Tag Archives: Cape Ann Lanes

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

Toy With the Idea of Non-Toy Gifts

I was that parent who insisted that my boys were going to have all wooden, all natural, and “real life” toys.  I stuck to that rule for quite some time and, I’m not going to lie, I’m still happy that my boys have, on their own, become interested in things like animals, boats, police/fire/coastguard/etc., vehicles, fishing tackle, and sports cards…rather than Power Rangers, Pokemon, and whatnot.  I guess what I love the most about their interests is that they are “real” and they’re not going anywhere.  You can never learn too much about wild animals, real life heros, sports, science, and such.  But, it isn’t just that, I’m also cheap and I’m happy that they haven’t gotten into the it items that are going to be replaced by new it items in 6 months.

So, they’ve been playing with many of the exact same toys for probably YEARS. They, at 5.5 and 7.5, still can not get enough of their collection of Hess trucks, fishing boats, rescue vehicles, match box cars, and Schleich animals. They also have 100s of small whales, dolphins, seals, sea lions, etc that they spread out and play with for hours.  On the other hand, they also have iPod minis, for when they need some down time…or I need a break!

I say all of this (in my incredibly long-winded own way) because all of that means that I had NO idea what to get them for Christmas this year.  They truly don’t need a thing.  They still use and love so many of their toys…why replace them with stuff just for the sake of having more stuff?  Likewise, we have a tiny little home.  I truly can’t bear the thought of buying crap that they are not going to use.  That having been said, clearly we want to get them things…and not super lame things….for Christmas.

They did ask for a few things…so that helped.  They both wanted a couple of pairs of new sneakers.  Shot, score!  Cause, you know, I was going to have to buy those soon anyway.  They wanted “rollie” hockey bags. Ummm….ok…awesome!  The less I need to lug their gear around the better. It totally rocks that I was also able to get the Grit Pod hockey bags that actually have a compartment for each item of their gear!  TOTALLY addresses my OCD issues.  I couldn’t be happier.  They wanted new backpacks.  That one kind of hurt, because they both have ones that I love…and that don’t really need  to be replaced….but, since they were cheap and easy…I got them.  And, they always get the new Hess truck.  So, not bad.  We were making progress.

They’ve been dying to take guitar lessons, but with hockey, school, etc. that hasn’t really been in the budget. Thank goodness for grandparents, because thanks to Nammy they will have guitars and an amp and thanks to Grampy they’ll have their first three months of lessons. Tremendous.

So, now what?

From here it is all about the Experience Gifts!  Here’s a little secret.  Shhhh.  If, like us, you find yourself to be on a budget, Experience Gifts can be great because you don’t really have to pay for them before Christmas.  For example, last year I put together a little gift basket with some Providence Bruins stuff, a photo of a hotel in Providence, a brochure for the Providence Dave and Busters, and a brochure for the Roger Williams Zoo.  A quick little one night getaway stuffed to the gills with activities that they were going to love to help kill the post holiday/winter doldrums….that didn’t have to be actually paid for until a few weeks after the holidays when we actually booked the hotel and got “baby Bruins” tix online…for super, super cheap I might add.

Another great quick getaway that is on my favorite list is The Great Wolf Lodge in Fitchburg…again, give them a getaway for Christmas by putting together a cute basket (think Wolf ears or nose from a party shop, swim goggles, one of their own bathing suits and/or flip flops, maybe a cheap new towel, a brochure) and then book it in January or February for a mid winter retreat.  Does that sound cheap? What evs….it works.

Experience Gifts don’t have to be in the form of overnight trips though!!

Here are some other ideas:

A membership to Maritime Gloucester.  Get a cheap sand pail (or find one of the 1,000 you already own), throw in a ocean dwelling stuffed animal (or go buy one from their awesome gift shop), maybe a small fishing net, grab a brochure, and you’re good to go.

A season pass for the Water Taxi.  Buy a little toy boat (can you say Toodeloos) and tie on the pass with a cute little bow.  Maybe even find a sailor or captains hat to go with it!

