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How to Plan the Perfect Super Bowl Sunday Party!

While this year won’t be the same without the Patriots, Super Bowl Sunday is a long-standing American tradition! One of our favorite ways to enjoy the delicious food, great beer and of course an incredible game of football is by throwing a Super Bowl Sunday party! Here are a few tips to help you have the best party possible.

1. Prepare for a feast!
Easy finger foods are good go-to’s for super bowl parties. While there is nothing wrong with the old stand byes such as buffalo wings, dips, chips, and pizza, there are some awesome ways to mix those up and get a little creative with your appetizers. Pinterest has a TON of recipes for those of you first time chefs to make you look like hors d’oeuvre connoisseurs!

If you’re cooking for a large group of people, consider whipping out that crockpot! There are so many easy recipes that only need you to toss in the ingredients and just let simmer to perfection within a few hours. If you’re hosting but not a huge fan of cooking, especially when cooking for a large group can be super challenging, try hosting a pot lock party. Having everyone bring in a different dish will surely be more than enough food for the party.

Now if you really don’t want to cook, and neither do your friends, we get it. We’ve all been there. Superbowl Sunday is a great day to order from your favorite local joint. Our one major tip though, order early. Really early. Maybe even place a pre-order the day before. Some restaurants are so busy they can take hours to deliver. If you want food on time, we recommend you plan according!

2. Game Time!
In the spirit of healthy competition, drum up the competition among your party guests. A fan favorites is the game football squares which always results in a winner and is super easy to do. Have your guests play commercial score card before the game begins. See if they can guess how many commercials will be for beer? Cars? Feature a specific celebrity? Feature a puppy? The categories are endless and you get really creative with it! Looking for more competition? click here for more Super Bowl game day ideas.

3. Beers, Booze and Safety
(For those of us 21 or older) football and beer go together like Tom Brady and Gisele. Cold beer, delicious food, and friends & family make a perfect Super Bowl Sunday party. One party tip is to have coolers of beer around the living room. Rather than having guests have to get up and go to the fridge every time they want a refill potentially missing part of the game. Also be sure to serve plenty of water to keep everyone hydrated, and non-alcoholic drinks for minors.

As a host you have the extra responsibility to make sure people are responsible drinkers. Do not let anyone drink and drive after the game. There’s even a chance you could get in serious trouble if one of your guests gets into a DUI because you supplied the alcohol. Make sure everyone has a designated driver, or use Uber or lyft to arrange ride homes, have people take public transportation or call taxis. They’re a plenty of ways for people to get home safely. There is no excuse for anyone to drink and drive.

From your friends at MassDrive, we hope you have a fun, safe and delicious Super Bowl Sunday!

superbowl party plan

Tips & Tricks For Driving in the Snow

While the snow looks beautiful coming down, it makes driving way more difficult and increases your chances of an accident significantly.  While it’s best to avoid driving in bad weather as much as possible, it’s often unavoidable- especially in New England. If you must hit the road during a snowy winter wonderland, keep these tips and tricks in mind to stay as safe as possible.

1. Drive Slow– This must be the most obvious thing to state when it comes to driving in the snow, but it has to be said. Really though, actually drive slower and give yourself plenty of time to reach your destination. The snow makes the roads slippery and reduces visibility so you’ll need to give yourself plenty of more time to react to changing conditions. This advice is heavily aimed at those who drive SUVs, 4-wheel drive or all-wheel drive cars. While those type of cars do offer some more traction and control, it does not make you invincible or your car a super SUV. The roads are still significantly less safe and require slow driving.

2. Give Yourself Distance– Most people follow the 2 (or 3) second rule of thumb to calculate the minimum distance they should keep behind from the car in front so that there is adequate time to stop. In the snow, you want to at the very least double this distance. Ideally, triple it. If you do slide or skid on the snow, the farther away you are from other vehicles the safer you’ll be.

3. Lights– ALWAYS have your lights on when driving in the snow. With the reduced visibility, you’ll want to make your surroundings as visible as possible. On the side, you’ll want other drivers to be able to see you as well.

4. NEVER Use Cruise Control- You’ll need extra vigilance and extra control when it comes to driving in the snow. Not only do you need to adjust your speed more frequently when driving in the snow, you’ll also need much more control over steering, even if you’re driving on a straight road. Never use cruise control when driving in the snow. Ever.

5. Avoid Slamming on the Break– If your tires start to skid, most people’s first instinct is to panic and slam on the break- don’t do this. Instead ease off the accelerator and try to steer the car out of potential collisions. Slamming on the breaks once your tires have already locked up and lost traction won’t help. Skidding out can be frightening, but try to stay as calm as possible in order to safely slow down and come to a stop.

