May 222016
 

6 Reasons to Visit Massachusetts Pioneer Valley

When someone mentions Massachusetts to you, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Boston?  Cape Cod? Those places are both great, but there is a lot of fun located in the Pioneer Valley of Western Massachusetts, too. There are so many fun-filled attractions in the western part of the state and they are definitely worth checking out if you’re looking for some family fun this summer.

1. Six Flags New England

Did you know that Six Flags New England is the Coaster Capital of New England?  Six Flags New England is home to the New England SkyScreamer, Flashback, Pandemonium, Mind Eraser, Batman the Dark Knight, Goliath, Wicked Cyclone and the brand new Fireball, which just opened this year. Six Flag New England also relaunched the BIZARRO coaster this season.  It’s now SUPERMAN™ the Ride.

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If coasters aren’t your thing, you are not alone.  I don’t like them either, but fear not – there is a ton of other stuff to do at the park. For the little ones, there are four areas specifically dedicated to kids including Looney Tunes Movie Town, Kidzopolis, Whistlestop Park and Splash Island (in the water park).  There are tons of rides in those areas including bumper cars, a carousel, the scrambler and many more classics. Continue reading »

May 092016
 

As a former Jordan’s Furniture employee, I can personally attest to the fact that they truly enjoy keeping their customers happy.  The owners, Barry & Eliot had a vision of making visiting the stores more than just furniture shopping – they wanted to make it an experience for the whole family. Now that Barry has retired from the family business, Eliot has kept the family fun aspect of the stores going strong.  I worked at the Avon, MA store, which is the home of MOM (the Motion Odyssey Movie Ride), Enchanted Ice (an indoor skating rink) and the Boston classic, The Enchanted Village.  Families come out in droves for those attractions, but if you are a local you know that each store boasts at least one fun family attraction. In the Reading store, they have the BeanStalk™ Adventure Ropes Course and I was able to head there to check it out with my family last weekend.

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Disclosure: My family received complimentary tickets for the course in order to provide an honest review of our experience.  All opinions expressed here are strictly my own and were not influenced in any way.

The BeanStalk™ Adventure Ropes Course is a 32-foot tall, 2 level ropes course (12 feet or 24 feet up) complete with 30 exciting activities including zig-zag beams, cargo nets, angled rope ladders, crisscross walks and more. Participants choose their own path through the elements and go at their own pace. No two obstacles are the same! The ropes course is also equipped with a Sky Rail zip line connection measuring 69′ long. which costs $2 more to ride.

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My boys have done rope courses before, so they already knew to empty their pockets before the employees helped them put their safety harnesses on, but for those of you who have never done a course like this – you do need to empty your pockets so nothing falls out on the people on levels below you.  And no, cameras are not allowed on the course, either. Continue reading »

Apr 112016
 

Taking the Hahvahd Tour

I’m a Boston girl.  Always have been and always will be. It’s no secret that I love living here and whenever I meet someone who is not from around here, as soon as they find out where I’m from I inevitably get asked the same question: “Can you say park the car in the Harvard yard”?  Seriously – it happens every single time.  It fun to play along, though, because we know how cool our accent is around here and we love to bust out the Boston whenever we can!

For the record, there are no “R’s in that statement whatsoever.  It’s paaaahk thuh caaaaaah in the Haaaahvid yaaaaad.

Even though there are no R’s to be found, there is tons of IQ at Harvard and my husband Chris and I learned all about it when we took the Hahvahd Tour last weekend.

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The award-winning tours of America’s most prestigious University are led by current Harvard students. Harvard student guides greet you right in Harvard Square. which is where the tour leaves from. The tour is scripted to be an entertaining, theatrical experience – you’ll have fun learning about Harvard! Continue reading »

Mar 012016
 

JZz

If you’re a regular around here, you probably remember how I told you last week about this cool podcast that gets broadcast here in Boston. Jaclyn Zukerman’s podcast is called “Social Scene with JZ” and on her show she promotes worldwide clientele from start-ups to celebrities. The podcast was created to allow her guests to inspire audience members and followers and allow the audience members to be able to follow and interact with the guests. This week she will be talking with Evan W. Spencer, who is a real estate broker here in Massachusetts.  He has been helping people buy & sell houses in here in MA for the past 13 years!

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Here’s his bio: Continue reading »

Feb 232016
 

It’s no secret that I love living in the Boston area.  I was born and raised here & can’t even imagine not raising my family here. Do you know what else makes my heart happy?  Finding out about really cool Boston based businesses.  There are tons of businesses that come out of Boston, but some really stand out, you know?  JZ Social Enterprises is one of them.

JZ stands for Jaclyn Zukerman and in September 2014 she started her own radio podcast called “Social Scene with JZ”.  Since she started, Jackie has promoted worldwide clientele from start-ups to celebrities. The podcast was created to allow her guests to inspire audience members and followers and allow the audience members to be able to follow and interact with the guests.

Her show has become so successful and grew such a great following she now has created her own company JZ Social Enterprises.

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JZ Social Enterprises in addition offers marketing/promotions to clients from luxury to individual talent to startups. This is where she helps build partnerships, grow their following and online promotions and more. Her goal is to help showcase what people do through her podcasts, events and social media outlets.

This week on the Social Scene with JZ, Jackie is going to feature Delight. Delight is a psychic medium, angel communicator and Reiki master. She teaches people how to connect with the spiritual realm in order to hear their soul’s calling and live their best life.

Delight is also the creator of the e-course 44 Days to Connect with Your Angels which helps spiritual seekers to meet their team of angels and learn how to tap into their spiritual guidance every day. Continue reading »

Jan 122016
 

My Experience With ThermiSmooth™ and BodyFX™

Do you remember when I told you about my consultation with Dr. Petropoulos last month? She’s a cosmetic surgeon located north of Boston and when I met with her, she introduced me to Botox. While I was talking with Dr. Petropoulos, I mentioned how unhappy I was with my saddle bags and asked her what I could do about them.

For those of you who aren’t sure what I mean by “saddle bags”, they are these thick fat deposits on the tops of the outside of my thighs. Sadly, I inherited mine at birth and like every other female in my family, I have spent many hours trying to exercise them away – and honestly, no amount of exercise makes fat that dense go away.  It just doesn’t work. Trust me, I’ve been trying for years.

*Disclosure:  I was provided with complimentary services in exchange for sharing them here.  All opinions expressed here are strictly my own and were not influenced in any way.

After Dr. Petropoulos looked at my saddle bags, she said that what I really needed was Liposuction in the area to get rid of the fat completely.  I am not against having liposuction done, but we decided to try to tackle them with a combination of two procedures that they do right in the office. We did a combination of ThermiSmooth™ and BodyFX™. Continue reading »

Dec 132015
 

Ride the Polar Express at Edaville

Inspired by the hit movie, this holiday favorite comes to life as you and your family take a ride on The Polar Express. Set to the sounds of the motion picture soundtrack, families are sure to enjoy their trip to the North Pole, complete with hot chocolate and cookies served on board the train.

My family had a chance to ride the polar Express at Edaville last week and I want to tell you all about it.

**Disclosure:  We received complimentary tickets to ride the Polar Express in exchange for our honest review.  All opinions expressed here are strictly my own and were not influenced in any way**

Our train was scheduled to leave the station at 6 pm, but we noticed that people were lining up early (like around 5:30), so we lined up, too.   There was a Thomas Christmas train running the same night, but they had the Polar Express riders on one side of the platform and the Thomas riders on the other.  It was clearly marked, so we knew exactly where to go. Plus, there were employees there to switch out our tickets from the printed ones we had to the golden tickets we needed to board the Polar Express, so they were able to direct people. Continue reading »

Dec 092015
 

What Happens When You Get Botox For the First Time

Do you ever catch a glimpse of yourself in the mirror and think to yourself “Eh, I wish I could change that”. Well guess what? Thanks to a lot of advancements in medical cosmetic treatments, there are a whole slew of modern non-surgical options for people who want to turn the clock back.  They’re a lot more affordable than you may think, too.

I recently had the opportunity to have a consultation with Dr. Anna Petropoulos at the New England Facial & Cosmetic Surgery Center in Danvers and I am excited to tell you about my experience.

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*Disclosure:  I was provided with complimentary services in exchange for sharing them here.  All opinions expressed here are strictly my own and were not influenced in any way. Continue reading »

Dec 082015
 

Edaville USA is a modest theme park located in Carver, MA with cranberry harvesting and railroading as its two main themes. It is a really fun family attraction which features about a dozen or so amusement rides including a Ferris Wheel, carousel, bumper cars and more. Each admission includes a five mile train ride through the cranberry bogs on their property. It’s one of New England’s largest displays of Christmas lights and our family looks forward to going every year.

