Author Archives: Nichole S.

Swing By our Yard Sale after the Beach

Serious cleaning, organizing, and purging going on over here at 3 Smith Road in Rockport and it is absolutely time for a yard sale.  Seems a little silly as it’s going to be a gorgeous weekend, but swing on by if you’re in the neighborhood.

Saturday AND Sunday 2:00-6:00




A Character in our Story

I’ve gone back and forth about whether or not to write this several times as I feared that, possibly, I would be infringing on a family’s privacy, but I hope, instead, this serves as a “thank you” to a man who always, week after week….for more than a decade…never failed to say “Hello” as we walked by.

Since Thatcher came home from the hospital at one week old, we’ve been taking walks. The route is sometimes shorter…sometimes longer…and the mode of transportation has changed drastically over the years….but, Atlantic Ave. in Rockport has always remained a part of it. At first the walks began in the red Bumbleride Indie single stroller and soon there after the red push-handle radio flyer sports coupe.  With Finn’s arrival almost exactly two years later….we upgraded to the necessary Bumbleride Indie double wide. …this time in bamboo green.

All too soon, however, the strollers were gone and bikes with training wheels, bikes with no training wheels, scooters, rollerblades, and skateboards became the boys’ preferred methods of getting downtown.  Moby, Marlin, and Minnow (the fury children) …depending on the year…often accompanied us to keep an eye on their boys and possibly score some smoked fish at Roy Moore’s. All the while, however, we went down Smith Road, took a left on Old Garden, merged onto Atlantic Ave, and came out at the corner of South Street….and, most importantly, to “Arnold’s Garage.”  

Arnold (I’m not sure when my children learned his first name) was a fixture near and around that corner….often, later, in his woven vintage lawn chair.  For as long as I can remember, he greeted us with a smile.  The boys knew to look for him along that stretch of town and their greetings grew with their age.  An exuberant wave, a shy smile, a “hi”, a “Hello. How are you?”……to a “Mom, that nice man wasn’t in his chair last week.”  It was Thatcher, now sometimes able to venture downtown with his friends, who pointed out to me that Arnold was not there. Several trips to and from sailing lessons had passed with no “hellos.” And, indeed, sadly…when I walked by Arnold’s garage later that week…the photo below is what I found.

Over the years I learned more about how talented and celebrated this man was…but my boys…well, they only knew that he was an artist, and that he was a sharp dresser, and that he was kind to them.  Arnold, in turn, probably only knew of us that the boys loved Hula Moon shaved ice, they often wore more than they ate, and that none of our dogs have ever walked well on leashes.  I regret never having a full-fledged conversation as I’m certain I would have learned a lot.

It is special to me how a person one really doesn’t know can become a character in their story and a chapter in their book based on simple smiles and kind greetings.  The boys will not soon forget his kindness and I am certain they will think of his “hellos” often, and with fondness, in the years to come.

Thoughts and prayers to his family and friends.  And a heartfelt “thank you” for allowing us to feel the glow of his kindness over the years.  Clearly a remarkable man in large ways….and in small.


Nichole’s Picks 7/22 + 7/23

Pick #1: Connors Farm Blueberry and Raspberry Festival

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Saturday, July 22, 2017 – 9am to 6pm (Rain date Sunday, July 23, 2017)

$9.95 Admission per Person, 2 and under are free.

Note: Everyone must pay the $9.95 fee for entrance to pick your own and all festivities.

The admission price includes the following activities: Hayrides, Barnyard Animals, Black Mamba, Cow Train, Duck Races, Giant Rocking Chair, Giant Tires, Grain Train, Horse Swings, Jumping Pillows,  Music, Mechanical Bull, Pedal Carts, Sandbox, Trikes, and MORE!

Additional charge for: Food, Blueberry desserts, BBQ Food, Pick Your Own Blueberries and Raspberries, Gemstone Mining, Pony Rides (10am to 4pm).

Note: Everyone must pay the admission price for entrance into the farm and festival.



Pick #2: 10th Annual Car Show at Faneuil Hall


The BAMG is once again pleased to announce that we will be hosting our Faneuil Hall Car Show Series for the 10th year this summer. For 2017 we will be holding three British Car shows. Space is now available for these limited registration, high energy shows at New England’s premier tourist and family-friendly destination.


Pick #3: The Z – Boston Zipline



Ride the Z over The Greenway!

Spanning 220-feet, the zipline carries one or two riders along The Greenway’s Parcel 12, starting from Clinton Street and landing near North Street, across from The Greenway’s North End Parks. With two parallel cords, riders soar alongside each other (or race!). From the top of the 30-foot tower riders have a unique view of downtown Boston, the waterfront, and The Greenway!

