Category Archives: Family

Nichole’s Picks of the Weekend 2/28 and 3/1

March….finally.  Maybe, just maybe, the worst of it is over.

Pick #1 

Mentioned just yesterday on GMG….and sounding like a lot of fun….is the Harlem Superstars Basketball Game!

Proceeds go to benefit the Cape Ann YMCA’s Annual Campaign!

The game starts at 7pm at Gloucester High School.  Tickets are $7 per person ($8 at the door) and all proceeds support the YMCA’s Annual Campaign to provide scholarships for local kids and families.

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Pick #2

The Lunar New Year at the Peabody Essex Museum

WEEKEND FESTIVAL

Saturday, February 28, 2015 from 10am – 4pm

Check out the day’s schedule HERE!

A full day of fantastic family activities waiting to be had!

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Pick #3

Also in celebration of the Chinese New Year…the Annual Lion Dance Parade

Chinese New Year Events – Lion Dance Parade

Click Here for Information about this year’s parade!

Be sure to scan all the way down when checking out the link above.  If you do you’ll find some great suggestions for where to eat some dim sum and more!

 

                                  Photo of Lion Dances at Boston's Chinese New Year Celebration in Chinatown

 

When: Sunday, March 1, 2015

See Boston Discovery Guide’s March Events Calendar for more information

 

Note:  In case you remember that this this parade takes place in February, you’re right.  However, Chinese New Year is based on the lunar calendar, and it takes place later than usual this year.

 

Where:  Beach Street and other nearby streets in Chinatown, Boston
Closest T station: Orange Line/Chinatown (or walk over from any Downtown Boston T station
Cost: Free

 

 

 

Singing Praises for Mile Marker 1

I know what you’re thinking….”Nichole is going to tell us to go swim in the pool again”….and I am….but, that’s not all.   So there.   Bear with me.

Yes, for sure, the pool passes at Cape Ann Marina’s Aqua Room are a total no-brainer and if you’re looking to kill some easy time with the kids you’d be crazy to not log some hours there….but, more importantly, I can not say ENOUGH about the staff and their graciousness, hospitality, and patience.

Seriously, I’m not going to lie, if you aren’t taking kids to the pool, this may not be where you want to be during a school vacation week (but hang in there because it is almost over). Quiet will soon prevail and then, if you’re looking for some peacefulness in the pool, get yourself down there. I’ve been there 3 times this week so far and it is not for the faint of heart.  It can get a bit loud…and peaceful it is not.  Fun, however, it sure is!

That having been said, we have had fantastic and gloriously low-maintenance days hanging by the pool.  Today, for example, the boys and I met three other families….with a staggering total of 10 kids.  We logged 7.5 hours.  The children were well-behaved and HAPPY for each and every second!

We all had a delicious lunch, the kids had frozen shirley temples AND ice cream, and we treated ourselves to some incredibly yummy pina coladas.  Why not?

The real point of this post, however, is not to tell you about how my boys spent their day, but rather to tell you that I was beyond impressed with literally each and every member of the staff!  Joe Loicano is the manager of all managers!  He is incredibly hands-on and makes the rounds talking with guests, high-fiving the kids, clearing tables, sharing funny stories, and making sure everyone is happy. He’s busy each and every second…yet somehow manages to make everyone feel like they are his top priority. Think The Captain, Gopher, Doc, and Isaac all rolled into one. Hopefully, you all got the Love Boat analogy or that last sentence just seemed weird.

The bartenders and servers are phenomenal.  We joked several times about how this week, with so many kids laughing and splashing, must be their worst nightmare but, even with the window open to express their dread, they all responded by saying different versions of, “No, it’s totally fun.” Seriously.  The girls who were making drinks, taking lunch orders, checking in on everyone, and clearing tables were incredibly friendly and accommodating.  I really can’t say enough positive sentiments about them….and I really hope that they get a chance to read this so that they know how relaxing and wonderful they made our day today!

Kudos to the entire team for being so kind, helpful, and incredibly hard working! You’ve all taken hospitality to the next level.

