trip to Newburyport and Plum Island

I’ve long maintained that Rockport is my favorite Massachusetts town. And that’s still true. Mostly. Rockport IS my favorite, but if I could choose to live in any town, it would be Newburyport. (If only it weren’t quite so far north!)

Day trip to Newburyport and Plum Island

Newburyport is best-known for being the first port in New England. There is a short, but lovely, boardwalk along the river where you can watch sailboats – and on the rare occasion gawk at the out-of-place larger-than-life yachts that come up from the Cayman Islands.

Day trip to Newburyport and Plum Island

Day trip to Newburyport and Plum Island

Shopping in Newburyport

Another reason I love Newburyport is that it is a great place for browsing and window shopping.

My personal favorite stores to poke around in are Souffles (a great little kitchen store and coffee shop), Pretty Poppy (for affordable jewelry and accessories), the Brass Lyon (for nautical themed gifts), and Vintage Goods.

There is a great men’s shop (John Farley’s) and those are hard to come by. There are a few local chains here as well – Modern Millie’s (a vintage/consignment dress shop) and Bobbles and Lace (more ladies clothing). Day trip to Newburyport and Plum Island

My favorite place to shop in Newburyport is Oldie’s Marketplace – it’s a huge barn at the end of the riverwalk. It’s full of old thrifted goods – everything from old bottles, to antique furniture, to old records.

Exactly my type of place that I like to hunt through.

Eating in Newburyport

Day trip to Newburyport and Plum Island

If you are there for lunch, stop at the deli counter in Fowle’s Drugstore and get a panini! It doesn’t look like much, but it’s delicious!

Day trip to Newburyport and Plum Island

If you’re there for dinner, another favorite of ours is Agave – for delicious Mexican fare. There is usually a wait – so call ahead!

If you are heading out to the beach, like we were, stop at the Black Duck Market for some goodies. It is located in the Tannery, which just happens to be the best (free) place to park in Newburyport.

Plum Island

Directly off the coast is Plum Island – a reserve. While many Massachusetts beaches are more cove-like, Plum Island is a tried and true Atlantic Ocean beach.

Day trip to Newburyport and Plum Island

This means the waves are bigger, the water is colder, and the drop-off is pretty quick.

While it’s not my favorite beach for swimming (at least my kind of swimming – which is more like floating in a bathtub), it’s a great beach for lounging! The long beach means the shore’s not congested and everyone is able to spread out.

Day trip to Newburyport and Plum Island

It costs $5/car to get into Plum Island reserve. While you’re there don’t forget to drive around the reservation and enjoy the beauty.

Day trip to Newburyport and Plum Island

Day trip to Newburyport and Plum Island

What’s your favorite way to experience the beach?

I like a good book and a nice breeze!

Day Trip to Marblehead, MA

Day Trip to Marblehead, MA

This winter I traveled up to Marblehead, MA for work and was able to explore the area for a bit. This visit (and this post) are more than a tease than anything else!

Marblehead is best known for being a peninsula with lots of coast and ocean views, being the birthplace of the U.S. Navy and the yachting capital of the U.S.  It’s also the filming location for several popular movies, most recently Grown Ups 1 and 2.

Day Trip to Marblehead, MA

Like most of our favorite towns on the North Shore of Boston, it has a village full of shops, lovely window decorations and countless art galleries.

We were there on a cold afternoon in February, so life there was quiet. So I’m told, it gets very busy in the summer.

I had lunch at Haley’s – there is a cafe inside the wine & spirit store.Day Trip to Marblehead, MA

We sat next to this AWESOME painting, which I took several photos of. I’m determined to try and DIY one just like it, because I still can’t stop thinking about it. It’s also my iPhone background. <— such is the life of a nerdy art  major.

Day Trip to Marblehead, MA

For lunch I had the Vegetable Chili and the Chicken Arugula Sandwich.

I hope you know I’m not exaggerating when I say that the sandwich was the BEST one I’ve had in years. Maybe I was high on cold air, or the dullness of February was going to my head but… it was kismet.

I won’t lie. I hardly shared because I wanted to eat the whole thing myself. YUM.

Day Trip to Marblehead, MA

One of our favorite things about the North Shore of Boston is looking at all the buildings and architecture. When my husband and I started dating it was, and still is, one of our favorite things to do.

Marblehead is no different and full of interesting, old houses to check out.

I definitely will be returning in the summer with my bike!Day Trip to Marblehead, MA

And of course ocean views were inescapable.

The ocean looked mighty, mighty cold that day. Day Trip to Marblehead, MA

We headed up to Chandler Hovey Park, home of the Marblehead Lighthouse.

And it was COLD so we didn’t stay long!Day Trip to Marblehead, MA

While we spent only an hour or two checking out town before we had to move on, I definitely hope to return to this lovely seaside town.

And you can bet I’ll be bringing my bike. And a swimsuit. And a picnic basket for the 18 Chicken Arugula sandwiches I will be eating all by myself.

Have been to Marblehead? Seen the movie Grown Ups?

Fun fact: A friend and I saw and met Maya Rudolph shopping in Salem with her newborn son while she was in town filming for the second movie!

I ‘ve also heard a few stories about people meeting Adam Sandler when he was in town filming. One fun story was that he stopped at a kid’s lemonade stand and gave him a one-hundred dollar bill for a cup of lemonade. Not sure if it’s true, but cute nonetheless.