Rider Requirements

All riders must weigh between 45 lbs and 250 lbs, must be at least 40 inches tall, and must be in good physical health. All persons must weigh in and check their height at the zipline ticket booth before riding.


Tickets are $8 for one rider and $15 for a pair. Group tickets (10+ tickets) can be purchased at the zipline for $7/a piece and groups of 50 or more can reserve an hour to ‘Ride the Z’ together. For information on group tickets, please email


‘The Z’ is open for rides everyday at 11am until October. Closing times vary and occasionally we will have to close early due to inclement weather. To see specific closing times, please review the calendar below and click your preferred day. For the latest information on weather-related closings, please visit us on Twitter.


‘The Z’ is the centerpiece of a temporarily revitalized ramp parcel (known as “Parcel 12”), whose development remains in a joint State/City planning phase. This summer, Parcel 12 will be a place for families, friends, and independent explorers to ride a zipline, observe public art and hang out in our iconic Adirondack furniture!

The zipline itself is located near the corner of Clinton Street and Surface Road, directly across from Faneuil Hall Marketplace and the Dock Square Parking Garage.

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

Music at the Beach was a HUGE Success

Oh my word…so much fun.  Rockport’s very 1st Music at the Beach was such a huge success last night.  There were tailgates, beach chairs, picnics, dancing children, friends catching up, laughter, smiles, a gorgeous view, and fantastic music!

Thank you again to the Rockport Board of Selectmen, Awesome Rockport, Wyatt Wilkinson (and of course his parents, Sarah and Greg), and Bruce Reed.  Also, of course, a huge Thank You to Pier Ave!  No joke that there were people from age 2…to 82…enjoying their music!

Check out the schedule and be sure not to miss Mari Martin in two weeks!

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Courage, Daring, Brave, Honor, Renaissance, and Commitment

The names are as wonderful as the US Navy sailboats themselves…and they were back in Rockport for Rockport Navy Weekend.

The sleek ships, adorned with the colorful nautical flags make an already beautiful New England harbor even more perfect.

The boats were open to visitors throughout the weekend and Sunday afternoon the Junior sailors from Sandy Bay Yacht Club were welcomed aboard.


Music at the Beach Concert Series

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The new and exciting Music at the Beach Concert Series  kicks off this week, on TUESDAY night, with Pier Ave performing at the bandstand at Rockport’s Back Beach at 6:00pm. Check out Pier Ave in their video here!  

The idea for Music at the Beach started taking shape thanks to a conversation between Bruce Reed and Don “Duffy” Greel, the Supervisor of Rockport’s DPW.  During the conversation Duffy spoke of the concert series at the bandstand in the New Hampshire town where he has a camp. Reed had already been thinking that the bandstand could prove to further build community and would be the perfect venue for family events.  

Bruce Reed explains…

I discussed some ideas with Rockport’s Town Administrator, Linda Sanders.  Funding was always the major issue.  I had a core group willing to help with ideas, but we still had no funding.  Selectwoman, Sarah Fiumara Wilkinson, learned about a group named “Awesome Rockport” who is committed to identifying and supporting local initiatives.  We filled out their form and were selected as one of three finalists.  My 9 year-old cochairman, Wyatt Wilkinson, and I developed a presentation and won the grant.  Wyatt and I then presented to the Board of Selectman and received their sponsorship.    

The buzz around town for Tuesday’s event is quickly spreading and many people, including yours truly, are really excited to attend!  We are very appreciative to Bruce Reed, Wyatt Wilkinson (9 years-old, bears repeating!), Awesome Rockport, and the Board of Selectmen….as well as anyone else who played a role.

These are community events for all ages and people are encouraged to bring blankets, chairs, and picnics.

TUESDAYS 6:00-8:00 pm


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Another Shark Sighting off of Rockport….because you can never have enough.

We stopped down the docks at Cape Ann’s Marina Resort last night to visit quickly with “Uncle Ricky” on the Wicked Pissah and were happy to get the chance to also say “hello” to Captain Paul Hebert…as well as Beaker on the Miss Fern.  After chatting with Beaker about the upcoming Bluefin Blowout Tournament (he’s always a huge contender…if not the winner), Ricky showed us some photos (the one he texted me is included) of a shark that they caught/released off of Rockport around 2:00 in the afternoon.

The jury is out as to whether it is a Great White or a Porbeagle?  I’m no expert, but I do know all about Cisco and his recent sightings.  I also read, as you may have as well, this awesome blog post about lobsterman, Gil Mitchell, hooking Cisco recently.

In addition, there have also been some porbeagle sharks seen in the area.

