Category Archives: Family

Santa Monica and Day One in Sunny Southern California

Santa monica Pier Ferris Wheel Pacific Park ©Kim Smith 2015Santa Monica Pier and Ferris Wheel

I arrived Tuesday afternoon and was met at LAX by Liv, after which Matt, Liv’s fiancé, took us to a fun seal-frolicking lunch at a marina in Marina del Rey near Matt’s office. We then headed over to their home in Santa Monica. The spacious and light-filled modern apartment is only several blocks from the main boulevard, Ocean Ave, the luxury hotel-lined street that runs along the water.

Everyday we explored the local beaches and hiking trails. When Matt wasn’t working, he joined us, too. We had plans to visit several museums, but it was just too sunny and gorgeous outdoors and neither of us wanted to be cooped up inside. We discovered beautiful vistas and exquisite flora and fauna on every adventure and at every turn. Liv and Matt have done some extensive hiking and climbing in the few short months they have been living there and they were so sweet to show me some of their favorite spots, and we explored new places they had not yet been.

Liv Hauck ©Kim Smith 2015

All along Ocean Ave it seemed as though everyone was outdoors walking, running, biking, and surfing in the warm late afternoon sun. I really wanted to see the Santa Monica Pier and where Matt had proposed to Liv.

Santa Monica Pier Pacific Park roller coaster ©Kim Smith 2015

The historic 100 year plus Santa Monica Pier is still used by anglers and is home to Pacific Park, with the world’s only solar-powered ferris wheel. The wheel is 85 feet in diameter, displaying a dynamic light show created by 160,000 energy efficient lights. Tired and hungry we left at sunset. I hope we can spend more time at the Pier on my next visit.

Santa Monica Pier ©Kim Smith 2015

Santa Monica Pier -2 ©Kim Smith 2015SantaMonica-Pier-1877-1Early incarnation of the Santa Monica Pier 1877

After dining at the charming, charming family owned and operated French restaurant, Le Petit Cafe, located only yards away from her front door, we went home to have a look at the Excel spread sheet Liv had organized, prepared to cram as many wonderful adventures as possible during the upcoming week.

young-wolff_2197Image of the Santa Monica Pier courtesy wikimedia; image of Le Petit Cafe courtesy Le Petit Cafe website.

Nichole’s Picks of the Weekend 1/24 and 1/25

Don’t forget about last week’s suggestion of going to see Alastair Moock concert on Saturday at The Cabot in Beverly.  Should be a fun show!  According to their website, tickets are still available.

Also don’t forget that the Cape Ann Museum is free for residents this month and SHOULD NOT be missed!!

Moving on…

Pick #1

White the Bright 2015!

A great and inexpensive way to inspire your budding athletes….in this case, especially your daughters.

Watch Harvard Women’s Hockey take on Cornell on Saturday.  They’re hoping to beat their attendance record and would love your help.  If you wear White to their Bright-Landry Hockey Center  (hence the White the Bright) you also get to spin the prize wheel.  Total bonus is that Adult tickets are only $10 and children 12 and Under are totally FREE.  So, take in an awesome Ivy League hockey game for super cheap and then spend the money you saved at Fire and Ice or somewhere else cool.



Pick #2

The Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary is always a no brainer…I’m sure I’ve said that before, but some weekends are even better than others…and, hence, are worth singling out and mentioning.  The following activity, for example, sounds excellent.

Wingmasters Presents North American Birds of Prey at Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary.

Sun, Jan 25, 2015 11:00 am – 12:15 pm

Tickets range from $10-$13 depending on whether or not you’re a member.

Come see live birds of prey up close in this indoor presentation that will introduce you to the different types of raptors including eagles, hawks, falcons, and owls. We’ll discuss the special features these birds have that enable them to be successful predators at the top of the food chain. We’ll talk about how they hunt, what they eat, and their amazing vision, hearing, and feathers. Don’t miss this fantastic opportunity to see birds such as the golden eagle, red-tailed hawk, saw-whet owl, and more (birds subject to change).