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**My family received complimentary admission to Edaville in order to experience the Festival of Lights for ourselves.  All opinions expressed here are strictly my own and were not influenced in any way**

In fact, I grew up going there with my parents, sister and brother and I am happy that it’s still around for my own children to enjoy. Continue reading »

Nov 292015
 

While many New Englanders refer to the entire east coast of Maine as”Down East”, it’s actually just one particular coastal region of the state (from Penobscot Bay to the Canadian border) – either way, though, Maine is such a lovely state to visit.  Ever since I was a kid, I have had a love for Maine and have always said that if I didn’t love Massachusetts so much, I would be living up in Maine.

My husband Chris & I recently spent a day in Freeport, Maine and our ride up to the pine tree state was nothing short of comfortable on board the Amtrak Downeaster.

**Disclosure:  I received two complimentary round-trip tickets, in addition to a stipend for our daytrip in order to facilitate this post.  All opinions expressed here are strictly my own and were not influenced in any way**

The Amtrak Downeaster strives to provide exceptional rail service to connect the New England communities in Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts. With five round-trips daily between Boston and Portland, and now two round-trips to Freeport and Brunswick, the Amtrak Downeaster is your car-free connection to exciting Maine destinations all year long.

The Amtrak Downeaster leaves from North Station in Boston (at the Garden) and can be accessed from the green & orange lines on the T, certain Commuter Rail lines or you can drive in & park at one of the many garages in that general area.  Chris & I took the T in to North Station on the day of our trip.

About 10 minutes or so before the train was set to depart, the track number was announced (on the board and it was announced over the intercom) so we knew exactly where to go to get on the correct train.

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There are two types of seats on the Downeaster: Coach and Business class. Continue reading »

Nov 052015
 

Last week I had the chance to dine at a wonderful restaurant on Cape Cod.  Located in the heart of downtown Falmouth, the Bear in Boots GastroPub was nothing short of delightful and I can’t wait to tell you how much I loved it.

If you’re wondering where the name Bear in Boots came from, there’s a really sweet story behind it. Wife and Husband duo, Kate and Gates Rickard, named the restaurant after their three children, who are affectionately known to their parents as Boots, Bear, and Squirrel. Although their youngest daughter’s nickname didn’t make it into the name of the restaurant, when you eat at Bear and Boots you will surely notice the strategically placed squirrel decorations.

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I dined with three other local bloggers the night we went and the four of us were treated to a nice variety of menu items that were all prepared by Chef Joseph Ellia. Joseph spent some time with us talking about the practices at the restaurant and how many of the dishes were prepared.

**Disclosure: Although all the food I ate that day was complimentary, as always, all opinions expressed here are strictly my own and were not influenced in any way.

Each night Bear in Boots offers specials in addition to their regular menu. One of the things off of the specials menu that we tried were these wonderful potato pierogies with house-made dry aged saucisson sec.  Oh, they were so good. Continue reading »

Nov 022015
 

Tavern on the Wharf opened in early June and is already taking Plymouth by storm. Located on the town wharf, when you dine there you are are guaranteed amazing views of historic Plymouth Harbor – seriously, you can see it from every seat in the restaurant.  What makes dining at Tavern on the Wharf really spectacular is that all of their food is fresh and the majority of it is sourced locally.  Much of their seafood comes right from Plymouth Harbor.

Tavern on the Wharf is both casual and classy at the same time. With very reasonable prices, Tavern on the Wharf really is the perfect restaurant for any occasion including date night or just a night out with the family.  The menu was created by Chef John Sheehan, and there is something for everyone on there. John may be young, but he brings lots of experience and fresh ideas to this restaurant.

Last week I met up with three of my fellow bloggers for lunch at Tavern on the Wharf and we were not only treated to a wonderful meal, but got a chance to spend some time with with the chef and were given the opportunity to tour the restaurant and see some of the behind the scenes happenings.

**Disclosure: Although all the food I ate that day was complimentary, as always, all opinions expressed here are strictly my own and were not influenced in any way.

