New England blog postings

New England Postings

Earliest: March 14, 2003Latest: August 15, 2018Total: 65

August 15, 2018

Great Wolf Lodge

This past week we visit the Great Wolf Lodge in Fitchburg, Massachusetts, otherwise known as Great Wolf New England. We spent 2 days at the Waterpark and having fun with the MagiQuest.

We had Dinner and breakfast at the Lodge Wood Fired Grill. Eating out can be a challenge with a seven-year-old that needs to eat Gluten Free.

Great Wolf Dinner

Dining Experience

The Lodge Wood Fired Grill had a dinner buffet, but when we went up to see what was being served, we didn't really see anything that was safe and decided to stick to the menu.

When the server came to our table, we told him about my daughter allergy and he told us that it was the restaurant policy to have a chef come and talk to us about our options.

A couple of minutes later, the chief came over and talked to my daughter about what she wanted to have for dinner. It was nice that they started that way to allow my daughter to pick what she wanted. She wanted Mac & Cheese, Chicken Nuggets, and french fries. Basically, the same thing that her friend was having.

The chief told us that he would be able to make all of that gluten-free, the Mac & Cheese would take a bit because they need to boil a fresh pot of water. He would get the chicken nuggets and fries out as soon as possible.

The chicken nuggets and fries did come out pretty quickly - just before the adult's meals. About 10 minutes later the Mac & Cheese came out.

My daughter was very happy to have her Mac & Cheese and other things that she wanted. She didn't feel left out from not having the same thing that her friend was having.

My daughter got a lot of food, she enjoyed it and was very happy.

Breakfast Experience

Great Wolf Breakfast

We went up to the buffet and picked things that we knew were safe for her to eat. We did meet a chief at the buffet and they came to see us at our table to explain other options - including making a special plate of Potatoes because the ones at the buffet were deeply fried not in a dedicated fryer.

Breakfast was good. She got a lot of potatoes, she probably only need 2-3. She was happy to have lots of options and enjoyed the sausage and bacon too. (We noticed that the bacon wasn't all that salty.)

Five things We Learned

  • To me, I felt the service was slow, it took a long time for the server to take our orders. At breakfast, I felt that our table was forgotten.
  • The chief at the Breakfast buffet asked what tolerant level my daughter had with gluten. That surprised us. When you are a Celiac, you have to avoid gluten. The FDA rule for packaged foods is 20 parts for million is the maximum ratio of gluten levels in food deemed safe for people with celiac disease.
  • The next time we'll let the table host know about the allergy so they can leave a chief to know after they sit us down at the table.
  • The breakfast potatoes were crunchier than the regular potatoes.
  • They served a lot of food, which is good, but it seemed too much. We couldn't take it home since we were staying at the resort.

Interesting Message on the Dinning Page:

ALLERGY AWARENESS: At Great Wolf Lodge, all our culinary teams are well versed in common food allergies and dietary restrictions. We are more than happy to accommodate your needs, and we encourage you to speak to your chef, so your meal can be prepared safely from the very beginning. Great Wolf Lodge dining facilities do not serve peanut or tree nut products, but some of our products may be manufactured in facilities that also process nuts.

August 8, 2018

Playhouse at the Breakers Mansion

The Playhouse at the Breaker's Mansion is an often overlooked attraction when visiting the popular mansion. It is located near the exit as you walk around the property.

Playhouse Breakers

Six Fun Facts about the Playhouse

  • Some documents refer the playhouse as simply "The Cottage"
  • The Playhouse building was build in 1895, the house was constructed in 1893.
  • Designed by Peabody and Stearns, who designed the original Breaker's Mansion.
  • The Fireplace is a real working fireplace.
  • The playhouse was where the five Vanderbilt children could play in the summertime: William Henry Vanderbilt II, Cornelius Vanderbilt III, Gertrude Vanderbilt, Alfred Gwynne Vanderbilt, Reginald Claypoole Vanderbilt, Gladys Moore Vanderbilt
  • In the back room, where there is a pretend kitchen are two buttons on the wall. One of the buttons says '2nd Floor.' We asked someone about it and they said it was a mystery. However, when you look at the playhouse from the backside, you can clearly see windows as if there is a second floor in the playhouse. The windows are very similar to the ones in the Breaker's Mansion.

Playhouse is the Same Today as it Was Then

Old New
Pictures taken shortly after it was built vs today.

August 1, 2018

North Conway 5 ⊄ and 10 ⊄ Store

The North Conway's 5 ⊄ and 10 ⊄ store is a great place to visit to take a step back to when lives were simple. Here you'll find lots of long ago items and plenty of penny candy for the kids to enjoy.

In the 80s, I stopped by here whenever we visited North Conway. I can remember going through the store and looking at all the unique souvenirs and toys. It was something that I looked forward to on every trip to North Conway.

Last year we were back in North Conway and I got to share the experience with our nine-year-old daughter. The store was a bit different, but it still had plenty of old toys and souvenirs that kept it's charm.

What can you expect when you walk in the store? You'll find Lots of unique items that have made the store such as success over the past 79 years. There are lots of hard to find "penny candy," North Conway souvenirs - including my favorite maple sugar candy. Yes, in 2018 you can still buy some candy for 5 ⊄ and 10 ⊄!

North Conway510

Five Things I have Learned about the North Conway's 5 ⊄ and 10 ⊄ store

  • First opened in May 1939. It is the oldest continually operating retail store in North Conway. The store has always existed in the current location. On May 1st, 2019, the store will celebrate the 80th anniversary! An amazing accomplishment for any small 5 ⊄ and 10 ⊄ store.
  • The store was founded by Sidney and Lillian Sweeney. It was sold to Shirley and Phil Alcott in 1977 and they have had the tough job of keeping the store running in the Internet age of online shopping.
  • The location previous occupant was the Carroll Reed's Ski shop.
  • At the back of the store, you can find plenty of classic doll furniture and accessories. My daughter really liked the collection since she hasn't seen the items in any previous store.
  • There were two remaining 5 ⊄ and 10 ⊄ stores in New Hampshire the other being Bailey's 5 Cents to 1 in Ashland. Bailey's closed on October 31, 2004.

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places

The store got listed on the National Register of Historic Places on January 5, 2004. The listed number is 03001282. You can get more information about the registration on the Digital Asset Page.

North Conway Historic

Owners Thoughts

On the North Conway's 5 ⊄ and 10 ⊄ store official website, they have the following statement:

In this present day of fast-paced internet sales and instant gratification, we ask you to pause a moment. You are walking through a piece of history. Take time to enjoy your neighborhood store and the memories it has to offer. After all, we've seen the best part of a century. You never know just what you might encounter when you step back in time.

The North Conway 5 and 10 Cent Store is located at 2683 S Main St, North Conway, NH 03860

July 25, 2018

Ice Cream Cafe

There's nothing spending a nice summer week on Cape Cod and enjoying the wonderful beaches and golf courses. The only thing that should make the day better is a nice ice cream before heading home.

In Orleans, most people will go to Sundae School to get their frozen treat. That's a good choice. But you should consider going to the Ice Cream Cafe near the Christmas Tree Shop.

Cafe Ice Cream Flavors

Great Choices

The Ice Cream Cafe has a larger selection of ice cream flavors than Sundae School. They even have Vanilla and Chocolate soft serve ice cream.

Gluten Free Cones

One of the nice things to see is they have Gluten Free Cones. They have both the sugar and regular cones. My seven-year-old daughter was very happy to have choices. It's the first ice cream stand we visited where they have Gluten Free Cones.

When we place our order, we told the server about her allergy and they not only made sure that the scoop was well cleaned. They scooped the Ice Cream from an unopened container underneath the regular container.

Clearly they understood the risk of cross-contamination - after all they had two different types of gluten-free cones. They probably served a lot of allergy users.

Good Cafe Ice Cream

Good Ice Cream

The Ice Cream was good. She liked the cone and glad she found a place where she can enjoy ice cream like her friends.

The server gave my daughter a lot more than she could handle. She really enjoyed the chocolate chip ice cream.

We'll be back for more summertime treats! My daughter gave it a rare one thumbs up because her other hand had the Ice Cream Cone.

Finding the Ice Cream Cafe

The Ice Cream Cafe is located on 5 S. Orleans Road in Orleans Ma. They are located next to Cooke's Seafood.

July 18, 2018

Mystery at the Breakers Mansion

This past weekend we took a tour of the Breaker's Mansion and the Marble House in Newport, RI. It was a fun tour to learn about the history of the two mansions. http://www.newportmansions.org/explore/the-breakers

After the trip, I looked at some photos and videos and I noticed something interesting in a video that I took at the Breaker's Mansion. There appears to be writing on the top of one the Vanderbilt paintings.

This is the first painting of Cornelius Vanderbilt II that you see on the tour, it's located near the famous staircase.

Watch the Video

Watch this video clip and see if you can see what appears to be some writing on the top left of the painting:

The video is good to watch because you can that the text outline only appears when you look at the painting from a certain angle.

Here's a screenshot of where to look for the writing in the video:

Mystery Text Painting Writing

What do you think? Was there writing on the painting or is it just some weird brush stroke pattern?

July 11, 2018

Joan Buckminster Marcy

Walking through the Framingham's Church Hill Cemetery, you may encounter many strange old gravestones. However, one stands out a bit more than others - its the gravestone of Joan Buckminster Marcy

Joan Buckminster Marcy

Who was Joan Buckminster Marcy?

