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Kids Day in the Park – An Exchange Club Family Event

By Elizabeth de Veer, Newburyport.com Correspondent
Elizabeth de Veer is a writer who lives in Georgetown, MA. Her hobbies include organizing her elementary school-age daughter and chasing her labradoodle. Favorite coffee: hot. Favorite Beatles album: Sgt. Pepper. Favorite naughty food: lobster roll and fries. Her first novel is due to be published in fall 2018.
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Newburyport’s annual Kids Day in the Park will take place Wednesday, August 1, from 10:00 to 2:00 at Atkinson Common Park, located at 388 High Street. This free event hosted by the Exchange Club of Newburyport, is one of the highlights of Yankee Homecoming week for many kids, featuring all the best stuff from childhood. Kids Day in the Park in an opportunity to create lifelong memories with your children. For many families this event has become an annual tradition, along with Olde Fashioned Sunday and Family Day at Maudslay Park.

Kids Day in the Park starts with a parade for decorated bikes and doll carriages, with prizes for the best ones! After that, kids can get their faces painted by volunteers from the high school art department, experience Theater in the Open – featuring the famous giraffe! – relax with a story organized by the Newburyport Library, participate in a sing-along with Steve Swochak, Music Director at the Immaculate Conception, and watch a police department K9 demonstration. Kids Day in the Park also lets youngsters see what it feels like behind the wheel in official vehicles from the City Fire Department, the Police Department and the Department of Public Works. There’s also food! Latitudes Sports Club will bring and grill an assortment of burgers and dogs and the folks at Polar Seltzer are sending cans of bubbly water. On top of that, there will be watermelon, ice cream, and what else? It’s all free!

Kids Day in the Park is hosted by the Newburyport Exchange Club,  a service organization that has existed since 1976 and focuses on four service areas: youth services, preventing child abuse, honoring America and community service. Kids Day in the Park has been organized as part of the Yankee Homecoming events since 2005, and Exchange Club members enjoy working with other community organizations to make this special day lots of fun and free for families.

Circus Smirkus – Pure Excitement in Support of Theater in the Open

By Laura Bentley, Newburyport.Com Correspondent
Owner of Newburyport.Com, Laura manages Business Development, Fundraising, the VIP Program, Blogging and the Events Calendar.
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Get your tickets for the 2018 Circus Smirkus performance of Vaudeville in Newbury, MA. There will be four shows: Friday, August 3rd at 1 pm and 6 pm and Saturday, August 4th at 12:30 pm and 5:30 pm.  This exciting event is held under the big top at Spencer Peirce Little Farm and is the largest annual fundraiser supporting Theater in the Open.  Don’t miss this amazing performance!  The talent of these young performers is exceptional, and the storyline is fun and entertaining for both kids and adults.

Every summer, Circus Smirkus kids ages 10 to 18, go on the road preforming 70 shows in 7 weeks, for sell-out crowds in a 750 seat European-style one-ring big top tent.  It is amazing to watch the determination, dedication and passion of these kids.  Although they all work very hard to achieve their ambitious goals, it is apparent that they are loving every minute of what they do, and developing strong friendships and team building skills that will carry them far in life.

Each year brings a new Circus Smirkus storyline and original full-length show combining the best in traditional and contemporary circus styles.  Vaudeville, is a celebration of the grand American tradition of variety entertainment, popular in the early 20th century featuring a mixture of specialty acts such as burlesque, comedy, song and dance. Come experience this highly anticipated big top show. The hilarious clowns are guaranteed to keep you laughing, and you’ll be in awe of the astonishing aerialists, wondrous wirewalkers, mystifying magicians, and jovial jugglers.

You can purchase Circus Smirkus tickets online using a credit card, or in Newburyport at Eureka Toys using either cash or check only.

Circus Smirkus performances run 2 hours in length including the intermission, so if you planning to attend the Saturday evening performance you can still make it to downtown Newburyport to catch the Yankee Homecoming Fireworks display after the show.

There is plenty of seating for Circus Smirkus, but tickets do not have assigned seat numbers so we recommend showing up at least 30-45 minutes prior to the show, especially if you are a large group looking to sit together.  At the end of the show you may want to account for an extra 10 – 15 minutes, as there is opportunity to meet the stars and even get a few autographs.

Ticket Prices:
Adults (13+): $23
Child (2-12): $19
Babies – (< 2) FREE

Circus Smirkus is a 501(c)3 Nonprofit Organization helping youth engage in life changing adventures while promoting the circus arts.  If you would like to support Circus Smirkus efforts there are many ways you can help all of which are greatly appreciated.

Theater in the Open has been a vital part of the Northshore’s cultural landscape for 37 years bringing theater performances to the public, at no cost, in the beauty of Maudslay State Park and connecting children with art and nature through our beloved youth arts education programs.  Please consider supporting Theater in the Open and helping to strengthen the local arts for young aspiring actors in Greater Newburyport.

Newburyport Waterfront Movies – Free Summer Fun

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Newburyport Waterfront Movies

Best of Newburyport Free Family Entertainment

Waterfront Movies Showcasing Family Films

Hosted by the Greater Newburyport Chamber of Commerce, Newburyport Waterfront Movies provide free outdoor family fun each Summer in downtown Newburyport!  When the sun goes down, a 40-foot outdoor movie screen goes up in Waterfront Park.  Below are the 2018 movie dates. 

Summer 2018 Line Up:
Wednesday, August 15th:  Heavyweights
Thursday, August 23rd:  The Lion King
Wednesday, August 29th:  Secret Life of Pets

The Newburyport Waterfront Movie Series features three family-friendly movies throughout August and reserves the last week of the month as a rain date if necessary.  Enjoying Newburyport Waterfront Movies has become a fun family tradition for many families from Newburyport and surrounding towns.

Claim your spot with your favorite chairs or picnic blanket and make sure to pick up dinner from one of our great local Newburyport cafes or restaurants.  If you have the Newburyport App/VIP Card you can enjoy discounts at many local Places to Eat!  Below are a few suggestions for places near Waterfront Park that offer great take out options.

Anchor Stone Deck Pizza – Spend $25 or More & Get $4 Off Dine-In or Take-Out
Coffee Factory – 10% Off
Dos Amigos – 10% Off & Not Combinable with Other Offers
Oregano Pizzeria & Ristorante – 10% Off Food
Purple Onion – 15% Off After 3 PM
Stone Crust Pizza – 10% Off Dine-In or Take-Out

If you don’t already have the Newburyport App, just type the word “Newburyport” in the App Store or Play Store or use the links below from your mobile device.

Apple/App Store: Download “Newburyport” for iOS/Apple

Android/Play Store: Download “Newburyport” for Android/Google

Enjoy the show!

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Premier 18 Hole Mini Golf Course for the North Shore

By Steve Flynn Sr., Newburyport.Com Correspondent
Steve Flynn Sr. has worked in the greenhouse business since he was in his teens and has owned Nunan’s for over thirty years. Nunan’s is a family oriented and run business with three generation actively involved in the business. Steve enjoys the ever changing seasons of the greenhouse industry, and has built the business to be for both retail and wholesale customers .
Nunan Florist & Greenhouses
Mini Golf Course at Nunan's, Georgetown

Have you been to Nunan’s lately? Last year, we proudly opened Kallie’s Kones, a full-service ice cream parlor, and Garden Golf, a premier 18-hole, beautifully landscaped mini golf course. Our General Manager and Co-Owner Stephen Flynn, Jr. came up with the idea of building a miniature golf course to our property after seeing a rise in agritourism—a term that simply means an activity or attraction that brings visitors to a farm. Wanting to venture away from corn mazes, Stephen began planning for a miniature golf course. Construction began shortly after, and on July 29, 2016, Nunan’s Garden Golf celebrated its grand opening with a weekend of miniature golf, hot dogs, and ice cream!

