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It’s a long way from Beverly Farms to Africa, but when experienced travel friends invited me to join them on a trip to Kenya, my instant response was, “Heck yes! Count me in!” It turns out that adventuring across Kenya was far more exciting than I could have possibly imagined. The whole trip made me feel like a teenage girl triumphantly returning from the greatest first date in recorded history. #OMG!

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Former Manchester-by-the-Sea resident and busy actor Steve McCoy has checked in and he is off on a national tour again.  This time McCoy will star as "Grampa Joe," touring the country in Ronald Dahls' new musical production of "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” the musical adaptation of Dahl’s classic book, which launched January 1 at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami, Florida.

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I saw my first snowy owl in the dunes of Crane Beach just last December. There is something about this bird that commands the respect and fascination of birders and non-birders alike. 

This December marks the third consecutive year that the club has returned to its tradition of decorating local museums for the holidays, including our own Trask House and the Crane Estate in Ipswich. It was a natural progression to combine the clubs’ floral arranging know-how with the Manchester Historical Museum’s desire to create a period-appropriate, immersive holiday experience for townspeople. 

Artists who live on the property have a unique perspective on the museum and are given special access to the collection and inner workings of the institution. Bringing different minds from many cultures and using the museum — what many have called Isabella’s total work of art — as a building block for new thinking and creative engagement is a unique part of the Gardner legacy.

On Sunday a record number of children and their families showed up at the Manchester Fire Station to see Santa Claus off before his ride around Manchester, Beverly Farms and Magnolia.  Many had last-minute requests for the “Big Man” before his return to the North Pole.  Below, from left to r…

Manchester Essex Regional High School music teacher Joe Janack conducted the high school jazz band at the school’s Winter Holiday Concert last week, which featured presentations by fellow music teacher Donna O’Neill’s high school chorus, a cappella group SoundWaves as well as the larger high…

Over at the Scout House on School Street, Troop 3 is finishing up sales of Christmas trees for those who — for some reason — have waited until the last minute. Steve Laspesa sent us this shot of his kiddos, Morgan and Trevor, helping out last week.

The Manchester Garden Club adheres to a “more is more” mentality when it comes to celebrating the holiday season as was evident at this week’s Annual Holiday Workshop held at Chapman’s Greenhouse in Beverly Farms.  Like many gardening groups, the MGC has made their December meeting an opportunity to gather in fellowship while creating one-of-a-kind decorations.  

Being taught something is much better than being told something. My old shop teacher was the best at this. Bill Burroughs was an engineer who left the business world to teach young kids. He told me he wanted to do something that made a difference in the world.

There’s no denying it now — the holidays are right around the corner! Get in the spirit across Cape Ann this weekend with Christmas by the Sea, the Essex Holiday Festival and Merry Magnolia.

Wild turkeys — beloved Thanksgiving animals or traffic-blocking nuisances? For Jim Behnke, Manchester resident, Manchester Essex Conservation Trust volunteer and avid birder, the answer hasn’t always been so black and white.

In one of the more highly anticipated openings, The Mooring on Central Street held a “soft open” for friends and family, giving them a peek into Manchester’s newest bar and restaurant in the spot formerly (r.i.p.) inhabited by Superfine and, for decades before that, The Coffee Cup. 

Amy Kellet and Robert Booth were the featured speakers last week at the Manchester Historical Museum’s lecture, “Manchester’s Historic Homes.”  Booth, a Salem-based historian and Kellet, an architecture specialist who trained at the highly-respected North Bennett Street School on historic fu…

The 2019 Holiday Pops concert is filled with a joyful program of music from Anderson, Bach, Herbert, Tchaikovsky and many others, is led by CAS Conductor and Music Director Yoichi Udagawa, and features the return of the Cape Ann Symphony Chorus, the IHS and MERHS choruses and the CAS debut of cellist Jake Copp, the winner of the first annual Cape Ann Symphony Young Musicians Competition. 

In one of the town’s more highly anticipated openings, The Mooring on Central Street held a “soft open” for friends and family, giving a peek into Manchester’s newest bar and restaurant in the space formerly (and briefly) inhabited by Superfine and, for decades before that, The Coffee Cup. T…

The holidays are coming, starting with Thanksgiving next week — now’s the time to gather with friends, family and guests. For these occasions, appetizers are just the thing.  We asked Brenda King, who has a reputation of being a stellar home cook, to share some of her favorite tiny bites.  Here they are, from super spicy comfort appetizers to rich and easy-to-make finger foods.

Lasagna or any simple inexpensive pasta dish with a cheap jug of wine was appreciated by this mostly Midwestern group, who found any toe dipped into the world of Italian to be quite exotic.  Even so, I felt there was a great deal of pressure to think about hosting Thanksgiving.  

It’s apple picking season, all right.  Apple cider, baked apples, apple pie, caramel apples, apples in turkey stuffing, apple sauce, apple butter.  Hmm, apple butter?  Yes, apple butter. 

There is a relatively new meal that has scampered into the pantheon of the highly anticipated Manchester Club meals, and that is Ken Davis’ Portuguese Pot Roast, a fork-tender beef roast with an exotically spiced sauce that is best sopped up with the Portuguese sweet bread served with the dish. 

Manchester’s Karen Swanson has focused her professional career designing the one room that is now the undisputed center of the American home — the kitchen.  Earlier this month she was named “Best Kitchen Designer” in Boston Magazine’s 2020 Best of Boston Home.  In this Q&A, Swanson shares her nonlinear journey to kitchen design, her advice for home projects and describes the rewarding process of working through challenging designs.

Messy Art Night never disappoints. This Friday night was no exception. The annual event at Essex Elementary is always packed with kids and adults who have come to know that this is a seriously fun event. Sculpture, drawing, print making, jewelry making, and more were there for kids to roll u…

The Manchester-based Cystic Dreams Fund will host Songs and Stories for Cystic Fibrosis with two-time Grammy Award winner, and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, Denny Laine, founding member of both The Moody Blues and Wings on November 30 at The Regent Theatre in Arlington at 8 p.m. 

Everything is hot.  The space is hot.  The furnaces are hot.  All of the stuff I am trying not to bump into is hot.   But James McLeod is cool.  Methodically moving from gathering molten glass at the furnace, to rolling it on the marver, to making a quick puff into the pipe to produce the sm…

The eagerly awaited Night of Stars Talent Show hosted by the Spaulding Education Fund (SEF) went off perfectly this past weekend at the Manchester Essex Regional High School. A large audience was entertained by the masters of ceremonies, Breno Santos and Chris Siems, and the approximately 70…

On Friday night at the Manchester Community Center, the Manchester-by-the-Sea Sustainability Committee hosted the Executive Director of MASSPIRG, Janet Domenitz, who presented a discussion with slides on a MASSPIRG initiative called “The Campaign for Zero Waste.” She explained in detail Mass…