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Category: Outdoors

Over the River & Through the Woods: Post-Thanksgiving Walks

You may be prepping for Thanksgiving right now, knee deep in peeling apples or wrestling the bird into some sort of brine-y package. Take a break for a moment and look at our 6 suggestions for post-Thanksgiving walks. Think of it as our holiday gift to you. It’s a reminder to all of us that (i) we live in a beautiful area and (ii) we should probably walk off some of that pecan pie.  Perhaps most importantly, it encourages us to hop into sweatpants (elastic waistbands, folks!) as soon as possible after that big meal (yes, you’re welcome).

We actually reached out to get suggestions from the experts, the staff and volunteers of our active land conservation organizations. Some of these organizations have even gone to the trouble of helping us off the couch by organizing walks that we can join. Showing your gratitude for these wonderful organizations and folks is as simple as just showing up!

Pick a place (or 2, or 3 – it’s a long weekend!) and get outside.

Carleen Loper, Wareham Land Trust Volunteer

Post Thanksgiving walks

Westgate Preserve. Photo courtesy of Wareham Land Trust.

Carleen suggests the town’s Westgate Preserve because it’s “an excellent choice for Thanksgiving weekend because it’s literally over the river and through the woods!” Featuring a retired cranberry bog and the Weweantic River, Westgate Preserve exudes holiday spirit. Leashed dogs are allowed there as well. More here.

Jim Bride, Sippican Lands Trust

Sippican Lands Trust Post-Thanksgiving Dog Walk

Jim tells us that Sippican Lands Trust is hosting its fifth annual Post-Thanksgiving Dog Walk at White Eagle Parcel in Marion at 10 a.m. on Sunday, November 26th. Just take a look at that picture — how great does that look? Find out more here.

Deb Hood, Events Manager, Buzzards Bay Coalition

Deb says, “for my walk, I’d have to go with The Sawmill, the Buzzards Bay Coalition-owned public park on the edge of Acushnet and New Bedford’s North End.” She says the trails at the front of the park are wide, flat and accessible so the whole family – from strollers to wheelchairs (and everyone in between) – can journey to several scenic river overlooks at the former home of the Acushnet Saw Mill Company. See details here.

Kendra Murray, Development & Outreach Specialist, Dartmouth Natural Resources Trust

Ridge Hill Rainbow. Photo courtesy of DNRT.

Kendra says, “Ridge Hill Reserve is a great place for post Turkey Day walk! This 175 acre property abuts the Southeastern MA Bioreserve. There are several trails, whether you’d like to take a quick 1 mile stroll along the blue trail, or a longer hike on the red and green trails. The Green Trail runs to the top of Ridge Hill, one of the highest points in Dartmouth. There are several beech groves along this trail, and as of last weekend, the foliage was a beautiful rich orange. The red trail is a bit flatter and easier. On the western most portion of that trail you can get a  great view of the Copicut Reservoir. We just put in a new set of stairs on a fairly eroded portion of the blue trail, as well.”  See more about Ridge Hill Reserve here.

Kendra also mentioned that DNRT is hosting a guided walk on Saturday, the 25th at 9 am at the Destruction Brook Woods (see more about that here).

Jennifer Escher, Board member, Tiverton Land Trust

Pardon Gray Reserve. Photo courtesy of Tiverton Land Trust.

Jennifer suggests joining the Tiverton Land Trust at one of its post-Thanksgiving group hikes at the Pocasset Ridge Conservation Area or Pardon Gray Preserve.  For more ambitious hikers, Garry Plunkett will lead hikers on some moderate slopes at the Pocasset Ridge Conservation Area.  The newly opened trails will allow those in good physical to experience an amazing forest ecosystem. For the less ruggedly inclined and for families with young children, Wayne Browning will lead a 45 minute trail loop at Pardon Gray Preserve.

Both hikes take place on Saturday, November 25 (Pocasset Ridge starts at 1, Radon Gray Preserve starts at 2). Sturdy shoes, fluorescent orange vest/hats are recommended (orange vests will be provided on-site).  See here for more details.

Brendan Buckless, Outreach & Stewardship Coordinator, Westport Land Conservation Trust

Herb Hadfield Conservation Area. Photo by Greg Stone.

Brendan suggests the Herb Hadfield Conservation Area one of the Westport Land Conservation Trust’s most visited spots. With 158 acres and 2.5 miles of hiking trails, the property features the pristine Angeline Brook, one of Westport’s finest coldwater streams.  Trailheads are located at 364 Adamsville Road or 255 Cornell Road. See directions and more here. 

Make your nature plans and mark the calendars now before your mind is foggy with tryptophan!

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Overnight Adventures: Sweet Dreams at Horseneck

Horseneck Beach Camping by Andrew Ayer

In last year’s print issue, we set out to find a half dozen cool overnight adventures on the South Coast. We’re rolling them out online for those of you who don’t have the 2016 magazine. Today’s feature: beaching it — overnight at Horseneck Beach. If you’d like to see it as it appeared in the magazine, click here. Otherwise, just read on….

There is nothing more luxurious than falling asleep to the sound of waves breaking onto the shore, then tripping over rocks as they recede. Waking up to it is pretty lovely too.

