Project Bread’s annual Walk for Hunger is coming up! Next Sunday, May 6, join walkers from across the state as they gather in the Boston Common to raise funds and awareness that will help to put an end to hunger in Massachusetts, it’s a great way to give back to your community!
For those interested in walking there is still time to sign up! If walking isn’t your thing and you still want to give back, volunteers are also needed at the event to ensure safety and happiness of the walkers. What exactly does this walk entail? Over 40,000 participants are invited to walk the 20 mile route through Boston, however it is not required that you walk the full route.
This walk is truly about giving back, as there is no registration fee or fundraising minimum, although walkers are encouraged to raise as much as possible to benefit Project Bread. For those that do expect to raise a generous amount of donations, you can sign up to be a Heart and Sole Participant, which means you pledge to raise atleast $500. The money raised by these walkers is used for hunger relief and prevention, and is distributed through 450 emergency programs, schools, farmers’ markets, community health centers, community suppers, home care organizations, and many other programs benefitting the residents of Massachusetts.
In just the last year, Project Bread provided 65.2 million meals to those in need, and many of those meals were able to be distributed because of the Walk for Hunger! What are you waiting for? Sign up today and help take a step towards ending hunger in the Bay State! If you would like to submit a donation online, you can do so here.
Many of you may be asking this question. Recently, they have been in the news almost every day, but if you haven’t been following along you may have missed some of the updates on fair hikes, service cuts, and improvements that are in the works.
With all of the negative feedback that’s been in the news, the MBTA is making an effort to improve certain aspects of their services. Commuter Rail riders will notice a major change this fall when the ability to buy your ticket from your smart phone is introduced. According to an article from the Associated Press, there are 140 commuter rail stations and less than half of them have fare vending machines. Without one of these machines, riders who do not already have tickets or passes must buy them on board the train. Purchasing your ticket on board results in a two dollar surcharge and riders can only pay in cash. This is quite inconvenient for many riders but soon anyone with an iPhone, Blackberry, or Android will be able to purchase their ticket online and show their phone to a conductor once they board the train. This improvement called mobile ticketing, is being designed by Masabi and is sure to make riding the commuter rail a much more convenient experience.
The MBTA has been dealing with the backlash of proposed fair hikes and service cuts for weeks now. Despite protests and testimony from many members of the public including activists, the MBTA board voted 4-1 to increase fares and eliminate or reduce service on various bus routes. Three commuter rail lines, Kingston/Plymouth, Needham, and Greenbush will also eliminate their weekend runs. These fare hikes are the first ones in five years and will increase the cost of a subway fare by 30 cents, bus fares will be increased by 25 cents, and commuter rail tickets will go up $1.25. Commuter Rail riders who purchase a monthly pass will see an increase between 20-30 percent in their monthly fare. These changes are set to take effect July 1.
Although the MBTA has a higher ridership level than ever before, they have been struggling to find a long term solution to their debt crisis. Debt payments, energy costs, and door-to-door service for the disabled increase the T’s debt at a rapid rate and the service cuts and fare hikes that have been approved are not as high as the original plan that was proposed. These changes are intended to close a budget deficit of $160 million for the coming year. According to a Boston Globe article, many riders are unhappy about the fare increases and service cuts but have no other options for transportation. Driving into the city is still more expensive for many, once gas, parking fees, and tolls are taken into account. Not to mention the wear and tear on a vehicle that sits in rush hour traffic.
According to an article from the Boston Globe, the money coming into the MBTA for this year’s deficit mainly comes from one-time monetary sources including $5 million in leftover snow and ice removal funds, $51 million in surplus from an account that is funded by motor vehicle inspection fees. That money comes from the state and requires legislative approval before it can be spent on the T. These funds are short term fixes and a long term solution would have to include Beacon Hill politicians approving new taxes to lighten the burden on the MBTA. A proposed fix by Governor Deval Patrick’s administration, is asking lawmakers to approve harsher penalties against fare evaders and to cap damages in lawsuits against the T at $100,000, which could save the MBTA about $5 million annually.
These developments are the most recent news on the MBTA, although the fare hikes and service cuts are a negative solution to the budget crisis in the minds of many riders, the MBTA is attempting to make improvements elsewhere for their customers.
