Yoga for All

Yoga comes from the Sanskrit word “yuj” meaning to unite, and its practice helps to unite our body and mind as well as to unite us with our higher self. This makes it a perfect practice for the Thanksgiving and December holiday season. Give yourself a moment during the hustle and bustle to stop and connect to all of the things that you are thankful for and to unite with whatever makes winter a magical or special season for you. Of course, yoga can also be simply a fantastic physical exercise to strengthen and stretch tight muscles during this demanding time of year.

Whatever your reason for choosing yoga, there is a place for you to practice on the South Coast. Also, yoga is not a one size fits all type of exercise. There are different types of yoga to match different needs.

For those of you who wish life would run a bit more smoothly, you may find some of what you are looking for in Vinyasa Yoga. Vinyasa Yoga strives to create fluidity of movement, so you should be prepared to do more than stretch. Your instructor will guide you through flowing movements that are choreographed to your breathing. In fact, Vinyasa is the Sanskrit word for “flow”. Drop in on a Vinyasa yoga class at the Marion Yoga Loft in Marion and see how it feels. Wouldn’t it be great if some of that “flow” transferred to the rest of your day? The Yoga Loft also offers Men’s Yoga for those gentlemen out there who might like a little privacy. The Fairhaven Recreation Center also offers Vinyasa Yoga at their facility.

If you enjoy strength training, you may be interested in a variation of the Vinyasa tradition referred to as Power Yoga which provides a rigorous workout. However, keep in mind that during power yoga, physical strength is just an extra bonus. The real benefit is life balance and inner strength. Heated Power Yoga is gaining popularity. It is conducted in a room kept between 95-100% to increase flexibility and metabolism as well as eliminate toxins. You can find a heated class at Yoga on Union in New Bedford. Yoga on Union also offers Kripalu Yoga which has a spiritual focus on life transformation, so if you are looking for this type of “inner work”, be sure to check it out. Lastly, visit their website for some special classes like Thanksgiving Morning Yoga!

If you just need to rest and relax, Yoga Nidra is for you! Yoga Nidra or Divine Sleep Yoga is a form of guided relaxation that lasts 45 minutes to one hour. In a Yoga Nidra class, students lay on their backs in deep relaxation and following instructions from the yoga teacher, focus on their breath, emotions, and inner sensations. It isn’t uncommon for people to dose off during this yoga practice, but who couldn’t do with a nap now and again? Try Yoga Nidra at Life in Balance Yoga & Healing Arts in Mattaposiett. It is said that during Yoga Nidra, one hour on the mat is like three hours of sleep! Life in Balance Yoga & Healing Arts also offers Kids Yoga and “Mommy and Me” Yoga.

Also visit Life in Balance to try Yin Yoga(Restorative Yoga). This yoga style focuses on the flow of energy through your body and is known for holding postures for a long period of time. If you have trouble straightening up after getting out of your chair, these long stretches and deep breathing might be just what you need to loosen up.

Take a breath, take a moment, and take care of yourself this holiday season!

 

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Play the Day Away!

We want South Coast visitors to experience childlike excitement about the winter season. So go ahead, press your nose up to the frosty window and open your eyes wide. Yet another season of fun has arrived!

It is important to make time for “R&R” on a regular basis. The South Coast is certainly a perfect destination to find some rest, and we invite you to visit some of our local spas. However, it is the second “R” that is on our mind today. Recreation (n) : “activity done for enjoyment when one is not working”. Sound good? Let’s go!

There are plenty of ways to release your inner child this winter (and if you have an actual child, they will love it too!) and burn some cold weather calories while you’re at it.

Climb

Put most children next to anything remotely larger than they are, and they’ll try to climb it. Be honest, if you were as flexible they are, and if no one was watching, you would do the same thing. Guess what? There are indoor jungle gyms for grown ups and kids alike that are open year round. They are called rock climbing gyms! Carabiner’s Indoor Climbing in New Bedford has a 65-foot climbing wall and can accommodate adventurers of all ages. Everest, shmeverest. If you ask me, it’s best to do your winter mountain climbing indoors where it’s warm and close to a trusted lunch venue (try Spicy Thai Lime Cuisine on Pleasant Street!).