So, from Team Schrafft, THANK YOU!

If, by chance, you’re reading this and you don’t know much about Mile Marker 1 and Cape Ann Marina….check out this great video that Joey C. filmed while interviewing Joe Loicano back when the restaurant was getting ready to first open a couple of years ago. Makes me long for summer just a little bit more.

Cape Ann Marina   Mile Marker One

 

Try Hockey For Free This Saturday!

Try Hockey For Free on Saturday, Feb 21st @ 4:00 pm at Talbot Rink!

You can register here Tryhockeyforfree.com

On Saturday, February 21st, USA Hockey and over 300 local associations across the country will host Try Hockey For Free Day, presented by Kraft! Participating locations encourage kids, ages 4 to 9, to come try youth hockey as part of the eighth annual Hockey Weekend Across America, presented by CCM. All locations will have limited equipment available for use.

Find the closest Try Hockey event to you in the map below by searching your zip code. Try Hockey events are indicated with a red pin on the map. Click the pin most convenient to you to register your child.

For any questions, please contact us at (719) 538-1124 or email comeplayyouthhockey@usahockey.org.

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Nichole’s Picks of the Weekend 2/21 and 2/22

Is it wrong to simply repost last week’s Blog Post about Picks of the Week for February Vacation?   I mean…they still all hold true!

See all of last week’s ideas to kill time over vacation here!

Please don’t forget that in addition to all of the top picks from last week, I HIGHLY recommend:

1.  The pool at Cape Ann Marina and Resort.  We bought a vacation week pass last Friday and have already used it a few times and had a blast!  If you don’t want to invest in a vacation week pass now that the week is almost over, Day Passes are available!  Check it out for sure!

2.  Appleton Farm in Ipswich is offering a variety of fun activities this weekend!

Including:

Farm Fun Nature Crafts and Cookies  Saturday 2/21 10:00-12:00

Meet the Maples Tour   Saturday 2/21 1:00-2:00

The Mini Moos Tour      Saturday 2/21 2:30-3:30

 

3.  Pinocchio at the Wheelock Family Theatre

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The world premiere of an original adaptation influenced by Japanese theatrical traditions, Pinocchio’s adventures are told through mystical creatures, live musicians, and gymnastic choreography, making the transformation of an animated puppet into a real live boy, a magical, dynamic, and deeply moving experience.

4.  New England Sports Park!!  Get Your Tubing On!

                               

Kids Eat Free…and the Beer is Good Too

I love when restaurants offer great deals like this….especially during a school vacation week!

Cape Ann Brewing Company wrote this on their Facebook page today:

Happy Presidents Day! Remember Monday through Thursday kids eat free 11 – 4 (1 Kid per adult!). Bring the little guys in and we can lavish them with stories of walking 5 miles to school, up hill, in cardboard shoes and no World Wide Web.

I, for one, plan on taking advantage of this awesome deal at least once this week!

If You Get Tired of the Snow, Go for a Swim!

The boys and I met my mom, dad, sister, and nephew for a super yummy breakfast at the Cape Ann Marina this morning and then spent a couple of hours swimming in the pool….and having a couple of mimosas.

While there, I bought my February School Vacation Pool Pass!  SUCH a great deal!  For $59 a family of four can use the pool all week long (ending 2/22). If you have more than four in the family there is an additional fee per head.

A totally easy way to spend some time, get some exercise, and tire out the whippersnappers!  A total bonus is that you can order lunch/dinner/drinks while there.

Cape Ann Marina Resort   Call and ask them about the deal….or stop on by!

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Mary Baker Eddy Library

Yesterday I included The Mary Baker Eddy Library in my “Picks of the Week.”

They were kind enough to reach out to us and provide information about their programs, but also about the youth organization that they are collaborating with.  With a mission of, “Inspiring kids to give of themselves for the good of the world” Aaron’s Presents is making wonderful things happen.  Please take a minute to read about the children involved and the projects that they have created.  Please find the links below.  The first link will take you to the same February Vacation Programs page that I included yesterday.  The 2nd link will take you to Aaron’s Presents.

