Saturday, April 30, 2011

Fun and Funky Birdhouses go to Auction at Roost

Roost has partnered with local artists of all ages to create a fun and funky birdhouse show in their store, that will become the Gimme Shelter Birdhouse Auction on Sunday, May 1st.  The auction is from 5:00 - 7:00 PM on Sunday, and a fun and festive mood will be set with live music and nibbles provided by 62 Restaurant.  All proceeds raised by the auction will benefit the Northeast Animal Shelter, which is one of New England's largest no-kill animal shelter.

I stopped by for a peak at the birdhouses yesterday, and they are very cool - ranging from whimsical to ecological to just plain funny.  If you still need a mother's day present, a birdhouse could fit the bill nicely!  (And if a birdhouse isn't up your mom's alley, there are plenty of other "urban-country-design" inspired gifts in Roost.) 

If you can not get to the auction on Sunday, stop by prior to 5pm and place a bid.  For more information, visit or call (978) 744-HOME.

This one wins my vote for cheeriest house.

I loved the mosaic quality of this house.

I'm not sure you can see it, but this bird house had a prior life as a wine bottle.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Jazzy Blues Brunch

Here's a fun idea for brunch on Sunday, May 15.  I hear that Whose Muddy Shoes is a great band, and the Waterfront Hotel is a lovely location.  Proceeds from the brunch benefit Salem Main Streets, which needs our support to continue producing the excellent events that bring vibrancy to downtown Salem, including the Farmers' Market, Salem Arts Fest, Salem So Sweet, and others. 

Tickets for Jazzy Blues Brunch are $35 per person and are available in advance at the Salem Chamber of Commerce at 265 Essex Street in Salem, at Rouge Cosmetics on Derby Street or by calling 978-744-0004. 

More information on Jazzy Blues Brunch and on Salem Main Streets is available at

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Celebrate Mother's Day at the Garden Restaurant in the PEM

Celebrate Mother’s Day with a sumptuous brunch prepared by Hawthorne Catering and served in the Garden Restaurant at the Peabody Essex Museum. Visit the museum galleries* and the Museum Shop, where you can exchange your brunch voucher for a complimentary gift just for Mom!

Mother’s Day Brunch | For Reservations and Information, Call 978-745-9500, ext. 3157
Brunch $36 (children under 12, $15.95) plus tax & gratuity | PEM Members get 10% discount

*Museum admission rates apply for nonmembers.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

This week's Arts schedule at Salem State

We are so fortunate to share Salem with a fantastic University.  The students, faculty and their families add vibrancy to downtown, and the programing at Salem State enriches our cultural landscape.

Here's the schedule for this week.  Salem State's arts and cultural events are posted on the calendar at on an ongoing basis, so you don't need to wait for me to post them on the blog!  Browse the calendar for these and other great events.  

By the way, all of these events are free, and thus fit into any budget! 


Student Honors Art Exhibition – Jessi Hardesty, Printmaking– April 25 through May 5. Salem State University, Winfisky Gallery. Ellison Campus Center. 352 Lafayette St. Hardesty is an art + design major and a psychology minor who explores dramatic, expressive subject matter through her printmaking. Her exhibition showcases a series of large-scale prints and drawings that focus on heads, faces and figures. An artist reception will be held April 27 at 6 pm. The Winfisky Gallery is open Mon. through Fri. from 10 am to 2 pm, or by appointment. Free. 978.542.7890 or

Creative Writing

Poets Lisa Olstein and David Daniel – April 28, 7:30 pm. Salem State University. Martin Luther King, Jr. Room, Ellison Campus Center. 352 Lafayette St. Celebrate the end of National Poetry Month with readings by these award-winning poets. Free. 978.542.7890 or


Movements of Inspiration – April 30, 7:30 pm. Salem State University. Multipurpose Gym, O’Keefe Center. 225 Canal St. This end of semester concert will include choreography by professors Caitlin Corbett and Meghan McLyman and Presidential Arts Scholars Dee Ascolese, Maxie Holman and Alicia Knight. Tickets available at the door. $10 general/$7 students and seniors. Free with valid Salem State student ID. 978.542.7890 or


