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Category: Christmas

We Need Lights! Lots and Lots of Christmas Lights!!!

Best South Coast Christmas Lights

The shortest day of the year is coming up. You know what that means?

We need lights! Lots and lots of lights!!

On our To Do List is a trip to Lakeville to see the “Crazy Tech Christmas Animated Light Show” on Furlong Circle. Its website proclaims that it is “tacky gone wild.” How can we resist?! (Check out their website to see whether the lights are on during rain or snow.)

But, we’re greedy for more destinations to fill up these long, dark nights. So we asked four of our favorite realtors to tell us some local streets where we can get our fix. Not surprisingly, the spirited town of Fairhaven comes through with a lot of the recommendations. Here’s the lowdown:

Lights! Lots and lots of lights!

Sue Ann Murley DiVito Realty

Sue Ann Murley says that the Buzzards Bay Depot is all lit up when the Polar Express comes through town. And while it’s technically not the South Coast, Gardens Aglow at Heritage Museums & Gardens in Sandwich is not far and it’s got ten miles of lights, a reindeer scavenger hunt, marshmallow roasting and more. If you do go to Heritage Plantation, she suggests checking out Route 6A to see the giant lighted sculptures designed by glass blower Michael Magyar (see more about that here). Buzzards Bay Depot, 70 Main Street, Buzzards Bay (lit for the Polar Express on December 15-18, 21-23) (more about the Polar Express here). Heritage Museums & Gardens  67 Grove Street, Sandwich (Fridays through Sundays, admission prices range up to $18) (see more here).

Sue Ann is a realtor with DiVito Realty with offices in Onset and Hull. She just recently renovated a cute little building in Onset and moved the business in there. It’s all decorated for the holidays….check it out!  DiVito Realty, 247 Onset Avenue, Onset, (508) 295-0213.

Lights! Lots and Lots of Lights!

Cindy Parola Laforce Realty

Cindy Parola says to check out Gellette Road in Fairhaven (“the guy does a great display!”) and the area around Edaville Railroad where all the neighbors decorate their homes. Edaville Railroad itself also hosts a Festival of Lights (more on that here).

Cindy lives in Bourne with her husband Mike and six adorable, patience-testing kitties. LaForce Realty is a boutique real estate brokerage with two offices in Wareham, one office in Lakeville and – soon – one office in Bourne. Laforce Realty, Tyler Avenue, Wareham, (508) 958-5376.


Howe Allen

Howe Allen
Howe Allen Realty

Howe Allen knows his hometown of Fairhaven inside and out and he recommends Green Street and Fort Street in Fairhaven as good spots to enjoy the Christmas lights.

Howe is the owner of Howe Allen Realty with offices in Fairhaven and New Bedford. He is a renovation fanatic. Not a year goes by when renovation projects don’t fill his days (and nights). You can see some of his projects on the Howe Allen Realty FaceBook page. Howe shares his life with his husband, Tim Evans, and two Jack Russell Terriers, Cheer and Dutch. Howe Allen Realty, Center Street, Fairhaven, (888) 491-9993.


Cassy West

Cassy West
Robert Paul Properties

Cassy West says “there’s a great spot on Rt 6 in Fairhaven with an unbelievable house.” She says it’s just the one house but it is really something (see the photo above, look for it near Welcome Street). She also recommends Marion Village for its quaintness this time of year.  

Cassy is a realtor with Robert Paul Properties in its Marion office. After she graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design, she worked in the interior design industry and she brings a keen aesthetic to her work everyday as a realtor. She spent her summers as a child in Marion and now lives in Mattapoisett. Find her at Robert Paul Properties, Front Street, Marion, (508) 395-6391.

Comment below if you have other favorite spots for Christmas lights…

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What’s Up? 8 Can’t Miss Events on the South Coast

What's Up? 8 Can't Miss Events on the South Coast

I’ve got a friend from high school who enters an ugly sweater competition every year. I watch the gusto he puts into making his sweater so ugly and I am jealous. I soooo want to be invited to an ugly sweater party. Last year, I even bought an ugly sweater after Christmas at the Vanity Fair outlet. So I’m ready. Sadly, no evites have arrived. Luckily, the New Bedford Local Cultural Center has answered the silent prayer I put out to the universe and has organized the Downtown New Bedford Pub Crawl and Ugly Sweater Competition on December 10, 2016 from 4 to 8 p.m. (proceeds benefit The Neediest Families Fund.) Yay!