You could pay plenty of money for this. Or you could reserve a campsite at Horseneck Beach State Reservation on the shores of Buzzards Bay. The 100-site campground provides you with spectacular beachfront property at $22/night. Not surprisingly, Forest and Parks Supervisor John Darcy says that many campers are repeat visitors, year after year.

Horseneck Beach Camping by Andrew AyerJohn and Gracia Tripp are among the Horseneck faithful. The Westport residents live just twelve miles away but a few times each summer, they pack up their RV and spend several nights at Horseneck Beach. Darcy understands the draw. He came to work at the campground twelve years ago as a summer job in high school and he never left. “I’ve been here since I was 17,” he says, “I understand the need to come back every summer.”


“I’ve been here since I was 17,” Darcy says, “I understand the need to come back every summer.”


Horseneck Beach Camping by Andrew AyerYour insider tip: You need to know there is fierce competition for the sixteen sites directly on the waterfront. John Tripp says that getting a spot in the front row during the busiest months is “like hens’ teeth,” or pretty rare (I needed a translation). According to Tripp, you have to be ready to book the beachfront spots online as soon as they become available 6 months before the reservation date at exactly 9 a.m. No worries, though. There is more flexibility with the other sites, all of which are within a short walk of the beach.

All photos by Andrew Ayer. For more information, go to the MassParks website or call 508-636-8817 (seasonal). Online camping reservations are through ReserveAmerica. Horseneck Beach State Reservation, 5 John Reed Road, Westport.

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Our Top Picks for May: 6 Things We’re Really Looking Forward To

May is a lovely month. Just on the cusp of summer, it’s an exciting time of year. Here are some things to pass the time away while we anticipate the best season of the year.

1.  Pass the Popcorn: Fairhaven Short Film Festival

Whoops! This has been postponed and future dates will be announced in the fall — but we’re still leaving it up so you can put it on your radar for later in the year. 

Bring your Junior Mints to the third annual Fairhaven Short Film Festival taking place on May 5 and 6 featuring films collected by Asbury Shorts USA. Academy Award nominated director Jason Reitman (JUNO, Up in the Air, Thank You for Smoking) calls Asbury Shorts, “The best short film show I’ve ever seen.” Forget about watching these films on YouTube or your smartphone, enjoy them on the big screen at the Fairhaven Town Hall Auditorium.

Sponsored by Howe Allen Realty and the Fairhaven Improvement Association, net proceeds will fund a scholarship for a Fairhaven student planning to study film and digital media production.  For more information on the films or to purchase tickets, go here.

2.  Tuesdays with Haskell

A few years ago, the Trustees of Reservations bought the late Allen Haskell’s property right in the heart of New Bedford.  Haskell was a lifelong New Bedford resident and a famed horticulturalist. The six acre property hosts a traditional New England style common, beautifully designed historic gardens and one of the oldest homes in New Bedford.

Celebrate spring by dropping in on Tuesday mornings (through October) from 9 am to 12 pm to help tidy the garden and learn new skills. All you need are gloves and water — no previous gardening skills are required.  For more information, click here. May 2, 9, 16, 23, and 30th, 787 Shawmut Avenue, New Bedford.

3.  Dust off Your Bike

We just formed our team for the Buzzards Bay Coalition’s annual Watershed Ride. We hope you’ll join us! It’s a beautiful course and the camaraderie among riders is pretty wonderful (the party at the finish line is great, too). If you want to join the South Coast Almanac team, check it out here.

The Velofix Van (Photo courtesy of Marianne Lee)

The Velofix Van (Photo courtesy of Marianne Lee)

Yes, yes, we know the ride is in October but we’re putting it on our May calendar as a reminder to dust off our bikes, get out there and train for it. To that end, we just emailed Mike Lee of Velofix Southcoast. We met Mike at the Watershed Ride last Fall where he handled bike support and were blown away with his mobile bike repair van. When we learned he’ll come to your home or office with his mobile van to tune up bikes, we took his business card. And didn’t lose it. Thanks to Mike, there really is no excuse for not getting your bike in shape for the season. Check Velofix out here.

4. Take a(n Unconventional) Hike

The Dartmouth Natural Resources Trust (DNRT) has a couple of cool (and free) walks happening in May. First, a full moon walk on Wednesday, May 10 at 7:30 at Slocum River’s Reserve where two DNRT members lead an exploration of the evening landscape. The walk lasts approximately an hour and the DNRT suggests a flashlight or headlamp to help navigate the trails as the moon rises and sun sets. If the weather is questionable, call 508-525-9266 or check here on the morning of the walk.

And throughout May, families can enjoy StoryWalk® which celebrates nature and reading all at once (how many events can boast that?). Paskansett Woods features “Watch the Birdie” by Nancy Cote (featured in the 2016 South Coast Almanac) and Ridge Hill Reserve features “Feathers for Lunch” by Lois Ehlert.  Walk the trails and read the story with the family during the whole month of May. See more here.

