Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Farmers' Market Gets a little Taste of Hell!

At the Salem Farmers’ Market Thursday, September 1 there will be a cooking demonstration by local chef Jennifer Normant who is currently appearing on the HELL’S KITCHEN Television show. Jennifer Normant is a chef with the Hawthorne Hotel here in Salem. She currently is on the FOX TV show which airs locally Monday and Tuesday evenings. 

We're so excited for Chef Jen, who has made it to the final five, and we can't wait to see what happens next!
The market is held Thursdays in Derby Square on Front Street from 3 – 7 p.m.  The cooking demo will take place starting at 3:30. The market features delicious fresh fruits and vegetables from 9 local farms including one certified organic farm. There will be delicious peaches, juicy tomatoes, beans and much more at the market this week. 

For more information go to www.salemfarmersmarket.org or call Salem Main Streets at (978)744-0004.

Executive Chef Steve Nelson with Chef Jennifer, from the Hawthorne Hotel blog.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Essex Heritage Photo Safari

I participated in an Essex National Heritage Commission Photo Safari with Hunt's Photo & Video at the Phillips House on July 30th.  It was a beautiful day to take pictures at the Ropes Mansion on Essex Street, along Chestnut Street, and at the Phillips House.  

Tropical storm Irene's wind and rain have inspired me to share flowers, blue sky, and some of Salem's stunning architecture.

The Ropes Mansion garden on Essex Street.
Part of the collections of the Peabody Essex Museum, the garden is free and open to the public.

Front of the Ropes Mansion

Ropes Mansion and First Church

Carriage House at the Phillips House

Chestnut Street

Salem Trolley on Chestnut Street

This was the final Photo Safari of 2011, but make sure to follow Essex Heritage (Facebook, Twitter, EssexHeritage.org) for the 2012 schedule.  Hunt's has brought Canon, Nikon, Tamron, and Olympus to past photo safaris.  They are a great way to learn photography tips from professionals, try out new equipment, and interact with the region's natural, cultural and historic resources.

Here's to the return of blue skies tomorrow...

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Salem Prepares for Hurricane Irene

Released on Friday:

Salem officials met Friday morning to finalize preparedness plans for Hurricane Irene as it moves up the eastern seaboard.  Based on the current track of the hurricane, Irene is estimated to hit Salem on Sunday evening.

Jason Silva, Chief Administrative Aide to Mayor Driscoll stated, "Based on our meeting this morning, all city departments are very well prepared to handle this emergency."

All emergency vehicles and equipment have been fueled and tested and ready to go.  The Salem Police and Fire Departments, as well as Atlantic Ambulance have increased their staffing for the weekend and are ready to respond to emergencies.  Department of Public Services crews are ready to deal with fallen trees, barricade flooded streets, and crews are out now clearing catch basins in areas known to flood.  Empty sandbags and sand are available at the DPW Garage at 5 Jefferson Avenue.  There is a limit of ten bags per person, and residents must supply their own shovels. 

"Right now, the biggest concern is wind and high tide storm surges." stated Captain Dennis Levasseur, the Fire Department's Deputy Director of Emergency Management.  We will have a better picture of the storm track by Saturday afternoon, at which time voluntary and/or mandatory closures and evacuations will be determined."

The Harbormaster's Office has removed the Willows floats and gangway, as well as the center section of the docks at Winter Island.  In the event of severe weather the island may be closed, as well as other city piers and marinas.  The Harbormaster is in close contact with the Salem Police Department Dive Team, which will be on alert beginning on Saturday afternoon. 

The Salem Housing Authority, which is responsible for several elderly housing complexes that border the waterfront have tested all of their emergency sump pumps and generators and have updated their evacuation plans and have staff on alert to ensure the safety of their residents.

Although the Red Cross plans to open regional shelters if necessary, the Salem Health Department is working closely with them to ensure our residents will have emergency shelter access.

In preparation for the storm, residents are advised to carry in all outside light objects and lawn furniture, clear catch basins near their property, and are encouraged to log onto the Fire Department and Health Department pages on salem.com to access information ranging from how to protect your home from damage to creating an emergency evacuation bag, what types of food to stock up on in case of
an emergency to what you need to know if you lose power. 

"Most importantly, residents should just use common sense and stay indoors during height of storm, don't go close to the water's edge and don't touch any downed wires.", stated Fire Chief David Cody.  Continue to check salem.com for storm updates and emergency information.

Who to call:
  • In case of an Emergency, dial 911
  • To report downed wires and power outages, call the Salem Fire Department  at 978-744-1235. 
  • To get assistance with basement pump outs, call the Salem Fire Department at 978-744-1235.
  • To report downed trees, call the Department of Public Services at 978-744-3302.
  • In case of an Emergency, dial 911

Monday, August 22, 2011

FAQ #1: Are there any deals? Discounts? Packages?