Pick #3

The Hall at Patriot Place and Bass Pro Shops

With no professional football scheduled (obviously) and Superbowl hype building by the second, I can’t think of a better weekend to make the little trek to the Hall at Patriot Place to further inspire your little ones…and get them revved up prior to the big game.  Patriot Place is also a great destination for some shopping and dining.  My boys are CRAZY about the Bass Pro Shops!


The Hall at Patriot Place presented by Raytheon is an exciting, innovative and interactive, modern museum experience for all ages. The Kraft family long considered the best way to honor the greatest Patriots of all time while simultaneously preserving Patriots history. They scored a touchdown when they opened The Hall in September of 2008.

The family’s investment in The Hall at Patriot Place presented by Raytheon accomplishes its goal to give Patriots fans a unique, technologically advanced venue to relive and celebrate great moments and great players and even recall some of the hard times that make all fans, including long-time season ticket holder Robert Kraft, appreciate the recent Super Bowl championships. The Hall will impress Patriots and football fans alike.

The Hall is a modern “museum” that takes guests through Patriots and New England football history in a cutting-edge way, utilizing amazing video and audio to tap into fans’ emotions in a manner never before seen in a sports museum.

Pick #4

Kicking it old school….  Don’t forget to go bowling and/or ice skating! This weekend you can also make a date to see Paddington because it was super cute.



Cape Ann Cinema is local, inexpensive, and easy.  Cape Ann Lanes is always a fun bet as is King’s Bowling if you’re looking for a bigger adventure and a bigger bill.

Outdoor Skating in the winter is a must.

Here are some hotspots:

The Frog Pond in Boston Commons

The Charles Hotel, Cambridge

Kendall Square

Patriot Place

Start Your Engines

I’ve literally never seen my boys as wound for sound as they were at the New England Car Show on Saturday.  Boys and their cars, I guess.

In, out, open, close, push, press, twist, turn….repeat….repeat…repeat, etc.

They were crazy…and they had a blast.

That having been said, I would like to publicly apologize to all employees, dealers, manufacturers, and fellow car show patrons for my boys’ unyielding exuberance. While I knew they’d enjoy it, even I didn’t expect it would be this much.



Cars, Cars, Cars

We had such a great time at the New England International Car Show on Saturday.  If you have kids who are into cars you should plan on heading in next year!

The practical reason for attending is that if you are considering purchasing a car in the next 12 months it’s a great way to see all of your favorites in super close proximity to each other.  And, as a bonus, you may discover others that you might not have considered as an option.

The less practical reason, of course, is that there are some unbelievably cool cars on display to check out.  I’m not much of a car enthusiast, but it is hard to not be smitten by the sleekness of some of the automobiles that are there for your drooling pleasure.  I have not recovered from some of the price tags….such as the Bentley for $261,100 or the Lamborghini with a BASE PRICE of $441,600 …..which was, for the record SOLD.

If you ask my boys, the real reason to attend is to see how many buttons you can press in a 2 hour window.

Holiday Delights on Cape Ann TV This Weekend

This just in from Lisa Smith:

Keep Warm, stay inside this MLK weekend and watch “Holiday Delights” on Cape Ann TV Channel 12. This latest version of the Gloucester Stage perennial favorite Christmas play was filmed with three cameras last month. It features over 30 young actors from the Gloucester Stage Youth Acting Workshop and tells the story of a Gloucester girl who finds the true  meaning of Christmas on Christmas Eve. The program airs Saturday, January 17 at 9 am and 5 pm; Sunday, January 18 at 8 am; and Monday,  January 19 at 9 am and 6 pm.  See complete Cape Ann TV Schedule here.

New England International Auto Show

I should have included this in my Weekend Pics for sure.  I realize that not all kids are car enthusiasts like my boys, but it is still a good time.  I attended the auto show all the time when I was younger (in addition to the boat show) and I always enjoyed it.

New England Auto Show

Boston Convention & Exhibition Center

415 Summer Street, Boston, MA 02210

Tix are $15 for Adults and $6 for Kids.  Kids under 6 are free (Yay, Finn!)

