Fun at the Newburyport Farmers’ Market

Entering the Newburyport Farmers' Market at the Tannery Marketplace

Entering the Newburyport Farmers’ Market at the Tannery Marketplace

Every time spring rolls around, some of my most anticipated events here in New England are the area farmers’ markets. I’m very lucky to live in a region where it seems that just about every town and city has a market. I could probably go to a different one every night of the week and weekend if I wanted to! I was going crazy because most of the markets don’t start until June, but yesterday morning I happened to be browsing Facebook on my phone in bed when I saw a post about the Newburyport Farmers’ Market being open that day. I did a quick Google scan and found out that sure enough, Newburyport is ahead of the game and their market started on May 1st!

I shot out of bed, got dressed, and texted one of my longtime best friends Nicole, and she agreed to go with me. Off we headed to the beautiful coastal city of Newburyport. Even though it was a blustery day that felt more like October than May, the sights and smells of the Farmers’ Market instantly warmed our spirits.

Baked goods from Figtree Kitchen out of Portsmouth, NH enticed market goers, including myself!

We were so excited to be at the market that we didn’t know where to look first. We kind of did a lap around all of them before approaching what we took an interest in. There were vendors selling everything from flowers and succulents, handmade headbands and accessories, soups, coffee, breakfast sandwiches made right there to order, baked goods, fresh produce, locally raised meats, and the list goes on. For a full vendor list, you can check out this page. I began with a yummy cranberry muffin from Figtree Kitchen out of Portsmouth, NH, another pretty coastal city that I love. They had so many delicious baked goods to offer that it was like being right in a cafe!

Tasting meads from 1634 Meadery, one of the highlights of the day!

It may have been morning, but in my eyes it’s never too early for a tasting of delicious locally crafted spirits. 1634 Meadery out of Ipswich, MA was on hand letting market goers taste a variety of their incredible meads, which is wine “made with fresh, unprocessed raw honey, and using local fruits” (www.1634meadery.com).

Nicole and I were ecstatic when we got to enjoy taste testing the out-of-this-world meads crafted by 1634. The tasting went from dryer to sweeter. It was so funny to see how Nicole and I reacted differently to certain meads and how we differed on what we liked best. One of the meads had a more smoked flavor to it, and while Nicole’s eyes almost popped out of her head when she tried it, it was more tame to me! I swore to the woman running their table that we must have different taste buds!

All the meads were delicious, but my favorite was the Viking Victory. According to the 1634 website, the Viking Victory is made with “bamboo honey…mulled with nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon, and cloves”. Nicole enjoyed the Orange Elation the most. While the other meads include fruit sourced from New England, since we don’t grow oranges here, 1634 Meadery got theirs from Florida and it was perfectly sweet and citrusy. I totally plan on going to a 1634 Meadery tour ASAP, and will feature it on the blog!

A staple of any farmers’ market, fresh local produce

After warming right up thanks to the mead, we went on the hunt for local produce which isn’t hard to find at a farmers’ market, naturally. We’re asparagus fiends so we both bought a bundle of the veggie. It’s funny because as a kid my grandpa always cooked fresh asparagus and I hated it. As an adult I was afraid to try it again but my friend Amanda cooked some for me once and I was hooked! Interesting how our palates change over the years. I had hoped to pick up fruit at the market but I don’t think there’s much in season just yet, so I’ll have to wait until June kicks in.

Now for the adorable part – Dancing Goats Dairy out of Newbury, MA had a table where they were selling handmade chevre and tome style goat cheese. Not only were these selling these delightful products, they actually had two adorable baby goats (technically, they are called “kids”) and Nicole and I couldn’t stop fawning over them. How precious are these sweethearts? It’s been a dream of mine to one day own a dwarf goat (Nick thinks I’m crazy) and although I know the Dancing Goats babies will grow into full-size goats, I would still adopt one in a heartbeat! Sadly I didn’t since we live in an apartment and have zero land, but a gal can wish. The goat in the photo above seemed so serene and happy, probably because the woman who was holding her had a coat that must have felt like fur. Aw, be still my heart.

Soup’s on with The Soup Guy!

After finally tearing ourselves away from the goats, we stopped by The Soup Guy table where our taste buds were yet again satisfied with samples of their amazing soups and chili. All of their offerings are vegan and gluten free, so there’s something for everyone. As a huge “chowdah” fan, I loved their corn and mushroom version. Nicole tested the Bulgarian Split Pea Soup and found it delicious. However, both of us instantly broke out our wallets for The Soup Guys’ Bootleg Chili. Vegan and gluten free does not detract from the taste of the chili at all! This one’s a winner. I bought a frozen pint and Nicole bought a takeaway lunch version, served over rice with cheese, guac, and tortilla chips. Olé!

