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8 Great Things for August on the South Coast

Goodbye July, Hello August! We’re ready for you with a smorgasbord of activities for a balanced, well-lived month: eating, drinking, cycling, movies, music & butterflies. Our 8 Great Things for the South Coast this month…

1. Feast ‘Til You Drop

The largest Portuguese Feast in the US fills four days with live entertainment, parades, music, dancing, and delicious food. To give you a sense of the size of the party: the event features a 40 foot barbecue pit where attendees can watch their skewers of beef cooking. Head over to Madeira Avenue in New Bedford any day this weekend to take part in the festivities. August 1-4 (Thursday starting at 6pm, Friday-Sunday starting at 12pm). 50 Madeira Ave, New Bedford. More here. 

2. Shake(speare) It Up!

Summer Shakespeare is back! There are 7 chances in August to catch the Glass Horse Project’s production of Much Ado About Nothing for FREE! Load your beach chair, some snacks (and maybe some bug spray) and head to the park to enjoy the show! After opening in Onset last weekend, the show will be touring 4 more parks on the South Coast in August. You can catch it at the Fairhaven Town Hall, Shipyard Park in Mattapoisett, Tabor Academy in Marion, and Wings Court in New Bedford. Weather delay info can be found on their Facebook page. August 3, 1 pm, and 5 pm in Fairhaven; August 4, 1pm in Mattapoisett; August 9, 5 pm in Marion; August 10, 1pm and 5pm and August 11, 1 pm in New Bedford

3. Take an Arty Road Trip

The Art Drive, in its 12th year, is the bar crawl of local art studios. This year, over 20 artists with studios spanning 15 miles on the south coast will be opening their doors. Meet some local artists, see their studios, and explore new parts of the South Coast. Check out the map of participating artists right here and start planning your trip! August 9-11

4. Cycling and Wine Tasting

The Appalachian Mountain Club is leading a 30-mile bike ride through Westport and Dartmouth. Get outside and enjoy the stunning views along the way of farmland, rivers, and beaches along the South Coast. No better way to celebrate the accomplishment than with a glass of Chardonnay, and conveniently the finish line boasts just that! The ride will culminate in a private wine tasting at Westport Rivers Winery. $15 per participate. Register here. August 17, 10-3.

5. Two Shows for the Price of None!

The New Bedford Symphony Orchestra is teaming up with Fall River’s Movie in the Park to bring you a free concert (part of NBSO’s Free Summer Pop Up Series, see a full list of their dates here) followed by a screening of Captain Marvel. What a double header! August 21, 6:30pm Music followed by 8pm movie. Heritage State Park, Fall River.

6. Illumination Night

UPDATE: Illumination Night has been cancelled this year due to concern over the EEE virus. There’s no better way to cap off a wonderful summer than with Onset’s Annual Illumination Night. Roam the flare lit beaches for gorgeous views of Onset Harbor, glowing along the shore line in every direction. Bonus tip: be at the beach by 9 pm to hear the horn signaling volunteers to light the thousands of flares and watch as the volunteers sprint the beach, one flare to the next, lighting up the harbor as they go! August 24, activities beginning at 7:30pm, flares lit at 9 pm. Onset Beaches. Paid Parking available at the Onset Pier. Free parking at Hynes Field. More here. 

7. Barn Bash

We love the Dartmouth Natural Resource Trust! And their biggest party of the year is just around the corner! Celebrate the great work of the DNRT at this super fun event, complete with live music, dancing, an auction and food and drink vendors. Tickets starting at $90 to support the DNRT’s work.  August 24, 5:30 pm. 23 Horseneck Rd, Dartmouth. More here. 

8. The Butterfly Effect

The Mass Audubon is calling on butterfly watchers and enthusiasts of every level to make sure no butterfly is left behind! The experts of Massachusetts Butterfly Club will lead teams of volunteers to identify the different species living in the Sanctuary. Spend the day enjoying Allens Pond Wildlife Sanctuary, learning about native butterflies, and cataloguing butterfly encounters. The event is free, but pre-registration is required! August 31, 10 am-12:30 pm. Allens Pond Wildlife Sanctuary, 1280 Horseneck Rd, Westport. See more here. 

Wanna keep up with the coolest happenings each month on the South Coast?! Sign up for our free monthly newsletter right here!

