Author Archives: Nichole S.

Nichole’s Picks 7/23 + 7/24

My picks for this weekend are all of the great activities that make up the Essex National Heritage Area’s Trails and Sails weekend.


Explore Essex County’s historic, cultural and natural sites during two weekends of 150+ FREE events during Trails & Sails: Two Weekends of Walks and Water, September 15-17 & 22-24, 2017!

Enjoy a variety of guided walks, paddles, historical tours and other adventures for all ages, skill levels and interests, that will connect you to the spectacular places, history and heritage that define the Essex National Heritage Area—the 34 cities and towns of Boston’s legendary North Shore. It’s all FREE and it’s all located within the 34 cities and towns of Essex County including the communities of Salem, Gloucester, Newburyport, Lawrence, Saugus and more.

Head here to read more and register to build your own itinerary 

Here are just some examples of the types of activities that can be enjoyed in our area

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Who Else Looks for These Turkeys Every Day?

At first there was just one….at some point there were obviously two….so now there are three.  Three turkeys living in the center of the Blackburn Circle.

It used to make me so sad to see the female turkey walking around day after day in the brown desolate grass in the center of the busy rotary.  I assumed she was injured….and for a while she went unseen during my commutes back and forth to Beverly.

Then, low and behold, I saw her again….and this time she was followed closely by a couple of poults.  Cute little baby turkeys.

So now, it would seem, all three of them live at Blackburn Circle.  Do they stay there all day and night?  What an odd place to decide to live.

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Lunch Issue Solved! Thanks Daily Harvest!

Lunch has always been an issue for me while working. When I was still teaching it was hard to find the time to run out to get something quick…yet healthy.  I fully admit that I drop the ball each weekend in shopping for myself between all of the boys’ activities and shopping for their favorite foods.  Freddy also does most of the grocery shopping….and while he would certainly pick up whatever I ask for…I never really know what I want when he offers.

Last year, as part of the Administration, my work load changed significantly, but my schedule became much more flexible.  The new normal for me was to run out to Tendercrop Farm in Wenham on Mondays to buy my staple list of lunch foods.  That usually consisted of some cherry tomatoes, a couple of avocados, some yummy bread, blueberries, a great wedge of cheese, some apples, and figs.  While delicious and healthy….it actually wasn’t incredibly affordable…and there were plenty of Mondays that I simply couldn’t get away from my desk.

Daily Harvest Smoothies had been appearing in my Facebook Feed off and on for months.  A couple of weeks ago I finally decided to take the plunge.  I created an account, custom designed my delivery box, and eagerly awaited my 24 meals to come directly to my office.

Monday deliveries weren’t an option, but now every 4th Wednesday I can look forward to a giant box of YUM.  24 individual smoothie mixtures and “overnight oats” get delivered with dry ice in super cute cups.  After taking some photos, of course, I tucked them away in a freezer.

I was so excited yesterday afternoon to pick a flavor, throw it in my blender with some coconut milk, and see how they really tasted.  I’m not going to lie….I was keeping my expectations low.  First of all….despite the website photos that looked like the individually packaged cups would be chock full of “real” fruits, vegetables, etc….I kind of envisioned them actually looking more like the dry, fine, veggie dip mix kind of deal.  Boy was I wrong….and pleasantly surprised!!

Check out the photos!  Maybe not super cheap….but incredibly convenient, healthy, and delicious!!  Highly recommend!

In addition to the smoothies I ordered some “Overnight Oats.”  Also super easy….take one out of the freezer, remove cover, add liquid of your choice, and store in the fridge for at least 6 hours or overnight…and then blend and enjoy the next day.  I haven’t tried one of those yet…but look forward to having one about the same time this post airs.

Check out their website HERE

Nichole’s Picks 9/16 + 9/17

Pick #1: Harvest Musical Festival



The GLOUCESTER HARVEST MUSIC FESTIVAL blends art and music in one of the country’s most unique and rich artist communities. We invite you to experience the beauty and friendliness of Gloucester through a day long festival showcasing music, arts and culture while supporting our local community hospital (Addison Gilbert Citizens Fund) and community based outreach programs. Our hope is to make this a destination festival with a mission that all proceeds from the GLOUCESTER HARVEST MUSIC FESTIVAL go directly to the Addison Gilbert Citizens Fund, which is to guarantee the continued existence of a full service hospital. By supporting this, it will ensure the safety and well-being of the community and beyond.

  • Festival Schedule

    NADIA ROBERTSON ( National Anthem – shortset): 10:30 – 10:45
    OL BROWN SHOE: 11:00 – 12:00
    FENNARIO: 12:15 -1:15
    RED TAIL HAWK: 1:30 – 2:30
    COLD ENGINES: 2:45 – 3:45
    BIM SKALA BIM:  4:00 – 5:30
    FOUR LEGGED FAITHFUL: 5:45 – 6:45
    GANG OF THIEVES: 7:00 – 8:30

Read all about it HERE

Pick #2: Fish Box Derby

Sunday, Rogers Street by Gorton’s

Every year since 1994, the Fish Box Derby has offered the kids of Cape Ann the opportunity to test their design, building and driving skills in a safe and exciting race down Rogers Street. We have purposely stayed independent from the All – American Soapbox Derby so that parents and kids could work together on the cars and the everything from buggy wheels to high tech bearings are allowed. There is no entry fee for the race, we are fully supported by charitable donations from individuals, businesses and local organizations, whose names are emblazoned on the hay bales that line the course. Through the generosity of our supporters, the Fish Box Derby now offers two $1000.00 college scholarships each year, for which all racers are eligible. It has been truly rewarding to see our former participants take lessons learned in the race with them into adulthood. To help support the Fish Box Derby please contact us at Fish Box Derby, Inc. PO Box 162 Gloucester, Ma. 01931-0162 or call 978-283-1932 or 978-281-6057

READ all about it HERE

As always, for a comprehensive list of family activities please visit our friends at North Shore Kid

The Compassion Experience

Thatcher is attending the Compassion Experience today and I’m really hoping to tag along as it sounds pretty amazing. If I have to opportunity to go, I’ll keep you posted.

Now at Gordon College’s Barrington Center for the Arts

September 13 – September 16
Sep 13 at 12 PM to Sep 16 at 7 PM

“Visitors to The Compassion Experience step into the life of a child who has suffered under the crippling weight of poverty. But the journey does not end there. In the span of less than 30 minutes, they will travel with that child from hardship to hope. And in the midst of hope, they will watch that child’s story transformed through the support of Compassion and the child’s life-giving relationship with a sponsor.

The Compassion Experience will challenge your views of poverty, transform your understanding of the world, and move you to be the change for a child that just needs someone to believe in them.

This immersive exhibit is coming to a city near you. Experience other cultures, the realities of global poverty, and how you can change the life of a child living half a world away.”



Dinner and Drinks at Mile Marker to Benefit Cape Ann Youth Hockey

A win, win!  Come on down to the Bridge Deck at Mile Marker One, enjoy some yummy food and great drinks, and a portion of your tab goes to help Cape Ann Youth Hockey support its fantastic youth hockey programs!

This evening is OPEN TO ALL….so bring your friends, family, neighbors, coworkers, etc. and feel good that your work night fun is helping a great cause.

As if you need a reason to prolong summer fun on a sunny deck!

WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 13th 6:00-9:00 pm

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Captain Solomon Jacob Park

Have you taken some time to visit and enjoy the beautiful Captain Solomon Jacob Park lately?

What a perfect little spot on the waterfront!

I’ve spent a fair amount of time on that particular little parcel of land because my boys have loved visiting the Coast Guard station since they were really young. I haven’t, it would appear, taken the time to really stop and appreciate it in a while however because just yesterday I noticed how gorgeous it has recently become!

With a panoramic view of the inner harbor, overlooking the Ardelle, the Adventure, part of the Coast Guard fleet, the pier at Maritime Gloucester, and much more….sitting on one of the benches here gives you the opportunity to really appreciate how spectacular Gloucester’s waterfront really is.


Nichole’s Picks September 9th + 10th

Pick #1:  The Donkey Derby at Myopia, Hamilton


THE DONKEY DERBY: run your a** off for the Equine Rescue Network. A sporting event for elite athletes and their human companions To help bring awareness to the plight of unwanted horses and donkeys.

SPECTATORS WELCOME You may purchase General Admission or VIP Tickets at *VIP tickets include seating under the Myopia Polo tent, lunch, and spirits (beer/wine/mint julep). Derby Attire encouraged for VIP seating. Be advised – VIP Seating is limited.

The mission of the event is to ENJOY the day, raise awareness of donkeys: They make great pets! They are affectionate, agile & athletic – AND are highly sought after by the Chinese 😦 If we raise money to save more donkeys – even better!

Don’t have a donkey but still want to “Run your ass off for the Equine Rescue Network” – no problem. We have a ‘Human Only Race” for runners. However, if you want to race a donkey – we have them….actually – there are over 40+ rescue donkeys on the North Shore that you may be partnered with. The donkey races are 2 person-team (one to lead and one to follow).

If you want to race with a donkey, send email to – space is limited. You will need met your donkey, and perhaps even train your donkey before the race. We will match teams with donkeys based on the location of donkey and team. The leader of the donkey may carry treats. The follower of the donkey may only use a sanction plastic fly swatter to encourage their donkey team member. There is no riding or beating donkeys!

The races will be as follows:
– Minature Donkey Race
– Minature Horse and Minature Mule
– Standard Donkey Race
– Corporate teams
– Steeplechase race
– Riding Mule Race
– Pin the Tail on the Donkey Race for Humans-only




Pick #2: Essex Police Dept. Annual Classic Car Show

Sunday, September 10th 1:00-4:00 in the lot behind the Police Station.

Raindate is Sunday, September 17th 1:00-4:00.


– People’s Choice Awards for Best Car and Best Motorcycle

– Live Music

– Food and beverages served by the Essex Lions Club

FREE ADMISSION! No cost to enter your vehicle.

Sponsored by First Ipswich Bank.

Please contact Chief Peter Silva or Officer James Romeos for more information at 978-768-6628Click here to see photos of last year’s show on Facebook >




Pick #3: Connors Farm Corn Maize

Connors Farm Corn Maze

30 Valley Road(Rte. 35)

Danvers, MA. 01923

Opening Date: Saturday, September 9, 2017

Closing Date: Monday, October 31, 2017

1. Visit Connors Farm after September 9th

2.  Have a GREAT time

3.  On  your way out stop by farm stand and purchase your Bounce Back pass for $6.00.

4.  Use your Bounce Back pass for general admission day time activities one time while we are open during the 2017 season.

Passes may only be used by the person who purchases them.  They are not subject to transfer, refund, or exchange.  Bounce back passes must be purchased prior to leaving the grounds.  They are not valid with other special offers or birthday parties.  So easy and so affordable!

We are excited with this years maze theme.  It is a tribute to our good friend Bentley Warren a local race car legend. OPENING SEPTEMBER 9th!



As always, for a comprehensive list of family activities please visit our friends at North Shore Kid

Goodbye Summer

It made me swoon a little bit that, after kind of a long day, my boys wanted to pull down to Granite Pier to “look at the full moon and think about how great summer was” before heading home and to bed on the night before school began.

Goodnight Rockport, Goodbye Summer.

Full moon, full summer, full hearts, back at school full-time today!


YETI…Well Thank Goodness

I took a three-day camping trip with four other “grown-ups” and 24 students a few weeks back.  Campers’ parents were kind enough to supply us with tons of gear to make the trip a success.  The 29 of us had 13 tents, 14 kayaks, 4 paddle boards, 3 grills, and several assorted coolers.  The YETI cooler shown below….did its job…and then some.  Don’t get me wrong….for the price these coolers better be game changers…but I was super impressed nonetheless.

In the days prior to the actual trip the children formed cooking groups, planned menus, and went shopping for all supplies and provisions.  Pretty cool.  While we had some larger 10 gallon jugs of water with purifiers, we also bought some small bottles of water. Those bottles went into the YETI warm….straight off the shelf of the grocery store….early Wednesday morning.  Just before midnight, Thursday night, we fished some completely frozen bottles of water out of the YETI.

Joey loves the Kenley brand Double Insulated Beer Can Cooler-Insulator and the RTIC brand double-walled stainless tumblers.  I wonder if there is a cooler out there as powerfully cold as the YETI…in a more affordable price?  Thoughts?

Check out all YETI products HERE

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Essex Shipbuilding Museum

I spent such a wonderful morning at the Essex Shipbuilding Museum a couple of week’s ago.  It had been far too long since I had taken advantage of that particular gem of maritime history and I am so glad that I did!



Sandy Bay Yacht Club

In many ways this was the summer that wasn’t for us. We officially moved last week and the cleaning, organizing, packing, purging, and planning that had to happen prior to the actual lugging and moving was more than taxing.

As our summer winds down, I was feeling bad that we didn’t do nearly as much with Thatcher and Finn as we typically do…..but then I stumbled upon these photos….and I couldn’t help but smile.  How bad could their summer have been when, after all, they had the opportunity to sail with good friends all summer long.

We’re super appreciative to all at Sandy Bay Yacht Club for helping the boys learn to sail….but more importantly, for the feelings of independence, camaraderie, and responsibility that come along with their lessons.  I have absolutely no doubt that when my boys look back on their childhood summers, Sandy Bay Yacht Club will be a big presence in their happy memories.

Is There Anyone Who Hasn’t Been to the Cape Ann Museum?

I recently had the opportunity to visit the Cape Ann Museum with a great group of students and the phenomenal West Parrish art teacher, Mrs. Paula Morgan. I was reminded, yet again, how lucky we are to have such an amazing museum on “the island.” If you haven’t been recently, you really need to go.  Honestly, to raise your children here on Cape Ann and not share the museum’s beautiful history and art is a shame.  I already can’t wait to go back.


Update: Roads Open After A Portion of Gloucester Roads Closed. Strong Smell of Gas!

We were just coming from Rockport trying to get to downtown Gloucester at the lights by the extension and could not go straight. Lots of police cars and ambulances. We took a left at the lights to go down towards Lee’s and discovered that road to be closed as well. Lots of police action and smells strongly of gas.   Not sure what is going on but plan accordingly.


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