Driving Directions

January 15-19, 2015

Thursday, 2:00 PM – 9:00 PM

Friday, 12:00 PM – 9:00 PM

Saturday, 10:00 AM – 9:00 PM

Sunday, 10:00 AM – 7:00 PM

Monday, 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM


TBT ~ The Cheetah Coat

Liv Cheetah coat ©Kim Smith 2015Liv sent this snapshot that Matt took over New Year’s. I designed the coat that she is wearing before she was born (!); and also designed a coordinating pencil slim skirt, too. The coat made appearances in a number of music videos, art films, and theatrical productions. I love that the ensemble has yet a new life and that she has fun wearing it out in the evening. I saved a few of the samples, just in case we were blessed with a daughter, and just in case she wanted to play dress-up.  There’s a leopard version on my website, with Gail Huff (Brown) modeling here.

Nichole’s Picks of the Weekend 1/17 and 1/18

Pick #1

If you make it, they will come….I think.

With no real accumulation and the kids dying to go sledding…or in this case TUBING, New England Sports Park (formally Amesbury Sports Park) has you covered! This weekend is finally opening weekend so they must be making snow.

What is New England Sports Park? Where do we start? 

We are best known the steepest, fastest snow tubing hill in New England in the winter.  

But we are so much more.


Pick #2 

I am a huge fan of Scavenger Hunts…just saying.  So, this sounds like a ton of fun! I’ve been meaning do one of the Watson Adventures Scavenger Hunts for some time now.  I’m not going to lie, the outdoor ones around Boston are more my cup of tea, but this sounds great….especially if you have kids who can’t get enough of the Museum of Science!

The Mad Science Family Scavenger Hunt

See the surreal side of science on a whirlwind tour to see the best of the Museum of Science. Kids and adults work together to uncover the secrets of eye-popping interactive exhibits, a life-size T. rex, a sneaky snake, hidden messages, an electrified jumping disk, optical illusions, a mad scientist’s lab, a musical zebra in a hunter’s trophy room, a book by a cat, live animals and a nightmare chair.

For ages 7 and up. Kids must be accompanied by adults, and vice versa. Click on the button below to see the hunt schedule and find more fun!

Saturday 1/17 at 2:00.  Kids 7 and up.  Be sure to purchase tickets ahead of time on the link provided!  GOOD LUCK!


Pick #3

Ok. So this is a bit premature, but if you want to score tickets, you need to act now.  The new Cabot in Beverly is such a fantastic venue and they have opened with a bang offering a wonderfully diverse array of shows.  If you’ve been wanting to take your kids to a concert, but haven’t scored tix to Taylor Swift, One Direction, or Gosh Only Knows Who Else….or if you’re not sure that they’re old enough for such an event…next weekend’s Alastair Moock concert may just be the ticket you’ve been looking for. A sweeter, simpler concert for young music fans, for sure!

  • When: Saturday, Jan 24, 2015 10:30 AM (Doors open at 10:00 AM)
  • Ticket Price: $5.33 - $8.24

AWARDS: 2014 Grammy nomination – Best Children’s Album; 2013 People Magazine Best Kid’s Album; 2013 Parents’ Choice Gold Medal; 2013 NAPPA Gold Medal.

Nearly twenty years into his performing career, 2014 Grammy-nominated musician Alastair Moock has managed to carve out a unique niche for himself: He is a songwriter committed to celebrating the roots of American music while knocking down the walls between different audiences, genres and musical traditions. Today, his audiences range from adults all the way down to preschoolers, and he plays everything from nightclubs to theaters to schoolrooms. Like his boyhood hero, Woody Guthrie, Moock believes in the power of music to reach all people — young and old, far and wide, for all occasions.



But it is Moock’s newest album, Singing Our Way Through: Songs for the World’s Bravest Kids, which is nearest and dearest to his heart. In July of 2012, one of Alastair’s daughter’s was diagnosed with leukemia. The Singing Our Way Through project began when they started writing songs together in the hospital. Over the next several months, Moock continued to write and collect songs that reflected his family’s experiences – the love, the pride, the surprising amount of joy, and some of the more difficult parts too.

