Saturday, October 18, 2014
Thursday, July 31, 2014
100 breathtaking coves, assuring you that the inconvenience of letting go your need to be herded and directed is totally worth a glimpse of those very spots buccaneers and privateers likely used as stopovers on their way to terrorize the colonies and the islands. Secluded, calm, rife with sea life for easy snorkeling and covered in wild overgrowth to create your own cabana, these beaches are the most beautiful and peaceful I’ve ever visited. Orchid and Blue, were runners up for #2 on the many we visited but Secret Beach, a recommendation from our property manager, Joe, was hands down the most perfect spot. We went there a few times. You should too. Guide to Vieques Beaches
We cooked at home most nights while prepping beach lunches (grilling and swilling to the sound of the
jungle is not so rough). As travelers with kids, we typically get our groceries on the island but bring proteins along with us (I order from Omaha Steaks and hit McKinnon's in Danvers, MA). As long as the bags are sealed tight, not opened along the way and you keep ice packs inside, the freezer bag makes it solidly frozen to most island destinations. Foreign meat cuts can be a challenge, as we spoiled Americans are accustomed to having everything trimmed down to the easiest, leanest possible form. The more
remote the island, the more expensive and less convenient are the grocery items. Our grill was charcoal on this trip, which definitely slowed the process of preparing a meal - I'd rent this house again if they upgraded to gas.
There's a big supermarket and the best fruit comes from the Fruit and Tire Store, no joke. The owner will lead you into what seems like a scene from a mob movie, a reefer truck driven straight up the the back of the bay full of beautiful produce. He isn't trying to ice you. He's just showing you the freshest wares.
The few times we did venture out (I am a foodie and I need to have SOMETHING to talk about in the way of local cuisine), we were very pleased. Here are our favorite spots for nosh:
Belly Buttons, in Esperanza
Owner Craig Button proudly displays his well-fed jolly girth and proclaims it the venue' namesake.The barbecue at Belly Buttons is THE BEST I'VE EVER HAD. Sticky ribs fell off the bone and smoky, sugary glazed chicken had us licking the bones clean. We washed it all down with coconutty Pain Killers (one of my favorite
island drinks).If you love bbq you will go back twice. We did. Breakfast here is the bomb, as well. Giant fried egg sandwiches are served on
slightly sweet local bread. For the kids, they have ice cream cones. It's also a great spot for people watching. We witnessed the filming of an episode from the HGTV House Hunters International, the second time they've covered the island. We recognized the stars of the first in the audience that night. I'd run into them at the market as well. It's a very small island.
Buen Provecho, in Isabella Segunde
This is GOURMET HEAVEN for foodies on an out-island. The island's gourmet provisioner offers fruit, bread, sauces, house made charcuterie and house cured sandwich meats. They also carry wine and have an espresso and cocktail bar within the shop so you can sip whiles you wait. Sandwiches here are the tastiest, most eclectic beach lunch on the island. I LOVED my lunch.
La Viequense Deli, in Isabella Segunde
This bakery is the source for that sweet fresh local bread you'll find all over the island as toast, crostini and for sandwiches. The faint sugary quality is not so pronounced as in Portuguese sweet bread or Nissu, or Anadama. It's far more subtle, which makes it suitable for both sweet and savory meals. Sandwiches here are also terrific for para llevar lunching. Note that they only take cash, they do have an ATM and there are two separate lines - one for ordering food and the other just for bread, which presumably services the island's entire restaurant industry.
Chicken King, on the road to Isabella
Always packed day and night, Chicken King is like homemade Kentucky Fried with all the Caribbean bbq accompaniments. I don't know what the seasoning is, but it takes Finger Lickin Good to a whole new level. We grabbed a bucket to share over a game of dominoes at the house and although we all hit it hard, there was still enough in the fridge at bedtime to lure one or two of us from our rest to grab another piece. They also have really tasty ice cream.