Whether you are a visitor of Massachusetts, or a local looking for something new and exciting, we’ve found the best online resources when to comes to places to see and things to do in Massachusetts!
Planning a Vacation to MA
One of the best sites to look at if you are planning a Massachusetts getaway is http://www.massvacation.com/ . Not only does it list great vacation spots in the Bay State, but it also features daily deals all over Massachusetts and a listing of 50 things to do in MA under $50. They are also currently offering site visitors the chance to enter to win a prize package to Plymouth county which includes a two night stay and multiple gift cards to local restaurants and museums! This site is the ultimate guide to planning a vacation or even a day trip to Massachusetts and we highly recommend you check it out!
Getting Around MA
If you’re not familiar with the area, navigating the roads in Massachusetts can be an intimidating task, especially if you are visiting popular tourist destinations like Boston. The Mass Gov website has a large selection of different maps for different cities and towns, Mass. State Highway Maps, and even maps for people who will be commuting via MBTA. This site also has a great feature called “SmartTraveler” which has detailed info on local weather, traffic conditions, alerts, and location-specific traveler warnings. For those of you that want a taste of the outdoors, this site also has maps of ponds and national parks available.
Local Events in MA
If you have an idea of what you want to do in Massachusetts but aren’t sure where to start, there are two great websites that have great info on local events. For those of you that are looking for family friendly events, Boston Central has hundreds of listings that are broken down by date and categories such as arts and crafts, animals, food fun, and music. This makes it a lot easier to break down your search process if you have an idea of what you want to do. If you’re looking to get out with friends or for a romantic getaway, Visit-Massachusetts is a better site to search. You are also able to search by date and category on this site, and although there is an option to search for children’s events it is definitely geared more towards adults. Event categories on this site include food, wine and beer, historic events, parties, dances, balls, visual arts, and antiques.
National Parks and Landmarks
Massachusetts certainly has the best of both worlds when it comes to cities and the countryside. Boston is a hub of activity, tourism and excitement but there are also beautiful mountains and landscapes across the state. These rural landscapes also have a lot of history associated with them. Whether you want to visit Lowell and check out the National Park and Boot Cotton Mills where the industrial revolution began, or take a hike and go for a swim at Walden Pond where Henry David Thoreau was inspired to write his famous book “Walden”, the National Park Service has listings of parks in every area of the state as well as listing of other historic landmarks. According to their website, there are 15 National Parks in Massachusetts, 11 National Natural Landmarks, and 185 National Historic Landmarks along with over 4,000 National Register of Historic Places Listings. This website is a great resource that focuses on the natural beauty of Massachusetts as well as the history.
For the most up to date news in Massachusetts, Boston.com is definitely the website to visit. Not only do they feature breaking news stories, they also have stories from the Boston Globe and daily updates on local, national, world, business, health, and many other categories of news. You can browse by town or category and their site also has great stories on sports, things to do, and have info on cars and real estate for sale. This website features hundreds of stories each day but also has information on events and information that is helpful to know in Massachusetts, especially if you are traveling through.
Massachusetts Auto Insurance
When it comes to car insurance, visit us! Visit MassDrive to get a quote or talk to an agent today!
Whatever information you are looking for when it comes to Massachusetts, these websites are a great starting point, and of course if you think of a helpful resource that we should add, leave a comment and let us know!
Not a history buff? That’s okay, neither are we, but we do have you covered. February 6th is an important date in Massachusetts history, and we’re here to tell you why!
Massachusetts Becomes… Massachusetts
February may be one of the shortest months of the year, but it is also one of the most historic, at least here in the Bay State. The Patriots made history by losing their second Super Bowl against the Giants last night (not something many of us would like to remember), and President’s day will soon be upon us which we can celebrate with a day off of school and work. However, today is also significant for another reason. As many of you probably learned in grade school, Massachusetts was one of the thirteen original U.S. colonies. What you may not know is that on this day, February 6 in 1788, Massachusetts ratified the U.S. constitution to become sixth state to join the Union. Although they were not the first to ratify, Massachusetts’ ratification message was the first to include a list of changes to the Constitution, some of which would protect states while other changes would protect individuals. Ratifying the Constitution was an essential step in uniting the colonies as a nation, however only nine states needed to agree for the new government to become official. New Hampshire was the ninth state to ratify, and it was decided that the government under the United States Constitution would begin on March 4, 1789, a little over a year after Massachusetts became the sixth state to ratify. On May 29,1790 Rhode Island joined the other colonies and became the final state to ratify the Constitution, uniting the original 13 colonies as a country. Of course we consider Massachusetts to be a state, but Massachusetts is actually technically a commonwealth, not a state, and its official title is the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. There is no difference between a commonwealth and a state, though there are four commonwealths in the Union, Massachusetts, Virginia, Kentucky and Pennsylvania.