Hello Good Morning Gloucester Team,

I am writing on behalf of the Programs Team at the Mary Baker Eddy Library, Boston. We are all excited that the Library is listed in Nichole’s Picks of the Weeks for February School Vacation! I wanted to reach out and offer direct links to our program information so that your readers could explore our FSVW programming in greater detail. This year the Library’s Program is a collaboration with the Youth Organization Aaron’s Presents. It might be good to note as well that we strongly suggest online registration for some segments of our program (the How You Can Make a Difference session, and the Make Your Own New Story session.) Arts and Crafts and Mapparium segments do not require registration. Mon-Thurs sessions are already at full capacity, but Friday’s sessions still do have space.

Absolute Best,

Marie

http://www.marybakereddylibrary.org/events/february-school-vacation-week-programming

http://www.aaronspresents.org/

 

Nichole’s Picks of the Week: February Vacation

Many kiddos are on vacation this coming week so I’m throwing out some extra suggestions to the universe in case you have some extra downtime.

The possibilities are endless and this list is not meant to be comprehensive…just some of my favorite choices!

Pick #1:  

The New England Boat Show!

The boat show runs from February 14th-22nd at the the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center!  Children 15 and under are FREE and adults are only $16.  Actually, for a limited time, adults are only $13.  It’s a good idea to purchase tix online as the line to buy tickets can get long at times.

My boys LOVED the car show….I can only imagine the mayhem that will ensue when we unleash them at the boat show.

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Pick #2:

Slope Fest!  Lawn on the D February 20th-22nd

This event sounds like a blast!  Tubing, music, food trucks, frost ice bar, winter sports exhibition, family friendly activities, and much more!  This could easily become quite the staycation.  Book an inexpensive room and make a little getaway out of it!

Winter on D’s Slope Fest, a three-day wintertime festival offering city-dwellers an urban escape featuring a two-story-high snow slope for tubing, downhill winter sport exhibitions on the slope, a custom-designed illuminated bar carved out of ice by Boston’s Frost Ice Bar, activities for families and the young at heart, a hot Latin dance party and more!

With over five feet of snow blanketing The Lawn, Winter on D’s Slope Fest offers Bostonians the chance to tube down a 70-foot-long slope made of fresh snowy powder – without heading to the mountains. You can leave your snow tubes at home as they will be provided by the MCCA, but make sure to buy a ticket* to ensure that you get a chance to slide down the snowiest hill in Boston! The slope will also be the location for an hour-long sport exhibition featuring the SnowRiders, a team of experienced skiers and snowboarders, who will be twisting and turning in the air to show off their hottest moves on and off the slope**.

Once you’ve had your fill of tubing, grab a hot beverage or choose from local wine and beer selections from the ice bar provided by Boston’s Frost Ice Bar, the world’s largest permanent indoor ice bar in the U.S. Order a special drink to pair it with your favorite menu item from one of the many food trucks that will be on-site for Slope Fest.

Watch Latin dance performances by MetaMovements and even learn the latest dance steps before trying them out yourself during a Latin dance party that will take place before Friday’s Slope Fest downhill winter sport exhibition.

If that isn’t enough, Slope Fest will also feature fun family friendly activities, music from DJ Frankie White, fire pits on The Lawn and more (think snowy selfie photo opps)!

Pick #3
Salem’s So Sweet  This event is still going on so if you didn’t make it last weekend…you still have time.  Chocolate and ice sculptures…sounds like you can’t go wrong!

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Pick #4 
Pinkalicious! The Musical

PINKALICIOUS: The Musical
February 14 at 2 pm
February 15 at 2 pm and 4 pm
February 18, 19, and 20 at 2 pm
February 21 at 2 pm and 4 pm
February 22 at 2 pm

Back by popular demand! One of the biggest hits with BCT audiences, PINKALICIOUS returns for a limited run in our 2015 season. This pinktastic musical features everyone’s favorite pink princess, Pinkalicious, along with her brother Peter and her adoring parents! Learn why it’s so important to eat your green vegetables! A pinkerrific time will be had by all!  Single Tickets Now On Sale!  All Performances of PINKALICIOUS at the Cambridge YMCA, 820 Mass. Ave, Cambridge

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Pick #5

Dave and Buster’s

I’m not typically an arcade fan, but my boys love it here and I actually usually have a pretty good time too!  We’ve been to the Providence and the Braintree locations.  We eat a decent lunch, play a ton of games, the boys run around like crazy scoring tickets, and then cash them in for some silly little prize.

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Pick #6
The Mary Baker Eddy Library has February Vacation activities.

The Mapparium is really cool to see while you’re there!

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Pick #7
The Museum of Fine Arts

As with other museums, the MFA will be hosting February Vacation activities for children and their families!  Check out their program of events.

 

Pick #8
Maritime Gloucester!

One of our favorite summer places of all, Maritime Gloucester will be having some great February Vacation activities!

Be sure to click on the link to discover just what they’ll be offering!

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Pick #9
Eurostoves

Eurostoves in Beverly is offering kids’ cooking classes most days during vacation week, but they are filling up QUICK!

Check out their class schedule and call ASAP if you’re interested!

 

Pick #10
The Wenham Museum

The 6th Annual Lego Train 

by The New England Lego Users Group 

February 14 – 15

Learn more…

February Vacation Fun 

Legopalooza 

February 16 – 18

Train Time D IY Maker Studio 

February 16 – 20

Learn more…

               

Train Time 18: Farm to Table By Train

                                                                     

 

Open through February 22 

Learn more…

 

Pick #11

So, I know that you all know to go to the New England Aquarium, but right now I’m particularly excited about the Humpback Whales 3D IMAX Movie!

 

Wicked Tuna Hard Merchandise

WAKE UP CAPTAIN!

WAKE UP CAPTAIN!

 The Wicked Tuna’s “Hard Merchandise”

I caught the Hard Merchandise from the TV Show Wicked Tuna unloading a few Bluefin Tuna at the State fish Pier this Summer. One of the Tv crew members said the shows they’re filming will air in February 2015. So you may get lucky and watch them film on the Gloucester waterfront. The Hard Merchandise has been fishing for years here in Gloucester way before the TV show. They dock at the wharf behind the Madfish Galleries on Rocky Neck. I’m sure all their Fans will enjoy these photo’s. Video’s coming soon.

PAUL

For the Love of Chocolate

Maybe because Valentine’s Day is coming up….or maybe because we’ve had a gazillion feet of snow and it has been downright miserable out….either way, I’ve had chocolate on the brain.

Without getting all mushy or TMI on you, there’s something undeniably romantic (in my humble opinion) about chocolate.  Not like the average box of chocolates, but like a super yummy chocolate fondue spread, a chocolate martini, or some hot chocolate coffee liquor kind of dessert in a glass…or a crazy rich and decadent gourmet chocolate mousse.  That’s what I’m talking about.

And maybe a little bit of John Legend. Just saying. A girl can dream.

So, with that in mind, and while thinking about “Things to Do Over February Vacation” my mind traveled to hot cocoa.  Because honestly, insert my humble rude awakening,  hot cocoa with the kiddos is much more likely these days than any of the afore mentioned romantic types of chocolate indulgence.

So, on that note, I started to do some research as to where to find the best hot chocolate in Boston.  Why Boston, you ask?  Well, I also have a small love affair with getting over the bridge.  I LOVE living here on Cape Ann, but I also adore taking the boys into the city, flying by the seat of our pants, and making a day (or even better yet…a night) of it.

So, while looking around, I stumbled on a great little piece by Boston.com and figured “Why reinvent the wheel?”

Check this link out for some of the top spots to hunker down with a giant mug of chocolate!   

Some of the places look great for a day with the little ones….and some look like a perfect place to snuggle down for a while with a significant other for some quality time and warm fuzzies.  You choose.