Esperanza Riding Company
|THIS DRESS (on the left)|
Stand Up Paddleboard/Snorkeling
Our SUP trip was a bit of a fiasco, through no fault of the family snorkle and SUP rental company who's name I CANNOT REMEMBER because of the PTSD I'm experiencing from that day that set us up in Esperanza. Walking down from our villa to avoid having to resolve for an unlocked car and an expensive-to-replace electronic jeep key, we brought our cash and the rental key in a sandwich bag, which my husband promptly dropped, in the ocean. The paddling was fun, if choppy up till I needed to obtain
snorkeling gear to scour, with the help of 20 young Viequenses, the cove in front of the Malecon. Alas, the search for Los Llaves Perdidos was futile, much to the chagrin of one toothy smiling youth who requested "one hundred money" as reward for the return of our keys and the $40 that sank with them. Fortunately, the island is small and everyone knows everyone so the rental shop keepers knew how to get in touch with our property managers (our phones were also locked in the villa), who met us within 20 minutes of calling the search quits. Bad day, nice people. An opportunity to experience human kindness. I'll call it a win.
I want to go back to Funky Beehive just to buy stuff. Super hip, island comfy gorgeous clothing in this sweet little shop operated by a former east coast school teacher. The dress I bought here was around $50 and it gets more oohs and ahs than most other ropas in my closet. And, the owner is an absolute doll.
Lucky 1 Pallet
Re-purposed pallets become funky furniture. The owner is from California and her work made me take about 2000 pictures. Not convenient for shipping but if I lived here my whole space would be tricked out with her work. I'd DEFINITELY stop by.
Jet Blue is our totes fave for Caribbean travel. Several direct flights run from Boston to San Juan daily. From there it's a choice. Either stay in San Juan overnight, grab and early taxi to the Lanchas ferry dock in Fajardo and prepare to wait in lines designed for cattle until the very rough crossing on the island's only ferry can be made for a couple bucks (maybe $5 each way). Here's a link with information and complaints. Read it and then fly.Fajardo to Vieques Ferry
OR grab a charter or small commercial flight out of San Juan for considerably more but spare the cost of taxi and hotel and precious wasted vacation days you'll spend in transit on either end.. Several small airlines operate between the islands and chartering often means you pay the same price but pick your times.
Airlines that fly from Puerto Rico to Vieques
I HIGHLY recommend spending the money to fly. We took the ferry over after a couple days visiting the historical sites on the main land and knew before we docked that we were flying back. Life is short. Vacation is shorter. YOLO.
Tuesday, July 8, 2014
|Just a lil' plug for my amazingly talented cousin Emerald Rae who rarely graces Cape Ann with her beautiful music these days (she's kind of a big deal). But THIS FRIDAY she plays on the water, at the breathtakingly beautiful ocean side historic property Beauport Sleeper McCann House and you really should go...|
Fabulous Fridays: Concerts by the Sea (Emerald Rae)Friday, July 11, 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.
Beauport, the Sleeper-McCann House, 75 Eastern Point Boulevard, Gloucester, Mass.
$20 Historic New England members, $30 nonmembers
A summer Friday evening concert is the perfect ending to a long week. Enjoy our first-ever concert series, with Gloucester-based artists, focusing on early twentieth-century American music with Celtic and Scottish origins as well as favorites from American singer-songwriters such as Cole Porter. The Beauport gardens overlooking Gloucester Harbor provide a tranquil and beautiful setting for this series of early-evening performances. Chairs and refreshments are provided. Come between 5:00 and 5:30 p.m. to enjoy an abbreviated house tour.
Registration is required. Please call 978-283-0800 for more information. Purchase tickets now
ABOUT EMERALD RAE
Growing up with mom and dad in a country-rock band, Emerald had a taste for the stage from a small age. Hailing from America’s oldest seaport, Gloucester, Emerald found herself venturing to Boston as a young fiddler, entranced by the hard-driving rhythms of Cape Breton and Scottish traditions. Each summer she followed the traditional path back to Cape Breton Island that so many other Bostonians had traveled before her. At 18, she took home the grand prize at the US Scottish Fiddle Championships! As her studies in Scottish music deepened, she moved to Glasgow to study musicology, but it was her time at the Berklee College of Music that connected to her new worlds of fiddling. Collaborating with fellow fiddlers Flynn Cohen, Liz Simmons and Mariel Vandersteel in the popular folk group Annalivia, Emerald toured also with the Cathie Ryan Band. Over time, Emerald made a name for herself as a solo fiddler totally adept not only in Cape Breton and Scottish traditions, but in Irish and old-time as well. All of these influences are heard on her new album, If Only I Could Fly. Her music here. http://www.emeraldrae.com/music
"Isabella Churney was nuts. She was taking Viagra. She heard it would make an old pianist perform better".