I do know that porbeagle sharks have a distinctive white triangle at the rear base of their dorsal fins….which this shark seems to have.  The face, however, and the clear line between the bluish grey coloring and the white belly seems more indicative of a white shark.  Also, the tail fin seems to be curved or rounded in the same direction as a great white  as opposed to curved in like a porbeagle’s (see tail fin chart)  Hmmm.


Porbeagle sharks, for the record, are members of the same family as great whites, but I’ve read that there have only been three recorded attacks on humans…and none were fatal.




Nichole’s Picks 7/15 + 7/16

Pick #1: Rockport’s Navy Weekend!



The United States Naval Academy (USNA) Offshore Sail Training Squadron (OSTS), aboard six NA-44 foot sailboats, will drop anchor on Friday July 14th in Rockport Harbor to take part in the Rockport Navy Weekend 2017. Sailors from the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery, Maine and the USS Constitution in Boston, Massachusetts have been invited to participate in the weekend events.
The Rockport Navy Weekend is hosted by the Rockport Navy Committee. Activities are planned to encourage the entire community to interact with and learn about the US Navy. The enthusiastic support and generous financial donations of the residents and businesses of Rockport helps make the Rockport Navy Weekend a success. 

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Pick #2:  Gloucester Block Party! 


July 15, 2017



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

Beachfront Property is for the Birds

We were at the quiet end of Crane’s Beach last weekend and saw these little bird dwellings in the dunes.  The area was fenced off to protect the Piping Plovers….which I obviously read all about in posts written about the plovers at Good Harbor Beach.  I can’t lie though…I didn’t realize that they build homes in the sand like this.  Must be true, correct?

As a friend said, it is very reminiscent of adobe homes in Mexico.  Smart little birds.


Final Trip, First Sails. Life in a Harbor Town.

The juxtaposition of beginnings and endings and excitement and sorrow, struck me profoundly yesterday morning as I stood, torn, between two very different scenes unfolding around me in complete (and utterly opposite) unison.

T-Wharf, Rockport….8:00 a.m.

To my right (starboard), eager and bouncing junior yacht club members worked busily preparing their sailboats for transport to their very first regatta. Up the ramp. Like a little hive of worker bees they happily grabbed their sails, tillers, centerboards, and optis and helped sailing instructors and parents load up their boats for transport to Manchester Yacht Club.  They were clearly excited, yet keenly aware that the air was thick and heavy. Something looming. Among them, my Thatcher.  I was trying to be present for him. Water, snacks, suntan lotion, life jacket.  Take a moment….say a little prayer. Opti on my roof, ratchet straps tightened, loose ends wrapped…ready to go. Take a moment….say a little prayer.  A circus of children ready for a new beginning. A couple of summers’ worth of hard work culminating.  Noise, chatter, laughs…happy.  Take a moment…say a little prayer.  

To my left (port), ready…prepared for action…. First responders, emergency personnel. Four police cars, three ambulances, Harbormasters, and more.  As we were loading sailboats on…to the left, stretchers, medical bags, life saving equipment was being taken off. Down the ramp.  T Wharf closed….no further entry.  An accident on the water. Take a moment…say a little prayer.  Sirens, lights, a choreographed dance of professionals ready to help…and save.  No happy frenzy….instead, standing alert and poised for action.  Take a moment….say a little prayer.  Waiting, watching the entrance to the harbor….for the victim to arrive. Rescue boat, Harbormaster, lights….closer, closer, closer… arrived. Take a moment….say a little prayer.  

In the end, one seasoned fisherman had just taken his last trip.  Simultaneously, six new sailors were off to their first race.  Rockport. Life on the water. Beginnings and endings….excitement and sorrow. Starting whistle, final alarm. 

Take a moment….say a little prayer. 


Nichole’s Picks 7/8 + 7/9

Pick #1:  Thursday Night Concert Picnic Series at Castle Hill on the Crane Estate


We’re celebrating 21 years of Picnic Concerts and we want you to be a part of the fun! Bring a picnic supper, explore the grounds, dance on the lawn, and experience some of the region’s best bands.

Tickets available at the gate only. Gates open at 5PM for picnicking. Concerts start at 7PM and end at 9PM. A weather decision, if necessary, will be announced on this page, by 3PM on the day of the concert.

Concerts start at 7PM and end at 9PM. Gates open at 5PM for picnicking.
Members: $20/car.
Nonmembers: $30/car.

Walk-in, bicycle, & motorcycle: $10.

Tickets available at the gate only.

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Pick #2:  2nd Saturdays Free at Cape Ann Museum



The second Saturday of every month is free from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. 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.

This Saturday is CAM Kids Favorite Flowers, Saturday 10:00-12:00.  Register ahead of time.

