The Paradise City Arts Festival is a nationally recognized show of art, fine crafts, music, and food. This show features 275 of the nation's best artists and attracts between 15-20,000 visitors each year, many of whom travel from all over the country and abroad to attend.
You won't go hungry at this arts fest. The Festival Dining Tent overflows with samples from the menus of the area’s local chefs, most who use local farms as their inspiration. Live music entertains diners with the melodies of Charles Neville, Roger Salloom and the O-Tones.
Paradise City Arts in Northampton, Mass. runs Oct. 9-11, and takes place both indoors and under tents, with free parking. Admission is $12 for adults, $10 for Seniors, $8 for students, and children under 12 are free. A three-day pass costs $15. The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts will receive 100% of the proceeds from the annual silent art auction. The three-day auction will feature hundreds of valuable art pieces donated by exhibitors. And don't forget to bring a non-perishable food item to the Food Bank Tent at the show entrance.
Photo of "Time's Up" case clock, by Mark Del Guidice; courtesy of Del Guidice
That time of year again, where staking out the region's best fairs, is second nature to any native. Perhaps Maine's best-known fair, the Fryeburg Fair, begins on Sunday, October 3 and runs through October 10.
This Blue Ribbon Fair includes all the expected livestock, agriculture, harness racing, live entertainment, midway, crafts, concessions and more. But what sets it apart are the yearly favorites like Woodsman’s Day, where competitors take part in games like the crosscut, bucksaw, axe throw, underhand chop and log roll contests. And let's not forget the good ole fashioned pan toss! It’s a week of fair fun on the Fryeburg Fairgrounds.
Admission every day is just $10, children under 12 are free, and parking on fair grounds is $5. Historically, traffic at the Fair is extremely heavy on Saturdays. If you're not the early bird, and plan to leave between 3 and 8 p.m., it is highly recommended that you avoid parking on or near the fairgrounds. During these hours your exit will be much quicker on foot even if you walk quite a distance. Call 207-935-3268 for info, but you best be looking online for complete schedules.
Photo of Dave Geer winning Master's Axe Throw in 2009; courtesy Fryeburg Fair
The holidays will soon be upon us, and why not schedule some calm before the storm? The Equinox in Manchester, Vt. is offering a very special “Pampered Girlfriends Getaway Weekend” on the weekend of November 19–21. Women and their girlfriends of all ages can head to this exclusive resort for a weekend of shopping, makeovers, and Pilates starting at the unbelievable price of only $224 per person.
Throughout the weekend, guests can enjoy four gourmet meals, shop the Manchester Designer Outlets with no clothing tax, enjoy a guided hike of Mt. Equinox, receive makeovers and much more! There will be a Friday Night Welcome Reception and Dinner with “interactive” fashion show by BCBG, Escada, Ann Taylor, Lilly Pulitzer, Giorgio Armani and more. Wake up to a Vermont Country Breakfast Buffet featuring blueberry pancakes with pure VT maple syrup, artisan cheeses and meats, homemade hot cider donuts, fresh country omelet station. Work off that decadent food by hiking picturesque Mt. Equinox, or joining in pool aerobics, Yoga, Pilates, Zumba classes, and even “Women’s Boxing”. And lest we forget the makeovers by CHANEL!
The package is $224 a person for quad occupancy, $249 a person for triple occupancy, $299 for double occupancy and $449 for single occupancy. [prices exclude service charge and tax]. This fab-u-lous package can be booked on the Equinox website, or by calling 800-362-4747.
Annisquam's Lobster Cove summer sensation is getting ready to close after Columbus Day, but before Amelia O'Reilly and Nico Monday bid adieu until spring, they're participating in the nationwide Dine Out for Farms week to benefit the American Farmland Trust. It's only fitting: As disciples of Alice Waters (they met working at Chez Panisse), the two chefs build their menu a la minute from whatever Nico's brother Oliver has been able to source from the Gloucester docks and nearby farms. Nico says that they plan a special three-course dinner for Thursday, October 7, and will bring in some of their supplier-farmers to talk to diners about sustainable, small-scale, local agriculture. The menu isn't set yet (it rarely is until Oliver comes back with the food), and they're still not sure about the price. But reservations will be required for dining after 7:30 p.m. Call 978-282-0700 or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Summer's not the only season to escape to the lake, and Migis Lodge on Maine's Sebago Lake, is offering a deal too good to pass up.