There isn't a whole lot of information on her. I did find her obituary in the Buffalo NY Courier Express (Page 7):

Miss Joan Marcy Dies in Vermont

(August 19, 1942) Joan Buckminster Marcy, fourteen, younger daughter of William L. Marcy, Jr. and Mrs. Heinrich F. F. H. Hause of 62 East 78th Street, New York City, died yesterday morning at Guilford, VT., after an Illness of eight months.

Born July 14, 1928, Miss Marcy had made her home with her mother in New York since 1935. She attended school in Darien, Conn.

Funeral services will be held tomorrow at Guilford.

Besides her parents, Miss Marcy is survived by a sister, Constance of New York City.

In addition, someone posted some information in a feedback section on the ThisIsFramingham website, I am not sure it's talking about same person:

Comment by Sarah - October 14, 2008

Someone was interested in Joan Buckminster Marcy, buried in the cemetery at Framingham. She was my great aunt and a great beauty if I do say so myself. I inherited her portrait, done in oil. It's beautiful and hangs in my sister's house in Washington State.

She was married to a Spanish diplomat.

She died in Egypt after an ectopic pregnancy; medical technology was not what it is today, obviously. She was still in her twenties when she died.

I never knew her, but I knew my grandmother, her sister, very well indeed.

Couple of Notes about the above comment:

  • Joan was fourteen when she died, not 20.
  • She didn't die in Egypt but in Guilford, VT.

Why a Turtle Gravestone?

The whimsical bronze turtle does stand out from all the other classic gravestones.

One possible reason for the turtle is its Indian meaning - The turtle symbol signifies good health and long life. The turtle has great longevity living up to 150 years. (Could also be that Joan had a special thing for turtles)

Mystery in the Graveyard?

I am not sure if Sarah comment is correct.

If you have any additional information about Joan Buckminster Marcy, please put it in the comments below. Also, I couldn't find any information on why she was buried in Framingham. Se spent her whole life in Connecticut and New York. Why was she buried in Framingham?

June 27, 2018

Concord Cheese Shop

If your visiting Downtown Concord, make sure to stop by the Famous Concord Cheese Shop for delicious cheese and sandwiches.

Local Tip: Pick up a sandwich here and enjoy your sandwich at the Old North Bridge or at Walden Pond (One of America's Best Parks for Picnicking). They have some of the best sandwiches in the area and worth the stop! (Local Favorite!)

If your entertaining special guests, stop by the Concord Cheese Shop and pick up some unique Cheese and Crackers.

Concord Cheese Shop

Five Fun Facts about the Concord Cheese Shop

  • An important part of downtown Concord, Massachusetts since 1967. Current owner is Peter Lovis.
  • At any given time there are 150 to 200 types of Cheese available in the store. Try this: Talk to the people behind the counter on the type of cheese you like and say you're looking to try something different. They will give you a sample treat and will let you know the best wine to go with your treat.
  • Since 2009, the Concord Cheese Shop has celebrated Crucolo Cheese Parade, check out the YouTube video. It's a great place to witness a 400-pound wheel cheese from Italy.
  • This year's Crucolo Cheese Parade will be on December 6th (First Thursday of December) The parade starts at 3:30 pm.
  • The Famous Concord Shop, a place to get fun kitchen accessories, was next door. The store name was changed to "Concord Cookware" in the fall of 2003. The store moved to 13 Walden Street and finally closed its doors on the last weekend of May, 2018.

Types of Cheese Available

According to their website, here are all the different types of cheese available:

Abbaye de Belloc, Beaufort, Bleu, Asiago, Bitto, Camembert, Chimay, Comté, Crottin de Chavignol, Butterkäse, Explorateur, Formaggio, La Serena, Livarot, Manchego, Ossau-Iraty, Pecorino di Filiano, Robiola di Roccaverano, Raclette, Reblochon, Taleggio, Tomme de Savoie, Valle d?Aosta Fromadzo, AND MANY MANY MORE, including Cheddar, Jack and Swiss.

June 20, 2018

Longfellow Wayside Inn Grist Mills

Just off of Boston Post Road (Route 20), in Sudbury, Massachusetts, is historic Wayside Inn Grist Mill. This is a perfect place to have an afternoon picnic or for family photos.