And speaking of the salon, Tony (Jordan Ahnquist) rents the space from Mrs. Churney whose incessant banging of piano keys makes him hysterically irate. His over-the-top emotions punctuate his, ahem, fancy flair, as does his cache of colorful one-liners. "That towel is hot, like Channing Tatum hot!" Given his explosive nature, and his disappearance at the time of the event, which he attributes to a fear of fire, "I thought the building was on fire and I was worried about my cats, Bill and Hillary. I told Hillary to run but she said not till 2016. Bill kept chasing his tail", and with the discovery of stylist scissors in the trash at the crime scene, he looks as guilty as Barbara.
But there's also a good case that it might be Eddie (Joe Ruscio), the seedy antiques dealer who appears to be simultaneously scamming the old eccentric out of her piano and courting Churney's alleged lover, Barbara. So the audience wonders, are Barbara and Eddie in it together?
Then there's salon client, old Mrs Shubert (Mary Klug) who is peculiar and suspicious and knows the artist personally. Shubert makes a secretive phone call after the crime is committed, but she claims to have called her butler and lover, Frederick who entertains her while, "Mr. Shubert is in France. He's staying In the Paris Hilton. It's crowded but quite comfortable". What's more, Mrs. Shubert keeps trying to get out of the beauty parlor during interrogations and off to the airport "I've got to make it to the airport and I don't want to be late for my pat down". She's an easy culprit, and an absolute riot - I am very much looking forward to seeing Ms. Klug in the upcoming Whitey Bulger movie with Johnny Depp where she plays Mrs. Bulger.
And even the (oh-so Boston) police, Mikey and Nick (Joseph Marrella and Christopher Tarjan) can't quite explain WHY they are at Ms Churney's home that day BEFORE she is murdered, though they do entertain local and visiting audiences with endless allusions to the bean town scene "Jesus, Mary and Bill Belichick". I particularly like the Boston-isms - they speak to the locals while making tourists feel like they are in on something. Well played.
ABOUT THE SHOW
Shear Madness" is one of the most popular entertainments in the world, delighting audiences night after night with its unique blend of madcap improvisation and spine-tickling mystery.
This unique comedy-whodunit takes place today in the "Shear Madness" hairstyling salon and is chock full of up-to-the-minute spontaneous humor. During the course of the action, a murder is committed and the audience gets to spot the clues, question the suspects, and solve the funniest mystery in the annals of crime.The outcome is never the same, which is why many audience members return again and again to the scene of the mayhem.
Voted "Best Comedy of the Year" seven times by the Boston Globe and recipient of the title "Best Play of the Year" by both the Chicago Sun-Times and the Philadelphia Enquirer, "Shear Madness" has also received the Raven Award from the Mystery Writers of America and has been inducted into the Comedy Hall of Fame, the first play ever to receive that accolade. "Shear Madness" is listed in the Guiness Book of World Records as the longest running play in the history of the USA.
The flagship Boston company has given birth to 42 productions in the US and "Shear Madness" has been translated into 10 foreign languages, playing worldwide in a host of cities including Barcelona, Buenos Aires, Madrid, Paris, Rejkavik, Rome, Tel Aviv, Melbourne, Johannesburg and Seoul.
Over 10.6 million people worldwide have joined in the fun, and while no one
has actually died laughing, some are still rolling in the aisles.
TICKET AND PERFORMANCE INFORMATION - BOSTON
Saturday 6 and 9PM
Sunday 3 and 7PM
Thursday, June 12, 2014
Sunset, Fisherman's Brew and the Schooner Thomas E. Lannon all at a special rate. What more could you ask? Two of my favorite local businesses, some of my favorite local business people join forces to bring you an event not to be missed.