Chamber Orchestra – April 27, 7:30 pm. Salem State University. Recital Hall, Central Campus. 71 Loring Ave. The Chamber Orchestra under the direction of Dr. Mary-Jo Grenfell features faculty piano soloist Dr. Sanae Kanda. Dr. Kanda will perform Piano Concerto No. 15 in B-flat Major, K. 450 by W.A. Mozart. Free. 978.542.7890 or

*World Music and Percussion Enembles – May 2, 7:30 pm. Salem State University. Recital Hall, Central Campus. 71 Loring Ave. Free. 978.542.7890 or

*University Concert Band – May 3, 7:30 pm. Salem State University. Recital Hall. 71 Loring Ave. Dr. Mark Adrich conducts a concert of “Folk Songs for Wind Band” featuring the compositions of Vaughan Williams, Holst and Grainger. Free. 978.542.7890 or

Monday, April 25, 2011

Spring into Health the Witch City Way

The second annual Salem Health & Wellness Week is right around the corner!  Our health and wellness businesses are collaborating to provide a week to refocus your health and exercise routine.  We'll all need it after April vacation and the April holidays!

Scheduled for May 1 - 7, 2011, Health & Wellness Week is organized by Salem Main Streets and will feature eighteen participating businesses.  There will be discounts, raffles, promotions and prizes throughout the week.  Each business will be giving away raffle prizes so the more businesses you visit, the more chances you have to win! Health and Wellness postcards are available at all of the participating businesses as well as in local shops in and around downtown.

Participating businesses include: A Sacred Place Wellness Center, Aleris Dental, B&S Fitness Programs, B&S Sport Science, Body and Soul Massage and Wellness Center, The City of Salem Park, Recreation, and Community Services Department, DWMMA Dragon Within Mixed Martial Arts, Extra Effort Fitness, Green Tea Yoga, Healthworks Fitness Center, Lasting Impressions Skin and Nail Boutique, Laura Lanes Skin Care, LivingWell, Salem Chiropractic Center, Sankofa Massage & Bodywork, Susan MacFarlane Massage Therapy and the Wicked Running Club. Be sure to visit the Salem Main Streets website for the latest information and schedule of events.

Mondays are Family Night at the Lyceum!

Mondays are FAMILY NIGHT and Kids eat FREE!!

Here's a great new option for families who want to eat well with the kids. The Lyceum has a new Family Night program, which means every Monday night, kids eat free! Their new kids menu uses the same healthy ingredients that you find on the main menu, featuring fresh ingredients prepared to order.  

Don't tell the kids, but there will even be vegetables on their plates!  

Check out the menu at  (One of my favorite combinations is a cup of the fabulous chowder, followed by a burger.  Sometimes there is nothing better than a burger that has been expertly prepared by a kitchen that is capable of so much more.)

To make reservation, call 978-745-7665.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Wizard of Paws

Here's a great excuse to get out and support the Northeast Animal Shelter.  The Wizard of Paws fundraiser will be at the Hawthorne Hotel on May 12. 

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Celebrate Easter in Salem

I can't say that Easter has snuck up on us this year, because Easter is actually rather late this year.  But it still feels like it's snuck up on us.  So, if you're like me and haven't quite finished your Easter shopping, still need something springlike to wear (that's warm enough to fend off New England shivers), and have to feed a family in a celebratory fashion this Sunday, here's a quick list to help you get it all done.

First off, chocolate.  We need chocolate, right?  There are two excellent chocolate options in Salem.  You can head over to Ye Olde Pepper Candy Companie on Derby Street. They have a complete collection of bunnies (white, dark, milk), eggs (milk, malted, jelly), peeps (chocolate dipped, yum!), and other Easter essentials to fill your baskets.  Or, drive to Leavitt Street (off Congress Street, past Shetland Office Park) to Harbor Sweets where you will find the most insanely fabulous milk chocolate bunnies you've ever eaten the ears off of.  Harbor Sweets bunnies have different fillings depending on the area of the bunny, so every bite is a delight.  Back on Front Street, Maria's Sweet Somethings has a full array of chocolates and gifts to fill your Easter baskets.  From truffles to fudge, Maria's is a shop full of decadent treats!

Once you've got the chocolates under control, you probably need a few gifts for the baskets.  Head to Mud Puddle Toys and Coon's Cards & Gifts on Essex Street.  Between the two shops you can find whimsical toys and gifts for the kids in your Easter morning.

