Author Archives: Nichole S.

Nichole’s Picks 7/4 and 7/5

No rest for the weary…


With St. Peter’s Fiesta behind us, it is now time to immediately gear up for Independence Day Celebrations all over Cape Ann and beyond.

Gloucester boasts its Horrible’s Parade, Free Concert on the boulevard, and fireworks display on Friday, July 3rd

While Rockport then follows suit with its own Firemen’s Parade, Legion Band concert and amazing bonfire on Saturday, July 4th.

Please click HERE for a full list of events 

Pick #2

If you’re up for the challenge, Boston has the one of the largest Independence Day celebrations in the entire country.

Boston Harborfest, one of the largest Independence Day festivals in the United States, showcases over 200 events during its 6 days, including entertainers, historical reenactments, music, Harbor cruises, and walking tours.

Please Click HERE for the entire list of exciting events!

For a more comprehensive list of family activities please visit our friends at North Shore Kid

Presidential Welcome

Every once in a while I come across these letters while trying my darnedest to declutter the boys’ bedroom.

It’s a pretty cool thing for the Office of the President to do and I hope that Thatcher and Finn save them for years to come….regardless of future political affiliations.

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Nina Takes the Win!!!

Nice race!!

Anywhere Else, This May Seem Strange…. VIVA!

If you came across grown men dressed like the Naked Cowboy, a Ninja Turtle, Hulk Hogan and more walking down the street mid afternoon on a Saturday anywhere else in the world it may seem strange…but here, in Gloucester, during Fiesta weekend, it screams GREASY POLE!

So, of course….we followed them…

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Wharf Rats are Pulling for Julianna

The boys and I had the pleasure of sneaking some up-close photos of the seine boats earlier today.  Much more importantly, we had the pleasure of meeting Julianna Frontiero and her father, Tony.  Tony, I was told, is a legend in St. Peter Fiesta seine boat racing history.  His daughter, Julianna, is the inspiration behind this year’s Wharf Rats team and the their mission to win while pulling hard for her onboard the Pinta later this weekend!  As Julianna fights a very rare disease called Friedreich’s Ataxia, the crew will be thinking of her with each and every stroke.

Please take a minute to read a post done by Felicia back in November by clicking HERE





Good Sports

More from this morning’s race between Gloucester’s finest!  The Gloucester Police Department, the Gloucester Fire Department and the Coast Guard.

Competitors on the water today….but, joined normally by the same mission to keep us all safe.

What good sports.  It was great fun to watch them all race!

While the Coast Guard was ultimately victorious, it was a close race from beginning to end!

Coast Guard Wins!

Gloucester police, Fire Dept. and Coast Guard Races

And they’re off!

With the Fire Dept in the Santa Maria, the police in the Nina, and the Coast Guard in the Pinta! Let’s see who wins!

41.2828 N, 70.0994 W…. also Known as Nantucket

I’m not going to lie, I get asked each June why we pick up and leave Rockport as soon as school gets out to travel to Nantucket.  If you know me, you know that I’m a huge cheerleader for Cape Ann….or as we’ve come to call it amongst our group of friends “God’s Country.”  I LOVE Gloucester and Rockport.  I look forward to long, lazy summers more than anyone.  That having been said, there is something just unbelievably perfect about kicking off our summer on the island of Nantucket.  If you’ve traveled there, you may know what I’m talking about.  While there are certainly some similarities between Rockport and Nantucket….there is something undeniably quintessential, pristine, and just “right” about our little week at 41.2828 N, 70.0994 W.

As we finish stripping linens, emptying the refrigerators, scanning the yard for toys and sporting goods…and prepare to head out to the 12:00 ferry back to the mainland, I can’t help but be sad…but, yet really excited about 11 more weeks of eternal summer back in 01966.

I thought that some of you may enjoy a peek inside our week….

Nichole’s Picks 6/27 + 6/28

So, this post seems a bit silly because, after all, it is St. Peter’s Fiesta all weekend long!

And, while I’m out of town until late on Friday and am feeling bad about not being able to contribute much to the AMAZING GMG Fiesta coverage, the least I can do with my “weekend picks post” is to tell you to get your butts down there!

Pick #1   Fiesta

Read the full schedule of events HERE


Pick #2

Strawberry Festival at Russell Orchards

Read all about it HERE

Strawberry Festival June 27th and 28th!
Festival hours are 11-4 both days.

Festivities include:
  • Strawberry Picking* (more info)(evenmore info)
  • Hayrides (Free with picking)
  • Pony Rides ($5/ride; 11:30-3:30)
  • Face Painting (11-4)
  • Wine Tasting ($5/glass; 11-5:30)
  • Live Cooking Demos (11-4)
  • Live Music: Daisy Nell and Capt. Stan and the Crabgrass Band on Saturday from 12:30-3:30;
  • Old Cold Tater on Sunday from 12:30-3:30.
  • “Buskers Row”: Young musicians showcase (11:30 & 3:30)
  • Fresh strawberry shortcakes with real whipped cream!
  • Strawberry donut poppers and loads more strawberry goodies made from scratch in our farm bakery.
General admission is free; costs apply to certain activities.
*Picking will be open as long as supplies last. Check status before coming to pick!

Pick #3 Red Sox “Out of the Park” Game Day

Head to Boston Commons to watch the Red Sox game on the big screen.

Read all about it HERE

Watching a Red Sox game at Fenway Park is a quintessential Boston experience, on par with swan-boat rides and checking to see if someone moved your space saver. But not everyone can make it to America’s oldest ballpark. To remedy this, the Highland Street Foundation—masterminds behindFree Fun Fridays—are bringing the Fenway Park experience to the Boston Common for all to enjoy, free of charge.

On June 28, “Out of the Park” will erect a giant television screen at the corner of Charles and Beacon Streets, just in time for the Boston’s 1:10 p.m. away game against the Tampa Bay Rays. The Highland Street Foundation is partnering with the Red Sox to bring all the Fenway fixtures to the Common, including Wally the Green Monster, hot dog vendors, the Hot Tamales Brass Band, balloon artists, face-painters, and caricaturists.

For a complete listing of family friendly activities visit our friends at North Shore Kid

What Ever Happened to Penny Candy?

Remember when Penny Candy actually used to cost a penny…or maybe 5 cents?  Not so much anymore.

I have such fond memories of going to a legit penny candy store in the Whistle Stop Mall in Rockport with my grandparents when I was little.  Little UFOs with tiny little candies inside that were made out of what can only be described as thin edible styrofoam, delicate candy cigarettes painted red at the end, swedish fish (of course), licorice, and tons of other choices.

Flash forward more than 35 years and I’m reliving the dream by unleashing Thatcher and Finn in the Las Vegas of penny candy….and, much like Vegas, nothing really cost a penny.

Tucked away all hidden in the back of a pretty excellent surf and watersports shop called Force 5 in Nantucket is a little room, maybe 10 ft x 10 ft, filled to the brim with candy of all types and flavors.

To say the boys look forward to doing their little supermarket sweep through the bins, buckets, and shelves is a major understatement.  With some minor parameters in place, we usually make the pilgrimage to Force 5 on our first full day on the island each June.  The boys then get to slowly work their way through their candy loot during the rest of our stay….and well into our summer vacation.

My favorite thing by far about this little cavity creator is the incredibly polite young man who seems to always be working when we visit.  Well, him and the Bit-O-Honeys. He couldn’t be nicer…and counts all of the candy in his head…occasionally reverting to the use of a calculator when combining siblings’ orders.

The not-so-penny-candy store is a huge hit amongst the kiddos…and even a bigger hit to the wallets.  I kid you not that Thatcher’s little red basket totaled close to $40 and Finn’s was just under $30!  While fairly ridiculous to lay down that kind of cash on candy, as with most things we do, it is waaaay more about the tradition.

The obligatory annual photo on the front steps tells the tale of a great little group of kids who are growing up together while celebrating some pretty fantastic traditions and creating memories to last a lifetime (and maybe some cavities).

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Hypothetically….if you were shopping at a really large chain store for a long list of random items and, only after having driven 25 minutes away, realized that you didn’t pay for an item COMPLETELY by accident, what would you do?   What if, to up the ante, you had spent about  $82 and the accidentally unpaid for item cost about $12?  Would you immediately turn around and go back to pay?  Would you call, apology profusely, and go back and pay at your earliest convenience?  Would you fist pump and shout, “Take that, Corporate America”?

I wonder…..


The Crossing

My boys are all about tradition.  That being the case, our yearly trip to Nantucket is incredibly important to them.  They are creatures of habit and it is very much the small things that help them look forward to the last week of June each year.  One of those predictable “traditions” is the 8:30 a.m. meet up in the Johnny Appleseed’s parking lot in Beverly with the two other families that we travel with.  We load up on coffee and munchkins, hand out the annual Nantucket team t-shirts, and then caravan to Hyannis to get in line for the car ferry.

With the vehicles safely in line, the kiddos are almost exploding with excitement…and the grown-ups get to begin the sweet transition into island relaxation.

With the go ahead, we drive into “belly of the beast”, say good-bye to our Jeep, and head to the bow of the ferry for lots of laughs, photo opportunities, and a few “we’re finally on vacation” drinks.