Moock decided he wanted to record an album for other families traveling similar paths. With the help of an amazing fundraising campaign and the musical talents of friends including co-producer Anand Nayak, Chris Smither, Aoife O’Donovan, Rani Arbo, Mark Erelli, The Okee Dokee Brothers, and (fellow 2014 Grammy nominee) Elizabeth Mitchell, Moock released Singing Our Way Through in July, 2013. Since then, more than 2,500 albums have been distributed to hospitals, cancer organizations and patient families around the country.

Nichole’s Family Picks of the Weekend 1/10 and 1/11

Ummmm…..Brrrrrr.   It is kind of hard to think of doing anything other than a mad movie marathon or intense family game day under blankets, sprawled on the living room floor, but here are some ideas.

Want to feel like you are in the tropics, even though we aren’t?

Pick #1 is to visit an indoor garden and it might just help you forget these frigid winter temperatures!

Here are two great choices.

The Tower Hill Botanic Garden in Boylston

While it may be too cold to enjoy some of the outside gardens, there are some gorgeous indoor spaces and you are always welcome to hike around outside as long as you can handle the temps.  Be sure to visit the Limonaia, or Lemon House, and the Orangerie.  The Winter Garden is also not to be missed!

6635275319_4139f76a6e_z 1-limonaia_notext


Or there are the Margaret C. Ferguson Greenhouses at the Wellesley College Botanic Gardens.

The Margaret C. Ferguson Greenhouses house the most diverse collection of plants under glass in the greater Boston area.

There are sixteen interconnected greenhouses comprising 7,200 square feet under glass. Many plants in the greenhouses have cultural value as food and spice around the world. Some plants in the greenhouses have historical significance to Wellesley College, the most prominent being the 130-plus year old Durant camellia which came from the founder of the college.

The Desert House showcases cacti and succulents in a series of miniature landscapes, demonstrating a range of adaptations to different desert environments and providing examples of convergent evolution. Larger landscape plantings give a realistic impression of desert plants in nature. Annuals such as desert bluebells are added to enhance the landscape as appropriate. This house is kept cool during the winter months to encourage spring bloom.

The Tropic House is the tallest of the greenhouses, allowing small trees such as palms, cycads and banana to grow in a central in-ground planting area. The house provides a general impression of a tropical forest understory, demonstrating adaptations such as aerial roots and large leaves with drip tips. Vines and lianas are encouraged to grow up appropriate hosts, and epiphytes are grown on trees or simulated trees.

Aerated pools in the Hydrophyte House provide suitable growing conditions for aquatic plants as well as plants adapted to wet root zone conditions, such as mangroves and papyrus. A range of water-loving plants, from floating aquatics to rooted emergents to floodplain species, is demonstrated in and around these unique pools.

Other houses and collections include the Seasonal Display House, Mabel A. Stone Cryptogam (Fern) House, Warm Temperate House, economic plant collection, caudiciform collection, sensory plant collection, and carnivorous plant collection.



Pick #2

Need to shake off the chill?  Try the pot….The Melting Pot, that is.

I have such fond memories of fondue family nights spent hanging over our mustard yellow super 70s fondue pot!  While this experience may be slightly more modern than my memories (and more than a wee bit more expensive) it is worth it for a fun treat!  There are locations in Bedford/Burlington and in Boston’s Back Bay.

turtle-course(1) cheese-fondue


Pick #3 

To help take care of some of that holiday excess that you may have enjoyed….

Hit the gym.  The Metrorock Climbing Gym

“Climbing for the Day” passes are $20 for adults, $10 for children under 7, and FREE for children under 4.

There are locations in Newburyport and Everett.


Maserati Dreams on a Minivan Budget

You should have seen my boys’ eyes when we told them that we were renting a car for our weekend getaway to New York City….and then pulled into the Maserati Dealership…and then moved right along to the waaay back of the lot to the rental agency to pick up our mad minivan.

I’m still laughing.

But, really…who do they think we are?