One of the top spots listed is the Langham Hotel and its Cafe Fleuri.  Every Saturday from September to June they boast a Chocolate Buffet to shame all others.  It isn’t cheap…and reservations are a good idea…but what a fabulous alternative to tea with a little sweetheart….or a romantic date with a grown-up one.

Take your taste buds on a decadent trip across the globe with The Langham, Boston’s famous Chocolate Bar.
This season presents a new theme, the “World of Langham,” which pays homage to the upcoming 150th anniversary of The Langham, London. Featuring more than 100 chocolate dessert combinations, Executive Chef Mark Sapienza and Executive Pastry Chef Ryan Pike feature chocolate dishes from Langham Hotels across the globe, every Saturday in the hotel’s Café Fleuri restaurant.

Stations with varying levels of chocolate intensity and flavors – from white to dark and everything in between – feature a never ending supply of desserts from every continent along with local classics from the past 25 seasons including Boston crème pie, whoopie pies, brulées, bread puddings and more. Action stations feature crepes, chocolate fountains, chocolate lava cake and ice cream sundaes as a contemporary jazz band sets the tone for the afternoon.

If anyone else has great, and more local, suggestions as to where to mug up for a Winter Treat, please share and comment!  There’s still several weeks to go and we need to make the most of it!  We’re in this together, friends.

A Conversation To Have

When I was fourteen my friend Lee attempted to take her own life. In the middle of the night, she came to my bedroom window with slashed wrists. My Mom and I drove her to the hospital and she survived. This was the first of many attempts over the next several decades when, in her early forties, she succeeded. This, despite the love and support of her tremendous family. The following story is about Nan Cavanaugh, who was a friend of our daughter and friend of our family. Only 24 years old when she took her own life, Nan was a beautiful young woman–beautiful in her gifts of intelligence, compassion, and sweet spiritedness. I never spoke with Liv about my friend Lee until after Nan’s death. A discussion with your child about a friend in distress, especially when that friend is suicidal, is a conversation to have sooner, rather than later.

From WBUR: ‘She Was Able To Put On A Happy Face': Big Personality Masked Pain That Led To Suicide

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BEVERLY, Mass. — From an early age, Nancy (“Nan”) Cavanaugh, of Beverly, stood out.

“Nan was a spitfire. She was just a little towhead who made everybody laugh,” says Nan’s mother, Ellen Dalton.

Dalton filled albums with pictures of her middle daughter dressed up in costumes and goofing around.

“She loved to perform. She had this big booming voice. And she would get on the table and sing ‘Oh Shenandoah’ and get us all kind of going,” Dalton recalls. “She was a great friend. She had such passion.”

In high school, she was the loudest at pep rallies and won spirit awards, her family says.

But maybe that was a way for her to mask her pain. From the time she was young, Nan showed signs of obsessive compulsive disorder, anxiety and depression. Her mother says doctors minimized her ritualistic behaviors and anxieties when she was young, and she only started getting counseling in high school.

“But she was never really willing. She would do it because we kind of insisted for a while,” her mother says. “She was on medication, and I think that helped smooth things out a little bit. But she had said on a few occasions, ‘I’m always going to have to be taking this. And I can’t. I don’t want to do this.’ ”

Cavanaugh would stop taking her meds, but then her mood would change drastically and that would scare her, her family says.

Continue reading here.

Nichole’s Picks of the Weekend 2/7 and 2/8

There is NO denying it….the snow is here…and it is here for quite a while or so it would seem.

So, don’t forget that the New England Sports Park is now open for excellent tubing.  Also, while the lure of hitting the bigger mountains up north is totally tempting and definitely worth it, we have some pretty sweet slopes that make for easy day trips or even simple half day trips near by.

 

In addition to it still being all about the snow…it is also all about the chocolate this weekend!

Pick #1: Chocolate or Bust!  In both Gloucester and Salem.  

Donna already mentioned that the Gloucester Chocolate Tour is taking place on Sunday from 12pm-5pm!   Read her post here!