Nunan’s Garden Golf is in the quaint town of Georgetown, MA, surrounded by our growing greenhouses,and a full-scale garden center, flower shop, and landscape company set on our 22+ acre lot. It’s not your run-of-the-mill mini golf course, as Garden Golf boasts no windmills or dinosaurs. Instead, our 18-hole course is set amongst a beautiful botanical garden that has some of the most alluring and unique annuals, perennials, shrubs, and trees that grow in the northeast. The course takes you over bridges, through water hazards, by an 18’ waterfall and many other obstacles that make it a fun and challenging experience for the entire family! Throughout the garden, each plant has an identification label and our scorecards are designed with a “Plant Wish List” on the back of it so that you can write down what you like. After your game of golf, you can walk through our beautiful blooming front displays to our ice cream parlor and enjoy a Richardson’s ice cream as you shop for the plants on your wish list.

Now, Nunan’s Garden Golf has opened its doors to new opportunities within the community by offering a number of different programs, including youth programs and field trips, private events such as birthday parties, fundraisers, and corporate events. Garden Golf and Kallie’s Kones have already hosted a number of birthday parties and they’re a huge hit!

Hosting a corporate event for your business? Try something new and host a mini golf tournament for your employees. Many companies have standard golf tournaments, but the problem with that is not everyone plays golf and it takes an entire day. Mini golf is comparatively shorter, sweeter, and easier to play! With a Nunan’s Garden Golf corporate event, you can bring everyone together for a fun-filled day. Mini golf is a great outing activity for your employees—it helps improve communication amongst coworkers, helps employees get to know each other better, celebrate company achievements, show appreciation, energize your team, and boost morale. At Nunan’s, you can rent the entire area to play mini golf, bring in food or have it delivered, play music, or host family games, company awards, and presentations.

 

 

 

 

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 April 28th and 29th 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.

Greater Newburyport Mothers & Families Club

By Laura Bentley, Newburyport.Com Correspondent
Owner of Newburyport.Com, Laura manages Business Development, Fundraising, the VIP Program, Blogging and the Events Calendar.
mothers club, newburyport

Greater Newburyport Mothers & Families Club

Support, Friendship & Fun

mothers club, newburyport

Not Your Mother’s “Mothers Club” – A Local Community of Families

Dedicated to providing fun and friendship for the families, the Greater Newburyport Mothers and Families Club (GNFC) is so much more than a traditional “mothers club,” connecting member moms and dads with local family-friendly activities, social events, and educational programs to keep our community happy, healthy, and socially engaged.

Founded in 1999 with just a few families, GNFC now has nearly 600 member-families and counting, a true testament to the Club’s commitment to Newburyport and surrounding North Shore Massachusetts, Southern New Hampshire, and Southern Maine towns. As the club has grown, so has our involvement in the community and the scale of the events we host, including opportunities for couples to socialize in adult settings.

Member Benefits Include:

  • Six information-packed club newsletters each year
  • Access to our members-only online forum for networking, idea exchange, community issues, and more
  • Social events for parents, such as movie nights, exercise classes, wine tastings, couples’ mixers, and “Sip and Shop” events hosted by local businesses
  • Playgroup-matching services
  • A calendar of events with RSVP options and email reminder notices
  • An Annual Early Education Fair showcasing the area’s best early-education programs
  • Member-organized events such as the Winter Dance, Easter Egg Hunt, Halloween and Holiday Parties, and Annual Cocktail Party
  • Fun and creative kid-and-family outings
  • Ways to help the community through community outreach efforts such as food drives and park cleanups
  • Opportunities to volunteer for our club
  • Assistance to members through “meal train” gifting
  • A list of local babysitters
  • A chance to meet other families and form lifelong friendships

GNFC members also enjoy a variety of exclusive discounts whether through local member-owned businesses or deals at moms- and dads-night-out events.

GNFC provides a great way to meet other families in the community and find fun things to do together!

If you have any questions about the Greater Newburyport Mothers and Families Club, please contact via email at President@GreaterNewburyportFamilies.org.

Greater Newburyport Mothers & Families Club

P.O. Box 316
Newburyport, MA 01950

Join the GNFC

Meet the GNFC Officers

Events

Providing support, friendship & fun to the Greater Newburyport area including Amesbury, Boxford, Georgetown, Groveland, Haverhill, Ipswich, Merrimac, Newbury, Rowley, Salisbury, West Newbury and the Seacoast of New Hampshire.

Love

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Take part in the online action.

Newburyport.com offers community social media sites for you to follow, like and post about all things Newburyport.

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Menorah Lightings Brighten Newburyport, Amesbury on Eight Joyful Nights

By Emily Cowan, Newburyport.Com Correspondent

local menorah lightings

Each year, Jewish communities in Newburyport and Amesbury illuminate their respective downtowns with festive menorah lightings on all eight nights of Hanukkah. The Festival of Lights begins this year at sunset on Tuesday, December 12.

Newburyport’s Congregation Ahavas Achim will light up its signature 6-foot-tall electric menorah in historic Market Square at 6 PM on December 12, 13, 16, and 18; at 5 PM on December 14 and 17; and at 3:30 PM on Friday, December 15, due to the Sabbath. Prior to the December 12 lighting, families from the Hebrew School will walk around the neighborhood singing traditional Hanukkah songs at some of the local businesses. These events are open to the public and all are encouraged to attend.

In Amesbury, come light the Hanukkah menorah in the gazebo in front of the Amesbury Public Library at 6 PM on December 12 through 19, except for Friday, December 15, when the lighting will be held at 3:30 PM. On Thursday, December 14, Rabbi Benjamin Resnick of Congregation Ahavas Achim will make an official appearance. Amesbury Mayor Kenneth Gray has also committed to attend on that evening.

Organized by Rachel Barcelona and Gerald Litcofsky, with support from members of the Amesbury community, both Jewish and gentile, Amesbury’s menorah lightings typically include storytelling, songs, jelly doughnuts, and gelt (chocolate coins) for the children.  In the spirit of the holiday, donations to Fisher House Boston, which provides lodging for families of hospitalized veterans, are encouraged. Those who come to the lightings are asked to bring canned soups/stews with meat, or canned fruits or vegetables for the community food pantry Our Neighbors Table.  All ages are welcome – dress warmly!

Community menorah lightings are an annual tradition that is relatively new to our area. Newburyport began its public menorah lightings in Market Square in 2012. Amesbury followed up with its own nightly celebrations in 2013.

Congregation Ahavas Achim, founded in 1896, is a welcoming and diverse spiritual community whose goal is to educate and inspire individuals and families to actively participate in Jewish Life, Torah study, prayer, acts of kindness. The congregation welcomes families and individuals from all backgrounds.

Newburyport Mothers Club Offers Adult Events for Moms (and Dads!)

newburyport mothers club adult events

At the Greater Newburyport Mothers and Families Club (GNFC), we understand how important it is that parents sometimes get out of the house and have fun without the kids. We get it! That’s why we have an Adult Outings Committee charged with organizing adult events throughout the year that encourage moms and dads to meet and mingle with other GNFC members.

We cater to all interests – from stand-up paddle boarding and yoga to floral design and wine tastings. Our adult events are organized to engage our diverse membership in a wide variety of activities. There truly is something for everyone.

As much as possible, we partner with local businesses to provide free or reduced cost events and discounts to our members. This includes our fantastic “Sip & Shop” series, which features local Newburyport shops providing discounts to our members, often in extended hours, as they enjoy snacks and beverages. (To find out how your business can host a members-only shopping event, please don’t hesitate to contact us!)

We also host upscale cocktail parties, often with a fun theme (think: Kentucky Derby and Roaring 20’s!). These events are ticketed events with awards for “Best Dressed Couple” and “Best Hat”; we often have live music and other entertainment.

GNFC board members organize and host our adult outings, but we often have volunteers from the membership help as well; it’s a fun way to get involved. Occasionally our members host more intimate GNFC events at their homes – a wonderfully low-key option for socializing and discussion. We are always looking for new ideas to treat our members to a fun and engaging night out.