This weekend

What's Up? 8 Can't Miss Events on the South Coast

New Bedford Santa Run
(photo courtesy of Medi Thomas)

Also on December 10 is the annual 5K Santa Run in New Bedford. Picture yourself running in a sea of Santa suits. What could be more fun? I can hear some of you demurring, “ah, but I don’t have a santa suit.” No worries (and no excuses) — the santa suit is included with registration! With a 1:00 p.m. start time (12:30 for those under 14 years old), you know what this segues nicely into? Exactly! You can have a bite to eat afterwards, change out of your santa suit and into your ugly sweater! (Participants are encouraged to bring a wrapped toy for those in need.)

The 25th Annual Holiday House Tour in New Bedford takes place on December 10 and 11. I love house tours and I’ve heard rave reviews about this one. Organized by the New Bedford House Preservation Society, you see the historic homes of New Bedford in all their holiday finery. With lovely architecture, interiors and costumed interpretive guides, this is a fantasy for history buffs, interior designers and nosy neighbors. Discounted tickets are available before December 9. See here for more details.

Bravo! The Seaglass Theater debuts this month at Grace Church. You’ll hear New England’s finest professional voices as they celebrate the holiday season with thrilling renditions of O Holy Night, Gesu Bambino, Ave Maria, and many more, as well as traditional carols sung in their original language. Support this new local arts organization by attending its inaugural concert at the historic Grace Church. December 10 at 7:00 p.m. and December 11 at 3:00 p.m.  See here for more details.

Later This Month

What's Up? 8 Can't Miss Events on the South Coast

A special visitor at the Holiday Pops (photo courtesy of New Bedford Symphony Orchestra)

Take an hour break from the hustle and bustle to take in a Holiday Pops concert and hear all your holiday favorites performed by the New Bedford Symphony Orchestra. The 3:30 matinee performance is perfect for younger children and has special surprises in store for them. December 17 at 3:30 and 7:00 p.m. The Zeiterion Theater, 684 Purchase Street, New Bedford. See here for more information and to buy tickets.

On December 21 at 7:00 pm, the Unitarian Universalist Association of Fairhaven celebrates the Winter Solstice with a Solstice Spiral. Each participant takes a candle, walks the spiral (made of winter greens) to let go of the attachments of the year. In the center, they light the candle from a chalice and retrace their steps, to ponder the possibilities of a new year and to find a spot to lay the candle. The lit candles represent the magic of light and possibility. See the UU Association calendar here.

Month Long Events

The Four Corners Arts Center in Tiverton is hosting their second annual “re Tree” – A Showcase of Trees Created with Recycled Materials. Created by families, individuals, community groups, businesses, artists and arts groups, the trees must be composed of 90% recycled, reclaimed or repurposed materials, must light up and must be outdoor friendly and secure when standing. The lighting kick off takes place on December 10 with seasonal, warm refreshments by the outdoor fire. The trees will be on display through January 4, 2017. 3850 Main Road, Tiverton. See here for more info.

The annual open house at the Fall River Historical Society features spectacular holiday trees in each of the historic Victorian mansion’s rooms. The trees are decorated with different themes and in unexpected ways and they’ve been featured in Victorian Homes magazine, the Boston Globe and WCVB’s Chronicle.  Follow the visit with high tea at the Historical Society’s Easton Tea Room. The open house runs from November 19 – December 30 and admission is free. (holiday hours: weekdays, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; weekends 1 – 5 p.m.). For information about the tea room, read more here.

Let us know your favorite local December events in the comment section below.

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Christmas Wreaths: An Old-Fashioned Holiday, Part II

In doing our research on Christmas Tree Farms (see more about that here), we came across a couple of truly unique local wreaths. Handcrafted on the South Coast with care and attention, you gotta pay attention to these. Put them on your door and your neighbors will take notice.

