Your Go To Guide for all things local!

Category: Uncategorized

8 Great Things: June on the South Coast

Is there anything better than June? We think not. Feel free to do nothing at all and just soak in this wonderful month. Or take a look at these 8 things to make June even better!

1. Gone Fishin’

At 6:00 am, a horn will sound on Tihonet Pond, signaling for competitors to begin furiously fishing. Although the early schedule may seem made for serious fishermen, the Tihonet Pond Fishing Derby is open to all levels of fishermen, from the serious pros to those just wanting to join the fun. The Wankinquoah Rod & Gun Club puts on the event with free pancake breakfast (making the early wake-up worth it), bait and lunch available for purchase, and some prizes for adults and juniors. Competitors can fish from shore or bring their boat or kayak (or rent a kayak for the day on site!).

June 3. The registration fee is $12 for adults and $3 for children 14 and under. Registration begins at 4 am, official start at 6 am and official end at 2 pm. For more information and to pre-register, see here.  150 Tihonet Road, Wareham.

2. Open Studios

With three floors of art (paintings, mixed media, ceramics, sculpture, woodworking, and more), the talented artists of Hatch Studios will open their workshops to the public as part of their “Second Saturday” series. Don’t miss out on the chance to explore the studios and meet the artists. The event is free of charge and features a raffle for several pieces of art (pictured) donated by the artists! The raffle is open to all; just visit the participating artist’s studio to fill out a ticket and get a chance to take home a wonderful piece of art. June 9, 12-5 pm.  88 Hatch Street, New Bedford. See more here. 

3. Trés Jazzy

Ready to get dancing? On June 9th, the annual New Bedford JazzFest is moving onto the pier! The evening features art, food, and drink with two stages of non-stop live jazz. JazzFest founder Eric Paradis promises “This is jazz that will make you move!” Head down to New Bedford’s historic waterfront under the tent on Pier 3 for this vibrant event to be held rain-or-shine and featuring a diverse line-up of jazz musicians, as well as local food trucks, a full bar, and the “artist’s colony,”a section highlighting the work of local artists. Tickets are $25 at the door and can be reserved here. June 9. 2-7 pm.  Pier 3, Downtown New Bedford. Children 15 and under are free when accompanied by an adult.F

4. Farmer Coffee in the Dell

There’s nothing better than spending spring outside. Adding coffee and donuts to the mix just sweetens the deal. Friends of Buttonwood Park is sponsoring Coffee in the Dell, featuring free coffee and donuts (while supplies last) and guided tours of Buttonwood Park’s arboretum. Buttonwood is the largest and most visited public park in New Bedford, planned by Frederick Law Olmstead in 1895. If you haven’t yet visited, June is the perfect time to go. If you have visited already, now is the perfect time to go back! Enjoy a beautiful spring day outside, meeting other like minded South Coasters, reading the paper, and enjoying some coffee. June 10th, 10 am -12 pm (rain date: June 24). Coffee will take place across the road from the warming house, west of the Greenhouse. Oneida Street, New Bedford.

5. Season Opener

Pull out your mini-vans and SUVs and start piling in because the Westport Vineyards Sunset Music Series is $10 per CAR! The event features great music, and local beer and wine can be purchased by the glass. For the season opener, Rebecca Correia (featured in this summer’s print issue!) will be performing a mix of her own originals and covers. Bring your picnic and non-alcoholic drinks or purchase food from a selection of local chefs! Price per car goes up the week of the event, so organize your friends and buy your pass now right here! June 15, 6 pm.  417 Hixbridge Road, Westport.

6. Put Yourself Out to Pasture

A beautiful walk at dusk? Yes, please. Join Weatherlow Farms Land and Livestock Manager Brent on an evening walk through the gorgeous fields of the farm (we were just there for our launch party last month, so we can promise that the landscape is gorgeous! Check out pictures from our party here). The walk promises much more than pretty views, as participants will learn about Weatherlow’s approach to raising livestock and building healthy soils that contribute to sustainable agricultural practices! The event is free, but it is requested that you reserve a ticket as to manage numbers. June 28, 5:30 -7 pm. 845 Sodom Road, Westport. Register here.

7. Homecoming!

Nearly two hundred vendor booths, live entertainment, an outdoor art exhibition, and free fire engine rides for kids all play a part in Fairhaven’s largest annual event, Homecoming Days! Fairhaven’s picturesque town center, filled with European-style architecture, adds to the charm of the day. The Unitarian Memorial Church (showcasing English Perpendicular Gothic style architecture) will be open for tours all day. There is no entrance fee to the fair, and a free shuttle will operate between the Northeast Maritime Institute and Fairhaven High School. June 30, 10 am to 4 pm. Center Street, from William to Green Streets. See here for more information.