Some of our adult events are open outside of membership and are great opportunities to learn more about the Greater Newburyport Mothers and Families Club. So invite a friend and attend a GNFC adult event today!

Theater in the Open

By Emily Cowan, Newburyport.Com Correspondent

Theater in the Open

Community Theater for All

Experience Original Works Indoors and Out

Theater in the Open

Theater in the Open

Theater in the Open is dedicated to bringing creative and innovative community theater to the cultural landscape of Greater Newburyport. They stage high-quality original productions each year for the enjoyment of the community. And they are dedicated to theater that is free and open to anyone! They are headquartered at Maudslay State Park and they offer youth arts education programs in addition to the free outdoor performances for the community.

Theater in the Open has been bringing theater performances to the public for 38 years. They have also been central to the local arts scene on the North Shore. Throughout their history, the organization has been deeply involved in youth arts education throughout its history.  They provide wonderful opportunities for young people to express themselves and develop skills in theater, dance and visual arts. Theater in the Open hosts workshops that foster constructive, positive, creative experiences for young people. Their Summer Arts Workshops, with programming for children aged 5 to 17, offer kids a range of enriching creative opportunities.

In 2017, Theater in the Open was selected by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) to be the Curator of the Maudslay Gatekeepers’s House. This means that for the next 20 years, Theater in the Open will remain in Maudslay State Park and continue their incredible performances and dynamic youth arts education programming.

Theater in the Open brings the Circus Smirkus Big Top Tour to the community each year. This is the biggest fundraising event of the year in support of Theater in the Open. Circus Smirkus is an original full-length show held under a European-style one-ring big top tent at Spencer-Peirce-Little Farm.

Discover Theater in the Open’s quality performances. Simply bring a picnic blanket to Maudslay State Park to watch the creativity of this talented community theater company on display!

Ways to Support

Donate | Volunteer

Upcoming Shows

For information on the current season and upcoming productions, visit theaterintheopen.org.

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Seaside Ice

By Emily Cowan, Newburyport.Com Correspondent

Seaside Ice

Seaside Ice

Skate Indoors – No Hats or Gloves Required

Seaside Ice at Blue Ocean Event Center

Seaside Ice

Seaside Ice offers a winter family activity that’s fun, affordable, and active! Visit the indoor rink at Blue Ocean Event Center in Salisbury for winter wonderland skating – just $5 per person, including skate rental.

Glide around the indoor artificial ice rink as you skate to festive music, surrounded by sparkling snowflakes, mirror balls, and breathtaking views of the ocean. No hats, gloves, or jackets required. Here are all the details:

SEASIDE ICE RINK PUBLIC SKATING HOURS*
Fridays & Saturdays ~ 5PM-9PM
Sundays ~ 12-4PM

*Open through February. Hours subject to change. Please call 978-462-5800 or email info@blueoceaneventcenter.com to confirm.

PARTIES & PRIVATE RENTALS
The 1,500 square foot rink is available for birthday parties, private rentals, and events. For information, fees, and menus, contact our Event Sales Team at 978-462-5992 or email info@blueoceaneventcenter.com.

Fun for the entire family!

Admission

$5 per person (includes skate rental)

Limited children’s and adult sizes available, or bring your own. 18 & under must be accompanied by an adult.

Get Social

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Newburyport.com offers community social media sites for you to follow, like and post about all things Newburyport.

The party continues when you checkin & post reviews on

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Newburyport Santa Parade and Tree Lighting Kicks off Holiday Season

By Emily Cowan, Newburyport.Com Correspondent

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The annual Newburyport Santa Parade & Tree Lighting offers all the holiday cheer that’s to be expected of a downtown yuletide celebration – but there’s a twist: In this most nautical of cities, Santa arrives by boat. Honoring the Clipper City’s heritage as the birthplace of the U.S. Coast Guard, Santa makes his first local appearance waving from a Coast Guard boat on the Merrimack River before docking at the boardwalk for a joyful procession through the downtown area to the traditional tree lighting in Market Square.

Kids and families gather on the boardwalk to await the arrival of Santa and Mrs. Claus at 3:30 PM. Santa then leads the way from the boardwalk to Market Square for the tree lighting at 4 PM. The event features a spirited round of caroling from residents capped with Santa hats as they usher in the holiday season.

Traditionally held on the Sunday afternoon immediately after Thanksgiving, the Newburyport Santa Parade & Tree Lighting is the much-anticipated kickoff of the area’s official holiday season. The nearby town of Salisbury typically hosts its own Christmas tree lighting later on the same day.

Over the next few weeks Santa will pop up at a host of public events in the area, including Amesbury’s annual holiday parade, a series of tours by firetruck (in Byfield, Newburyport, and Salisbury), a very popular Jingle Bell Walk through Ipswich, and a wide variety of storytimes and parties at local libraries and recreational farms.

In early December in Newburyport, Santa takes up residence at his “workshop” in downtown’s Inn Street, offering visits and photos with the kids on Saturdays and Sundays through mid-month. Check the Newburyport.com Events Calendar for the specific days and times.

The Newburyport Santa Parade & Tree Lighting is presented by the Newburyport Chamber of Commerce & Industry and the Newburyport Rotary Club.

Enjoy this fun video from UAV Look.

Sea Festival of Trees

By Joe, Joe

Sea Festival of Trees 2014

Sea Festival of Trees

Grand Tree Lighting Spectacular

A Family-Friendly Holiday Tradition

Sea Festival of Trees, Salisbury, MassachusettsThe 5th annual Sea Festival of Trees lights up the seacoast with 15 days of Christmas – Friday, November 17, through Sunday, December 3! Held at the spacious Blue Ocean Event Center located directly on the ocean at Salisbury Beach, this annual holiday fundraiser offers two floors of family holiday fun.

For just $5 per person, visitors walk through a maze of beautifully decorated 4 foot to 10 foot-high artificial trees decorated with a breathtaking array of holiday colors and more than 75,000 twinkling lights. Attendees also have the opportunity to purchase raffle tickets (a sheet of 25 raffle tickets is sold for $5) and enter to win the themed trees of their choosing.

Enter to Win One of These Gorgeous Trees!

Close to 150 spectacular themed trees – many with holiday décor or gifts valued at up to $1,000 or more – are donated by regional businesses, civic organizations, elected officials, student groups, work colleagues, and individuals, who showcase their decorating talents for the benefit nonprofit organizations. Donations benefit Anna Jaques Hospital, the Salisbury Beach Partnership and the Salisbury Beach Betterment Association.

While the trees form the centerpiece of Sea Festival of Trees, that’s not all this event has to offer. Also included in price of admission:

Giant Gingerbread Beach Castle Display 
New England’s largest whimsical confectionary creation, designed and hand-built by Amesbury resident Jim Shalkoski, will be on display in Blue Ocean Event Center lobby. The 8-foot by 8-foot sugary structure is constructed of edible gingerbread, candy, frosting and other colorful holiday sweets.

Seaside Ice Skating Rink
Blue Ocean Event Center’s indoor synthetic skating rink, Seaside Ice, offers free public skating with Festival admission. Skate to holiday music with breathtaking views of the ocean on the newly expanded 1,800 square foot artificial ice rink. Skates rentals are available for children and adults. No hats, gloves and jackets required!

Holiday Stage Entertainment
Regional musicians, dance troupes, choirs and artists will perform on stage in Blue Ocean Music Hall at various times throughout the Festival.

North Pole Gift & Candy Shoppe
The Festival’s North Pole Shoppe will be filled with delectable holiday candies, stuffed animals, festive ornaments – including the 2016 commemorative Sea Festival of Trees ornament – and holiday gifts for purchase.

Special Events

Giant Gingerbread House Unveiling
Baker Jim Shalkoski unveils and lights his creation. Holiday caroling, house-drawn hay rides, hot chocolate and cookies.

Grand Tree Lighting Spectacular
Exclusive VIP opening event to hundreds of holiday trees, including desserts, live entertainment and dancing.

