Author Archives: Nichole S.

Discovery Cove

We’ve been in Florida all week and have been having a great time.  We would have liked to have gone to more of a resort destination this year, but it wasn’t in the cards.  That being the case, we decided to at least plan the week to feel more like a beach vacation and less like we were hitting the pavement and lines at all of the big theme parks in landlocked Orlando.  So, we’ve been enjoying Marriott’s Grande Vista most days by taking advantage of their gorgeous pool areas, fishing piers, entertainment, and more.  We did venture to Sea World and one water park, but managed to avoid all lines and spent even those days at a leisurely pace.

The day I was looking forward to the most was yesterday.  Yesterday was the day that we had booked an all-inclusive day at Discovery Cove.  We got there just in time to enjoy breakfast and then grabbed some towels, masks, snorkels, and drinks (yup, even beer and yummy frozen drinks are included in the price of entry).

We spent HOURS snorkeling in the giant reef with massive stingrays and thousands of tropical fish.  When we could convince the boys to take a break it was to grab snacks and frozen icees…..and then to feed the birds in the aviary, float down the lazy river, and relax in the grotto.  After lunch it was right back to snorkeling.  I even took a 30 minute nap in the sun right next to dolphin cove.

Thatcher said that it was one of his favorite days ever and Finn was beside himself all day long.  I was so proud of both of them.  They are pretty fearless, needed no encouragement to make the most of the day, and were super appreciative for the opportunity to spend such a great day together.

Like many of you, we’re crazy busy at home and I never underestimate the importance of a family vacation for reconnecting and enjoying each other.

But You Promised

So this is the year that Finn hit 54″…..which just happens to be the magic number when wanting to ride the biggest of the rollercoasters in the Orlando parks.  So, with that milestone under his belt he asked me to promise to ride all of the rollercoasters with him.  I don’t actually mind rollercoasters….but I am frantic about my boys riding rollercoasters when they’re like a hair over the minimum height requirement.

So, imagine my anxiety when we walked into SeaWorld to see that the Manta Flying Roller Coaster had just malfunctioned and the riders were being forced to disembark…ummm… at the top of a hill….and walk down to safety.  In retrospect, I actually would have liked to see how they got out of those harnesses.

What in the world?!

Finn wasn’t letting up, however, and the fearless little bugger still made me stick to my promise….and a couple of hours later I found myself strapped in, face down, in the front row of the Manta Coaster.  Sigh.

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CHECK OUT THE MANTA HERE

https://seaworld.com/orlando/roller-coasters/manta/

 

Congratulations, Champions

To my boy and his boys…..Congratulations.  Be proud.  You left it all on the ice.

After 8 months of play the hockey season has come to an end and this phenomenal team came out on top.  Even after being moved up from Squirt AAA in the Valley League to the Elite Division, they managed to remain in first place through to the end of the season.  During three weekends of playoff hockey, they won the quarterfinals, the semifinals, and ultimately the Championship game, against Concord, at the Haverhill Valley Forum. 

Squirt 1 wrapped up the season with a super impressive 32-4-3 league record and are now the Valley Elite National Champions. 

After #81 strolled into the locker room one day and cheered, “LET’S GO BOYS,”  the 2018 CAYH Squirt 1’s team motto was adopted….and they did just that time and time again until the final buzzer of the final game!

Those are the stats and the facts.  More important to me, as a mother, are the lessons learned, the friendships forged, and the memories created.  These boys are together two hours at a time at least four days per week.  That doesn’t take into account tournament weekends away, team lunches/dinners, spontaneous sleepovers, birthday parties, BBQs, and hours clocked on facetime when not actually in the same car, room, or rink.  They have each other’s backs, they lift each other up, they motivate each other, they applaud each other, they are each other’s biggest fans…and occasionally critics…and that’s ok too.  Both of my boys have learned that the relationship amongst teammates is something to treasure.  I love that they have that….I love that they appreciate it…..I love that they recognize it as a luxury not to be squandered.