Travel anywhere is expensive, so it is logical that the most often heard question at Destination Salem involves saving money during your trip. 

We travel.  We travel with family.  We get it.

We occasionally see Salem businesses pop up on Groupon, Living Social, and Where deals, but we usually don't know who or when these deals will be available.  When they are available, we post them on Facebook and Twitter, so if you are not following us, you might want to ad us to your list. 

There are three combination tickets in Salem that might work for you and your trip.

Discover Salem Passport - If this is your first trip to Salem, or you are looking for a sampling of all things Salem - Witch Trials, Maritime, Architecture, Art - this is the combo-deal for you.  This passport includes admission to the House of the Seven Gables, Peabody Essex Museum, Salem Trolley and Salem Witch Museum.  The passport is also good for 15% off your meal at the Tavern at the Hawthorne Hotel, Victoria Station, or Salem Beer Works.  Note: if you qualify for senior pricing, the Discover Salem Passport will not offer any savings.  You may want to purchase attraction tickets individually. The passport must be purchased online, in advance of your trip, and it is not valid in October.

The Land of Witches & Pirates:  This is a great way to see the Witch Dungeon Museum, Witch History Museum and New England Pirate Museum.  The combination ticket to all three will save you $5.00 off the three tickets.  The discount on all three tickets is offered through October, and it is available when you purchase your tickets at any of the three museums.  Between the three attractions, you will gain insight into the events of 1692 as well as Salem and New England's pirate history. 

The Hysteria Pass:  The Hysteria Pass is good for admission to the Salem Wax Museum and the Salem Witch Village, saving you $2 per person.  The Salem Wax Museum is self-guided, allowing you to see scenes from Salem history at your own pace, perhaps pausing on Roger Conant, the founder of Salem, or Elias Hasket Derby, Salem's first millionaire, and the Witch Village provides insight into Witchcraft.  The Wax Museum has an interactive "Souvenir Factory," as well, which is great for kids who want to make grave rubbings (which are illegal on real grave stones), wax hands, or Salem bears.  

There are several ways to save when you stay overnight, and many of Salem's inns offer packages that include museum tickets.  The Hawthorne Hotel, Salem Inn, and Salem Waterfront Hotel each have packages outlined on their web sites. 

Where you stay and the sites you visit greatly depend on the experience you are seeking in Salem, but one of these combination tickets might help guide you through the 400 years of history you will experience during your visit. 

Friday, August 19, 2011

Salem Jazz & Soul Festival this weekend

The Salem Jazz & Soul Festival is an awesome opportunity to catch some of the hottest Jazz and Blues around.  Headliners this year are Bonerama on Saturday and Big Sam's Funky Nation on Sunday. 

The Berklee series of music that has been entertaining us on Derby Square on Saturdays have been building to this moment since May.  The crescendo has nearly peaked.  Salem Jazz & Soul Festival is here!


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Searching for Striped Bass

This is one of those events that will make people say, "Really? In Salem?"  I love that. Because you never know what's going on in Salem - on land or at sea.  The seventh annual Mass Bay Striper Shootout is a perfect example.  (This is the fifth year they've held it in Salem!)

The seventh annual Mass Bay Striper Shootout organized by New England Kayak Fishing rolls in to Salem this weekend. For the 5th year in a row the event will be centered on Winter Island in Salem, Massachusetts on August 19th through the 21st and is catch, photo, and release tournament. There will be close to 150 anglers and their families coming to Salem from as far away as California to participate.

Check in for the event will be in downtown Salem at Joe's Fish Prints at Artists Row.

Most of these kayaks are equipped with electronics including GPS, fish finder units and VHF radios and lights for safety. If you see a parade of tiny lights out on Salem Sound and local harbors, it is fishermen searching for Striped Bass. The winning fish are typically in the 45 inch range. All fish are released.  

Proceeds of the event will go to Casting for Recovery, The floating Hospital for Children and the Boys and Girls Club Of Greater Salem.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Set your DVR, or your alarm clock, for Wednesday night

Salem Chefs are taking over prime time! First there's Chef Jennifer Normant from the Hawthorne Hotel, who has made it to the Top 10 on Hell's Kitchen. Now, Chef Antonio Bettencourt from 62 Restaurant is going to be on Bravo's show, Rocco's Dinner Party.

Salem's foodie appeal is going up in leaps and bounds.

Set your DVR, or your alarm clock, to catch Executive Chef/Owner Antonio Bettencourt of 62 Restaurant & Wine Bar on Wednesday night August 17th (that's tomorrow!) as he makes his national television debut on Rocco's Dinner Party on Bravo at 10:00PM eastern/9:00PM central.