Guests to the upscale lodge during these Autumn Adventure weeks will enjoy Naturalist Walks led by the Maine Audubon Society, a sail on a schooner, group hikes, Maine history and art exhibitions, cake-decorating, flower-arranging, fishing seminars with a local Maine Guide, and before-dinner beer and wine tastings around the fire in the Main Lodge. Additional activities always available at the Lodge include tennis, waterskiing, wellness classes, lake cruises, and the use of canoes, kayaks, motorboats, sauna and the fitness center. Guests can also squeeze in 18 holes at Point Sebago just 2 miles away.
Autumn Adventures started on Labor Day and runs for two more weeks through October's Columbus Day weekend. Here's what you've been waiting for...Fall mid-week rates start at just $166 and weekend rates start at $195, and are all-inclusive. Rates are per person, per day and again, include all meals and resort activities. For rate information or to make reservations, call 207-655-4524.
Photo courtesy Migis Lodge
This Saturday, October 2, Settlers Green in North Conway, N.H. brings the vibrant colors and favorite activities of fall to their outlet shopping center. The Fall Festival & Scarecrow Contest will include a bounty of handmade, unique scarecrows on display throughout the complex, all competing for cash awards! Arrive early, and the first 200 kids will receive pumpkins for just $2 while supplies last. As moms smile from ear to ear, as they get their shopping fix, kids will be smiling too joining in the pumpkin pie contest, sipping free apple cider, taking horse-drawn wagon rides, and getting their faces painted. The event is free and open to the public from 11 a.m.- 3 p.m. Check online for complete schedule.
For those of you able to travel this week, consider heading north the Vermont's Northeast Kingdom, where 6 scenic villages will be celebrating fall over the course of the next 6 days!
The Fall Foliage Festival starts today and runs through Saturday, Oct. 2. Six Vermont villages in this order: Walden, Cabot, Plainfield, Peacham, Barnet and Groton, invite visitors to celebrate rural life against a their fresh, spectacular backdrop of orange, red and yellow trees. For more information, including lodging and area attractions, visit online.
Photo courtesy State of VT
Indoors or outdoors, Patriot Place has packed this weekend full of great family-oriented activities in celebration of their Fall Harvest Weekend. Visitors this weekend can look forward to a full schedule of free, seasonal activities.
It's not what you'd expect a premier entertainment venue to have - but Patriot Place has its own Cranberry bog, and complementing nature trail on the property. It'll be a great time for the kids to participate in the Build a Bog activity, watch the pumpkin sculpting demo, or take a hayride. Kids can also join in on the pumpkin painting. For the big kids of the group, there will be a delicious Ocean Spray sponsored Tailgate Recipe Cook-off, Farmer's Market and Cranberry Harvest Demonstrations.
In addition to outdoor activities, Patriot Place’s restaurants will offer a Taste of Patriot Place, with free samples of menu items featuring New England’s favorite fall fruit, the cranberry.
The Fall Harvest Weekend runs Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 2-3, and is free to the public. Check online for complete schedule of events.
Photo of Patriot Place's Nature Trail; courtesy Patriot Place
The FLICKERS North Country Film Festival (NCFF) is just one more reason to book a stay at The Balsams this week. NCFF is a non-profit festival promoting New Hampshire’s Great North Woods as a regional center for the arts, and will be held September 30 through October 3, with screenings of a variety of films in multiple locations and gala events. The Festival's big name this year is Hollywood screenwriter [and Rhode Island native], Chris Sparling, whose credits include the suspense thriller BURIED starring Ryan Reynolds, and who is working on a film with M. Night Shyamalan.
At least sixty films are scheduled, including 37 short films, 6 feature narrative films and 18 documentaries. Festival rates for film screenings are only $10 per 2 hour +/- block. A full access pass for all three days of the festival is $45. Featured event pricing including the Red Carpet Opening Night, NHPTV Reception and more can be found online.
Room rates for Friday and Saturday nights (October 1 and 2) start at $229.00 per person, per night, double occupancy, taxes not included. Guests staying Thursday night also will receive a free room upgrade. This rate includes free admission to the festival, breakfast and dinner, including the famous BALSAMS Table d’hôte dinner, unlimited golf and full use of resort facilities. Festival attendees interested in staying at The BALSAMS are invited to call (800) 255-0600, email or visit online for full rate information.
Photo of Chris Sparling; courtesy FLICKERS
Self-described as possibly the most eclectic group of artists ever to share a six-mile radius, the Brattleboro-West Arts Group wants to open their doors to the public for the second consecutive year.
This studio tour invites guests to witness a rug being braided, a block of wood become a vase, or a blacksmith forge a weathervane. Alongside these artists will be potters, glass blowers and textile artists. And don't forget the landscape artists and abstract painters and more.
