Tag Archives: north shore

North Shore Autumn Classics (You’re Welcome)

Download this adorable autumn watercolor printable from Jones Design Company here!!

Crowds mingling around a crackling bonfire. Temporarily dyed hair. Spirit week. Parades. The season of Homecoming is the inauguration of fall. When the yellow school buses make their reappearance, pumpkin flavored everything debuts on menus, and candy corn teases you from the grocery store end-caps, autumn’s arrival is just a tease. It’s homecoming that lights the  torch for this fall-loving girl.

I’m well out of school, but I still love everything about homecoming. This last weekend we returned to my alma mater for my five year (I weep) class reunion.

The North Shore of Boston is my happy place. People of New England, continue going to the Cape for all your beachside gallivanting, because the North Shore is perfect just the way it is.

After we finished reminiscing all our favorite old spots, and checked out all the new updates to campus in recent years (can I go back to being a student again?), we launched our own proverbial homecoming parade past some of our favorite North Shore haunts. woodmans

Woodman’s of Essex

If you’re into Zagat-rated food served on paper plates, Woodman’s of Essex is the place for you. They claim to have invented the fried clam – I can’t tell you if that’s delicious or not, because I’ve never been able to pass up my standard order of popcorn shrimp, clam chowder, and fried fish sandwich. (All of which are best to split unless you’d like to be towed home.)

When you live on the coast of Massachusetts, it’s common to debate where the best chowder is served. Woodman’s is usually my pick.

To get the maximum Woodman’s experience, go on a sunny fall day in the late afternoon. Take your food outside and pick a picnic table – and enjoy. Watching the setting sun over the salt marshes and enjoying a delicious cup of chowder is one of my favorite mental snapshots of New England in the fall.

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If you like your fish grilled and to eat off real plates, within a stone’s throw are two more delicious seafood restaurants right on the marsh that I highly recommend – Shea’s and Periwinkle’s.

Richardson’s Ice Cream

A great dinner should always be followed up by an even better dessert. There are a number of local ice cream spots on the North Shore – and you couldn’t really go wrong. But, if you wanted to pick the right one, you’d go to Richardson’s Ice Cream. (Technically I wouldn’t even call this ice cream place “North Shore” locale, but it’s totally worth the 15 minutes to get there. Captain Dusty’s is the local North Shore favorite – and it’s good. But no one can top King Rich.)

As evidenced by the number of ice cream posts on this blog, I love ice cream. So the fact that I look forward to the fall flavors at Richardson’s should mean something!

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One scoop of Apple Crisp and one scoop of Pumpkin *(note – this is a size small) and send me off to heaven.

They’ve since added some new additional Fall Flavors to choose from (like Cranberry Harvest) but I don’t like to mess with perfection.

There you have it.

A walk on the beach, dinner at Woodman’s, topping off with Richardson’s fall flavors sounds like the perfect way to usher in autumn to me.

Now – it’s October 1! I can officially start decorating for fall. So you will have to excuse me!!!

What is your favorite way to celebrate the beginning of fall? Football games? Apple picking? A hayride?

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.

Day Trip: Gloucester, MA

A few weekends ago I spent the weekend hanging out with a good friend, and we spent Saturday lollygagging around one of our favorite seaside towns – Gloucester (glaw-sstuh), Massachusetts.

Do people still use phrases like lollygagging? Is it just me? Mom, what have you done to my vocabulary!?

I’ve really missed living on the North Shore of Boston, so it was a pleasure to run rampant on our old stomping grounds.

I love Gloucester. It’s the no frills fishing town you’d expect it to be (a la The Perfect Storm).

It was supposed to snow, but fortunately it was mostly just a “wintry mix”… don’t you hate that weather prediction? What in the world is a “wintry mix”?

For breakfast you need to hit up my favorite – Sugar Magnolias. If you’re craving sweet, get the Carrot Cake pancakes. It’s you want savory, get the Irish Bene. (Oh boy, I’m drooling just thinking about it.) And if the line’s too long, walk around the corner to The Two Sisters. Smaller place, but equally satisfying.


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Make your way down Main Street and pop in three of my favorite stores:

Dogtown Books – where you might be able to find a vintage hardcover of your favorite childhood chapter book or the new best-seller that’s on your list of things to read.

My favorite store – no really, I don’t even know what the name of this store is because I just refer to it as “my favorite store”. … after a brief stint in Google, I’ve determined the store’s name is Main Street Arts & Antiques. Even though this store isn’t that large, I could sift through it for the whole afternoon.

On this particular weekend, my friend and I satisfied ourselves with the boxes and boxes of vintage postcards. Oh my stars, postcards were so much more clever/pretty back in the day! This store is full of treasures and I usually don’t walk out empty handed. On this particular day I came home with a handful of vintage postcards now hanging in my office.

Lastly, if you love vintage clothing and accessories you have to hit Bananas. You can’t miss it, as there is a giant yellow banana hanging outside the establishment. If you’re looking for suede fringe hippie pants, an I-am-16-going-on-17 Sound of Music dress or a Jackie O. pillbox hat, Bananas is your place. And don’t get my started on the jewelry cases. If you’re looking for vintage jewelry, this is your mecca.

Before we left, we made to stop by the Lone Gull coffeehouse for some joe and sandwiches. I had the BLT and it was quite tasty. (They make it with ranch dressing, strange, huh?). And the apricot pastry was a unique sweet to wrap up the meal.


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If you have some more time:

Glazed Pottery Studio is the perfect way to spend a relaxing evening with girlfriends.

And driving over to Annisquam is a visual delight.

And if you’re there in August – make sure to be there for St. Peter Fiesta and the Greasy Pole if you want to see Gloucester at it’s finest!

You can’t make this stuff up. via

(And by finest, I mean the Gloucester men sloshing around in costumes trying to grab a flag at the end of a greased-up and lard-covered log that is suspended 30 feet over the Atlantic Ocean! It’s a must-see. Just trust me.)

And don’t forget to say hello to this guy and while taking a walk through Stage Fort Park.

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Thanks for a wicked awesome Saturday, Gloucester. I miss you.