Thatcher and Finn have become more than a little obsessed with cars lately. While a part of me is super impressed with how much they know, part of me could handle a day off from answering questions like, “What do you think goes faster?  A mustang or a corvette?” or “Would you rather have a fast little sporty convertible or a big 4WD SUV?” “Well, what if you lived in Florida? What if you lived in Alaska? What if you lived in Australia”  (Oh, for the love of God). Then there’s, “Which do you like better? A Bugatti or a Ferrari?” I had to Google Bugattis. Or the more elaborate, “If you had a mega yacht what type of car would you put on it to drive around all of the islands you visit?”  Ummm. Hmmmm. Good one.

Sometimes I get caught up in it and actually select my answers carefully….you know, because someday it might matter.  Other days, I just answer absentmindedly (don’t tell them…please).  Last week my mother was in the car with us and Finn announced, “There’s Nammy’s (their name for my mom) favorite type of truck!” as he pointed to a massive Dodge Ram.  I looked at my mom with a raised eyebrow and she whispered, “Sometimes its just easier to give them an answer.”

She’s right.  They’re relentless.  Always have been.

That having been said, they do love their cars….and they would be as happy as the Autobahn is fast just driving around looking at cars (and boats).  I know a couple of kids who will be attending some lawn events at the Lars Anderson Car Museum this summer, for sure.

So, while we didn’t actually take one of the Maseratis to NYC, the boys insisted that we give them some time on the lot to take photos and ooh and aah their little hearts out.

While they were running around all awestruck, I took a second to look around too.  In doing so, I learned a few things.  First of all, Maseratis cost a shit load of money! Secondly…and insanely…many of the cars on the lot were actually SOLD. What? To Whom?  And thirdly, Maseratis cost a shit load of money.  That bears repeating.


IMG_1940 IMG_1939


Finn is still pissed that his Maserati dreams were shattered and he was pimping it minivan style instead.

Rockport Rings in the New Year

I can’t even imagine the details that need to go into organizing an event such as New Year’s Rockport Eve.  With 15 incredible venues and 38 performers and/or acts covering the entire downtown area over the course of 6 rockin’ hours, Rockport was the place to be on New Year’s Eve!

Massive kudos to those involved in the planning, execution, volunteering, and entertaining aspects of this event!

My only regret is that we had to limit our fun by only attending 6 of the many, many options.

We traveled in a group of about 6 adults and 7 kids.  Hitting the Shalin Liu for the Cape Ann Big Band was an absolute must and was also our first stop!  Such a tremendous venue and band….it was the absolute best way to kick off our New Year’s Eve celebration!

We then took in a Story teller, some face painting, balloon animal making, The Jolly Rogues and their Seafaring music, Jah Spirit and some awesome reggae music (some mad dancing), and then the one and only Dan King.

We made it back to our friends’ beautiful home in time for some late night drinks and snacks with about 35 minutes to spare before the big midnight moment.

Rockport proved one again, that we are beyond fortunate to call it home.



Nichole’s Family Picks of the Weekend 1/3/15 and 1/4/15

Happy New Year!

I hope that 2015 proves to be everyone’s best year yet!

It looks like the cold weather is here to stay, but with no snow there’s no chance of sledding, snowshoeing, or cross country skiing anytime soon. There’s still plenty to do!

Pick #1 

Fire and Ice Festival on The Lawn on the D

Check out the link above for the weekend’s schedule of events!  It looks like a great time!  And…as the 1st event of its kind, you can be a part of the history!



The Lawn on D kicks off its winter season with Winter on D’s inaugural event – Boston’s first Fire & Ice Festival!

Enjoy the chilling beauty of this winter season as The Lawn on D is magically frozen into a wonderland of ice. The Fire & Ice Festival offers fun free daytime activities and exciting winter attractions that will keep you happily frolicking in the cold including an ice labyrinth, free daytime and evening activities including kids dance parties.

The Fire & Ice Festival will feature one of the largest ice labyrinths in America that will allow visitors to walk through a glass-like maze built out of nearly 300 giant ice blocks bathed in colorful lights during the evening hours. Guests can also admire photos from world-famous adventure photographer Paul Nicklen whose polar photos of penguins, polar bears and other arctic creatures will be frozen into the ice labyrinth walls.