Santa’s Arrival by Fire Truck
Special thanks to the Salisbury Fire Department, Santa will visit children and families at the Sea Festival of Trees. Naughty or Nice One-on-One times vary.

Holiday Strolling Characters
Frosty the Snowman and the Jolly Green Grinch prance amongst the trees to say hello and post for pictures.

Gingerbread House Workshop
Decorate a take-home gingerbread house with holiday candies, gum drops, royal icing and more. Includes instruction on how to make mini marshmallow snowmen, tootsie roll log piles, etc. Price per person includes a pre-constructed gingerbread house and base. Space is limited; seating is at tables of 8.

Holiday Shopping Night at By the Sea Gifts
Support Local and Shop Small at this VIP Event with complimentary wine and cheese. 10% off storewide, raffle items and a showcase of local artisans. Jewelry, home décor, candles, frames, scarves and more affordable holiday gifts.

Polar Express Pajama Party
Make one of your favorite children’s books come to life with a reading of the Polar Express, followed by a pizza party and scavenger hunt through the Sea Festival of Trees, where you’ll meet elves, the train conductor and Santa!

Ways to Participate

Be a Sponsor | Donate a Tree | Volunteer

Hours & Admission

$5 per person. Children 2 and under are free. 

For festival hours and a full schedule of events, visit www.seafestivaloftrees.com or call the Sea Festival of Trees hotline at 978-462-2512.

Get Social

Take part in the online action.

Newburyport.com offers community social media sites for you to follow, like and post about all things Newburyport.

The party continues when you checkin & post reviews on

Foursquare | TripAdvisor | Yelp

Top Eight Playgrounds in the Newburyport Area

By Emily Cowan, Newburyport.Com Correspondent

playgrounds in the Newburyport area

We’re lucky to live in an area with more than its fair share of wonderfully designed and maintained playgrounds, including one rated top ten in the state! From relatively small but centrally located urban parks to expansive play structures banked by rolling hills and ballfields, there’s a playground for every age range and activity level. Here’s our insider’s guide to the top eight playgrounds in the Newburyport area, as rated by Macaroni Kid readers. Click the links below for an information-packed review of each park, including key details on shade structures, water play opportunities, and restroom access.

ACTION COVE

15 Bachelor St. West Newbury MA 01985
Action Cove’s whimsical, nautical-themed wooden play structure offers enough steps, slides, lookouts, and hideyholes to keep kids entertained for hours.

playgrounds in the Newburyport area, Action Cove

 

AMESBURY TOWN PARK PLAYGROUND

Lion’s Mouth Rd., between Friend and Highland Sts. Amesbury MA 01913
This expansive, newly renovated playground forms the heart of Amesbury’s park-recreation scene, boasting state-of-the art play equipment and a splashpad in summer.
playgrounds in the Newburyport area, Amesbury Town Park

 

BARTLET MALL PLAYGROUND
151 High St. Newburyport MA 01950
This relatively small playground overlooking the “Frog Pond” (Bartlet Mall Pond) benefits from easy access both to downtown Newburyport and to the footpath that rings the pond.

playgrounds in the Newburyport area, Bartlet Mall

 

CASHMAN PARK
202 Merrimac St. Newburyport MA 01950
Stop by Cashman Park on any given afternoon in good weather and you’ll find a social scene populated by parents, their babies and kids, and a wide variety of strollers, scooters, trikes, and bikes.

playgrounds in the Newburyport area, Cashman Park

 

INN STREET PLAYGROUND
25 Inn St. Newburyport MA 01950
What tiny Inn Street Playground lacks in amenities it more than makes up for in location, location, location
playgrounds in the Newburyport area, Inn Street Playground

 

MOSELEY WOODS
Spofford St. Newburyport MA 01950
Tucked into the woods just off the Merrimac Street traffic circle in Newburyport lies a 16-acre park featuring a playground, shaded picnic area, and hiking trails.
playgrounds in the Newburyport area, Moseley Woods

 

PERKINS PLAYGROUND
10 Beacon Ave. Newburyport MA 01950
Boasting a playground with a generous sandbox, Perkins Park is the go-to recreational area for families in Newburyport’s South End.
playgrounds in the Newburyport area, Perkins Park

 

PIRATE SHIP PARK
Little Neck Rd. Ipswich MA 01913
At this picturesque oceanview playground on Ipswich’s Little Neck, a modern play structure shaped like a – you guessed it – pirate ship offers lots of climbing opportunities.
playgrounds in the Newburyport area, Pirate Ship Park

 

Social Events and Fun Things to do in a Welcoming Community

By Chris Marso, Newburyport.Com Correspondent
Membership Director at Ipswich Country Club. With over 15 years of diversified experience in the golf and private club industry, Chris prides himself on his ability to enhance the experience of Members with exceptional customer service. His role at Ipswich Country Club is to help facilitate the enrollment process and to continue building relationships with Members and guests of the Club.
Ipswich Country Club
Events and fun things to do at Ipswich Country Club

With so many social events and fun things to do at Ipswich Country Club, you owe it to yourself to at least consider joining this welcoming community. Ipswich Country Club is ClubCorp’s flagship property in the northeast and offers more opportunities for its Members to connect, play, work, host and celebrate in a less “stuffy” environment, than the traditional notions of “country clubs.” You get a fantastic restaurant that has indoor and outdoor seating with great views, and other amenities like swimming pools, tennis courts and a state-of-the-art gym, all surrounded by a beautiful golf course. Here are some reasons why you may want to check out what life is like as a Member of Ipswich Country Club.

Country Clubs are generally known for golf, but we have much more than just golf to offer at Ipswich Country Club. Your family will have hours of fun at the Swim & Tennis Center with a junior Olympic size swimming pool and kiddie pool alongside a basketball court, playground, and an outdoor resort-style pavilion with a poolside bar, HD televisions and indoor/outdoor seating areas. Ipswich Country Club offers so many things to do and the finest environment for you to relax without the crowds or feel of a public pool. Ipswich Country Club also offers an amazing tennis complex with 6 Har-Tru clay courts, tennis pro shop, and a variety of tennis programs for all ages and skill levels.

Ipswich Country Club also boasts a fitness center with a studio and state-of-the-art equipment, plus a variety of exercise classes without the lines or the wait like other gym memberships. There are also full-service locker rooms, complete with saunas, steam rooms, and whirlpool spas. With experienced fitness instructors that offer group and one-on-one training, all your fitness goals can be accomplished here at the Club, and without the extra expense of a gym membership.

The dining options at Ipswich Country Club, ranging from the poolside grill to the Clubhouse restaurant, will indulge all your dining needs. The Clubhouse restaurant includes a newly-renovated casual seating area, bar, and formal dining room that is open for lunch or dinner. Ipswich Country Club offers themed food nights like pasta night, prime rib night and even special dinners featuring lobster and prime-grade steaks. Enjoy wonderful events such as the multiple course wine dinners that the Club hosts each season, where the Chef and the Club’s wine rep travel the globe with their cuisine and wine pairings. While indulging your taste buds at the Club, you can also sit and dine on the deck while enjoying the sunset over the golf course. The service is always impeccable at the Club and many of the staff, who pride themselves on knowing your name, have been providing exceptional service for years.

Members enjoy several social events and fun things to do at Ipswich Country Club throughout the year.  There are many events geared towards families and others that allow parents to have fun and let loose while the kids are playing with their friends under the supervision of the Club’s babysitting staff. The parties can range from social mixers with appetizers, live piano music and ballroom dancing to disco parties. Ipswich Country Club also has lots of special family-themed events like Santa brunch, Easter brunch, Mother’s Day brunch, holiday parties, pumpkin carving, ginger bread house making, super hero parties, etc.

