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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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How to Drive Safely With Snowbanks

The four blizzards in three weeks have left mountains of snow all around New England. Removing the snow has been challenging for towns everywhere, and with nowhere to move it all, the streets have becoming increasingly clogged. Travel lanes have been reduced from four to two, and two-way roads are now one way. Particularly small streets are so clogged up that even sidewalks cease to exist! If they do, they’re so narrow even the smallest of people have a hard time passing the massive snow banks. With nowhere else to walk, pedestrians than take to the road, resulting in further unsafe road conditions.

Here are a few safety tips on how to drive with massive snowbanks:

1. Drive SLOWER. Although that seems like such obvious advice, it really is so important.   In the winter, tires don’t hold to asphalt as well as they do in the summer. A mistake becomes much harder to correct with snow on the ground. Braking distances become longer, and the ability to dart around quickly in traffic decreases. Even when the roads seem cleared up, it’s still important to drive slowly due to decreased visibility from the snow banks. Many the snow piles tower way above 3 ½ feet- which is eye level for most drivers. The safest way to cross is to slowly come to a stop and then inch out to see if a car is coming. Even if you know that there is a stop sign for the intersected street, they might not able to see it due to the snow banks.

2. Make sure you windows are de-iced so you can properly see cars coming. Not only is driving with iced up windows incredibility unsafe, it is also illegal. You can quickly ice proof your windows by spraying them the night before with three parts vinegar and one part water. The acetic acid in vinegar will lower the melting point of water and preventing it from freezing. If you don’t get to it at night, spray the mixture in the morning to make scrapping much easier.

3. Check the pressure and tread of your tires. Too low pressure or bald tires can be extremely dangerous, especially in snowy weather. Having low pressure can cause heat build up, which can cause the tire to pop at high speeds. Most gas station have air pumps that will let you gauge the pressure and add more air if needed. Bald tires, or low tread means less traction to the road, especially in rain or snow. You can check this by placing a penny (the edge with Lincoln’s head pointing down) in one the grooves of the tire. If you can see all of Lincoln’s head, you need new tires.

4. Drive with your lights on. With snowbanks blocking drivers view, having your lights on with help make you known to other drivers. Even if the sun is out, if it’s snowing always have your lights on. With visibility so low when it snows, having your lights on will help you see other cars coming, and help drivers see you.

Massachusetts has had a record-breaking month with snow, and it will take some time for it all to melt. Keep these tips in mind so you can safely navigate around the snow covered streets!

Driving with Snowbanks

Dealing with Ice Dams

Ice dams go hand in hand with those beautiful looking icicles that form around your house. The snowy roofs and freezing weather that winter brings causes thick ridges of solid ice to form inside the eaves. These dams can cause havoc on your roof by ripping down gutters and loosening shingles. Even worse, they can cause water to pour back into your house.

To prevent them, it’s helpful to know why they form in the first place. Attics tend to collect heat and keep the roof warm. The eaves, however, stay cold. When snow lands on the warmer roof, it melts, slides down into the cold eaves and freezes up. As the ice begins to accumulate, a dam forms causing melted water from the roof to back up behind it, unable to flow off of the house, and comes under the shingles and into the house.

Once this happens, the mountain of problems begins: peeling paint, warped floors, stained and sagging ceilings. On top of all of this, the soggy insolation in the attic loses R-Value and becomes the perfect host for mold and mildew.

Fast Fixes for Ice Dams

If you already have ice dams, a quick way to stop the leak is to take a box fan into the attic and aim it at the underside of the roof where the water is leaking through. The cold air will freeze the water in its tracks in minutes. Do NOT hack away at the ice dams. Besides causing damage to your roof, it is dangerous for you. Also, throwing salt on the dams will cause more harm to your plants than it will affect the ice.

A more effective way to melt the ice is with panty hose and calcium chloride (yep, you read that right. I said panty hose). Fill one leg of a panty house with calcium chloride ice melter, tie it up, then lay it over the roof so it crosses the ice dam and overhangs the gutter. A long-handled garden tool may be helpful to push it into position. The calcium chloride will eventually melt through the snow and ice to create a channel for water to flow down into the gutters or off the roof.

Heated cables are a great way to prevent ice dams. Attaching them with clips along the roof’s edge in a zigzag patter will equalize your roof’s temperature preventing the ice dams from forming. Only problem with these heated cables is they must be installed before the bad weather occurs. Another helpful tool to have is a roof rake with wheels that can help you scrape off the snow from your roof without causing damage to the shingles.

Will Homeowners Insurance Cover Damage by Ice Dams?

Standard Homeowners Insurance policies do typically cover interior and exterior damage from water flowing into a house because of an ice dam. Many Homeowner Insurance policies have water damage exclusions that applies to water that comes from underground sources, such as seepage through soil or backup in pipes. Ice damage is likely not excluded from your policy because the source of the flooding is coming from your roof.

Most policies, however, will not cover ice dam or snow removal from your roof or anywhere else on your property.   Some companies may provide some ice dam removal out of “good will.” Check your policy for details

Best Solution to Preventing Ice Dams

The most permanent solution for preventing ice dams is keeping the entire roof the same temperature, which can be easier said than done. With increased ventilation, adding insolation, and sealing off all air leaks that could warm the underside of the roof, you should be able to keep the same temperature all around. Check out ThisOldHouse’s tips on taking care of roof trouble spots so you can enjoy a dam free winter.

 

Ice Dams Picture

The Top 6 Boston Parking Space Savers from the 2015 Snowstorms

With record high snowstorms hitting Boston this year, residents are participating in the long tradition of parking space savers. Parking has become a huge challenge for Bostonians with so much snow, Boston doesn’t even know where to put it. Even Mayor Marty Walsh has become a bit frustrated discussing the controversy and competitiveness of them when questioned on the topic at blizzard press conferences. With the amount of snow being so outrageous this year, so are the parking savers. Here are our favorite parking space savers from this season:

6. Although this parking saver is a classic chair, it makes our list because it’s probably the most outrageously huge parking spot ever dug out of snow.

5. This sign out right says what every parking space saver hints, “Do not even think about it”!

4. Parking a bike (or laying it down) as a space saver couldn’t be more clear to others that that is your parking spot. literally.

3. Having the adorable Pooh Bear stand guard of this parking spot doesn’t make the sign any less direct. “NO.” Also, woah that is a tall parking saver.

2. Using the shovel you broke from digging out your car from the snow is a genius way to make sure any parking space thief feels way too guilty to steal that spot.

And for the number 1 best parking saver..

1. Taking a once cute children’s toy and turning it into collateral damage with a frightening message is sure to scare away anyone from taking that parking spot.

There is a hot debate around Boston on whether or not parking savers should be allowed. The best way to approach it respect your neighbors. Everyone is dealing with the aftermath from these storms. There is a lot of snow in Boston, and even more heading our way. On the bright side, we can’t wait to see those crazy space savers continue to pop up around Boston. Let us know the craziest ones you find!

MassDrive Holiday Contest!

Dreaming of a White Christmas? Enter to win to 2 tickets to see the musical, Irving Berlin’s White Christmas, at Boston’s Wang Theater on December 27, 2014! Head on over to Facebook to enter!

Official Rules:

  • Entry Instructions:  Each person may enter by clicking “Like” on the MassDrive Facebook page and comment with your favorite holiday song. You may also enter the Contest by sending us the requested information by a postcard or letter addressed to “White Christmas Contest” to our mailing address at 241 A Street, Suite 400, Boston, Massachusetts, 02110. Please include your submission and how to contact you by phone, email and mailing address.  These complete Contest Rules may also be obtained by sending us a request at our address, above.
  • All entrants must be Massachusetts residents and age 18 or older.
  • Only one entry per person. No purchase of any MassDrive product is necessary and will not increase the likelihood of winning.
  • Entrants may not submit content that contains any elements that violate a third party’s copyrights or trademark rights; or depictions of any individuals that have not granted permission to appear in the entry.
  • The contest will begin on Wednesday December 3, 2014  and will end at 11:59 PM on Wednesday, December, 10th.  The contest winner will be selected by MassDrive based upon each entrant’s creativity and unique value and it will be judged upon adherence to our contest rules.  The winner will be announced in a post on our Facebook page the following day.  The winner can inbox us with their email address and we will email the tickets to them.
  • The contest winner will be mailed two tickets for a performance of “Irving Berlin’s White Christmas ” held at the Wang Theatre in Boston.
  • Employees and family members of MassDrive or Next Generation Insurance Group LLC are ineligible to enter.
  • MassDrive reserves the right to cancel, modify or suspend the Contest, if in its sole discretion any problem prevents the Contest from running as planned.  All entrants must agree to release and hold harmless MassDrive from any claim by the entrant associated by entrant’s participation in the Contest.  MassDrive is not responsible and cannot be held liable for technical errors or other things that may prevent the promotion from running as planned.  MassDrive also reserves the right to substitute the contest prize with another prize of equal or greater value if the advertised contest prize is not available.
  • These Contest Rules shall be governed by the laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, excluding its conflicts of laws provisions.
  • All entrants must agree to release and hold harmless Facebook from any claim by the entrant associated by entrant’s participation in the Contest. This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook.

Lightning Safety Tips

lightning

Hurricane season is here, and it seems like we’ve been having thunder and lightning storms every week.  While these storms can sometimes be fun to watch, they can also be extremely dangerous.  People are injured by lightning every year, but these simple tips will ensure that you stay safe!

  • It’s important to stay alert and aware of local weather forecasts, whether you’re staying local or going somewhere on vacation, make sure you look up local weather forecasts so you can avoid being outside if a thunder and lightning storm is expected.
  • It is not safe to be outside during a thunder and lightning storm.  Seek shelter immediately, being indoors is the best option but if not stay inside an enclosed metal vehicle.  Even if it is not raining, as soon as you hear thunder or see lightning, immediately stop your activities and head inside.
  • Once you’re inside, stay off porches, away from windows and doors, avoid appliances, sinks, toilets, showers, and tubs.  Lightning can flow through these objects and strike a person.
  • Avoid using corded telephones.  If telephone wires are struck the charge could flow to the phone, Cordless phones and cell phones are still safe to use though.
  • If you are outside and cannot seek shelter, stay away from trees and other tall objects.  If these are struck and fall over, you could be seriously injured.  Avoid high places such as hills, and get to the lowest spot possible.  Crouch down with your feet close together, keep your hands and knees off the ground and never lie down.
  • If you are swimming or boating, get to land immediately and take shelter.  If you are on a boat and cannot get to land, get below deck if possible or crouch as low as you possibly can.
  • Stay away from objects that conduct electricity such as power lines and metal fences.
  • Stay inside for at least 30 minutes after you hear the last boom of thunder just to be sure the storm has completely passed.
  • If someone nearby is struck by lightning, call 911 immediately and if the person is unconscious, begin CPR if you are qualified.  People struck by lightning do not carry an electric charge so it is perfectly safe to assist them.

Although thunder and lightning storms can happen year-round, hurricane season is the busiest season for these storms, and by keeping these tips in mind, you will greatly reduce your risk of being struck by lightning.

Photo By: John Fowler

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