The artists will exhibit and sell their art, but also encourage their visitors take their time in each studio, chatting, asking questions and watching them work. The tour runs Sept. 25-26, and coincides with the beginning of the fall foliage season, as well as, the peak of apple picking time - all very good reasons to visit the Green Mountain state this weekend.
Photo of "Duet Vase" by Michelle Holzapfel, hand-carved from a maple burl.
While it may seem a bit odd to head to the beach to celebrate the entrance of fall, Old Orchard Beach in Maine is hosting its Autumn Celebration this Saturday,
September 25, and it's one party you don't want to miss.
The celebration kicks off with a boisterous parade down Old Orchard Street ending at Memorial Park. Area artists will be showing their works and local non-profits will be putting on a giant flea market. Entertainment such as magic, science and music will fill the streets, as will food vendors. Perhaps the most delicious highlight of the fest will be a "Best Pizza at the Beach" contest featuring area pizzerias vying for the coveted title, voted on by the public. There are games, activities like a corn toss and petting zoo, as well as, a bounce house to keep the young ones engaged and smiling.
The end of the day concludes on the beach with a lobster bake and pig roast, complete with entertainment and a bonfire. Cost for the day-long celebration is $20 in advance and $25 the day of. Tickets will be available at Board Silly, The Recreation Department, JJs Eatery, MacDonald’s Garage and Seacoast RVs. Call 207-934-0315 for info or visit online.
This weekend is shaping up to be one of great weather and maybe even a little premature fall color. So no better place to go than Stowe, Vt. where visitors can take part in their 14th Annual Oktoberfest.
The community of Stowe transforms the Jackson Ice Arena into a Bavarian village for this annual celebration of harvests and fall foliage. Visitors will find live music from oompah to rock bands, authentic German foods from wursts to sauerkraut, and of course, plenty of freshly brewed Vermont beers. This Oktoberfest is for the family as well, so bring the kiddies and let them romp in the Kinderplatz where they will keep busy with everything from pumpkin and face painting, to jump houses.
Oktoberfest at Stowe runs Sept. 24-26 and costs adults $7, youth ages 9-20 pay $5, and under 9 are free. Call 802-253-4788 for more information or visit online for all details including lodging.
This Saturday, September 25, the Amesbury Sports Park will be hosting its 4th Annual Brew Fest featuring up to 100 beers, BBQ, and music from 6 live bands on an outdoor stage.
In preparation for the couple thousand of visitors this day, a beer garden sponsored by Kennebec River Brewery, will be added to the event, as well as, meet and greet times with crowd favorite craft brewers to make the whole she-bang more of a personal experience. The Brew Fest features crowd favorite microbrews like Lost Dog Red Ale, Lobster Ale and Napa Smith Crush. Live music will be headlined by Michael Bernier & The Uprising, followed by other bands including the Scott Barnett Band, the Dejas, 7 Mile Drive, McAlister Drive, and Beyond Reason.
Aside from the microbrews, BBQ and bands, the Brew Fest also features perhaps the most exciting experience around - OGO rides and summer tubing. The OGO (Outdoor Gravity Orb) is an 11 foot inflatable transparent sphere with another inflated sphere suspended inside it. Riders enter the orb and strap themselves into a harness, or enter the H2OGO with up to 3 people and 5 gallons of water and are pushed over the edge of an 800 foot grassy slope. Pay just $10 for admission and have a ball all day long.
Photo of Orb, courtesy Brew Fest
This is one pawsitively perfect event for you and your pup to attend! On Sunday, September, 26, the Village Green at Mashpee Commons becomes the breeding ground for public support of the creation of a new Dog Park in town, and dogs from the Cape and beyond will gather at Dogs Allowed to speak up for a new park.
Dogs Allowed is a day packed with activities, vendors and fun for both people and their pups. Music will fill the air as your dog can stay active with agility courses, a rally course, dog massages, and the opportunity to make their own art work! There will be free samples and giveaways, goodie bags, raffles, food vendors, doggie pools and more to entertain all ages. And don't miss the Doggie Dancing performance by the Capering Canines of Cape Cod, a Police K9 demonstration, a decadent Pawject Runway Fashion Show, and a kissing booth where your pup can get her photo taken getting a smooch from one of the Cape’s hunkiest firefighters or policemen. For adult pleasure, Cape Cod Beer will also be present hosting a bustling Beer Garden.