8. Get Out There & Swim!

Swimming 1.2 miles through the New Bedford Harbor? No problem! With the assistance of the U.S. Coast Guard and local safety patrol, swimmers will pass through the channel by the Butler Flats Lighthouse and New Bedford Hurricane Barrier before reaching the finish at the Fort Phoenix State Reservation. The beach party finish includes a live steel drum band, cooked to order pancakes, coffee, free massages, and local beer! With a $25 registration fee and $150 fundraising minimum (with a special rate for youth teams), the fundraiser supports the Buzzards Bay Coalition, whose events are often featured in our monthly blog post and whose work is essential in conservation of the Bay.

If the Coalition signs up 60 more swimmers, they’ll earn a $50,000 challenge grant to benefit clean water. If the Buzzards Bay Swim has been on your bucket list, make this the year to do it! June 30, 6:30 to 10:30 a.m. Register here. 

For occasional free email updates from us on things that make the South Coast the best place to be any month of the year, go right here.

 

Continue Reading

The Best Homefries We’ve Ever Had

From time to time, we take our advertisers out to breakfast to review a local breakfast place for our readers. Because, really, who doesn’t love breakfast? Most recently, we had breakfast with Cindy Parola of LaForce Realty…..

Cindy Parola is a local’s local and she really knows her stuff, whether that is real estate or home fries. I knew she’d be a good person to ask about breakfast spots. When I asked her to pick a place to review, she chose the Riverside Cafe on Wareham’s Main Street.

I got there a few minutes early and took a look at the menu. I had settled on the Green Pig (spinach, sausage and mozzarella cheese omelet) before Cindy arrived and the waitress came over to give us the specials. There were a half dozen specials but one stood out and made me forget the Green Pig: morning glory pancakes. Like a morning glory muffin, but in a pancake form. With coconut too. I know people have strong opinions about coconut. Me, I love it. Put it in any dish and I want that dish. (“Coconut infused fried kidney livers?” Sure! Sign me up!)

So I put away the menu and ordered the morning glory pancakes. Cindy chose the Main Street Special. She told me she picked Riverside because the hash is amazing. Then she realized she hadn’t even ordered the hash. “Yeah,” she said, “the problem is that it’s all good.” She also likes that everything in Riverside is mismatched, like our coffee cups were. She took a second glance at one of them, “I think this is my Black Dog mug.”

homefriesWhen her order arrived, she told me Riverside makes the best home fries she’s ever had and she let me try them. She’s right. They are stupendous. Crispy like no others I’ve ever had. They are seriously worth a trip, even if you hail from the other end of the South Coast. Even if you’re coming from Boston.

While we happily ate our breakfast, we talked about Cindy’s work and life here.

Her family story reads like the American dream. Her grandfather came to the United States from Greece. He started working as a shoeshiner, then got a pushcart in downtown New Bedford selling produce before purchasing a wholesale route and opening a storefront on Wareham’s Main Street (where Mumma Marys is now). Then he started buying bogs at Mary’s Pond in Rochester and started farming cranberries. Real estate was important to him and Cindy absorbed his lessons (“always buy corner properties” and “you can always make more money but you can’t make more land.”)

Cindy inherited his worth ethic. “I don’t do anything half-assed,” she says frankly. “I was taught that an A- wasn’t good enough. The bar was set high. I was also told I had to participate.” At Old Rochester Regional High School, she participated in theater, track, volleyball, band and chorus. She took the late bus home every day which set her up for the grueling schedule she’s maintained throughout her life. In many ways, she has carried on her grandfather’s legacy of land and cranberries — she’s been president of Decas Cranberries for 20 years and she’s also a real estate broker affiliate at LaForce Realty. But she’s done so many other things: she owned a liquor store in Wareham when she was just 17 [before she was legally of drinking age!]; she finished college in 3 years; she served on the Wareham School Committee and Board of Selectman; she’s hosted two dozen Cape Cod League baseball players.

She’s got a sharp wit and is full of surprises. She seems tenacious and tough but I thought I detected something else under all toughness. I’ve noticed that she’s the first to support the members in our 6 Degrees Networking group. I told her I thought I had cracked her secret. That underneath it all, she is kind. She laughed. “I’m not kind,” she said, definitively. “No,” she repeated for emphasis. “I’m not.”

I was a little surprised because who doesn’t want to be seen as kind? I tried a different approach. “Well, you’re loyal then.”

“Nope,” she countered. “I’m not loyal.”

“But you’re such a great supporter of all the small businesses in our group,” I argue back. “I go to sign up for a yoga class and you’ve written the testimonial on the website.”

