July, it’s nice to see you again! We’re starting to see calendars become useful again as activity starts to hum around the South Coast. We’ve got some great things to do outdoors or from the comfort of home on our 8 Great Things list this month. Stay healthy, stay safe, and enjoy the pleasures of summer this month.
Like clockwork, we like to get our 8 Great Things list out by the first of every month. But having watched the events of the last several weeks unfold, our monthly list seems unimportant. And for that reason, it’s June 3 and we’ve held back on releasing it. We’ve been thinking about how a publication that, by its very mission, is focused on the feel-good aspects of a region addresses the righteous anger and complexities arising out of the last weeks.
Let’s just put it right out there: we don’t know. But we’re talking about it. And we’re listening. If you have any ideas, please reach out in the comments or to [email protected]
In the meantime, here’s the list for you, in time to register for the first event on June 4.
You know how you make the best of what you have in the cupboard these days? In that same vein, we’re doing the best we can with our regular 8 Great Things monthly blog. Usually, we tell you about great happenings on the South Coast in the month ahead but we’ve had to re-tool it for these social distancing times. In April, we gave you 8 Great Walks(which we encourage you to use again this month). For May, we are giving you 8 Great Distractions which features virtual events that you can enjoy from the comfort of home. So for May, entertain yourself with local music, art and culture without even paying a cover charge (or brushing your hair).
Suzanne Belanger was blown away on the streets of Nashville when she spotted a VW bus- turned-floral shop. She took so many photographs that her children made fun of her.
The floral designer came home to Marion and told her husband Marc that she wanted to do something similar. He gamely found her an old VW single cab bus and together they refurbished it to become Bella Flower Truck.
A Roundabout Journey From England to the South Coast
Meet John Stobart, a world-renowned and highly sought after marine painter lives quietly on the shores of the Westport River. .
Born and raised in Derby, England, and formally trained at the Royal Academy Schools of London, Stobart came to Canada and then the US as a young man more than a half-century ago to establish gallery relationships and sell his grand depictions of maritime history and life to deep-pocketed collectors on this side of the pond.
He garnered a show for himself almost immediately upon his arrival in New York City, and at one point in his career he was a featured artist at six galleries throughout the Northeast. Currently, his work is for sale at his gallery in Salem, Massachusetts.
After living for years in Connecticut and on Martha’s Vineyard, Stobart visited a friend in Westport and fell in love with the area. He transformed a small cottage into a larger home with a studio space, where views of the ever-changing skies and picturesque shores inspire the artist daily.
Hey guys! There’s an extra day in February this year! It’s like that extra hour in the Fall when daylight savings ends –you can fit more in! So try one (or more!) of these 8 Great Things to do in February on the South Coast (we actually added an extra thing in there, in keeping with the Leap Year theme!)
1. S-Mitten With This DNRT Event!
Sometimes we need a little extra encouragement to get out there and walk in the winter. The DNRT offers the kids in all of us to a scavenger hunt of sorts. Head out to Paskamansett Woods and count the number of “lost” mittens you find before the stone bridge. Take a picture in front of one of the mittens and email it to [email protected] with your answer. You might win a copy of Jan Brett’s classic The Mitten. Now through February 14. Paskamansett Woods, Chase Road, Dartmouth. More here.
2. Oyster Stew
The Buzzards Bay Coalition continues a Westport Fishermen’s Association tradition with the annual Oyster Stew Supper and Community Presentation. Come together to enjoy a delicious seafood stew and learn something new about your community. February 6. 6:00 supper (includes homemade oyster stew, cornbread, fresh baked apple pie topped with Adamsville cheddar cheese – yum!) followed by the presentation. Community presentation is free but dinner is $15 and requires reservations. See here for more info and to make reservations for the supper.
3. Wine & Convo
The Drawing Room is continuing its monthly Wine Salon Series exploring the art and science of wine. This month, in honor of Valentine’s Day, they present Romance and Wine: Social Lubricant, Impulse Control & Institutional Wisdom. With a title like that, it’s bound to be an interesting afternoon! Sunday, February 9. 2:30 to 5. $35 includes wine, of course, and a bit of food. 36 North Water Street, New Bedford. Purchase tickets here.
4. Hike & Hops
Like the DNRT, the Wildlands Trust is also dangling a carrot to get us outside and walking but in this case, it’s in the form of adult beverages. Join them at Wareham’s Great Neck Preserve on a 3.5 mile hike past a varied landscape of forest, marshland, salt water cove, freshwater ponds, abandoned bogs, sheep pasture, and glacial uplands. Follow that up with a post-hike social hour at the Buzzards Bay Brewery taproom in downtown Buzzards Bay. $5 for members/ $10 for nonmembers.February 15 at 1:00 (please arrive by 12:45). Crooked River Road, Wareham. Purchase tickets here.
5. Love & Marriage Game Show
Head on over to the Seaport Inn for an entertaining evening of the Love & Marriage Game Show (think the Newlywed game). Jordan Paiva hosts, dinner is available and there’ll be lots of laughs. February 15 from 6 to 10 pm. Dinner at 6 for $57. If you want to attend to just the show, it’s $25 and starts at 7:30. Seaport Inn & Marina, 110 Middle Street, Fairhaven. Purchase tickets here.