According to IMDb, the episode titled Liza with a 'B!', pits healthy caterer Frank Picchione, opera singer Lucia Palmieri and restaurant owner/chef Antonio Bettencourt against each other as they vie to throw the best bash ever for Liza Minnelli's 65th Birthday. There's $20,000 at stake; as well as some serious bragging rights- as the chefs compete to throw a fete worthy of the incomparable Liza with a Z!

If you watch the video - keep watching through the commercials to see clips of Tony.  

“62” is a Modern Italian trattoria serving contemporary versions of regional Italian classics in downtown Salem. Chef Antonio Bettencourt and his team are dedicated to using the best locally –sourced, all natural ingredients in season and at the peak of flavor. The cooking at 62 shows true soul and a commitment to the true "craft" of cooking.

Monday, August 15, 2011

North Shore Wine Week

More than forty restaurants and wine shops  are participating in North Shore Wine Week, a week-long celebration of food and wine north of Boston, August 21 - 27.  Six of the participating businesses are right here in Salem!

Participating restaurants and wine shops will be offering pairings, tasting flights, and tasting events.  There is a detailed calendar of events on NorthShoreWineWeek.com.

You can celebrate North Shore Wine Week in Salem at:

Short of Restaurant Week, this is the best excuse we've heard to get out and experience the great dining and shopping north of Boston, and especially in Salem. 

Friday, August 12, 2011

A busy weekend in Salem

This weekend is the final weekend of Heritage Days, and the schedule is packed with events. 

Tonight the kids can bounce and play and run around at Kids' Night on the Common. Tomorrow Essex Street and its will be lined with arts, crafts, jewelry, soaps, toys, and food as the annual Essex Street Fair returns. 

At 3:30 on Saturday and Sunday the annual Improv on the Bricks will take to Derby Square.  I need to laugh-til-I-cry, so I'll probably check that one out.  Right next door, Caffe Graziani will be celebrating their 20th Anniversary with a grand Festa Italiano from 2:30-4:30 PM.  Check out the Spaghetti Eating Contest at 3:30 PM.

And there's a Bluegrass Jam at Gulu Gulu at 2:30 PM on Saturday, Family Activities at the PEM all weekend, and a Pet Fair and Show on the Common on Sunday.

And that's just the special stuff - the extra programming, in addition to the museums, attractions, tours, shopping, dining, live music and theater that is always happening in Salem. 

Where are you going to start?

Visit Salem.com for the complete schedule of Heritage Days events.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Phillips House Car Meet Turns 10

Join Historic New England’s Phillips House and the North Shore Old Car Club for the Tenth Annual Car Meet on historic Chestnut Street.  Members of the North Shore Old Car Club will display their vintage and antique vehicles; there will be special tours of the Phillips House and Carriage House, including a close-up look at the two Pierce-Arrows, Model A Ford, and five carriages on display in the collection. Special family activities and games will be set up in the backyard. Jazz music will be provided by the Trent Austin Duo. Light refreshments will be provided as well.

New this year, RFT Insurance of Lynnfield will be sponsoring two award categories for the meet. All visitors will be able to vote for a People’s Choice and there will be a Sponsor’s Choice Award. The awards ceremony will take place at 2:15 p.m. Raffle tickets will also be available for an array of auto related prizes with 100% of the proceeds benefitting the preservation efforts at Historic New England.

The meet takes place on Sunday, August 14 from 12:00 – 3:00 p.m. Admission is free. The car meet is open to all participants, though members of the North Shore Old Car Club will receive priority parking near the Phillips House.

For more information, please call 978-744-0440 or visit www.HistoricNewEngland.org.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Check out the Witches Cup Bike Race on Wednesday

The 2011 Witches Cup Criterium bike race will take to Salem Common on Wednesday, August 10th.  This professional bike race will send cyclists around the Common at 25-35 mph, reaching speeds of up to 45 mph during sprints.  Spectators are invited to watch the action during the 35-mile race (70 laps!) around the Common.

Crowds are able to watch from inside the Common, the Wachusett Brewing Company hospitality tent, or from points behind the safety barricades across the street from the Common. 

For complete information on the race, visit WitchesCup.com
2011 Witches Cup Schedule
• 4:00pm - Course Inspection
• 4:45pm - Amateur Men (Cat 4/5)
• 5:35pm - Women (Cat 1-4)
• 6:10pm - Amateur Men Awards
• 6:30pm - Elite Men (P,1,2,3)
• 7:45pm - Awards Ceremony: Women & Elite Men

Monday, August 8, 2011

Reserve today for A Pint of the Past: Ancient & Hisoric Beer at PEM

AUGUST 11 | 7:30 - 9:30 PM | MEMBERS $55 | NON-MEMBERS $65

Back by popular demand, the Peabody Essex Museum (PEM) is hosting its third beer tasting event, A Pint of the Past: Ancient and Historic Beer, on Thursday, August 11 at 7:30 p.m. Join PEM curator George Schwartz and Harpoon Brewery’s Nate Heck for this convivial occasion. Explore the world of ancient and historic beers and learn how they relate to PEM's unique art collection.

Sample seven distinctive beers, each with delicious food pairings. For a special treat, PEM has paired up with Salem Beer Works to create a specially brewed ale for the occasion. The East India Marine Society IPA is a dark, malty beer with a pleasant bitterness and earthy hop flavor. Enjoy this custom-made IPA at PEM’s A Pint of the Past tasting event or at Salem Beer Works during the month of August.

‘A Pint of the Past’ Featured Beers:

Midas Touch (Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, Milton, DE) 9.0% ABV
                A traditional spiced beer with hints of honey, saffron, papaya and melon

East India Marine Society IPA (Salem Beer Works, MA) 6.0% ABV
                A smooth and sweet IPA, bold in flavor

Anchor Small Beer (Anchor Brewing, San Francisco, CA) 3.3% ABV
                A light and flavorful English bitter beer

Hitachino Nest Red Rice Ale (Kiuchi Brewery, Ibaraki, Japan) 7.0% ABV
                A Belgian strong pale ale with a mix of sake-like flavors, malt and bitter notes

Yorkshire Stingo (Samuel Smith Brewery, Yorkshire, England) 8.0% ABV
                An English strong ale with intense flavors of toffee, raisin, dried fruit and caramel

Hofbräu Dunkel (Hofbräuhaus, Bavaria) 5.5% ABV
                A Munich Dunkel lager with subtle spicy and rich flavors

Rochefort 6 (Brasserie de Rochefort., Belgium) 7.5% ABV
                A slightly spicy Belgian strong dark ale with a rich taste of caramel, fruit and raisins

Reservations by August 8th by calling 978-745-9500 ext. 3011 or by visiting pem.org/calendar

Caffe Graziani: 20 Years and Still Cooking!!

We are sending up big, heart-felt congratulations to Caffe Graziani, who is celebrating its 20th Anniversary in Salem!

Join the celebration on Saturday, August 13 from 2:30 - 4:30 at a traditional "Festa Italiana" at the restaurant, 133 Washington Street. The Festa will feature Italian music with Enzo Amara, snacks & a spaghetti eating contest.

Congratulazioni a Paula e Giovani!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Get out that seersucker!

If you're like me, that might mean dig in the box in the back of the attic for the seersucker.  You know it's back there, though, and this Urbane Cyclist event is calling its name. 

The Urbane Cyclist of downtown Salem is hosting its second annual genteel ride around historic Salem.  This lycra and spandex-free event is absolutely free, and for cyclists of all abilities.  Historically sporty dress is encouraged, but not required.  The best dressed male and female riders are eligible to win gift certificates! 

The ride is approximately 7 miles long, and departs Urbane Cyclist, 144 Washington Street, at 11:00 AM on Sunday, August 14th. 

Enjoy lemonade and cookies after the ride.

You can let them know you're coming, and get more information on Facebook.  The Urbane Cyclist, if you didn't know, won Readers Choice in North Shore Magazine's Best of the North Shore.   We're so proud.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Free Family Fun

The Salem Maritime Festival is all about Ships, Sawdust, Sailors, and Song, but, being a mother, I like to headline the fact that it's free family fun!  And the fun is educational, and the education is fun, so it's a painless way to spend a beautiful Saturday - and Friday night - with your family on Derby Wharf.
It all starts tonight with a free concert by Coyote Run, an awesome Celtic Rock band, so bring a blanket, a picnic (or at least an ice cream cone) down to Derby Wharf to listen and dance. 6:30 - 9:00 PM. 
Here's what we have to look forward to on Saturday: 

  • Free Harbor Cruise Ticket Drawings: 9am(Central Wharf Ticket Booth)
  • Free Harbor Cruises: 10am - 1pm
  • Seaside Kite-flying: 10am - 4pm
  • NE Aquarium Tide Pool Exhibit: 11am - 2pm
  • Face Painting: 12noon - 3pm
  • Muck Walk, Life at Low Tide: 12noon, 2pm
  • Hayrides around Historic Salem: 1 - 4pm
  • The Rebel Shakespeare Company: 1pm, 3pm
  • The Weebluets, Scottish Dancers: 2pm 
All DAY 

Live Music (Schedule)
Friendship of Salem Tours & Demonstrations
USS Constitution Master Gun Drills
USCG 47' Motor Life Boat Tours
Canoe and Kayak Rides
Hands-on! Jolly Boat Sea Adventures
Traditional Craft Demonstrations
Special Children's Jr. Ranger Program
Boat building, Kite-flying and a Muck Walk!
Roving Storytellers

Experience the Salem waterfront as it was in its early seaport heyday!