 

Another pretty sweet event is  Salem’s So Sweet

Salem’s So Sweet Chocolate and Ice 2015 Festival – Feb. 6 through Feb. 15, 2015!

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Check out a map and see more information here!

Pick #2

I mentioned Patriot Place two weeks ago as a great place to go to get in the Super Bowl mood.  Well, now that the Patriots have won the big dance, there’s even more reason to go! For the next several days you can have the opportunity to have your photo taken with the Vince Lombardi Trophy.

The New England Patriots are Super Bowl champions for the fourth time in 14 years and for this weekend only, The Hall at Patriot Place presented by Raytheon is offering fans an opportunity to take their photo beside the Vince Lombardi trophy with admission to The Hall. Guests who bring their own cameras will be able to pose beside the trophy for a photo in The Grand Hall. The trophy will be available at The Hall from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 6; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 7; and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday Feb. 8. In anticipation of lines, The Hall will provide hot chocolate to guests awaiting entry.

Pick #3

This may be cheating because it isn’t actually a weekend pick.  Sadly, just like the Patriots Duck Boat Parade, Truck Day at Fenway happens on a school day.  If you’re able to sneak out, however, it is a nice way to cheer on the Sox as Spring Training gets underway.

This year Truck Day falls on February 12th!  The Truck  even has its own Twitter account. You can follow it here.

So if you want to send the Sox off at Fenway Park, mark your calendars for Thursday, February 12. That’s the day the equipment truck will make its 1,500 mile trek down to Florida — better known as “Truck Day.”

Here’s a video from last year’s big send off

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What Do You Get When You Cross a Kayak and a Paddle Board?

Brilliant!   This is what you get when you cross a kayak and a paddle board….

a KYPAD….and it is awesome!

If you have kids who love being on the water, you should really check these out.

I have to brag and say that they are the brainchild of a friend of mine….and some of her close friends.  They dreamt of the idea while watching their kids struggling with some larger kayaks and boards.  They researched, designed, built….dreamed some more….and then executed the millions of steps and details that go into creating something as excellent as a Dream Come True. And, of it all, came the KYPAD.  You can bet that as soon as they’re in the budget the Schrafft boys will be on one of these.  They are incredibly light so that the kiddos can lug them themselves.  A huge bonus.  They can be used as a stand-up paddle board or the kids can take advantage of the cut-out seat and foot grooves for really steady sit-down paddling.  Win-win.

Hear the whole story and read more HERE!

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Why a KYPAD?
As parents, we want our kids to have fun! We invest in expensive recreational equipment that is appealing for a short time or ends up broken. Trends change. Sometimes it’s not very rewarding. We set out to create a different kind of product. Something for kids of all ages and abilities to enjoy. A well constructed board that would last. The combination of a kayak and a paddle board. The best of the most popular and exciting water based activities rolled into one. The KYPAD. KYPAD (kayak/paddleboard) was developed to meet the demands of two water sports in one incredibly lightweight, durable board. Every feature was designed with kids in mind including the most progressive lightweight material of 2.0 eps to the solid finishing touches of vacuum bagging.  Our goal is for every child to have a successful experience on the water that fosters independence, strength, fun, adventure, and exploration.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The World’s Largest Ocean and the Tiniest of Birds

Black-chinned hummingbird Goleta Santa Barbar Ellwood mesa ©kim Smith 2015We were happily surprised by the sight of the diminutive Black-chinned Hummingbird perched atop a thicket, spotted while hiking down the steep descent to the beach at Goleta, Santa Barbara. I loved the view of the region’s smallest bird juxtaposed against the world’s largest body of water, the Pacific Ocean. In the background you see Santa Cruz, one of the eight Channel Islands that comprise the archipelago off the southern coast of California, along the Santa Barbara Channel.

More photos from beautiful Santa Barbara to come.

Black-chinned hummingbird Goleta Santa Barbara ©Kim Smith 2015Black-chinned Hummingbird

Goleta Santa Barbara Ellwood Mesa ©Kim Smith 2015

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.

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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!

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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.

 

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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.

Bygones.

 

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.

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