Schooner Lannon and the Cape Ann Brewing Company (Gloucester's own microbrewery
and the makers of Fisherman's Brew, a Lannon favorite) are again joining forces on Tuesday night, June 24th.
Join us for a sunset schooner sail from 6:30-8:30 p.m. and enjoy three Cape Ann Brewing Company adult beverages, all at a reduced
price of $30/person. You must be 21 years of age or older to join us on this sail.
The regular price for an adult ticket, without beverages is $40, so this is a great deal. You can book online at
http://clicks.aweber.com/y/ct/?l=ECt5w&m=K1quA3SQx4hPqG&b=HWtnq0WIVzI9K3ioggVH9w. Or you can call us at
(978) 281-6634 to reserve your spots. This trip has always sold out quickly, so make your reservations today.
Read more about Cape Ann Brewing Co. at
http://clicks.aweber.com/y/ct/?l=ECt5w&m=K1quA3SQx4hPqG&b=q3Ic.DtkhZvBGyb51tSGUw. The Brew Pub will be open
for food and drinks after the sail and is just four doors away from the Lannon dock.
Reggae SKA Cruise
Cost $35 in Advance
$40 at the Dock
Board 7:00pm - Sail 8:00PM
Dance, dine and cruise historic Gloucester Harbor with international Reggae and Ska Pioneers, THE TOASTERS and a very special reunion of local favorite, MILE 21! Your ticket includes this special appearance of The Toasters on their 2014 world tour PLUS a Gloucester Harbor Cruise and Party Buffet featuring Seaport Grille's world famous Lobster Rolls! For tickets and more information click: www.gimmesound.com
Strawberry Festival at MM1FREE parking! FREE admission! FAMILY-FRIENDLY for FATHER'S DAY WEEKEND! Farmers market, alpacas & miniature horses from Marshall's Farm Stand. More than 50 local vendors from The Bridge. Great food from Mile Marker One. Great drinks from Ryan & Wood, Inc., Distilleries. LIVE music & performers. Huge kids zone with face painters, bouncy house & puppies from Cape Ann Animal Aid. Raffles, giveaways, and so much more. Save the date & help us kick off an amazing summah!!!
North Shore YMCA FATHER'S DAY 5K & 10KSUNDAY, JUNE 15, 2014 8:30AM
STARTING LINE: ROCKPORT HIGH SCHOOL
24 JERDENS LANE, ROCKPORT, MA 01966
Entry Fees Ages 14 + 13 & Under
Pre Race: $24 $14
Day Of Race: $28 $19
This is one of the most beautiful race courses in the United States. You will run along the Rockport’s rocky shore past three lighthouses, several islands and Rockport Harbor, with its world famous Motif #1. Most runners don neckties in honor of dad. It's a beautiful course, a fun family event and quite a sight to see. Register
Off the Island
Dads are free at the zooGive dad a wild Father’s Day at the zoo Sunday and save money while you’re at it. That’s because all dads are free on Father’s Day at the Franklin Park Zoo in Boston and Stone Zoo in Stoneham!
Cruise Boston HarborOdyssey and he’ll enjoy gorgeous views of the city and live entertainment while he dines. Father’s Day brunch is $69.90 per adult, $41.95 per child age 3 to 12 and dinner is $74.90 per adult, $44.95 per child age 3 to 12. Or book a “Boston Harbor Father’s Day Lunch Cruise” aboard the Spirit of Boston, which will include lunch, an ice cream sundae bar, and goodie bags for the kids, for $54.90 per adult, $32.95 per child age 3 to 12.
More information and details for Boston Pride’s 2014 Pride Week can be found at www.bostonpride.org.
Boston Harbor Hotel's Summer in the City Series KickoffSummer in the City kicks off for the 2014 season this Thursday with Blues Barge featuring Jeff Pitchell. Friday night, catch Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. This year's line up of tunes and flicks is definitely worth checking out. Schedule Here.
70 Rowes Wharf | Boston, MA | 02110 | (617) 856-7744 | www.bhh.com
62 Dunham Road, Beverly