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.
Hey guys! There’s an extra day in February this year! It’s like that extra hour in the Fall when daylight savings ends –you can fit more in! So try one (or more!) of these 8 Great Things to do in February on the South Coast (we actually added an extra thing in there, in keeping with the Leap Year theme!)
1. S-Mitten With This DNRT Event!
Sometimes we need a little extra encouragement to get out there and walk in the winter. The DNRT offers the kids in all of us to a scavenger hunt of sorts. Head out to Paskamansett Woods and count the number of “lost” mittens you find before the stone bridge. Take a picture in front of one of the mittens and email it to [email protected] with your answer. You might win a copy of Jan Brett’s classic The Mitten. Now through February 14. Paskamansett Woods, Chase Road, Dartmouth. More here.
2. Oyster Stew
The Buzzards Bay Coalition continues a Westport Fishermen’s Association tradition with the annual Oyster Stew Supper and Community Presentation. Come together to enjoy a delicious seafood stew and learn something new about your community. February 6. 6:00 supper (includes homemade oyster stew, cornbread, fresh baked apple pie topped with Adamsville cheddar cheese – yum!) followed by the presentation. Community presentation is free but dinner is $15 and requires reservations. See here for more info and to make reservations for the supper.
3. Wine & Convo
The Drawing Room is continuing its monthly Wine Salon Series exploring the art and science of wine. This month, in honor of Valentine’s Day, they present Romance and Wine: Social Lubricant, Impulse Control & Institutional Wisdom. With a title like that, it’s bound to be an interesting afternoon! Sunday, February 9. 2:30 to 5. $35 includes wine, of course, and a bit of food. 36 North Water Street, New Bedford. Purchase tickets here.
4. Hike & Hops
Like the DNRT, the Wildlands Trust is also dangling a carrot to get us outside and walking but in this case, it’s in the form of adult beverages. Join them at Wareham’s Great Neck Preserve on a 3.5 mile hike past a varied landscape of forest, marshland, salt water cove, freshwater ponds, abandoned bogs, sheep pasture, and glacial uplands. Follow that up with a post-hike social hour at the Buzzards Bay Brewery taproom in downtown Buzzards Bay. $5 for members/ $10 for nonmembers.February 15 at 1:00 (please arrive by 12:45). Crooked River Road, Wareham. Purchase tickets here.
5. Love & Marriage Game Show
Head on over to the Seaport Inn for an entertaining evening of the Love & Marriage Game Show (think the Newlywed game). Jordan Paiva hosts, dinner is available and there’ll be lots of laughs. February 15 from 6 to 10 pm. Dinner at 6 for $57. If you want to attend to just the show, it’s $25 and starts at 7:30. Seaport Inn & Marina, 110 Middle Street, Fairhaven. Purchase tickets here.
6. Tap, Tap, Tap
Lucky us! We live in New England where maple sap flows freely in late winter/early spring. Come learn more about age-old practice of tapping maple trees with the Buzzards Bay Coalition. Saturday, February 22, 10 to noon. LaPalme Farm, Blain Street, Acushnet. Free, but register here.
7. A Remarkable Home Grown Cover Band
We first saw Morrissey Blvd at the Buzzards Bay Coalition’s Watershed Ride finish line party and thought they were impressive. We were even more impressed when we looked closer and saw how young they were. And then even MORE impressed to learn they were all siblings. Come see these talented New Bedford kids for yourselves at The Vault where they’ll be performing at a fundraiser for the Buttonwood Park Zoo’s music outreach programs. February 22, 5:30 to 7:30. The Vault Music Hall & Pub, Greasy Luck Brewery, 791 Purchase Street, New Bedford. See more here.
8. Uncover the Secret Saboteurs
Some of us (cough, cough) have started sliding from our January clean eating resolutions. The Marion Institute with Southcoast Health may be able to turn things around with their screening of the film Secret Ingredients: which focuses on the stories of people who regain their health after discovering the secret ingredients in their food and making a bold commitment to avoid them. Post-screening, there will be a discussion with Kathleen DiChiara whose family’s story is at the heart of the movie. February 26 at 6 pm. St. Luke’s Hospital McBratney Amphitheater, Page Street, New Bedford. See more here.
9. The Adventures and History of the Tabor Boy
Join Captain James Geil and his Tabor Academy high school student crew as they share their 645-mile journey in the Marion to Bermuda race using only the celestial navigation they learned at Tabor. February 27. Reception at 6:30, presentation at 7. New Bedford Whaling Museum, 18 Johnny Cake Hill, New Bedford. $15 for members and Tabor alums, $25 for nonmembers. See here for more and to buy a ticket.
Our print issues are always chock full of other great calendar ideas…..become a subscriber so you get the full round-up of great things to do on the South Coast. Subscribe right here!
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.
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.”
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?
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.
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.
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.
8. 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.
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!)
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.
3. 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