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August 1, 2018

North Conway 5 ⊄ and 10 ⊄ Store

Fun Store in North Conway

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

The Ice Cream Cafe has some good ice cream and gluten free cones

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

Hidden Text in the Cornelius Vanderbilt painting?

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.

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?

June 27, 2018

Concord Cheese Shop

Like Cheese? Be sure to check out the 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, Comt??, Crottin de Chavignol, Butterk??se, 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

General information about the Grist Mill in Sudbury

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

Information about the Pochet Pond Marker

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

Check out the Butterfly Wings painting 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.

July 1, 2017

Fred the Computer

Fred the Computer was a BBS computer that was setup by the Middlesex News. It was a way for people to read some of the newspaper articles before it went to print.

I found this introduction transcript on my computer. Might be useful for someone doing research on the old ???Fred the Computer??? at Middlesex News.

This output was from March 19, 1993 (24 years, 3 months, 12 days ago):

Enter your FULL Name: Terry Barron 
Calling from (city, state)? Fitchburg, Ma.
Fred welcomes TERRY BARRON
Calling from FITCHBURG, MA.
Is this correct? Y
<A>IBM/ANSI     <B>IBM/generic  <C>Mac/Zterm    <D>Mac/RedRydr  <E>Mac/generic
<F>Tandy compat <G>Tandy CoCo   <H>Tandy TRS-80 <I>Atari/genric <J>VT-100/102
Enter letter of your terminal, or hit enter if not listed: C
Terminal profile set to:
ANSI codes allowed
IBM Graphics Allowed
Upper/Lower Case
Line Feeds Needed
0 Nulls after each <CR>
Do you wish to modify this? N
Do you wish to have a pause after each screen (normally Y)? Y
How many lines per screen (10-80, normally 24 or 25)? 25
Please Enter a 1-8 character Password to be used for future logons.   This
password may have any printable characters you wish.  Lower case is considered
different from upper case and embedded blanks are legal.  REMEMBER THIS
PASSWORD.  You will need it to log on again.
Your password? titanlike
Re-enter new password to verify: titanlike
You have read through message 0
Current last message is 7436
You are authorized 30 mins this call
Welcome! I'm Fred the Computer and I'm your computer connection to the
Middlesex News, MetroWest's hometown newspaper.
You can voice your opinions on virtually anything, read unusual and breaking
news stories and communicate with the Middlesex News (you can upload letters to
the editor and oped pieces, as well as subscribe to the paper).  In the
International Desk/Fidonet area, you can communicate with people across the
country and around the world on a wide variety of topics and in several
different languages.
I've tried to make myself as user-friendly as possible (Hi there!). Virtually
all commands are done with a single key-stroke, and most services on this
system come with some sort of explanation.
If you are new to tele-communicating, I, like most other computer bulletin
boards, or BBSs, use a specific way to show you commands: by putting them
inside brackets. For example, <2> means hit the "2" key on your keyboard. The
one exception is <CR>. That means "hit your carriage return key,'' rather than
type the letters C and R.
For a more detailed run-down of the various areas and commands, hit <H> at the
main menu or in the Op-Ed section. These will give you information on how to
write and leave messages, etc. If your computer supports ANSI codes, you can
get color menus by going into the Utility area (<U> off the main menu). Hit
<F> for formatting the way Fred looks and then hit A to toggle ANSI on. There
are also built-in help systems in the message and file-download areas.
If you want to talk to a human being about me (only good things, I hope!), you
can leave a message for Adam Gaffin, who keeps my screen clean, (and thinks
he's the system operator) when you log off, or you can call him during
business hours at 508-626-3968 (or toll-free at 1-800-982-4730, ext. 3968 --
but only from 508 and 617 area codes).
You can log off the system at any time by hitting <G>.
Please be aware that ALL messages, including private ones, can be read by  the
system operator, and that any messages that involve illegal activity will  be
All stories from Associated Press and the Scripps-Howard News Service on this
system are copyrighted by the respective wire services and may not be
reproduced or re-distributed without their permission.
Calls are limited to 30 minutes; but you can call up to three times a day and
spend a total of one hour on the system. For information on upgrading the
amount of time you can spend on the system by subscribing to Fred, please hit
S at the main menu.
I hope you enjoy and use me often. If you have any comments or suggestions,
please do not hesitate to let me know. Have fun!
-- Fred the Computer
                           MIDDLESEX NEWS MAIN LOBBY
<1> NEWSROOM: Tomorrow's headlines, Weirdnet, weather, calendar and more
<2> OPED: Your opinion
<3> LIBRARY: Documents, BBS/Online library lists, recipes and more
<4> MAILROOM: Subscribe to the News, upload letters, press releases, etc.
<5> INTERNATIONAL DESK: Fidonet conferences
<S>ubscribe to Fred!
  <H>elp; <U>tilities; <Y>ell for sysop; <Q>WK packets; <E>-mail; <G>oodbye

April 1, 2017

Acton's Discovery Museum

Tuck into a quiet neighborhood in Acton, Massachusetts is the Children's Discovery Museum. This very popular place is where kids can play. learn, and explore about various things.

Acton Discovery Museums

Changes are Coming

The original Children's Discovery Museum started from a 3-story Victorian house, built in 1880, that has 3,500 square feet of floor space in ten rooms. It opened in 1982.

