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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!

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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.

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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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The Buzziest of Buzzes: Nitro Coffee on the South Coast

Nitro brew South Coast

It’s 11:00 am on a weekday (and workday) morning and I’m sitting with what looks like a Guiness draft in front of me. What’s going on?

At Dog Days Cafe in Onset, Lexie just poured me a glass of nitro brew, the newest coffee trend and it may be the best so far. It’s cold brew coffee, poured straight from a keg and, although Lexie swears there’s nothing but coffee in it, it looks suspiciously creamy.

Nitro Brew Onset

What is it?

Nitro brew is coffee with nitrogen gas percolated into it. Its resemblance to Guiness Stout is no surprise. Many light beers use carbon dioxide for the fizz, but Irish brewers have long been adding nitrogen gas to the darker stouts and ales, creating a smoother, thicker taste. It was only a matter of time before hipster coffeemakers decided to try it. Though it’s unclear where the trend started (some say in Portland, Oregon, others say Austin, Texas or Astoria, New York), it’s made its way to the South Coast.

The result: a smooth, sweet brew that looks (and tastes) like you’ve already added some sugar and cream. Lexie says that while she generally likes her coffee “light and sweet” she doesn’t add anything to her nitro coffee. (Bonus! You’ve saved those 90 or so calories for something else.)

Scientists are trying to figure out why it tastes better (I love the headline in the otherwise pretty staid Chemical & Engineering News: What’s nitro cold brew, and why is it so damn delicious?). But if you’re more a humanities major, don’t worry about it and just try it.

At Dog Days, they start with kegs of their cold-brew which have been saturated with their signature Scandinavian coffee beans for 72 hours. Lexi pours a glass from a tap that combines the cold-brew with a canister of nitrogen which sits besides the keg. She’s right. It tastes smooth and creamy, delicious.

Who’s drinking it?

Lots of people! At Dog Days, it’s outselling cold brew by almost 4 to 1. Many people are willing to go with the higher price tag ($5 for a small) because it tastes so smooth (and maybe because it delivers more of a caffeine kick). People on the night shift love it. Lexie says that police officers swear by it. They come in before their 16 hour shifts to buy growlers filled with the stuff.

Where can you find nitro brew?

Dog Days Coffee, obviously. 2W West Central Avenue, Onset, (508) 295-2328.

Cup2Cafe, 3175 Cranberry Highway, East Wareham, (508) 743-0410.

Onset Bay Cafe, 1B West Central Avenue, Onset, (508) 273-0178.

Simmons Cafe & Market, 78 Crandall Road, Little Compton, (401) 635-2420.

Flour Girls Bakery, 230 Huttleston Avenue, Fairhaven, (774) 202-5884.

Charred Oak Tavern, 57 Center Street, Middleboro, (508) 923-9034 (note: for diners only, Charred Oak Tavern does not serve coffee for takeout).

Are there other local places serving nitro coffee? Let us know…

To keep up with this and other trends on the South Coast, sign up here for updates on what we’re up to…And shoot us an email at [email protected] if you have suggestions for us.

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Good Eats: Breakfast at Coffee Milano in Middleboro

Coffee Milano Middleboro

As you might expect, from time to time we meet with our advertisers, usually at their offices. We’ve decided to make these meetings even more efficient (and fun) than they were before. The idea: meet them for breakfast, at a favorite place of their choosing, and review the place for this blog.

Today, Kristi Cornuet from T.M. Ryder took us around the corner from her Middleboro office to Coffee Milano. Kristi says her office orders either breakfast or lunch from there nearly every day. The restaurant staff will see the Caller ID on the phone, know that it’s her and answer: “What’ll it be today?” Then, they’ll ask after others in the office “How about for your Dad? Your sister?”

Here’s the lowdown on our meal:

Coffee Milano is a no-frills place where you order at the counter and they bring your food to the dining area when it’s ready. Kristi told me she usually gets the Breakfast Sandwich (sausage, egg & cheese) on a croissant with a side of spicy jam. That sounded so good to me that I ordered it too. Side note of apology: sorry we didn’t order different dishes so we could give you a sense of the variety but, honestly, that order just sounded so good.