Lastly, friendship, community and peace of mind are pillars of Ipswich Country Club. The Club values the importance of building relationships and enriching lives and takes great pride in being a relief from the hustle and bustle of daily life. There are so many great social events and fun things to do at Ipswich Country Club, that there truly is something for everyone. Ipswich Country Club provides a very popular Kids Club, where the kids can play games, make arts & crafts, draw and explore in a safe environment while the parents are enjoying the Club. Not only can family members come to the Club and play golf, but they can meet their friends and fellow Club Members for a meal, relax at the pool or arrange business meetings. When you are a Member at Ipswich Country Club, there’s a level of happiness and contentment that makes it all worthwhile!  Contact us to learn how you can be part of this wonderful community of people enjoying exciting social events and fun things to do at Ipswich Country Club throughout the year.

 

Spencer-Peirce-Little Farm

Spencer-Peirce-Little Farm

Spencer-Peirce-Little Farm

Historic Farm in Newbury

Spencer-Peirce-Little Farm

Spencer-Peirce-Little Farm is a historic 231-acre property in Newbury with events and activities for you and your family to enjoy. The property features exhibits and interactive activities that demonstrate what it was like to live on a farm throughout the centuries. Much of the land at Spencer-Peirce-Little Farm is still under active agriculture!

Visit the expansive open land and tour the farmhouse to see what life was like in Newbury in the 1690s! The farm was originally used to raise cattle, sheep, horses, pigs and chickens. In addition, fruit, vegetables, flowers, barley and fresh meadow hay have been grown on the land. The main house was built with local stone, most likely from nearby Plum Island. There are several outbuildings including a large barn and visitor center that was originally a carriage barn.

There are many fun outdoor events at the Farm including Vintage Baseball from May to October. It’s a lot of fun to watch baseball being played with rules from 1881!

You can also visit sheep, goats, chickens and a horse on the property. The Farm partners with the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals to foster these friendly animals.  The Farm Friends is a program geared toward children 3 to 6 years old. The children who sign up for this program get to spend time with farm animals, listen to a story, and create a neat craft item to bring home. Programs run at various times throughout the year so be sure to check the Farm’s website for details.

Spencer-Peirce-Little Farm owned and operated by Historic New England, a cultural preservation organization. The season for Spencer-Peirce-Little Farm is from June 1st to October 15th, the grounds are open year round during daylight hours. It’s a great place to enjoy a stroll, ride bikes, cross-country ski, and ride horses. There is plenty of parking at Spencer-Peirce-Little Farm.

Spencer-Peirce-Little Farm

5 Little’s Lane
Newbury, MA 01951
978-462-2634

Directions: Take I-95 to Route 113, Newburyport. Route 113 turns into Route 1A (High Road). Follow Route 1A for 3.7 miles. Turn left onto Little’s Lane.

Autism- and Sensory-Friendly Events in the Newburyport Area

By Emily Cowan, Newburyport.Com Correspondent

autisim and sensory-friendly, Newburyport MA

Looking for autism- and sensory-friendly options for family entertainment? From autism spectrum to sensory processing disorders, there are plenty of reasons why your child might need a little extra consideration when it comes to high-impact events or activities. Many large entertainment venues now make specific accommodations for these kids (think lower lights, decreased noise levels, and smaller crowds), so no one has to miss out on the fun.

Here are a few area events and activities specially designed to create a calmer environment for sensory-sensitive kids. (For a complete and continuously updated list, check out the Greater Massachusetts Special Needs Event Calendar.)

Movie Theaters

Cinemagic (Salisbury MA and Portsmouth NH) – Sensory- and family-friendly showings run once per month

AMC Theaters (Methuen and Burlington MA) – Sensory-friendly films run four times per month

Chunky’s (Haverhill MA and Pelham NH) – Lights up, sound down sensory-friendly showings run monthly

Museums

Boston Children’s Museum (Boston MA) – Morningstar Access for a less crowded experience once per month

The Discovery Museum (Acton MA) – Autism-Friendly Evenings, Sensory-Friendly Afternoons, Visually Impaired Family Evenings, Mornings and Evenings for Families with Deaf or Hard of Hearing & KODA Infant and Toddlers programs that offer increased accommodations and access to exhibits in an understanding environment

The Children’s Museum of New Hampshire (Dover NH) – Exploring Our Way Program is open the first Sunday of the month for families to enjoy the museum in a less crowded, understanding environment

Museum of Fine Arts (Boston MA) – Beyond the Spectrum program one Saturday per month for children ages 8-12 to explore galleries and create art

Restaurants

Autism Eats (Various Locations) – Hosts dinner parties in restaurants and function facilities with accommodations for sensory sensitivities

Chuck E. Cheese (Burlington, Danvers, and Methuen MA, and Newington NH) – Sensory Sensitive Sundays held the first Sunday of the month

Playspaces

SkyZone (Danvers MA) – Sensory Hours held on the second Sunday of the month

Storytimes

Amesbury Public Library (Amesbury MA) – Sensory Storytimes offered once per month

 

For more events for kids and families in the Greater Newburyport area, visit www.newburyport.macaronikid.com. Subscribe to our FREE weekly e-newsletter to have our complete calendar delivered right to your inbox: http://newburyport.macaronikid.com/subscribe/

The Adventures of Piratess Tilly: Easter Island – Book Launch and Fundraiser for Cure SPG47

By Elizabeth Lorayne, Newburyport.com Correspondent
Elizabeth Lorayne is an author, artist and mother, inspired by nature, history and the daily rhythms of her surroundings. As the granddaughter of Admiral Walter T. Griffith and having spent her own childhood sailing and exploring the shorelines of the Pacific Northwest, she has developed a deep respect, curiosity and love for water, exploration and creativity. She and her family live in Newburyport, Massachusetts. Elizabeth is a current member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. She also holds a position on the board of directors for the Newburyport Maritime Society – Custom House Maritime Museum.
The Adventures of Piratess Tilly
Piratess Tilly, Newburyport MA

Award-winning Newburyport author Elizabeth Lorayne will launch and sign her new children’s picture book, The Adventures of Piratess Tilly: Easter Island – where haiku meets girl-empowerment, science and exploration, at the Custom House Maritime Museum, 25 Water Street, Newburyport on Saturday, May 13th, from 10:00 am – 12 pm.

“Piratess Tilly—the refreshingly bold, smart heroine” (Kirkus Reviews) is a budding naturalist who captains the Foster with her crew of orphaned international boys and her rescued best friend, a koala named Yuki. In the sequel they head to Easter Island to study the local fish. While exploring the mysterious monolithic statues and ruins, they happen upon a smuggling of sooty tern eggs by pirates! Readers will soon find out if Piratess Tilly, Yuki and the brothers safely save the eggs.

The book release party will not only include crafts, lollipops, and commemorative bookmarks, but it will also be a fundraiser for Cure SPG47 (curespg47.org), a non-profit organization devoted to seeking a cure for spastic paraplegia-47, an extremely rare, newly recognized degenerative genetic disorder resembling cerebral palsy. All proceeds from the launch party and from the Piratess Tilly Shop online (piratesstilly.com) will benefit Cure SPG47.

Author Elizabeth Lorayne first heard about SPG47 through Kasey Edwards, the mother of a child afflicted with this disease. The two moms met at the Newburyport Montessori School where their children attended and became friends. “Because the heroine of my book, Piratess Tilly, is passionate about raising awareness and helping those in need, I’m donating the book sale proceeds to this cause,” says Lorayne.

Raffle prizes will also help benefit Cure SPG47. Some of these offerings include a beautiful floral arrangement from Willow Event Planning (just in time for Mother’s Day!), a bottle of wine and olive oil from Grand Trunk Old World Market, gift certificates to Shanti Salon, Repose Yoga Studio, Port City Integrative Health, Anchor Pizza, Brooke Whicher Photography, Motivate, Pretty Poppy, Joppa Fine Foods and a gift bag and gift card from Buttermilk Baking Company. Siga Snipas and Gretchen Stone of The Bean Group will be pledging a shared $5/book sold at the book launch and fundraiser.

Visit https://www.piratesstilly.com/ for more information and to register for this family-fun event!