David Pomfret

Boxwood Wreath handcrafted by Somerset’s Guy Pomfret (photo courtesy of David Pomfret)

The Real Thing: Handcrafted Boxwood Wreaths

In 1960, the Pomfrets opened a florist in Somerset. That Christmas, Guy Pomfret began crafting boxwood wreaths by hand for his customers. His son David who now runs the florist shop remembers that he could pick out the Pomfret wreaths around town when he was a kid making floral deliveries. “It’s the bow,” he says. “It’s a handmade bow of cranberry red velvet, nicer than anything else you see.”

That’s not the only singular thing about the wreaths. They are made on a moss frame that has been soaked in water. With plenty of moisture, the wreaths last long after the holidays. David says that some customers keep them on their doors until Easter. It’s a way to get through the shortest, darkest days with a little style.

Each wreath is painstakingly crafted with individual boxwood by Guy Pomfret. After a few years of “retirement,” he told David he wanted to start making the boxwood wreaths again. He’s back at it this year. Guy will make each and every one they sell. “It’s a lost art,” David says.

In the late 1990s, David and his wife Jennifer moved to Weinheim, Germany. They lived in the old part of town in a blacksmith’s home dating from the 1700s. On the path to their garden, near the town’s exotic forest, were some boxwood shrubs. David says he knew exactly what his wife would say as soon as she saw the boxwood. “You know what you’re making me for Christmas!” she told him. He remembers making a boxwood wreath for her that year, working out of the bathroom tub. He says, “you can take the boy out of Somerset, but you can’t take the florist out of him.”

He says, “you can take the boy out of Somerset, but you can’t take the florist out of him.”

Their German neighbors were mesmerized by the boxwood wreath. They’d walk by the Pomfret’s home and take pictures. They’d ask David and Jennifer where they found the wreath. David laughs, “I missed an opportunity. I should have sold boxwood wreaths in Germany.”

Instead, he came home in 2002 to take over running the family business. And he’s more than happy that his dad has taken over the boxwood wreaths again.

Check out the wreaths this weekend at Pomfret Florist’s open house on Saturday, December 3 from 1 to 5 p.m.  836 County Street, Somerset. (508) 678-6481. Boxwood wreaths are $54 and up. They also sell handcrafted gifts.

Wreaths with a Coastal Flair

(Photo by Susannah Davis)

The Dandy King wreath
(Photo by Susannah Davis)

Marion landscape designer Susannah Davis first started making wreaths for her friends and family twenty years ago using unusual plants that she had cultivated in her yard. She added Wareham oyster shells to give them a coastal flair.

They were a big hit. So she made them for her landscape design clients. They wanted more. And thus a cottage industry was born. A few years ago, she partnered with Sarah Miquelle of Sarah Brown Studios and they now make over 100 pieces each year: sprays, wreaths and candle rings.

Last year, they shipped to 14 states, as far away as Texas and Washington state. She gets effusive notes from people around the country who love their wreaths. Susannah says, “I’ll have customers tell me, ‘Great Aunt Tillie is SO happy!’”

What makes them so special? Davis uses “wild and wacky” greens with plenty of interesting textures. But she doesn’t tell you exactly what they are. Their very unconventionality is part of the mystery of these wreaths. In fact, Davis offers a competition: “If anyone can tell me the genus and species of every plant in their wreath, I’ll give them a free wreath.”

photo by Susannah Davis

Magnificent Magnolia (photo by Susannah Davis)

Each year, the business keeps increasing. And they keep adding designs. This year, they designed a wreath that showcases magnolia – “people are wild about magnolias,” Susannah says. The original design – with the oyster shells and textured greens – is still a best seller.

One person ordered 12 wreaths this year. “Her whole Christmas list,” Susannah says, “Because it’s the perfect gift. You cannot lose.”

Wreaths are $75, sprays are $50. Orders of 5 or more receive a 10% discount. To order, call (508) 498-4677 or email [email protected]

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Pine’n Fir You – We’ve Got Your Christmas Tree

Photo by Elizabeth Gerardi

Have you always wanted to pick out your own Christmas tree and cut it down right then and there? Me too.

Then, I invariably get distracted by the December lists that multiply all around me. And it’s too late. This year, as a public service, South Coast Almanac is preparing a list to make it as easy as possible to realize your dream. A shout out to Marion’s Eileen Lonergan whose smart idea this was (feel free to email us at [email protected] with your smart ideas for future blog posts).