Blizard of ’78
The Blizard of ’78 struck 34 years ago today. Massachusetts was covered in a record 27 inches of snow, which fell at a rate of an inch an hour at some points, stranding many cars on the highway. The storm had catastrophic effects, killing about 100 people and injuring thousands more, as well as causing hundreds of millions of dollars in damage. Hurricane force winds and power outages furthered the extreme conditions. The blizzard is a far cry from today’s 50 degree weather.
The Super Bowl is a true American tradition, and this year in Massachusetts, there is an even higher level of anticipation than usual – the Patriots will face off with the Giants! But have you thought about Super Bowl safety?
Whichever team you’re rooting for this Super Bowl Sunday, make sure you’re ready when you get behind the wheel. It’s not just the wintry New England weather that you’ll need to be prepared for – Super Bowl Sunday can be dangerous on the roads because of all the parties. Super Bowl drunk driving is rampant – more drivers are involved in alcohol-related accidents on Super Bowl Sunday than any day of the year besides St. Patrick’s Day, according to the Insurance Information Institute. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 48% of U.S. traffic fatalities on Super Bowl Sunday are alcohol related.
The best thing you can do to stay safe on Super Bowl Sunday is be prepared. Make plans in advance and include finding a designated driver in your game day preparations. If you find yourself in need, but without a designated driver after the game (and hopefully those drinks will have been celebratory!), there are many alternatives to getting behind the wheel. Call a cab, take public transportation, book a room, or if you must get home with your car on Sunday night, the Tipsy Tow will pick you, your car and as many friends will fit in the truck up and bring you back home. Call 1-800-AAA-HELP (1-800-222-4357), anywhere in the US and Canada, 24 hours per day, 7 days per week to request the Tipsy Tow.
If you’re throwing a Super Bowl party, create a safer party environment by making sure you have plenty of food to serve along with alcoholic beverages, so no one drinks on an empty stomach. You could also offer non-alcoholic beverages as well, so everyone has something to sip on during the game. There are so many Super Bowl recipes, and many of them are easy! A simple Google or Pinterest search will have armed with tons of ideas for snacks that will help keep your party safe.
Whatever your plans this Sunday, everyone at MassDrive wishes you a safe and fun Super Bowl. Go Patriots!
Awards season in Hollywood has begun! The Screen Actors Guild awards, the Oscars, and the Grammys have all gotten the entertainment industry buzzing. This time of year is notorious for awards shows spreading excitement throughout the country, and believe it or not you can catch a bit of the action LIVE right here in Boston!
Harvard University’s Hasty Pudding is the nation’s oldest undergrad drama troupe and has been naming and celebrating their Woman of the Year since 1951, and Man of the Year since 1967. The award is presented to outstanding entertainers and this year they chose to honor Actress Claire Danes as Woman of the Year, and Actor/Writer Jason Segel as Man of the Year.
Woman of the Year events kick off with a parade through Harvard Square, led by the winner herself. There, fans can catch a glimpse of the celeb as she walks the streets of Cambridge. Man of the Year does not get to lead a parade in his honor; however both award winners are roasted in front of a live audience at Harvard University before being presented with their “Pudding Pot”. After the presentation, the show closes out with Hasty Pudding cast members performing their latest number.
While Claire Danes was honored by the group last week, you can still catch Jason Segel who will be honored for Man of the Year today, February 3rd. Segel will be roasted and presented with his “Pudding Pot” tonight at 8 PM in the newly named Farkas Hall, with the opening performance of Hasty Pudding’s 164th Production “There Will Be Flood” to follow. For more information visit: http://www.hastypudding.org/?page_id=36
As we have seen in the past few months, this winter has been anything but typical. The warm temperatures and lack of snow have made it difficult to enjoy a traditional New England winter by venturing out into the snow for entertainment. However, there are plenty of events taking place across Massachusetts this month that will keep you entertained and help you fight off a case of the winter blues!
Are you a fan of Mexican food? The Rattlesnake Bar and Grill in Boston is holding their second annual Burrito Bowl in honor of the Super Bowl. This event will bring together some of the top chefs in Boston and have them compete to create the best Burrito. Each chef will create a burrito named after the city of their favorite NFL team. Attendees and special guest “referee” judges will determine the winner. The event costs about $17 per person and begins this Saturday, February 4th from 1:00-4:00 PM. https://poesburritobowl.eventbrite.com/
Even though the Olympic Winter Games do not take place this year you can still get your sports fix by attending the 2012 Bay State Winter Games from February 10-12th in the Northern Berkshire region of Massachusetts. Sporting events include alpine skiing, figure skating, and masters ice hockey competitions. http://baystategames.org/html/bsgwww/wintergames/index.html
Looking for an event that will get the whole family up and out this winter? Check out the Winter Family Fun Safari taking place Saturday February 11th at 1:00 PM in Milton, MA. It is a free event and families can meet up at Houghton Pond before exploring the woods and going on a hike to Rutherford explore what happens throughout nature during the winter. This is a great family friendly event that is educational and a great source of exercise! http://friendsofthebluehills.org/?p=4139
Salem, MA is celebrating the season of love this year by hosting the 10th annual “Salem’s So Sweet” chocolate and ice sculpture festival. Admire the beautiful ice sculptures lining the streets of downtown Salem before stopping in a local establishment for some chocolate and wine tasting! http://salem-chamber.org/salems-so-sweet-44.html
Nick’s Comedy Stop, located within the Theater District of Boston, is hosting an Open Mic Night Thursday, February 16th featuring some of the most entertaining up and coming comedy acts in Boston. Stop by for a few drinks and laughs to get your evening started on the right note. Tickets are $12 per person and the event begins at 8:00 PM. https://openmicfeb.eventbrite.com/?ref=ebtn&nomo=1
You may have thought pageant season was over after the Miss USA pageant last month, however luckily you would be mistaken. The Miss Boston 2012 pageant takes place Sunday, February 19th at 5:00 PM at the Omni Parker House in Boston. Contestants will compete for the chance to move on to the Miss Massachusetts pageant in June and will compete in interview, talent, swim suit, and evening wear categories. http://www.missboston.org/Miss_Boston_2012_Pageant.html
Before the start of baseball season and after the Super Bowl mania has come to an end, all of you sports fans can still get a taste of the excitement at the Golden Gloves Boxing tournament in Lowell, MA. The event is held annually and takes place on five different nights throughout the month of February as contestants try to move their way up through the competition. This event has launched the careers of boxing legends such as Sugar Ray Leonard, Micky Ward, and Rocky Marciano. For ticket information visit http://www.lowellgoldengloves.com/3/online_payment.htm
Make sure that you enjoy the rest of this winter by getting up and out! Whatever your interests are, there is an event for everyone taking place this February across Massachusetts!
As the days of winter continue to get colder, many of us are searching for activities to get us up and out of the house in hopes of avoiding a case of cabin fever. The lack of snow makes it difficult to enjoy typical winter activities such as sledding, building snowmen, or having snowball fights. Luckily, we have come up with a list of some of the best events and things to do in Massachusetts in the month of February, and the best part is that they are all FREE!
If you’re looking for a great event for young children, The Discovery Museums in Acton, MA invite guests to join them for free on the first Friday of every month. This Friday, February 3rd they are hosting a special program called “Reaction Station: Adventures for Young Chemists!” Children will be able to test mystery liquids, powders, and more at reaction stations. The event runs from 4:30-8:30 PM. http://www.discoverymuseums.org/programs-events/february-programs
Want to showcase your poetry skills, voice, or performance skills? More Than Words is a nonprofit organization that empowers children who are homeless, in foster care, or the court system to improve their own lives by giving them real world experience controlling a business. The organization is hosting an open mic night this Friday February 3rd in Boston. The event is from 6:00 PM-8:00 PM and guests are encouraged to sign up and participate in the performances. This event will take place on the first Friday of every month. http://www.yelp.com/events/boston-first-friday-open-mic-night
Celebrating other cultures can be an entertaining and educational experience for the whole family! The Villa Victoria Center for the Arts invites the public to come celebrate the Year of the Dragon with them this Saturday, February 4th at 3:00 PM. Acrobatics, art, drumming, and dancing are a variety of the displays and activities being put on by these talented artists. http://www.villavictoriaarts.org/performances_020412.html
If you’re looking for a winter themed event for the whole family, the Franklin Park Golf Course in Dorhester is hosting a free event this Saturday, February 4th from 12:00 PM-3:00 PM. Guests are invited to come sled, snowshoe, build snowmen, track animal prints in the snow, enjoy some hot chocolate and play board games. Sleds will be available for those that don’t have their own. For more information or to RSVP visit: http://www.yelp.com/events/dorchester-franklin-park-snow-festival
Valentine’s Day is not the only holiday taking place this month, Mardi Gras is Tuesday, February 21st! From 10:00 AM-6:00 PM Artbeat in Arlington, MA is providing visitors with a free mask making project! Masks are a Mardi Gras tradition that allow people to disguise their true identities which allows role reversal and outrageous behavior. This event is open to all ages. http://www.artsboston.org/event/detail/441515727/Mardi_Gras_Special_Treat
MassArt Family Day is an event put on twice a year by the Massachusetts College of Art and Design. It is open to visitors of all ages and guests are able to enjoy art-making projects (all materials are provided), guided conversations, interactive activities, and refreshments. Gallery Education Staff as well as MassArt Students facilitate the tours, discussions, and activity tables where guests are able to discuss and gain a better understanding of the arts. This event is on Saturday February 25 and runs from 11:00 AM-4:00 PM.http://www.massart.edu/Galleries/Programs_and_Events/Family_Day.html
If you have an interest in radio or television, WGBH is offering ongoing free studio tours every Wednesday at 2PM and the first and third Saturday of the month at 2PM. It is a 45 minute tour recommended for ages 16 and up, and you never know who you might run into in the studio! Photographs are also permitted. The tour welcomes walk-ins of groups of 5 people or less, groups of 6 or more must schedule a group tour. http://www.wgbh.org/studiotours
Boston is known as one of the most historic cities in the country, so why not spend a few hours exploring one of the most famous antiques in the city? The USS Constitution docked in the Charlestown Navy Yard offers free tours to guests every Thursday through Sunday this winter from 10:00 AM-4:00 PM. Tours are approximately 30 minutes and are recommended for ages 6 and up. http://www.bostoncentral.com/events/tour/p1635.php
Remember, all work and no play makes for a dull winter! Instead of another trip to the movies, try taking family or friends to one of these educational and exciting events! Even if you’re on a budget, these free activities are the perfect excuse to get up and out!
As the weather gets colder and days feel shorter in Massachusetts, it can be difficult finding the energy to venture outside for entertainment. However, what many of us forget is that we are lucky enough to live in a state where we truly can enjoy a winter wonderland right outside our doors. Why not take advantage of these upcoming months and enjoy a few fun filled winter events, some with activities for kids in MA?
Winter festivals are a great way to do something fun with the entire family. They typically have activities specifically geared for children, 21 plus events, as well as live music, food, and sporting competitions which will excite guests of any age. Upcoming festivals in Massachusetts include:
Lowell Winterfest- Taking place from February 9-11 this festival features a fashion show, soup bowl competition, micro-brew competition, as well as “Lowla’s Kids Party” featuring face painting and a magician. If you’re looking for a good laugh you definitely won’t want to miss the National Human Dogsled Competition! http://www.lowell.org/Pages/Winterfest.aspx/
Finding winter activities for children can be especially tough due to the fact that outdoor venues are extremely limited. However, many attractions and activities in Massachusetts are offering exhibits geared towards children during the winter season.
The Franklin Park Zoo is hosting an event Saturday January 14 to celebrate the Chinese New Year. Visitors will be able to kick off the Year of the Dragon by watching a lion dance, listen to storytelling about Chinese culture, writing calligraphy, and making Chinese lanterns. http://www.zoonewengland.org/page.aspx?pid=330
Old Sturbridge Village is featuring “January Discovery Days at Old Sturbridge Village” from January 14-15. Activities include cooking a meal “1830’s style”, building an old fashioned wooden sled, arts and crafts, as well as woodworking. This is a great educational experience for children but space is limited so reserve a spot early! http://www.osv.org/activities_events/event_calendar_more.html?ID=724&DateID=1832
If you are willing to brave the cold and head outdoors there is no better place to be than New England if you want to experience the snow. There are a variety of winter activities in close proximity for Massachusetts residents, including tubing, sledding, skiing, and ice skating.
Frog Pond on Boston Common is open through March 15 to ice skaters. This family friendly atmosphere is perfect for a romantic date night or day outing with the kids. Hours vary but rental skates are available as well as homemade Belgian Waffles! http://www.bostonfrogpond.com/info/pricing-season-passe
Amesbury Sports Park offers the steepest, fastest snow tubing hills in New England. Guests can ride the conveyor belt to the top of the hills where they can choose to ride solo or link up in groups. A full service pub is also on site serving pizza, hamburgers, and much more. http://www.amesburysportspark.net/
Nashoba Valley Ski Area in Westford, MA offers the best of both worlds; they offer 17 ski trails and 18 tubing trails! It is the perfect location for beginners and those looking to get a taste of winter sports. http://www.skinashoba.com/
Looking for a fun way to experience the beauty of nature during the winter? Try snowshoeing one of the many trails in Massachusetts! Snowshoeing is a fun and easy way to exercise in the snow while also taking in beautiful views of the countryside. Check out http://www.visit-massachusetts.com/winter-activities/snowshoeing for listings of the many Snowshoeing trails as well as details on renting equipment in and around Massachusetts.
Make the most out of your winter this year by enjoying the seasonal activities it has to offer! Many of us in Massachusetts dread the winter because of the bitter cold and shorter days, but venturing outdoors and trying one of these activities will undoubtedly add some cheer to your season! Stay safe on the icy roads getting to these events, and don’t forget to check up on your car insurance for peace of mind.
This winter in Massachusetts has gotten off to a slow start to say the least, we are yet to see a storm that has been worthy of a snow day. However, we are definitely overdue for a day off and when we do eventually encounter a storm, getting the details of Massachusetts office, store, and school closings has been made easy.
While we still have the option of watching the news and patiently waiting for our town to show up in alphabetical order at the bottom of the screen, online resources offer a more timely way to get the same information. Typically, schools and towns have their own websites that announce school delays and closings. In case your school or town does not offer a site that would provide this information, http://www.cancellations.com/ gives students and parents an easy alternative to search for school snow closings. Users simply have to enter their zip code, hit search, and a list of school closings in the area is made available to them.
Then there is the classic option of watching the news for closings, delays, and cancellations due to the weather. Major stations in Massachusetts include:
These news outlets continuously broadcast closings and delays at the bottom of their screen, and their websites are also a useful resource when it comes to school closings.
Radio Stations are a great way to get information if you’re on the go, especially since cell phone usage behind the wheel is banned in Massachusetts. The majority of stations on the air update their listeners on local closings; however news stations specialize in specifically updating Massachusetts residents on current weather and closing conditions. This can be more convenient than listening to an entertainment station as it focuses on the news at hand, rather than just briefly highlighting it. Two major stations in MA are:
WBZ News Radio AM 1030, which is a facet of CBS Boston
WGBH FM 89.7, which is an affiliate of National Public Radio (NPR)
Twitter users will find the social media site especially useful for finding school cancellations. All major news outlets have a Twitter account that they utilize to updated followers on the weather as well as news. These accounts include:
Fox 25 News Boston (@fox25news)
WBZ Boston News (@cbsboston)
WCVB-TV Boston News (@WCBV)
Boston News Now (@bostonnewsnow)
Boston.com News (@BostonDotCom)
WBZ Boston Weather (@wbzweather)
In addition to these accounts, look for your favorite weather anchor on Twitter for further updates.
Be sure to check with schools as well, many Public Schools as well as Universities offer text alerts to inform students and parents of delays or cancellations due to inclement weather. With so many different media outlets to utilize, getting the most up to date information on snow cancellations and delays is easier and faster than ever.