Pretty plants could be spotted all over the market

We admired more flowers and plant life,  and then for our last purchase we visited the Lilac Hedge Farm table for fresh, sustainably raised meats. Unfortunately, I didn’t grab a photo but make sure to check them out if you go to the Newburyport Farmers’ Market. I’d been wanting to purchase meat from a farmers’ market for a long time, and for some reason never had. For my first introduction into purchasing directly from the farm meats, I bought two grass-fed beef patties. They were a great size and didn’t break the bank! I am beginning to be very conscientious about making sure the meat I’m buying is quality, so I’m willing to spend extra anyway. I don’t think I can get meat any fresher than directly from the source!

I was excited to try these patties, so I made them for dinner last night. WOW. They had such a unique flavor, I couldn’t get my mind around it. I don’t know what type of burgers I’d ever eaten before, but they didn’t taste like this! Just cooking it, I could tell the grass-fed beef was on a level of its own for utmost quality and freshness, and I honestly don’t think I want to purchase from a grocery store again. Perhaps I’ll join the farm’s CSA program!

After seeing all we could at the market, it was time to head home with our purchases. It always makes me feel wonderful to be able to shop local and support those in the community who dedicate themselves to providing foods and goods for us. If you’d like to visit the Newburyport Farmers’ Market, it’s open on Sundays from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m., rain or shine, at the Tannery Marketplace, 75 Water Street, Newburyport, MA. A great time will be had by all!

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Hamlet Comes to Salem Theatre

Artwork - Salem Theatre - HamletIn high school, as a lover of all things Lit, I took an Honors Shakespeare class. I looked forward to the class  every other day, and especially when we would get a chance to read the lines aloud. I loved imagining I was a character in one of these most famous plays. While I never actually got to grace the stage as a Shakespearean beauty, I did receive the invaluable pleasure of being in the audience the Salem Theatre production of Hamlet on Sunday afternoon.

From the heavy beat of solemn and foreboding drums marking the beginning of the very first act, and which repeat at significant scenes throughout the performance, the audience was alert to the dark tragedy and drama that lay ahead of us. Throughout the show, even though it’s most likely possible that we had all read Hamlet in our lives, it was as if we were anticipating every line, every moment, every dramatic episode as if what we were witnessing was something brand new. And in several ways, it was; Salem Theatre Company is breathing new life into one of Shakespeare’s most renowned and timeless plays.

Modern, darkly colored dress (with the exception of a few royal and theatre troupe characters) and a simple set allow the acting to really speak for itself without distraction of any sort.

Photo courtesy Salem Theatre

Photo courtesy Salem Theatre

Ariel Zuckerman gave a stellar performance as a more determined, confident, yet cautious Hamlet who does not have so much of internal struggle with the question of whether to avenge his father’s death, but how to ensure that yes, this is the right thing to do and what might be the best way to go about it. The emotions – rage, heartache, grief, wit – which Zuckerman portrays in the climactic scenes, as well as the advantageous bouts of madness which his character Hamlet uses to manipulate those he is interacting with t is utterly believable and captivating.

Other standouts include Dave Rich, who plays both an eerie ghost of King Hamlet as well as his murderous, conniving brother Claudius, and Linda Goetz as the naive Queen Gertrude holds reign over the audience each time she speaks. Polonius (the father of Laertes, played with conviction by Tom Rash and Ophelia, played by Elena Faverio) is reimagined here as Polonia; a cunning, meddling mother whose intrusiveness causes her to meet her fate. Giving a female role to this character is a welcome twist on this classic play, and Polonia is played brilliantly by Karen Trachtenberg.

Elena Faverio gives  an enthralling performance as Ophelia, winning the audience over with her sweetness and adoration of Hamlet’s affections, and bringing sorrow to the stage as Ophelia, all too really, descends into madness and eventual death. Kyle Gregory (who I saw and loved as Ned Weeks in The Normal Heart) is another Salem Theatre standout as Horatio, Hamlet’s dutiful best friend who serves as his confidante throughout.

Hamlet is wonderfully directed by the exceptional Caroline Watson-Felt, who truly knows how to make a Shakespeare play appear larger than life in a small space.

Hamlet is the last play that is being performed in the “black box” theatre on Lafayette Street, and while the new theatre at Shetland Park will be larger to accommodate more guests, the finale of the black box era is one you don’t want to miss. The upcoming showings of Hamlet are as follows; November 12, 13, 14, 19, 20, & 21 at 7:30 p.m., as well as another Sunday showing, November 15 at 3:00 p.m. Tickets are $12-$25 online and $15-$30 at the door. Visit http://www.salemtheatre.com to purchase yours!

Salem Theatre Company – 90 Lafayette Street (soon to move to Shetland Park), Salem, MA, www.salemtheatre.com, 978.790.8546

Salem Fall Restaurant Week is Almost Here!

restaurant week logo

(Logo via Salem Restaurant Week Facebook page)

One of my favorite parts of living in Salem, Massachusetts is the abundance of culinary delights the city has to offer, and the roster is growing all the time. Although I dine out a lot, there are still many area restaurants that I have yet to try out. What better way to check some off of my list than during Salem Restaurant Week?