6. Tap, Tap, Tap
Lucky us! We live in New England where maple sap flows freely in late winter/early spring. Come learn more about age-old practice of tapping maple trees with the Buzzards Bay Coalition. Saturday, February 22, 10 to noon. LaPalme Farm, Blain Street, Acushnet. Free, but register here.
7. A Remarkable Home Grown Cover Band
We first saw Morrissey Blvd at the Buzzards Bay Coalition’s Watershed Ride finish line party and thought they were impressive. We were even more impressed when we looked closer and saw how young they were. And then even MORE impressed to learn they were all siblings. Come see these talented New Bedford kids for yourselves at The Vault where they’ll be performing at a fundraiser for the Buttonwood Park Zoo’s music outreach programs. February 22, 5:30 to 7:30. The Vault Music Hall & Pub, Greasy Luck Brewery, 791 Purchase Street, New Bedford. See more here.
8. Uncover the Secret Saboteurs
Some of us (cough, cough) have started sliding from our January clean eating resolutions. The Marion Institute with Southcoast Health may be able to turn things around with their screening of the film Secret Ingredients: which focuses on the stories of people who regain their health after discovering the secret ingredients in their food and making a bold commitment to avoid them. Post-screening, there will be a discussion with Kathleen DiChiara whose family’s story is at the heart of the movie. February 26 at 6 pm. St. Luke’s Hospital McBratney Amphitheater, Page Street, New Bedford. See more here.
9. The Adventures and History of the Tabor Boy
Join Captain James Geil and his Tabor Academy high school student crew as they share their 645-mile journey in the Marion to Bermuda race using only the celestial navigation they learned at Tabor. February 27. Reception at 6:30, presentation at 7. New Bedford Whaling Museum, 18 Johnny Cake Hill, New Bedford. $15 for members and Tabor alums, $25 for nonmembers. See here for more and to buy a ticket.
Our print issues are always chock full of other great calendar ideas…..become a subscriber so you get the full round-up of great things to do on the South Coast. Subscribe right here!
Our August issue had profiles of some amazing South Coast athletes. In this season of New Year’s resolutions, we thought it’d be great to throw them online for a shot of inspiration, motivation, or just plain appreciation. Today: Meet Ron Taylor!
Photo by Elin Bodin
Ron Taylor, Jr. was never much of an athlete, and he had been overweight since middle school.
Obesity runs in his family and his mother had gastric bypass surgery to lose the unwanted weight.
But it wasn’t until Taylor’s father-in-law had a massive heart attack at a relatively young 56 did he elect to undergo the surgery himself with Dr. Rayford Kruger, Physician-in-Chief of the Surgery Care Center for Southcoast Health, who is based in Wareham’s Tobey Hospital.
Little did he know that the surgery would open a whole new fitness hobby and community to him.
His first Obstacle Course Race (OCR), where you are tasked with running a distance but overcoming man-made obstacles along the way, was a short 5K sprint on a farm in Barre, Massachusetts. Then he did Spartan Race’s renowned Killington Beast a year later a half-marathon distance OCR.
His fave is now the annual F.I.T. Challenge out in Cumberland, RI, which takes place in chilly early April. But he dreams to one day do what is called an Ultra, a 30+ mile event. He had attempted one in New Jersey, but was pulled off the course due to his Raynaud’s Syndrome, a medical condition that reduces blood flow, causes pain, and turns the fingers a ghostly white.
He doesn’t run the races for times necessarily, but to finish. “I have always been goal-oriented, and with this, I am trying to find that physical limit,” he says.
A few factors figure into this. One is his Raynaud’s. The other is his stomach capacity. “I can’t eat like everyone else before and during the race,” he says.
Immediately after his surgery, he started joining social media groups of people who were physically active post-surgery. At first, 30 days out when he was cleared for exercise, he took up CrossFit. But it was ultimately the runner’s high he sought.
Our August issue had profiles of some amazing South Coast athletes. In this season of New Year’s resolutions, we thought it’d be great to throw them online for a shot of inspiration, motivation, or just plain appreciation. Up next: Arthur Mpofu!
It can be hard for a teenager from Botswana to come to America without parental guidance.
But Arthur Mpofu, now 23, settled in Wareham with a foster family, became fluent in English and has nary a trace of an accent, and graduated high school.
He was working essentially two full-time jobs to eke out a living, but it was monotonous, exhausting and he lacked any personal fulfillment. He was desperate for an outlet for his passion.
Since he enjoyed watching ultimate fighting, he strolled into SBG East Coast one day to inquire about its mixed martial arts classes. He was instantly hooked. He’s only been involved in the sport for two years now, and in August 2018, he appeared in his first sanctioned fight. He won another a few months later and became amateur champion of his 135 lbs. weight class. Unfortunately he lost the belt on June 15. He’s still 3-1 and looking forward to using the loss as a learning experience. He plans on getting the belt back in the near future.
Others toil for years before reaching such heights. What is his secret?
