Author Archives: Nichole S.

Does Size Really Matter?

Our sleepy little slice of heaven! As I sit here and watch the boys play in the water, I’m getting sad because I’m guessing that our long days at this little beach are probably numbered. I’m thinking that by next summer they’ll want to be at a bigger, and maybe more action-packed beach, and I’m wondering, while both have absolute pros and cons, which one is “better.” “Better” obviously being subjective and not a very fair word.

Little Beach Pros = We can walk to this beach and it is incredibly easy to keep an eye on both boys. They can walk from end to end and I can still see them. They can go rock climbing, tidal pooling, and swimming….and sometimes, like now, I can actually stay in my chair for 15 minutes straight. My favorite part, you may ask, is that the view is second to none.

Little Beach Cons = sadly, it may soon seem boring and too small for my ever growing boys.

Big Beach Pros = Well, more excitement for sure. Probably bigger waves too. And, for me, pretty excellent people watching.

Big Beach Cons = The parking, the dragging of beach crap for long distances, and long stretches of beach, blanketed by people, that make it harder to keep track of my super fast children. I would be remiss to not add, that inevitably, we sit next to the blowholes who use increasingly loud and foul language and blast their not-so-soothing music each time we rally to go.

Those cons having been said, gosh knows our big beaches on Cape Ann are undeniably gorgeous!

Maybe tonight I will create a poll of which type of beach is “better.” The age-old question of “Does size really matter?”

Divots, Chukkers, and Mallets….Oh My!

It being Sunday and all, I thought I’d remind you of a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon during the summer.  Polo.

I know as much as anyone that it is hard to tear yourself away from the beach, boat, deck, or backyard BBQ on a sunny afternoon during the precious and all too fleeting summer months, but, if you’re up for something a tiny bit different, taking in a Polo match is really quite fun!

I’d like to add, however, that better than simply doing it….is doing it right!

The best way to do it is to gather a bunch of your friends, grab a chunk of tailgate space on the sidelines, pack the picnic of all picnics, stuff a cooler to capacity and have a lovely afternoon.  Despite popular belief, holding your pinky up while drinking is actually optional.  The polo crowd is quite mixed and quite lovely.  Ummm….and to any single ladies who happen to be reading….you could probably find a less attractive bunch of athletes elsewhere. Just saying. I should add that there are some pretty rad female players too.  I, for one, would LOVE to learn the game.

My boys enjoy walking around and meeting the players and ponies before the match begins.  I’ve yet to meet a player who wasn’t friendly and more than happy to let the boys ask questions and meet the horses.  They also get a kick out of replacing the divots in-between chukkers….often times barefoot. (Insert mild shutter….horse poop and all).

Myopia Polo

Do your homework here…if you care to.

Zimbabwe? Zimbabwe.

I was talking with a friend the other day about how our young children are like little sponges and we shared stories about the crazy amounts of information that they are able to learn…and I remembered this little video.

I count my blessings every day that Thatcher and Finn are in love with learning and that they appreciate all that is being introduced to them at the Harborlight-Stoneridge Montessori School.

Thatcher took this video of Finn practicing a song that he learned to remember all of the countries in Africa….and then it leads into his actual performance with his Preschool class….during which, he clearly needs to pee and it appears he is breaking a sweat trying to remember the words.  He is also busting out some of his father’s mad dance moves :)   Undeniably my husband’s child.

And…along those same lines…

Here is a link about the epic failure of Americans to label a map of Europe and, likewise, of Brits to label a map of the United States.

 

Does it Get Any Better?

I can imagine that it may get old listening to me drone on about how unbelievably awesome it is to live here on Cape Ann, but forgive me, because I’m about to do it again.

Last night, onboard the Lannon, I had the pleasure of meeting some people throughout the evening that I had never met before and whom I thoroughly enjoyed chatting with.  There was the “always trust a Burnham” friend who insisted that my super moon photos are inaccurate (whom I hope to prove wrong with a photo of the moon near the Annisquam Yacht Club that I’ll attach in a minute)…the “excuse me ma’am” friend who, while he made me feel like I was 90 years old, also made me smile each time he walked by…..a possible new dentist….a really nice gentleman and FOB who used to live in the same home on Pebble Beach that my husband grew up in, etc.  I love meeting new people and each of those conversations enhanced an evening that was already pretty phenomenal because of the company of existing friends, a gorgeous evening, and an amazing venue.  Ummm….and a rum drink in a coconut.  Come on, really!  Several people asked me the same question…”What do you write about for GMG?”  I found myself at a loss for a decent answer at first, but at the end of the night, I found myself saying, “I cheerlead for how crazy cool Cape Ann is.”  Seemed like a good enough answer.

So, for kicks, allow me to recap the last seven days….as if anyone really needs me to highlight how crazy awesome this community is.