5. Brahmin Handbags Tent Sale

We’ll have a blog post coming up on this as we get closer to the date because this is more than a tent sale. It’s a great story. The semi-annual sale draws people from all over the country (no kidding!) and has the festive aura of the old Filene’s Basement Wedding Dress sales. Whether you need a handbag or not, you shouldn’t miss it. May 19 and 20, 9 am to 6 p.m and May 21, 10 am to 5 pm. 77 Alden Road, Fairhaven. Tent is located on the lawn next to the Standard Times parking lot. See the Facebook event listing here.

6. Ta Da! It’s launched

Last year's Almanac launch

Last year’s Almanac launch

On May 18, we officially launch the 2017 edition of our print magazine. On the 18th, copies will be on their way to our subscribers’ doors and trucks will be delivering them to newsstands all over Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Keep your eye out for it!

If you want it delivered straight to your door for 30% off the cover price, you only have a few more days to pre-order. After that, we have to raise the online price to the newsstand price. Why do we have to do that? Because we give our mailing list to the printer soon. After that, we lose out on bulk mailing rates from the printer which means hauling copies to the Onset post office and sending it off by priority mail. If you decide to preorder the issue, we pass the savings straight along to you — because we love our subscribers. If you want to join their ranks, click here.

In the meantime, stay up to date with South Coast events, stories and best-kept-secrets by signing up here.

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5 Days, 5 Adventures: Daytripping for April Vacation

A Daytrip to Adventure Park at Heritage Museums & Gardens

School vacation is upon us — if you’re staying around town, we’ve got some good daytrip ideas for you. We took a tip from Leslie Poulin over at First Citizens’ in Fairhaven and lost ourselves in the Cape Cod Museum Trail website. Finding out everything that’s going on at various museums and when they’re happening is hard to keep track of. This website makes all that easy.

We’re hoping someday that there is a South Coast Museum Trail. In the meantime, we’re enjoying the Cape Cod Museum Trail guide, especially because there is no better time to go over the bridge than April – the weather is good, the traffic is good. Here’s what caught our eye for next week, day-by-day:

Climb Among the Treetops! (Monday)

Heritage Museums in Sandwich has an aerial forest park in the treetops. We went last summer and everyone LOVED it. With climbing, ziplines and bridges between tree platforms made of rope, cable and wood, it’s one of those things you’ll be talking about all year long. You’re outside, you’re seeing things from an entirely different perspective, you’re snug in a harness so you’re safe as can be. Splurge and do this with the kids this spring!

To celebrate Patriot’s Day on Monday, they’ve hidden bells throughout the course, to signify the warning of the British Invasion. Climb and find the bells! The Adventure Park at Heritage Museums & Gardens, 67 Grove Street, Sandwich. Climbers must be at least 7 years old.

Are You Getting a Signal? (Tuesday)

Over a hundred years ago, the first transatlantic wireless signal went out from Wellfleet. Think about all that has happened since then. On Tuesday, you can explore the site where Guglielmo Marconi transmitted the first official wireless message across the Atlantic. 11 a.m. More info here.

This Is Your Brain on Nature (Wednesday)

Apparently, nature walks are good for the brain. So, let’s get on with it! Enjoy one of the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History’s nature trails. At 1 p.m. (all week!), a naturalist will lead a family field walk. More here.

Afterwards, check out Nature 365, an innovative video journal filmed by wildlife photographer and filmmaker Jim Brandenburg and directed by Laurent Joffrion, designed to provide an authentic and poetic vision of nature. Each day’s journal is 60 seconds. The Museum will show the April journal (30 minutes) on a continuous loop throughout the day. More info here.

Old School Fun & Games (Thursday)

Learn about and experience children’s games, crafts and activities from long ago at Centerville Museum’s Morning at the Museum.  All ages are welcome though it’s geared to 6-11 year olds. You’ll play historic board games, make postcards, create worry dolls and more.  See more info here. 

Let’s Dance! (Friday)

There’s a contra dance on the third Friday of each month on the Outer Cape. Live musicans and a caller guide you through a variety of dances. They say anyone can do it so bring the whole family to enjoy the exuberant reels and jigs of the British Isles, Canada and America. Why not round out the vacation week with something you may never have done before? More info here.

Wait, Wait, There’s More! (Saturday and Sunday)

There’s even more happening on the weekend! Wander about the Cape Cod Museum Trail website to find more cool things to wrap up vacation week. You’ll find a model boat show, a LEGO Home-Building Competition, whale walks and more.

Thanks for the tip about the Cape Cod Museum Trail website, Leslie!

 

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Get Out of the House! 6 Fun Things For March

Myles Standish State Forest

In these days before spring really arrives, it’s so easy to stay on the couch and binge-watch TV episodes. We’re trying to resist that temptation (although This Is Us is very good.) Here we give you 6 fun reasons to get out of the house.

Photo courtesy of Buzzards Bay Coalition

Photo courtesy of Buzzards Bay Coalition

1. Get Fit, and Smart (at the same time)

The Buzzards Bay Coalition and the Wareham Land Trust have partnered to bring us fresh air and history with Wednesday Walkabouts: Historical Tour Series. Take a stroll through four conservation properties and learn about their previous lives as cranberry bogs, iron works and mills. Thanks to Southcoast Health,  these events are free. But you should register online. See how to do that here.

 

 

Photo courtesy Ray Drueke

2. Jazzin’ Around

We know we’ve mentioned the South Coast Jazz Orchestra before. More than once. That’s because they’re that good. Get out and listen to this tremendous group of musicians on either March 13 or March 27 (or both!), hosted by the incomparable Gilda. You will be blown away by their talent. You will also need reservations because the place fills up. Gilda’s Stone Rooster, 27 Marion Road, Wareham, 508-748-9700.

 

Photo courtesy of East Wind Lobster & Grille

Photo courtesy of East Wind Lobster & Grille

3. Turn Up the Gas

Jean Lanahan, owner of the East Wind Lobster & Grille, gives us hands-on cooking lessons. On March 8, she offers Fish 101. She’ll teach you Pan Seared Scallops, Rolled Flounder, Poached Salmon and Fried Calamari & Banana Pepper. On March 15, she invites you to play with quahogs. You’ll work with ‘hogs, ‘necks, and cherrystones  to create Stuffed Quahogs, Quahog Stew, and Littlenecks with pasta. Then on March 22, she’ll be teaching easy pasta dishes and wine pairings. Just $30 per class, participants will learn how to cook, eat dinner together and take home the leftovers. You can’t beat that.

You must reserve your space in advance — check out East Wind’s Facebook page here for more info. March 8, 15 or 22 from 6:30 to 8:30. 2 Main Street, Buzzards Bay, 508-759-1857.

Fremantle prisoner Michael Harrington4. Irish Adventures

In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, go check out the current exhibit at the New Bedford Whaling Museum: Famine, Friends & Fenians. It’s a fascinating tale of New Bedford/Irish history just waiting for a Hollywood screenwriter to create a swashbuckling movie. We wrote about the Fenians last year on our blog so if you want to get up to speed before going to the exhibit, check that out here. New Bedford Whaling Museum, 18 Johnny Cake Hill, New Bedford, whalingmuseum.org

Photo courtesy of Ella's Woodburning Oven Restaurant

Photo courtesy of Ella’s Woodburning Oven Restaurant

5. Farm-to-Table Party

The spring equinox is March 20. Two days later, Ella’s Woodburning Oven Restaurant celebrates with a farm-to-table dinner, featuring meat from Weatherlow Farms and greens from Eva’s Garden (see more about Eva here). Chef Marc Swierkowski of Ella’s teams up with Chef Ed Rosazck from Mattapoisett’s How on Earth to create a delicious celebration of our local bounty. Bog Iron Brewery of Norton rounds out the dinner with local craft beer pairings for the dinner. Contact Ella’s Woodburning Stove Restaurant for more information at 508.759.3600 or [email protected]

 

 

 

6. Page to Stage

Page to Stage at the Z (Photo courtesy of Zeiterion Theater)

Page to Stage at the Z (Photo courtesy of Zeiterion Theater)

For a different kind of pairing, the Z is offering three stage performances with a twist this month. To deepen the theater experience, the Z will offer community book clubs to accompany each performance, delving into the themes of the books before the topics come alive on stage.

A March 1 book club will discuss  Life, Animated: A Story of Sidekicks, Heroes, and Autism by Pulitzer Prize-winner Ron Suskind, which is linked to Spencers: Theatre of Illusion performance on March 4.  Life, Animated is a twisting, 20-year journey that follows the author’s autistic son Owen, and inspired the Oscar nominated documentary of the same name.

On March 2, the book club discusses The Giver by Lois Lowry before seeing American Place Theatre’s superb adaptation the same night. A Newberry Award-winning book, The Giver has become a staple of young adult reading lists but it’s engaging for adults as well, with a story that will have you thinking about big concepts like ethics and individuality long after you put the book down,

On March 30, prior to the arrival of Argentine company Che Malambo later that night, the Z’s book club will discuss Evita: The Real Life of Eva Peron by Nicholas Fraser and Marysa Navarro.

The book groups are free and open to the public but please RSVP here. To purchase tickets to the shows, go here. The Zeiterion Theater,  684 Purchase Street, New Bedford.

 

If you have any other suggestions to tear us away from Hulu and Netflix, leave them in the comment section. And if you want to stay in the know about cool and eclectic South Coast events, sign up for our free emails right here.

 

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Five Great Valentine Dates on the South Coast

Valentine’s Day is coming up and we asked Rebecca of the Almanac team to give us some suggestions for celebrating. We’re not surprised she came up with a great list! Read on….

Chocolate and Wine. What Else Do You Need?

Stop by Portugalia Marketplace for its Annual Chocolate Festival this Saturday  from 11 – 2 p.m. and enjoy tastings from chocolatiers and vintners, with live music by Birdtalk jazz trio to get you in the mood. February 11. See more here.

Maybe Some Music…

While you’re in the neighborhood on Saturday, the Narrows Center for the Arts welcomes singer-songwriter Paula Cole to the stage. With an extraordinary voice, she has opened for Peter Gabriel, Melissa Etheridge and Sarah McLachlan.  Book reservations for dinner beforehand at The Abbey Grill, a restored former monastery with an open kitchen and sprawling bar.

Or A Romantic Walk?

Break out your wellies and head to Destruction Brook Woods for a short or long walk exploring the rolling woodlands and the old mill and farmstead. Grab a map, or just get lost here. Make sure you find the footbridges and bubbling waterways.

If you’re celebrating Valentine’s with the kids or with some canine friends, bring them to walk at the Bogs in the Mattapoisett River Reserve. With four miles of dog-friendly woods, wetlands and cranberry bog trails to wander through, there’s plenty to stimulate conversation pondering who and what was there before.

A Nightcap (or two)…

New Bedford is bursting with plenty of new spots and established favorites where you can enjoy good drinks and food.  Check out Cultivator Shoals, a chic new bar serving up craft cocktails. A Rose By Any Other Name is their ode to Valentine’s Day, designed by Devon McGrath and featuring rose petal infused Tito’s vodka, fresh lemon juice & strawberry puree. She gave me the recipe but it takes three days from start to finish. Trust me, let them do the work!

Or try The Bitter End Lounge on Route 6 in Fairhaven. Intrigued by its name and sign, I made this a launching spot for a date night recently. It’s a self-proclaimed dive bar where you can sidle up to the bar or shoot some pool. Wrap up the evening at Gilda’s Stone Rooster a little further east on 6 in Marion where you’ll find local legend Gilda tending bar (Secret tip: Gilda opens the house to the fabulous South Coast Jazz Symphony Orchestra periodically on Monday nights. The upcoming dates are February 27, March 13 and 27, April 10 and 24, May 8 and 22, June 5 and 19. Always from 8 -10 pm.)

The Morning After…

Great pancakes. That’s love. The Barn in Little Compton, RI is the perfect spot to indulge in a romantic breakfast. They’re serving up a Valentine’s special of fluffy buttermilk pancakes topped with fresh strawberries, chocolate kisses (yes, chocolate kisses!) and whipped cream. Afterwards you might want to walk it off at South Shore Beach, a true gem no matter the time of year.

We hope we’ve inspired you to celebrate Valentine’s Day. Be sure to check in with all of these locales before you go to make sure nothing’s changed since we posted. All of us at South Coast Almanac wish you and your sweethearts another day filled with love and adventure!

 

Keep up with South Coast Almanac updates, news and events, by signing up for our free emails here.

Special shout out to AJ Marks Jewelers in Wareham and Hyannis for sponsoring our Valentine blog posts.  Thanks, guys!

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Ride On! Biking on the South Coast

bike on the beach

We’ve been doing a lot of bike riding these days, training first for the Pan Mass Challenge and now for the Buzzard’s Bay Coalition’s 10th Anniversary Ride.

We thought we might share with you some of our favorite local bike rides. They’re all roughly between 20-30 miles because we’ve found that’s the correct mileage needed in order to indulge in Betty Ann’s black magic sundaes without any negative consequences.

I’ve linked to the routes on Strava so you can download the maps. Rather than rating these rides by level of difficulty, we rate them by access to ice cream — the number of ice cream shops along (or very near) your route. Strava does not give you this critical information. That’s why South Coast Almanac is better.

So That’s Why They Call It Lakeville

(28.6 miles in Wareham, Rochester and Lakeville, download map here)
Ice cream rating: 1
Pump House at Little Quittacas Pond

Pump House at Little Quittacas Pond

Sometimes I feel like I’m in Vermont ride with its beautiful country roads. Sometimes I feel like I’m in Minnesota (though, to be completely upfront, I’ve never been to Minnesota…I’ve just internalized its license plate motto – 10,000 lakes). I just always feel like I’m away when I’m on this ride. Which is why I love it, even though the ice cream rating is low.

Ice Cream at Robin’s Nest in Rochester. Ice cream novelties at Plumb Corner Market, Rochester.

 
 

To (and From) the Lighthouse

(27.7 miles in Mattapoisett and Fairhaven, download map here)
Ice cream rating: 3
Bikes at Ned's Point, Mattapoisett

Biking from Ned’s Point, Mattapoisett

I am enamored of lighthouses so this ride starts and ends at Ned’s Point Lighthouse and the destination is West Island which is itself spectacular. Along the way, you pass through Mattapoisett’s lovely waterfront, the Bluefish home (described here), the Phoenix bike path, and windmills.

Ice cream at Mac’s Soda Bar in Fairhaven, Seaport Ice Cream Slip in Mattapoisett and just off the route at Oxford Creamery, Mattapoisett.

 
 

Butler Point & Back

(22 miles in Rochester, Marion and Wareham, download map here)
Ice cream rating: 1
Butler Point/Kittansett Club rest stop

Butler Point/Kittansett Club rest stop

Despite the low ice cream rating, I love this loop. Cranberry bogs, ponds, pristine farms and Buzzards Bay views. As you approach a bend in the road going out to the Kittansett Club, look up at the telephone poles to see the osprey nest and, if you’re lucky, the family will be home. Stop at the farmstand on Point Road, buy a fresh-grown tomato and eat it like an apple.

Ice Cream is available just off the route in downtown Marion at Sea Dips.

Cinderella Ride

(19.3 miles in Onset and Bourne, download map here)
Ice cream rating: 4
Biking the Cape Cod Canal

Biking the Cape Cod Canal

This is a 19 mile ride that is one of my favorites because I can never get enough water views and this one boasts salty views more than three-quarters of the time. Also, it’s flat. Also, look at the ice cream rating.

I call it the Cinderella Ride because on the way out to Scusset, it’s like your fairy godmother has sent you magically off to the ball. You ride feeling like you’re a willowy Olympian atop a high-end titanium bike, effortlessly clocking speeds you’ve never seen before (except downhill). The clock strikes midnight at Scusset when you turn the bike around and face the headwinds. Suddenly, you’re on your sturdy reliable bicycle in your sturdy reliable body. (Still, grateful for both.)

I spend most of the ride back trying to figure out how to game the wind (is there a time of day to avoid it? Is there a time when the wind shifts and you can use it both ways?)  Mother Nature just laughs at me and turns up the breeze.

Note: There is a short distance on Cranberry Highway which includes a rotary. If you’d prefer not to tackle that, simply park at the canal and do the 14 mile ride on the bike path.

Ice cream at Nana’s, Guido’s & Stash’s in Onset Village. Novelty ice cream available at Scusset Beach and Andy’s Country Store at Bourne Scenic Campground. Just off the route: Betty Ann’s in Buzzards Bay, home of the wicked black magic sundae

Farms & Sea

(34.5 miles in Dartmouth & Westport, download map here)
Ice cream rating:  3
Bike stop at Lloyd Center

Even on a rainy day, the view from the Lloyd Center is pretty spectacular

You’ve got everything on this ride: polite drivers, country roads, rock walls, farms, marshes and sea.  If I lived closer, this would easily be my go-to ride. Stop at the Lloyd Center to climb up to its observation deck for breathtaking views (detailed in our Only on the South Coast article in the 2016 edition).

Ice Cream at The Bucket at Gulf Hill, Salvadors, Head Town Landing Country Store. Just off the route: Handy Hill Creamery and Wood’s Ice Cream in Westport)

JOIN US

Bikes at Lloyd Center

The Lloyd Center also provides nice cover from unexpectedly rainy bike rides

We’ve got a South Coast Almanac team for the Coalition Ride….join us on October 2 if you want to be on the team that wins the costume contest! There’s a variety of distances (100, 75, 35 and 11 mile options) so, even if you’re just starting out, you have more than enough time to get ready. You can learn more about the ride here. If you want to join our team, let us know for a discounted registration fee code. Email us at [email protected]

DO YOU LIKE PAPER MAPS?

If you’d like to find your own special rides and if you love paper maps so that you can see the whole picture, rather than just your small screen, check out Bike Friendly Mattapoisett, a map with great biking recommendations brought to you by the Friends of the Mattapoisett Bike Path (available at the Town Wharf General Store), and Rubel’s Eastern Massachusetts Road and Bicycle Map (available at Yesteryear Cyclery in New Bedford).

See you out there!

 

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Hip & Zen: Yoga on the South Coast

Sometimes I’m physically exhausted by how hard it is to stay hip and trendy. Is avocado toast still worthy of an Instagram? Why is everyone talking about “cold brew” and what happened to normal iced coffee? While these questions may plague me with uncertainty, one thing is for sure: yoga is still hot. Luckily, the South Coast offers a plethora of yoga classes and we at South Coast Almanac have compiled a list of 6 favorites to keep our beloved readers at their trendiest this summer.

Greeting the day at the water's edge

Greeting the day at the water’s edge (Photo courtesy of Ebb & Flow Wellness Studio)

For the early birds and/or night owls
Good Morning/Good Night Yoga Flow…Beach Yoga
Who: Ebb and Flow Wellness Studio
What: Morning yoga – An energizing and awakening morning yoga practice using breath, postures, and visualization. Connecting with the elements of earth and fire. Meet and greet the day.  Evening yoga – Wind down, relax, and connect with your internal systems and external surroundings through gentle yoga postures, breath, and meditation.
Where: Meet at Onset Pier
When: Good Morning Yoga – Fridays 8-9 am / Good Night Yoga – Wednesdays 7-8 pm 
How much: $10
Contact: Beth McLacklin, (508) 273-7736
Bring a mat and/or a towel

Slocum's River Reserve (Photo courtesy of Dartmouth Natural Resources Trust)

Slocum’s River Reserve (Photo courtesy of Dartmouth Natural Resources Trust)

For the nature lovers
Summer Yoga Series
Who: Dartmouth Natural Resource Trust
What: Hour long flow for all levels and ages.
Where: Slocum’s River Reserve, Horseneck Road, Dartmouth, MA
When: Wednesdays 8:30-9:30 am through August 31
How much: Free
Contact: (508) 991-2289
Bring your own mat, towel, and bug spray

 

Fort Taber Yoga (Photo courtesy of Meghan @newportanchor)

Fort Taber Yoga (Photo courtesy of Meghan @newportanchor)

For the community seekers
Fort Taber Summer Yoga
Who: South Coast Yoga
What: Hour long flow on the grassy fields next to Fort Taber as the sun sets with as many as 180 of your neighbors.
Where: Fort Taber, 1000 Rodney French Blvd, New Bedford, MA
When: Mondays and Thursdays 6:30-7:30 pm through the summer
How much: $5
Contact: Pam Teves, [email protected]
Bring a mat and/or towel and water

For the beach lovers
Yoga at Silvershell Beach
Who: Marion Recreation Department
What: An hour long flow, suitable for all ages and levels.
Where: Front Street Marion, MA
When: Tuesdays and Thursdays, 8-9 am through August 30th
How much: $10
Contact: Tim Donahue, (508) 525-9800
Bring a mat and/or towel

Yoga at Ned's Point (Photo courtesy of Anchor Yoga)

Yoga at Ned’s Point (Photo courtesy of Anchor Yoga)

For a cause (and for the vistas)
Lighthouse Yoga at Ned’s Point – Anchor Yoga
What: 75 minute flow for all levels
Where: Ned’s Point Lighthouse, Ned’s Point Rd, Mattapoisett, MA 02739
When: Saturdays 8:15-9:30 am through Labor Day
How much: By donation (suggested donation $5/$10/$20) —  100% of all money collected will go directly into the Anchor Chain Fund which gives back to the community (this summer, they’ve already collected over $3,000)
Contact: Jessica Webb, (508) 542-9022
Bring a mat, water, bug spray, and sunscreen. Blanket optional.

Paddleboard Yoga (Photo courtesy of Osprey Sea Kayak Adventures)

Paddleboard Yoga (Photo courtesy of Osprey Sea Kayak Adventures)

For the adventuresome
SUP Yoga
Who: Osprey Sea Kayak Adventures
What: Perfect for yoga beginners & intermediate students, this class offers moderate poses at a laid back pace to strengthen the body, calm the mind and heal the soul. Intro to SUP or equivalent experience is a prerequisite for this program.
Where: Osprey Sea Kayak Adventures, 489 Old County Road, Westport, MA 02790
When: Tuesdays 5-6 pm
How much: $35 per session, or buy a 6 pack and save 15%. BYOB save $10
Contact: (508) 636-0300

No matter which class you choose, we’re sure it will bring you peace of mind. Besides you’ll get to enjoy our amazing South Coast while you are at it!

And if you happen to post any pictures to your Instagram for ultimate hipness, make sure to tag us so that we can see you practicing yoga!

– Shea Necheles

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Note from South Coast Almanac:

We’ve gotten an overwhelmingly positive response to this post and have discovered a couple more cool outdoor yoga events that you may want to check out!

    Fitness in Cushman Park, Fairhaven offers Tuesday morning yoga (and Thursday morning boot camp) at 8:30 a.m. free of charge thanks to a variety of local business sponsors. Through August 25.
    Westport Rivers Winery had their first yoga class/post-yoga wine tasting on July 23d. If you missed it and want to participate in another one (I know I do!), let them know.
    The best way to find out more about either of these classes is to look on their Facebook pages.
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The Magic Number is 5 — 5 Ways to Celebrate the South Coast this January

Hey! The calendar will soon turn to 2016. That means just 5 more months until our magazine launches and you can hold our lovely print (or digital) edition in your hands as you sit on the porch, or at the beach, or on your boat, engrossing yourself in all that makes the South Coast special.
 
In the meantime, how to fill your time to help May come quicker? Here are 5 things to enjoy on the South Coast in January:
 
Polar Plunges
On January 1, more than a few brave souls will be plunging into winter waters (water temperatures hover around 40 degrees this time of year).  Maybe it’s time you tried it.
 
In Fairhaven at 10 am, the annual Polar Plunge will surprise you with its crowd. Last year, they came from all over the state and some from well outside the state, representing over 40 towns. (See Fairhaven Polar Plunge.)

 

Don’t worry if you decide to sleep in and you miss the Fairhaven festivities. At noon, Mattapoisett’s Freezin’ for A Reason Polar Plunge takes place at the Town Beach. (See Mattapoisett Polar Plunge.) 

And between 11 and 2, you can jump from The Back Eddy’s dock as part of its Polar Plunge Brunch (though you can simply just choose the brunch option). Reservations are strongly recommended because this is pretty popular. The Back Eddy, 1 Bridge Road, Westport. 508-636-6500.
 
Onset is taking this year off for its Polar Plunge but will return again in 2017.  
 
The Moby Dick Marathon 20th Anniversary
Stop by for five minutes or for an hour or two. I had to read Moby Dick twice in college and hated it each time. I went to the Marathon last year at 5:00 in the morning just to see what it was all about (and whether there was anyone there at 5 a.m. – there are!). Here’s my quick report: Moby Dick is far better enjoyed when you’re sitting under the skeleton of whales, surrounded by quirky and interesting people who have braved the cold to do something as whimsical as participate (whether as a reader or simply as a listener) in this annual literary marathon.  
The reading takes place from Saturday, January 9 at 10 a.m. through Sunday January 10 at 1 p.m. New Bedford Whaling Museum, 18 Johnny Cake Hill, New Bedford, MA.
 
Embrace Winter
Rent some snowshoes (see Ski House in Somerset) and find a favorite summer trail and snowshoe through it. Or find a new place. The Trustees of Reservations website allows you to search for local places for good snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. For example, Allen Haskell Public Gardens in New Bedford is a great place to cross-country ski, snowshoe, or pull a child on a sled. Cornell Farm in Dartmouth also offers space for skiing, showshoeing and winter hiking.  See Trustees’ Search by Activity.
 