These boys text each other often….and most certainly after the final game of the year.  A game, worth noting, that marks the end of…in many cases….a five-year run of skating together (maybe even 6!).  Another mom stumbled across their text chain on Sunday.  In it Thatcher wrote, “I can’t believe this was the last time that we’ll all skate together, but we’ll be brothers forever.”  He gets it.  Team.

I have no words to properly describe the absolutely devastating Humboldt Broncos Hockey team tragedy that occurred this past weekend.  Weighing on our minds and certainly our hearts while watching our boys huddle up on the ice were those families, friends, coaches, teammates….and everyone who touched their lives.  A team is a very important dynamic.  Dare I say that a hockey team is a thing unto itself….another level of friendship and camaraderie….often times precious beyond words.  My heart is broken for them as much as it swells for my boys.

We owe a giant THANK YOU to Cape Ann Youth Hockey for the volunteerism that takes places amongst coaches, staff, parents, directors, and more.  Thank you for nurturing this family of skaters, thank you for the hours, the guidance, the encouragement, and the commitment that you all make.

Thank you in particular to the coaches of CAYH’s Squirt 1.  You’ve given these boys something that no one else could.  Frank, Jamie, Scott, Fred, Brian, and often Todd, THANK YOU.

 

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Happy Opening Day!

If you know me, you know by now that I’m passionate about a few things…..my amazing boys, the school where I am blessed to work and my boys are even more blessed to attend, people who have your back, staying busy, all things Cape Ann, and Fenway Park.  Weird, right?

I say the same thing each year at about this same time…..  I appreciate baseball, I like the Red Sox, but I love Fenway Park.  Cliche as it is, I find it kind of intoxicating.  Larry Lucchino once led me through a door that leads from the front office to the grandstand on a day when the park was relatively empty.  It was, in fact, hours away from an evening game time and the park was just starting to yawn and stetch.  He told me that it was moments like that when Fenway spoke to him the most.  I couldn’t agree more.

I am in love with the geometric lines and patterns, the shadows, the shapes, the textures, and the colors that make Fenway come to life.  During game time, as exciting as the play on the field can get, it is the sounds, smells, and palpable buzz in the air that literally give me goosebumps.  It is watching families, friends, soulmates, and strangers united in their love of a day together at the park.  At all other times, it is the history that seeps from every nook and cranny, it is the tradition that stands at attention, and the memories that echo off the hallowed walls.  It is my own memories and the memories of millions of others swirling together in shades of green and red that make me take pause….and smile.

I have attended Opening Days, World Series games, Big Papi’s last game, Pedro’s # retirement, ring ceremonies, rolling rally parades, concerts, charity events, and hundreds of games in between.  I have been blessed to be in the midst of some incredibly exciting moments and to bear witness to history being made. That being said, my favorite minutes in the ballpark still remain the very late night hours when I’ve left a game, met friends for a drink, and then wandered back into the park and down towards the field.  The park is sleepy then, the lights are still on, the air is still buzzing, the field is often shiny and wet, and all is right in the world.

The 2018 Red Sox Home Opener takes place today….and with it comes the promise of excitement, disappointments, cheers, spills, laughs, rally caps, 7th inning stretches, home runs, wins, losses, broken bats, broken hearts, continued traditions, lots of firsts, and a wild, wild ride. Buckle up, grab some friends, and make some memories.  Game on.

 

Dinner Date at Minglewood

With Thatcher and my husband off supporting another hockey team by cheering them on at their semifinal game, Finn and I went bike shopping and grabbed a quick dinner….his choice.  After much consideration he chose “the Grateful Dead Restaurant.”  Which, of course, means the Minglewood Tavern at Latitude 43.  For those of you who don’t know, one corner of Minglewood…where the bands set up….is painted with a Grateful Dead decor.  It has sparked many a conversation as the boys have grown up eating the occasional meal there.

At any rate, Finn and I pulled up some stools for a quick dinner.  It was the avocado and tuna maki roll with a side of six wings for him…..and the Firecracker roll with the shoshito peppers, topped with soy glazed togarashi chili, for me.  Tuesday night is 43 cent wing night, FYI.

Everything was super yummy and it was nice for us to have some one-on-one time.  Nice for Thatcher and my husband to have some time together too.  We used to be better at giving them solo attention more often, but life gets in the way.

Thanks Minglewood!  Check out their menu here

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Havana Night at Mile Marker One!

I don’t make a habit out of smoking cigars, but I might for this fun night.  Our friends at Cape Ann’s Marina Resort and Mile Marker One are always cooking up some new kind of fun. Tickets are limited so purchase your now at the link below.

READ MORE AND PURCHASE TICKETS HERE

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Growing Up Salty

If you’ve taken the somewhat obligatory trip to Disney World’s Magic Kingdom, you’ve no doubt ridden on the Pirates of the Caribbean.  And, if you have ridden that ride, you’ve undoubtedly left singing, “Yo ho, yo ho, it’s a pirate’s life for me.”  Well, here on Cape Ann, many kids grow up singing a slightly different tune.  For our lucky kids it’s a sailor’s life.

My boys are certainly no exception to that.  They are all about the water.  The love fishing onshore and off, they LOVE their sailing lessons out of Sandy Bay Yacht Club, they love paddle boarding, learning to surf, jumping off the Annisquam Foot Bridge, whale watching, beaching, boating, playing with their minnow traps, and most definitely lobstering.

So, it was no surprise that they were eager to help tend to the traps this weekend.  What was a surprise…no matter how much I love them….was just how long and how hard they worked.

Thatch and Finn, almost eleven and almost nine, clocked close to ten hours over the course of this weekend removing ID tags, retagging traps, and moving gear.  In all, they helped prepare a few hundred traps to get ready for this season.  They’re super excited…and they should be super proud.

In this short video Finn tells you a little bit about what he’s doing to get a trap ready….and you can see the giant stack of traps that they already tackled.

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Nichole’s Picks 3/31 + 4/1

Pick #1:  Egg-cellent Adventure at Appleton Farms

Saturday, 10:00-2:00

Members, $24 per family   Nonmembers, $30 per family

READ ALL ABOUT IT AND REGISTER HERE

Say goodbye to the cold and celebrate the arrival of warmer weather here on the Farm! While we often associate eggs with the Easter Bunny, in many cultures eggs symbolize new life and are tied with the coming of spring. At this event, we celebrate spring, new life on the farm, and the bounty of fresh eggs produced by our hens. Go on the “Egg-cellent” Quest around the farm and learn about the journey from egg to chicken, collecting Easter eggs at each station to complete the Quest!

Enjoy homemade refreshments and face painting in our Carriage Barn, visit with our, bunnies, sheep and goats and try your hand at “candling eggs” and play games in the stone paddock! Quest begins at 10am.  Please plan to arrive between 10AM and 11:15AM and bring a basket of your own to collect the Quest eggs. Recommended for ages 2-6, but all are welome! If you have 6 or more in your family please register for 2 family tickets so we have enought snacks and eggs for all!

Please let us know if your child has any allergies as this is not a nut free event.

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Pick #2:  Rockport Community Easter Egg Hunt

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The Rockport Division of the Cape Ann Chamber of Commerce will hold the 28th annual Rockport Community Easter Egg Hunt on Saturday, March 31 at 2 PM.  The event is for the children of the town – preschoolers through grade one – and will take place on the field adjacent to the Rockport Elementary School playground, 36 Jerden’s Lane, Rockport.

Preschoolers will be grouped in one section and kindergarteners and first graders in another.  In addition to assorted candies, chocolates and small prizes, the hunt will feature a number of special eggs to be redeemed for larger prizes. The Easter Bunny is also expected to make an appearance.  Bring a basket and arrive early – the hunt will begin promptly at 2.

This year’s event is being organized by the Chamber’s Rockport Division with key support from the Cape Ann Y’s Beyea Teen Center in Rockport, local innkeepers, Rockport Rotarians, Rockport Inn & Suites and the Institution for Savings.