In 7 days’ time, we have gotten up close and personal with no fewer than 20 humpback whales (both on the Hurricane from Cape Ann Whale Watch and a smallish center console boat courtesy of some very good friends). We spent a super fun evening with those same friends to celebrate my husband’s birthday, took their boat around the backshore (some of the most beautiful coastline in the world if you ask me), had lots of delicious food and drinks at The Studio, stopped at the Mile Marker, and saw an incredible sunset over Thacher’s Island on the way home.  Two days later the kids joined us as we all enjoyed a day that took us out of Rockport Harbor, around the backshore again, into Gloucester Harbor, out to Stellwagen Bank, to the Cape Ann Brewery, down the Annisquam River, for a evening swim at Wingaersheek Beach, a “meet and greet” with Tyler on the Pin Wheel from Wicked Tuna (who came over because he thought we were having boat trouble when he saw the kids waving to him…How nice is that?!), around Halibut Point, and back home into Rockport.  My boys have hauled lobster traps with “Uncle Dave”. We have spent time at what the boys call “our beach” right at the end of our road.  Meeting friends at Old Garden Beach is always one of our favorite types of summer day and never gets old.  To see my boys growing up alongside the children of good friends and playing with them summer after summer…all carefree and sandy is too good for words.  We have gone on the Gloucester Harbor Water Shuttle…twice….with two different groups of friends…and the boys were thrilled to help impart a bit of their knowledge of the waterfront.  Both of those harbor tours ended with fun meals and laughs on outdoor decks.  Does it get any better?  We spent an afternoon at Capt. Carlos and another one at the Studio (which will never get old).  We had a play date at Maritime Gloucester for probably the thirtieth time… and loved it as if it was the 1st.  We’ve ordered smoothies and simply driven around town…because, for some reason, that NEVER gets old for the boys.  We’ve watched boats unload and watched fisherman mend gear.  We’ve walked through Rockport, hung out with United States Navy, had a few ice creams along the way, bought cupcakes at Rockin’ Cupcakes on Bearskin Neck for Freddy’s b-day, and sat by our new fire pit at night.  Oh, and of course, took an incredible evening sail on the Thomas Lannon.  For real…quite a week.

I write this not to bore you with a-week-in-the-life-of-the-Schraffts, but rather to demonstrate how a completely normal week can unfold with ease in one of the world’s best communities.

Go get your summer on, peeps.  Embrace this place for all it has to offer!

Maritime Glouceter

The Lannon

Rockin’ Cupcakes

The Studio Restaurant

Gloucester Water Shuttle

Mile Marker

Capt. Carlos

Cape Ann Whale Watch

 

 

 

Live Blogging from the Lannon

Cigar and Rum Cruise on the Lannon

Kickin’ It in Rockport!

What a ball!   On Saturday morning men and women from the United States Navy joined forces with some young and eager kickball stars from Rockport.  The results were a mad game of Kickball!  The Midshipmen (trust me when I say I did some research to figure out the correct terms to use for these awesome men and women…but, since they were out of uniform, I’m at a loss) were unbelievable with the kids and, while the game was competitive, it was also hysterical to watch.  Children 6 years old and older were welcome to register in advance for the opportunity to play with and against the Navy.  At the end of the game they game some younger children (including the Finnster) a chance to kick and run the bases as well.

Thanks to all of those involved!  Lasting memories for these young kids for sure.

Live from Cape Ann Brewery

This is what happens when the fire alarm goes off in the middle of dinner and drinks.

Looking For A New Place to Visit?

If you’re like me, and you have young children or grandchildren, you’ve probably exhausted most short day trip venues.  Don’t get me wrong, there are so many tremendous places to visit around this area and I feel incredibly fortunate to have such fun, educational, and diverse opportunities for summer fun at our doorstep! We certainly have our favorite stomping grounds that never get old, and that we’ll visit time and time again, but every once in a while, we plain ole want something new.  I feel compelled to add that the boys have also had plenty of down-time by just hitting the beach, riding bikes, and playing in the yard….but, we like to throw a day trip into the mix once a week.

With a seek and conquer attitude, we hit the road on Monday morning, determined to visit someplace we’ve never been.

Destination:  Kimball Farm, Westford.

Just a mere few minutes over an hour away….and loads of fun.  Oh, and clean! Our choice was a big success!

Kimball Farm has a bit of everything.  Bumper Boats, mini golf, a driving range, Pitch and Putt golf, an indoor arcade, batting cages, a small animal experience highlighting some rescued and orphaned animals, a seafood shack, and, of course, ice cream!

I chose Monday because I had to head “up the line” to Danvers for an errand anyway…so, it was really only a 40 minute drive.  Once there, we spent about 3 hours having outdoor fun.  We could have easily stayed longer, but we love the driving range and batting cages at Richardson’s Dairy so we skipped those options and focused our fun elsewhere…promising them another trip to Richardson’s soon.

