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Santa’s Workshop Open and Spreading Holiday Cheer

By Caitlin Dowling, Newburyport.com Correspondent
Caitlin is a freelance editor/writer and former news producer for CNN. As a local mom of three, her family can be found enjoying all Newburyport has to offer, from strolling downtown to biking the rail trail to swimming at the beach.
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A very special new shop just opened up in downtown Newburyport, Santa’s Workshop, owned and operated by Jolly Ol’ Saint Nick himself. This festive shed, hosted by Greater Newburyport Chamber of Commerce, is located in Brown Square next to Mission Oak Grill a restaurant with delicious options for both big and little kids! Santa’s Workshop will be open to the public for visits daily through Christmas, with special appearances from Santa scheduled throughout the month.

If you want a chance to say hello to the big man in red, stop by on any of these nine days (Friday 12/4, 12/11 and 12/18 from 5-7 pm; Saturday 12/5, 12/12and 12/19 from 12-2 pm; Sunday 12/6, 12/13 and 12/20 from 12-2 pm.) when he will be ho ho ho’ing in his workshop. Children—and adults!—can wave and send far hugs and high fives to Santa, snap a pic from a social distance, and even drop a letter off in Santa’s “official” mailbox.

Need some letter writing inspiration? Pop into Greetings by Design before you visit Santa’s Workshop and pick up some magical stationery created specifically for VIP letters to St. Nick.  The pack even includes some thank you notes for post-holiday.

And even when Santa isn’t hard at work, you can still swing by for a visit! In fact—on days Santa is off at the North Pole, visitors are welcome to actually enter Santa’s Workshop and peek around inside. Make sure to bring your cameras to grab some family pictures with the amazing decorations inside and out, compliments of the hard work of The Newburyport Horticultural Society. And be on the lookout for a fun new addition this year, some naughty gnomes looking for a snowball fight!

The Newburyport Horticultural Society spent many hours and dollars to transform this shed into Santa’s Workshop, a winter wonderland designed to raise everyone’s spirits in these challenging times. This holiday display is their way of giving to the greater community and to say happy holidays to all. Stop by this month to share in this holiday spirit.

Newburyport Haunted House – Visit 13 Tilton Street if You Dare!

By Caitlin Dowling, Newburyport.com Correspondent
Caitlin is a freelance editor/writer and former news producer for CNN. As a local mom of three, her family can be found enjoying all Newburyport has to offer, from strolling downtown to biking the rail trail to swimming at the beach.
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If you’re looking for a good scare this Halloween season, look no further than the home of local Newburyport residents, the Pages, at 13 Tilton Street. With hundreds of spooky characters, lights, props, and sounds, this Newburyport haunted house is a big time operation. But be warned, we’re told someone actually ran out of their shoes last year!

Lights turn on at dusk and stay on until 9 pm most nights for anyone that wants to drive or walk by, but the real screams and shrieks will happen on Halloween night when this Newburyport haunted house gets even more realistic with the addition of ten people in costume. While they promise to take it easy on any little monsters that dare to visit, 13 Tilton Street is not for the faint of heart and parents may want to visit without the kiddies. The Pages don’t keep track of foot traffic, but popularity has grown each year, and one neighbor says she gave out 800 pieces of candy to trick-or-treaters last year.

Bruce Page, a family man and detective for the Exeter Police by day, is the mastermind of this spooktacular experience and has been adding to his collection for the past 17 years. The haunted house began with a single eerie butler in the window back in 2001 and has since grown to include over 100 characters, 40 skeletons and 86 light up pumpkins, among other things. A curator of all things spooky, Page tries to add to his collection each year  by shopping in Halloween stores, making his own homemade creations and has even taken on a friend’s inventory when he retired from the haunting business.

But while Page may head up the operation, he makes a big point in saying this is a huge effort with lots of friends and family helping out. Nick Dole, the Page’s tenant that they prefer to just call a friend, is right there on the frontline as Page’s biggest helper, setting up the lights, designing the skeleton tree, and daily tweaks. Daughters, Madeline, age 12, and Faith, age 8, may not partake in the set-up but are totally on onboard with their scary abode for the season and love showing it off to friends. And while wife Nicole is not into the elaborate decorations, she loves that the community enjoys it. 

The house at 13 Tilton Street is a family home owned by Bruce’s parents and grandparents before his own family, but that’s not where his passion for Halloween stems from. In fact, Page says his parents weren’t really into the holiday at all. However, just across the street, neighbor Richard Cook was stirring up scares and inspiring a young Bruce back in the day. Page says Cook use to dress up in costume and chase trick-or-treaters with a pretend chainsaw on Halloween.

This year, if you have the guts to visit this Newburyport haunted house, be on the lookout for Page’s newest addition, the blade wielding guy of nightmares, Freddy Krueger. And if you aren’t too scared, say a hello to Bruce who loves to hang out, he doesn’t dress up in  costume, and watch the fun unfold on Halloween night.

Whether you’re planning on driving by or visiting on the big night, make sure you get there before October ends, come November 1st, the lights are out!

Asset Builder Awards, Recognition for Supporting Newburyport Youth

Asset Builder Awards, Newburyport

The Asset Builder Awards are a great opportunity to publicly acknowledge youth, adults and organizations throughout Newburyport who are supporting young people through their work or character. Our story image features prior year winners. Come help recognize the 2020 winners as Newburyport Youth Services and The BEACON Coalition host the 12th Annual Asset Builder Awards happening on March 19th from 7:00-8:30 pm at the Newburyport Senior Center. Nominated by members of the community, the recipients are selected for awards based on their natural ability and desire to support youth in Newburyport. Their relationships with youth in the city are positive, encouraging, supporting and empowering. Below is the list of 2020 Asset Award winners.

2020 Asset Builder Award Winners:
Frank Crump, Newburyport School Crossing Guard
Lisa Hutchings, Joppa Flats Education Coordinator
Madison, Bridget, & Charlotte MacMillan, Outstanding Youth
Kathleen Petrie, Molin School Teacher, NPS
Richard Tierney, Newburyport Youth Hockey Coach

In 1990, Search Institute released a framework of 40 Developmental Assets, which identifies a set of skills, experiences, relationships, and behaviors that enable young people to develop into successful and contributing adults. The greater number of assets a younger person has, the lower number of high risk behaviors they get involved in. The BEACON Coalition uses this model as their framework for prevention.
Newburyport Youth Services and The BEACON Coalition will be accepting nominations for the eight main categories of the 40 Assets.

Anyone can recognize an individual or organization by submitting a nomination. The 2020 nomination deadline is February 14th and below is a list of the eight asset categories. If you missed the nomination deadline, make sure to recognize someone next year. Nominations can be filled out online and forms are also available at the Newburyport High School, Nock Middle School, Newburyport Rec Center and the Newburyport Public Library. They can be dropped off at the Newburyport Rec Center (formerly the Brown School) or mailed to 40 Milk Street Newburyport, MA 01950. For additional information regarding the event and nomination forms, please contact 978-465-4434 or Beacon@cityofnewburyport.com.

Newburyport Youth Services and The BEACON Coalition accept nominations for the eight main categories of the 40 Assets.

  • Support: This award recognizes an individual or organization who actively supports and advocates for youth. More than just a good friend, this is an individual that is trusted, respected and able to connect people to the resources they need. Or a family that models healthy communication and support!
  • Empowerment: Do you know of a young individual who has taken on challenges throughout the community in hopes of making a difference? Or an adult or organization that works to empower young people by building skills or creating opportunity for leadership.
  • Positive Identity: We would like to recognize an organization that helps to build self-esteem in young people and/or a young person who displays a positive model of identity to his/her peers.
  • Commitment to Learning: Do you know an organization that strives towards expanding the knowledge of young people throughout the community, or a young person that is dedicated to learning and pursuing further knowledge and inspire others to do the same?
  • Positive Values: This award will recognize a young person who has demonstrated honesty, character and conviction in their everyday life. A person with integrity does what is right, not what is easy.
  • Constructive Use of Time: Do you know an individual who uses their free time toward programs, creative activities or other positive programs? Or an organization whose purpose is to support youth in using their use of time to better themselves/others?
  • Boundaries & Expectations: This award recognizes an individual who is considered an adult role model or positive peer influence. This individual has a good sense and supports appropriate family, school and neighborhood boundaries.
    Social Competencies: Do you know an individual or organization who supports excels in planning/decision making, interpersonal skills, cultural competence, resistance skills, and/or peaceful conflict resolution?

Riverside Community Bike Swap – Buy or Sell Used Bikes

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Make sure to visit the Riverside Cycle Tannery Tent on Sunday, April 19th from 10 am – 2 pm for the annual community bike swap, hosted by the locally based Pan Mass Challenge Team, The Riverside Rockets. This is an amazing opportunity to pick up used bikes at very reasonable prices, while helping support important fundraising efforts. If your interested in selling or donating bikes drop them off at Riverside between 9 am – 5 pm, April 11th though the 18th. Whether you’re, buying, selling or donating, a portion of all proceeds will go to the Jimmy Fund to help fight cancer as well as the Coastal Trails Coalition to help improve our local bike trails.

Here’s how it works; on April 19 between 1o am – 2 pm, head over to Riverside Cycle’s Tannery tent and and browse the the amazing selection of used bikes. We recommend arriving early for the bike swap, as this is a popular event and a line normally forms by 9:30 AM! Pick out and pay for your favorite bike, and the friendly staff at Riverside Cycle give it a quick safety check, and get you on your way.

If you’re interested in selling used bikes make sure to drop off bikes between 9 am – 5 pm, April 11th through the 18th at Riverside Cycle. There are two options; take 80% of the purchase price in cash, or 100% as store credit at Riverside. Either way, 20% of the purchase price will be a donation. If you choose to donate bikes, all proceeds will go to charity. Remember, donations are tax deductible! If you can’t make it to the drop off times, call the shop to arrange a pick-up, 978-465-5566.

According to Riverside Cycle owner Aaron Millett, the goal of the bike swap is to raise money to help in the fight against cancer and support our local bike trails, while providing a venue for people to buy or sell secondhand bicycles. About 75 percent of those taking part in past bike swap events, are customers who enjoy finding great deals and supporting our fundraising efforts. Among them are plenty of parents looking for gently used bikes for their children, or looking to part with older bikes their kids have outgrown. Some just stop by to donate bicycles. Regardless of the motive, it’s a great opportunity for customers and our fundraising efforts. “I think it’s a win-win.”

Fairy Gnome Discovery Walk – Experience & Explore Magical Fairy Houses

By Caitlin Dowling, Newburyport.com Correspondent
Caitlin is a freelance editor/writer and former news producer for CNN. As a local mom of three, her family can be found enjoying all Newburyport has to offer, from strolling downtown to biking the rail trail to swimming at the beach.
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Put on your best and brightest wings, sprinkle a little fairy dust and head to the fourth annual Fairy Gnome Discovery Walk for a magical stroll through the woods to search for nearly 200 fairy houses. Mark your calendars for May 2nd and 3rd from 10 am to 3 pm for this whimsical event at Pettengill Farm, 45 Ferry Rd., in Salisbury Hosted by the Salisbury PTA, this event will transport your family to a pint sized world fit for Tinker Bell and all of her fairy friends. Tickets are available in advance online or at the ticket booth on the day of event.

You and your little fairies will frolic through a one mile path, discovering surprises along the way. Situated throughout the woods, children will delight at finding tiny fairy houses, some humble abodes with a small swing outside to sizable (for fairies of course) estates with numerous rooms, pools and more. Be on the lookout for a butterfly themed home, some bookworm fairies and a possible village! All of these enchanting creations are the work of talented professionals, families, school children, and local businesses.

While fairy houses may be very small, the Fairy Gnome Discovery Walk is a BIG day, complete with activities, entertainment and food. Spread your wings and dance to live music with David Torrisi, check out a performance with Theater in the Open, get your face painted and create fairy themed crafts with local groups like Macaroni Kid, the Greater Newburyport Mother and Families Club and Salisbury Public Library. And when you’ve worked up an appetite from all the fun, as we’re sure you will, the Fairy Gnome Discovery Walk will also have delicious local vendors serving up fresh eats from BBQ to pizza to sweets. We’re told there will even be a s’mores bar this year and to be on the look out for a very special Harry Potter drink.

Costumes and imaginations are strongly encouraged, so come dressed to impress in your fairy finest. There will be fairy inspired attire and accessories for purchase for those in need of a wardrobe update. Make sure to check out the Salisbury PTA’s stand, for tutus, wands, wings, gnome hats, snacks and more. Everything for purchase at their stand costs under $3 a piece, so you won’t break the bank.  And yes, parents, you can also dress up. After all, fairies have moms and dads too!

The fairy house walk is hosted by the Salisbury PTA, who raise money throughout the year to put on special events as well as to fund field trips, assemblies, college scholarships and other activities that enrich Salisbury Elementary’s curriculum.

Please note, the Fairy Gnome Discovery Walk will happen rain or shine.

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