From Sunday, November 8th through Thursday, November 12 and Sunday, November 15 through Thursday, November 19, twenty-two of Salem’s restaurants will participate in the Fall Restaurant Week, giving customers the opportunity for a two-course prix-fixe dinner menu for $18, or a three-course prix-fixe dinner menu for $28 (not including drinks, taxes, or tips).

This is a can’t-miss chance to savor a variety of different cuisines at an affordable price. Also, talk about a fabulous date night plan! You are sure to leave stuffed. If there are restaurants you’ve been meaning to try but haven’t, this would be a perfect way to taste test the menu, and you might just come across a new place to frequent! I know that this is my goal for Restaurant Week, for sure. I find myself often drawn to the same spots, and I know that there are so many more I would love.

The list of participating restaurants is as follows:
A MANO Italian Kitchen & Pizzeria, Adriatic Restaurant & Bar, Aurora Vietnamese Cuisine & Wine Bar, Bambolina, Bella Verona, Black Lobster at Stromberg’s Cove, Brother’s Taverna, Finz Seafood & Grill, Firenze Trattoria, In a Pig’s Eye, Koto Grill, Life Alive Urban Oasis, Nathaniel’s at the Hawthorne Hotel, Naumkeag Ordinary, Opus, Regatta Pub, Sea Level Oyster Bar, Thai Place, Turner’s Seafood at Lyceum Hall, Victoria Station & Vic’s Boathouse, Village Tavern Grill & Oyster Bar

Reservations are suggested; mention “Restaurant Week” when you make them. For more information, as well as to see the special menus for these restaurants as they are added, visit the Salem Chamber of Commerce website. See you out and about!

An Evening Party at the PEM

Last night, Nick and I had the pleasure of attending our first Peabody Essex Museum event since moving to Salem. On the third Thursday of each month, the PEM stays open late for a PM Evening Party. Not only do all of the galleries and exhibits remain open, but the museum also features a wide variety of activities, entertainment, food, drinks and more that involves the whole community. July’s event was called Taking Back Summer, and certainly provided a lot of fun for many on that evening.

There was already a good-sized crowd when we arrived around 6:30, made up of literally all ages. We saw groups of people clustered around tables working on something, and when we walked up to a table we saw coloring pages and colored pencils. I love coloring (although I’ve never been very good at staying in the lines…like I’ve said before, I stick to writing for a reason!) so we started with this relaxing activity. I started coloring a Parisian scene and Nick did the same.

Don't judge me by my coloring skills!

Don’t judge me by my coloring skills!

I had heard that besides the cash bar, there would also be adult milkshakes served up by Sea Level Oyster Bar. Sure enough, I spotted a table full of them. There were two kinds available: a Key Lime Pie Margarita Shake and a Mocha Beer Shake. I was feeling the citrus and tequila more so than the porter in the mocha shake, so I went with the Key Lime Pie shake. I was happy I did – so delicious. This is certainly a type of drink I would love to make at home for a summer gathering among friends.

adult milkshakes

Because we arrived at the event after work when we normally would have dinner, we couldn’t really focus on anything else before grabbing something to munch on. There was a variety of small meals available, along with snacks like chips, brownies and granola bars. We decided to split a plate of barbecue pork ribs with sides of cornbread, broccoli salad and red beans and rice.

meal

It was hard to find a seat in the museum’s Atrium because there were so many people, but we finally did and were able to eat and enjoy the sounds of The Void Union playing ska and reggae. They were excellent and really got the place grooving.

After eating, we ventured outside to the Asian Garden where there were classic games on a BIG level – a giant Jenga set and Ker-Plunk. In this area, there was also a beer garden with Narragansett brews. Their Del’s Shandy has been my go-to beverage this summer, bringing a lemonade-like flavor to this refreshing beer!

Narragansett Del’s Shandy, on the right, has been my summer favorite this year.

Back inside, we briefly stopped by the Bartlett Gallery for a presentation on one of event goers’ most anticipated aspects of the Take Back Summer evening, a chance to meet hitchBOT. hitchBOT is a very unique robot hailing from Ontario, Canada. hitchBOT hitchhikes across various places around the world thanks to the kindness of strangers willing to take him to new destinations. So far, he has traveled across Canada and Germany and was starting his U.S. journey right here in Salem, Massachusetts! hitchBOT’s goal is to get all the way to San Francisco, with opportunities to see some of our country’s most famous landmarks along the way. I shamefully was unable to take a photo of hitchBOT with the crowd surrounding him when I first spotted him, and then he must have disappeared into the presentation! However, if you’re as curious as I was, you can read all about him and his travels on his website. This is also a great news article that explains the science and idea behind hitchBOT. If you see him on the streets, make sure to give him a ride!

After the hitchBOT sighting, we ventured over to the Create Space. In this section, there were art making activities where participants could craft “summer camp classics” such as tie-dye and gimp pieces. There was also a friendship bracelet making activity being offered by Boston Bead Company. These appeared to be highly popular activities, because the tables were at capacity. Seeing this, we headed into the Maker Lounge instead where a “toy hacking” activity was going on. We were pretty fascinated by this one, which provided people with a variety of tools and toys that they could completely take apart and rebuild into something entirely new.

There were many toys to choose from when gathering ideas!

There were many toys to choose from when gathering ideas.

Many of these participants were kids, and they were coming up with some awesome ideas on new toys. I love to see imaginations at work! Nick and I decided to have some fun with this as well. I am not very mechanically inclined, so my toy was pretty simple – a wind-up creature that walks a stuffed dog on a leash. Nick put together a horse/car contraption with a spotlight on the front to guide its way in the dark. We definitely felt like kids again!

Nick working on his rebuilt toy

Nick working on the beginning stages of his rebuilt toy

After messing around with toy creations, we headed out to Armory Park across the street where The Massacre, a Boston-based Quidditch league for adults, showed people moves that Harry Potter would be proud of. They allowed others to learn how to play this fictional game, which seems to actually be a reality now, albeit without broomsticks!

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Players get into the Hogwarts spirit with a game of Quidditch

Our last stop of this eventful Take Back Summer evening was at the Salem Public Library’s mobile library. Two librarians had a table full of books and CDs that could be rented right there. As a lifelong reading fanatic, it made my night when I found out that I could sign up for a library card on the spot with verification of  my new address. Now I can finally check out anything my heart desires. I totally bookwormed out about this, and to say I’m excited would be an understatement!

mobile library

After an extremely enjoyable night (and free for Salem residents!), Nick and I walked out into the cool night air. It felt like a fall night, which are generally my favorites. Don’t get me wrong though! I’m not ready in the slightest for beach days, barbecues and boating weekends to be over. Summer has really just gotten started for me, and the PEM’s Take Back Summer event was the perfect way to celebrate this season among my fellow community members. We are very lucky to have a renowned museum in our city that still feels like such a part of the local scene. It just won Northshore Magazine’s Best Museum and Boston Magazine’s Best Museum North of Boston, in fact!

The next PEM/PM Evening Party takes place on Thursday, August 20th from 6:00-9:00 p.m. with the theme “’30s on Film”. Admission is free for members and Salem residents, and $10 for non-members. Check out the event’s Facebook page for more details, and I’ll see you there!

Featured: The Peabody Essex Museum, East India Square (161 Essex Street), Salem, MA, 978.745.9500

 

An Unforgettable Weekend at the Salem Arts Festival

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What a fun-filled whirlwind of a week it has been, and it all started with the Salem Arts Festival! I was in Salem, Massachusetts for the three-day long festival, an annual June event that brings together artists of all forms and the Salem community for a weekend of beautiful and eclectic art, exciting live music and theater, activities for families and so much more. Thousands attend each year, and I could certainly see why! I was happy to be one of the many enjoying everything the festival had to offer for all three days.

Day 1: The Salem Arts Festival kicked off Friday evening with a reception and juried gallery in Old Town Hall. When I arrived around 7:30, the doors were open, letting live music from the Squeezebox Stompers filter through the space and add to the lively mood.

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I stopped by the Salem Main Streets table as I walked in. Salem Main Streets is the main organization involved with planning and putting on the Salem Arts Festival. They are a non-profit who serves to promote and invigorate Salem’s downtown and support the city’s local businesses and individuals doing awesome things. I paused to admire the stickers and pins featuring their brand new logo designed by Elissa Von Letkemann Art & Design. Afterwards, I headed towards the wine table where, to my joy and surprise, I found out it was FREE as I went to pull out some cash. To me, there’s not a better way to celebrate a Friday night than with free wine and an art gallery in a historic setting.

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I strolled around the space, taking in each and every work of art – so many different mediums, so much talent.

fri collage

As I stepped back outside, the evening was the perfect temperature and the sight of a large crowd of happy people enjoying the music warmed my heart. There was a lot of dancing going on; couples dancing with each other, parents dancing with children, kids dancing with other kids. Good vibes filled the atmosphere and everyone appeared ready for all the excitement yet to be had that weekend.

Day 2: Saturday marked the start of the Street Fair as artists filled Front Street and Derby Square with tents and tables featuring the fruits of their creativity. People filtered in and out of the Artists’ Row buildings, admiring and purchasing the unique pieces available inside. Items for sale ran the gamut from fine art to photography, handcrafted jewelry, candles, ceramics, cards, kids’ toys and, well, the list is pretty endless.