Gift cards to Friendly’s, Orange Leaf, Cape Ann Lanes, Island Art and Hobby, Gloucester Cinema, the Rainforest Cafe, or Art Haven (which also means GLAZED!). Of course, there’s also things like the Museum of Science, the Boston Children’s Museum, the PEM, the Elizabeth Stewart Gardner Museum, the Harvard Museum of Natural History, Sky Zone, The Legoland Discovery Center. You name it!!  Don’t forget their favorite store.  Seems like a no brainer, but my boys love nothing more than a gift card to Fisherman’s Outfitters or Fin and Feather in Essex!  I buy them a couple of new fishing lures and tie them onto the envelope from one of those stores and they’re the happiest of campers.

Two things:  First of all, ALL of these kind-of-lame-to-open gift cards can be made super fun with simple extras.  A little bowling pin (I’ve seen them but probably couldn’t find one when I actually need one so you’re on your own there) or a roll of quarters for the video games to go with the bowling gift card. Some microwave popcorn and some candy put into a cute box (Michael’s Crafts in Danvers sells really cute boxes…sometimes even ones that look like popcorn boxes…see below) to go along with the movie gift card.  An actual container from Orange Leaf (which they give out with their gift cards) filled with some gummy bears, cookies, or other toppings.  A paint brush, crayons, cheap set of markers to go along with the Art Haven gift card. A magnifying glass for the MOS, some small plastic animals/insects to go with the Museum of Natural History. An art book to accompany the art museum visit.  A pair of gym shorts or a new water bottle for the trip to Sky Zone. A small Lego kit to go with the trip to Legoland in Somerville. Whale Watch tickets work well with a brochure or post card of a whale, a stuffed animal, or maybe even a t-shirt from one of the local whale watching companies. You get the point!  Secondly, if a place doesn’t necessarily make/give real gift cards….just make your own and then pay cash when you go for real.  I’ve done that plenty of times.

One of my favorite gifts is a “A Day Your Way” ticket.  Each of my boys get one and then they get to redeem it for a day that is planned totally by them (with in reason and budget!).  They only get one or two a year so if they choose candy for breakfast and breakfast for dinner I don’t really care!  They also get to choose one activity: movie, mini golf, museum, hike, etc. and we follow their lead all day long.

Aside from day trips, are also simple staycation ideas. Super easy, no brainers. Hot cocoa, ice cream sundae toppings, popcorn, and a movie in a fun basket for a family movie night!  Some snacks, a pizza coupon, and a new board game for family game night!  A new book and some snacks for a guaranteed long session of read aloud time together.  A basket of crafting supplies for a day or arts and crafts.  Some binoculars, a compass, a map, a nature map or field guide, maybe a disposable camera…and you’re off for a fun hike together!  You get the idea.

For those of you who are super eager beavers, plan a scavenger hunt!  Some small gifts and clues that will lead your child all around town with some fun stops along the way!  Again, my boys love to search for different boats, see which boats are in and which are out, hit a playground, go for a hike, grab a hot cocoa, search for more clues….  Super fun day!

And, finally….   here are some other Non Toy ideas that I love.

1.  A magazine subscription.  We love National Geographic Kids, National Geographic Little Kids, Boys’ Life, and Time for Kids.  The novelty of getting their new magazine in the mail has never worn off and we make certain to make special time to read it together within 48 hours of its arrival.

2.  To up the ante, a book club.  I’ve used Gift Lit before.  Think wine of the month club, but in a book form for young (or any aged) reader!

3.  Equally, if not more, awesome is Kiwi Crate!! I really hope at least someone has hung on and read this far because this is one of my favorite ideas ever!  Same idea as the monthly book club, but you sign up and then all that you need to complete a fun craft together is shipped right to your house! Total excitement the day it comes in the mail!


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Bowling At Cape Ann Lanes Is a Great Time

They’re doing a great job at Cape Ann Lanes.  We had a blast. Pizza, bowling, arcade games.  Fun City!

Used the UDine4Less coupon, saved a bunch of money and the girls loved it.

I know Kings is the trendy spot right now but I’ve yet to be able to get in there without a 2 hour wait.  We have a great bowling experience right here in Gloucester.