Cover photo by James Mahaney, Fairhaven

Our August Best of the South Coast is out and you’ll find it on newsstands now.  It’s popping with great content (100s of our readers’ local favorites, some rockin’ local athletes, woodworkers and lots more). If you want a copy delivered to your door with things you won’t see online, subscribe right here! Or just help us spread the word about South Coast Almanac by sharing this post with your friends on facebook, twitter or by email.

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A Very South Coast Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving turkeys

We  are so grateful to live in a place where we know where our food comes from, where we can put a face and name to our farmers (and vintners) and where we can actually visit the farms. Check out some of the places that can help make your Thanksgiving plate shine with South Coast goodness.

Copicut Farms, Dartmouth — In addition to their chicken, pork and eggs, Beth & Vince Frary raise turkeys for Thanksgiving. The turkeys are just a day old when they arrive at Copicut Farms and they become very attached to the Frarys. Check them out here having a conversation with Beth. It may be too late to order a turkey for this year, but you can always let them know if you want to order one for next Thanksgiving by emailing [email protected]

Lees Market, Westport  — We love an independent market that stresses local products. Lees is that place. When we have to find a macomber turnip for our turnip hash, we know they’ll have it. (Click here to read about our unexpected introduction to this special Westport turnip.)

Sid Wainer & Son, New Bedford — Everyone knows Sid Wainer & Son stands for great produce. Its New Bedford gourmet outlet store is a great place to pick up your vegetables. But it’s also a place for inspiration where home cooks can learn about new ingredients and enjoy cooking demonstrations. Pick up their special white truffle butter (as seen in “Stocked,” in the 2016 edition) and use it to glaze your turkey a la The Barefoot Contessa (recipe here).

img_0508-1Travessia Urban Winery, New Bedford — Marco Montez has created a wine which totally represents the celebration of a fresh harvest — perfect for Thanksgiving. His Fresh Vidal Blanc is made from grapes picked a few weeks ago in Dartmouth by Montez and his wine club members. It has been fermenting for a few weeks but it hasn’t yet been filtered and finished (so there’s no added sulfites). Available for only a few short weeks in November, Montez pours it straight from the tank right in front of you. Shortly after Thanksgiving, Montez will begin the next stage of the formal winemaking process for the vidal blanc so you’ll no longer be able to get it this way. He’ll be open the Wednesday before Thanksgiving to give folks a chance to get their holiday wines (see here for his usual hours).

 

Version 2Stone Bridge Farm, Acushnet — You can hardly go a mile on the South Coast without seeing a cranberry bog so finding local cranberries is a breeze. This year, we found ours at Stone Bridge Farm because we love their cute little farm stand. We’re looking forward to checking out their Saturday markets next summer which feature live music on that sweet porch.

To all of our South Coast farmers after a busy season, we hope someone else is cooking a tremendous and delicious feast for you on Thursday.

If you have a special local treat on your Thanksgiving table, let us know in the comment section!

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South Coast Day-tripping

Daytripping in Mattapoisett

This is the first in an occasional series called South Coast Day-tripping. If you’d like to play tourist for a day in a South Coast town you’re unfamiliar with, email us and pitch us an itinerary. If we choose yours, we’ll ask you to jump right in and Feriss Bueller it. We’ll reimburse you for the day’s expenses (up to $150). Let us introduce you to our first day-trippers, Mike and Michelle Long from Canton, MA, who chose to visit a place they had never been on a mid-August weekday. Here’s how their day in Mattapoisett went down (as told by Mike)….

We started off the day at Shipyard Park, where we had a simple picnic lunch from home. The waterfront area was beyond peaceful; combined with a beautiful day, the moment was an instant contender to be the highlight of the trip. From there, Michelle and I made our way up to the Town Wharf General Store, where we perused a few wares, day-dreaming of a future family beach house along the way. Across the street at The Inn at Shipyard Park, we discovered watermelon sangria that was a perfect ‘drink of the day’. We sat on the porch, and let the New England seaside breeze charm us.

Day-tripping in Mattapoisett

Ned’s Point. Photo by Mike Long.

Next, we headed over to Ned’s Point to check out the lighthouse. The theme of seaside tranquility continued here, as we sat along the rocks and took in the bay for what felt like hours. Surrounding us was a mix of fellow tourists and locals just relaxing, not letting the moment pass them by.

