Author Archives: Nichole S.

Winter Storm Hits Rockport, Video

We took a drive just after high tide today.  We drove by Old Garden Beach, down Atlantic, to T Wharf, down Bearskin Neck, to the breakwater, through town, by Front Beach, to Granite Pier, and then back home.  Not much accumulation but it was coming down good, VERY windy, and some great surf!  #winterstormmars

Just another February on Cape Ann.

February Vacation at Appleton Farms

So many wonderful opportunities for the younger ones at Appleton Farms this February Vacation!

Check out their list of activities below or head to this link to see more.

Sign up for one or sign up for all!

Saturday, February 6, 2016

From the Farm Kettle: Stews

Saturday, February 6
Appleton Farms
Hamilton and Ipswich | North Shore

Family Fun, Lectures & Workshops

Sunday, February 7, 2016
Learn to Snowshoe

Sunday, February 7
Appleton Farms
Hamilton and Ipswich | North Shore

Outdoor Recreation

Saturday, February 13, 2016
Farm Inspired Crafts for Kids

Saturday, February 13
Appleton Farms
Hamilton and Ipswich | North Shore

Family Fun

Valentine’s Farm Dinner and Culinary Workshop

Saturday, February 13
Appleton Farms
Hamilton and Ipswich | North Shore

Farms & Food, Lectures & Workshops

Sunday, February 14, 2016
Valentine’s Farm Dinner and Culinary Workshop

Sunday, February 14
Appleton Farms
Hamilton and Ipswich | North Shore

Farms & Food, Lectures & Workshops

Learn to Cross Country Ski: Classic Technique – Level 1

Sunday, February 14
Appleton Farms
Hamilton and Ipswich | North Shore

Outdoor Recreation

Wednesday, February 17, 2016
Families in the Farm Kitchen: Cheese Making

Wednesday, February 17
Appleton Farms
Hamilton and Ipswich | North Shore

Family Fun, Farms & Food

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Farm Inspired Crafts for Kids

Thursday, February 18
Appleton Farms
Hamilton and Ipswich | North Shore

Family Fun

Families in the Farm Kitchen: Bread and Butter Making

Thursday, February 18
Appleton Farms
Hamilton and Ipswich | North Shore

Family Fun, Farms & Food

Friday, February 19, 2016
Families in the Farm Kitchen: Cheese Making

Friday, February 19
Appleton Farms
Hamilton and Ipswich | North Shore

Family Fun, Farms & Food

Saturday, February 20, 2016
Families in the Farm Kitchen: Bread and Butter Making

Saturday, February 20
Appleton Farms
Hamilton and Ipswich | North Shore

Family Fun, Farms & Food

Farm Inspired Crafts for Kids

Saturday, February 20
Appleton Farms
Hamilton and Ipswich | North Shore

Family Fun

Nichole’s Picks 2/6 + 2/7

Pick #1:  Cherry Farm Creamery: Ice Cream for Breakfast


210 Conant Street, Danvers, Massachusetts

Check out their website HERE!

Supporting the A.J. Trustey Epilepsy Research Fund at Brigham & Women’s Hospital.

Who doesn’t want ice cream for breakfast? Eat ice cream for breakfast with zero guilt, because it’s for a great cause! (Please invite your friends!)

Saturday, February 6th is National Ice Cream for Breakfast Day. We’ll be celebrating at Cherry Farm with a special “breakfast” menu featuring…

Waffle Sundaes
Pop-Tart Sundaes
“Coffee & Donuts” Ice Cream
Maple bacon ice cream
Warm maple syrup sauce
Warm blueberry topping
Bacon bit topping
Sorbet/Sherbet fruit cup
& More!

Be sure to stop by early because from 8am – 12pm we will be donating half of the proceeds to support The Endowed A.J. Trustey Epilepsy Research Fund at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

To increase support of the fund, Cherry Farm will also be teaming up with The Epilepsy Foundation of New England (EFNE). As part of Ice Cream for Breakfast Day, the EFNE would like to encourage everyone to “Bring a Bag to Breakfast” of unwanted clothes, shoes, or linens. Staff will be onsite to assist & provide prizes for each bag donated. All additional proceeds generated from “Bring a Bag to Breakfast” will support The Endowed A.J. Trustey Epilepsy Research Fund at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

Named in memory of A.J., The Endowed A.J. Trustey Epilepsy Research Fund at Brigham and Women’s Hospital supports novel and innovative epilepsy research with the goal of improving the care and treatment for epilepsy patients and their families. Thanks to the outpouring of support, some projects are already underway including research focused on training clinicians to identify and address mental health issues in epilepsy patients, improving the transition from pediatric to adult care, and identifying characteristics that will predict a patient’s adherence and response to treatment.

We hope to see you there! Please help spread the word by inviting your friends.

Pick #2:  Karen J and the Jitterbugs at the Cabot

Ok…so this is actually NEXT weekend, but if I waited until then, it might be sold out! And, we can’t have that.

Purchase tickets HERE!!

The Cabot has a pretty tremendous!  Check out the full schedule on their website HERE!

Bug Out! with Karen K and her imaginary friends, the Jitterbugs: Bumble (the bee who doesn’t like to sting); Stinky (loves playing outside, refuses baths), Hop (working on his self control); and Slug Bug (needs a LOT of naps).  Named one of the “Must-See Acts of 2015” and called “Power pop sheen that makes them fun for the whole family” by the Boston Globe, the Jitterbugs have quickly become a favorite among kids and kid-ults in Boston and beyond.  Known for their totally engaging, high-energy show packed with humor and amazingly catchy, well-crafted tunes, Karen K & the Jitterbugs has quickly become one of the most buzzed about kindie bands on the East



Pick #3:  Salem’s So Sweet Chocolate and Ice Sculpture Festival


Read all about it HERE!  and Download the Brochure HERE

Salem’s So Sweet Chocolate and Ice 2016 Festival – Feb. 5 through Feb. 7, 2016!

Salem Main Streets, the Salem Chamber of Commerce, Destination Salem, and local retailers, restaurants, and businesses invite you to attend the 14th annual Salem’s So Sweet Chocolate & Ice Sculpture Festival. A decadent tradition of delectable chocolate, sparkling ice sculptures, and Valentine’s Day shopping…don’t miss Salem’s sweetest event of the year!

Ice Sculptures around Town – Starting Feb. 6, 2016
This year, we have a record-breaking 23 beautiful ice sculptures that grace downtown Salem starting February 6. Some of the themes for this year’s ice sculptures will include The Friendship, the Mad Hatter, an alpaca, and more – including an actual ice bar on Rockafellas’ patio! A map of sculptures and locations is available below and on brochures to be distributed around town closer to the festival. Be sure to make plans for a special evening stroll on Saturday, Feb. 6, when some of the sculptures will be temporarily illuminated between 5 pm and 9 pm by Retonica!

The Salem Trolley offers trolley rides around the festival route weather permitting on February 6 & 7 from 12 pm to 4 pm for only $2 an adult (free for children). Trolley pick-up locations include the Visitor Center, Pickering Wharf, and near Rockafellas on Washington Street.



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

Filthy, Filthy Offspring

I know the phrase “I Can’t Even” is a bit overused, but SERIOUSLY,  I.CAN’T.EVEN.

Who in the world does something like this!?

Evidently my kids, that’s who.

Allow me to back up.

On Friday evening I had a fantastic night out with some great friends.  Thatch had hockey practice and on the way home the boys grabbed fried chicken and ice cream to celebrate a mom-free night.

Flash forward to Saturday.  Finn had 8:00 am hockey, we took the dogs for a long romp on the beach, raced home, had Thatcher throw on his hockey gear, and tried to get out the door on time to get to Pingree’s rink up in Hamilton for a 12:20 start time. The boys declared they were STARVING just as we were leaving and when I told them to quickly grab something, they frantically grabbed the left over bag of chicken, 2 yogurts, and a couple of apples.  Good enough.

We got to Pingree with plenty of time to spare, but with another game underway and a school event to boot, parking was at a premium.  I dropped the boys at the front door and went to go park by myself. It didn’t hurt that alone time in the car is a slice of heaven. Once the Jeep was snuggly tucked in between two other hockey parent SUVs, I took to grabbing what I needed for yet another chilly hockey game and to making sure that the boys’ water bottles weren’t spilling on their iPads.  Imagine, if you will, my horror upon turning around and finding this display of disgustingness on the back seat armrest.


I was almost incredulous.  Almost.

Degrees of car nastiness have been of issue since the boys were old enough to eat in the car.  I know plenty of families who do not allow snacking in the backseat, but I’m not going to lie, we’re on the go enough that it is somewhat of a necessity….like on Saturday.  I’m certain that a better parent…with some better planning skills…could have fed his/her children a wonderful home-cooked meal in between two hockey games and exercising the dogs, but I am surely not that parent.

So, this is what I get.

I can’t quite explain just how torn I was.  I have a fair share of OCD so the thought of leaving the chicken carcasses for the boys to pick up went against every fiber of my body.  However, I’m pretty strict with the boys, and the thought of picking up that crime scene for them was equally as disturbing.

I opted to take photos, clean it up, and begin preparing the dissertation that would surely take up the entire ride home….while also crafting a new list of backseat rules that will last for all of about one week (speaking from past experience)….and planning a bit of public shaming.  Hence this blog post.


A GHS Girls’ Hockey Team. Yes, Please!


Did you know that Gloucester hasn’t had a girls’ hockey team since 2007?  With a large increase in the number of girls currently participating in Cape Ann Youth Hockey and the number of surrounding school systems (not to mention nationwide) that are currently offering ways for their female high school students to play competitive hockey, it is a shame that Gloucester isn’t.

Well, some mothers of current Cape Ann Hockey players are trying to change that!

I also find it noteworthy that Gloucester High School’s home rink, the Dorothy M. Talbot Rink, is graced with a scoreboard donated by Visa USA to honor and acknowledge the Olympic career of Team USA Women’s Hockey Coach, Benjamin Smith, III….and yet, does not have a High School Girls’ Team. [Ben lead the USA women’s team as they earned a Gold Medal in the 1998, a Silver in the 2002, and a Bronze in the 2006 Olympic Games.

PLEASE spread the word and see what we can do about making sure that Gloucester has a Girls’ Hockey Team next year!


It wasn’t our typical Friday night practice at O’Maley Rink for our CAYH girls teams, we went from lacing up our girls’ skates to talking about the future. Where does it go after here? Some of the U14 girls entering 8th and 9th grade started to inquire about a high school team. The CAYH league currently runs a girls travel league from the U10-U14 level.  Over the last few years, girls hockey has increased in popularity with over 69,744 females registered with the USA Hockey Association in 2014-15. In our community CAYH went from 24 girl players in 2012/13 to a significant increase to 62 girl players in 2015/16 season.

Where does that leave the girls in our community entering high school who want to continue to play in an all girls league? Gloucester High hasn’t had a girls’ team since 2007. After some research we have found that Gloucester High is the only school that is not in a cooperative girls hockey team. Manchester/Essex travels to Marblehead, Ipswich travels to Beverly, and it was indicated that Rockport travels to Boxford to play. Seems crazy when we have a rink right in our back yard!

After some emails and a facebook page dedicated to bringing awareness that “YES Gloucester wants to PLAY!” there has been tremendous feedback and support from former GHS Girl players and from the community. Our girls want to play and we want to see our girls play!

Our first step in creating a team is gathering a list of interested players from Gloucester and surrounding towns. If your daughter is interested in playing please e-mail

We look forward to hearing from you!
Jessica Cusumano and Mandy Milan (CAYH MOMS)



Nichole’s Picks 1/30 + 1/31

Pick #1:  CAPE ANN READS: Eric Carle Museum of Picture Books will help kick-off the Cape Ann Reads initiative 

Seagull Logo

The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art will be offering workshops for children and adults to kick-off the new Cape Ann Reads initiative. This program will take place at the Cape Ann Museum and is free and open to the public. Space is limited. Reservations are required; spaces can be reserved by emailing, calling (978)283-0455 x10, or online at Eventbrite. Reservations for the 9:30-12:00 Interactive Storytime events should be made for children only, not the accompanying adults.



PICK #2:   The Mapparium at the Mary Baker Eddy Library

If you read my “Picks posts” often you probably know that I am both a huge fan of staying local….but also completely appreciate a good trip into the city every once in a while.  Winter weekends are a great time to head into Boston, grab a nice meal with the kids, and get your full of some Culture.  The Mary Baker Eddy Library is a great place for that and their Mapparium is a wonderful learning opportunity….in addition to being beyond cool.



The Mapparium’s three-dimensional perspective of the world of 1935 is enhanced by A World of Ideas, an original presentation that features a rich orchestration of words, music, and LED lights to illustrate how ideas have traversed time and geography and changed the world.
The Library is also showing a complementary exhibit, “The Mapparium: An Inside View,” featuring letters, documents, and artifacts never before made public. These showcase the construction, history, and significance of this magnificent architectural and artistic achievement.

PICK #3: KING’S BOWLING, MarketStreet Lynnfield

I may possibly mention MarketStreet a bit too often, but honestly, this time of year you can skate on the outdoor rink, grab a coffee or a hot cocoa, do some super fun bowling with the family, and get a GREAT meal at one of MANY different dining choices.  That isn’t even considering the phenomenal shopping (which I rarely get to do.)



Here is a lit of restaurants and stores….or following THIS LINK to read more.


California Pizza Kitchen – Opening 2016
Davio’s Northern Italian Steakhouse
Gaslight – NOW OPEN!
The Grove Boutique & Cafe*
J.P. Licks*
Legal C Bar*
Muse Paintbar – OPENING SOON!
OTTO Pizza
Panera Bread
Sweetgreen – NOW OPEN!
Temazcal Tequila Cantina
Tuck’s Candy Factory – NOW OPEN!
Wahlburgers – NOW OPEN!
Whole Foods Market
Yard House


American Eagle Outfitters
Banana Republic*
Charles Schwab
Charming Charlie*
Eastern Mountain Sports*
Eddie Bauer – NOW OPEN!*
Everything But Water*
The Grove Boutique & Cafe*
Hanna Andersson*
J. Jill
Jos. A. Bank Clothiers
Learning Express Toys
Lively Kids
Lucky Brand Jeans – NOW OPEN!*
lululemon athletica*
Lunette Optic
Mane+Mani (Be Styled)
MarketStreet Management
Muse Paintbar – OPENING SOON!
NIKE Running – NOW OPEN!
Paper Source*
The Paper Store
Pink Parkway – NOW OPEN!
Polka Dog Bakery
Pottery Barn*
Pottery Barn Kids*
Pure Barre
Roosters Men’s Grooming Center
Sachetta & Callahan
Shoe Market
Soft Surroundings
Solstice Power Yoga
Tobey Grey – NOW OPEN!
Tommy Bahama
Tuck’s Candy Factory – NOW OPEN!
Tumi – NOW OPEN!*
Verizon Wireless – NOW OPEN!
Victoria’s Secret*
Vineyard Vines*
White House | Black Market
Whole Foods Market
Yankee Candle*

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

Nichole’s Picks 1/23 + 1/24

This post should really be about how my comcast/xfinity cable + Internet hasn’t been working consistently for the past couple of weeks….but, rather, I’ll just throw that out there as an explanation for the fact that I missed a post yesterday and am only giving you one option for a weekend activity.  On that note, however, please refer to Joey’s post from yesterday highlighting North Shore Kid’s awesome list of sledding destinations!

My pick for the weekend is something that I wrote about several times last winter….the pool at Cape Ann’s Marina Resort!   I always take advantage of the school vacation week packages and purchase a 3 month membership during the longest part of the winter!

The kids love the pool…and, I’m not going to lie, I love that I can sit there with friends and have a drink while the kids have a blast.  Another win is that the food is great too…and reasonably priced.   Monday is “1/2 Price Appetizer” Night.  So, throw in a hummus platter and some chicken tenders and “dinner” came to just over $11!  If you don’t want to purchase a pass,  there is simply a $10 fee per child to enjoy the pool.

Cape Ann Marina Resort




Who Drove Whom?

We spent a few hours at the New England Auto Show over the weekend.  The boys are kind of car freaks…although, I have to admit, they practiced much more restraint this year than last year.  There was far less running, jumping, and skipping through the expo….and MUCH LESS button pushing (my buttons and the vehicle buttons).  They found their favorites, found my favorites, and made a mental list of what they’d like to buy later in life to write down at home in new “car show notebooks” that they asked to purchase on the way to Boston.

We were happy to bump into Wally who told us (without words) that his younger sister, Tessie, was at home sleeping, when asked.  It wasn’t much later that we bumped into (almost literally…oops) John Henry and his wife, Linda Pizzuti Henry.  While I was busy contemplating if they were on the hunt for a new family car, a new race car for Roush Fenway Racing, or some new delivery vehicles for The Boston Globe…Finn was more concerned with whether Wally drove the Henry family to the car show…or whether the Henry family drove Wally?  Because, naturally they came together.


I didn’t take a single photo….but the boys took many.  Here are a few of theirs.

Tendercrop. Stands Repeating


I know that it was just about 3 months ago that I wrote about how in love I am with the new Tendercrop Farm location in Wenham, but it totally stands repeating.  Each week since, including just yesterday, I hear someone say, “Did you know that Tendercrop Farm opened a new location?”  Which tells me that all of Cape Ann is not aware yet…and they should be.

I’m lucky enough to only be about 5 minutes away when at work so I’ve been running over at lunchtime.  The other day I got a totally delicious chicken salad with walnuts and cranberries.

If you haven’t been you should really make a point to swing by!

There’s A New Rotary in My Life


Not sure if it is temporary or permanent but there’s officially another rotary in my life.  This one near the school where I teach in Beverly.

Happily (I think) it is there due to the clearing and construction of the new Whole Foods due to open later this year.

In case you were not aware that Beverly is indeed getting a Whole Foods you can read more about it by following the link below.


Whole Foods Market will open a location at 140 Brimbal Avenue in Beverly, Mass.

The store, which will be part of the North Shore Commons Shopping Center, will be approximately 35,000 square feet and will employ approximately 150 team members.

“We are pleased to have the opportunity to open another Whole Foods Market location in the metro North area,” said Laura Derba, president of Whole Foods Market’s North Atlantic Region. “Beverly is a great community, and we are eager to open and to become partners with our new neighbors.”

The store is projected to open in 2016.

– See more at:


Nichole’s Picks 1/16 + 1/17

Pick #1:  The New England International Auto Show

JANUARY 14-18, 2016


Head HERE to see all important information!



Pick #2:  Rock n Romp, Boston with Freezepop

Saturday, January 16th at 11:30 a.m.  The Sinclair, Cambridge.

The Sinclair

Got kids? Love music?   Then Rock-n-Romp is for you. Started in the Washington D.C. Rock-n-Romp is a family friendly concert series showcasing fantastic local-area musicians and bands. Shows are held during the day in a relaxed, kid-safe environment. The volume might be low, but the music is designed for parents and kids both in mind. Kids enjoy the music, dance, or just enjoy the other activities available to them, and parents get the ever-so-rare opportunity to listen to great live music and enjoy a beer with other parents. Romps give parents who miss that aspect of their social life a chance to get out, enjoy some music that might be new to them, and expose their kids to great bands in a safe, friendly environment.

This show is all ages, but all children must be accompanied by an adult. Adults must also accompany a child to enter. Please ensure that no adult is responsible for accompanying more than three children. The child ticket is for ages 12 and younger. Opening acts subject to change without notice.


Follow this link to read more!

Follow this link to order tickets!



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

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