I was repping the wonderful Creative Salem organization at the festival, speaking with different artists about their work and why this event was important to them as creatives within the Salem community. It was clear to me, speaking with a variety of people on this second day, that the Salem Arts Festival is of such larger significance than just something for people to do on a nice day. This festival links the entire city. Salem is a creative hotbed, and this festival brings artists of every style together, allows them to connect as a vital community and aspect of the city’s economy, introduces them to one another and hopefully paves the way for some incredible collaborations…exactly what Creative Salem is all about.

Just some of the many people who took time to speak with me about their festival experiences! From left: Sabin and Pamela of Double Exposure, Heather Reid-Barratt of Heather Reid Studios, Jamie of Roost, and Laura Henkin of LnK Designs.

Besides connecting artists with one another, the Salem Arts Festival links these artists with the greater community at hand, those who may not be artists themselves but seek out the beauty of the work, and events that allow them to support and participate in the creative scene. This is also part of the mission of Creative Salem. The festival helps to generate customers for the small businesses and restaurants that surround the festival space, and brings attendees into what may just become their new favorite cafe, store or lunch spot. I did not see a single frown on a face throughout that Saturday, and I saw lots of faces. This sense of community is what I missed in my few years living away from Salem, and I am happy to say that on Saturday Nick and I found out that we have been accepted into an apartment there!

Although my main goal was to speak to different artists, I obviously couldn’t help doing a little artistic shopping myself! Between a lot of new handcrafted jewelry and beautiful painting prints, collages and nature photography, I’ve definitely built quite the little collection. My plan is to decorate our new apartment in this one-of-a-kind local art.

other art

Day 3: If possible, Sunday appeared to have even more people out for the festival than the day before! The variety of live music by the Salem and North Shore-based bands kept everything upbeat, and there were some awesome street performances, theater productions and fun activities for kids. I continued my mission for Creative Salem of speaking with different artists to learn what the Salem Arts Festival meant to them, and I continued to receive nothing but absolutely positive answers and thankfulness that an event like this exists to connect the community.

I, myself, am thankful that Creative Salem provided me the opportunity to share the message of these talented artists and get to know them on a deeper level. On this third day, I spent more time inside the Artists’ Row buildings meeting those who set up shop there for the season and admiring all that they had to offer. As the City of Salem’s website explains, “Artists’ Row is a seasonal program that provides rent-free space for artisans interested in building their audience through daily engagement with residents and visitors to Salem.”

I was able to speak with Nikky Bergman, who creates very artistic jewelry thanks to her background in both Fine Arts and Metals. She shares a building with Liz Frazier who makes all-natural soy candles for her business, Witch City Wicks, and Bridget Alexander of The Pack Paper Co. who sells beautifully designed paper products, such as wedding invitations. I told Nikky how much of a cute boutique style shop they had going there in Artists’ Row and she agreed. It seems like fate that they were all accepted into the same space, as their products go so well together. As Nikky stated, if you’re a bride, it’s basically one stop shopping – custom rings, invitations and wedding party favors all in one place!

artists row collage

After chatting with Nikky, I made my way into the building across the street to meet and talk with Sibel Alpaslan, an artist who creates gorgeous ceramic pieces in earthy tones, many with a splash of turquoise color which is my favorite. I learned that Sibel is from Turkey, and got her beginnings in ceramics while attending art school in Istanbul. She explained how at her school in Turkey, students would take a test to determine which medium the school believed best suited them individually. She thought she would be a painter, but they placed her in ceramics and it seems like they had the right idea! Her pieces that I saw were functional yet intricate, with what her husband called “whimsical” designs, and I agree.

In the same building was Karen Scalia from Salem Food Tours, holding spice tastings at her table and getting people acquainted with her tour business. I loved speaking with her and literally cannot wait to sign up for one of her food tours. These tours take guests on a journey through Salem’s diverse culinary scene while combining modern day foods with the history of the spice trade, a prominent piece of Salem’s past.

While talking with Karen, a fellow foodie approached with a sample of chocolate chip cookies from her business, Good Chemistry Foods out of Exeter, NH. Her products are all gluten-free as well as dairy-free. While I am not either of those, I can never resist a treat. I could not tell the difference in her cookies! I ate three of them right away…oops. They tasted exactly like the chocolate chip cookies I’ve known and loved my whole life.

My last stop and purchase on Sunday was at Deanna Jacome’s tent, my fellow Creative Salem member and an extremely talented artist who recently graduated from Montserrat. Deanna’s art is of many varieties, but she was selling her Turkish marbled pieces at the Salem Arts Festival. Turkish marbling makes for incredibly eye-popping patterns and designs that you can’t look away from!