Slide

Sledding is a great winter workout. Every time you drag your sled back to the top of the hill, you are rewarded with the rush of a splendid downhill flight. If you are visiting the area by car, don’t forget to throw your toboggan in the trunk or grab an inexpensive one once you arrive. There are endless spots to sled on the South Coast including Fort Tabor, “Potato Hill” at Westport Rivers Vineyard, and the property behind the Dartmouth Middle School. The best way to find the prime spots is to ask the locals. Pop in and grab a coffee or pastry from one of our outstanding Portuguese bakeries like Tia Maria’s or Carmen’s in New Bedford and get the skinny right from the source.

Dance

Nothing cures the winter blues like Zumba! Dance workouts set to Latin and international music, Zumba classes will put a smile on your face and a wiggle in your waist. Zumba is offered throughout the South Coast at venues like the Fairhaven Recreation Center. You can find a class at http://www.zumba.com/ where they encourage us to “ditch the workout and join the party!”

Trek

Don’t listen to all those chattering teeth telling you it’s too cold to be out in the woods. Winter is the perfect season for enjoying the area’s trails, and the Dartmouth Natural Resources Trust offers miles of trails to explore by foot, snowshoe or even cross country ski. In the winter, birds and other wildlife are easier to spot and the South Coast’s evergreens stand out beautifully against the white of snow and sky. Hot cider and cocoa are all the more satisfying after you’ve been out in the cold. Be sure to dress for the weather, never venture out alone, and be sure to tell others where you are going!

Swim

Prepare for summer all winter long at one of the South Coast’s indoor swimming pools. YMCA South Coast has indoor pools at their New Bedford and Wareham locations. A swim pass is $10 for an adult and $15 for a family. Adults can also warm up in the sauna or steam rooms which are located in some of the facilities’ locker rooms!

If you have the time, spend a night or two at New Bedford’s Fairfield Inn and Suites by Marriott and enjoy their indoor pool and jacuzzi!

Don’t hibernate this winter. Check out this play day for inspiration, then create your own!

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North End Meets South Coast

If you have ever visited Boston’s North End, you understand the power of authentic Italian food. I was craving a return to the North End recently but didn’t have the free time to make the trip. Luckily, the Pasta House in Fairhaven is like a little bit of Italy right here on the South Coast!

The Pasta House’s neighborhood is no North End. In fact, before you dine, you can pick up a few things across the street at Wal-Mart and pay your Sprint bill next door. Nevertheless, once you’re in the door, all the concrete outside will slip from your memory.

Inside the restaurant, you become pleasantly lost in a large open dining room with hard wood floors, dark wood beams, and exposed brick. I was surprised how relaxed and quiet it was given the open floor plan and the size of the dining room, but the atmosphere was perfect for conversation as was the back ground acoustic music.

The decor at the Pasta House manages to skillfully combine modern with warm and inviting which makes it a great choice for a casual lunch with friends or a romantic dinner. In the middle of the dining room stands a lovely double sided fireplace set in stone just waiting for the snow to start falling.

Our meal began with a half carafe of Ruffino Chianti and a bread basket full of hot crusty rolls with a garlic and Parmesan dipping oil. The appetizer menu was studded with mouth watering dishes like Portabella Mushroom Napoleon and Prosciutto & Spinach Salad with goat cheese, figs, and walnuts, but we decided against a starter in order to save room for dessert.

Deciding on an entree was no easy task. Dishes like home made Mediterranean Ravioli , Fettuccine Alfredo, Lasagna Quattro Formaggio, and many others make the Pasta House’s menu as interesting as those found at restaurants on the North End’s Salem or Hanover Street. We ordered the Saltimbocca Pizza which was covered with prosciutto, mushrooms, fresh mozzarella, and roasted garlic. The crust was both thin and chewy, and the toppings were generous.

The dessert menu came on an Ipad slide show which made ordering a breeze. The Pumpkin Crème Brûlée won hands down. The dessert had a very subtle pumpkin flavor, and its thin layer of caramelized sugar was perfectly done. With fresh whipped cream and strawberries to top it off, this dessert was a perfect ending.

In the foyer of the Pasta House is a wall of recognition awarded to the establishment from 2006 to 2012 for their clam chowder and they also serve some Portuguese classics like kale soup, so even if you are not a fan of Italian, the Pasta House is worth the trip. For connoisseurs of authentic Italian cuisine, the Pasta House’s menu definitely calls for repeat visits.

Next time, we plan on trying the Butternut Squash Ravioli and the Cannoli with Gelato! Cozy treasures like the Pasta House are just one of the many reasons that winter is a great time to visit the South Coast.

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South Coast Sushi

There are some things you should know about sushi.

Sushi began to gain worldwide popularity in the 1970’s, sushi bars in the US quintupled from 1988-1998, and now sushi is easily found all over the country. The South Coast is no exception, and with our coastal access to incredibly fresh fish, what better place to indulge? Even so, there are still those of us who have never tried sushi. For those living the sushi free life, part of the hesitation may be due to an aversion to raw fish or uncertainty regarding how to order this Japanese specialty.

Contrary to popular belief, sushi is not raw fish, although raw fish may be included in an order of sushi. In fact, you can enjoy sushi without any raw fish involved whatsoever. The word “sushi” actually refers to a Japanese dish of cold, cooked rice flavored with vinegar, salt and sugar. The rice cooks up sticky and so is easy to shape. Many but not all sushi recipes are made up of this sticky rice paired with raw or cooked fish, tofu, vegetables, or seaweed. On restaurant menus, the word sushi is used to describe many different combinations of these ingredients. To say you are going to have sushi is like saying you are going to have breakfast, so let’s get into some of the specifics. There are three common items on most sushi menus: Maki, Sashimi, and Nigiri.

Maki or Makizushi is rolled sushi. Rice and fillings such as fish, cucumber, and avocado are wrapped in seaweed (nori) and then cut into six or eight small pieces. These sushi rolls look like wheels of a multicolored spiral starting with dark green seaweed exterior, followed by a layer of white, and a center of color. Turk’s Seafood Restaurant and Sushi Bar in Mattapoisett is a great place to try maki because they offer over thirty different maki rolls with plenty of raw fish like eel, tuna, scallops, yellowfish and fluke, as well as vegetarian options like the Sunset roll (mango and avocado) and Kappa Maki (cucumber). California maki (or a California roll) is made inside out with sticky rice on the outside of the seaweed and usually filled with imitation crab, cucumber, and avocado. If you prefer your fish after it’s spent some time on the grill, Wasabi in Dartmouth serves a number of maki rolls with cooked fish like grilled tuna, grilled scallops, and shrimp tempura. A bit of sushi etiquette – you may use chopsticks to eat maki, but it is also fine to eat it with your fingers.

Sashimi is sliced raw fish served without rice. Sashimi should be eaten with chopsticks and can be eaten with wasabi mixed into the soy sauce. A Kitchen in Fairhaven offers tuna, salmon, eel, scallops, striped bass, squid, octopus, yellowtail sashimi, a seemingly endless list of maki rolls, and Chinese food. Their maki runs between $3-$5 and their sashimi is between $4-$6 for three pieces, so put some time aside and leisurely try your way through their extensive menu.

Nigiri is sliced raw fish with a molded ball of rice underneath. Most sushi chefs add a dab of wasabi in between the rice and fish, so no additional sauce is needed. Only the fish side of the nigiri should be dipped into soy sauce and it can be eaten with your hands. Many local menus don’t mention Nigiri by name on their menu, but instead just call it “sushi”. There is often a “sushi and sashimi” section on the menu with a list of seafood that can be ordered as sashimi or as nigiri. (By the way, maki is called “maki” or “rolls” on sushi menus).

The Water Front Grille in New Bedford is a good place for beginners to try Sushi. Since they are a water front seafood restaurant rather than a sushi bar or Asian restaurant, guests can order from a full lunch and dinner menu as well as the separate sushi menu. Also, their sushi menu has non-fish offerings. For example, their maki listings include a mango roll and a sweet potato roll. Water Front Grille’s sushi menu is very easy to follow, especially in the winter when the offerings are limited. There are just two sections: makimono (or maki) and nigiri/sashimi. If you want to combine your sushi with a little shoe shopping, try the Zen Asian Grill & Sushi Lounge at Wareham Crossing! Zen also serves soups, salads, hibachi, noodles, and a kid’ s menu.

Finally, each of these three types of sushi traditionally come with a plate of soy sauce, wasabi, and picked ginger. The ginger is to cleanse your palate in between bites. The wasabi and soy are for dipping.

Now that you know a little more, get out there and practice the art of local travel by trying something new. Let us know what you think of South Coast sushi in our comments section!

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Stay Seaside in Winter

The summer crowds are long gone and traffic temporarily a thing of the past around the seaside villages on the South Coast, but wise travelers are heading towards rather than away from the shore. Winter explorers should consider staying seaside to experience the gifts of an off season beach vacation!

The View

Now that the blankets, beach pails, coolers, body boards, and blankets have been put away, you can actually get a clear view of the beautiful South Coast beaches. Onset beach is a sandy beach that stretches out just below Onset Bluffs Gazebo Park. Walk the beach or sit on Onset Bluffs for a gorgeous view of the ocean. Either way, it is serene…an adjective no summer visitor would be able to attribute to this spot! Mattapoisett Town Beach is a tiny beach on the harbor and perfect for kids during any season. Head over to look at the boats in the harbor and play on the swings at the top of the beach.

The Price

Parking at Onset Pier costs $2.50 for one hour and $2.00 every hour after, so a day on the coast could cost up to $16.50 in parking and during the summer months, street parking is a pipe dream. The parking kiosks operate year round, but off season street parking is easy to find. Park in front of the beach entrance, park in front of your lunch restaurant, or park in front of the shop you love. Your choices are endless!

Winter also brings steep lodging discounts for travelers. For example, rooms at the Inn on Onset Bay are currently listed as 30% less per night this December than they will be next July. Stay three nights for what you’d pay or the price of two nights in summer.

The Beach

Swimming is probably not an option, but there is so much to do on the beach in winter you won’t even miss it!

In the winter, South Coast beaches see low tide in the afternoon making tidal pools more accessible than in the summer when they tend to be early morning and later at night. Hearty seabirds like eiders, harlequin ducks, mergansers, grebes, black guillemots, great cormorants, and purple sandpipers all stick around to see you during the winter months.

If you are interested in observing winter wildlife, consider taking a day trip from the beach to the Lloyd Center for the Environment. Winter programs teach guests how animals survive during the snowy season and what we can learn about them through the tracks they leave behind in the sand or snow.

Kids love to make sandcastles and splash in the waves, even in winter. The empty beaches give everyone room to run and play. Take advantage of the space to throw a football around or play a game of tag. Children and adults alike will enjoy taking photos of the beach in winter…and of each other!

The Company

A beach vacation in winter couldn’t be cozier. Whether you are traveling with your family, or it’s just you and your sweetheart, keeping warm means staying close! Take advantage of the quiet winter season to be together.

Taking some time off to be with those that matter the most to you may be just what you need to manage the holiday mayhem this year. However, if you would like to enjoy some holiday magic during your seaside stay, venture to New Bedford and take in a show like the Christmas Carol or Holiday Pops at the Zeiterion Theater.

Bundle up and enjoy a romantic walk to enjoy one of South Coast’s spectacular sunsets and then enjoy a quiet dinner at one of the South Coast’s excellent restaurants. Look for one with a toasty fireplace like the Pasta House Italian Grille in Fairhaven or with live jazz like the Airport Grille in New Bedford. With a light snow falling outside your window and a gourmet meal on the table you won’t want to be anywhere else.

The South Coast has so much to offer visitors all year long. Enjoy!

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New Bedford’s Traditional Portuguese Cuisine

Authentic ethnic cuisine is a highlight of every traveler’s international itinerary. What is a trip to Italy without eating pasta and gelato? What is a vacation in France without sampling the cheese and Beaujolais? If you are lucky enough to spend time in Portugal, there will be a number of “must eats” on your list.

You don’t need to go any further than New Bedford for Portuguese food as good as you would find in the ‘old country’. New Bedford was a popular destination for Portuguese immigrants in the 19th and 20th centuries, and now 60% of the city’s residents are of Portuguese ethnicity. Consequently, restaurants specializing in traditional Portuguese cuisine are easy to find. If you are looking for authentic cuisine and top notch service, we recommend New Bedford Travel Guide’s sponsor of the month, the Inner Bay Cafe on Cove Road in New Bedford.

Dinner at the Inner Bay Cafe will be more enjoyable if you are familiar with some of the traditional dishes on their menu. As with most ethnic food, Portuguese cuisine is vast and varies by region. However, there are four classic dishes that are at the center of Portugal’s gastronomic compass.

Bacalhau (Salted and dried cod fish): Salt cod is the unofficial national dish of Portugal, and it is said that there are over 300 ways to prepare bacalhau. Look for this Portuguese staple in dishes like Bacalhau com Natas baked with cream and potatoes or Bacalhau à Brás which is like a cod fish hash with shredded bacalhau, fried potatoes, onions, and scrambled eggs. The Inner Bay Cafe serves Bacalhau Silmo which is made with tomato, pepper, and onion sauce.

Carne Alentejana (Pork tenderloin, little necks, and potatoes): In addition to bacalhau, someone in your party must order Carne Alentejana . Sometimes described as Portugal’s version of surf and turf, this popular dish originates from the southern Alentejo province. The meat is marinated for four hours in white wine, paprika, chopped garlic, coriander, bay leaf, and salt and pepper then topped with little necks and cubed potatoes.

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Caldo Verde: Inner Bay Cafe proudly offers this traditional soup on their menu. Caldo Verde, literally translating to ‘green soup’, is the comfort food of Portugal. It is simple and satisfying with only a few ingredients whose flavors combine perfectly. Onions, potatoes, garlic, and kale are pureed for a creamy base to which is added shredded kale pieces and chouriço (Portuguese sausage) for extra heartiness. Save your favorite bread from the bread basket for dipping!

Pastéis de Nata: These delicious Portuguese custard tarts are often dusted with cinnamon and powdered sugar. You can find Pastéis de Nata in almost every Portuguese bakery on the planet. The flaky cups full of creamy sweetness go perfectly with a cup of hot coffee. If you are new to Portuguese dessert, you can’t go wrong with this gateway pastry! New Bedford boasts plenty of authentic Portuguese bakeries where you are sure to find Pastéis de Nata like Tia Maria’s European Cafe and Carmen’s Portuguese Bakery. Enjoy!

There are so many good Portuguese restaurants and bakeries on the South Coast, it’s worth the trip just to eat!

In addition to its water view, expert staff, and amazing menu, this month the Inner Bay Cafe is offering guests a 25% 0ff coupon! Also, the restaurant’s website is written in both English and Portuguese – a great sign that Inner Bay holds tight to its Portuguese roots!

 

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Flour Girls Baking Company

Flour Girls Baking Company is a lesson in the multiplying effect of success. When we do our best with what we have today, more will surely come. The Sweet Truck that once housed the entirety of this charming eatery now lives happily in its parking spot outside the bakery on Huttleson Avenue in Fairhaven…that is, when it’s not on tour each week! This spectacular specimen of whimsy on wheels still plays a major role in the success of Flour Girls (but more on this later).

Flour Girls Bakery Company offers something to meet every type of dietary preference. It proudly features uber-healthy items like the “Green Monster” smoothie (almond milk, almond butter, flax seed, banana, and spinach) and veggie wraps (hummus, black bean salad, veggies, and feta). However, for those of us who prefer sugar over spinach, the bakery stars the cutest, most scrumptious, homemade mini cupcakes you’ve ever seen. Keeping these perfect creations company on the day that I visited were magic bars that looked as though they may weigh 5 lbs each, scones, cookies, and tiny edible acorns made of thumbprint cookies, chocolate kisses, and icing. While the autumn season is upon us, you will find mini pumpkin whoopie pies with cinnamon cream cheese filling gracing the counter. If it’s lunch time, enjoy a soup or sandwich with your smoothie and finish with a cupcake or cookie.

“This is a family and friends affair.” Store Employee, Jenny Strand

You’ll notice that many of Flour Girls’ smoothies and sandwiches have first names. These names bring the energy of owner Jill Houck’s nearest and dearest to the enterprise. The fact that these items, like the Tammy (a sandwich named after a close friend), the Liam and the James (smoothies named after her sons), along with a few others are up there on the menu board is natural. As Jenny Strand, who happily describes herself as a ‘worker bee’ explained, “this is a family and friends affair.”

Flour Girls’ circle of family and friends extends out to the bakery’s guests. The day I visited, Jenny was carefully preparing hot oatmeal with honey and cinnamon for a regular Wednesday morning patron. After she delivered the steaming bowl upstairs to the loft, she ran down for the cinnamon shaker to add more of the spice that this particular customer was convinced had healing powers.

Once you’ve had adequate time to appreciate the delights of the Flour Girls’ food and drink offerings, take a moment to step back and take in your surroundings. The building has been the site of various business owners over time, and evidence of their aesthetic taste remains. The bakery has two levels with seating available both downstairs near the bakery counter and upstairs in the loft. Standing on the first floor, you can admire what used to be a pulpit from a San Francisco church hanging high above the bakery counter and see the corrugated steel ceiling of the second floor.

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Wednesday is soup day at Flour Girls. They serve soup every day, but Wednesdays are a soup-a-palooza! The soup menu changes each week so you’re always in for a happy surprise. One week you may find Ribollita-a Tuscan Bean Soup with bacon, kale and cabbage or Curry Pumpkin with a shrimp-pumpkin curry base. The next week it may be Mulligatawny or Big Daddy’s Chili. Patrons can pre-order quarts of soup and pick them up Wednesdays at the bakery or from the Sweet Truck at Tabor Academy Fish Center parking lot between 2-5pm. Make sure to order your soup by Tuesday.

Okay, back to that truck parked outside the bakery. The Sweet Truck is where it all began, and from this pastry parlor on wheels grew the Flour Girls Bakery Company featuring the same quality of homemade baked goods but now including a breakfast and lunch menu. The Sweet Truck has plenty of fans because it brings the Flour Girls Baking Company to your door. The truck travels the South Coast delivering sugary goodness to school events, farmers markets, and weddings. One of the truck’s fun features is that donuts are made on board and sold exclusively on the Sweet Truck! Track the location of the Sweet Truck on Twitter.

For fresh homemade recipes, warm and welcoming atmosphere, and the creativity that brings sweetness to life, Flour Girls Baking Company can’t be beat.

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Symphony Music Shop

If you are a musician from the Dartmouth area, chances are you’re familiar with the Symphony Music Shop. Perhaps you have been there to purchase accessories or sheet music. This place is possibly your home away from home.

For those of us who are not currently in touch with our inner Mozart, Symphony Music Shop may hold the key to your musical potential. You can easily pass this treasure without notice as you travel down Route 6, but trust me when I tell you it is worth your while to turn around!

Symphony Music Shop is a wonderland of sound. Before you consider what you would like to purchase, give yourself some time to wander around and be mesmerized.

Upon entering the store, you are greeted by stately cellos, a gorgeous wall mounted case of violins, and what appears to be a block party of happy drums. Further into the store come the trumpets, saxophones, and clarinets hanging on the wall like Rembrandts. Beyond these, you’ll find drumsticks in every size and guitar picks in every color. There are pages and pages of sheet music, harmonicas and children’s instruments, and chimes that make the sound of magic wands. Hook a left and you’re in guitar Nirvana. One wall is covered with electric guitars and another with acoustic guitars. Banjos are propped on floor stands and even ukuleles and “guitarleles” have their place. In the middle of all these strings floats a giant island of amplifiers.

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Music stores, like bookstores, have the spirit of unending possibility. Find the right book and you can go anywhere, pick up a violin or sit at a keyboard and you have the potential to create. Wander the store long enough, and you can almost picture yourself on the stage of the Zeiterion Theatre with violin in hand.

Of course, you may need a little training. You learned to read long ago, but play the cello…not so much. Take heart; there is no time like the present to learn something new! Symphony Music Shop offers instruction in twelve different instruments. The wonderful thing about learning to play an instrument is that you are instantly rewarded. A single note can be as beautiful as a full concerto.

There is more good news. The store offers instrument rentals of all kinds. You can take anything from a flute to a cello home with you to see how the relationship will work. Monthly rental payments can apply to the cost of the instrument if you decide to make it a permanent arrangement.

If you get frustrated while practicing your violin and press on the string with a little too much force, there is no need to worry. Symphony Music Shop has a full time repair department. They repair any type of orchestra instrument in the back of the store, but I especially enjoyed seeing their guitar repair corner which is out on the sales floor like a mini workshop demonstration area for all to admire.

Don’t let the sheer magnitude of this opportunity scare you. The store’s staff members are musicians themselves and on hand to answer any questions you have. Seriously, I mean any question. These are just some of the novice questions I asked, and each received a professional and patient reply:

“Do you sell Ukuleles?” (This question was asked standing practically on top of the Ukulele display…I thought I knew what they looked like but did not.)

Can you use Ukulele sheet music on a Guitarlele? (No, a Guitarlele is not a Ukulele but an actual guitar.)

“What do you mean when you say that electric piano comes with a stand?” (It means that it comes with the thing that allows it to….wait for it…stand…so that you are not playing the piano on the floor.)

More importantly, I don’t believe the young salesman called me Ma’am even one time. This small courtesy protected my magic bubble of imagination in which I was only a few lessons away from becoming a talented musician. Bless his heart.

In the end, I purchased only an Easy Piano Disney Princess Collection music book with which to impress my young niece on our ancient Casio keyboard. But you can bet I’ll be back!

While you are practicing your own craft, you can enjoy the South Coast Jazz Orchestra at one of their performances scheduled throughout the area. The orchestra was co-founded by Symphony Music Shop’s owner Bob Williamson in 2009. Check them out at the Airport Grille, Fay’s Restaurant, or Gilda’s Stone Rooster this holiday season.

 

 

 

 

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Flavors of Fall

Autumn is a great time to enjoy the creative menus being offered all around the South Coast. Chefs are making magic with seasonal produce like apples, pumpkin, and butternut squash. There is so much more to fall food than turkey and apple pie. Dig in and find out for yourself!

Diners at The Pasta House in Fairhaven go for the classic Italian food and warm atmosphere of the brick and wood beam interior. During the fall season, you may want to go just for the sublime martinis!

Their seasonal drink menu includes a Pumpkin Pie Martini (pumpkin liqueur, Irish cream, vanilla liqueur, Buttershots, with a graham cracker rim and cinnamon sprinkle), an Apple-Disiac Martini (Stoli Apple, coffee liqueur, apple cider, splash of cream, with an apple slice), and a Banana Bread Martini (Crème de Banana, Buttershots, Crème de Cacao, Frangelico, and Bailey’s, with a graham cracker rim). The seasonal food menu is just as good with an Apple Glazed Salmon (baked with apples and brown sugar glaze), a Tuscan Harvest Salad (harvest mix, bacon, craisins, glazed almonds, apples, gorgonzola cheese, honey maple dressing), and seasonal sides like Butternut Risotto and Fried Apple Polenta.

The Airport Grille in New Bedford will surprise you with its modern interior and innovative dishes. On Fridays and Saturdays, the chef creates seasonal specials like Apple Cider Glazed Pork Tenderloin (apple cider reduction sauce, roasted acorn squash and sweet potatoes wedges). Specials change each night so call ahead to find out what’s on the menu! You’ll be glad to know that one of Airport Grille’s regular menu items is their Butternut Squash Ravioli.

For something closer to the sea with a view, try New Bedford’s Waterfront Grille. Their menu is currently featuring Maple Soy Glazed Scallops (with roasted butternut squash, caramelized onion, dried cranberries, candied pecans, and baby bok choy). Be sure to enjoy an Apple Cider Sangria or an Apple Pie Martini while you are waiting for your food to arrive.

Not Your Average Joe’s is keeping with the season serving up their Pumpkin Molé Chicken and Autumn Spice Sangria (a fall blend of house-infused apple-ginger vodka, Shellback Spiced Rum, Carlson Orchards’ apple cider, pomegranate juice, and pinot grigio). If sangria is not your thing, try the Great Pumpkin Martini (Kahlua pumpkin spice, pumpkin liqueur and a splash of cream, rimmed with caramel and graham cracker crumbs).

Bitter Sweet Farm’s monthly menu for October offers delectable dishes such as Harvest Baked Brie stuffed with apples and cinnamon, Pumpkin Ravioli with Italian sausage and fresh apples in a rich cheddar cheese sauce, and Baked Apple stuffed with brown sugar, wrapped in puff pastry and served warm with vanilla bean ice cream.

Of course, if you are on the run, the many wonderful coffee shops in the area are also celebrating the autumn season. Stop by Panera Bread in Dartmouth for their Autumn Squash Soup, Roasted Turkey Harvest Wheatberry Salad, or Pumpkin “Muffie”.

Enjoy!

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General Stores: the Heart of our Community

Sometimes it feels as though we are headed towards a world where human beings will have no need to interact. Already we can text instead of talk, follow the orders of our GPS instead of ask directions, buy anything we could possibly need online including groceries, and even graduate from college without ever setting a foot on campus.

General, country, or village stores on the South Coast have always been places where you could go to pick up something you need, catch up on community happenings, and connect with your neighbors all in the same trip. When’s the last time you stopped in the aisle of Target just to chit-chat or dropped by Wal-mart to find out if there was anything exciting going on this weekend? There are now drive-thrus for everything from burgers to antibiotics and box stores around every corner. Despite such competition, general stores are still alive on the South Coast. Drop in and see what makes them so special.

General stores like Davoll’s General Store on Russell’s Mills Road in Dartmouth are a living piece Americana. One of the oldest general stores in the United States, Davoll’s has been in business since 1793. Yes, your math skills are as sharp as ever…that’s two hundred and twenty years old! Visit to see their collection of Byer’s Choice Carolers and Possible Dreams figurines.

Like many general stores, the Head Town Landing Store at the head of the Westport River sells coffee, pastries, pre-made sandwiches and other convenience foods. They also still sell “penny candy” like it was 1905! It cost more than a penny now but the cool retro factor makes it worth every cent. Grab some lunch and licorice then float down the Westport River with a kayak from Osprey Sea Kayak Adventures just across the street.

Years ago, general stores were known for serving as the social and information hub of the town. The Old Company Store on Elm Street in Wareham keeps this tradition alive with their commitment to community. Check out their website to read about how they support their city through PTA fundraisers, bake sales for animal shelters, food and toy drives. The Town Wharf General Store on Water Street in Mattapoisett supports the local community by featuring books by local authors like their newly displayed cookbook, “Hot Sauce!” by Mattapoisett resident Jennifer Trainer Thompson. They also bring unique specialty products from afar back to the South Coast for us to enjoy like Nova Scotia Fishermen Extreme Skin Care and Sailwinds Windjammer bracelets from Maine. Think about a visit to a general store this holiday shopping season!

Of course, general stores have to make some efforts to keep up with the times while holding onto their character. Like many general stores, Partner’s Village Store on Main Road in Westport sells gifts, books, stationary, toys, and food. Like many, they also offer online shopping. However, you can’t smell the baking bread and simmering soup, flip through the pages in their independent book store, or meet your neighbors if you limit your interchange to online shopping. After you log in…get out there and meet these remarkable retailers in person!

General stores are closing all across America. I’m not suggesting you forego your regular Target runs. Just consider opening your shopping habits to include your local general store. Get to know them and get to know a piece of your history.

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