Have you put your heat on? There’s a whole swathe of New Englanders who insist on waiting until November before turning the heat on (see here). We’re not here to pass judgment on you if you’ve already put your heat on (mostly because our heat has been on and off for a few weeks). We are here to offer you an 8 Great Things List that is heavy on the hunkering-down-inside type of things to do. We round it out with a couple of outdoor activities, but that’s just to help you realize that, “Hey! It’s okay to turn the heat on now! No one’s going to judge you! It’s November on the South Coast!”
1. Telluride or New Bedford?
You could go to the annual Mountainfilm festival in Telluride or you can see the best of its short films in New Bedford this month. The films festival showcases nonfiction stories about environmental, cultural, climbing, political and social justice issues that matter. November 2, 3:30 to 9 pm. (2 sessions, $10 per session). See here to purchase tickets. 18 Johnny Cake Hill, New Bedford (Hosted by the SouthCoast Film Forum, the Buzzards Bay Coalition and the Whaling Museum) See more about the festival here.
2. A Symphony Matinee!
Maybe you prefer classical music in the afternoons rather than evenings? The Symphony has started to feature Sunday matinees as companions to its evening performances. This weekend’s performances include a Sunday afternoon performance featuring the Magic Circle Mime Co. performing Peter and the Wolf in and around the musicians as they play the score! Saturday evening will feature violinist Yevgeny Kutik who returns to the NBSO to perform both Prokofiev’s violin concertos – two virtuosic pieces that create opposite sound worlds, opening with a new rendition of Peter and the Wolf and topping it off with a suite from the stirring ballet Romeo and Juliet. Pick your day (or pick both)! The Z, 684 Purchase Street, New Bedford. Buy tickets here.
3. Elevate Yourself!
A full day of mindfulness designed for people who embrace it as well as for those who aren’t sure what that all means. The keynote speaker is Tom Curran, the NBC Sports TV personality who is as comfortable riffing about the Patriot’s line-up as the efficacy of meditation in his own life. Morning and afternoon workshops in the soaring space of the Kilburn Mill, overlooking Clark’s Cove, will inspire up to 500 participants to live a happier life. November 6. For more info and to register, go here.
4. Kayak Klatsch
What a way to start the day! Combine a sociable coffee hour with a morning paddle when the Buzzards Bay Coalition hosts a free Morning Kayak and Coffee along Slocums River. It’s free but space is limited and they ask that you register here (also, BYOK — bring your own kayak). November 9 from 9 to 10:30. More here.
5. Just Roll With It
The Carousel Family Fun Center in Fairhaven is closing its indoor skating rink this month. Sad but true. Come out to enjoy it before it closes! November 9, 10 pm to 1 am , you’re encouraged to attend with your best retro costume ($20 at door or $15 in advance here, includes skate rentals). Or come on the very last day: November 11, 2 to 5. $10 admission ($3 skate rental). 4 David Drown Boulevard, Fairhaven.
6. The Great South Coast Holiday Dessert Bake-Off
In our Holiday issue (hitting newsstands in 2 weeks!), we asked 4 local baking phenoms to give us their best holiday dessert. They WOWED us in the pages of the magazine. Now you can taste their creations yourself and vote for your favorite! November 16 at 2 pm. Sbrega Building, Bristol Community College, 777 Elsbree Street, Fall River. Tickets are $25 and all profits go to the Bristol Culinary Arts Scholarship Fund. Buy your tickets here. Learn more about the event here.
7. Travel to India & Back In a Night
The Z brightens up mid-November with a colorful and lively musical Taj Express: The Bollywood Musical Revue, a fusion of film, music and dance. With over 1,000 costumes, this is a capital P Production for fans of “big, bright Broadway shows.” Check out the trailer here to get a sense of its scope. November 17, 7 pm. 684 Purchase Street, New Bedford. Tickets range from $35 to $49, with student tickets just $10. Tickets here.
8. Art, Wind & Water
The Whaling Museum marries art and science in its new exhibit, Under a Stiff Breeze: The Art of Wind and Water, which brings “some of the more tempestuous works of marine painting” in its collection alongside Matthew Fontaine Maury’s Wind and Current Charts which were mapped in the 1850s and .changed the way humankind came to know the oceans of the world. While you’re there, you can check out De Wind Is Opp which highlights the museum’s impressive Golden Age Dutch and Flemish collection. 18 Johnny Cake Hill, New Bedford. More here about Under a Stiff Breeze. More about De Wind is Opp here.
There you go! Our top picks for November. Feel free to let us know if we missed anything by commenting below. (Our best ideas come from our readers!) And let us know if you have a passionate adherence to waiting until a certain date to turn on the heat…
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New Bedford is home to three of only 63 authentic Azorean whaleboats in the world (and the only ones in the United States). Handcrafted by a master wooden boat builder, they are so beautiful that you might expect them to be museum pieces. One of them — the Bela Vista — is in fact co-owned by the New Bedford Whaling Museum. But it’s a living, breathing exhibit: simply look out at the harbor to see them in use by passionate teams of rowers or sailors. Then, take a moment to imagine them as the vehicles created to capture 60-foot sperm whales, operated entirely by manpower.