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Author: Marlissa Briggett

Dartmouth’s Ron Taylor Tackles Both Obesity & Obstacle Course Races

Our August issue had profiles of some amazing South Coast athletes. In this season of New Year’s resolutions, we thought it’d be great to throw them online for a shot of inspiration, motivation, or just plain appreciation. Today: Meet Ron Taylor!

Photo by Elin Bodin

Ron Taylor, Jr. was never much of an athlete, and he had been overweight since middle school.

Obesity runs in his family and his mother had gastric bypass surgery to lose the unwanted weight.

But it wasn’t until Taylor’s father-in-law had a massive heart attack at a relatively young 56 did he elect to undergo the surgery himself with Dr. Rayford Kruger, Physician-in-Chief of the Surgery Care Center for  Southcoast Health, who is based in Wareham’s Tobey Hospital.

Little did he know that the surgery would open a whole new fitness hobby and community to him.

His first Obstacle Course Race (OCR), where you are tasked with running a distance but overcoming man-made obstacles along the way, was a short 5K sprint on a farm in Barre, Massachusetts. Then he did Spartan Race’s renowned Killington Beast a year later a half-marathon distance OCR.

His fave is now the annual F.I.T. Challenge out in Cumberland, RI, which takes place in chilly early April. But he dreams to one day do what is called an Ultra, a 30+ mile event. He had attempted one in New Jersey, but was pulled off the course due to his Raynaud’s Syndrome, a medical condition that reduces blood flow, causes pain, and turns the fingers a ghostly white.

He doesn’t run the races for times necessarily, but to finish. “I have always been goal-oriented, and with this, I am trying to find that physical limit,” he says.

A few factors figure into this. One is his Raynaud’s. The other is his stomach capacity. “I can’t eat like everyone else before and during the race,” he says.

Immediately after his surgery, he started joining social media groups of people who were physically active post-surgery. At first, 30 days out when he was cleared for exercise, he took up CrossFit. But it was ultimately the runner’s high he sought.

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Olympian Gevvie Stone: Row Like A Girl

Gevvie Stone

Our August issue had profiles of some amazing South Coast athletes. In this season of New Year’s resolutions, we thought it’d be great to throw them online for a shot of inspiration, motivation, or just plain appreciation…

At 5:00 am six mornings a week, Genevra “Gevvie” Stone is awake to train.

You’ll likely find Gevvie rowing with local masters men, most of whom have themselves raced as members of the U.S. Rowing team. She often beats them soundly.

Right now, rowing is her job. But she doesn’t see it that way.“There’s something about rowing, including the nap I take after the morning row [she laughs], that makes it seem like it’s not work.”

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Arthur Mpofu Finds Home in Mixed Martial Arts

Our August issue had profiles of some amazing South Coast athletes. In this season of New Year’s resolutions, we thought it’d be great to throw them online for a shot of inspiration, motivation, or just plain appreciation. Up next: Arthur Mpofu!

It can be hard for a teenager from Botswana to come to America without parental guidance.

But Arthur Mpofu, now 23, settled in Wareham with a foster family, became fluent in English and has nary a trace of an accent, and graduated high school.

He was working essentially two full-time jobs to eke out a living, but it was monotonous, exhausting and he lacked any personal fulfillment. He was desperate for an outlet for his passion.

Since he enjoyed watching ultimate fighting, he strolled into SBG East Coast one day to inquire about its mixed martial arts classes. He was instantly hooked. He’s only been involved in the sport for two years now, and in August 2018, he appeared in his first sanctioned fight. He won another a few months later and became amateur champion of his 135 lbs. weight class. Unfortunately he lost the belt on June 15. He’s still 3-1 and looking forward to using the loss as a learning experience. He plans on getting the belt back in the near future.

Others toil for years before reaching such heights. What is his secret?

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New Bedford’s Jany Rodriguez-Ramos Runs All Over the World

Our August issue had profiles of some amazing South Coast athletes. In this season of New Year’s resolutions, we thought it’d be great to throw them online for a shot of inspiration, motivation, or just plain appreciation. First up: Jany Rodriguez-Ramos!