Deanna’s first sighting of this art form was in the flyleaf of a book at the Harvard library. After much research, she taught her self the traditional process of how to create it. Now she is marbling everything from book covers to frames, t-shirts to bookmarks and much more using her own twist on the style. Through Deanna, I made my first purchase for my new kitchen, a marbled wooden spoon and fork set. Deanna was also making and selling pretty floral crowns at the festival, and I spotted many a person (women, men and children!) wearing them while walking around. Right next to Deanna, another of Creative Salem’s own, Joey Phoenix of Salem Pet Photo and Joey Phoenix Photography, had an adorable pet photo booth set up. I popped by to see how the pictures of furry friends were coming out.

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By Sunday’s end, I was sad that the Salem Arts Festival was all over until next year. I had an unforgettable time getting to connect with the talented, dedicated and incredibly welcoming artists of this community. As a creative professional, moving to Salem is so significant because of how cared for and supported those like me are here, thanks to the wonderful organizations like Creative Salem that give us an outlet to be uniquely ourselves, sharing our work with each other and inviting the greater public in to be a part of it all. Although the Salem Arts Festival may have wrapped up, there is so much more on the city’s schedule for the summer. I’m thinking my next stop will be the fabulous Salem Farmer’s Market that just opened for the season! For more information on all the creative goings-on in Salem, visit the Creative Salem website.

Special thanks, in no order, go out to John Andrews, Joey Phoenix, Deanna Jacome, Mayor Driscoll, Kylie Sullivan, Catherine Bertrand, Jamie (of Roost), Theresa Wall Duggan, Laura Henkin, Bill Laforme, Morgan C. Leshinsky, Heather Reid-Barratt, Sabin and Pamela, Nikky Bergman, Sibel Alpaslan and Karen Scalia for all taking precious time to speak with me for my Creative Salem piece and this blog, and letting me into your background and thoughts. I appreciate each one of you. 

The Weekend Ahead: Salem Arts Festival!

salem arts fest logo

Hey all! The countdown is on to the Salem Arts Festival this Friday, June 5 through Sunday, June 7. BOOM – just like that, you have weekend plans! 🙂

The 2015 schedule is up on the festival’s website and it sure won’t disappoint – three days packed full of amazing art of all kinds, phenomenal performances, and activities for all. Friday evening features the kickoff reception at Old Town Hall, so join us for the first night of fun!

You can find the entire weekend’s lineup and details here.

The Salem Arts Festival is FREE and great for the whole family to attend. This event welcomes all in the community to gather together in appreciation of the arts and those who make it, as well as support it. I will be there this weekend covering all three days of the event along with Creative Salem, so come say hi! Follow me at @lindsroman on Twitter and Instagram and New England State of Mind on Facebook for live action from the festival as well. See you there!

Save the Date for the Salem Arts Festival

salem arts fest logo

For the past six years, thousands have gathered in Salem, Massachusetts during three days in June for the renowned Salem Arts Festival downtown. 2015 will be lucky year number seven! Whether you are an artist, a performer, or someone who just appreciates and is intrigued by the local art scene, there is much to excite all the senses at the Salem Arts Festival. From painting, photography, music, dance, writing, film, sculpture and so much more, this festival welcomes and encourages art of all mediums to be showcased and appreciated by the community. The Salem Arts Festival is free and great for families, offering activities for children as well.

The 2015 festival will be held Friday, June 5 through Sunday, June 7 and will offer many ways for participants to get their art fix, from galleries to indoor and outdoor performances, a street fair, interactive events and more. Each year, the festival is planned and put on by the wonderful Salem Main Streets, along with a host of awesome volunteers. The goal of Salem Main Streets, a non-profit organization, is “the revitalization of downtown Salem as a vibrant year-round, retail, dining and cultural destination through business recruitment, retention and the promotion of the downtown district”.

Are you a local artist, or know of one? The call for gallery artists for the festival is still out! Don’t miss your chance to submit your work as part of this awesome event. It’s a great way to build exposure within the local arts scene and connect with the community. Visit this page on the Creative Salem site for more information on how to get your work featured. All mediums are accepted! Not an artist, but would like to be more involved in the event? Volunteers are still needed as well! Click here for more information about volunteering.

I wouldn’t miss the Salem Arts Festival for the world, and neither should you! There’s a reason it drew over 5,000 people to Salem last year. It’s truly a feast for the eyes, ears, mind, body and soul for all ages and all members of the community, whether your work is featured in it or whether you’re like me and just love to view art and watch it in action! I’ll see you there 🙂

For more information, visit the Salem Arts Festival website.

Cinco de Mayo Celebrations in Southern NH

My best friend, Amanda, and I enjoying a couple margs, the celebratory Cinco de Mayo drink!

My best friend, Amanda, and I enjoying a couple of margaritas, the celebratory Cinco de Mayo drink!

Happy Cinco de Mayo! First thing’s first with a little history behind this holiday – we in America may enjoy celebrating because of our endless love for margaritas and Mexican food, but did you actually know why the fifth of May is significant in Mexican history? Well, back on May 5, 1862, the Mexican army defied the odds by coming out victorious over Napoleon’s French army in the Battle of Puebla. As a history buff, I think it’s important to note the real reason behind celebrating this date, and as someone with Hispanic heritage (although not Mexican), I’m happy to join in the fiesta!