Watch the finest fire art performers from The Boston Circus Guild manipulate the orange and yellow hues of fire at their will. Feel the heat and watch the flames flicker and dance in the evening sky by skilled performers in an icy winter wonderland.

Got a chill? Kids and adults can warm up under the winter pavilion with a nice warm cup of cocoa! The pavilion will feature a beautifully carved ice bar, serving up seasonal favorites including apple cider and hot cocoa for the little ones, along with wine and beer for adults.

Fire & Ice Festival goers can sit by one of the many fire pits placed around on the lawn to warm their hands and feet after grabbing a bite to eat from one of our food trucks including free samples of Legal Sea Foods’world-famous chowder and good hearty bites from Stoked Pizza, The Taco Truck and Sheherazad.

Music and entertainment will be provided throughout the three day Fire & Ice Festival.

(Please note: Evening fire performances and Legal Sea Foods will not be present on January 4, 2015)






Pick #2 

The Neveland Theatre Presents Charlie and the Chocolate Factory


Pick #3

Skating at the outdoor rink at Market Street in Lynnfield, some bowling at Kings and a good meal….some shopping wouldn’t hurt either!


Check out the full list of restaurants and stores here!



Pick #4

As has been mentioned here on GMG before, swimming at the Cape Ann Marina is a total no brainer.  Swimming, food, and drinks, oh my!  For the record, the kids’ meals are $8 and come with a drink, the meal, and even a small vanilla ice cream.


Happy New Year’s Eve!

Wishing Everyone Peace and Joy in 2015!

Tom Hauck Kim Smith BermudaMy husband and I are also celebrating our anniversary. Here we are in Bermuda at the Coral Beach Club where we married and had our honeymoon.

Can you believe Tom still has that same leather jacket. It was lent to dozens of school and community plays–think West Side Story!

And that’s Tom’s selfie–he’s the original selfie-maker–or at least I had never seen anyone do that before. It’s not very easy with a film camera. He did it so effortlessly, but then again, he can also draw upside down!  Happy Anniversary bouquet from Liv and MattWe’re so very touched by the beautiful anniversary arrangement sent by our daughter Liv and her fiance, Matt O’Rourke.

Nichole’s “Picks of the Weekend” December 27th and 28th

Ok, I’m not going to lie, my First Pick for this weekend would be to R.E.L.A.X!!!

Enjoy some quiet family time.  Watch the kiddos play with their new toys. Unplug.  Plug in. Read a book.  Take a nap.  Go for a walk. Take a nap. Get the holiday crap out of the house.  Regain some normalcy.  Take a nap.  Go for a bike ride. Take a nap.  You get the picture.

Seriously, it is going to be (while I’m no meteorologist) close to 50 degrees.  Get outside and enjoy the somewhat mild weather and just chill.  I’m assuming that, like me, you’ve all been on the go like mad.  Shopping, hiding, finding, losing, wrapping, lying, shopping some more….repeat.  Throw in some holiday parties, engagements, and casual stop bys….and we are all BEAT.

I’m psyched for some major chill time with the family, but, if you are the proverbial energizer bunny and need something to do….have at it. I’ll offer a couple of suggestions.

With all my talk about relaxing, I have to admit I am kind of a hypocrite, because I’m super tempted to sign up for Pick #2

Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary is offering a couple of excellent programs this weekend!

The first is SURVIVOR….family style.  While I kind of feel like every day in our life lately should be dubbed “Survivor Day”…this does sound pretty awesome.

Survivor: Saturday, December 27, or Friday, January 2
Through teamwork and problem-solving, we will explore the woodlands of the sanctuary and imagine that we are explorers stranded in the wilderness. In order to survive, we will need to build shelters, collect firewood, and find food and a water source. Come and find out how you would survive!

The second is Build a Bird Feeder!

Parent/Child Build a Bird Feeder: Sunday, December 28, or Saturday, January 3
Brighten up your yard this winter with a bird feeder handmade by you and your child. Each family will receive a kit containing all the necessary parts to build a feeder that will attract chickadees, titmice, nuthatches, cardinals, and many other birds to your yard. A short slide presentation will highlight the birds that commonly come to feeders. We’ll also observe the sanctuary feeders to see which birds are looking for food. Instructors will circulate to provide assistance.

Check it all out here for sure!


Pick #3

Keeping in mind that it is school vacation and most indoor activities everywhere will be jammed….the Museum of Science is now showing some pretty excellent IMAX movies and a 15 minute 4D Polar Express Show!

The IMAX Theater is showing 1. Galapagos (I will actually travel there some day!! Total bucket list vacation!!) 2. Pandas: The Journey Home  and 3. Mystery of the Maya.

Read More Here.

The Polar Express film…while really short…also looks pretty awesome!

We’ve taken trips into the MOS during school vacations in the past and, while the Museum itself is usually mobbed, we’ve had good luck simply parking, heading to an IMAX movie, and then getting out of there.  I like to save an actual day at the museum for days when it is safe to say that it won’t be too crowded.







Christmas is about children smiles

Such a great night

GMG’s Christmas party at Fred’s .. as always a great time

Santa’s ETA on Christmas Eve is No Joke

In just three days children everywhere will be turning to NORAD to track Santa’s flight around our great big world. Because, after all, knowing exactly when to put out cookies and milk is super important.  Warm milk and stale cookies are crappy. The big guy and his team of furry friends deserve better than that.

NORAD’s mission is summed up simply as, “We have the Watch.”  And, that they do.


“We have the watch.”

The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) is a United States and Canada bi-national organization charged with the missions of aerospace warning, aerospace control, and maritime warning for North America. Aerospace warning includes the monitoring of man-made objects in space, and the detection, validation, and warning of attack against North America whether by aircraft, missiles, or space vehicles, through mutual support arrangements with other commands.

However, on December 24th, they take on an even more important task.  That of tracking Santa.  And…they take it quiet seriously.  Their tracking system is no joke.  It consists of a radar comprised of 47 installations, satellites, SantaCams, and Fighter Jets!

It did, however, all start as a joke.

The tradition began in 1955 after a Colorado Springs-based Sears Roebuck & Co. advertisement misprinted the telephone number for children to call Santa. Instead of reaching Santa, the phone number put kids through to the CONAD Commander-in-Chief’s operations “hotline.” The Director of Operations at the time, Colonel Harry Shoup, had his staff check the radar for indications of Santa making his way south from the North Pole. Children who called were given updates on his location, and a tradition was born.

NPR told the story through the eyes of “Santa Colonel’s” children earlier this week. It is truly quite wonderful.  Warm fuzzies, for sure.  Check it out with the link below.  And then, don’t dare forget, to also check out the Official NORAD Santa Tracking Site.

NORAD’s Santa Tracker Began With A Typo And A Good Sport

The Official NORAD Santa Tracker








Save $5 on CAPE ANN WINTER SOLSTICE TICKETS if you get them at Liquor Locker before 3pm today

WinterSolsticeBenefit2014Tickets for tonight’s Cape Ann Winter Solstice benefit for Gloucester’s UU Meetinghouse Restoration are only $20 in advance at The Liquor Locker 287 Main Street. But you can only get those tickets until 3pm today.

After that, tickets are $25 at the door.

Plus we have a few VIP tickets left on-line here.

We realize this holiday season can be hectic and stressful.  That’s why this year’s Solstice concert is designed to take you away and give you an new appreciation for the power of acoustic music in a magical space to cleanse the soul.

When you hear Boston rock star Charlie Farren’s hits like ‘Fool In Love’ and ‘You are the Only One’ solo with guitar in this intimate room, you’ll feel them even more deeply than the electric versions.  Add Danielle Miraglia’s soulful blues with slide guitar and mix in Gloucester’s iconic Americana singer/songwriter Allen Estes as host and we guarantee you’ll leave having been taken to a place you’ve never experienced before.

“It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas” outside.  Join us tonight and feel the holiday spirit inside.

Here’s a taste of what it will be like:


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