Marathoner Janytzabell Rodriguez-Ramos, or Jany to her friends, has got determination. And a toughness borne of an early childhood battling leukemia. At 1 ½ years old, she was diagnosed with the disease and given a 22 percent survival rate. For the next four years, her family’s focus was to make sure she was among that 22 percent of survivors.

Jany Rodriguez-Ramos

Photo by Bud Morton

In and out of hospitals until she was 5, she spent another chaotic year there when she was 10 and they were afraid the cancer had returned (it hadn’t; her symptoms were just residual side effects from the treatment).

So the suffering that comes from marathon training and competing? It ain’t nothing compared to battling leukemia for years.

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8 Great Things for January on the South Coast!

It’s a new year AND a new decade — so we threw a couple of things on the list to inspire you to try new things!

1. Walk Right Into the New Year

There’s 0% chance of precipitation and 100% chance of a good time on one of the local New Year’s Day walks organized by our wonderful land conservation non-profits. Get outside and enjoy nature on your own or on one of these group walks (resolution: make new friends!) on January 1st:

  • The earliest of the bunch is at 9 am. Join the DNRT for a winter hike around the Frank Knowles/Little River Reserve. Free. More here.
  • Choose between a shorter hike (2.5 miles) and a longer hike (7 miles) on the 8th annual First Day hike with Friends of the Myles Standish State Park. Meet at 10:45 am. Find out more here.
  • A 3+ mile walk in the Let Conservation area in Westport gives you beautiful views of tidal estuaries and salt marshes. Meet at 10 a.m. $5 suggested donation to the Westport Land Trust. More here. 
  • Join the Lloyd Center’s Mark Mello for insight into coastal ecology and bird identification at Gooseberry Island. 10 a.m. Free but register here. 
  • The Sippican Lands Trust leads a walk around its White Eagle Property. It’s free and starts at noon (but check the website for any updates).

2. Meatballs & Spaghetti

An entree at one of the best restaurants on the South Coast for $10? If you’ve never been to Ella’s Wood Burning Oven Restaurant (winner in multiple categories in our readers’ Best of the South Coast), here’s your chance. Chef Marc Swierkowski is offering his Sicilian meatballs and spaghetti for just $10 on Monday nights. Go! This is a major deal! Dine-in only. Ella’s, 3136 Cranberry Highway, Wareham. More information here. 

3. Model Behavior

Bruce Gifford is renowned for the painstaking accuracy of his model boats, down to the navigation books on the shelf in the wheelhouse. He’ll be at the Fishing Heritage Center to display some of his models and talk about this intricate – and fun – art form. January 11, from 1 to 4 pm. 38 Bethel Street, New Bedford.  More info here.

4. “Clear Your Mind.” Yoda

Have you been to the Symphony lately? If not, here’s your chance. January features movie music composed by John Williams (think Star Wars, E.T., Harry Potter, Jurassic Park). It’s an entertaining way to ease yourself into becoming a symphony-lover. You can even buy yourself some candy at the concession stand and bring it to your seats, just like at the movies. January 11 at 7:30. Tickets from $10 to $65. See more here. 

5. Walking Book Club!

The weather didn’t cooperate last month so we’re trying it again! Join us for an afternoon of literary fun, fresh air and community spiritedness while we walk along Fall River’s waterfront and listen to Paull Goodchild read from and discuss his novel The Case of the India Pale Ale. No need to have read the book already, just come along. We’ll meet inside the cozy Tipsy Toboggan. The event is free thanks to Partners Village Store but please register here so that we can send you email updates if there are changes due to weather. January 12 at 2 pm. Meet at Tipsy Toboggan, 75 Ferry Street, Fall River. See more here and cross your fingers for clear weather.

6. Celebrate MLK’s Birthday

The Z is throwing a big musical shindig for MLK, Jr. with Damien Sneed’s We Shall Overcome. A repertoire from across the African American music traditions that electrified generations of civil rights activists and defenders is interwoven with the spoken word from Dr. King’s recorded speeches. So powerful that a power outage couldn’t stop this show (see what happened here). Very cool! January 20, 7:30 pm. The Zeiterion, 684 Purchase Street, New Bedford. Tickets from $25 to $45. See more here. 

7. Board the Entrain!

We saw these folks at the Bourne Scallop Festival a few years back and they are phenomenal! Their collective resume includes stints playing with Bo Diddley, Carly Simon, Chuck Berry, Southside Johnny, James Montgomery, Flor De Cana, and Blood, Sweat, and Tears. Get a preview of them here and then come on down to the Narrows Center to see them IRL. January 24 at 8 pm. Buy tickets here. $28, general admission. $31 day of show.

Wareham's Fourth Saturday Contra Dances8. Dance Zone

To round out our month of trying new things, let Paul Wilde introduce you to contra dances, line dances with English, Scottish, and French origins. This monthly Wareham event is open to longtime fans and newbies alike. If you’re a beginner who wants a little more instruction, show up at 7:30 pm. January 25, 8 to 11 pm.  Old Methodist Meeting House, 495 Main Street, Wareham. $10. More info here. 

 

Our print issues are always chock full of other great calendar ideas (like our perennial favorite the Moby Dick Marathon at the Whaling Museum or the New Year’s polar plunges pictured above!)…..become a subscriber so you get the full round-up of great things to do on the South Coast. Subscribe right here!

Last thing to do this month? Vote in our photo contest! Check out these great shots by local photographers of South Coast living and tell us which one is your favorite! See the photos and vote right here. 

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8 Great Things for December!

We know, we know! Your December calendars are busy and filled with wonderful activities (and long To Do lists). But, trust us, you can fit in a couple of these things which require nothing of you except showing up. Take time out from a busy month with these top 8 things to do on the South Coast this month. (Pro tip: we’re releasing the list early this month so that when you’re gathered around the Thanksgiving table, you can pick a couple of things to do with friends and family!)

1. Drag and Dine

Drag brunch has become “a coast-to-coast mainstay, scrambling eggs with a dash of sass and verve.” Come check it out and support the work of the Southcoast LGBTQ Network! Sunday, December 1 from 11 to 2 pm, 222 Union Street, New Bedford. For tickets and more information, see here. 

 

2. Walking Book Club (+ beer!)

Join us for an afternoon of literary fun, fresh air and community spiritedness while we walk along Fall River’s waterfront and listen to Paull Goodchild read from and discuss his new novel. No need to have read the book already, just come along. The first 40 people who sign up here  will get a FREE beer tasting at Troy City Brewery. The event is free thanks to our sponsors at Partners Village Store and Troy City Brewery. December 1 at 2 pm. Heritage State Park, Fall River. POSTPONED UNTIL JANUARY 12 BECAUSE OF THE WEATHER!  See more here. 

8 great things3. Tea and Scones!

We get to see the beautiful Rotch-Jones-Duff House in its festive holiday attire AND we get tea and scones?! Sign us up! Sundays at 4, Mondays at 2 (Dec. 1, 2, 8, 9, 15  (Note December 15 is a Children’s Tea). Buy your tickets here ($25 for members/$30 for non-members). 396 County Street, New Bedford.

4. Community Sing!

We just love the term “community sing” so we looked up its official definition: it’s the “unrehearsed mass singing of familiar songs by any assemblage or audience.” Yep, love the definition too. Join Midori Creativity for a night filled with candlelight, music, and creative expression.  Sing-along to a few seasonal favorites, make new friends, and help support girls’ education in Nepal.  Friday, December 6 from 6 to 8 pm. Wild Honey Cafe, Dartmouth. $25 tickets available here.

5. Tree Lighting

We’re fans of quick bursts of holiday spirit so the 2d annual outdoor tree lighting event at Westport Woods Conservation Park is exactly our cup of tea. The Greater Tiverton Community Chorus will sing carols and hot apple cider will be served and it’s over at 6:00 sharp, leaving you plenty of time for dinner! Free. Thursday, December 12 at 5 pm. 573 Adamsville Road, Westport. See more here.

 

6. The King of Meteor Showers on Friday the 13th

Make the most of the confluence of Friday the 13th and the Geminid Meteor Shower by joining the Buzzards Bay Coalition far away from city lights at the 500-acre Mattapoisett River Reserve. Dress warmly and bring a chair. Warm beverages and snacks will be provided. Free (but check the event page here as the event is dependent on weather and cloud cover!) Friday, December 13 at 8 pm. 138 Acushnet Road, Mattapoisett.

7. Get Crackin’ at Dawn!

(We admit it. This was on the list last year but we overslept so we’re putting it back on.) What better way to celebrate the lengthening of the days than with a sunrise stroll on the winter solstice with the Buzzards Bay Coalition (again, the Coalition! They’ve got great things happening all the time!) This is the year we wake up in time! Free. Saturday, December 21. 6:30 to 7:30 a.m. 163 Fir Street, Fairhaven. 

8. Support a Local Phenom

Quinn Sullivan is a young singer and guitarist who grew up in New Bedford and is now making a name for himself nationally. He’s just 20 years old and the list of things he’s accomplished is already impressive: he’s played with BB King; his 2017 release Midnight Highway made it to number 3 on the Billboard Top Blues Album Chart; and, he’s been on the Ellen Degeneres show. See him this month at the Narrows where he performs 2 shows. Friday, December 27 and Saturday, December 28 at 8 pm. The Narrows, 16 Anawan Street, Fall River. From $32. Purchase tickets here. 

Feel free to let us know if we missed anything by commenting below. (Our best ideas come from our readers!)  Wanna keep up with the coolest happenings each month on the South Coast?! Sign up for our free monthly newsletter right here!

Our Holiday 2019 is filled with even more great calendar events. Get a copy delivered to your door with things you won’t see online, subscribe right here! Or just help us spread the word about South Coast Almanac by sharing this post with your friends on facebook, twitter or by email
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The Great South Coast Holiday Dessert Bake-Off

We gathered four of the region’s most acclaimed confectioners and bakers for a little friendly competition: Whose signature dish makes for the best holiday dessert? Here are the entries for our Great South Coast Holiday Dessert Bake-Off…

Great South Coast Bake-OffCHOCOLATE CAKE WITH MOCHA BUTTERCREAM FROSTING

by StacyCakes, Westport

LIKE A LOT OF PEOPLE who stumbled into their life passion later in adulthood, STACY SILVA-BOUTWELL didn’t dream of being a baker when she was younger. She was a social worker for years until one day a friend asked her to make a Mario Brothers cake for her son.

Soon, she was taking all of her friends and family up on their requests for cakes, and eventually she left her career in social work because she became “so tired of everyone being sad and upset all the time. But cakes bring people joy.”

Her chocolate cake is rich and full of flavor. The frosting is light, but made with real espresso. The homemade white chocolate snowflakes, raspberries, sliced figs, and rosemary sprigs give a lively all-natural décor in the stripe of ganache over the top.

8 Great ThingsA GIFT-WRAPPED TIRAMASU

by Molly B’s Cakes of Distinction & Design, Berkley

EVEN THOUGH MARLENE SOUZA was quite successful making cakes, at 50, she decided to go back to school because “I wanted the qualifications behind me. I knew the cooking techniques, I just couldn’t name them.”

Two years later, she opened Molly B’s (it’s her childhood nickname). She takes great pride in her work: If a cake needs edible violets, she’ll grow and nurture them herself; if she has to pull an all-nighter to finish an elaborately designed wedding cake, she will.

A layer of ladyfingers is soaked with a coffee syrup, followed by a layer of tiramisu mousse topped with a layer of hand-shaved chocolate and coffee beans. The whole thing is repeated, topped again with the mousse and tied in a great big bow. Pirouline rolled cookies frame the dessert and Marlene adds edible decorations on top.

Great South Coast Bake-OffCRANBERRY FOOL

byArtisan Bake Shop, Rochester

IN 2005, MEREDITH CIABURRI-ROUSSEAU opened Artisan Bake Shop to produce delicious pastries AND whimsical cakes.

She trained at the Culinary Institute in the Hudson Valley and came back to New England for her food management bachelor at Johnson and Wales. She interned in restaurants on Lake George and in Vermont. Her most interesting custom cake assignment? She had to do a full-scale model of a Model T engine for the 80th birthday of a Model T club member.

“What I love about this cranberry fool is that it requires no baking,” she says. “Even though it is a cool dessert, it can be enjoyed in any season.”

CHOCOLATE YULE LOG

by Confections, Fall River

JIM KENNEDY’S SUGAR CREATIONS are pieces of art. His flowers look like the real thing. Hostesses from as far away as New York City and Newport call him when they need a unique and spectacularly designed cake for a celebration.

He has been working in restaurants since he was 16. When he graduated from dishwasher to prepping the desserts, he knew he had found his calling. One Christmas, in between restaurant jobs, he peddled gingerbread houses door-to-door in Newport before spending years at Seekonk’s Café in the Barn, owned by the television chef Bernard Devodet.

Jim’s gluten-free yule log is pillowy soft and deliciously pairs chocolate with coffee. The edible holly leaves and white chocolate snowflakes with a dusting of edible gold are festive and fun. Customers come back year after year for their yule logs.

Great South Coast Holiday Bake-OffPLEASE JOIN US NOVEMBER 16

THE GREAT SOUTH COAST HOLIDAY DESSERT BAKE-OFF will take place at Bristol Community College’s spectacular Sbrega Building. The four bakers will each present and talk about their dish to a panel of judges including Bristol Professor of Baking and Pastry Arts Gloria Cabral, the co-owner of Little Moss Restaurant (and winner of our readers’ vote for Best Dessert) Lisa Lofberg, and our editor Scott Lajoie. This will be followed by a tasting for audience members. All profits from the event will go to Bristol’s Culinary Arts Scholarship Fund. For more details and to buy your $25 ticket, go here.

 

To read this and other great stories in our Holiday issue, subscribe right here and have the next 4 issues delivered straight to your door.

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8 Great Things for November!

Have you put your heat on? There’s a whole swathe of New Englanders who insist on waiting until November before turning the heat on (see here). We’re not here to pass judgment on you if you’ve already put your heat on  (mostly because our heat has been on and off for a few weeks). We are here to offer you an 8 Great Things List that is heavy on the hunkering-down-inside type of things to do. We round it out with a couple of outdoor activities, but that’s just to help you realize that, “Hey! It’s okay to turn the heat on now! No one’s going to judge you! It’s November on the South Coast!”

8 Great Things1. Telluride or New Bedford?

You could go to the annual Mountainfilm festival in Telluride or you can see the best of its short films in New Bedford this month. The films festival showcases nonfiction stories about environmental, cultural, climbing, political and social justice issues that matter. November 2, 3:30 to 9 pm. (2 sessions, $10 per session). See here to purchase tickets. 18 Johnny Cake Hill, New Bedford (Hosted by the SouthCoast Film Forum, the Buzzards Bay Coalition and the Whaling Museum)  See more about the festival here.

2. A Symphony Matinee!

Maybe you prefer classical music in the afternoons rather than evenings? The Symphony has started to feature Sunday matinees as companions to its evening performances. This weekend’s performances include a Sunday afternoon performance featuring the Magic Circle Mime Co. performing Peter and the Wolf in and around the musicians as they play the score! Saturday evening will feature violinist Yevgeny Kutik who returns to the NBSO to perform both Prokofiev’s violin concertos – two virtuosic pieces that create opposite sound worlds, opening with a new rendition of Peter and the Wolf and topping it off with a suite from the stirring ballet Romeo and Juliet. Pick your day (or pick both)! The Z, 684 Purchase Street, New Bedford. Buy tickets here.

Elevate Summit 3. Elevate Yourself!

A full day of mindfulness designed for people who embrace it as well as for those who aren’t sure what that all means. The keynote speaker is Tom Curran, the NBC Sports TV personality who is as comfortable riffing about the Patriot’s line-up as the efficacy of meditation in his own life.  Morning and afternoon workshops in the soaring space of the Kilburn Mill, overlooking Clark’s Cove, will inspire up to 500 participants to live a happier life. November 6. For more info and to register, go here. 

4. Kayak Klatsch

What a way to start the day! Combine a sociable coffee hour with a morning paddle when the Buzzards Bay Coalition hosts a free Morning Kayak and Coffee along Slocums River. It’s free but space is limited and they ask that you register here (also, BYOK — bring your own kayak). November 9 from 9 to 10:30. More here.

5. Just Roll With It

The Carousel Family Fun Center in Fairhaven is closing its indoor skating rink this month. Sad but true. Come out to enjoy it before it closes! November 9, 10 pm to 1 am , you’re encouraged to attend with your best retro costume ($20 at door or $15 in advance here, includes skate rentals). Or come on the very last day: November 11, 2 to 5. $10 admission ($3 skate rental). 4 David Drown Boulevard, Fairhaven.

8 Great Things6. The Great South Coast Holiday Dessert Bake-Off

In our Holiday issue (hitting newsstands in 2 weeks!), we asked 4 local baking phenoms to give us their best holiday dessert. They WOWED us in the pages of the magazine. Now you can taste their creations yourself and vote for your favorite!  November 16 at 2 pm. Sbrega Building, Bristol Community College, 777 Elsbree Street, Fall River. Tickets are $25 and all profits go to the Bristol Culinary Arts Scholarship Fund. Buy your tickets here. Learn more about the event here.

8 great things7. Travel to India & Back In a Night

The Z brightens up mid-November with a colorful and lively musical Taj Express: The Bollywood Musical Revue, a fusion of film, music and dance. With over 1,000 costumes, this is a capital P Production for fans of “big, bright Broadway shows.” Check out the trailer here to get a sense of its scope. November 17, 7  pm. 684 Purchase Street, New Bedford. Tickets range from $35 to $49, with student tickets just $10. Tickets here.

8. Art, Wind & Water

The Whaling Museum marries art and science in its new exhibit, Under a Stiff Breeze: The Art of Wind and Water, which brings “some of the more tempestuous works of marine painting” in its collection alongside Matthew Fontaine Maury’s Wind and Current Charts which were mapped in the 1850s and .changed the way humankind came to know the oceans of the world. While you’re there, you can check out De Wind Is Opp which highlights the museum’s impressive Golden Age Dutch and Flemish collection. 18 Johnny Cake Hill, New Bedford. More here about Under a Stiff Breeze.  More about De Wind is Opp here.

There you go! Our top picks for November. Feel free to let us know if we missed anything by commenting below. (Our best ideas come from our readers!) And let us know if you have a passionate adherence to waiting until a certain date to turn on the heat…

Wanna keep up with the coolest happenings each month on the South Coast?! Sign up for our free monthly newsletter right here!

Our Holiday 2019 is hitting mailboxes very soon and you’ll find it on newsstands soon.  Can’t wait? Get a copy delivered to your door with things you won’t see online, subscribe right here! Or just help us spread the word about South Coast Almanac by sharing this post with your friends on facebook, twitter or by email
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8 Great Things for October on the South Coast!

8 Great Things in October

Turn the page and look what October has in store for us! Here is our monthly reminder of why we’re so lucky to live here –there’s such a lot going on! Here are our 8 Great Things for October.

8 Great Things for October1. Keep On Truckin’

The Onset Bay Association and the Wareham Village Association are joining forces to give us a Food Truck Festival with live music, local beer and wine and, of course, food trucks. Check out the Facebook page here for more information. Saturday, October 5, 11 to 4 (rain date is October 6) at the Wareham Village Train Depot with additional parking and shuttles from the Town Hall at 54 Marion Street, Wareham.

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Pull! Pull! Pull! South Coast Whaleboating

New Bedford is home to three of only 63 authentic Azorean whaleboats in the world (and the only ones in the United States). Handcrafted by a master wooden boat builder, they are so beautiful that you might expect them to be museum pieces. One of them — the Bela Vista — is in fact co-owned by the New Bedford Whaling Museum. But it’s a living, breathing exhibit: simply look out at the harbor to see them in use by passionate teams of rowers or sailors. Then, take a moment to imagine them as the vehicles created to capture 60-foot sperm whales, operated entirely by manpower.

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