6. Beware of Bridges– Bridges are the first to freeze and ice over in cold weather and snow. Unlike roads which lose their temperature on their surface, bridges they are exposed the wind and cold from every angle which promotes the perfect environment for black ice. Even if the roads seem okay in mild snow, use extra caution when you get to a bridge.

7. Clean Your Car– Don’t slack off when it comes to cleaning your car. Even if you’re just driving a short distance, that snow of your roof is a hazard. It can fall in front and obstruct your vision, or it can fly off on to the car behind you which is seriously dangerous. Also, always keep cleaning essentials in your car all winter long such a scraper and shovel and make sure your car has enough windshield wiper fluid for the season.

8. Keep Kitty Litter!– This neat little trick can be a life safer! Getting stuck in the snow is the worst, and the more you try to accelerate out of it, the more you dig yourself deeper. Adding kitty litter behind your tire will provide the traction the tire needs for you to drive your way out. Sand or salt also works well. Keep a bag of it in your trunk of your car if possible.

9. Emergency Kit– While emergency kits are important all year round, they are extra crucial in the winter months. Click here to see what essentials you should have in yours this winter!

 

TIPS & TRICKS FOR DRIVING IN THE SNOW

New Years Eve Tips & Tricks to Stay Safe

With the new year approaching, there is much to celebrate! While New Years Eve can be an awesome celebration, there are a few precautions you should take to keep the night safe and fun.

1. Choose Transportation Wisely

While it should be obvious, it has to be said- Do NOT drink and drive. Besides the fact that it’s incredibly risky for your safety and others, there will a ton of cops out patrolling and looking for drunk drivers.  Instead of scrambling for a safe ride home last minute, plan ahead your transportation. If you’re going to a bar, look in advance what your transportation options are. Cabs, Ubers, or Lyft are typically available in larger cities. While they can be more expensive on NYE, it’s worth the price of getting home safe and sound. If you are driving to a friends house and plan to drink any alcohol at all, stay over night or have a designated driver you can trust to drive you back- this is especially important if you are in an area where there is limited access to taxis and ride sharing apps.  Another options is hiring a driver for the night. With group options or splitting the cost among friends, it may be more affordable than you think.

2. The More the Merrier

You’ve probably heard the phase “strength in numbers.” Remember this on NYE. Don’t find yourself alone on leave any one behind. While it’s safe to assume much of the population will be drinking on New Years Eve, it’s best to stick together with your friends. Don’t let friends wonder off alone either.

3. Enjoy a Delicious Meal!

Who doesn’t want an excise to eat a nice delicious big meal?? New Years Eve is the perfect night for that. Avoid starting the new year with a massive hangover by eating a healthy & hefty meal before you go out.  A substantial, healthy meal will help absorb some of the alcohol and even better, may keep you from snacking on junky appetizers and sweets later on the night which can be prevalent around NYE parties.  Even if you can’t do a fancy meal, be sure to have something in your stomach before you go out. Your body will thank you for that January 1st.

4. Dos and Don’ts to Drinking

While there’s nothing wrong with a celebratory drink on NYE- that is if you’re 21- but it’s important to be smart about it. Know your limits and only drink what you can handle. To prevent your head from feeling completely foggy the next morning, a good rule of thumb is one glass of water per every serving of alcohol. If you or one of your friends over drinks and may have alcohol poisoning, don’t hesitate to call 9-1-1 immediately.

5. Communicate With Your Comrades

Communication with your friends is key on big party nights like NYE which also tend to be long nights out. Make sure your cell phone is fully charged before you head out the door. Consider bringing a portable charger if you have one, or at least a wall charger for emergencies. That way, if you do get separated from your friends, you’ll be able to contact them. Have a meeting spot or end of the night plan- that way if you can’t get in touch with each other or do get separated, at least you’ll have a time and place to meet up. Also, always make sure you and your friends know each others’ whereabouts- even if its just a quick trip to that bathroom.

6. Have a Blast!

Have a wonderful New Years Eve! Don’t put too much pressure on the night and just enjoy the night with you friends or family. Celebrate your accomplishments of 2015, and look forward to all that is to come in 2016!

 

Driving from Dusk til Dawn- What You Need to know!

With the days getting shorter and the sun setting earlier, there a good chance you’ll be driving between dusk and dawn more and more the next few months. Unfortunately, those can be some of the most dangerous hours to get behind the wheel.  Use these simple safety tips to keep you and your family as safe as possible when on the road.

1. Have a pair of spare sunglasses in the car– While sunsets are beautiful, driving into one can be difficult and dangerous.  The sun at that angle can be incredibly blinding.  Save your self the trouble of desperately searching for those sun glasses when that sun comes down and always keep a spare pair in your car. On the other hand, be sure to remove them as soon as the sun goes down.

2. Use headlights- the right way!– Often people don’t turn on their headlights until they realize they need them- and that’s usually too late. Contrary to popular belief, headlights should be used at all times throughout the day, including dusk and dawn.  While there may be light in the sky, the ambient light at dusk or dawn doesn’t allow for full visibility.  Even if your headlights won’t be completely effective in the ambient light, they do allow other drivers to see you more clearly. High beams or “brights” are rarely appropriate to use.  They can be extremely blinding to oncoming traffic and are not recommended for use except in rural areas with little street lights.  Even so, when using them be very aware of your surroundings. If you hear a car coming towards you, turn off your high beams immediately.

3. Avoid driving tired– The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration conservatively estimates that 2.5% of fatal crashes and 2% of injury crashes involve drowsy driving, and early morning at dawn are when some of the most tired drivers hit the road.  Unfortunately, we understand working hours dictate many of our schedules and the times we have to drive. If you have to drive very early in the morning, give your self at least half an hour to fully wake up before jumping behind the wheel.  More than anything else, the best way to avoid tired driving is getting the recommended 7-8 hours of sleep every night.

4. Stay on the look out for wildlife– When it starts to get dark, many timid animals feel safe enough to start peaking their way out to investigate the dazzling lights from the passing cars.  While this mostly occurs in rural areas, it’s good to keep in mind that if you see something rustling in the grass on the side of the road, it could mean a furry friend is approaching.

Driving from Dusk Til Dawn (2)

 

How to Prepare Your Home for Trick or Treaters!

With Halloween just around the corner, it’s time to make sure your home is prepared for trick-or-treaters! Besides transforming the front of your house into a creepy, scary graveyard, there are a few things you should keep in mind to keep your home safe for those who dare to trick or treat!

1. Keep it well lit

While we understand the appeal of a dark, dim lit front door and entrance way, there are a few reasons to keep it well lit.  First, it’s night time and the chance of people tripping over something or falling on the stairs goes way up if they can’t see where they’re going. Second, often people assume that no one is home if the lights are off . Make it clear that you’re joining in the fun by having your exterior lights on!

2. Clear the Path

Trick or treaters will be too excited to pay close attention to where they’re walking come halloween. To avoid any accidental trips or falls, clear all tripping hazards such as hoses, sprinklers, etc from your front lawn. Even better, light up the path to your front door to encourage people to stick to that pathway.

3. No candles!

While Jack-o-lanterns and those paper bag cut outs lit up by candles are popular and festive decorations, they aren’t always the safest choice the night of Halloween.  Paper easily lights on fire, and with children running around, an accidental run in with a lit up jack-o-lantern could easily result in disaster.  Use battery powered candles instead. It will still create the same spooky effect, but in a much safer way.

4. Pets

While we believe your beloved snuffles is the ultimate man’s best friend, having a dog barking at the front door can scare trick or treaters at every age away.  While your fluffy friend may not bite, he could bump into a small child knocking them down or scare a child to run into the street.  The best protocol is to keep pets safe and secure away from the front door.

5. Reconsider some treats

Due to allergies and certain intolerances, some kids end up excluded from the fun of Halloween. It might be nice to consider having a separate small bowl of non-food treats for those might have an allergy to some of the candy.

While Halloween should be frightening, it shouldn’t be dangerous! Have an amazing Halloween this year and keep these tips  in mind for a spooky but safe Halloween!

 

How to Prep yourHouse forHalloween

October Events in Massachusetts!

With the start of fall comes tons of fun fall festivities! From corn mazes, to apple festivals, to Oktoberfest, there are so many ways to get into the autumn spirit! Check out MassDrive’s favorite activities and events happening around Massachusetts this month!

Corn maze
October 5th – November 1st
Danvers, MA

Connors Farm is hosting their annual and epic corn maze. This year’s corn maze will feature a massive 7 acre “Wild, Wild, West” themed maze and so much more! Connors Farm has all the classic fall favorites such as hayrides, apple picking, and pumpkin picking. While on the other side, they offer some crazy fun activities such as pumpkin blasters, paint ball, and corn cannon in what they call the “destruction zone.” At night, wind down by the campfire with some delicious BBQ, classic New England clam chowder or some hot apple cider donuts!

Haunted house in Fall River
October 9th – November 7th
Fall River, MA

Get into your Halloween spirit with the Factory of Terror’s Haunted House! Due to a mysterious mass murder in 1856, this factory, now named Bloodworth Dungeon, has laid idol since. Only those who dare, enter at their own risk! The haunted house begins on an underground 4D blackout zone where you have to crawl your way though the “tunnel of corpses.” After escaping the 4D blackout, you will enter the phobia mayhem where you will face the fear haunting the 113 factory murder victims’ souls! This haunted house is not for those faint at heart!

Oktoberfest and Street Band
October 11th
Harvard Square, Boston

If you haven’t been yet, this year’s the year to attend the 37th Annual Oktoberfest and legendary HONK! Parade! This popular event brings in over 200,000 people all weekend long. Featuring foods from all over the world throughout 50 food vendors, vintage goods and one-of-a-kind gifts from 150 craft vendors, and lets not forget the five beer gardens! The entire event will take place on and around Harvard Square with 6 stages hosting a slew of musicians. The highlight of the event will be the HONK! Parade with bands from all over the country marching from Davis to Harvard as spectators dance along!

Oyster festival
October 17th – October 18th
Wellfleet, Cape Code

While the weather is still warm enough to enjoy the cape, make your way to the 15th annual Wellfleet OysterFest! Besides eating delicious fresh oysters- which there will be plenty of!- there are a ton of activities all weekend long. From cooking demonstrations, to walking tours, to live music, and much more there are so many ways to enjoy this beautiful beach town festival. Tickets are a very reasonable $5 dollars for a one-day pass, or $8 for a two-day pass and the proceeds go to the non-profit Wellfleet Shellfish Promotion and Tasting, Inc., organization’s education scholarship fund.

Apple festival
October 17th – October 18th
Wachusett Mountain

No food represents fall in New England better than apples! Wachusett Mountain will house their 32nd annual AppleFest featuring 75 craft Fair & Farmers market booths, delicious barbecue, a climbing wall and more. There will be a ton of entertainment for the kids and Oktoberfest celebration for the adults featuring real German cuisine, live bands, and of course lots of tasty beers in the Beer Garden. Be sure to check out the scenic sky rides up the mountain to take in the beautiful fall foliage. Lastly, lets not forget with every great Apple Festival comes an epic apple pie contest!

 

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Flood Insurance Myths Debunked

Not knowing the facts on flood insurance can end up costing you your life savings. Review the flood insurance myths we debunked so you know the facts about how to protect your biggest assets.

Myth: Flood Insurance is only for those who live in high risks areas.

Unfortunately, this is not true- 25% of flood claims are for homes NOT in flood plains. While people think you must live in a flood plain to get flood insurance, this is also not true. Almost anyone who wants flood insurance can get it.

Myth: Homeowner’s policy will cover flood damage.

Your standard homeowner’s policy and umbrella policies will not cover flood damage. Flood and earthquake damage must be purchased separately. This leads to our next myth:

Myth: All water damage is treated the same.

Certain types of water damage are covered under flood insurance, while others are covered under your homeowner’s policy. During a storm, if your roof gets torn off and rain pours in, your homeowner’s policy will cover the damage. If a riverbank overflows and damages your home, your flood insurance policy will come into play.

Myth: Flood Insurance covers everything.

Understanding what your flood insurance covers is so important. Flood insurance policies max out at $250,000, which means if you have a 400,000 house with a total loss from a flood, the most you can recover through the program is $250,000 to cover the structure.

The limit for personal possessions is $100,000 under the federal program, but you can buy excess flood insurance through a private carrier that will cover claims above those national limits.

Myth: Your basement is covered.

Well, yes and no. Improvements to your basement such as finished walls, floors, and ceilings are not covered, as well as personal belongings like furniture. The structural components and essential elements such as heating and air conditioning systems will be covered under your flood insurance policy.

Myth: Flood plains do not change.

Flood plains change and evolve over the years. Just because a few years ago your home was not on a flood plain, doesn’t mean it still is not. Check FloodSmart.gov to see if your home is on a flood plain and get information on your risks. Even more important, be sure to speak to your agent to find out details on what you need to be covered.

Myth: You can’t purchase flood insurance instantly.

You can buy flood insurance anytime, BUT the policy is not in effect until after a 30-day waiting period from the first premium payment paid. The exception to this rule is if the policy is bought within 13 months of a flood map revision. If the revised Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) now shows the building in a high flood risk area, any flood insurance purchases will only have a one-day waiting period to go into effect.

To find out more information, check out FloodSmart.gov and speak to your MassDrive insurance agent.

Best Place to See Spring Bloom in Massachusetts

Spring has finally arrived! As the weather starts warms up, Massachusetts begins to bloom with flowers. Enjoy the beautiful start of spring at these amazing gardens and parks!

1. Boston Public Garden

Located in the heart of Boston, the Public Garden offers rotational plantings throughout the spring and summer months.  One visit wont be enough to see the blooming trees and fresh flowers. As the first public botanical garden in America, this green and flowering oasis in the heart of a great metropolis has become a Boston icon. After you stroll through the garden, be sure to ride a swan boat to get the full affect of this beautiful park!

2. Mount Auburn Cemetery

This National Historic Landmark provides wonderful flowers, and amazing blooming cherry trees. Well known both for its architectural elements and the fame of some of its interred residents, including Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and Oliver Wendell Holmes, the cemetery brings in more than 200,000 visitors a year.  With so much to uncover, Mount Auburn hosts walking tours, bird walks, special lectures, and even early morning excursions.  Plan ahead for a group tour, or enjoy this beautiful, serene place on your own leisure.

3. Bridge of Flowers

Opening back up this April, this gorgeous bridge stands alone as one of a kind.  Thousands of bulbs, perennials, annuals and flowering shrubs come into bloom on it over the course of the year. The flowers and plants have been around since the early 1900s when a group on women transformed the old trolley bridge into a bridge of beauty. Start on the Buckland side surrounded by bright plantings, and slowly make your way across the river enjoying all the plants and flowers. Once you’re on the Shelburne side, enjoy the Stone Spring and River Bench.

4. The Berkshires

Enjoy mountain air, rare mountain wild flowers and beautiful open fields this spring at the Berkshires.  Known for its mountains and beauty, this part of Massachusetts has so much to offer!  One great place to hike and see spring in bloom is Bartholomew’s Cobble.  It offers a rugged and exotic landscape that supports 800 species of plants while offering terrific mountain vistas. Looking to mix things up from hiking? Travel through one of the many beautiful scenic bike trails to see wild flowers, and amazing river views.

5.  Keller Rose Garden Of The Emerald Necklace

The Emerald necklace Conservatory offers six parks spanning 5 miles designed over 100 years ago.  Part of the National Register of Historic Places, it’s well worth a visit this spring for strolls and bloom gazing.  The Kelleher Rose Garden, part of the Back Bay Fens, offers great views of spring plantings.  Located by the World War II, Vietnam and Korean War Memorial, the garden is a popular picnic site for many.  Recently restored, this beautiful garden will definitely surely impress!

 

Best Places to see Spring bloom

Top 10 Places to go Sledding in New England

For all the annoying problems that come with snow, it can be easy to forget how much fun it can be.  New England, with all its wonderful mountains and hills, has great places to go sledding. Don’t fret if you don’t have a sled, grab a inner tube, or trash can lid, or check out these awesome DIY ideas to make your own!

1.For those brave at heart and willing to travel, check out Suicide Hill in Bangor, Maine.  It’s icy and steep, which makes fast the only speed to go down.

2. Larz Anderson Park in Brookline, MA will make anyone happy.  They have all types of hills, and a snack shop.  Also, huge bonus for having bathrooms.

3.  The “Bowl” next to Jamaica Pond in Boston, MA provides a little extra fun at the end of your trip down. Like the name suggests, its bowl shaped so when you go down one side, you go back up the other before you come down again.

4.  One of the best make shift sleds I ever used was a cafeteria tray from my college cafeteria.  Take a visit to Wellesley College, in Wellesley, MA , to try out their sledding hill near Severance Hall.

5. Make a day out of Flagstaff Hill in the Boston Common, Boston, MA.  Along with sledding, there’s an ice skating ring, and plenty of kid friendly restaurants.

6. Although this one might be a bit of a hike up, Prospect Park Hill in Waltham, MA is worth it.  With amazing views of Boston, it is definitely a site to see.

7. Norfolk Golf Club in Westwood, MA has great slopes for sledding.  Unfortunately, everyone seems to know that so it can get crowded.

8. If you don’t want to have to worry about parking, Lexington High School in Lexington, MA is worth checking out.  It has a good hill behind it, and because it’s a school there’s plenty of places to park on the weekend.

9. No one wants a tree in the middle on their sledding route. Bradgon’s Hill in Amherst, NH has a nice long open hills with no trees in the way.

10. Want to socialize but still want plenty of room to sled? Amory Park in Brookline, MA has the best of both worlds.  While there’s lot of people who love coming to this park, there’s still plenty of room for you to have your own space.

Feeling inspired? Grab a sled and hit the hill of your choice before it’s too late! Though it may feel like winter is lasting forever, there are only a few weeks left until spring. Make sure you make the best of it by getting in some sledding time this season.

Do you have a favorite sledding hill that’s not included? Comment below to share your pick!

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