It would be quite a lengthy post if I were to feature every Cinco de Mayo special and event going on here in New England, so I apologize if I am going to be biased here and only feature specials at Mexican restaurants around Southern NH (Manchester/Nashua region), my homebase these days and where I am today! If you’d like to add a special from a restaurant outside the area, please feel free to submit it in the comments. Side note: I’ve only featured restaurants that I was able to find Cinco de Mayo specials for, but there are more Mexican restaurants in the area. If you know of a spot that is having a special or event that I missed, shoot a comment my way! Without further ado, here is the list in ABC order:

Bedford:

  • Shorty’s Mexican Roadhouse (206 Rte. 101) – Dos Equis promo 4-5pm, Corona Light promo 5-7pm, live entertainment with Brad Bosse, and a chance to meet the Most Interesting Man in the World!

Concord:

  • Hermanos Cocina Mexicana (11 Hills Ave.) – Mike Morris playing in the lounge, draft beer specials while beer reps are in the restaurant, new sweet and spicy margarita, beads and keychains. Fiesta from 11:30am-9:00pm.
  • El Rodeo (22 Loudon Rd.) – Meet the Most Interesting Man in the World at 10:00pm!
  • Dos Amigos Burritos (26 N. Main St.) – $2 Taco Tuesday.
  • Margarita’s Concord (1 Bicentennial Sq.) – “The Party to End All Parties”, all restaurants open from 11:30am on.

Derry:

  • La Carreta (35 Manchester Rd.) – Drink specials, giveaways, free raffle for a trip to Cancun, music, and a very special surprise around 6:00pm!

Manchester:

  • La Carreta (1875 S. Willow St. & 545 Hooksett Rd.) – Giveaways, specials, live duo from 2-4pm and Mariachi Band from 4-7pm at the S. Willow St. location. Specials, giveaways, free raffle for a trip to Cancun, Mariachi Band 12-3pm and 8-10pm, DJ in bar (bar closes at 12am, kitchen at 11pm), Hooksett Rd. location.
  • El Jimador (575 S. Willow St.) – $4.99 Lime Margarita, $3.50 Mexican beer bottle, $4.75 El Jimador tequila shots, giveaways, and more (note: No Taco Tuesday).
  • Margarita’s Manchester (1037 Elm St.) – “The Party to End All Parties”, all restaurants open from 11:30am on.
  • Shorty’s Mexican Roadhouse (1050 Bicentennial Dr.) – Dos Equis promo 5-7pm (and a chance to meet the most interesting man in the world!), live entertainment with Brooks Hubbard 7-9pm
  • Cactus Jack’s (782 S. Willow St.) – Specials on Corona, Corona Light, Modelo Especial, Pacifico and more.
  • Dos Amigos Burritos (931 Elm St.) – $2 Taco Tuesday.

Merrimack:

  • Tortilla Flat (595 Daniel Webster Hwy.) – $2 tacos all day, 5:30-6:30pm $6.99 Olmeca margaritas, 6:00-9:00pm live music with MB Padfield, 7:30-8:30pm $3 Corona Light, Modelo Especial and Pacific drafts, 8:30-9:30pm $3 Dos Equis Ambar drafts.

Milford:

Nashua: 

  • El Colima Mexican Restaurant (116 W. Pearl St.) – “Fiesta, Cerveza and Margaritas. Join us to celebrate!”
  • La Carreta (139 Daniel Webster Hwy.)  – Drink specials, giveaways, raffles, live music 5-8pm.
  • Agave Azul (94-96 Main St.) – “We have a lot of great events lined up today. ESPN is broadcasting live”.
  • Margarita’s Nashua (1 Nashua Dr.) – “The Party to End All Parties”, all restaurants open from 11:30am on.
  • Shorty’s Mexican Roadhouse (48 Gusabel Ave.) – Dos Equis promo 3-5pm, Corona Light promos 5-7pm, live entertainment by Kieran McNally.

Salem:

  • Margarita’s Salem (1 Keewaydin Dr.) – “The Party to End All Parties”, all restaurants open from 11:30am on.
  • Plaza Azteca (552 Broadway in Methuen, on the border of Salem) – A full day featuring specials, models and giveaways, drinks, DJs, music and more!

Ándale, ándale, get moving and head over to a fiesta near you!

Salem’s Art Scene Thrives at the Creative Salem 3×5 Gallery

3x5 art 1

This weekend, Nick and I had the exciting experience of attending the Creative Salem 3×5 pop up gallery reception. Artwork on display and for sale was 3×5 in size, but artists chose all different media. This made for a bevy of truly unique pieces – drawings, paintings, collages, photography, graphic design and more.