There will also be a microchip clinic beginning at 11 a.m. with $25 microchips to benefit The Sampson Fund. A limited number of chips are available so arrive early if interested. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for kids under 12. Tickets can be purchased before the event at Hot Diggity in Mashpee Commons, as well as, on the day of the event.
Photo courtesy of Dogs Allowed
Thursday, September, 23, 2010 is officially the first day of autumn. Vermont's celebrating the colorful season at Shelburne Orchards who will host a Fall Season Kick-Off Event featuring Woodchuck Cider, apple picking and Apple iPods!
Sponsored in partnership with the Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing, the event is free and open to the public. The launch of the fourth annual “Apples to iPods” promotion, gives visitors to Vermont's pick-your-own orchards a chance to win an Apple iPod. Once again, organizers are hiding specially-marked wooden apples in many of Vermont’s pick-your-own apple orchards. If visitors find one of these unique “iPod apples,” they can call 1-800-VERMONT and receive an iPod and one lucky winner will also receive an Apple iPad!
Photo courtesy State of VT
'Tis the season for festivals, and now is the time for the Newport Mansions Wine & Food Festival back for its fifth season.
The highly anticipated Festival brings more than 500 high-end international wines, fabulous food selections, creative cooking demos, a Sunday jazz brunch, lavish live and silent auctions, and a gala celebration, to the beautiful seaside town of Newport, R.I.
The weekend begins with the upscale Wine & Rosecliff Gala, where guests will be showered by intimate encounters with the Festival’s celebrity chefs, showcasing their recipes and culinary creations paired with special vintages uncorked exclusively for the evening.
The all-inclusive Grand Tasting at Marble House includes wines from around the world, exciting dishes from regional restaurants and caterers, and cooking demonstrations by celebrity chefs. Guests of the Grand Tasting will also have the chance to tour the first floor of the Marble House, which was the most opulent house in America when it was built in 1892.
The Festival takes place in the historic Newport Mansions, Rosecliff and Marble House, from September 24-26. Tickets are on sale now, and may be purchased online. All proceeds benefit The Preservation Society of Newport County.
Photo courtesy of The Preservation Society of Newport County
Leaf peepers and autumnal Road Warriors beware! Enterprise-Rent-A-Car just announced a special rate for those planning some weekend getaways. Starting from just $9.99 per day, renters can enjoy economy and compact cars when renting Friday through Monday. The rate includes 100 free miles a day. Similar savings are available on larger vehicles, and unlimited mileage packages are also available at most locations. However, the program excludes airport locations. Enterprise is offering this fabulous deal through May 24, 2011, at more than 5,000 participating locations.
Steve Short, vice president of leisure business development for Enterprise Rent-A-Car says, “Weekends are short, and we want to help travelers make the most of their trips. An Enterprise employee will pick up you and your suitcase at your home and take you directly to your rental car.”
It may be a wine fest, but this one's okay to bring the kids to as well. Haight-Vineyards Annual Harvest Festival is a fabulous fall outdoor wine celebration with events for every age, and takes place this weekend, September 18-19.
Both adults and kids can partake in stomping grapes, take a vineyard and cellar tour, go on a hay ride, do a wine tasting, taste locally brewed beer, eat, and shop! Filling the air will be plenty of live music from four different jazz artists.
Festival is held rain or shine, and runs from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days. Admission is $8, or $15 for elite admission which includes a walk around tasting of 8 wines. Children 10 and under are free.
There may not be snow, but Wachusett Mountain Ski Area is celebrating anyway with two days of music, food and fun at their 20th annual Kidsfest!
Highlights include BMX stunts by Impact Action Sports, trampoline acts with Flippenout Productions, and crazy frisbee dog stunts. Kids don't need to sit around much at this fest, as they can stay plenty active with Lazer Tag, Bungee jumping, a climbing wall, and more. Traditional fair favorites include jugglers, magicians, balloon artists, and kid's games. While everyone in the troop is working up a giant appetite, plan on filling their rumbling bellies with the BBQ and bountiful food tents.
Pay to Play Activities are $1 per ticket or visitors can puchase a wristband for unlimited SkyRides, Pay to Play Games, Pony Rides, Bungee jumping, Climbing Wall and Lazer Tag for $12. Kids Under 3 receive free festival and skyride admission. Kidsfest runs Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 18 and 19 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission for adults is $10, and kids ages 3-12 pay $6.