She was having none of it. “I’m fiercely protective of my reputation,” she said. “I want to try people out before recommending them. I’m not going to recommend people who I don’t use myself.” Fair enough. She knows a lot of people and a lot of people know her. “If you own a liquor store when you’re 17, trust me you know everyone,” she says. It makes sense that she is fierce about her reputation. (Still, I think there’s at least a little kindness mixed in there too.)

So here are the takeaways from breakfast with Cindy Parola.

  • The Riverside Cafe is amazing. We both give it an A.
  • The home fries are the best we’ve ever ate.
  • Morning Glory Pancakes with warm syrup should be a regular part of anyone’s life.
  • Cindy is supposedly neither kind, nor loyal.
  • She is a connector.
  • I should go back to Riverside for the hash.

Check out the homefries yourself at Riverside Cafe, 189 Main Street, Wareham, 508-295-2050. Open daily for breakfast and lunch, 6 am to 1 pm.

To find out more about Cindy’s real estate practice (commercial, residential, you name it — she knows it all), go here.

And, finally, to keep up with breakfast place reviews and lots more going on in the area, sign up here.

Continue Reading

8 Great Things: May on the South Coast

“All things seem possible in May.” Edwin Way Teale

It’s true. All things do seem possible in May. Know what’s nearly impossible? Narrowing the choices down to just 8 great things to do! But we did it. Once again, we present you with 8 great things to do on the South Coast this wonderful month!

Things to do1. Story Walk

Dartmouth Natural Resources Trust is taking a page out of Anne Ferguson’s StoryWalk Project. What could be better on a warm May day than wandering down a nature trail as you happen upon the pages of a beloved book! You can read Over in The Meadow by Paul Caldone, a nursery poem about animals, along the trail of Ridge Hill Reserve or Sheep Take A Hike by Nancy Shaw, a book about sheep wandering through the woods and finding their way home, in Paskamansett Woods. The laminated book pages will be placed along the trail on May 1st and can be enjoyed throughout the month. Starting May 1. See here for more information.

Continue Reading

Juice is Having A Moment — So We Did Too!

The Lowdown on Our Juice Taste Test

Juice cafes are all the rage. Green juices, cold-pressed juices, artisanal juices. We had a question: are they really worth the price tag?

We sat down for a juice taste test with two of our advertisers, Kendellyn Cavanaugh Gagne & Jen Manse. Our assignment was simple:

  • Purchase juice from People’s Pressed, New Bedford’s juice cafe;
  • Taste several flavors;
  • Review them;
  • Have fun!

We picked Kendellyn and Jennifer because they share an office and both work in holistic health fields. Kendellyn is a physical therapist specializing in myofascial release; Jen specializes in biofeedback. It seemed like their small businesses have a nice synergy with a healthy juice shop. (Unfamiliar with biofeedback and myofascial release massage? Hold on! We’ll get to that after the juice.)

Continue Reading

Through the Looking Glass: Tracy Silva Barbosa

The South Coast is brimming with creative energy, art and culture. In our 2017 issue, we featured 7 artists who help make it so. Over this month, we’re reprinting our 2017 profiles, with some extra photographs. Today, meet Tracy Silva Barbosa who creates inspiring works which celebrate a wide variety of compelling narratives (written by Laura Pedulli and photographed by Elin Bodin). To see the story as it originally appeared in our summer 2017 issue, click here or just read on…

As a child of Portuguese immigrants, painter and glass designer Tracy Silva Barbosa first encountered art in the works of the Catholic church. “I was always drawn to the arts, but I did not have much exposure to museums,” she says. Barbosa would peek at the pictures in her mother’s Bible, or notice stained glass in church in her native Taunton.

Tracy Barbosa Silva

Autumnal Tide

Barbosa considers herself foremost a glass artist, trained at the Massachusetts College of Art in Boston and the Pilchuck Glass School in Washington. But when she graduated, she no longer had the 2,000 lb. melting tank, kilns and other tools needed for glass art. “That prompted me to paint on canvas, and I was able to produce the same effect. These were sketches for glasswork, but people liked the paintings,” she says.

Her glass art contains both urban and flora elements, and is inspired by Asian landscape paintings and medieval relicology. She utilizes painterly strokes and photographic imagery in the plates of glass she layers together.Her work “Three Wishes,” features a hazy New Bedford skyline, with etched and leafed glass plates layered in, exuding an organic feeling.

Tracy Barbosa Silva

Cygnus & the Admirer

Before moving to New Bedford, she gained access to the tools she needed at UrbanGlass in Brooklyn and was involved in the New York City art scene. Now, she does commissioned work for private collections or individuals — but also works on community projects. “Ever since I was in art school, public art is a goal of mine.”

Some public works include a large 35-foot mural in the Carney Academy Public School Greenhouse, and a bus shelter installation in Providence. The former, which was installed more than three years ago, has been treated with respect, she says. “I always had this theory, that if space is treated with a dignity and care that honors the person using it, that gets reciprocated. People will respect it.”


“People want me here, and they are good at showing it. I know the mayor on a first-name basis; I love that,” she says.


Barbosa also is involved with “artsadvocacy,” which means lobbying for government funding of the arts. Although the New Bedford area is not the same as living in New York City, she says as an artist she is appreciated here. “People want me here, and they are good at showing it. I know the mayor on a first-name basis; I love that,” she says, adding that many economic development programs exist in town to help artists become self-sustaining entrepreneurs.

Keep up with our series of artist profiles by signing up here for updates as they are released.  To see more of Tracy’s work and how to purchase it, click here. 

Continue Reading

The Grace of Strong Women: Alison Wells in New Bedford

The South Coast is brimming with creative energy, art and culture. In our 2017 issue, we featured 7 artists who help make it so. Over the next month, we’ll be reprinting our 2017 profiles, with some extra photographs. Today, meet Alison Wells who creates inspiring works which celebrate a wide variety of compelling narratives (written by Laura Pedulli and photographed by Elin Bodin). To see the story as it originally appeared in our summer 2017 issue, click here or just read on…

Painter Alison Wells, a native of Trinidad, never imagined she’d end up in southern Massachusetts—or that she’d make her living as an artist. “Every time I made very certain decisions not to get into the arts, my life and universe just brought me back,” she says.

She studied architecture before a scholarship at the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts in Jamaica allowed her to do what she loves. She taught art for several years in Trinidad before venturing to New Bedford for graduate school.

Wells’s paintings and collages explore urban landscapes, local history, femininity, and more. Her works appear in public, private and family collections around the world.

In her “Underground Railroad” series, which plays out on canvas and paper, she recreated New Bedford’s history as a destination for escaped slaves, and Frederick Douglas’s pivotal role in bringing them to freedom. Her mixed media collages incorporate painting, photomontage and drawing techniques. Layered into the piece is text from original sources, such as clippings about a man who shipped himself in a box to escape servitude.

Photo by Elin BodinWells’s “Totem Women” series features Caribbean- inspired abstracted female forms that often morph into column-life structures. Traditional Trinidadian head ties adorn their heads. “I’m from a family of independent women. I have four sisters, and I’m very close to my mother. The women [in the series] are strong, protective and stand their ground,” she says.


“Every time I made very certain decisions not to get into the arts, my life and universe just brought me back,” she says.


The production time of her art varies, she says. “It’s all is in how it’s flowing. It’s in how the painting talks to you. If everything is aligning at the same time, and things are working out, not conflicting, it can move faster.”

Photo by Elin BodinSixteen years since moving to the region, Wells has settled into her downtown New Bedford studio. In addition, she volunteers at community organizations that promote historical preservation, and has taught painting to both teens and veterans. “The energy for the arts is growing in New Bedford,” she says.

Keep up with our series of artist profiles by signing up here for updates as they are released.

Continue Reading

8 Great Things! March on the South Coast

March is an intriguing month. Is it winter or spring? We’re never sure. But we are sure about these 8 great things to do on the South Coast that we pulled together for you. Enjoy this fickle month!

Things to do1. Unusual Catches Day

Ever met a fisherman who’s caught a kitchen sink? Alan Cass, a volunteer at the New Bedford Fishing Heritage Center, has! Join the Center for their Unusual Catches Day when fishermen will be bringing their strangest caught objects, from fossils to a kitchen sink. Maritime archeologists will be on hand to examine the artifacts. Come with an object you want to be examined or just come to experience all the unusual catches from fishermen on the South Coast. March 3, 1 to 4 pm, free. New Bedford Fishing Heritage Center, 38 Bethel Street, New Bedford.

2. Sugar, Sugar

March in New England means it’s maple season! Learn all about the history and process of maple tapping while talking a lovely walk around LaPalme Farmas, as part of the Buzzards Bay Coalition’s Wednesday Walkabout series. Then, go home, make some pancakes for lunch and drench with maple syrup (one of the 4 major food groups per Buddy the Elf — see that here). March 7, 10 to 11:30 am, LaPalme Farm, Blain Street, Acushnet. Free but you have to register. Find out more here.

3. The Manjiro Story

The New Bedford Youth Ballet performs this true story in which a young Japanese boy is shipwrecked and then rescued by a Fairhaven whaling captain. He returns to Fairhaven, one of the first Japanese people to visit America, where he stays for several years and attends school. Set to traditional Japanese music, one of the performances will take place at the New Bedford Whaling Museum (what better place to watch the story of a shipwreck and a whaling captain!?) during AHA! The weekend performances are a fundraiser with ticket sales benefiting New Bedford Ballet’s scholarship programs. March 8, 7 pm, 18 Johnny Cake Hill, New Bedford (free and open to the public). There are 2 additional performances on March 11 at 2343 Purchase Street, New Bedford, 1:30 or 3:00, with tickets from $7 to $15. See the New Bedford Ballet website here for more information. 

4. Fairhaven’s Pilgrim

The Fairhaven Historical Society is treating us to our favorite tour guide, Chris Richard who fills us in on the last surviving Mayflower passenger, John Cooke. Cooke settled in Fairhaven, the only pilgrim to move to the Old Dartmouth territory. The lecture will be followed by a question and answer session.  March 16, 7 pm, Fairhaven Town Hall Auditorium, 40 Center Street, Fairhaven. The event is free but donations are gratefully accepted.

5. Yes, and…

We’ve been intrigued by the popularity of improv ever since reading this New Yorker piece where we learned that ‘yes, and,” is an improv technique used to help prevent your scenes from stalling out. While we’re not ready to fork over hundreds to take an improv class, we’re certainly ready to catch a show! The Rotary Club of Fall River is hosting The Bit Players, an award winning live comedy group from Newport, for a night of improv comedy which supports Rotary Club charities and scholarships. March 16, Bristol Community College. For more about The Bit Players, see here. For more about the March 16 event, see here.

6. Seal the Deal

Buzzards Bay is a big stopover point for seals as they migrate, and March is the perfect time to spot them. The Lloyd Center is sponsoring a cruise to take you to “Gull Island” a small sandbar situated along the Elizabeth Island chain between Cuttyhunk and Penikese. You’ll be accompanied by a naturalist from the Llloyd Center and the day includes a lunch stop on Cuttyhunk where passengers are encouraged to explore the town and the lookout. The ticket price includes lunch and background materials. March 10 and 24, 10 – 2:30, Leaving from Cuttyhunk Ferry, at State Pier, New Bedford. Advance registration required and ticket prices are $20 for children, $43 for Lloyd Center members and $53 for non-members. See more here.

7. Polar Plunge

Ready to brave the waters in a community polar plunge? Well, there’s good news/bad news. The good news: the air is warmer than those New Year’s Day plunges you considered. The bad news: the water temperature is colder. But the 2nd annual New Bedford Polar Plunge is quickly approaching, and you don’t want to be left out. The plunge supports Special Olympics Massachusetts to continue its great work offering free programing to roughly 12,000 athletes a year. The event is open to the public, so even if you won’t be jumping in, you’re encouraged to come out, join the fun and make a donation to a great cause — (in fact, we’d encourage the organizers to require a big donation for NOT jumping in!) March 24, 11 am, East Beach, 1014 E. Rodney French Boulevard, New Bedford. See more here

8. Movie Night Pops

There’s really nothing like hearing your favorite soundtrack performed live by dozens of professional musicians. The New Bedford Symphony Orchestra will be performing all your favorite movie hits in their Movie Night Pops Concert. The night will feature new and old hits from classics (think James Bond, Star Wars, Lala Land, Beauty & the Beast, The Godfather, Superman and more!) all performed live by the orchestra. March 31, 7:30. The Zeiterion, 684 Purchase Street, New Bedford. Tickets range from $30-65, and are $10 for students under 22. See here for ordering tickets. 

P.S. The Onset Bonfire, featured previously in our January 8 Great and which was postponed due to weather, has been rescheduled to take place on March 10!! Be sure to check it out here.

P.P.S. Do you want to keep up with everything local and wonderful? Yes?! Sign up for periodic updates here.

 

Continue Reading

Swinging from the Stars: Teresa Kochis

South Coast artists
South Coast Artists

Photo credit: Elin Bodin

The South Coast is brimming with creative energy, art and culture. In our 2017 issue, we featured 7 artists who help make it so. Over the next month, we’ll be reprinting our 2017 profiles, with some extra photographs. First up, meet Teresa Kochis, our resident aerial artist (written by Laura Pedulli and photographed by Elin Bodin). To see the story as it originally appeared in our summer 2017 issue, click here or just read on…

Mastering aerial arts requires a combination of technical precision, strength, flexibility and grace. Teresa Kochis makes it look effortless.

Kochis, a New Bedford-based aerial artist, performs her high flying acrobatic feats on 19-ft.-long silks that dangle from the ceiling of her home at the Ropeworks loft space for artists. She climbs, twists, spins, drops and contorts herself with the poise of a dancer.


“I love the feeling of possibility that exists in New Bedford. Whether it’s a small business opening up or a nonprofit launching or a historic mill building being re-envisioned, New Bedford is a place where new ideas and projects are being tested.”


South Coast artists

Photo credit: Elin Bodin

“When I perform, I am very focused on executing the skills well and safely. After that, I let the spirit of the piece take over, whether that means deep diving into serious emotion, moving with abandon, or allowing my inner clown to take to the stage,” she says.

Kochis is owner of Overhead Arts, which provides circus arts training right in the heart of New Bedford. She first started offering a few classes for adults in January 2010, and soon extended lessons to youth.

As a child, Kochis immersed herself in drawing and painting. At age 17, she encountered aerial arts when her sister began training at the Circus Arts Institute in Atlanta.

“I remember seeing her perform and knowing I wanted to do be able to do that, too,” says Kochis, who went on to receive training and education from the Arts Institute, the New England Center for Circus Arts and New York University’s Gallatin School for Individualized Study. She also served as a coach coordinator and social circus instructor for the outreach program of Cirque du Soleil.

Kochis and her partner, Andy Anello, eventually moved from New York City to New Bedford with a little guidance from the Internet.

“I googled, ‘Massachusetts loft,’ and our building The Ropeworks Artist Condominium came up in my search. It just happened to be the week before New Bedford Open Studios, so it was easy to come down and take a look at the space. The rest is history,” she says.

In addition to classes at her loft, Kochis brings aerial arts to area youth through New Bedford Cultural Council-sponsored programs at the Boys and Girls Club of New Bedford and AHA! (Art • History • Architecture).


“Every time I teach a student to juggle scarves, I’m reminded of the intrinsic value of circus arts. It has the power to bring joy, self-confidence, drive, and perpetual wonder to an individual in a short instant, which can truly last a lifetime,” she says.


Over the years, she has watched her students reach new heights (both literally and figuratively) in confidence and ability.

“I have adult students who have gone on to acquire teacher- training certificates and now teach at Overhead Arts. I have advanced youth students who are seeking out educational and performance opportunities in circus arts. I have students that come back year after year to take part in Overhead Arts’ outreach programs. I’m so proud of all of them,” Kochis says.

South Coast artists

Photo credit: Elin Bodin

In 2016, Kochis opened an additional space at 88 Hatch Street, not far from the Ropeworks. “The building is a great fit for Overhead Arts since it’s intended for artists, has industrial beams perfect for rigging aerial equipment, and lots of open floor space for classes.”

Kochis credits her success with the supportive atmosphere of New Bedford, which offers affordable living and studio spaces, an array of arts organizations, proximity to larger cities like Boston and Providence, and a rich culture and history.

“I love the feeling of possibility that exists in New Bedford. Whether it’s a small business opening up or a nonprofit launching or a historic mill building being re-envisioned, New Bedford is a place where new ideas and projects are being tested,” she says.

In the meantime, Kochis hopes to grow the student base by attracting more talented and passionate coaches and launching out-of-school camps, and potentially, a scholarship program.

“Every time I teach a student to juggle scarves, I’m reminded of the intrinsic value of circus arts. It has the power to bring joy, self-confidence, drive, and perpetual wonder to an individual in a short instant, which can truly last a lifetime,” she says.

To keep up with your cool and interesting neighbors and what’s happening on the South Coast, sign up for our free updates right here. To learn more about Overhead Arts, check out its Facebook page.

Laura Pedulli is a Marion-based writer who has covered art, government, healthcare, business, education and cultural affairs for various publications – including The New Bedford Standard-Times, Sippican Week and The Wanderer. She currently seves as associate director for communications at a local college. Originally from Boulder, Colorado, she has traded mountains for the ocean and hasn’t looked back. 

Photographer Elin Bodin has spent most of her life outside her beloved Iceland, in Norway, Spain, Singapore, Thailand, Japan and finally the United States. Elín moved to New England in 1998 and shortly thereafter fulfilled her life-long dream and established elín photography (www.elinphotography.com), working in both magazine and wedding photography.

 

Continue Reading

10 Things Amazon Won’t Do For You

Shop Small

Yes, it may sometimes seem easier to shop online. You can shop in your pajamas. You can do it at 3 in the morning if you’re having insomnia. You don’t have to wait in line.

But consider a world where there are no cute little local shops to wander and browse in, to chat with the folks inside, to sponsor little league teams and offer you cookies and cider while you shop.

It’d be dreadful.

Plenty of folks have offered reasons why you should shop small (see Forbes’ 43 Reasons You Should Support Small and Independent Businesses). This is our own take on it. Shop small, y’all. Because there are lots of things Amazon won’t do for you that our South Coast independent businesses will.

10 Things Amazon (and its CEO, Jeff Bezos) Won’t Do For You:

  1. Sit down with you and figure out what to get those “tough-to-buy-for” folks on your list. Madeleine Whitley at Beautiful Things in Westport does this. Customers come to her year after year with the toughest folks on their list (think co-workers and most men) and she sits down with them to figure it all out. No extra charge. 772 Main Road, Westport, 508.636.3300.
  2. Read thousands of greeting cards to present you with only the best of the best. Shelley Cardoos at Hippo in downtown New Bedford reads and agonizes over which cards to pick from literally thousands of greeting cards. And you know what? When I need a greeting card, I’ll drive out of my way to go there. Because I know it’ll be worth it. There’ll be 100 carefully selected cards for me to choose from. I’ll find a winner easily. 741 Purchase Street, New Bedford, 774.202.1347.
  3. Wear an elf costume for you.  At TL6 the Gallery, Arianna and New Bedford Shop & StrollJen will jump into the holiday season with cheer and goodwill. They’ll wear elf costumes, offer samples of jam, teas and hot cocoas while you’re shopping and sponsor live demonstrations of artisans (check that out December 16th) to make your holiday shopping more fun. 100 William Street, 508.992.8100.  
  4.  Custom wrap your presents at no extra charge. They’ll do that at most of our local shops. At Flora-Style, they’ll even make sure to coordinate the wrapping with things you buy at their other stores (Flora-Home & Flora-Etc.) down the street. 324 and 368 Elm Street and 9 Bridge Street, S. Dartmouth.
  5. Buy unique clothing made by small manufacturers that you won’t find everywhere. Frank Fletcher at the Marion Sports Shop says simply “you’re not going to find our stuff on Amazon. We are like a personal shopper. We pick the best of the best.” Working with artisans and tiny manufacturers geared to small stores, Marion Sport Shop carries things you’ll find in New England only in a handful of other shops. 290 Front Street, Marion, 508.748.1318.
  6. Pick out the perfect accessory. Last year, Jeffrey at Calico suggested my daughter try a choker to go with a great jumpsuit she was wearing to a holiday party. We were both quietly thinking, “naahh, that won’t work” because we didn’t like chokers. But she politely tried it on. It MADE the outfit. I guess we do like chokers. And we’re grateful Jeffrey was there to suggest it. 173 Union Street, New Bedford, 508.999.4147.
  7. Convert their living space into storage to make sure they have enough overstock so they don’t run out of what you might need. Chris and Vince at Town Wharf General Store happily do this. (Jeff Bezos has five homes but I’m pretty sure he’s not storing anything for you there. If you’re interested, see his five giant homes here.) 10 Water Street, Mattapoisett, 508.758.4615.
  8. Give you a heads up about what someone on your list has been secretly eyeing. The other day, I ran into Lisa of West End General Store in Buzzards Bay and she mentioned that my mother really liked the Fraser Fir candle in her shop. I went in and bought it that very day. (Thanks, Lisa.) 25 Main Street, Buzzards Bay, 508.759.7040.
  9. Run down the street to make sure your toddler gets his teddy bear back. Cecily Balboni at Serendipity by the Sea will. She laughs and says there are a hundred things she’ll do for her customers that Amazon won’t. “I know all my customers,” she says. “I can run up the street if they forgot their bag. I can return their kids’ favorite teddy bears if they left them behind by mistake. Older people who can’t get out? I can deliver their stuff to them.”  Amazon might be able to deliver but really, it’s not the same. You’d rather have Cecily’s friendly visit than a box left at your door. 160 Front Street, Marion, 508.748.1800.
  10. Our local shop owners are on the front line of giving back to their local communities. Ben Rogers at Mattapoisett’s Surroundings says an important part of their business is supporting non-profits that service the local community, like Child & Family Services and Nativity Prep (both in New Bedford). Country Woolens in Westport regularly gives to the Westport Land Conservation Trust, as well as to the town’s school, fire, and police departments. Word on the street is that Amazon is a little stingy in the hometown philanthropy department (see this and this).  Surroundings is at 81 1/2 Fairhaven Road, Mattapoisett, 508.758.9933. Country Woolens is at 842 Main Road, Westport, 508.636.5661.

Jeff Bezos and Amazon don’t really care about you or me. The people down the street, the ones who chose our community to open a business, those people do care about us and the community. In this last stretch of holiday shopping, show them you appreciate them too!

Wanna keep up with South Coast Almanac? Sign up for our occasional updates here.

Continue Reading

8 Great Things: December on the South Coast

We’re back with another of our  8 Great Lists. Here, we bring you 8 special South Coast happenings in December. There’s SO much going on this month that it was very hard to keep it to eight (but we did, because we’re creatures of habit and because 55 doesn’t rhyme with “great”).

1. We Love a Parade

South Coast happeningsFall River knows how to throw a great holiday parade: giant parade balloons; Santa and Mrs. Claus arriving by helicopter; Clydesdale Horses; 30 parade floats; 29 marching groups; 17 bands; children participating from every school in the city; and more!

The 33rd annual event is on Saturday, December 2. Santa arrives at 12:45. Parade begins at 1:00 from Kennedy Park down South Main Street, ending at the corner of Central and Bedford Streets. See here for more information.

2. Be Starry-Eyed

South Coast happenings“Look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Try to make sense of what you see, and wonder about what makes the universe exist. Be curious.” Stephen Hawking

UMass Dartmouth, in collaboration with the Astronomical Society of Southern New England (ASSNE), makes it easier for us to follow Stephen Hawking’s advice this weekend. On Saturday, the UMass Dartmouth Observatory throws its doors open to the general public for a FREE night-sky viewing session. The event depends on a clear sky. Check here for more information, including how to find out if there is a weather cancellation. Saturday, December 2 at 7 p.m. The Observatory is located in the field to the right of the main campus entrance off Old Westport Road, North Dartmouth.

3. It’s a Wonderful Movie

South Coast happeningsAfter the City of New Bedford tree lighting ceremony, Mayor Mitchell is inviting folks back to the Zeiterion Theater for a FREE showing of the holiday classic. If you haven’t seen it, you must. If you’ve seen it 99 times already, you should see it again. Zeiterion Theater, 684 Purchase Street, New Bedford. No tickets or reservations needed. More info here.

 

 

4. Make Room for Cookies

Photo courtesy of Medi ThomasThere’s a lot of things to do in December. But you know what’s most important? Completing a 5K in a Santa suit! Because you’ll be surrounded by a lot of fun people who don’t take running entirely seriously. And because you’ll burn some calories for a season of eggnog, hot chocolate and cookies.  “But I don’t have a Santa suit,” some of you are saying right now. No worries (and no excuses) — the suit is included with registration!  Participants are encouraged to bring a wrapped toy for those in need. Saturday, December 9, 2017.With a 1:00 p.m. start time (12:30 for those under 14 years old).Corner of MacArthur Drive and Union Street in New Bedford. Click here for more information and to register.

5. Snooping in Other People’s Houses

South Coast happeningsThe only thing better than snooping around other people’s houses is doing it when the houses are decorated to the nines. You can do this in Fairhaven, Marion, and New Bedford on the weekend of December 9-10. Enjoy the architecture, the interiors, the festive airs and the community spirit (the New Bedford and Fairhaven tours support historic preservation; the Marion tours support community scholarships).

The New Bedford House Preservation Society hosts the New Bedford tours. Candlelight tours (from 4 to 8 pm) are on December 9 and an afternoon tour (from 1 to 5 pm) is on December 10. More info here. 

The Sippican Woman’s Club hosts the Marion tour on Saturday, December 9 from 10 am to 4 pm. Start from Handy’s Tavern, 152 Front Street, Marion and end with Tea at St. Gabriel’s Episcopal Church from 2 to 4 pm. More info here.

The Fairhaven Historical Society hosts the Fairhaven tour on Sunday, December 10 from 1 to 4 pm. Start from Fairhaven Academy, 141 Main Street, Fairhaven. More info here.

6. It’s for the Birds

South Coast happenings

Photo courtesy of Nasketucket Bird Club

The National Audubon Society organizes the nation’s longest-running citizen science bird project. You can be part of its annual Christmas bird count this year with the Nasketucket Bird Club. The club hosts the count, followed by a potluck. Contact Justin at [email protected] or 774-207-8515 for more information. December 16. Meet at Park & Ride, 87 North Street, Mattapoisett at around 8 am (call or email Justin for an exact time). See more about Nasketucket Bird Club here.

7. Make Hay While the Sun Shines

South Coast happenings

Photo courtesy of Buzzards Bay Coalition

We have less than 9 hours and 10 minutes of daylight here on the South Coast on the winter solstice. Make the most of that daylight by joining the Buzzards Bay Coalition to enjoy a spectacular sunrise walk on West Island. 613 Fir Street, Fairhaven. Thursday, December 21, 2017 from 6:30 to 7:30 a.m.  For more information and to register, click here.

8. All Month Long

South Coast happenings

Photo courtesy of Fall River Historical Society

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 have 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 18 to December 30 and admission is free. (holiday hours: weekdays, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; weekends 1 to 4:30 p.m.). For information about the tea room, read more here.

Do you want to keep up with everything local and wonderful — from nature walks to food to people to shopping to events? Yes?! Sign up for periodic updates here.

Continue Reading