Will you be wearing a bonnet on Sunday?  If you need that perfect ensemble to accompany your bonnet, try Signatures Apparel on Essex Street, J. Mode on Front Street, and Two Girl's Shop on Derby Street.  These unique boutiques have an array of women's fashion and will guarantee you'll look great on Easter Sunday.

You'll have to show off the new outfit, which we hope will not have chocolate finger prints on it, at brunch on Sunday.  We have no shortage of Easter Brunch options, including Capt.'s, the Salem Waterfront Hotel & Marina, the Hawthorne Hotel, The Lyceum, and Victoria Station.  The menus are lavish and delicious, and seatings will sell out, so please make reservations.

If you will be celebrating on Sunday, I offer best wishes for a Happy Easter.  May you enjoy the day, celebrate family and friends, and, of course, eat lots of chocolate.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Vacation Week Isn't Over Yet

If you're home with the kids this week, you're probably going a bit stir-crazy.  The weather has not been conducive to outdoor fun, and the kids (at least in my house) are getting a bit stir crazy. 

Well, vacation week isn't over yet, and there's lots to do in Salem that will keep you out of the elements.  Here are a few ideas.

Ride the red trolley.  Salem Trolley tours are awesome for all ages.  Younger kids who might not understand all of the historical nuances will just love being on the trolley, and older kids will appreciate Salem's diverse and dynamic history.  When you disembark from a trolley tour, you will be one-hour richer in Salem trivia, and full of facts on topics including Monopoly, the US Coast Guard, Salem's original sea wall, where Alexander Hamilton almost got to dance, and why doors on Chestnut Street are slightly wider than usual. 

Your trolley ticket is good for on-and-off shuttle service all day, too, so you can use the Trolley to visit the New England Pirate Museum, Salem Maritime, the Witch Dungeon Museum, the Salem Witch Museum, Salem Willows (trust me, you need popcorn from Hobbs), and the House of the Seven Gables.

Drop into the Peabody Essex Museum for Art Activities to benefit Disaster Relieve in Japan.  Join the PEM for a celebration of Japanese art and culture this week.  There are drop-in activities (included with admission) all week, and on Friday students from MassArt's Boston Origami Project will be on site creating Origami cranes and fund raising for Red Cross emergency relieve efforts in Japan.  For complete information and a schedule of activities, visit

This Saturday, April 23rd is Junior Ranger Day at Salem Maritime, the National Park in Salem.  This is a great opportunity (and, frankly, excuse) to take the kids to Salem Maritime and celebrate all of our National Parks.  There will be free, Ranger-led programs for kids of all ages between 10:00 AM - 3:00 PM at the Salem Visitor Center, on Derby Wharf, and on board the tall ship Friendship. The Junior Ranger program is a great way to engage your kids in the national parks.  It's fun, and kids who complete the tasks can earn a Junior Ranger badge. 

There's always the old standby of taking the kids to the movies. CinemaSalem is showing Rio this week, which is a film made for School Vacation Week.  It's animated.  It's funny.  And the kid's concession combo only costs $5. 

All of this exploring is bound to get the kids hungry, so here are a few options for food:

Diner-style, enormous servings... eat at Reds Sandwich Shop.  The pancakes are enormous, you'll only need a half-portion of the Mac & Cheese, and for adventurous eaters, the daily specials are $6.95 and market-fresh.  Located on Central Street, a block away from a Trolley stop.

Pizza... Essex's NY Pizza and Deli provides quick counter service for pizza, subs, sandwiches and salads.  It's located inside Museum Place Mall, so you are a short walk from both the PEM and CinemaSalem.

Italian... you've got to try Caffe Graziani for the fresh pasta in a family-friendly environment.  Located on Washington Street, just a short walk from the closest trolley stop (use the rear entrance to make it shorter!).

Seafood... try the new Seaport Cafe on Derby Street at the entrance to Pickering Wharf.  The seafood is fresh and they will event get some veggies onto the plate for the kids! 

So, if you need activities for the rest of vacation week, look to Salem.  For even more ideas, visit the Calendar on  Enjoy the rest of the vacation week.  Grab a sweatshirt and a rain coat or a poncho and you'll be having so much fun you won't notice the weather!  