Please contact the Chamber Office (978-283-1601) to volunteer and to donate wrapped, nut-free candy and small prizes. Financial gifts are also welcomed and may be mailed to the Cape Ann Chamber of Commerce, 33 Commercial Street, Gloucester.  Wrapped candy and small prizes may be dropped off at Rockport Inn & Suites or at the Chamber office.

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Pick #3:  Madagascar at the North Shore Music Theater

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All seats $12
We have added a special character MEET & GREET opportunity after the show on Friday, March 30 at 9:45am only. Meet the characters and have photos taken with them in a private post-show reception. The $10/per person MEET & GREET tickets can be selected when buying tickets for the show. Those that already have tickets for the Friday show can call the Box Office (978) 232-7200 to buy tickets to the MEET & GREET. *Everyone attending the MEET & GREET must have a ticket

A wild and wacky adventure awaits Alex the Lion, Marty the Zebra, Gloria the Hippo, Melman the Giraffe and those pesky, plotting Penguins when they stage a jailbreak from New York’s Central Park Zoo. After busting out of their home and landing on the faraway island of Madagascar, these furry friends encounter the madcap antics of the outrageous King Julien and his fellow island inhabitants in a musical celebration of friendship. The nonstop escapades and rollicking pop score will have audiences of all ages wanting to “Move It, Move It!” with their favorite characters. Share the wonder and delight of live theater with the young people in your life this spring with this family-friendly 70-minute adaptation.

Madagascar is presented through special arrangement with Music Theatre International (MTI). All authorized performance materials are also supplied by MTI. http://www.MTIShows.com

BUY TICKETS HERE

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

 

The End of an Era

While it may seem silly to many, I’m feeling a little bit of a loss with the sudden news that the Grant Circle Friendly’s has closed.  What may have helped would have been some notice….because, without a doubt, we would have gone just one last time.

What’s even sillier is that we rarely actually took our boys there….maybe ten times total in the eleven years we’ve been parents. Patty Melts have been replaced with sushi…..and fribbles with froyo….for better or for worse.  I did, however, spend a lot of time there when I was younger.  And those memories are pretty sweet.

Both sets of my grandparents lived within walking distance from Friendly’s and we went there often.  With my mom’s mother, we went there for lunch.  I remember well the different layout of the restaurant, the linoleum of the counter top, and the spinning stools.  With my dad’s parents we picked up gallons of ice cream each and every time we slept over….after picking up pizza at Valentino’s.

Time at Friendly’s is as vivid a memory for me as the many St. Peter’s Fiestas and Horribles Parades of my youth, shopping at Empire, breakfast at Union Hill Coffee House, the drive-in movie theater, the little birds and toads at the Garden Patch, Italian cookies at the Piscitello residence, and the cheese board and piano man at Captain’s Courageous.  Sigh.

I would have liked the opportunity to go one more time and talk to my boys about the memories of days gone by.  I’m having trouble thinking of places that resonate so loudly with my childhood….that are still standing today.

What are some of your favorite Cape Ann memories?

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Save the Date: Bluefin Blowout 2018!

2018 Bluefin Blowout | August 2-4

With the winter weather hanging in there, summer feels far away….but, thank goodness it isn’t.  And, one of the most exciting things about summer is the Bluefin Blowout!  Planning for this year’s event is very much underway and some fishy fun is shaping up!  You’d be crazy to not mark your calendars right now to make sure that you’re not double booked between August 2nd – 4th.  Even better, let your peeps know that “reel” friends don’t book baby showers, BBQs, or even book clubs during the Bluefin Blowout.

Many of us gathered on Saturday at Tonno Gloucester (lucky, lucky us) to discuss this summer’s tournament and brainstorm ways to make the 2018 Bluefin Blowout the best one yet.  A giant shoutout to Anthony Caturano and the staff at Tonno for spoiling us all with some amazing food to help get the wheels of creativity spinning.

Stay tuned for much more news!  As always the Lyon-Waugh Auto Group has some brilliant things up their sleeves!