And remember, this is not just a way to capture the spirit of an old-fashioned Christmas. You’re also supporting local farmers, a very current goal. Just think about the care these farmers took: ten (or more) years ago, they planted tiny little things. They cared for and nurtured them until this point in time. For you. It’s actually pretty special.

So, here you go. Here’s the first list we’ve made in December. Even if you’re not ready to bring your tree home yet, you can go and tag it at most of these places. We put the phone numbers in — we recommend you call them before you go to make sure they still have trees!

Pine Crest Tree Farm, 294 Pine Hill Road, Westport. Remember when Clark Griswold took his family out to the woods to pick out their tree in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation? The kids were not happy. The Griswolds should have gone to Pine Crest Tree Farm where finding a tree is a fun event for the whole family: a treasure hunt for the kids, hot chocolate and cookies and family pictures in front of the sleigh. Open on weekends, 10-4, closed by December 18. (774) 309-0522.

Keith’s Farm & Orchard, 429 Main Street, Acushnet. When I called Keith’s Farm to confirm their information, Sue Santos said, “Oh, yeah. We’re in the same place. It takes a long time to grow these trees!” She and her husband Keith have been growing Christmas trees since the early 1980s. They offer families a hayride around the property so they can find their perfect trees. You can cut it yourself or have one of their attendants cut it for you (but note that if you cut it yourself, it’s by handsaw only). Open weekends through December 18 from 10-4 (except on December 18 when they close at noon).  (508) 763-2622

Bristlecone Farm, 779 Sodom Road, Westport. A local favorite since 1974 when the Farias family started planting Christmas trees. Tag a tree and come back for it, or do it all on the same day (though they don’t recommend you take a tree home too early in the month). You pick it out, the crew cuts and wraps it. Open 7 days a week, 9-4. (508) 636-2552.

Mockingbird Hill Trees, 147 Rhode Island Road (Rte. 79), Lakeville.  The Simmons family has been raising Christmas trees since 1975; Margo Simmons knows adult customers who first came as babies with their families. Mockingbird Hill offers a wagon ride to the fields to look at the trees and, on weekends, they have coffee, hot chocolate and sometimes Santa (he’ll be there 10-3 for the next two weekends). They’ll cut your tree or you can cut it yourself with a handsaw. Open Tuesday through Sunday, 10-4. (508) 947-6712.

Clark’s Christmas Tree Farm, 4191 Main Road, Tiverton. This is a picture perfect Christmas tree farm. Just take a look at our featured photo above (courtesy of Elizabeth Gerardi whom you can find at New England Belle). After picking your tree, enjoy hot cider and treats in an old post and beam barn. Open Saturdays and Sundays, 10-4, until they sell out. (401) 624-4119

Patchet Brook Tree Farm, 4484 Main Road, Tiverton. The farm has been in Jean Bento’s family since 1905. Originally a vegetable farm with animals, Jean planted the first Christmas tree over 30 years ago. Now, they have about 15 acres of Christmas trees in all kinds of varieties. They do it all. You get a short hayride into the fields to pick out your tree. They’ll cut it down (or help you cut it down), wrap it, put it on your car and tie it off. “We’re a full service gas station,” Jay Bento jokes. A small shop has hot chocolate and cookies with some honey, candles, and maple syrup for sale. (401) 624-4872.

Boughs & Berry Farm, 255 Peckham Road, Little Compton. This farm has been in Elinor Gavin’s family her whole life. Her father and grandfather farmed the land. In 1982, she and her husband Donald planted Christmas trees. Regulars have been coming ever since. Kids love the Charlie Brown Christmas tree hidden away. If they find it, they get a lollipop. Open Fridays through Sundays, 9-4. (401) 635-8582.

Don’t forget the wreaths!

Stay tuned — tomorrow we’ll reveal some special South Coast wreaths.

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

And as a treat for reading all the way through, here’s that scene from Christmas Vacation when the Griswolds go out to find their tree in the forest. (“Clark, Audrey’s frozen from the waist down.”) Head to one of our South Coast Christmas tree farms and we promise that you’ll have more fun than the Griswolds.

If we’ve missed any places, please let us know in the comments section.

Happy December!

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