A Family Vacation Yields Unexpected Treasure

By Jim Somers, Newburyport.Com Correspondent
Founder of American Gold Prospecting Adventures, Jim Somers is a seasoned gold prospector who leads prospecting excursions throughout northern New England. He has been featured in The Boston Globe, The Union Leader, Lost Treasure Magazine and The Gold Prospectors Association of America Pick & Shovel Newsletter.
American Gold Prospecting Adventures
Family Vacation Adventures, Newburyport MA

About 15 years ago, my wife and I took our kids to Scottsdale, Arizona for a family vacation. We didn’t have firm plans for the trip, preferring instead to explore the local options upon arrival. After settling in at the hotel, we gathered a bunch of brochures from the lobby and let the kids pick our first adventure.

The next day, we headed out to the Goldfield Ghost Town in the Superstition Mountains. We learned all about the gold rush and the legendary Lost Dutchman Mine. We also learned about the town’s history—how it boomed into existence and then, just as quickly, went bust. Finally, we learned how to pan for gold. That hands-on experience let us all feel the rush of adrenaline you get when you find gold in a simple pile of dirt.

The entire family was struck by gold fever.

After returning to New England with a small vial of gold and some great family memories, we started to do a little research. It turns out that there is not only gold in New England, but a thriving community of gold prospecting enthusiasts all around the region and an opportunity for a local family vacation.

After a few unsuccessful attempts to find gold, we took a trip to New Hampshire. This time, we struck pay dirt!

The thrill of that first find, right in our own back yard, gave us the fever—gold fever!

There’s something addictive about finding those elusive pieces of gold flakes. And once you find that first piece, it’s hard to stop. You’ll want to feel that thrill again and again. And from my own experience, the thrill never goes away.

But it really isn’t just about the gold.

While finding gold is always a thrill, gold prospecting isn’t really just about the gold. The real gold is in the relationships you build while you are outside prospecting.

When you spend the day sitting in a riverbed, digging up dirt, sifting out the rocks and swirling what remains around in a pan, time seems to mysteriously slow down.

It’s a meditative process. Your mind becomes quiet and you start to think about things in a different way. You might notice the cool, clear water and appreciate the natural beauty of the area, or you might strike up a conversation with another prospector—a friend, family member or perfect stranger—sharing their stories while learning more about yourself.

You forget all about your cell phone, tablet and computer—even the kids will lose interest in technology after a little while on the river. And when it comes time to run the remaining dirt through the sluice, everyone on the river shares the excitement and hope of hitting pay dirt!

At the end of the day, even if nobody finds a speck of gold, everyone realizes that they had a great time and goes home with new friends and memories.

We want to share this experience with your family.

Today, I’m excited to have partnered with Dan Brown and Bruce Roberts to lead gold prospecting adventures for families. We provide all the equipment and teach you everything you need to know about the river and the process of gold prospecting. Our half-day adventures are good for families with younger children, while our full-day adventures are perfect for older kids and families already more familiar with the process.

While we can provide you with a wonderful day on the river, the real magic happens when you and your kids become engrossed in an unforgettable shared family experience.  If your looking for a unique and memorable family vacation, this is it!

 

10 Under $10: Indoor Play Places in the Newburyport Area

By Emily Cowan, Newburyport.Com Correspondent

indoor Play Places, Newburyport MA

No spring fever here – we’ve compiled a list of low-cost local indoor play places to take your young ones to get the wiggles out.

Harmony Natural Learning Center in Newbury hosts both morning and afternoon open-playtimes for ages 7 and under throughout the winter months. Stocked with simple activities that feature natural materials, Harmony offers a “unique play environment intentionally structured to minimize the adult role in leading and guiding play.”

Newburyport’s Joppa Flats Education Center, part of the Massachusetts Audubon Society, offers a wide range of programming for ages 3 and up, including a year-round “Imagine, Sing & Learn” series for ages 3-6 and a giant saltwater touch tank in summer. If the weather cooperates, you can cross the street to walk the path that hugs the airfield and then heads through a thicket toward historic Spencer-Peirce-Little Farm. About three miles away at Rough Meadows Wildlife Sanctuary in Rowley, you can explore more Mass Audubon trails and try to spot some of the area’s birds and small animals.

Ipswich Museumone of the great indoor play places for the area, has just opened a new model-train exhibit. It also offers hosts monthly homeschooler workshops for ages 6-12 that range from age-appropriate explorations of the museum’s collections to walking tours of Ipswich. Contact educator@ipswichmuseum.org for information on upcoming workshops.

All That Cheer and Tumble in Amesbury offers an open gym time most Tuesday mornings (check for schedule). The Imagination Stationz program features sensory activities, dramatic play, and an obstacles course.

The visitor’s center at the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge in Newburyport offers a kid’s story hour for ages 3-5 on Monday mornings plus free movie screenings as part of its twice-monthly “Kids’ Conservation Cinema” series. Download a monthly calendar of events from PRNWR’s website.

Ipswich Birth to Three Family Center hosts a popular open playtime for young children, among many other programs for kids and families. Classes are free for residents of Ipswich and Essex and with a suggested donation of $6 for non-residents.

Seacoast United Admirals offers a weekday-morning PlayTime program for under-5s at its indoor recreation facility in Amesbury. Season-long memberships available.

The Do Drops playgroup for ages 4 and under is the Newbury Town Library’s best-kept secret. This freewheeling, twice-weekly playtime runs yearlong in the library’s Community Room. (Click here for schedule.)

Preschool Open Gym for ages 2-5 at the Newburyport Youth Services Rec Center offers a weekly opportunity to get the wiggles out in a spacious gymnasium with balls, mats, and plenty of room to run around.

Buddhaful Souls Yoga Studio in Rowley welcomes toddlers and their caregivers for a drop-in Friday mom-and-me yoga session ($10/toddler), and both the Rowley Public Library and the Salisbury Public Library host free kids’ yoga classes.

We hope you find this list of suggestions helpful when in search of fun indoor play places in the Newburyport area.

Visit the websites above for more details or – better yet – check the Macaroni Kid events calendar, where you can find ALL of these programs listed in one place!

Macaroni Kid Launches Free Birthday Club for Area Kids

By Emily Cowan, Newburyport.Com Correspondent

Free Birthday Club for Area Kids, Macaroni Kid, Newburyport

Parents are invited to register their children ages 12 and under for a chance to win a $350 prize pack provided by nine generous local sponsors – monthly drawings!

Newburyport Macaroni Kid, a free web calendar and e-newsletter of local events for families, is celebrating its fifth birthday with a present for area kids! Parents are invited to register their child(ren) by birth month for a chance to win a $350+ prize pack.

Each month one birthday boy or girl will be randomly selected (using Random.org) to receive a fantastic $350-value prize pack courtesy of nine very generous local sponsors. Prizes include:

  • 30-minute mini-session with Liz Castantini Photography ($100 value)
  • “Family Fun Pack” of 3 six-visit punchcards (1 adult, 2 child) for public skating at Graf Rink in Newburyport ($65 value)
  • $25 party platter from Bucciarelli’s Butcher Shop & Deli in Salisbury
  • $25 gift card to Eureka Toys at the Tannery in Newburyport
  • $25 gift card to Sweet Cheeks residential custom bakery in Amesbury
  • Gift bag of three 2-cookie packages of “Penelope Pig” cookies from Plum Island Cookie Company in Rowley ($15 value)
  • Free haircut at Supercuts locations in Amesbury, Newburyport, Haverhill, Methuen (both locations), Seabrook, Plaistow, and Salem, NH ($150 value)
  • Free kid’s meal at Metzy’s Cantina in Newburyport ($10 value)
  • For ages 3 and under, a one-month membership for classes at Natural Harmony Learning Center in Newbury ($90 value)
  • For ages 4 and up, a family 4-pack of ticket vouchers to an upcoming special event at Charmingfare Farm in Candia, NH ($80-$100 value)

Every child registered for that month will receive a birthday shoutout in the Newburyport Macaroni Kid newsletter and on social media.

For more information, please visit http://newburyport.macaronikid.com. A direct link to the registration form can be found here: https://goo.gl/forms/2CmEvhUDB8LB5cmI2

 

ABOUT NEWBURYPORT MACARONI KID

With more than 5,000 subscribers and counting, Newburyport Macaroni Kid is the fast-growing local edition of Macaroni Kid, a national publisher of free community-based email newsletters of events and activities for kids and families. Subscribe today! http://newburyport.macaronikid.com/subscribe/

 

It’s Fall! Family Farms Offer Bushels of Fun for All Ages

By Emily Cowan, Newburyport.Com Correspondent

fall family farms, Macaroni Kid, Newburyport

Each fall, family farms all over New England invite us to come celebrate the harvest, hosting festivals and events throughout the season. The trend toward recreation, education, and outreach among America’s working farms makes fall the ideal time to show kids what “farm to table” is all about. Fall on the family farm is a true New England tradition. Here are three Newburyport-area farms that shouldn’t be missed as the leaves start changing and the pumpkins come out.

Russell Orchards (Ipswich). For over 35 years, Russell Orchards has welcomed visitors to its family-owned and -operated 120-acre fruit farm for a farm-to-table experience like no other. Pick-your-own apples available throughout the season (click here for tips). On weekends, you can access Russell Orchards’ picking fields by hayride! Kids can also visit with their barnyard animals and watch their signature cider donuts being made at the farm’s bakery. Russell Orchards’ expansive farm store features a wide range of locally sourced products. Wines and hard ciders made from the orchard’s own fruit are available for tasting Friday through Sunday.

Cider Hill Farm (Amesbury). Weekends through mid-October, celebrate fall at Cider Hill Farm with hayrides, apple picking, hundreds of pumpkins, hot cider donuts, and fresh-pressed apple cider. Cider Hill Farm is a perennial favorite among local families seeking to pick the perfect pumpkin for Halloween.

Marini Farm Corn Maze (Ipswich). This family-owned and -operated vegetable farm in Ipswich boasts a giant maze of “trails’” cut through 8 acres of living cornstalks (click here for an inside look). There is also a mini-maze for the little ones. The maze area also features a large children’s play area stocked with climbing structures, inflatable slides, and a 70-foot jumping pillow. Apple cannons and hayrides are available on the weekends (weather permitting). The corn maze, farm stand and bakery, pumpkin patch, and other attractions provide a great destination for families.

Now that it’s officially “fall,” family farms are ready to celebrate the harvest season. Get outside and enjoy!

Want to be the first to know about great local events for families in the Newburyport area? Join the 4,000 local moms and dads who receive our free weekly e-newsletter! http://newburyport.macaronikid.com/subscribe/

Build Life Long Boating Memories Hassle-Free

By Jake Goodridge, Newburyport.com Correspondent
Vice President of Freedom Boat Club, Jake is an industry expert on recreational boating.
Freedom Boat Club, Newburyport MA

You have probably heard a few nautical metaphors over the years, sayings such as, “A boat is a hole in the water that you throw money into” or “You know what boat stands for? Break Out Another Thousand!”  The funny thing is that most of the people making these statements are boat owners.  Now you are probably asking yourself, why would somebody want to have anything to do with something that they knew was a bad deal financially and seemed to cause them so much aggravation?

The answer is that the memories you make out on a boat with your friends and family are hard to beat.  Whether you enjoy a sunset cruise or trying to land the catch of a lifetime, boating/fishing is an activity that you are actually sharing the experience with the other people on the boat.  It is something that is tough to duplicate and for certain “boaters” these moments make the expense and hassle of boat ownership worth it.

If you talk to someone who owned a boat or grew up in a boating family, they will have a number of great stories to tell you, because these are the type of memories that will stick with you for a lifetime.

For me, there are memories like the time we were the only boat out and came across a pod of hundreds of porpoise, having whales so close to the boat that they sprayed us when they surfaced, catching my first tuna fish at age 18 with my father and best friend, those perfect days at Sandy Point and a number of nights where that sunset cruise was just what I needed.

Now, what if I tell you there is a way to get access to a fleet of boats and start creating memories with your family and friends for a fraction of the cost of ownership and none of the headaches.

Welcome to Freedom Boat Club!  Freedom Boat Club members get to enjoy the boaters’ lifestyle; we just offer them a more cost-effective and hassle-free way to experience it.  Our members receive access to a variety of different styles of boats and 100% of their time is spent out on the water.  There is no cleaning, no maintenance, no boat slip rental, no boat insurance to worry about; FBC is truly boating at its best.

For more information on our hassle-free approach to boating, please visit www.freedomboatclub.com or call us at (978) 499-0899.

Exploring Newburyport Area “Place-Based” Summer Camp

By Emily Cowan, Newburyport.Com Correspondent

Macaroni Kid Summer Camp Guide, Newburyport MA

It’s amazing how many summer camp programs in the Newburyport area are “place based” – that is, they are camp experiences that just can’t be replicated anywhere else because they reflect our community’s unique topography, maritime history, and cultural heritage. From Merrohawke Nature School’s B.O.A.T. camp on the Newburyport waterfront to SummerQuest at the historic Crane Estate in Ipswich to Workshop in the Woods at Camp Denison in Georgetown, area programs tailor their activities to the amazing natural and cultural resources available here.

It’s not too early to start thinking about camps – many of these programs began accepting registrations as early as January! Here’s are just a few of the wonderful placed-based options to get you and your child excited for summer:

  • New this year: Appleton Farm Camp. Ipswich’s Appleton Farms, a property of the Trustees of Reservations and the country’s oldest continuously operating farm, is expanding its educational offerings with a new summer camp program for ages 5-13. Farm Camp introduces children to the farm through games, activities, arts, adventure, harvesting, cooking, and free play in the great outdoors.
  • Spencer-Peirce-Little Farm, a family-friendly historic site in Newbury, hosts Farm Friends – a series of weeklong summer enrichment programs for children ages 5-12. These programs immerse children in fun farm-related activities, games, and crafts, and include visits with farm animals.
  • Mass Audubon, a nonprofit organization dedicated to environmental conservation, education, and advocacy, offers summer programming for children ages 4-14 at two area locations: Joppa Flats Education Center in Newburyport and Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary in Topsfield. Campers explore tide pools and dunes on Plum Island and paddle on the Ipswich River while having fun, meeting new friends, and learning about plants and animals.
  • Merrohawke Nature School in Newburyport offers nature-based learning programs for ages 4 to teens, ashore and afloat, all with the intention of creating time and space for kids to connect to our beautiful corner of the New England coastline. Summer activities include learning primitive skills and crafts, knot-tying, storytelling and singing, fishing, hiking, tidepooling, and exploring along the Merrimack River watershed, Great Marsh, and nearby coastal waters.
  • SummerQuest at the historic Crane Estate in Ipswich is a day camp for ages 5-15, promoting environmental awareness and place-based learning through hands-on, outdoor adventures. Highlights from last year’s camp session include playing Clue in the Great House, tidepooling at Steep Hill Beach, and exploring Choate island. This summer’s program promises field trips to local Trustees of Reservations properties such as Ravenswood and Agassiz Rock.
  • Georgetown’s Workshop in the Woods, a summer day camp for kids ages 5-14, is a site-specific enrichment program created in partnership with the Georgetown Conservation Commission and Friends of Camp Denison, the public-use recreational area where the camp is located. Whenever possible, the program plans activities that are unique to the area, from building rockets with the Friends of Camp Denison to jamming with the Merrimac Hat Band. Highlights from last year’s summer season included kayaking with Essex River Basin Adventures on Baldpate Pond and marching in the Yankee Homecoming Parade.
    For more amazing summer camp experiences, including archery, arts and performance, and sailing, please visit Macaroni Kid Newburyport’s free online Summer Camp Guide 2016.

For more events for kids and families in the Greater Newburyport area, visit www.newburyport.macaronikid.com. Subscribe to our FREE weekly e-newsletter to have our complete calendar delivered right to your inbox: http://newburyport.macaronikid.com/subscribe/

Check Out Your Local Library This Month

By Emily Cowan, Newburyport.Com Correspondent

Check Out Your Local Library This Month, Newburyport MA

Hope you took advantage of the generously long winter vacation to relax and decompress after last month’s flurry of holiday activities!

January’s cold temperatures have sent all but the hardiest of snow bunnies indoors for the winter, but that doesn’t mean there’s nowhere to go with the kids. Parents in the Newburyport area need look no further than their local public library to find some outstanding, creative – and FREE! – programming for all ages.

Children under 5 and their caregivers can enjoy a wide range of story times geared toward specific stages of early literacy. From “Mother Goose on the Loose Babytime” to “Terrific Twos” to “A-Zs with 3-5s,” there truly is a story time for all ages and developmental stages. Be sure to take advantage of this great early-learning resource! (For a complete rundown of Newburyport-area library story times by age and location, click here.)

Emerging readers have plenty of fun and engaging opportunities to hone their literacy skills. The Newburyport Public Library is launching a new book club for grades 1-2 this month, and the Ipswich Public Library’s Story Explorers program for first graders is now accepting registrations for its winter session, just to name a couple. Not into reading with a group? “Read to a Dog” programs at two public libraries – Amesbury, Newbury – allow emerging readers to build confidence by reading privately to a trained service dog (book your time slot in advance).

For older kids, the library isn’t just a place for books or the occasional drop-in craft. Love cooking? The Amesbury Public Library offers both a Future Foodies Club and a Batter Up Cookbook Club. The Rowley Public Library’s popular cooking club, launched last fall, has expanded to include two groups this winter (sign up now for Session I or Session II). Budding builders may enjoy Minecraft or Steampunk. There are after-school clubs just for grades 3-5 (Rowley) and grades 7-8 (Amesbury). For tweens and teens, there are clubs for anime enthusiasts, Harry Potter fans, and gamers, just to name a few.

Looking for fun, free kids’ activities this winter? “Check out” your local library!

For more events for kids and families in the Greater Newburyport area, visit www.newburyport.macaronikid.com. Subscribe to our FREE weekly e-newsletter to have our complete calendar delivered right to your inbox: http://newburyport.macaronikid.com/subscribe/

Holiday Fun for Families in Greater Newburyport

By Emily Cowan, Newburyport.Com Correspondent

Macaroni Kid, Newburyport MA

The Newburyport area is unwrapping a holiday season jam-packed with events for kids and families! Santa arrived in Downtown Newburyport – via U.S. Coast Guard boat, of course – on the traditional Sunday after Thanksgiving, lighting a 35-foot evergreen in Market Square and marking the official start of holiday celebrations. (Newbury and Salisbury held their tree lightings the same day.)

The first weeks of December offer plenty of opportunities for Santa-sighting, including Santa “tours around town” in Salisbury and Byfield, courtesy of the town fire departments (yep, that’s Santa in the fire truck). Not to be outdone, Marini Farm in Ipswich will host Santa traveling by tractor, plus free hayrides and hot chocolate for area families. On weekends, children are invited to Inn Street in Downtown Newburyport to visit Santa in his “workshop,” a charmingly decorated cottage situated in the city’s sole pedestrian-only throughway. Arrive early – Santa’s Workshop is an extremely popular destination!

Chanukah celebrations get under way in early December as well, beginning on the first night (Sunday, Dec. 6) with the traditional menorah lighting and singalong in Market Square, hosted by Rabbi Avi Poupko of Congregation Ahavas Achim.

Over the course of the month, holiday decorations will be popping up in windows and window boxes all over town. For inspiration and a fun day out, visit Sea Festival of Trees in Salisbury and Tree Jubilee at Marini Farm. Both annual festivals feature a dazzling array of holiday trees decorated by local businesses and organizations, each to be raffled off for charity. Midway through the month, Newburyport’s 22nd annual Holiday House Tour will throw open the doors to more than a dozen private homes handsomely decorated in the “Coastal Christmas Tidings” style. And don’t miss a trip to Partridge in a Bear Tree, Newburyport’s go-to destination for holiday décor.

If you’re looking for something to put under the tree, shop local with our Holiday Gift Guide featuring boutique Newburyport-area vendors and services you just can’t find anywhere else. We’ve got a special section on classes and activities for kids, plus out-of-the-gift-box ideas for moms, dads, and entire families.

Ipswich is the place for some offbeat holiday celebrations this year. Ipswich Evergreen – held outdoors on the town green – celebrates the winter solstice with make-and-take evergreen wreaths. Nearby Appleton Farms hosts the “Nisse” – a farm elf from Scandinavian folklore – as he presides over children’s holiday crafts, cookies and hot chocolate, and caroling. Santa arrives at Town Wharf for his annual “Jingle Bell Walk” as onlookers jingle their bells along the parade route before gathering at Town Hall for caroling, holiday crafts, and photos with the big man himself.

Finally, no holiday season would be complete without a good old-fashioned singalong. The Firehouse Center for the Arts presents a popular annual singalong likely to sell out again this year, so get tickets early.

For more holiday events for kids and families in the Greater Newburyport area, visit www.newburyport.macaronikid.com. Subscribe to our FREE weekly e-newsletter to have our complete calendar delivered right to your inbox: http://newburyport.macaronikid.com/subscribe/

Boat Camp Nature School

By Joe, Joe

Kids exploring Newburyport’s natural resources.

Boat Camp Nature School

Learn

Strong Kids, Healthy Planet.

Part of the Merrohawke Nature School, BOAT CAMP stands for Building Outdoor Appreciation Through Curiosity and Maritime Programs.

Led by Erica Lee and Captain George, this week-long program connects kids with nature through maritime education and activities.

Departing each day from Newburyport or Plum Island Point, Boat Camp Nature School students travel by water to explore the coastal ecology of Ipswich Bay and the Gulf of Maine.

On past trips, students have spotted dolphins, gannets, bluefish and mackerels, with no two days ever the same.

The experience continues as students haul lobster traps, collect and examine sea life and fish off the Isles of Shoals.

From marine biology, coastal ecology and oceanography to maritime history and navigation, during the course of this two-week Boat and Nature Camp, kids will gain plenty of knowledge and memories.

The lead educators and captains have decades of experience taking children out on the water, and guiding them in nature, with a mission to, “Provide meaningful education outdoors along the Merrimack River Watershed and nearby coastal waters to inspire a lifelong connection to land and sea.”

In addition to BOAT CAMP, the Merrohawke Nature School also offers Forest Kindergarten and Teen Wilderness Programs.

If you’re interested in supporting this nonprofit education organization, please read more about donating here.

*Pictures from the Merrohawke Nature School Photo Galleries Aboard the Erica Lee & Captain George.

Live

Boat Camp Nature School

PO Box 235, 54R Merrimac Street

Newburyport, MA 01950

978.463.2233

explore@merrohawke.org

Register Here

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Tendercrop Farm Field Tours

By Joe, Joe

Agricultural adventures await your family.

Tendercrop Farm Field Tours

Meet Farm Animals & Explore Field Tours

Best known for the freshest produce, meats and poultry, Tendercrop Farm in Newbury, Massachusetts offers a healthy, family-friendly experience that reaches behind groceries.

In addition to delectable farm to table foods, plants and crafts, the Farm now offers Tendercrop Field Tours!

Great for school groups, scout troops and birthday parties, Tendercrop will open their fields and pastures to the public, sharing the farming experience.

On the tour you’ll discover how food goes from the farm to table, and visit with Tendercrop Farm Friends including baby chicks, cows and turkeys.

Guests will also pick their own fresh strawberries, peaches, apples and whatever else is in season. Plus, taste treats from inside the store.

Each child will also be eligible to earn a “First Time Farmer” certificate.

Tendercrop Field Tours are available May through October with a 20 person minimum. Tickets are $8 per person.

New, New Hampshire Location

Tendercrop Farm at the Red Barn 123 Dover Point Road Dover NH 01951

phone: 603.740.4920

email: info@tendercropfarm.com

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