This is the Longfellow's Wayside Inn Grist Mill, a reproduction of an 18th Century grist mill:

Longfellow Mill

Interesting Facts about the Mill and Area

  • Mill area was built in 1929 by John Blake Campbell (1890 - 1987).
  • The Mill was funded by Henry Ford and Associates.
  • The first ground corn was produced on Thanksgiving Day in 1929.
  • During it's peak, the Mill produced 5-tons of flour per year.
  • The flour was used by Pepperidge Farm from 1952 to 1967. The Logo for Pepperidge Farm is based on the Wayside Inn Grist Mill.
  • The mill produced flour for King Arthur Flour Company from 1967 to 1969.
  • In 1969, the Wayside Inn assumed full control of all the flour produced by the Mill.
  • Water from Josephine Brook powers the Mill
  • Added to the National Historical District in 1973
  • Today, the mill is only used to demonstrate how the 18th Century mill worked.
  • You can buy four produced by the Mill in the Wayside Inn gift shop.

Fall Picture Spot

During the Last week of September, and the first week of October, this is a perfect fall foliage picture spot. We have found that early Sunday mornings are the best time to visit to avoid the large crowds and to get the best sunlight.

The stream behind the Mill is a great place to get a mix of colors. There are plenty of places for families or kids to sit and have a picturesque background.

Signs by the Street Entrance

Longfellow's Wayside Inn Grist Mills Built in 1929. This historic reproduction is operated by the WAYSIDE INN, an educational, non-profit trust dedicated to the preservation and understanding of our past.

Hours: 9am to 5pm

Underneath is this sign:

Attention: Professional Photographers

The Wayside Inn Historic Site is a private, non-profit landmark property and all of its buildings and grounds are copyright protected. We welcome limited professional photography, but kindly request $25 donation per session to assist with the cost of maintaining the property.

Please make payment at the Front Desk at the Inn or in the Donation box in the Gristmill. Receipts are provided upon request. Please be courteous to all others using the grounds. Thank you for your cooperation.

June 13, 2018

Historic Markers in Orleans

In the Town of Orleans, Massachusetts, there are seventeen historic markers to remember some of the town historical pass histories. These were placed in 1974 - just before the United States Bicentennial Celebration. These markers were Architected by Bill Quinn.

One of the markers is at the end of River Road, near the town landing.

Ancient "Pochet Pond" Marker

Orleans Historical Marker

Historic Marker Reads

Ancient "Pocket Pond". Packet Landing; Passengers and Freight to and From New York City. Father of John Howard Payne (1792-1852) Author, "Home Sweet Home", migrated from here to New York where John was born.

Fun Facts about this Location

  • The building behind the sign has nothing to do with the historical marker. This is a private boathouse for a house on Lucy Lane.
  • The Marker still has the Bicentennial Celebration logo on it.
  • Bottom of the marker reads, "Officially Recognized Commemorative of the American Revolution Bicentennial Administration. License No. 76-19-0561. Authorized under public law 93-179"
  • There use to be a Grist Mill at this location, it was moved to the Heritage Plantation in Sandwich.
  • The mill was built using old wood from the original Congregational meeting house (approx. 1790)
  • Packet ships would deliver produce to Connecticut and New York from this location.
  • After John Payne was born in New York, the family moved back to Massachusetts.
  • The "Home Sweet Home" song was a big hit in the early part of the 20th century. Listen to Bing Crosby's version of the song.
  • According to the town records, you should be able to park 12 cars in the parking lot.

Orleans Marker Locations

Here a list of all the Bicentennial Markers in the Town of Orleans. Finding all these signs will make a fun scavenger hunt in Orleans Massachusetts:

  • Rock Harbor
  • Site of Higgins Tavern
  • Site of John Doane Mansion
  • Site of Giles Hopkins Homestead
  • Isaac Snow Homestead
  • Nauset Beach
  • Ancient "Pochet Pond"
  • Snow's Shore
  • Pleasant Bay
  • Site of Tidewater Grist Mill
  • French Cable Station
  • Orleans Oldest House
  • First Cape Cod Canal (Jeremiah's Gutter)
  • East Orleans Country Store
  • Home of Margaret A. Sanger
  • Jonathan Young Windmill
  • Site of Howard Johnson's

June 6, 2018

Butterfly Wings in Natick

Earlier this year the Boch Center ArtWeek was run. This is a state-wide celebration of the arts and 500 events were planned through-out the state.

One of the events occurred in Natick and was put on by the Highland Street Foundation. One of the highlights is the "Wings of the Butterfly painting.

Natick Butterfly

This is a cool painting on the side of the building, simply put your feet in the markers on the street and someone can take your picture as if you had butterfly wings.

There is a smaller butterfly 1/2-way down the street where kids can get their wings.

Finding the Wings of Butterfly Display

The paintings are done on the Baldwin Hill Art & Framing building in Downtown Natick. Specifically, the paintings are on the corner of Adams Street and Court Street (Across from the Middlesex Savings Bank)

The smaller butterfly is on the Helen's Handbags staircase on Adams Street.