Author Archives: Nichole S.

Nichole’s Picks 9/24 + 9/25

So this weekend is a cinch.  Thanks to the abundance of Trails and Sails Events, I didn’t have to do any work at all!  I started to try to pick my three favorite events…but then I had four. And then five…  and so on.

Below you will see many of the Trails and Sails Listing, but before you check those out, also remember that this Saturday is the once per year SMITHSONIAN MUSEUM DAY LIVE!

Thirteen Boston area museums are included…as well as our own Cape Ann Museum! Other great destinations such as Battleship Cove in Fall River and the Ecotarium in Worcester are also included.  Check out all participating Massachusetts museums HERE.  Maybe check out southern NH as well.

“The Museum Day Live! ticket provides free admission for two people.  Museum Day Live! is an annual celebration of boundless curiosity hosted by Smithsonian magazine. Participating museums and cultural institutions across the country provide entry to anyone presenting a Museum Day Live! ticket.”  

Here is the entire listing for the “East Region” Trails and Sails Events. To see other regions as well follow this link

Arts Fest

Hosted by Essex Shipbuilding Museum

Read on for more info and directions

September 24, 2016, 2:00 PM to 7:00 PM(Open Doors)

Historic Essex Walking Tour

Hosted by Town of Essex

Read on for more info and directions

September 16, 2016, 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM(Open Doors)

September 17, 2016, 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM(Open Doors)

September 18, 2016, 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM(Open Doors)

September 23, 2016, 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM(Open Doors)

September 24, 2016, 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM(Open Doors)

September 25, 2016, 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM(Open Doors)

Kayaking the Essex River Basin

Hosted by Essex River Basin Adventures (ERBA)

Read on for more info and directions

September 25, 2016, 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM

Narrated Sightseeing Cruise

Hosted by Essex River Cruises & Charters

Read on for more info and directions

September 17, 2016, 8:30 AM to 10:00 AM

Climb Up City Hall Tower

Hosted by Gloucester City Hall Restoration Commission

Read on for more info and directions

September 24, 2016, 12:00 PM to 3:00 PM(Open Doors)

September 25, 2016, 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM(Open Doors)

Gloucester’s HarborWalk: Select one of three walking tours

Hosted by Gloucester HarborWalk

Read on for more info and directions

September 16, 2016, 9:00 AM to 11:00 PM(Open Doors)

September 17, 2016, 9:00 AM to 11:00 PM(Open Doors)

September 18, 2016, 9:00 AM to 11:00 PM(Open Doors)

September 23, 2016, 9:00 AM to 11:00 PM(Open Doors)

September 24, 2016, 9:00 AM to 11:00 PM(Open Doors)

September 25, 2016, 9:00 AM to 11:00 PM(Open Doors)

Historic Art Trail Walk

Hosted by Rocky Neck Art Colony

Read on for more info and directions

September 18, 2016, 2:00 PM to 3:00 PM

Historic Ice House Tours

Hosted by Cape Pond Ice Company

Read on for more info and directions

September 16, 2016, 2:00 PM to 3:00 PM

September 17, 2016, 11:00 AM to 12:00 PM

September 17, 2016, 1:00 PM to 2:00 PM

September 18, 2016, 11:00 AM to 12:00 PM

September 23, 2016, 2:00 PM to 3:00 PM

September 24, 2016, 11:00 AM to 12:00 PM

September 24, 2016, 1:00 PM to 2:00 PM

September 25, 2016, 11:00 AM to 12:00 PM

It’s Not a Weed: Food, Medicine and Magic of Wild Plants

Hosted by Magnolia Library & Community Center & Iris Weaver

Read on for more info and directions

September 24, 2016, 11:00 AM to 12:30 PM

Ocean Views Walk from Ravenswood to Rafe’s Chasm

Hosted by Cape Ann Trail Stewards

Read on for more info and directions

September 24, 2016, 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM

Step on FISH NET: Gloucester’s Award-winning 300ft Street Art Mural

Hosted by Gloucester Committee for the Arts

Read on for more info and directions

September 16, 2016, 9:00 AM to 11:00 PM(Open Doors)

September 17, 2016, 9:00 AM to 11:00 PM(Open Doors)

September 18, 2016, 9:00 AM to 11:00 PM(Open Doors)

September 23, 2016, 9:00 AM to 11:00 PM(Open Doors)

September 24, 2016, 9:00 AM to 11:00 PM(Open Doors)

September 25, 2016, 9:00 AM to 11:00 PM(Open Doors)