Coffee Milano MiddleboroKristi says she orders the breakfast sandwich about 90% of the time. But she sometimes chooses the Cali Burrito. At lunch, she often has the turkey and brie sandwich but there’s even more variety for lunch here than there is for breakfast. Kristi loves the flatbreads and quesadillas. Her father gave a shout out for “The Steak Bomb.” And her sister Kira says, “the Big & Juicy Cheeseburger is amazing.”

But back to our meal! Kristi ordered an iced green acai tea, made to order. I got a plain coffee, nothing added, because although there is an extensive menu of coffee drinks, I felt like I needed something simple to justify my leap into the hedonism of a fully loaded breakfast sandwich on a croissant.

The sandwich was everything I hoped for –and I’m grateful for Kristi’s insider trick of ordering the spicy jam on the side. It put the sandwich over the top. Hours later, my stomach is still happy.

You Can Ring My Bell

Coffee MilanoWhile we were eating, we heard a bell clang cheerfully. We found the bell by the door as we were leaving, and got the scoop on it. If you feel you’ve gotten good service, you can ring it on the way out. Kristi rang it. She smiled. I smiled. I saw an older man drinking his coffee smile.

It was a great way to start the week.

The verdict: 2 thumbs up!

Where to find them: Coffee Milano, 58 Center Street, Middleboro. 508-946-4006. Open for breakfast and lunch daily.

TM Ryder Middleboro

Kristi & Kira of T.M. Ryder Insurance

This review has been brought to you by T.M. Ryder Insurance Agency. After breakfast, Kristi and I walked just around the corner to her office. Over breakfast, she had told me that T.M. Ryder has been invested in the Middleboro community for over 100 years (started in 1877 by Mr. Ryder, Kristi’s great grandfather took over one hundred years ago in 1917). But when I looked at the photos and old equipment prominently displayed in their offices, I got a more tangible sense of how much time (and experience) that really means.

I snapped pictures of an antique adding machine:

TM Ryder Middleboro

 

 

 

 

 

 

vintage filing cabinets;

TM Ryder Middleboro

 

 

 

 

 

and old photographs of the business:

TM Ryder Middleboro

 

 

 

 

 

More than that, I experienced a business actively engaged in its community. In the short time I was there, two gentleman separately came in to make inquiries about their policies. You sure don’t see that personal service with the giant insurance companies.

If there were a bell at the door of T.M. Ryder, I would have rung it loudly.  T.M. Ryder Insurance Agency, 8 Thatchers Row, Middleboro. 508-947-7600. 


If you want to stay in the know about other cool breakfast spots, as well as stories about the people, places, food and other things that make the South Coast special, sign up for our free emails right here.

Look for more in our series coming soon. And feel free to tell us your favorite breakfast nooks by commenting below or emailing us at [email protected]

Maybe we’ll see you there sometime soon.

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8 Great Things: October 2017 on the South Coast!

We’re back with another of our monthly 8 Great Lists. Here, we bring you 8 special South Coast happenings so that you can enjoy the best of our area in October. See what our month is shaping up to look like!

Buzzards Bay Coalition’s Watershed Ride

What: Bikes + Philanthropy. All participants sign up to ride 35, 75 or 100 miles and promise to raise at least $300 each to protect Buzzards Bay’s waters and watershed. Join us on the ride (by clicking here), cheer for us along the route (click here to see the route map and relative times) or throw a $5 or $10 donation our way (by clicking here) to support the amazing work of the Buzzards Bay Coalition.

When: October 1 from 7:00 in Little Compton and all throughout the day to the finish line in Woods Hole

Where: Starting lines at Sakonnet Point, Horseneck Beach (Westport) and Eastover Farm (Rochester). Finish line party at Woods Hole.

King Richard’s Faire

What: An annual tradition on the South Coast and hard to describe. People walk around gnawing on large turkey legs, many garbed in medieval attire. Music, entertainment galore (Mud Show, anyone?), royal parades, shopping and jousting. For more info, click here.

When: Saturdays and Sundays through October 22, also Columbus Day, 10:30 – 6

Where: 235 Main Street, Carver

Cost: $32 for adults, $16 for children

Manjiro Festival

Manjiro Festival, FairhavenWhat: As a fourteen year old in 1841, Manjiro Nakahama was rescued after a shipwreck by Fairhaven whaling captain William Whitfield and returned with Whitfield to live in Fairhaven. Manjiro became the first Japanese person to live in the United States. This Japanese-American festival celebrates the friendship between the two countries and includes music and food, martial arts demonstrations, taiko drummers, flower arranging, raffles, booths featuring food and crafts, a tea ceremony, and much more.