The Bumper Boats were the obvious winner for the boys.  I gave the win to the fact that the place was well-cared for, clean, and nicely landscaped and decorated.  A big family win all around!  Check it out for sure if you don’t mind a short drive!

Kimball Farm

 

As if Rockport Isn’t Gorgeous Enough!

Add some beautiful sailboats with nautical flags a flappin’ and some pretty easy on the eyes cadets all dressed in navy and khaki and Rockport just got even prettier!

Welcome back to town to the United States Navy!

See the full schedule of events for Rockport’s Navy Weekend here.

Image 1 Image

 

Live Blogging From the Hubby’s Birthday

Nothing like a trip around the Cape on a flat ass calm evening with friends. Happy Birthday to my husband and to the new drink we just created, The Rockport Harbor. Triple 8 Blueberry, lemonade, and a splash of soda. Ahhhh….The Studio. Bring on the sushi!

What the Fluke

I will swim with a humpback whale some day.

It’s at the top of my bucket list for sure.

I actually planned a vacation to Costa Rica several years ago for the opportunity to swim with the whales in Drake Bay, but sadly, no whales were in the area during my stay.

I have, however, had the opportunity to swim with wild dolphins, sea turtles, sea lions, rays, black tip reef sharks, and manatees.  Each of those experiences are kind of sacred to me.  All are moments that I will never forget.

While swimming with wild marine life may not be everyone’s cup of tea, if you haven’t been on at least one amazing whale watch, you are missing out.  We are incredibly fortunate to have whales not far off our coast for a good part of the year.  I, all kidding aside, sometimes find myself laying awake at night thinking, “I wonder what the whales are doing right now?” Freak meter rating high, I realize, but true nonetheless.

So, today, knowing that the whales have been plentiful for the past several days, we went for a trip with Cape Ann Whale Watch.  How do I know they’ve been plentiful you may ask?  I follow their blog.

I had the opportunity to speak with both long time owners, Nick Danikas and Jim Douglass, in the parking lot prior to the trip.  Both are great guys who are pretty passionate about offering trips that leave guests with memories to last a lifetime.

Likewise, the crew and the naturalists are phenomenal and beyond highly educated on the matter of whales and sea life indigenous to our waters. Their enthusiasm was contagious.  Even the captain, John Karvelas, was excitedly pointing out bubble clouds as they formed on the surface of the water.  Bubble clouds are a method that whales use to trap krill and sand eels in a tight school so that they can emerge, mouths open, and swallow up a giant meal.

Today’s trip was nothing short of amazing.  To begin, we only had to head 11 miles off the Dog Bar Breakwater, which was a treat in itself.  After a short steam, we were literally surrounded by humpback whales.  I’ve been on many whale watches.  Both on local whale watching boats and on smaller private boats. Today’s trip was one for the record books.

Click Here for more information about Cape Ann Whale Watch

Hear are some of my favorite photos from today’s trip.

 

Young and Salty

We were on our good friends’ boat the other day with their 3 children, our two boys, and two additional cousins.  As we watched all of the children laugh and chill on the bow while we made our way around the back shore of Gloucester, he said, “I love that these kids are all growing up so salty.”

Well, me too.

Today the boys asked if I would do a post in which they could talk about how they haul lobster traps.  How do you say “no” to that!  So, as they hauled some gear, I took a bunch of photos and they taught me what was up along the way.

This is what they had to say….

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Live Blogging: Rockport

Rockport’s “4th” of July Parade!

It’s a Dog’s Life

The funniest part of the Horrible’s Parade the other day, you may ask?   Well, for me, it was watching one of the floats hand out dog treats while parading some furry friends along the route.  That in itself wouldn’t have been funny, but hearing one of the women tell our very own Joey to, “Give the dog treat to his favorite pooch” while getting dangerously close to him with one of her canine friends was priceless.  His grimace could have moved mountains….involuntary or not.  If you’ve been a FOB for anytime….you know that Joey is not necessarily a Fan of Dogs.

I think you’re either a dog person or not…

I am absolutely a dog person…as are my boys.   We have two German Shorthaired Pointers…Moby and Marlin.  Finn, in particular, cannot pass by a dog while walking through downtown Rockport (or anywhere else) without patting it and asking 20 questions about its name, breed, age, hobbies, etc.  So stay clear if you’re walking a dog and in a rush.

Consider this a call to dog lovers to submit your photos of dogs doing funny dog things.

IMG_4610

Sitting proud at the helm while watching the Greasy Pole

IMG_4518

Keeping Nantucket Safe and Clean

Our very own Marlin hoping to score some dinner from Finn

Our very own Marlin hoping to score some dinner from Finn

« Older Entries