Scratch the surface of East Boston and you will find a surprisingly dynamic neighborhood. We wrote about the artists of Eastie last spring in a piece archived at Boston.com's Boston Visitors' Guide. But the folks of East Boston Main Streets and The Boston Preservation Alliance know the community even more intimately. They're offering a three-hour walking tour of the commercial districts of Maverick and Central squares on Saturday morning, Sept. 25, starting at 9:30 a.m. The tour will begin at the historic Engine 40 Firehouse, now the home of the youth arts organization, ZUMIX, at 260 Sumner Street. The idea is to look back at the rich history of the squares and forward to some of the improvements on the way. The tour is free but space is limited. To register, contact Clark Moulaison at East Boston Main Streets: 617-561-1044 or email@example.com. Did we mention that refreshments will be served?
Posted by Patricia Harris & David Lyon.
Photo of view from East Boston waterfront by David Lyon for the Boston Globe.
Last week we got word that extreme sports star Travis Pastrana became the fastest person to reach the summit of Mt. Washington, racing up the auto road in just 6 minutes, 20.47 seconds. Well, now sponsor Red Bull has released video of the feat. Jiggy.
Every four days, on average, a barn in Vermont collapses. That's all it took for a group of artists and a second group of barn owners to come together and create Artists for Barns. Gallery on the Green in Woodstock is sponsoring a three-part event in hopes of raising funds to help in the restoration of the 5-story Robinson Barn, a turn-of-the-century dairy barn just west of Woodstock.
Sixteen visual artists will begin painting on site beginning Wednesday, Sept. 15, in order to provide paintings to be auctioned off on Oct. 2. Proceeds from the sale of the original works of art and prints, as well as, the purchase of benefit cans of paint, will directly help the restoration of the Robinson Barn. The painting comes to a close on Saturday, Sept. 18, when the group will raise more funds through a Meet the Artists session, finger lickin' BBQ, and old fashioned Square Dance.
Organizers hope the event will become a model for a national initiative. “Across the country, we are losing the iconic symbols of America’s rural past” said Chip Evans, participating artist. "The partnership between professional artists and barn owners exemplifies the concern to preserve and enhance the visual landscape.”
For more information contact the Gallery on the Green at 802-457-4956.
Photo courtesy State of VT
While my garden looks as if it has seen better days, there are many working farms that are still producing fresh, local foods at a staggering rate.
Casey Farm in Saunderstown, R.I., which overlooks Narragansett Bay and was once the center of a plantation that produced food for local and foreign markets, is one farm with a must-visit market. Located minutes from Newport, Casey Farm raises organically grown vegetables, herbs, and flowers for subscribing households in a Community Supported Agriculture program. How its crops can benefit others is through its Coastal Growers Market, which operates Saturdays through October, offering meat, seafood, fruit, flowers, and artisan products in collaboration with other local farms. No need to suffer the taste-less produce from supermarket chains just yet!
Photo courtesy Historic New England
It's one of those sports where specific training may not be required. The world of tricycle racing has come along way this decade, and the Red Parka Pub World Championship Tricycle Grand Prix this Saturday, Sept. 18, celebrates the sport with gusto.
The 2nd Annual World Championship Tricycle Grand Prix takes place at Black Mountain in Jackson, N.H. and comes with a guaranteed load of thrills, chills and laughter. Come just to watch or muster up the courage, or the shamelessness, to take part in lots of downhill fun on championship trike-bikes. No worries, there are race categories and events for all ages. It’s fun for the whole family, and remember, you’re never too old to ride a trike! Call 603-383-4344 for details or look online - for lodging rates too.
Photo courtesy Mount Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce
We assume he got the "This car climbed Mt. Washington" bumper sticker as well.
Extreme sports competitor Travis Pastrana became the fastest person to reach the summit of Mt. Washington on Wednesday, racing up the auto road in just 6 minutes, 20.47 seconds. Pastrana averaged 72 miles per hour on the 7.6-mile road in a special Subaru Impreza rally car.
The Mt. Washington auto road climbs 4,618 feet with an average gradient of 11.6 percent.
Remarkably, it was Pastrana's first-ever high-speed attempt to reach the summit. The previous record of six minutes and 42 seconds was set in 1998 by Frank Sprongl (below).
Pastrana's feat was part of a test session in advance of next year's return of the "Climb to the Clouds," the auto race which will be making a return to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the auto road, following a 10-year absence.
"It's amazing that he was able to drive that car to the summit in 6:20, and all the more so when you realize that he and his co-driver had just seen the auto road for the first time the day before," auto road GM Howie Wemyss said in a statement. "Our racing heritage here at the Auto Road runs deep, having started in 1904 and now Travis is part of that heritage as the fastest person to the summit by automobile."
Here's Pastrana starting out his attempt: