Travel


Do The Safety Bounce!

Do you do the Safety Bounce?  This new video from the MBTA urges all riders to practice safe behavior including looking both ways before you step off the curb, standing behind the yellow line at T stations, holding on to railings, and being alert to stay as safe as possible!  This unique and funny video is a great way to spread the word and remind all public transit riders to not let the little things get to them, and to use caution in their daily commute.  Be sure to share this fun, and catchy video with friends, family, co-workers, and anyone you know that takes public transit, just try not getting it stuck in your head!

Spring Day Trips In Massachusetts

newburyport

Have a day or two off and want to go somewhere new?  Take a day trip to one of these great spots across the state!  Here in Massachusetts we’re lucky that we’re within driving distance of the beach, mountains, and city.  Take advantage of everything the Bay State has to offer this spring and check out some of these fun destinations on your next day off!

Newburyport – This seaside town is the perfect destination if you want to take in a sea breeze this spring.  There is a boardwalk right on the water that visitors can stroll along while stopping in to the many shops, museums, boutiques, and restaurants that line the streets of this quaint town.  Want to take in the outdoors?  There are many activities available including fishing, boating, taking a walk through the nature reserve or one of the many parks, or head to Plum Island and take a swim.  There’s enough going on here to keep you busy all day, and every member of your family will find something that interests them!

Mohawk Trail Region – The Mohawk Trail region is made up of many towns in Western Massachusetts including Deerfield, Barre, North Adams, and Greenfield that offers activities for all ages.  It’s the first scenic road in New England and has 63 miles of spectacular mountain views to take in!  This is a perfect destination for outdoor people, and attractions include zip lining, golf, fishing, boating, hiking, swimming, and much more.  There are also antique stores, galleries, museums, and historic sites for those that aren’t quite as outdoorsy.  Feeling really adventurous?  Try white water rafting!  There are many options across this region, depending on where you plan on traveling.  With so many options over such a large area, you’ll need to plan out an itinerary before you head out, so check out all that the Mohawk Trail region has to offer!

Boston Freedom Trail – Take a ride into Boston and brush up on some history this spring!  The Freedom Trail is one of the most popular attractions in the city, and it will bring you to all of the must see locations along the way.  This is Boston’s most popular walking tour and you can either book a tour with a costumed guide who will give you all of the historic information relevant to each landmark you pass by, or if you’re looking for a more casual setting follow the trail yourself and read the historic markers along the way!  If you do buy a ticket for the tour, it is valid for any day and time, tours are offered 12 times daily from April-November so there are plenty of options.  The trail will lead you all over the city, from the Boston Common, to Beacon Hill, to the waterfront, to the North End, and all the way into Charlestown, it’s the perfect way to experience every part of the city!

We’re very lucky here in Massachusetts, all of these destinations are only a few hours away from any point in the state, and are all perfect for day tripping with the whole family!  Next time you have a day off head to one of these spots that you typically wouldn’t venture to, you’ll make some new memories and have fun with the whole family while enjoying the outdoors this spring!

Photo By: Dougtone

Going Green On Your Daily Drive

green driving

In honor of Earth Day we wanted to talk about ways to go green while driving!  Earth Day celebrations are continuing all week, and this information is useful to know for the entire year!  While “go green” isn’t a phrase you would typically think of when you think of driving, there are ways you can decrease your carbon footprint while on the road.  The easiest thing to remember?  The less gas you use the less pollutants your vehicle will emit, making your drive more “green”.  Using less gas doesn’t necessarily mean driving less either!  These tips will keep you on the road to a greener Earth without making major changes to your daily life.

  • The best way to reduce the amount of gas you use is to drive a hybrid or electric vehicle.  They get much better mileage than typical vehicles and are specifically designed to be more fuel efficient and emit less toxins into the environment.  Unless you already have one of these vehicles, it’s pretty hard to utilize this tip, but if you’re due up for a new vehicle any time soon hybrid or electric vehicles are great options to consider!  Not only are they more eco-friendly, but they will also save you a lot of money on gas.
  • Avoid slamming on the gas or breaks.  These two extremes are gas guzzlers, the sudden burst of energy when you hit the brakes or accelerator can release major pollutants and eat up a lot of gas compared to easing on or off the pedals.
  • In the upcoming months it can get very warm here in the Bay State.  Although turning on the air conditioning while driving is a great option,  it uses up more gas than if you were to drive without it on.  If it’s not too hot, roll down the car windows and enjoy the breeze!
  • Get an E-ZPass!  If you are a frequent road tripper, there is no better accessory!  You’ll get to avoid the touch and go traffic that piles up while people are paying with cash, which will save you gas and wear and tear on your car.  It can save you a lot of time at tolls whether you are traveling cross country or live in Western Massachusetts and have to take the Pike every day.  It’s definitely a worth while investment for any driver.
  • Go the speed limit.  Speeding even a few miles over the posted limit can increase gas emissions and not to mention possibly get you a speeding ticket. Save your gas and money by following the law!
  • Download an app that updates driving routes based on traffic, such as Waze.  This app relies on consumer updates but is typically accurate even when it comes to the smallest details.  It will help you save time, money, and gas by avoiding traffic jams.  Who wouldn’t love that?
  • Utilize cruise control if you’re going to be keeping a steady speed and direction on the highway.  This will help to avoid acceleration and unnecessary gas usage, it can even help save up to 7% on gas according to Edmunds.com.

These tips are simple enough, right?  Such small changes can lead to major savings for your wallet and the environment!  Try some of these tips in honor of Earth Day, there’s nothing to lose, only to gain!

Photo By: Toyota Motor Europe

Save At The Pump With These Gas Station Finder Apps!

gas station

I’m sure all of you have noticed the recent spike in prices at the pump.  We know that every penny counts, especially if you are a frequent driver which is why we’ve come up with a list of the top gas station finder apps!  Check these out and scroll through the listings of nearby stations until you find the best price available. Prices don’t appear to be changing any time soon (unless they keep going up) so download one of these apps and start saving!

GasBuddy – If you’re against paying for a gas app, this is the one for you.  GasBuddy has all of the typical components of a gas app, it utilizes the GPS in your smartphone to determine your location and the location of gas stations in your area.  It lists the gas prices and also lists any amenities at the station such as bathrooms, pay at pump, and food.  You can sort your search results by price or by distance if you’re simply looking for the closest station.  Once you select the station you want to visit, you can get directions to the gas station via the iOS’s built-in Maps app.  Users can create accounts with this app and update prices and amenities of the gas stations in the area.  This is a great resource, however, updates are not always timely or accurate and sometimes nearby gas stations are missing from the list all together.

SmartFuel – This is one of the best gas station finder apps out there, IF you are willing to pay.  You do get a free 30 day trial with this app, but after the 30 days is up you need to subscribe to the service, which ranges from $4.99 for 6 months, to $14.99 for 24 months.  While the price can be a turn off, if you subscribe for 24 months that only costs about 62 cents per month.  If you’re a frequent driver you will likely save more than that by using the app anyway!  Reviews describe this app as being highly accurate, and drivers can even bookmark their routes to make the search process easier.  The listings even have the prices for all types of gas at the station, whether it be regular, mid-grade, premium unleaded, diesel, or E85 ethanol.  If you’re willing to pay, this app could save you big bucks in the long run.

Fuel Finder – Fuel Finder has the same features mentioned in the apps above; nearby stations based on GPS, directions to these gas stations, and pricing of course.  Nearby stations are displayed in a list or as nearby points on a map, and you can search up to 10 miles away.  Fuel Finder does have a very unique feature called “On Fumes” which really sets it apart from other apps.  This feature is something you can utilize when you’re running extremely low on gas.  You simply tap the “On Fumes” button and it will provide you with directions to the nearest gas station regardless of price, and also provides a directory with phone numbers to helpful services such as AAA and insurance company help lines.  While you don’t have to subscribe, you do have to pay a one time fee of $2.99 to download the app.  While it does have occasional errors and sometimes fails to list certain gas stations it is typically reliable and the “On Fumes” feature is something you won’t find in other apps.

RoadAhead – Not only does this app provide you with listings for the nearest gas stations sorted by price, but it also lists nearby hotels, rest stops, and restaurants!  If you’re on a long drive, this app will definitely come in handy if you’re looking for a snack or need to use the restroom.  The app typically relies on GPS to locate you, however if you can’t get a signal you can select the state you’re in, the highway you’re on, and the next exit.  Some complaints about this app are that the GPS sometimes fails and there are occasional crashes.  If you can deal with that, then this app is a great resource whether you are driving cross country or just on a day trip to the beach.  The best part?  It’s free!

Once you decide which app is right for you, download it and hit the road!  All of these apps will help you find the nearest gas station, or you can sort through them by price.  Whichever one you choose, you will definitely be thankful you have it when you need to fill up!

Photo By: valeehill

 

 

 

Winter Driving Tips

snow driving

Whether you’re excited for the snow or not, it’s important to be sure you are staying safe!  Keep these tips in mind when venturing out into the snow this winter, for many of you these tips are refreshers but it’s always good to have a reminder to stay safe!

  • If you must venture out onto icy or snowy roads, wait until after the sand trucks and plows have gone by.  They should be able to break down the worst of the snow and will make it much easier for you in the long run.  Even if you have to wait a while for them to service your street, trying to drive on roads that have not been plowed or sanded is not only dangerous, but will take much longer anyways so staying inside until the plows and sanding trucks have gone by is worth the wait.
  • If you are on the road with plows and sanding trucks, DO NOT try to pass them.  Many of them have limited visibility, especially if it is snowing out.  Even though they are pretty slow, the plus side to being behind one of these trucks is that the road will be freshly plowed or sanded and that much easier to navigate.
  • Give yourself extra time to arrive at your destination, there is no doubt that the snow or ice on the road will slow you down or create traffic, so be sure to leave with plenty of time to spare.
  • Decrease your speed and leave more than enough room between yourself and the car in front of you in case you have to stop.  You don’t want to skid out on  ice and rear end the person in front of you, an accident in which you would be at fault!
  • Ride the brake when driving in snow or ice, it will help you avoid skidding out and will keep you at a safe speed!  If you do start to skid out or your wheels lock up, slowly ease up on the brake until you come to a stop.
  • If there is any type of precipitation, make sure that your lights are on.  Even if it is still light out,  rain or snow can limit visibility for many drivers so you want to make every effort to remain visible on the road.
  • If you know in advance that it’s going to snow, be sure that your windshield wipers are working properly, you don’t want to get caught in the middle of a storm with a malfunctioning wiper blade!
  • Make sure you have an ice scraper in your car!  You don’t want to get stuck waiting inside your car while the defroster melts the ice on your windows.
  • Be extra careful on bridges and overpasses, these tend to freeze first and even though there may not be any ice on other parts of the road, these areas are notorious for black ice so reduce your speed and remain aware when traveling over these.
  • If your vehicle has four-wheel drive, use it!  It may use up more gas but will make your commute through the snow much easier and will provide more traction and decrease your chances of skidding out.

The most important piece of advice we can offer is to stay indoors!  Don’t drive on roads that are snowy and icy unless you absolutely must, and if you do then make sure that you are properly insured and know who to call should anything happen!  If you have any questions or would like a quick quote give us a call at MassDrive!  Our agents would be happy to answer any and all questions you may have and will make every effort to get you the lowest premium possible!

Special thanks to weather.com for many of these tips!

Photo By: Ruthanne Reid

 

Car Seat Installation Checklist

Properly installing a car seat is one of the most important aspects of keeping your child safe while driving. From ensuring you have the right size seat for your car to resources to learn more about carseats for children, the Car Seat Install Checklist from MassDrive will help you keep your little one safe on the road. Download now and stay safe out there with your family!

Installing a Car Seat Checklist

Travel Tips For Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving is one of the biggest travel days of the year, friends and family driving across towns, cities, even states to spend the day with their loved ones.  There are a lot of things to keep in mind when traveling, whether you’re taking public transit or driving yourself.   Be sure that you are minmizing stress and maximizing on family time this year with these tips!

  • If you’re driving to visit relatives this year and know you will be going through a toll, consider getting an E-ZPass.  The transponder attaches to the front window of your car and is linked to one of your credit/debit cards or a checking account.  Once you go through the E-ZPass lane when paying a toll, your transponder is scanned and the money is taken right out of your account!  That’s definitely much easier and less time consuming than waiting in line to pay with cash.  If you do plan on paying with cash, try and find out exactly which tolls you will be going through and how much they cost, that way you can have your money ready and waiting when it is your turn to pass through.
  • Plan your route in advance and plan an alternative route should your original option be a traffic nightmare.  Be sure that you have any necessary directions at your disposal either via GPS or designate the front passenger as your navigator.
  • Stressing about traffic?  Not anymore!  Check out our blog on Traffic Apps that will help you save time and avoid the rush when traveling to your intended destination.  No one likes sitting in traffic, but especially not when there’s a huge delicious meal waiting for you!  These apps all have unique qualities so check them out and decide which one is right for you!
  • If you are traveling via the MBTA, the majority of commuter rail and T lines will be operating on a Sunday schedule on Thanksgiving day itself.  However, the Fairmount, Greenbush, Kingston/Plymouth, and Needham commuter rail lines will not be operating at all on Thanksgiving.  To accomodate riders going to and from Logan Airport, the Silver Line will be adding additional service during peak travel times before the holiday, and continuing until Tuesday, November 27, 2012.   For more detailed information on each specific line,buses, and the ferry click here.
  • If you will be flying during the holiday weekend, allow yourself plenty of time to arrive at the airport and get through security, as there will likely be a large volume of passengers all weekend and lines will be longer.  Also, be sure to check the status of your flight at least 24 hours in advance to be sure that it is scheduled to depart/arrive on time.  You can visit www.massport.com  for a list of arrival/departure info.
  • The most important tip we can offer is don’t drink and drive!  If you plan on having a few drinks designate a driver!  Driving during the holidays is always dangerous because of the extra heavy volume of cars, you don’t want to risk adding alcohol into the mix!
  • Before you head out on your holiday excursion, be sure you are properly insured!  If you have any questions regarding coverages or would like a quote, give us a call at MassDrive!  Any one of our agents would be happy to help you this holiday season!

We want everyone to have a safe and Happy Thanksgiving so follow these tips to be sure you’re staying safe and beating the traffic this holiday!

Photo By: epSos.de

 

 

Resources for Hurricane Sandy

NASA Sees Hurricane Sandy as the "Bride of Frankenstorm" Threaten U.S. East Coast
Hurricane Sandy has begun; just two days before Halloween, it has earned the nickname “Frankenstorm.” In Massachusetts, many schools and colleges are closed today, as are many offices and business. Governor Deval Patrick declared a state of emergency and urges everyone to stay indoors today if at all possible. Conditions are expected to worsen as the morning progresses, and widespread power outages are being anticipated. Information about the storm continues to update frequently, but as of now, here are some things you should know about Hurricane Sandy in Massachusetts:

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Haunted Drives Across The Bay State

 

With Halloween, right around the corner, there’s no better time to head out for a frighteningly fun excursion.  Do you dare go for a drive down these dark, dismal roads that are rumored to be haunted to this day?

Dudley Rd, Billerica – According to legend, Dudley Rd is the location where three nuns were hanged for practicing witchcraft.  Their convent, Daughters of Saint Paul, is still up and running today and if you dare you can take a ride down this public road and see it for yourself.  Some of the nuns attempted to run and hide in a field down the road before being found and hanged, and you can still see this field today.  Allegedly, a house was built on the location where the nuns were hanged  and had to be abandoned months later due to the fact that it began to sink into the ground.  Legend has it that you can still see this house if you drive down the road today, however you will have to look carefully, as it has sunken into the ground up to the second floor window.  Tread cautiously if you do decide to visit, there have been reports of being followed and haunted by these spirits.

Bridge Rd, Gardner – If you are coming off of Route 68 in Gardner, keep your eyes peeled for a tree on your left that is marked with a large red “X”.  The tree marks the location where a woman was killed in a car crash in 1995 due to an icy road.  It is said that you can see a white figure haunting the road that follows drivers until they pass the second cemetery on Route 68, headed into Baldinville.  Take a drive down here if you dare, maybe you will be one of the “lucky ones” who catches a glimpse of this eerie figure.

Beaver Brook Road, Littleton – There have been multiple reports of a ghostly farmer haunting this, all well as surrounding roads in the area.  The reports received enough attention that the local newspaper ran an article and did some research which lead them to discover that there was actually a farmer that had been killed on that road in the past.  Sightings of this farmer have only happened at night, do you dare venture out for a midnight ride to Littleton to potentially catch a glimpse of this haunted apparition?

Ghost Road, Milton – This haunted road runs through the Blue Hills in Milton known as Ghost Road.  This area of the Blue Hills used to be Indian territory, and although half of the road does have houses on it, the other side runs along miles of dark desolate woods.  It is rumored that Ghost road is haunted by a family that can be seen wandering along the side of the road in the middle of the night.  In addition to these sightings, visitors have reported getting chills and feeling as though they’re being watched by someone….spooky.

Route 67, New Braintree – Take a drive along Route 67 one dark night and you may catch a glimpse of Elsie, the ghost rumored to wander this road in search of her long lost husband.  The legend is that she was killed in a car accident on that road the night of her wedding while out looking for her future husband.  She is said to wander the road in her wedding dress, and has only been seen on the night of what would have been her wedding anniversary, April 21st.  Even though her anniversary is still months away, you never know what spirits are up and about with All Hallow’s Eve right around the corner!

Route 44, Rehoboth – Route 44 is home to not one, but two ghostly apparitions.  The first ghost is that of a red-headed hitchhiker who is said to terrorize drivers who go by on dark, lonely nights and has been known for “frightening acts”.  The second ghost haunts the cemetery off of Route 44.  The cemetery is said to be haunted by an old man who screams and pounds on car windows until they drive off in fear, what’s extra spooky is that he has been known to scream for a “Catherine”.

Whether you believe these legends or not is up to you, but if you’re looking for an adventure this Halloween take a drive along one of these haunted roads, but remember, you’ve been warned.  If you do visit one of these haunted destinations, please be respectful of personal and private property, many of these areas are heavily patrolled by law enforcement and trespassers will be prosecuted.

Source: TheShadowlands

Photo By: elbragon

Best Farms To Visit This Fall!

Everyone looks forward to fall, the cider donuts, hay rides, scarecrows, hot chocolate, and of course apple and pumpkin picking.  These apples and pumpkins become the key ingredient in many fall themed recipes and activities.  So whether you’re baking some apple crisp or carving the best jack-o-lantern on the block, you want to make sure you have the best of the best.  These farms all offer pumpkin and apple picking and have numerous other activities to keep everyone entertained.

Cider Hill Farm – This energy-efficient farm prides themselves on their respect for the environment and the many programs they have in place to maintain it.  They strive to be as environmentally friendly as possible and have their own wind mills, compost systems, and bee hives on the property.  You can even observe these bees from their farm store while you dip some apples in caramel, enjoy a cider donut, or sample one of their 65 varieties of apples.  They also have their own line of jams, jellies, and apple crisp mixes in addition to their already impressive bakery where they utilize their own crops to bake fresh pastries daily.  Of course the main attraction during the fall is the apple and pumpkin picking, and there are plenty of options and varieties to choose from. While you’re there take a hay ride or feed some of the goats and chickens that reside on the farm.

Hilltop Orchards – Take a ride out to Hilltop Orchards in the Berkshires this weekend.  Located in Richmond, this orchard is also home to the Furnace Brook Winery, where they produce award winning wines as well as Johnny Mash hard cider.  Guests over 21 can enjoy a free wine tasting and try an additional 5 wines for $5.00.  Take a hayride through the orchards and pick your own apples, there are 26 types to choose from!  Their Farm Winery Store has fresh fruit and baked goods for sale, as well as pies, apple cider donuts, and their home made fruit preserves.  In addition to these activities, there are multiple trails on the property to hike on your own, or take a guided hike or bike trip.

Honey Pot Hill Orchards – This farm in Stow is a great spot to bring the family to.  Not only do they have typical activities such as apple and pumpkin picking, but they also have three different mazes to explore.  The biggest maze, known as the Green Monster Maze is 1.5 miles and takes about an hour to complete.  It costs $11.95 for those over 13 and $7.95 for ages 5-12, children under 5 are free.  This fee covers your entrance into the Mini Monster Hedge Maze and the Tunnel Maze (ages 4-10) as well.  After wandering through the maze take a scenic hayride and pick your own apples.  They have over 12 varieties to choose from, including class MacIntosh, Cortland, Red Delicious, and much more.  Apple picking is expected to go through October 21st and there are still plenty of apples to pick.  Choose from the thousands of pumpkins available in their 12 acre patch, and on weekends take the kids to visit mascot Henry the bear!  There are farm animals to observe including ducks, bunnies, roosters, and goats, as well as classic fall staples such as apple cider, caramel apples, and cider donuts for sale so you won’t go hungry.  For those of you looking for a heartier lunch the grill is open and is cooking up hamburgers, hot dogs, and chili.

Smolak Farms – Located in North Andover, this farm has enough going on to entertain you for the entire day.  There are two apple orchards to choose from, one featuring your standard macintosh and cortland apples, and the other has a wide variety of rare apples, which makes them a bit more expensive.  There is also a pumpkin patch that sits right on a large pond, which makes it the perfect fall background for a photo op.  After you work up an appetite in the orchards, head over to the farm stand for one of their cider donuts!  Trust us, there is a reason why the line is so long but it’s worth the wait!  They also have candy apples, ice cream, and various other pastries for sale along with lunch specials and sandwiches baked on their fresh home made bread.  After you eat, bring the kids over to see the reindeer, goats, hens, cow, llamas, alpaca, and multiple different types of birds.    This farm has everything you love about fall and more, stop by before the apples get picked over!

Apple picking season came early this year, and has already ended at many farms in the area!  Take a drive with the family this weekend and stop by one of these orchards before they are picked over, it’s not every day that you can take a drive and enjoy the crisp fall air while taking in some classic New England foliage!

Photo By: madgerly

 

 

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