Keep up to date on all things Bluefin Blowout at this link

Follow their Facebook Page here

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The 2018 Bluefin Blowout marks a 7 year milestone for us! The Bluefin Blowout is New England’s premier giant bluefin tuna tournament presented by the Lyon-Waugh Auto Group, and hosted by Cape Ann’s Marina Resort in the historic fishing port of Gloucester, MA! Showcased on the National Geographic’s hit series “Wicked Tuna,” the Bluefin Blowout draws some of the best giant tuna fishermen on the east coast competing in two long days of fishing to take home over $40,000 in cash, jackpots, and prizes along with the coveted Bluefin Blowout Trophy!

In past years we experienced a huge success with over 2800 pounds of bluefin tuna weighed in – the largest being caught by F/V Tuna.com weighing in at 914 lbs!

We invite everyone to enjoy the giant weigh-in station, vendors, tournament tent, live music and entertainment. Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram for more updated information on the tournament and come celebrate the fishery of the magnificent bluefin tuna in true tournament fashion as the best of the best battle the giants of the ocean!

The Cape Ann’s Marina Resort offers plenty of amenities to make each day, throughout the weekend, a first class experience. In addition to the official tournament tent, the Cape Ann Marina Resort has quality slip accommodations, on-site fuel, Mile Marker One Café and Bar, an indoor pool, an onsite marine store, and more!

The 2018 Bluefin Blowout team will once again offer free boat ice, onsite totes of bait, and an official tournament tuna buyer!

We are also proud to announce our collaboration with the Alzheimer’s Association to raise funds to advance research to end Alzheimer’s and dementia while enhancing care for those living with the disease.

The 2018 Bluefin Blowout will offer select vendor displays, a catered Captain’s Dinner, raffles, a silent auction, and cash prizes!

Come witness this tournament and some of the best giant tuna fishing in the world is showcased in America’s Oldest Seaport!

 

 

Happy 70th Birthday, Esther!

All of the staff here at Good Morning Gloucester realize how important our faithful followers (FOBs) are!  So, that having been said, we are very excited to wish a Happy 70th Birthday to Esther.…a long time fan of GMG from Vermont…whose bucket list includes walking Gloucester’s harbor front.  I know I speak for us all when I say, we would love to see photos of Esther enjoying a trip to Gloucester soon.   HAPPY BIRTHDAY ESTHER from us all and thank you for following GMG.  We hope that you have an amazing day!

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Nichole’s Picks 3/24 + 3/25

Pick #1: Easter Egg Scavenger Hunt @ Faneuil Hall

Make a little day of it in the city.

READ MORE HERE

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Pick #2: Too Cute to Toss

Saturday, 10:00-4:00 and Sunday, 9:00-2:00 (most items 50%off on Sunday)

The DoubleTree by Hilton
50 Ferncroft Rd Danvers, MA 01923

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READ MORE HERE

SEE THEIR FACEBOOK PAGE HERE

We are two North Shore moms who were looking for an easier way to consign our gently used children’s items and make a little extra spending money . We also love a good deal on pre-loved items for our kids.We want to help other families save money, earn money, recycle and donate to the community. So out of our playdate conversations, Too Cute to Toss was born.  We make it easy, we make it fun and we make it profitable. Our events are fun, and easy on the wallet. You can get great deals on baby gear, clothes and toys while also checking out some great local vendors. So you not only get great hassle-free consigning, but great events with gently used items at outstanding prices for your little ones!

Pick #3: K1 Speed in Wilmington

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If you’re looking for the best karting in New England, look no further! At K1 Speed Boston, our indoor go-kart racing is wheel-to-wheel and head-to-head! Whether racing against the clock, competing with friends and family, or battling complete strangers, you’re in for adventure! Our high-performance go-karts will quickly recalibrate your expectations of what a go-kart can and should be, and our indoor karting center – which is open year-round – will surely impress you from the moment you walk in the door.

To experience indoor go-kart racing for yourself, visit K1 Speed Boston Today! Located in nearby Wilmington, MA, our track is a short drive for anyone living in the greater Boston metropolitan area.

READ MORE HERE

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

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