The excitement builds as Nantucket comes into view and Brant Point Light can first be seen.

Once off the ferry the next step is driving through town, down the cobblestone streets, past some of our favorite haunts, and eagerly anticipating checking out our new digs.  Which….typically do not disappoint!

And Then There Were Three! Baby Bird Update.

Three little chicks chillin’ in our nest!

Some of you have asked for updates on our little eggs and the feathered interloper who has found its way into the House Sparrow nest in our front porch hanging plant.

If you’re not sure of the background information, check out the post HERE!

We started with a nervous momma bird who would bolt each time we entered/exited our little house.

Soon enough we realized that there was a perfect little nest inside our hanging plant with four small eggs….and one larger one.

We discovered the larger egg belonged to an “Interloper”…in this case a Cowbird.

Just a couple of days after the discovery, the baby cowbird hatched.

Somewhere along the way the four house sparrow eggs dwindled slightly to just three! No trace of the egg shell anywhere.  Weird.

The momma house sparrow began taking care of the newly hatched chick…who clearly hatched from an egg deposited into her nest…by a totally different bird!

The update comes here…

A couple of days later, there are now also two much smaller babies in the nest.  For now, the three birds are snuggling together nicely and all seems OK in their world.

Will the peace continue??  I sure hope so!


Nichole’s Picks 6/20 + 6/21

So many fabulous options for this weekend!  I’m a bit jealous that I’ll be out of town….kind of.

Pick #1  Connor’s Farm Strawberry Festival

Read all about it HERE

Saturday, June 20, 2015 – 9am to 6pm (Rain date Sunday, June 21, 2015)

$7.95 Admission per Person, 2 and under are free.

(A Portion of the Proceeds Benefit Jimmy Fund Clinic at Dana Farber)

Note: Everyone must pay the $7.95 fee for entrance to pick your own and all festivities

Activities Included with $7.95 admission: Live Music, Jumping Pillow, Farm Animals, Hayrides, Cow Train, Grain Train, Duck Races, Pedal Carts & more!

Additional charge for: Food, Our Famous Strawberry Shortcake, BBQ Food, Pick Your Own Strawberries, Pony Rides, Strawberries Dipped in Chocolate and Face Painting.


Pick #2  Cape Ann PMC

Read all about it HERE

Welcome to our Second Annual Cape Ann Kids PMC Ride!
Join in and help us make it even more memorable than our first!!
We welcome kids from all over the North Shore, especially Manchester, Essex, Rockport and of course Gloucester to get together for fun and the ultimate goal – raising funds for the Jimmy Fund to battle cancer. Every child who wants to ride is welcome to ride!
  • O’Maley Middle School, 32 Cherry St. Gloucester, MA
  • Saturday, June 20, 2015
  • 9am to noon
  • Ages 2 – 15
  • Registration Fee: $15.00
  • Required fundraising minimum: $25 per child
    (Minimum due on day of ride)
  • PMC Heavy Hitter: $250+/PMC Breakaway Fundraiser: $700+
  • Email contact: Pat Morris


Pick #3  Arts Fest Beverly

Check it out HERE

Saturday, June 20th, 2015

10am-4pm on Cabot Street – Rain or Shine

Arts Fest Beverly is a free outdoor festival that’s fun for the whole family – including over 100 juried fine artists and crafters, music and entertainment, kids’ activities, art-on-the-spot creations and local fresh food.


Pick #4  Strawberry Festival at Marini Farm, Ipswich


Pick #5  Hot Dog Safari 2015, Lansdowne Street

The 25th annual Phantom Gourmet Hot Dog Safari will take place on Saturday, June 20, 2015 at Lansdowne Street next to Fenway Park. The Safari is an all-you-can-eat hot dog event, with other foods available, and provides a lot of kid-friendly family entertainment. Beverages are not included in the entrance price. Proceeds from the Hot Dog Safari benefit the Joey Fund which is helping to find a cure for cystic fibrosis. Tickets are $10 in advance online, or $20 at the event if not sold out.

PLEASE go HERE to read much more about this excellent event!  Tons of fun with great vendors, entertainment, and kids’ events too!  Not to mention 150,000 hot dogs.  All for a great cause!


For a more comprehensive list of family activities, please visit our friends at North Shore Kid

Kids Need a Great Option for Summer Activities of All Kinds?

Boating, Exploring, Paddle boarding, Surfing, Acting, Biking, Writing, Baking, Drawing, Sculpting, Singing, “Jamming”, Performing, Learning, Laughing, Playing….

So many options at Harborlight-Stoneridge Montessori School this summer….

Head HERE to read more.

summer program flyer ed

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