Talking Walls of Gloucester

Hosted by Gloucester Committee for the Arts

Read on for more info and directions

September 24, 2016, 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM

September 25, 2016, 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM

The Evolution of Architecture in Gloucester

Hosted by Cape Ann Museum

Read on for more info and directions

September 23, 2016, 10:00 AM to 11:30 AM

September 24, 2016, 10:00 AM to 11:30 AM

Tour of The Babson Boulders In Dogtown

Hosted by

Read on for more info and directions

September 17, 2016, 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM

September 25, 2016, 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM

Manchester Walking Tour

Hosted by Manchester Historical Museum

Read on for more info and directions

September 17, 2016, 10:00 AM to 11:00 AM

Historic And Cultural Rockport

Hosted by Rockport Cultural District

Read on for more info and directions

September 18, 2016, 12:00 PM to 1:30 PM

September 25, 2016, 12:00 PM to 1:30 PM


Quarry Tour

Hosted by Massachusetts Department of Conservation & Recreation

Read on for more info and directions

September 17, 2016, 10:00 AM to 11:00 AM

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

Maybe Not Quite as Cool as Those Kansas Kids….AGAIN


Forgive me for reposting…but I had video difficulty yesterday and how else can I prove to Joey that I’m not one of those super overprotective, suck all the fun out of life parents that he likes to talk about.  Not to say that a little roundy round trip on the Go Kart track will actually prove that…but, you know.

Back in podcast #199 we were joined by a great couple from Kansas who owns a large corn and soybean farm.  I was intrigued by the farming for sure, but even more so (if I’m to be honest) by the life style.  Having kids in their 20s, I wanted to know a bit what day to day life was like when (if ever) they weren’t busy farming their land.  We got to chat a lot “off microphone” as well.

At one point they mentioned that their sons liked to “race.” Curious, I revisited the conversation to learn exactly what kind of racing they do.  While I might not have the official term down…I know it involved fast little cars and a figure 8 dirt track.  It further called to attention the differences between raising children in different places in our country.  Right or wrong, for better or worse….we may be much more cautious with our children than other locals in our very own country (not to mention other places in this big wide world).

But, Joey, look.  I let my boys race too.  And….the horror, no helmets!

Nichole’s Picks 9/17 +9/18

Pick #1:  Appleton Farm Family Farm Day

One of my favorite fall events!

Read all about it HERE


Come celebrate the fall season with some good old-fashioned fun on America’s oldest working farm. Grab your friends and family and join us at Appleton Farms for our annual Family Farm Day! Visit with our farm animals, climb aboard a tractor, paint your own pumpkin, learn about beekeeping, challenge your friends at the potato spoon relay or hay obstacle course, and make sure to enjoy a pony ride! Looking for more? There are old-fashioned games like tug-o-war, crafts, face-painting, farm tattoos, and live music by Ben Rudnick and Friends.

All this activity will surely have you hungry for some fresh-from-the- farm food. Visit the food court where you will find our own 100% grass-fed burgers, seafood selections from Joe’s on a Roll, and Sa’ls Pizza. Snacks, drinks, and dessert will include White Farms Ice Cream, Pure Pastry, cider donuts, popcorn, Mojo cold-brewed coffee, and lemonade.

Admission includes everything except food and beverages. This event runs rain or shine. Admission fee is per car.  Trustees members don’t forget your membership card to receive discounted admission. Not a member yet? Join at the event and receive a free Appleton t-shirt plus $10 off a family membership! (Promotion available at the event only).


Pick #2:  Fish Box Derby

Thanks to Greg Bover’s post back on August 31st, I have had the Fish Box Derby on my radar for a couple of weeks!  Which is great, because I often miss it.  This year’s event takes place on Sunday, September 18th at noon.

Read Greg’s Post HERE



Pick #3:  Cape Ann Youth Hockey Presents: Bruins Alumni vs. Gloucester Police Department



Friday Night (Sept. 16th) @ Talbot Rink

Gloucester Police vs. Bruins Alumni

Puck drops at 7pm

Fishermen Girls Hockey will be running a concession with snacks, drinks & pizza

Come wear your CAYH colors and cheer on the teams!


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

Puppy Love

This crazy pup turned one year old yesterday.  He’s a handful, but watching him interact with the boys reaffirms all of the reasons I took on getting a puppy last Christmas in the first place.  Surely a puppy isn’t right for everyone, but…even though we had two grown dogs when the boys were both born…I’ve always wanted to watch a puppy grow up along with them.  He’s their boy….and he loves them wildly.



That Time of Year Again

School is back in session….which can only mean one thing…it is the time of year that I need to start complaining about packing school lunches.  This will be the only time that you have to hear about it though.  I think.  If you listened to yesterday’s podcast you have already heard some discussion about lunch packing….

So, first full week back at it and here are today’s lunches and snack bag snacks.

Lunch:  spicy tuna rolls, strawberries, mini peppers, and a granola bar.

Snack Bag:  Cinnamon english muffin with apple butter spread, cheddar goldfish, and an apple.

Can’t dare forget the water bottle….or the 4 individual ice packs that keep their food cold enough during the day.

The boys will, undoubtedly, still get in the car at 4:00 when I pick them up from “after care” at school and tell me that they are starving….so there will be a pre-popped bag of popcorn waiting for them.

In their defense, their schedule today looks like this:

Leave the house at 7:30

School from 8:00-4:00 (which, on a Monday, also involves a 30 mins. recess, a 45 minute fitness class for Finn, a 90 minute kayaking trip for gym class for Thatch, and then a full hour on the playground after school while I finish up my work.

Then, Finn has hockey practice from 5:00-6:00….and Thatch takes the ice from 6:00-7:00.

So….there also needs to be some extra apples and bananas in the car waiting for the ride home from the rink…to get them by until dinner.

Their appetites are insatiable lately (understandably) and I swear they eat more in one day than I eat in three.



Challenger Hockey Takes to the Ice Again!

This is really such a fantastic program.  Please spread the word to any families who you think may benefit from it.  Challenger Hockey is a free program for children with developmental disabilities from ages 6-16.  It is a wonderful way to introduce these children to adaptive ice hockey while also having a great time.

Please find the application online at the link below.  Once there navigate down to the Challenger Program option.


Nichole’s Picks 9/10 + 9/11

Pick #1:  Ipswich River Wildlife Santuary

Two great events, but act quickly because there are only a few spots left for each!

Map and Compass Treasure Hunt


Join us for a guided map and compass treasure hunt around the sanctuary. Bring your own compass or use one of ours and learn to find north, orient yourself, count paces, and use the map and compass to find your way. After some basics, we’ll hit the trails and use the new skills learned to search for some hidden natural treasures. No experience necessary. This program is a good introduction to orienteering for the whole family.

Instructions and Directions:

Meets in the Nature Center. Please dress for the weather and bring a compass if you have one (we will have some to lend as well.)
Registration is required.

Family Campout: River Camping


Explore the Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary after hours and join us for a night of camping under the stars. Have an early dinner at home, and then come with your family and your tent, and prepare to have fun.

This campout will focus on the Ipswich River. We will start the evening by setting up our tents at the top of the hill, and then head down to the river for an evening canoe trip. We’ll look and listen for otters, beavers, muskrats, and owls. After we return, we’ll cook up s’mores around the fire pit and play games. Then it’s off to bed so we can wake up for an early-morning breakfast (provided). Afterwards, we will paddle downstream to look for turtles, frogs, herons, and creatures that live above and below the water’s surface. Basic canoeing instruction will be provided, along with all equipment.

Instructions and Directions:

The campout begins at 4:30 pm on Saturday, September 10 and ends at 9:00 am on Sunday, September 11. Rain date: Saturday, September 17 to Sunday, September 18. The campout will only be rescheduled in the event of extreme weather. Please note that refunds will not be issued if the campout is rescheduled to the rain date and you are unable to attend. A confirmation with a list of what to bring will be sent.




  • SATURDAY:    NED’s 50th Anniversary Celebration featuring Funny Cars Under the Stars

    8am – 8pm

    Nitro Funny Cars, Nostalgia Funny Cars, Pro Mods, Jet Funny Cars, Pro 7.0, VP Race Fuels ET Series Championship Finale, Iannotti Bros. Select Cars Top Sportsman.

    Spectator $30
    Reserved Seating additional $10

  • SUNDAY:      Outlaw 10.5, NEDX-275, Top Bike, Street Fighter, Iannotti Bros. Select Cars Top Sportsman, & T&T


    Spectator $15


Pick #3:  Second Saturdays at the Cape Ann Museum

Traveling to Cape Ann


Bring the kids! Make a postcard inspired by the Museum’s collection of historic cards written by vacationers telling of their adventures on Cape Ann. The second Saturday of every month is free for families with school-aged children. Families are invited to the Activity Center to participate in hands-on activities that delve into the art, history and culture of the region. Each Second Saturday focuses on a specific theme based on the Museum’s collection and/or special exhibitions.

Second Saturday Monthly 11am-2pm

Pick #4:  Cape Ann Reads


See the Cape Ann Reads Schedule HERE and learn more!

This Saturday’s Event:  Please register at the link above.

CAPE ANN READS Pirate’s Tea Party in Manchester

When:  Sat, September 10, 11am – 1pm
Where:  Manchester Public Library, 15 Union Street, Manchester, MA (map)
Description:  Ahoy all mateys wishing to attend this fun filled festivity! There will be adventurous activities and refreshments fit for rapscallions.
Co-sponsored, the tea party will be offered on the Manchester Public Library (15 Union St) lawn, activities following at the Manchester Historical Museum (10 Union St).
Please register at with Miss Kate, or 978-526-2016.
Cape Ann Reads is a collaboration among the Gloucester Lyceum & Sawyer Free Public Library, Manchester Public Library, Rockport Public Library and TOHP Burnham Library in Essex and regional partners promoting children’s picture books throughout 2016.
Each month there are special free programs. For a complete list of events visit the website or check with your local library.

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

Don’t Let the Door Hit You on the Way Out

My boys finally head back to school today.  And, while I worked off and on all summer, officially so do I.  As someone who has always worked in the field of education, I’ve ALWAYS gone back to school.  Every September, for 40 years,…I have had a 1st Day of School.  So, never having experienced sending the boys back to school…without actually going with them…I get a kick out of the parents who celebrate the end of summer and the big day. Genuinely.  I love this compilation of parents celebrating the big day in creative ways.

Quintessential Cape Ann


Every once in a while (that’s probably an understatement) a weekend ends and I am left feeling so incredibly appreciative of where we live and the people I am fortunate enough to consider friends and/or family.  This weekend was one of those weekends.

While we had to miss the block party on Friday night, we made the most of Saturday with quarry jumping with great buddies, some long overdue downtime with our favorite neighbors, an evening walk along the waterfront, a Wicked Tuna run in down the docks with two bluefin, a pitstop at Salty Franks for some grub to eat on the beach in front of the Beauport Hotel, the Parade of Lights, and the best fireworks display that I have seen in a long time…with great friends. A quick run in with “Grampy and Sherry” topped off our night.

Sunday spoiled us with a trip out with friends to see the Parade of Sails and brilliant views of the schooners that graced the harbor.  One of very best days in Gloucester Harbor each and every year….which says a lot because there are so many great days that Gloucester can boast about.  After a bit of downtime reading on the deck, we were lucky enough to be treated to a sunset concert on Long Beach.  The Cape Ann Motor Inn hosted such a fantastic evening on the beach and Garfish entertained the crowd with three sets of some pretty great songs.  We sat on the beach with some of our favorite peeps well into the evening while the kids played football in the sand.  One of the most perfect ways to spend a summer evening for sure.

I have to admit we ventured over the bridge on Monday.  The horror  ;)      I took the boys down to the final PawSox game of the season.  While it may not count in the “where we are blessed to live” category….it does fit into the “how blessed we are” category.  Baseball, whether at Fenway Park or a minor league team, has always held a special place in my heart and it was a perfect way to end a Labor Day Weekend.  The PawSox do a great job of making sure their fans enjoy an inexpensive day at the park….and we sure did!

A weekend this perfect gives perspective.

A Windy and Wet Parade of Sails…Beautiful as Ever

The boys and I were lucky enough to catch a ride with some friends yesterday to get up close and personal with some of the schooners that paraded in the harbor yesterday afternoon.  The other side of the breakwater was a bit unforgiving in regards to photo ops, but it is always…regardless of the weather…wonderful to be in the midst of those gorgeous ships.


I’ve been back to work all week, but the boys don’t start school until next week….so this is what they’ve been doing.  While the cat’s away the mice will play.

They have a little bit of Adam Sandler worship going on and have been dying to jump in the quarries like he did in Grown Ups.  And, yes,….my children have watched Grown Ups. Ugh.

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Nichole’s Picks 9/3 + 9/4

Labor Day Weekend on Cape Ann is all about

Schooner Festival!

That having been said,

Pick #1

is getting as close as you can to the exquisite schooners!


Pick #2

is heading to Maritime Gloucester to see all of the amazing activities they have to offer during their Maritime Heritage Day on Saturday


Pick #3: 

is to hit the block party on Friday night!


Pick #4: 

is to watch the Boat Parade and Fireworks on Saturday night!


Here is the schedule as listed on

Festival Schedule

(Gloucester Schooner Festival schedule subject to change)

Click here for downtown Gloucester parking information.

Friday, September 2, 2016

All Day Arrival of Participating Vessels.

5:00 pm to 7:00 pm
Mayor’s Reception for invited guests (ticketed event)

6:00 pm
Gloucester Block Party, The Gloucester Block parties are fun, festive events that bring downtown to life! A portion of Main Street is closed off between 5:00 and 10:00 PM, allowing for music, entertainment and outdoor dining and shopping. This family-friendly event has something for everyone! Find Details information at

6:30 pm
Maritime Gloucester’s Gala (ticketed event)  Contact Maritime Gloucester for reservations and information.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

10:00 am to 4:00 pm
Maritime Gloucester Heritage Day
Maritime Gloucester, located at 23 Harbor Loop in downtown Gloucester, will host its annual Heritage Day celebration from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. The event is free to the public.

4:00 pm
Lobster Bake @ The Gloucester House
Enjoy the open air dock atmosphere of the Cafe Seven Seas with lobster, corn and chips for $15. Cash bar. Entertainment.

7:00 pm
Private Fireworks Viewing from Beauport Museum
Watch Gloucester’s annual Schooner Festival fireworks display from the terrace and lawn of Beauport. Treat yourself to an abridged evening tour as the house transforms at night. Bring blankets, chairs, picnics, and mosquito spray. Candles are prohibited. Adults and children over twelve only, please. $12 Historic New England members, $20 nonmembers.  Registration is required. Please call 978-283-0800 to purchase tickets.

7:00 pm
Boat Parade of Lights
The annual Boat Parade of Lights begins at dusk at Jones Creek on the Annisquam River, travels down the river, through the drawbridge and into Gloucester Harbor, ending in the Smith’s Cove area of the harbor. Click here for information on joining the Lighted Boat Parade.

9:15 pm
Fireworks Display over Gloucester Harbor. (following Parade of Lights, time approximate)
(The Gloucester Fireworks Committee is in need of more donations for the Labor Day weekend fireworks. Donations may be made to The Gloucester Fund, 45 Middle St., Gloucester, MA 01930. Please notate “fireworks” on your donation.)

Sunday, September 4, 2016

8:30 am
Skippers Meeting
This meeting is required for all Schooners sailing in the Mayor’s Race.  Meet at Solomon Jacobs Park, immediately adjacent to the U.S. Coast Guard Station on Harbor Loop.

10:30 am
Private Parade of Sail Viewing from Beauport Museum
Sunday, September 4, 10:30 a.m.
Visit Beauport for some of the best views of the annual Gloucester Schooner Festival’s Parade of Sail. Watch schooners sail to the Eastern Point Light breakwater to begin the Mayor’s race for the Esperanto Cup. Coffee and light breakfast refreshments are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Bring blankets and/or chairs and other refreshments if preferred. The house is not available for tours during this event. $10 Historic New England members, $15 nonmembers.
Registration is required. Please call 978-283-0800 to purchase tickets.

10:30 am to 12:00 pm
Parade of Sail as Schooners proceed from Inner Harbor, past the Fishermen’s Memorial on Stacy Boulevard, to the race starting area off Eastern Point.

11:00 am to 1:30 pm
Shuttle Bus to Eastern Point Light, from Eastern Point Gate (Eastern Point Boulevard at Farrington Avenue) to watch the start of the Mayor’s Race. Free ofCharge, courtesy of Cape Ann Transportation Authority.

1:00 pm
Start of Mayor’s Race for the Esperanto Cup, Ned Cameron Trophy and Betty Ramsey Trophy off Eastern Point.

6:00 pm to 8:00 pm
Reception and Awards Ceremony
for captains, crews and invited guests (ticketed event)

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

Holy Antipasto!

Back in June I had a work gathering at a friend’s house and promised to bring something. After working all day and then bringing the boys home to Rockport before heading back up to Hamilton, I didn’t leave enough time to finish preparing what I had originally planned to bring.  So…. I picked up the phone.  I called Mike’s Place in Gloucester and ordered a 1/2 tray Antipasto.  It was ready in 15 minutes, it was HUGE, it came with lots of homemade pita pockets, and it was only about $25.

As simple as it was, it was a big hit.  And…there was a ton left over to bring to work the next day to feed the troops.

Once this summer I ordered the same salad tray again and packed it a few days in a row for easy beach lunches…and for a couple quick light dinners. The only downside is that the salad is SO incredibly big that we could probably eat it two meals per day for five days in a row….but that would be a bit monotonous….even though it is yummy enough to do so.

After heading back to work full-time yesterday to plan for a new school year…and with the boys having a 1/2 day soccer camp each day all week long…the same 1/2 tray antipasto was calling my name.  It made for a nice dinner last night for all four of us, it will be my lunch today at work, it will be waiting for the boys after 4 hours of soccer this afternoon, and will probably be lunch and dinner again once or twice Wednesday and/or Thursday.

Long story short…. order one!   Perfect during a super busy week….especially when it is too hot to cook.

Mike’s Place

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