Paint along with watercolor artist Marion Hall in the Museum Courtyard (weather permitting; in case of rain the program will be moved inside to the Museum’s Activity Center) to learn the basics of watercolor painting. Using good quality artist materials, participants will create a small painting of a fresh flower or plant of their choice. Hall will give painting demonstrations and will teach participants ways to experiment with color combinations and painting techniques. This is a drop-in program and parents are invited to participate as well! This free family program is generously sponsored by David and Lisa Rich. To make a reservation please call (978)283-0455 x10 or email

Marion Hall is an award-winning watercolorist whose paintings feature seascapes, landscapes, and wildlife from Cape Ann, Florida, England and France. She has exhibited in galleries and museums throughout the north shore of Massachusetts and beyond. Marion is a Cape Ann Museum docent and an Artist Member of the Rockport Art Association and the North Shore Arts Association.


Pick #3:  Boston’s PIZZA Festival

Jul 8, 2017 at 11:00 am to Jul 9, 2017 at 10:00 pm

City Hall Plaza, Boston, MA

Boston Pizza Festival is a 2-day outdoor festival featuring live music, food and giveaways. Local and international vendors in the food industry will be there. Each pizza vendor will be selling their own product. Giving attendee’s the unique opportunity to try pizza from all over. Vendors will have a chance to enter and win “Boston Pizza Festival Pizza Champion” contest.




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

Bonfire, Fireworks, Parades, Oh My.

What an exciting few days!  Beginning Friday afternoon we were blessed to be surrounded by some of our very favorite friends and family members.  From impromptu gatherings that lasted well into the night, to the perfect quintessential small town parade parade, to an exquisite event that we had to leave far too soon…but were thrilled to be able to attend….we have laughed and counted our lucky American stars.

One birthday party, three parade parties in 3 different towns, two epic beach days with such great friends, fireworks, and a bonfire…..  The Schraffts are tired, but so happy.


Again and Again

Just think of all of the fantastic bags Regina is going to be able to make with that giant pile of sail!

I drove by Again and Again in East Gloucester Square the other day and had to turn around and park to snap a photo after that massive pile caught my eye.

Visit Again and Again HERE or stop by the shop and check out their inventory!


Nichole’s Picks 7/1 and 7/2

Pick #1:  CATA Trolley Shuttle from Stage Fort Park


Such an easy, fun, and inexpensive ride to get around town AND, total bonus, to Good Harbor Beach, without having to pay to park!  Get dropped off at the foot bridge as early as 10:17 and then the trolley comes back every hour up until 5:17 pm.  Many other fun stops along the way.  See below.  Ummm….and an all day pass costs $3 with children under 5 Free.  And, unless things have changed, if you are riding the trolley from Stage Fort Park, they allow you to park there for FREE.  Total score.

10:00 a.m. to 5:39 p.m.

June 17 through September 4
Saturdays, Sundays and Holidays
including July 4th and Labor Day

One Way Fare: $1.00
All Day Pass: $3.00

Persons with Disabilities, Seniors
& Persons on Medicare $0.50

Children under 5 years FREE



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Pick #2:  Newburyport Americana Rhythm and Roots Festival

Free live music Saturday, July 1st at Waterfront Park in Newburyport

Saturday, July 1st
​3:30 to 8 p.m.


Don’t miss Newburyport’s annual music celebration of America’s roots on July Fourth weekend. Bring the family to Newburyport’s central waterfront for a free concert featuring roots music including Marcia Ball, Nikki Hill, and the Lonely Heartstring Band, with opening act local, teen, guitar sensation Quentin Callewaert.

Event sponsorship gets you VIP seating with free snacks, beer and wine overlooking the event from the balcony of the Firehouse Center for the Arts.  Click the button below to donate and reserve your VIP seating now.


Pick #3:  Boston Harborfest 2017

Friday, June 30th – Tuesday, July 4th



With hundreds of activities over Independence Day weekend at Boston’s best landmarks, this family-friendly event is the country’s largest Fourth of July festival. Activities include the annual opening ceremony at Faneuil Hall, historical reenactments, Freedom Trail® walks, boat tours, live entertainment and much more!


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

Live From Studio Crepe in Rockport

Studio Crepe is announcing some delicious new flavors and some new extended hours of operation! To do so, they are handing out some pretty great free samples on the side of the street on Railroad Avenue. Get down there while they’re still available.    If you haven’t been the Stdio Crepe before, put it on your to do list for sure!


Good Morning, Dear

Or…in this case…Good Morning, Deer!

My friend and I were out for an early morning walk/run and encountered this little deer crossing the quiet street down on Eastern Point.  It seemed completely unfazed by us and actually followed us for a few steps as we began to walk away.  Nice way to start a day for sure!

Photo credit to my friend, Diane Linn for snapping and sharing this photo since I didn’t have my phone.


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