Nick and I arrived towards the beginning of the reception and it filled up fast, which was a wonderful thing! The gallery was held at the Salem Theatre on Lafayette Street. There was a DJ, cash bar and tasty treats from Jodi Bee Bakes all adding to the energy of the event. I slowly perused the wall of 3×5 art, red wine in hand, admiring all the intricacy of each piece while trying to imagine what the artist was thinking as they created it.

An empty spot indicates a 3x5 was purchased!

An empty spot indicates a 3×5 was purchased!

The 3x5s could be purchased for $15 each, and I was having trouble deciding! I asked Nick to point out his favorite, and he showed me one I hadn’t looked at yet but then fell in love with, an acrylic on canvas of three different colored birds sitting on a branch, budding with flowers. I am a textural person, and aside of the brightly colored painting, I enjoyed the way the canvas and chosen medium felt. I snatched it up and bought it because I knew it would be gone soon if I didn’t. Can you spot it in the photo above?

traditional art wall 1

3×5 artwork was not the only kind featured at the event. There was a traditional gallery as well, with much larger works created by artists from all around New England. The art ranged in theme, but I was most drawn to scenes from different cities, such as Boston, New York, Gloucester and Salem. There were some detailed and gorgeous paintings of animals that stood out to me as well, and so much more.

Artist: Scott King, acrylic on wood

“State House”, “Boston” and “The Ritz”: Scott King, acrylic on wood

During the event there were tables set up around the space where attendees could create their own 3×5 art for a chance to win a great prize pack, so before leaving Nick and I made a couple. I’m a writer and sadly am not blessed with the ability to make visually appealing art by hand, but at least I had fun! The 3×5 gallery was a huge success, so much so that a second one to be held at a larger location in the fall is already being discussed!

Nick getting to work on his own 3x5.

Nick getting to work on his own 3×5.

When I arrived home with my purchased 3×5 artwork, I looked at the name of the artist on the back again. Each piece was a mystery as to who created it until you purchased it. My 3×5, titled “Three Birds”, was painted by Nancy Newton Putnam.

“Three Birds”: Nancy Newton Putnam

As I am a curious person by nature, I decided to try and find her on Facebook to say thanks for her beautiful artwork, and get her thoughts behind it. Luckily, she was sweet enough to quickly respond to me! Nancy stated that the inspiration for “Three Birds” came from a calendar her hairdresser had given to her and originally had four birds, but only three would fit on her 3×5 canvas.

When asked about how her passion for painting began, Nancy said that “My art career got started in March of 2014 at a Wicked Art Bar painting event. I had never ever painted freehand before…since that day I have painted well over 100 paintings on my own, and at least 50 Wicked Art Bar supported events!” Nancy had only exhibited and sold her art at one show at her hairdresser’s, but when a friend mentioned that she should create artwork for the 3×5 gallery, “I jumped at the chance,” she said.

Besides “Three Birds”, she told me she had made a 3×5 painting of a lighthouse which also sold, and that another woman had been asking about the bird painting, but I must have purchased it before she went back for it. Nancy also sent me photos of some of her other paintings, and they are lovely as well. I’m sure she will provide more paintings for the next 3×5 show, and I look forward to seeing them!

Salem is such an incredible city with an energetic creative scene and many supporters, which is a big part of what draws me (and I’m sure others) to it so much. Empowering, promoting and bringing together this vibrant scene is  Creative Salem, which put on the event and which the funds benefited:

Creative Salem celebrates the city of Salem as a hub of creativity, and is dedicated to promoting collaboration, facilitating quality artistic events, and providing contemporary tools for local creative professionals to find and connect with new audiences while encouraging them to apply their skills to help solve challenges facing the community. — creativesalem.com/about

The 3×5 gallery also supported the mission of the organization I interned for in college, Salem Main Streets. This is a non-profit dedicated to building and maintaining a thriving downtown through supporting and promoting new and current local businesses as well as holding popular events throughout the year such as the Salem Farmers’ Market and Salem Arts Festival, which are both coming up in June.

Creativity abounds everywhere you look in Salem and all throughout the year, so come on down to this historic city and be a part of it all!

Our Friday Plans: Creative Salem 3×5 Gallery

Calling all art enthusiasts! Looking for something different to do this weekend? Head to Salem, MA this Friday, April 24th at 8:30pm for a truly unique event, presented by Creative Salem – a 3×5 pop up gallery reception! As you may be able to guess, featured art will be 3×5 in length, but anything goes as far as a medium. How awesome is that? You never know what mini masterpieces you will find. 🙂 I’ll be there covering the event on New England State of Mind and can’t wait! If you see a piece you like, make sure you snatch it up – $15 per 3×5. Funds benefit the amazing Creative Salem organization and the mission of non-profit Salem Main Streets, which I interned for in college. Be there or be square (and 3×5 is what you’d want to be this weekend)!

Find out all the details on the 3×5 event page on the Creative Salem site.

We’ll see you there!