Check out UDne4Less for the coupon too-



Last Minute Block Party Updates – Win Cool Prizes

Here’s a new feature for tomorrow’s (SAT) Downtown Block Party: Win Cool Prizes!
The Block Party’s new Marketplace at the Cape Ann Savings Bank Plaza between Hancock and Porter Streets (see map) has a new game called Glosta-opoly played on a brand new Monopoly-style board created by members of Art Haven.  

You can play the game for free and win wicked-cool Prizes including CDs by top local artists including Chelsea BerryJulie DoughertyMichael Thomas DoyleAllen EstesTom HauckOrleans “Still the One Live”Renee & JoeT Max, plus a limited edition Celebrate Gloucester 2010 2 DVD set, limited edition Celebrate Gloucester 2007 Staff T-Shirt, hats & shirts & pens from Gloucester Engineering, jar openers and shot glasses from Ryan and Wood, creations and services from the Teen Artist Guild, gift certificates for From Dust to Dawn Cleaning services from Holly Ciancola and Whitmarsh Lock and Safe, energy bars and candies from Sunny Variety, Mardi Gras beads and glow sticks from Cape Ann Lanes, free car washes from Maplewood Car Wash, gift certificates from downtown merchants and more . . .

Revised Entertainment Schedule
There have been a couple of minor changes to the entertainment — click here for all entertainment by stage.  Click here for all musical entertainment by time.

Don’t sweat the parking.  I’m always surprised when I hear people complain about parking in Gloucester.  Honestly, I’ve never had trouble finding a parking space — not even during Fiesta.  Last night I went to the Harbor Loop Concert.  I got there after it started on a beautiful summer night in the height of the tourist season when every local hotel is full and what do you know?  I found a parking space on Rogers Street at Harbor Loop!  In fact I had my choice of at least half a dozen free (after 6) spots on Rogers within earshot of the music.  Plus there were plenty of spaces at I4-C2.  So don’t worry about the few Main Street parking spots that are not available during the Block Party.  Trust me.  You won’t have a problem finding a space within a couple minutes walk.

Jean Gangi From Cape Ann Lanes Has Some Nice Things To Say

Hi Joey,

My husband and I just learned of your wonderful site. I have been personally following it after learning about the site from one of our customers. We own Cape Ann Lanes Bowling Center, and would love to have you come down to see the place. It is a wonderful place to get out with the family and have some fun. Just began our kids league on Saturdays at 10:00 am. We will be starting an Adult/Youth League on Wednesday evenings on Nov 10th @ 6:00. Love to see you, and love this site. It is a lot of fun to read. Thanks much Jean @ Cape Ann Lanes.


Cathy Tarr At Cape Ann Lanes For Cape Ann Beer and Blog Event

Bowling is fun.  As Cathy said to me last night- Once you are there and bowling everyone has a great time!


Cathy Tarr At Cape Ann Lanes, originally uploaded by captjoe06.


Mary At Cape Ann Lanes

Sharon and David Cox At Cape Ann Lanes

David Cox and His Pretty Pink Bowling Shoe Laces

Mike Foley Reacts After Bowling A Sub Par Frame

I regret that I have no picture of Brainfix.  Boo Joey

Why Not Bowl?

Udine4less_LOGO2Through my travels of finding and creating great restaurant deals, I have also found some other businesses in town that give a good deal or two. One of those businesses in town that gives a great deal is Cape Ann Lanes. I am not sure how many of you have visited Cape Ann Lanes since it has been revamped, but the new owner has done a fantastic job. It is a great place to take your family, or just head out for a night with friends. The fact that I can go bowl a few strings and have a beer is good enough for me. The repainted, added new features, and put in some fantastic wide screen screens. Truthfully in my eyes, one of the best alleys on the North Shore. And yes – we have a GMG deal alert. You can get a free string of bowling for all in your bowling party…..Check it out below.





What to do with the kids this weekend-


It’s pretty cold out there! Another 6 weeks of winter…lots of hot chocolate and s’mores! If you feeling a little cabin-fevered, here are a few things to do around town.

Gloucester CinemaMovies and Times

Cape Ann Lanes Bowling

Sawyer Free LibraryEvents

Manchester Public Library – Valentine Craft Workshop

Sawyer Free Library- Museum Passes