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Tavern on the Wharf’s menu selections include many seafood dishes, in addition to salads, burgers, steak, pizza and much more.  I was truly impressed by the variety of dishes on the menu. Continue reading »

Oct 272015
 

Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey LEGENDS

I recently had the chance to take my family to the circus and it was the first time I had been to see it in about 30 years.  The last time I saw a Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey production was with my parents, brother and sister in Boston.  My brother was really little at the time (maybe 4 or 5) and at some point during the show a clown was shot out of a cannon.  The loud noise sent my poor little brother in to hysterics so badly, that we all actually ended up having to leave the show.  He just wouldn’t calm down until we left. But such is life, right?

Anyhow, when I found out that Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey LEGENDS was coming to the TD Garden in Boston, I was excited to take my kids.  I just knew that they would love the show and I was right.

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Disclosure:   My family received complimentary tickets to see LEGENDS from the folks at Feld Entertainment.  All opinions expressed here are strictly my own and were not influenced in any way. Continue reading »

Oct 252015
 

Oktoberfest, the yearly German fall festival that draws in more than six million people, celebrates everyone’s favorite things: food, beer, and merrymaking. Although the official Oktoberfest celebration takes place in Munich, Bavaria, there are Oktoberfest celebrations held all over the world. Foxwoods® Resort Casino, the Northeast’s premier resort destination, is joining the party with month-long food and beverage offerings through October 31st.

Disclosure: I was invited to attend a wonderful Oktoberfest themed press event at Foxwoods® Resort Casino, but as always, all opinions expressed here are strictly my own and were not influenced in any way.

Approximately a dozen bloggers and their plus ones met at Cedars Lounge, where we all started our evening with Oktoberfest beer tasting and social.

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The bloggers invited were from Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut.  I loved that I got a chance to meet some new people and catch up with some old friends while I was at the event (That’s Sarah from Sweet Lil You and her husband Dave that Chris and I are talking to). Continue reading »

Oct 192015
 

Haunted Happenings in Salem

The Salem witch hunt was indeed a real-life horror story.  In case you need a refresher, twenty innocent people were put to death during the Witch Hysteria of 1692, leaving Salem forever branded.  Actually, these days many people refer to Salem as “The Witch City.”

The people of Salem totally play up their spooky reputation to tourists, too.   In addition to the town’s normal bewitching attractions, Haunted Happenings run for the entire month of October and draws nearly a quarter of a million people to the city.  This year, my family was among Salem’s visitors and today I want to tell you about all the fun we had there.

**Disclosure:  I received a complimentary media pass to all of the locations mentioned in this post in order to tell you about our experience in Salem.  All opinions expressed here are strictly my own and were not influenced in any way.

Since we had the kiddos with us, we kept our visit to Salem family friendly (well, as family friendly as the murders of 20 innocent people can be I suppose).  Here are all the things we did while we were there:

The Salem Witch Museum
The main presentation is based on actual trial documents. Visitors experience the drama of that dark time though thirteen life-size stage sets, figures, lighting and a stirring narration as they are witness to the web of lies and intrigue of the Salem Witch Hunt.
In our second exhibit, Witches: Evolving Perceptions, live guides take you through changing interpretations of witches, the truth behind the stereotypes, witchcraft practice today and the frightening phenomenon of witch hunting.

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The Salem Witch Museum is located at 19 1/2 Washington Square and is open daily, year round: 10:00am-5:00pm, but they do have extended hours on select dates in October, so be sure to check their website before you go. Continue reading »

Oct 182015
 

Top 5 Eastern Connecticut Haunts

Connecticut is one of the most oldest states in our nation.  Being that it’s one of the first states, Connecticut is not only steeped in history, it’s full of things that go bump in the night. Connecticut’s sordid past, centuries-old graveyards, and gorgeous old mansions create the perfect recipe for spirit activity.

If you’re looking for a spine-chilling ghostly experience, eastern Connecticut is the perfect place to learn about the people and places that still haunt us to this day. If you want to experience some paranormal activity, check out these five haunted eastern Connecticut locations for your best chance. Guys, these are not staged haunted venues for Halloween- These are the real deal!

1.  Captain Daniel Packer Inne, Mystic
In 1873, Captain Packer’s 7-year-old niece, Ada Clift, was struck by scarlet fever and died at the Inne.  To this day, it is said that she still haunts the restaurant.  Apparently, according to staff & customers, her favorite place to play is in the stairwell.  She has also been known to befriend young children who are dining at the Inne.   Some employees say that the Captain still roams there as well. Continue reading »

Oct 152015
 

Fright Fest 2015 at Six Flags New England is in full swing. Like in the past, this year they have some seriously awesome haunts that are guaranteed to make everyone’s hair stand on end.  This year there are over 20 chilling attractions and over 200 petrifying characters. When you’re there, be sure to enter the Big Top and experience the all-new Slasher Circus 3D. If you love getting scared by sinister clowns, this is the attraction for you.  The clowns make it their mission to terrify people as they roam through this 3D attraction.

**Disclosure:  My family and I were invited to experience media day at Six Flags New England and received complimentary admission.  All opinions expressed here are strictly my own and were not influenced in any way.

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If you have little ones, don’t worry – there is something for everyone at Six Flags New England this Halloween season. Here’s the full Fright Fest breakdown. Continue reading »

Oct 142015
 

When I say Mystic, Connecticut, what’s the first thing that comes to mind?  Mystic Pizza, the 1988 film starring  Julia Roberts?  Sure, you can get a great pizza at Mystic Pizza (which is a real place) while watching the movie on replay mode inside the downtown restaurant, but Mystic actually has a lot more to offer than that.

Mystic, Connecticut is a small, quaint, historic New England village that’s just a few minutes over the Rhode Island border.  It’s only about an hour and fifteen minutes from my home in southeastern Massachusetts, making it the perfect place to escape to for a weekend away. Mystic has been a top tourist attraction in Connecticut for years with its restored sea captain’s houses, boating, museums, abundance of  local restaurants and other attractions like the aquarium and Seaport.

My husband, Christian, and I spent two nights in Mystic recently and and stayed at the Old Mystic Inn.

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It is an older Inn, but it has lots of charm. Christian and I have stayed in many bed & breakfasts over the years and I have to say that my expectations were more than exceeded at the Old Mystic Inn.  It was such a delightful, charming place to stay and I left there wondering why it took me so long to stay there in the first place.

**Disclosure:  I received a two night stay at the Old Mystic Inn at no charge thanks to my friends at Mystic Country.  All opinions expressed here are strictly my own and were not influenced in any way.

Let me tell you all about our experience at the Inn. Continue reading »

Oct 122015
 

My husband, Christian, and I have been to Mystic, CT numerous times.  In fact, you have probably seen me write about our trips down there a few times in the last year alone. We only live about an hour and fifteen minutes away, so while it’s still relatively close to where we live, it’s just far enough that it makes for a perfect weekend getaway spot.

Last weekend we found ourselves in Mystic yet again and had a chance to go on the Seaside Shadows Haunted Tour one of the nights. If you are a regular around here, you know that I am obsessed with love walking ghost tours.  They combine two of my favorite things in one – history and paranormal activity.  Seriously, as far as I’m concerned, it doesn’t get much better than that.

**Disclosure:  My husband and I received complimentary tickets to this tour thanks to my friends at Mystic Country.  All opinions expressed here are strictly my own and were not influenced in any way!

As I said, I have been in Mystic many times, but I had no idea that this community had such a dark past.  I loved hearing the spooky stories as we strolled through downtown Mystic by lantern light.

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The tour met on the sidewalk by the Mystic River Park (near the drawbridge). Once the tour started at 7 pm, we all headed over to the Park’s boardwalk to start the tour.  It was there that the tour guide, Courtney McInvale Reardon, told us a little bit about herself.  In addition to being a Connecticut native herself, she is a sensitive and has been connecting with the other side for many years.  She also told us about her experiences growing up in a haunted house which was actually investigated by the famous Warren family. Continue reading »

Oct 062015
 

5 Reasons Why You Need To Go To King Richard's Faire

Hear ye, hear ye!  It’s that time of year again.  For two months every fall, you can travel back in time at King Richard’s Faire in Carver, MA.  Spread out over 80 acres of woods, King Richard’s Fairs is the place to be if you want to fully immerse yourself into a day in the life of someone back in the 1500’s.

**Disclosure:  My family and I received complimentary admission to King Richard’s Faire in order to tell you about our experience there.  All opinions are strictly my own and we not influenced in any way.

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If you’ve never been to a renaissance festival, you’re missing out on a chance to travel back in time to the 16th century.  I could probably list out a million reasons why you should check it out, but today I am going to tell you my top five! Continue reading »