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Category: Things To Do

Overnight Adventures: Sleep Like a President

Delano Homestead. Photo 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: staying at FDR’s summer home in Fairhaven. If you’d like to see it as it appeared in the magazine, click here. Otherwise, just read on….

George Washington didn’t sleep here. But Franklin Delano Roosevelt did.

The Delano Homestead was the family home of Sara Delano Roosevelt, the mother of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Young Franklin spent summers, as well as holidays, at this home. He continued to visit as an adult, even visiting with Eleanor when he was president.


Set on a quiet, lovely street that still retains hitching posts from the days of horses and carriages, the neighborhood looks much the same as it did a hundred years ago.


Delano Homestead dining room. Photo by Andrew Ayer.After Sara Roosevelt died in 1941, the Federal/Greek Revival home was sold at auction. In 2001, Paul Beauchamp bought the grand home, decorated it with period furnishings and graciously opened the doors to guests. Old home fans will love the original details: a majestic rosewood banister that gracefully sweeps you upstairs, handmade keys to the the original hardware on the doors, the arched fan transom windows and gingerbread bracket mouldings.

 

History buffs will appreciate all the historical pictures and books that Beauchamp has collected. Set on a quiet, lovely street that still retains hitching posts from the days of horses and carriages, the neighborhood looks much the same as it did a hundred years ago.

Delano Homestead dining room. Photo by Andrew Ayer.Overnight stays from $130 – $170/night (depending on the season). For more information, go to the website or call 508-992-5552. Delano Homestead Bed & Breakfast, 39 Walnut Street, Fairhaven.

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8 Great Things! September 2017 on the South Coast

New Bedford Working Waterfront

After a few months spent loafing at the beach, we’re back with our monthly 8 Great Lists. Here, we bring you our 8 special things to do so that you can enjoy the best of the South Coast in September.

Onset Bay Kite FestivalOnset Beach Kite Festival

What: A celebration of the glory of kites at Onset Beach’s Kite Festival. With build-a-kite stations and kites for sale, as well as live kite flying demonstrates, the whole family will enjoy the day. Really, who doesn’t love a kite? Check out the Onset Bay Association Facebook page for updates on the event.

When: September 2 @ 10 am – 4 pm

Where: Onset Beach, 184 Onset Ave, Onset

Cost: Free

Feast of Our Lady of AngelsFeast of Our Lady of Angels

What: A traditional Portuguese “festa” that will be filled with live music, authentic Portuguese and American food, games, kids’ activities, auctions, and more. There will be a parade on Labor Day that will include marching bands, clergy, and local officials.

When: September 2 @ 5 pm – Midnight, September 3 @ noon – Midnight, September 4 @ noon – 10 pm

Where: Our Lady of Angels Feast Grounds, 7 Jesse St, Fairhaven

Cost: Free

Dartmouth Grange Rural Community FairDartmouth Grange 2017 Rural Community Fair

What: From pie eating contests to scavenger hunts, beekeeping, spinning wool, magic shows, and more, there is something for everyone at this fair that celebrates rural America. There are plenty of competitions, so be sure to check out the website to see about entering some.

When: September 8 @ 4 – 9pm and September 9 @ 12 – 9 pm

Where: Patrons Hall in Historic Russells Mills Village, 1133 Fisher Rd, Dartmouth

Cost: Free

 

Brahmin Tent SaleBrahmin Tent Sale

What: If you’ve been eyeing a Brahmin handbag, now is your chance! Tents are filled with Brahmin handbags that are up to 70% off and people travel far and wide from across the country to make it to this event. Even if you don’t technically need a handbag, you’ll love the energy here. Check out our popular blog post to get a sense of the spirit of the tent sale right here.

When: September 15 @ 9 am – 6 pm, September 16th @ 9 am – 6 pm, September 17 @ 10 am – 5 pm NOTE: These dates are different from our print magazine’s listing (sorry!)….check out the Brahmin website here for updates.

Where: Brahmin Times Building, 77 Alden Rd, Fairhaven

William Street Neighborhood FestivalWilliam Street Neighborhood Festival

What: Three historic churches in New Bedford are opening their doors to show off the artistic talent of New Bedford. There will be art exhibits, theater, and lots and lots of live music. Food trucks and crafts areas, too! Fun for everyone.

When: September 16 @ 12 pm – 5 pm

Where: William Street, New Bedford

Cost: Free

New Bedford Working WaterfrontWorking Waterfront Festival

What: The day begins auspiciously with whaleboat races starting at 8 am and it only gets more exciting from there. The festival is an inside look at the commercial fishing industry that is so important to New Bedford commerce. There will be contests, live demos, live music, fisherpoetry and more. For a full schedule check out their website.

When: September 23 @ 11 am – 6 pm

Where: Steamship Pier and 38 Bethel St, New Bedford (there will be a free shuttle provided between the two locations.)

Cost: Free

Wareham's Fourth Saturday Contra Dances4th Saturday Contra Dance

What: Contra dances are folk dances made up of line dances with English Scottish, and French origins. This event is open to longtime fans and newbies alike. If you’re a beginner who wants a little more instruction, show up at 6:30 pm for an introduction.

When: September 23 @ 7 pm – 10 pm

Where: Wareham Boys & Girls Club, 13 Highland Ave, Onset

Cost: Suggested donation of $8 for contra dancing and helpful tips. Light refreshments will be served.

Fort Phoenix Historical EnactmentFort Phoenix Historical Encampment

What: Learn what life was like at Fort Phoenix in the 1770s. There will be period costumed men and women, 18th century games and toys, and activities like tin smithing, leather working, fire starting, sewing, and more. On Saturday evening at approximately 6:15 there will be a demonstration of the night firing of the fort’s five cannons.

When: September 23 @ 10 am – September 24 @ 3 pm

Where: Fort Phoenix, Fort Street, Fairhaven

Cost: Free

Aren’t we lucky to live in such a vibrant place? Get out there and love where you live. 

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Overnight Adventures: Big Mamie Can Host You

Photo 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: overnight at Fall River’s Battleship Cove. If you’d like to see it as it appeared in the magazine, click here. Otherwise, just read on….

Under the Guns

USS Massachusetts at Battleship Cove Photo by Andrew AyerDocked in the Taunton River is the USS Massachusetts, a steady and impressive presence in Fall River for over 50 years. Christened by her wartime crew as Big Mamie, she was rescued from the scrap heap by them and by Massachusetts’ citizens in 1964. At the time, thousands of Massachusetts schoolchildren helped by contributing their pennies to bring the World War II battleship home. It’s appropriate then that today, thousands of children come to her each year to enjoy an overnight stay in the nation’s oldest maritime camping experience.

Along with scout and school groups, the USS Massachusetts also provides overnight accommodations for families. It’s clear the staff has as much fun with the overnights as the families. They lead in depth and knowledgeable tours of various parts of the ship. They answer any question you can think up and provide additional activities for families to participate in like Morse code, rope tying, Navy lingo bingo, storytelling and World War II-era cartoons.


Like real WWII sailors, you’ll find yourself bunking in narrow cots stacked four cots high. You’ll line up for dinner and breakfast chow-line style in the officer’s mess.


Sleeping Quarters at Battleship Cove. Photo by Andrew AyerLike real WWII sailors, you’ll find yourself bunking in narrow cots stacked four cots high. You’ll line up for dinner and breakfast chow-line style in the officer’s mess. If the weather cooperates, you can bring your sleeping bags up and sleep under the big guns (and the stars). You can’t beat it for a piece of living history.

Overnight stays start at $60 per night and include dinner and breakfast, as well as two days’ admission to Battleship Cove. The next family overnight experiences are on August 5 and September 2. For more information, go to Battleship Cove’s website or call 508-678-1100. Battleship Cove, 5 Water Street, Fall River.

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A Farm Stay (or as we like to call it, A Hay-cation)

Stonehaven Family Farm (Photo 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: a farm stay. If you’d like to see it as it appeared in the magazine, click here. Otherwise, just read on….

Stonehaven Family Farm (Photo by Andrew Ayer)You could be in Ireland looking across at sheep grazing in green fields, a lazy river and stone walls in the background completing the perfect vista. Or you could be in Westport, ready to roll up your sleeves and learn what it takes to be a farmer.

Virginia Merlier owns Stonehaven Family Farm, which provides overnight visitors with a taste of farm life. After you settle into her comfortable home, you’ll have time to explore the local beaches, shops and sights, but Merlier will remind you that afternoon chores are at 4:30. As you gather chicken eggs, herd the ducks, and make the animals ready for night, she’ll tell you about the heritage breeds she raises here and chat with you about farming. In the morning, you’ll enjoy the eggs you collected for breakfast before another round of chores. Fresh flowers from the garden will probably grace the table.

Stonehaven Family Farm (Photo by Andrew Ayer)Farm stays are popular in Europe and are gaining popularity in the United States with people who are intrigued by farm life. In Westport, Merlier has hosted visitors from near and far, including many international visitors. Maybe you’ve always wanted to see where your food comes from. Maybe owning a farm has been a romantic dream of yours. Maybe you just like being surrounded by outdoor beauty and animals. Stonehaven Family Farm is the place to go.

Stonehaven Family Farm (Photo by Andrew Ayer)All photos by Andrew Ayer. For more information about the farm, go to the website here or call 508-636-1361. Stonehaven Family Farm, 1506 Drift 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.

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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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April Happenings: Our Top 8 Picks for the Month

Parsons Reserve by Adam Graves

“April comes like an idiot, babbling and strewing flowers.”   – Edna St. Vincent Millay

Dear Edna,

We love those kinds of idiots!  And we’ve put together a list of things to make the most of this charming month.

Field of Dreams

This month’s Can’t Miss Event is the magnificent ode to spring that the Dartmouth Natural Resources Trust offers in April (check out the talented Adam Grave’s photo above). As word has spread about this yearly ritual, the crowds have started to get massive so plan your visit at times that will likely be less crowded. Also, be respectful of Parsons Reserve. It is a treasure. Parsons Reserve, Russell’s Mills Village. The daffodil season is generally from the second week in April to early May, but obviously, the timing of the daffodils varies every year. See more here.

A Little Culture

The South Coast Chamber Music wraps its very popular season with Mastery and Mystery, a concert featuring two French masterpieces and a viola sonata shrouded in mystery. Doesn’t that sound rather exciting? Even better, the concerts are performed in churches which make for a very cozy venue. Saturday, April 1 at 4 p.m., St. Gabriels Church, 124 Front Street, Marion; Sunday, April 2 at 4 p.m., St. Peter’s Church, 351 Elm Street, South Dartmouth. See more here.

Don’t Hold Back!

Little Moss Restaurant hosts “Buck A Shuck Oysters” on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays this month between 5 and 6 p.m. How can you stay away? Even if you don’t love oysters on the half shell, it’s time to develop a taste for them. Little Moss Restaurant, 6 Bridge Street, Dartmouth, 508-994-1162. See more about Little Moss here.

Fishing Yarns

The New Bedford Fishing Heritage Center is hosting An Evening of Stories and Verse from Down East Maine featuring Brian Robbins and Bob Quinn as part of its monthly program series featuring music, stories, and poetry of the working waterfront. Thursday, April 6 from 7:00-8:30 p.m. 38 Bethel Street, New Bedford, 508-993-8894. More about the New Bedford Fishing Heritage Center here.

Hunting for Treasure

Thousands of Easter eggs, filled with all kinds of goodies, are spread around the Onset bandshell for family fun. Bring a basket for maximum egg collection! Saturday, April 15 at 11:00 at Prospect Park/Bandshell, Onset. See more here. 

Mark Twain meets Grouch Marx

The Narrows Center presents Kinky Friedman who is described as Mark Twain meets Groucho Marx…at the corner of Johnny Cash and Lenny Bruce. We can’t exactly conjure this image up but it sounds like someone we want to meet. He’ll be singing his most popular tunes, interspersed with “his inimitable blend of politically incorrect jokes, quips and tales – both tall and true.”  April 12 at 8 pm. Narrows Center for the Performing Arts, 16 Anawan Street, Fall River, 508-324-1926. See more here.

Book It!

Last year, three creative folks decided New Bedford needed a book festival. And so they made it happen. A smashing success, they followed it up with another one last Fall. This spring, they’re doing it again. Meet and mingle with area authors and illustrators and publishers. Say thank you to Sarah, Dena & Steven for bringing a book festival to the city. Free and open to the public. Groundwork! 1213 Purchase Street, New Bedford. April 22 and 23 from 11 am to 4 pm. See more here.

April Fools

Could we do a post on April Happenings and not mention April Fools? The answer is no.

Gallery X will be presenting Fools Gold for the month of April and the theme for the show is satire, caricature, whimsy and anything with a touch of humor added to the creative spark. Think of it as a treasury of nonsense in the spectacular setting of a 19th century former church.  March 30 through April 30. Gallery hours: Wed.-Fri. 11am-3pm, Sat. & Sun. 11am-3pm. 169 William Street, New Bedford. 508-992-2675.  See more about Gallery X here.

Do you know of any other special April events?  Feel free to add them in the comment section. In the meantime, enjoy the season!

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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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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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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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