Eat, Drink and Be Merry
Have you heard of hygge? It’s a Danish word (pronounced kind of like HYU-gah). While it can’t be translated easily into English, I gather it generally means a sense of coziness and well-being. Good company, food and drink are required elements. Those Danes are onto something. Even though they have 17 hours of darkness in deep winter with temperatures hovering at freezing, they are among the happiest in the world (The World Happiness Report — it really exists). So, don’t stop with the holiday merriment. Keep meeting up with friends and family for good meals and company. If you don’t want to entertain at home, check out your favorite local spots. You might even find some crazy specials out there. Combine lunch and dinner (lunner?) at Ella’s in Wareham on Saturday afternoons between 3 and 4 and you’ll get 25% off your meal.  New Bedford’s Cork has a “5 at 5” menu. You get $5 glasses of wine and $5 appetizers between 5 and 6 pm on weekdays (this really plays nicely into our theme of 5).  Ella’s Wood Burning Oven Restaurant, 3136 Cranberry Highway, Wareham, www.ellaswoodoven.com; Cork Wine and Tapas, 90 Front Street, New Bedford, www.corkwineandtapas.com.
 
Get Out and Listen to Music
Another way to find some hygge is at the Narrows Center for the Arts, a world class performance space overlooking Mount Hope Bay and Battleship Cove. It has some great shows lined up for January. Ten years ago, I listened to Anna Nalick’s Breathe (2 a.m.) on my ipod every single time I ran (back when there were ipods and when I ran). She’s coming to the Fall River venue. So is Marshall Crenshaw, Entrain, Cheryl Wheeler, The Winter Blues Festival, and many other great acts. See Narrows Center for a complete list of the upcoming shows.  Narrows Center, 16 Anawan Street, Fall River. 
 
Go out and enjoy January. And remember, five more months until South Coast Almanac launches!
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In Search of Nature and the Perfect Yankee Swap Gift…

I’m attracted to trends that can be reduced to hashtags. So when REI announced they were staying closed Friday and were encouraging folks to #OptOutside, I thought it was a great idea.

We took the lists compiled by the Buzzards Bay Coalition suggesting good walks for the day after Thanksgiving (2014 List and 2015 List). We picked West Island which led us to a quiet beach and clambering over rocks.

I liked the idea of eschewing Black Friday in exchange for some nature. But, well, I kinda wanted to go shopping too. So we made our way to the Town Wharf General Store with a specific assignment: get yankee swap presents for our extended clan Christmas party next weekend. It’s not an easy task – we’ve got a wide variety of people in this group: young, old, male, female, candle-lovers, candle-haters.

Yankee swaps are pretty common so I assume everyone knows about them. But if not, here are the rules in a nutshell: everyone brings a gift, gets a number and picks another gift in numbered order which they can either unwrap or trade for a previously opened gift.

Basically, the goal as the gift recipient is to end up with something you like but that is not so fabulous that you know someone with a better number will steal it away from you. The goal as the gift giver is to give something that will not lead to disappointment. People don’t groan audibly when they open the gift but you can sometimes see a groan on their faces. By all means, you want to avoid the silent groan.

So we went to the Town Wharf General Store in Mattapoisett and owner Chris Demakis was there. He asked if he could help us and we gave him the assignment: something in the $15 range that would not be a disaster whether it ended up with my uncle Tommy or my cousin’s teenaged daughter.

An almost impossible assignment, right? Not for Chris and the TWGS. Here’s what he came up with.

SPOILER ALERT: Anyone heading to the Briggette’s family Christmas party next weekend should stop reading. Or maybe not. You can start strategizing on which package you want. Or don’t want.

Here are the things we brought home:

20151129_094103_resized_1Chuckwagon Dinner Bell. I’m not sure how many people would want this but I know we wanted it. And that was enough to decide to buy it. Yankee swap pluses: it’s unisex, no one already has one and everyone needs one. (Well, maybe not the last.) ($20)

 

 

 

 

 

20151129_093745_resized_1Coop’s Hot Fudge. Handmade in Massachusetts, Chris says this hot fudge is unbelievable. I’m going to pair it with a gift certificate for some ice cream and make someone very happy. ($10.95)

 

 

 

 

 

 

20151129_093849_resizedMcClure’s Bloody Mary Mixer. Made in Brooklyn by McClure’s Pickles, it’s apparently spicy and delicious. And easy — you just shake and pour. I’ll add some garnishes to the package to round it out. Alcohol not included. ($9.99)

Even though McClure’s can be enjoyed without alcohol, some of the younger ones may not like its spiciness so I’ve got something they can swap this out for…

 

 

 

20151129_105540_resized An assortment of old-fashioned fun. A bag filled with a whoopee cushion ($4.99), a Hairy Scary “Jumping” Spider ($5.99), an invisible ink pen with ultraviolet light ($5.99) and some candy buttons ($1.00).

 

 

 

 

 

 

I know I shouldn’t have opened the box, but I wanted to demonstrate the jumping spider in action:

The Jumping Spider

We actually only need to bring three gifts to the party. One of these will stay home with us. If you have any strong opinions on which should stay home, leave me a comment. (M.B.)

 

 

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