In 1988, a new building was constructed in the backyard. The building, Science Discovery Museum, targets older kids where they could learn about science.

This winter the Victorian house part of the museum will be torn down. The Discovery Museum building will be expanded so that all museum exhibits will be under one roof.

Good Summer to visit!

If your kids had visited the Children's Discovery Museum in the past, this will be the last time they will get to go to the original museum. It's a good time to visit some of the favorite exhibits:

  • Play in the train room - How much is that trip to Boston?
  • Climb the wall and discover which ball track is faster. - Don't forgot to reset the dominos over the fireplace.
  • Try to make a life size bubble in the Water room
  • Swim up the stairs
  • Try to catch the foam falling out of the ceiling
  • Read a story by the pretend fire in the Backyard at Night room
  • Play in the Adventure Fort
  • Head up to the Attic and the Ship Room

Discovery Grid

Good News

According to the website, all the popular exhibits in the original museum will be in the new one:

Every experience in the current Children's Discovery Museum balls and ramps, water, air, Bessie's Diner, the Ship Room, trains, light & color, Backyard at Night will exist in the new building. Along with what will become new favorites!

While it's nice that they are keeping the exhibits, it won't be the same as it was in the old building. I would recommend at least stopping by and checking it out for the last time.

Bessie's the big, green dinosaur birthday is at the end of June. They might be having a celebration around June 24-25. It's a fun time to go since they have an Outdoor Dinosaur Dig, Dinosaur Egg hung, Face Painting and you can give Bessie a bath.

Good Bye House2

August 13, 2016



On Lower County Road in Dennisport is Bastians, a great place to get all your beach needs. You can find all sorts of floats, beach toys, and Cape Cod souvenirs. You can't miss the store, it's on the corner of Shad Hole Road and Lower County Road, just look for all the floatation devices in front of the store.

The store is open every day from Memorial Day weekend, until Labor Day. In September, the store is open on the weekends until it closes down on Columbus Day.

Hey I Worked There!

If you stopped in the store during the summer of 1988 or 1989, you probably would have seen me working the register or inflating customer beach flotation devices.

I worked with Mr. Bastian on stocking the shelves and helping customers find things in the store.

I never really thought of it as a job as it was just a fun place to work and meet interesting people.

Some memories that come into mind from working there:

Cell phones weren't around in the late 1980's and people would stop by to use the row of payphone booths on the other side of the parking lot. (The booths are no longer there.)
The store was once broken into by someone unlocking one of the front sliding doors during business hours. The thieves came back at night to steal some things. Thankfully the cash wasn't kept in the store at night. The store lost some merchandise but nothing serious. I thought it was pretty gutsy that they would break in via the front.
There was a time were a customer stole one of the flotation rafts that was in front of the store. Mr. Bastian asked me who sold the raft since it was pretty ugly. I told him that it wasn't me as I was working the air pump machine. The girl behind the register said she didn't either. I saw the car with the raft pull out the parking lot, and told Mr. Bastian, "There it is!" I then took chase of the car. When I got caught up to the car, I told the passenger that they didn't buy the float, she said they did. I didn't get them to stop, but I looked at their license plate number and remembered it. I got back in the store to write it down. Meanwhile, Mr. Bastian took chase in his car, caught up with them down the street. He told us later that the people pull over, there was a lot of yelling, and he got $20.

Unique things about Bastians

Walking through the store, you see that it is a very typical old fashion Cape Cod souvenir store. They have a lot of strange and unique souvenirs. I am pretty sure that there is plenty of merchandise in the store today from when I worked there.

Some merchandise you'll encounter at Bastians:

  • Cape Cod souvenir wooden boxes
  • Penny Candy (near the register)
  • Used Paperback Books
  • Bamboo Beach Mats (these were very popular!)
  • Cheap kites
  • Puzzles
  • Modeling kits
  • Stationary

Did you know: You can bring your own flotation devices to Bastians to be inflated. Bastians would inflate anything that you purchase in the store and anything that you bring into the store for free!

Bastians Store is For Sale

Sadly, Mr. Bastian died in 2007. Every Summer since his family has been running the store. They have since decided that it was time to sell the business. If nobody buys the business in the next couple of week, this could very well be the final days of Bastians.

A note on Facebook:

A rare Opportunity to own your own Business!
After 50+ Bastians 5 & 10 of Dennisport (BUSINESS ONLY) is being sold. A message from the owner: "After having the pleasure of serving the public for the past 50+ years, Bastians in Dennisport will be closing. We were fortunate to meet many wonderful people over these years who became loyal customers. We have enjoyed watching generations of children grow up and bring their grandchildren and their children. Seeing your familiar faces every year has given us much satisfaction and we appreciate your kind words and sharing of memories. Should anyone wish to explore continuing the "Bastian's Tradition", Please contact Crystal @ Joly McAbee & Weinert for details Gerry Bastian

Click on image for a larger version.

If you have the opportunity to continue the tradition, I would suggest looking into the opportunity!



Journey through New England's rich tapestry. Immerse yourself in the revolutionary spirit of Boston, Massachusetts, or explore the grand mansions lining Newport, Rhode Island's coast. Hike amidst the breathtaking landscapes of Vermont's verdant mountains, or savor the fresh lobster rolls dished out at charming harbor towns in Maine. From historical landmarks to outdoor adventures and culinary delights, New England caters to every traveler's desire.

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