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Salem Stores Raise the Roost!

Two of Salem’s community-minded stores, Roost and The Beehive, are hosting the city’s first Gimme Shelter Birdhouse Auction on May 1, 2011 at 5 p.m. The event will be held at the 40 Front Street location with all proceeds from the auction benefitting the Northeast Animal Shelter (NEAS).

Owners Kate Leavy and Jamie Metsch are teaming up with the NEAS on a project they have deemed to be a “shelter for shelter” fundraising event.“As owners of three former shelter dogs, we’re happy we can support a cause in our community to which we relate so closely,” said Leavy. “The Northeast Animal Shelter is so committed to these animals, and we’d like to show our appreciation.”

Earlier this year, Leavy and Metch sent out a message to mobilize local artists to design and build beautiful inspiring birdhouses for donation. The birdhouses could be functional or ornamental-- as long as they fit through the door. “We plan to showcase the birdhouses in our front window one week prior to the event,” said Metsch. “This is going to be a lot of fun for a great cause.”

Hors d’oeuvres will be provided by local Salem restaurant, 62 Restaurant and Wine Bar featuring well-recognized chef Antonio Bettencourt for all event guests.

The Northeast Animal Shelter provides safe shelter, food, and healthcare to rescue animals in the North Shore area.  The Northeast Animal Shelter is located in Salem, MA and is one of New England’s largest no-kill animal shelters. 

Roost and The Beehive are located in downtown Salem, MA at 40 Front St.  Roost features and original mix of art, furniture, gifts, accessories, lighting, jewelry, and bath products.  The Beehive, Roost’s sister store, is located at 38 Front St.  Both cater to local artisans and promote sustainability and the freedom of expression. 

Friday, April 15, 2011

Learn to make pasta from a pro

At his one and only visit to 62, my son took one bite of the pasta and declared, "I shall never eat pasta from a box again."  Well, he hasn't been so lucky.  Here is a class, however, that could make pasta-lovers' dreams come true.  Learn to make pasta from a pro. 

A great way to spend a Sunday...

For more information, visit

Thursday, April 14, 2011

New Salem Museum Celebrates Preliminary Opening

After almost two years of rigorous research and design, the long-anticipated Salem Museum will welcome the public to a Preliminary Opening featuring eight of the eventual thirty themed display panels, a presentation and tour by the Museum Planning Team, and a reception.

The Preliminary Opening will take place on Thursday, April 21, 2011 at 7:30 p.m. at Old Town Hall, 32 Derby Square, Salem, as part of the Old Town Hall Lecture Series. Tickets are $20 general admission, $10 for students, and may be purchased at Tickets will also be available at the door.

“The Salem Museum will be an entry point for visitors -- an overview of Salem history, if you will” says K. David Goss, Museum Project Director and Assistant Professor of History at Gordon College. “Our goal is to heighten people’s awareness of the richness and diversity of Salem’s history through this relatively simple visitor center, and then send them on their way to real sites.” From the museum, visitors will have ready access to Pioneer Village and the play Cry Innocent, both presented by Gordon College’s Institute for Public History.

The Salem Museum will fill the large, colonnade gallery on the first floor of Salem’s historic Old Town Hall. Visitors can take a leisurely stroll through over 400 years of Salem history, starting with Native American settlement, through European settlement in 1626, to the present day. Displays include vibrantly colored text-and-image panels, objects, models, and reproductions.

The display panels visitors can expect to see at the Preliminary Opening on April 21 include:
  • Founding of Salem 1626 
  • Revolutionary War 
  • China Trade
  • The Pepper Trade
  • The Civil War 
  • Nathaniel Hawthorne
  • Frank Poor and Sylvania
  • The Great Fire
The remaining twenty-two panels will be unveiled when the completed museum opens on Saturday, June 11, 2011. The Grand Opening will coincide with the 1630 arrival of Governor John Winthrop and the Arbella fleet to Salem, and with the seasonal opening of Pioneer Village.

“This will be a very family friendly museum,” says Ken Harris, artistic director. “We’ve included information about the lives of young people during the past four centuries, and provided fun, interactive activities.” The museum panels will also be available in Spanish translation.

For information on the Old Town Hall Lectures Series:
For information on Gordon College’s Institute for Public History: