July, it’s nice to see you again! We’re starting to see calendars become useful again as activity starts to hum around the South Coast. We’ve got some great things to do outdoors or from the comfort of home on our 8 Great Things list this month. Stay healthy, stay safe, and enjoy the pleasures of summer this month.
Like clockwork, we like to get our 8 Great Things list out by the first of every month. But having watched the events of the last several weeks unfold, our monthly list seems unimportant. And for that reason, it’s June 3 and we’ve held back on releasing it. We’ve been thinking about how a publication that, by its very mission, is focused on the feel-good aspects of a region addresses the righteous anger and complexities arising out of the last weeks.
Let’s just put it right out there: we don’t know. But we’re talking about it. And we’re listening. If you have any ideas, please reach out in the comments or to [email protected]
In the meantime, here’s the list for you, in time to register for the first event on June 4.
You know how you make the best of what you have in the cupboard these days? In that same vein, we’re doing the best we can with our regular 8 Great Things monthly blog. Usually, we tell you about great happenings on the South Coast in the month ahead but we’ve had to re-tool it for these social distancing times. In April, we gave you 8 Great Walks(which we encourage you to use again this month). For May, we are giving you 8 Great Distractions which features virtual events that you can enjoy from the comfort of home. So for May, entertain yourself with local music, art and culture without even paying a cover charge (or brushing your hair).
There have been reports of fields of onions buried in Idaho; milk dumped in Wisconsin and Ohio. An irony during this pandemic is that while shoppers have faced supermarket shortages, some farmers and fishermen are inundated with too much food because their normal chain is off as purchasing by restaurants, schools and hotels has cratered.
Photo: Jim Mahaney
Shopping Moves Directly to the Piers and Farms
Ironically, Troy Durr has never eaten a lobster in his life (he hates seafood). But his uncle and plenty of his friends are lobstermen. When he saw them struggling with this supply/demand dichotomy, the 25 year old Mattapoisett resident decided to do something about it. He let people know via Facebook that a lobster boat had lobsters that couldn’t be sold. Friends and neighbors came down to the pier and the lobsters sold out.
Troy created a Facebook group called SouthCoast Direct Source Seafood which is spreading exponentially (so good to hear about exponential growth not involving a virus). Fishermen hauling in fish, lobster and shellfish alert him when the boats are coming in. He lets the public know through the Facebook page.
We had to retool our regular 8 Great Things blog this month while we all work at social distancing. You know what we realized? We’ve still got outdoor walks (as long as you keep your distance from others) and, frankly, walks have been keeping us sane. So this month we’ve rebranded the monthly column to 8 Great Walks. Having an abundance of beautiful landscapes on the South Coast is a blessing. And like that box of Girl Scout cookies that you unexpectedly found in the back of your cabinet, a good walk can really make your day.
White Eagle Parcel
You drive down a bumpy lane in Marion to get to Sippican Land Trust’s White Eagle Parcel where you’ll see cranberry bogs, an abandoned hearth and hear frogs making their distinct chirpy mating calls. Off Parlowtown Road, Marion. More here.
Across the United States, we’re seeing communities form and share in creative and unusual ways in the midst of the Coronavirus response — singing from balconies in Italy, delivering pitchers of margaritas (with a roll of toilet paper) in Brooklyn, and playing accordions from shop doorways. The same is happening across the South Coast. We’re gathering together a list to help everyone stay connected locally.
March forward, folks! We’re in that sweet spot of the year that’s filled with such wonderful anticipation of what lies ahead: daffodils, short-sleeve shirts outside, bike rides and eating ice cream cones without mittens on. We’ve collected 8 Great Things to pass the time as you marshal spring in with style in March on the South Coast.
1. C’mon! A Rollicking Good Time!
We follow the guys of Barnstar! everywhere because we admire their reverence for exclamation points (just look at their name “Barnstar!” and their first album “C’mon!”). Plus, watching them in concert is like watching exclamation points come to life. They visit the Narrows this month. Don’t miss them!! (with special guest Amy Helm). March 7 at 8:00. The Narrows, 16 Anawan Street, Fall River. More here.
Suzanne Belanger was blown away on the streets of Nashville when she spotted a VW bus- turned-floral shop. She took so many photographs that her children made fun of her.
The floral designer came home to Marion and told her husband Marc that she wanted to do something similar. He gamely found her an old VW single cab bus and together they refurbished it to become Bella Flower Truck.
A Roundabout Journey From England to the South Coast
Meet John Stobart, a world-renowned and highly sought after marine painter lives quietly on the shores of the Westport River. .
Born and raised in Derby, England, and formally trained at the Royal Academy Schools of London, Stobart came to Canada and then the US as a young man more than a half-century ago to establish gallery relationships and sell his grand depictions of maritime history and life to deep-pocketed collectors on this side of the pond.
He garnered a show for himself almost immediately upon his arrival in New York City, and at one point in his career he was a featured artist at six galleries throughout the Northeast. Currently, his work is for sale at his gallery in Salem, Massachusetts.
After living for years in Connecticut and on Martha’s Vineyard, Stobart visited a friend in Westport and fell in love with the area. He transformed a small cottage into a larger home with a studio space, where views of the ever-changing skies and picturesque shores inspire the artist daily.
We’ve got the best job in the world! We get to travel around the South Coast, finding good stories. Sometimes our readers lead us to great stories. Sometimes our advertisers do. In this case, Sharon Viens from Split Rock Townhomes in Mattapoisett suggested we talk to a Marion couple who had purchased a home at Split Rock. When we knocked on their door, we were greeted first by their wonderful pets and then discovered a wonderful Valentine’s story…..
Jeanne & Joe Daly were married on Valentine’s Day. Exactly 50 years ago. And here’s what they know after five decades of marriage: it’s almost impossible to get a reservation to celebrate your anniversary.
That’s the downside.
The upside? You never forget your anniversary.
They both grew up in Massachusetts, but it took moving to New York for them to meet. They met there in May, were engaged in September, married on Valentine’s Day and moved to Boston a few days later.
Jeanne’s mother was not happy with their choice of wedding date. “She was afraid there would be a blizzard,” says Jeanne. It was a legitimate worry: Jeanne’s birthday is February 15 and, in the days when schools got few days off for snow, Jeanne stayed home a couple of times on her birthday because of a blizzard. “Best birthday present!” she remembers.
A neighbor told her mother to hang rosary beads out the window to ensure good weather. They did so and it did the trick – it was a clear, if chilly, day. At the end of the day, Jeanne took the rosary back inside. Sure enough, it snowed heavily the next day – Jeanne and Joe were on the last plane to their Puerto Rican honeymoon before they shut Logan Airport down.
This year, they’ll stick close to home. Drawn to the area as boaters, they used to sail their boat down from the North Shore and dream of a place by the water. They travelled into harbors along the South Coast and Cape Cod before zeroing in on Marion.
Joe tells a story of quintessential small-town life that drew them to the South Coast. They were on their boat and he was heading out to pick up a few things at the General Store. Jeanne called after him “Don’t come back without the paper!” Joe walked over to Marion’s General Store but they were sold out of newspapers. Jack Cheney (the owner of the General Store) drove him up the street to buy a paper at a newspaper box. (Remember them?)
The box was empty. So Jack drove Joe all way to Wareham to make sure Jeanne got her paper.
The pets approve of their new home plans
They’ve happily lived in Marion for over 20 years. When it came time for them to downsize slightly, they didn’t want to move far. They wanted all the comforts of home, without having to weed the flowerbeds or power up the snowblower. By the end of the year, they’ll be settling in at Split Rock Townhomes in Mattapoisett.
In the meantime, if you want to wish them well on their Golden Anniversary, you’ll find them at Tastebuds in Mattapoisett (they have reservations!)
Happy Valentine’s Day! Happy Jeanne & Joe day!
Want to meet some of our other favorite South Coast couples? Check out some past Valentine’s Day posts with other great local couples here and here.