When: October 7, 10-5

Where: Center Street, Fairhaven

Cost: Free. Click here for more info.

New Bedford Seaport Chowder Festival

New Bedford Chowder FestivalWhat: A throw down with chowder, soup & quahogs from nearly 20 restaurants and caterers, with live music, local beers and specialty cocktails, children’s activities and the annual YMCA lobster race.

When: Sunday, October 8th, 12-5 (tasting will end at 3 pm)

Where: New Bedford waterfront, Pier 3

Cost: $15 in advance ($18 day of), $5 for children between 6 and 12, free for those 5 and younger (click here to purchase tickets)

Cider Social & Cow Pie Bingo

Little Compton Cider Social & Cow Pie BingoWhat: The Little Compton Historical Society’s fundraiser has been held “longer than anyone can remember” and includes local vendors and cow pie bingo.

When: October 9, 1-4 p.m. The cow enters promptly at 3 (do you know how much fun it is to write that sentence?) UPDATE: The event has been moved to October 15th because of forecasted rain.

Where: 548 West Main Road, Little Compton

Cost: The cider social is free. Tickets for cow pie bingo are $10 each (3 for $25) with proceeds going to the Historical Society.

New Bedford Connect

October things to doA day bringing together dentists, veterans assistance, housing support, community volunteers, resources and services for area residents who are homeless, at risk of becoming homeless or have a friend or family member in danger of losing shelter.

They need our help! Consider donating your time to the one day event. If you can’t do that, they also need food, gloves & cash donations.  See here for more and to let them know how you can help.

When: October 18th, 9 -1

Where: YMCA, 25 South Water Street, New Bedford

Cost: Free. Donations of food, cash, and socks are welcome.

Farm to Table Cocktail Shaker

Weatherlow FloralsWhat: Weatherlow Florals and Little Bitte Artisanal Cocktails invite you to tour the flower fields and greenhouses, harvest herbs and blooms, learn to make seasonal garden-to-glass cocktails with spiced cordials, and design a colorful harvest swag to take home for your front door!

When: October 26 from 5-7 p.m.

Where: Weatherlow Farms, 845 Sodom Road, Westport

Cost: $75, all materials included. Register here.

New Bedford Children’s Bookfest

Children's New Bedford BookfestWhat: This special kids’ edition of New Bedford Bookfest will feature 20 authors and booksellers and 10 specially selected illustrators in the Groundwork! Gallery.

When: October 28 & 29, 12-4

Where: Groundwork! 1213 Purchase Street, New Bedford

Cost: Free


We’re lucky to live in such a vibrant place! Get out there and love where you live. 

And if you want to stay in the know about other cool things to do, as well as stories about the people, places, food and other things that make the South Coast special, sign up for our free emails right here.

Maybe you have other suggestions for the month…feel free to add them in the comment section.

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Overnight Adventures: Lizzie Borden’s House

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’ve been rolling them out online for those of you who don’t have the 2016 magazine. Today’s feature is our last in the series: overnighting it at Lizzie Borden’s home. If you’d like to see it as it appeared in the magazine, click here. Otherwise, just read on….

Lizzie. In the drawing room. With a hatchet.

Lizzie Borden HouseIt’s a real-life game of Clue when you visit the Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast and listen to the well-informed tour guides show you around the house where Mr. and Mrs. Borden were found bludgeoned to death on a steamy August day in 1892. The guides provide you with the evidence; you form your own conclusions.

LIzzie Borden HouseIt’s a popular spot. Several thousand people each year take the tour of the Borden home. Only a few hundred are brave enough to stay here overnight. Overnight visitors get a longer tour and the privilege of saying they spent the night at a home where one of the nation’s most infamous murders took place. The very bravest stay in the John Morse room where Abby Borden was discovered in a pool of blood.

Make it through the night and you’ll be rewarded with a breakfast that is much the same as the Borden’s enjoyed on the day of their death (minus the mutton broth).

Lizzie Borden HouseSuzanne Keefe and her sister Julie Wack took their daughters to the bed and breakfast one cold February night last year. After the tour, their guide told them she would see them in the morning. To Keefe’s surprise, she said, “Oh, I don’t stay here!” The only guests at the house that night, they settled in to the Borden sisters’ rooms and lived to tell the tale. Their overnight stay was not without incident. In the middle of that winter night, the heat mysteriously stopped working.

Stay here if you dare.

 

Overnight rates are between $200 and $250, depending on the room. For more information, go here or call 508-675-7333. Lizzie Borden Bed and Breakfast, 230 Second Street, Fall River.

If you want to be in the know about other great  spots and secrets of the South Coast, sign up for our free updates here.

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A Writer’s Getaway Tucked Away on the South Coast: Onset’s Hemingway House

Writer's Retreat

The Hemingway House is a three-season writer’s retreat and summer vacation rental in Onset. In our 2017 edition, we featured it in our Buzz section. You cans see that here. But we wanted to know more. We asked owner Kathy Sherbrooke—author of the family memoir Finding Home and the novel Fill The Sky—to tell us a little about the house….

Writer's RetreatKathy, first of all, why do this at all? Why go in search of a writer’s retreat?

When I was writing my first novel, I reached a point when I desperately needed to get away by myself to do nothing but write. I went to New Hampshire for several days in the middle of a winter week and did nothing but write, take walks in the snow, and write some more. I was totally unencumbered—no one to look after, no standard meal times or sleeping hours, no conversation! It was magical. A lot of writing retreats seem to have very long lead times or expect authors to come for a month or more at a time. For a week-long stay, renting a decent hotel room or small house can be prohibitively expensive. At the time I had been considering making a real estate investment, and I realized that the two could be a perfect combination. It just clicked.

You renovated Hemingway House specifically to meet the needs of writers. What makes the space work?

writer's retreatEveryone works differently, so the house has multiple writing spaces— various desks, a dining room table, a kitchen nook, and my favorite spot, a big comfy chaise in an alcove in one of the bedrooms. I also felt it was important to make the space feel warm and welcoming without being cluttered. A blue door, a colorful quilt or a beautiful print on the wall goes a long way to give the place its particular personality. And of course, bookshelves were a must!

You’re a writer so you must have specific thoughts about the role of inspiration in the creative process. Do you think there’s something special about Hemingway House and Onset that might act as a muse for writers?

Writer's retreatI am greatly influenced by the atmosphere of the spaces in which I choose to write, and I think it’s hard to beat the atmosphere of an old house. This one was built in 1904 and has crooked floors and a claw foot tub to prove it. I took one look at the huge fieldstone fireplace and immediately wanted to sit in front of it with a book, or pull out my laptop and get writing. Of course, the fact that the house was previously owned by a series of Hemingways added to the charm. Whether that one particular Hemingway had ever been there, I don’t know. But I let my imagination run wild.

There are writing retreats in the woods and mountains. Did you ever look anyplace other than the sea for a retreat?

I knew I wanted this house to be near the water, but I would love to have another in Vermont or somewhere like that! I find walking a long wooded path or looking out onto a mountain range to be very inspiring. I actually think about that quite a bit.

Fiction, non-fiction, poetry, screenplays? Any preference for you about what your guests are writing?

All kinds of creative writing is welcome at the house. What’s important is that the writer have a clear sense of what they’d like to accomplish with their time. I admit that I have turned away a few academics who were looking to complete a white paper or thesis. While that is valuable work, it is not the kind of writing the house was intended to support.

How much interaction do you have with writers while they’re at Hemingway House?

Very little. Correspondence is usually via email, including instructions that allow access without me having to be there. I have had the pleasure of meeting several people who have stayed at the house after the fact, however, which is always great fun for me.

We’re fans of the acknowledgements page in books. Do you secretly or not-so-secretly hope Hemingway House makes the cut and ends up playing a major role in a writer’s work?

I’m a great fan of acknowledgement pages, too! Strangely though, that thought had not occurred to me until you asked. I suppose were someone impacted by their stay enough to include it, that would be a great honor and further validate the need for such a place.

If you could have any writer, living or otherwise, find inspiration at Hemingway House, who would that be? (Kathy tried an eloquent dodge on this, but we pressed her and finally got an honest answer!)

As for living authors, Geraldine Brooks is one of my all-time favorites. Having her write at the house and fill it with her creative energy would be pretty incredible. And Wallace Stegner would be pretty hard to beat. That would give the house quite a legacy. Honestly, my greatest hope from the beginning was to have the retreat offer that spark of inspiration or encouragement to an aspiring writer, perhaps someone feeling frustrated or stuck or questioning their sanity in trying to create art through words. If, after a week at Hemingway House, that writer has renewed confidence in their work and can press on to eventually put something fantastic out into the world, that would be amazing.

Writers who stay at Hemingway House are asked to leave a book behind. Where did that idea originate and what’s the collection like now?

writer's retreatWhen I was putting the house together, I sought advice from Christopher Castellani, the Artistic Director of GrubStreet in Boston, where I take writing classes and sit on the Board of Directors. Chris has visited many writing retreats and told me about one that asked visitors to sign a plaque on the wall of their room. He was inspired by seeing the names of those who had written in the same spot before him, and suggested I consider a similar tradition. Signing a book struck me as something that made sense. The collection now has about fifty books (and counting!) and is quite eclectic, including many books written by the visitors themselves. I always look forward to seeing what has been left behind.

Tell us some of your favorite spots around Onset that you recommend Hemingway House guests visit. I mean, even the most prolific writers have to take a break.

Yes! Breaks are critical to an effective (and sustainable) retreat! I love to get outside and walk as my break from writing. Onset has a gorgeous horseshoe-shaped beach that is a great place to stroll. The park above the beach has a few benches that look out over the bay if still contemplation is more your thing. There is also a wonderful bike path that runs along the canal, which is perfect for a long-distance run or ride. If you are looking for an indoor break, I am a big fan of the Stonebridge Bar and Grill on East Boulevard. The staff is really friendly, they have a great menu, a full bar inside and a great deck outside that sits on an inlet. Onset also has two new coffee shops, one called Dog Days Coffee, which donates some of their profits to help dogs who serve in the military get back home. Visitors to the house will quickly surmise that I love dogs, so I’m fond of that spot.

Thanks, Kathy, for your time. And, more importantly, thank you for creating this wonderful space for writers!

Hemingway House is just one of the South Coast’s hidden jewels that help spark creativity and art. If you want to learn more about the treasures of the South Coast, sign up here for occasional email updates about our posts.

For more on Hemingway House and to inquire about the retreat, check this out here. To learn more about Kathy and the story behind her novel, Fill the Sky, about three long-time friends who venture to Ecuador in search of healing and answers,  check this out.

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Fun, Fun, Fun & a Bonanza of Food Trucks!

Heritage Food Truck Friday

Nothing screams summer quite like food with lawn games and Heritage Museums and Gardens has cornered the market on this summertime fun! Heritage will be hosting Food Truck Fridays from 5-8 pm on Friday June 23rd  when the museums and grounds will be filled with laughter, games, and some of the most delicious food around. A discounted ticket price of $5 per person* will provide access to the event, which includes a mélange of food trucks, family fun activities, and exclusive access to the exhibits and grounds. Some of the must-see exhibits that are the classic auto gallery exhibit and this season’s special exhibit, Painted Landscapes: Contemporary Views. (Folks, this is such a deal from the regular rate of $18/per person for admission — don’t miss out on it!)

Food trucks will include Cape Cod Cannoli (over 170 different flavors of cannoli!), The Pineapple Caper Catering (grilled cheeses galore!), Wolf Pizza, and The Local Scoop (homemade frozen yogurt and ice cream). In addition to the food trucks, the Magnolia Café on Heritage’s grounds will serve their usual fare with beer and wine and The Casual Gourmet will offer some classic cookout food with a gourmet twist!  Heritage Museums and Gardens, 67 Grove Street, Sandwich, 508-888-3300. (Note: the food at the event is not included in the ticket price.)

Family Fun at Heritage. Photo courtesy of Heritage Museums & Gardens.

Family Fun at Heritage. Photo courtesy of Heritage Museums & Gardens.

If the Heritage event has given you the food truck bug, we’ve found some other great, local food trucks where you can get your fix throughout the summer.

The Mad Batter Bakery

The school bus that every kid dreamed of! This bakery on wheels sells gourmet cupcakes in all your favorite flavors and then some. Beside the more predictable chocolate and vanilla, Mad Batter isn’t afraid of mixing things up so they also serve flavors like lemonade or Guinness. They can be found on Facebook and often they are in Onset on Wednesday nights at the Summer of Love concert series.

Flip N Roll

Find Flip N Roll driving through the streets of Fall River. A brand new food truck opened just this past spring, Flip N Roll serves delicious American and Portuguese food. Find them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for updates on their location.

Mad House Grill

Also in Fall River, Mad House Grill serves fresh American classics with a Portuguese influence. Keep an eye out for the hot pink truck as it drives through the streets. Find them on Facebook or on their website  for updates on their location.

Fenway Sausage Works

If your favorite part of Fenway is the food, then Fenway Sausage Works is the food truck for you, providing the ballpark food experience right here in New Bedford. At Fenway Sausage Works, you can order everything from linguica dogs to classic ballpark hot dogs, sausages, nachos and more. On hot days, they even offer shaved ice. Check out their Twitter to see where they’ll be located next.

Big Daddy’s

Chicken, chicken, and chicken! Located in Wareham, Big Daddy’s has all the fried chicken that you could ask for. Its specialty are chicken tenders in a variety of different sauces (anything from Teriyaki to Extra Hot Buffalo), but it also serves up delicious wings, BBQ, ribs, burgers, dogs and more. Check them out on Facebook to see where they’ll be next!

Did we miss your favorite food truck? Leave a comment below to let us know about it!

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Overnight Adventures: To The Lighthouse

Borden Flats Lighthouse (Photo by Andrew Ayer)

For our 2016 issue, we set out to find a half dozen cool overnight adventures on the South Coast. We’re rolling out our results over the next couple of weeks. First up: a lovely Fall River lighthouse.

Borden Flats Light (Photo: Andrew Ayer)

Originally outfitted with a fixed red light, Borden Flats Light now boasts a Vega Rotating Beacon VRB-25, with a white flash every 2.5 seconds. Photo by Andrew Ayer.

To the Lighthouse

Borden Flats Light sits perched in the Taunton River, not far at all from the bustling activity of Fall River. But once you arrive, you’ll feel removed from everything. Sitting on the lower gallery in comfortable Adirondack chairs, you can while away the hours: reading, dozing off, snacking and waving to passing boaters.

Owner Nick Korstad bought the lighthouse in a government auction in 2010, sight unseen. He moved from Oregon to assess his purchase and quickly realized how much work it needed. He spent three years renovating it, with a painstaking attention to detail.

It practically sparkles. Korstad says he paints something inside or outside the lighthouse every single day the weather allows. Since he bought the lighthouse, he’s gone through at least 200 gallons of paint and sometimes rises at 4 a.m. to paint outside in order to avoid the wind that is often the lighthouse’s only companion. Window boxes boast cheerful and colorful petunias. When a heavy storm takes the owers out, Korstad quickly plants new ones.

Once you arrive by launch and climb up the ladder to reach the lower gallery, Korstad gives a tour, a cozy 500 square feet of living space spanning four round oors. You sleep in the topmost floor just under the light so you can easily sneak up and see the lights of Fall River when it’s dark.

Korstad knows a lot about lighthouses and he knows everything about this one. As a kid, he always wanted to be a lighthouse keeper. Now, he is.

The cozy living quarters at Borden Flats Light. Photo by Andrew Ayer.

Staying overnight at the lighthouse is a more luxurious form of camping. Korstad supplies the linens and drinking water. You supply the food. There’s a bathroom but no shower. When it’s time for sleep, you turn off the lights from the first floor and find your way up to the bedroom with flashlights. It’s a comfortable adventure.

After Korstad finishes the tour, he climbs back down into his boat and waves, “see you tomorrow!” For the next 18 hours, you’re alone on an improbably small spit of concrete and iron in the middle of the Taunton River. It’s glorious.

Overnights starting at $299. For more information, go to www.bordenflats.com or call 503-809-9627. Best viewed from the Borden Light Marina, 1 Ferry Street, Fall River.

 

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