Taking a look at the map, we decided to hop back in the car and take a drive along Point Connett. Beautiful houses in a shaded, relaxed neighborhood. Reminiscent of the best of New England shoreline, sprinkled with a slight Carolina flavor. All in all, the quintessential beachside neighborhood.

Our next stops, or our next attempts at stops, didn’t work out for scheduling reasons. We had been looking forward to hitting up the Mattapoisett Museum & Carriage House but missed it as it had closed at 4pm (note to always check the time – Google is your friend!). After that, looking for something to do before dinner, we had decided to hit up the bowling alley we had driven by – sadly, Bowlmor Lanes was not open on the day we were there. Poor planning on our part, but we ended up passing time before dinner at The Stowaway, a nice little hole in the wall bar across the street from Bowlmor. The bartender and clientele were super sociable, with bonus points for being Red Sox- friendly, complete with large flat screens visible from any seat in the bar. As a side note – the restrooms at the Stowaway were a surprise! (Michelle was expecting a typical dive bar bathroom but she found something much better.)

Our last stop was Turks Seafood Market for an early dinner. We had heard great things about Turks. Our dinner not only met but exceeded already lofty expectations. Bacon wrapped scallops with brown sugar glaze starter was our perfect kickoff to further deliciousness. I had grilled local swordfish, blackened, served over warm tomato and arugula salad with a balsamic reduction. Absolutely delicious. Hyperbole aside, the best swordfish ever in the history of things. Michelle was wowed by the seared tuna with wasabi vinaigrette served with ponzu veggies.

Day-tripping in Mattapoisett

Michelle at Ned’s Point. Photo by Mike Long.

Mattapoisett is a great South Coast town that packed a lot of memories into a short window of time for us – we certainly look forward to the chance to get back there! (Michael Long)

Town Wharf General Store, 10 Water Street (508) 758-4615
The Inn on Shipyard Park, 13 Water Street (508) 758-4922
Mattapoissett Historical Society Museum, 5 Church Street (508) 758-2844
Bowlmor Lanes, 22 County Road (508) 758-6783
The Stowaway, 35 County Road (774) 582-1188
Turks Seafood Market, 83 Marion Road (508) 758-3117

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Ain’t No Blues at the Airport Grille

 

Long-Edge-300pixels-72dpiOn the first Monday of every month, the Airport Grille at New Bedford’s regional airport hosts the Southcoast Jazz Orchestra.

It’s been on our To Do list for a while and this seemed like the right week for it. These short days after daylight saving time are always sobering. And they are especially jarring this week with mild sunny days that abruptly end in the afternoon. The temperature outside just doesn’t seem to reflect the hunkering down aspect of the season.

The Airport Grille was the perfect place to spend last night to banish the darkness with style. Small groups, large groups, couples all added to a cheerful atmosphere. “Is it always this crowded?” I asked our waitress.

“Not usually on a Monday,” she said, “It’s the jazz.”

Ah, right. We had come for the food (because we’re working on the restaurant guide for the first issue…it’s heavy lifting but we’re serious workers) but also to see the monthly jazz sessions that we’d heard about.

7083We arrived before the band and ordered the seared scallops and lobster mac and cheese. The mac and cheese arrived in the most impressive display we’d ever seen.

Then the band began to assemble. It wasn’t simply a jazz trio or quartet. This was a 17-piece orchestra. Even writing “17” doesn’t seem to adequately reflect how big this band is. And when they began to play? Everything else that was important (the perfectly cooked scallops, the large chunks of lobster floating in the creamy mac and cheese) was a footnote. What a treat to listen to this band. Don’t go to this dinner with an old friend who you haven’t seen in years. Once the Southcoast Jazz Orchestra begins, you couldn’t care less what your old friend has been up to — you’ll just want to pay attention to the music.

It’s great theater to watch a band this big: all of the different personalities melding together and sometimes splitting apart to create their music; the gleaming trumpets, trombones, and saxophones all lined up, the audience’s attention focused and rapt. It makes you want to learn how to play an instrument and join in. It makes you think about making a reservation for next month’s session. It makes you wonder about throwing a party for the Southcoast Jazz Orchestra to perform at.

Like, say, a magazine launch party? Like, say, in May?

Stay tuned….

 

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