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.
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?