Valentine’s Day – Is it Really a Hallmark Holiday?

love_text_in_hippie-1024x768“The greatest thing you’ll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return.” It is one of the most crucial aspects of being human.

Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be a Hallmark holiday. It’s a great reminder for us to take a day to pause in our hectic lives and acknowledge everyone in your life that you love and that love you.Think of your parents, grandparents, siblings, and friends. Take time today to tell them what they mean to you and how thankful you are to have them in your life.

Valentines day is also a day to love yourself. Celebrate all that is positive about YOU (and there is a lot!). Celebrate with friends, treat yourself to a spa day, or make plans to volunteer at a nursing home, children’s hospital, or animal shelter. There are so many ways to give back and come out of it feeling happier and more uplifted in the process.

If you are looking for a last minute Valentines Day gift, visit http://exclusivelygifted.com  where you can find eGift Cards to perfect local spas, eateries, artisans and more all throughout the South Shore.

Have a Happy Valentine’s Day!

Scenic Bike Adventures Throughout New England

Tour on two wheels and with your own two feet, Atlantic seaside villages in Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island to rolling hills and farm land in Vermont to light houses on the rugged Maine coast and vibrant foliage of the white mountains or the Berkshires. Glorious weekend or week-long adventures await you. See which tour company fits your bicycle tour bucket list criteria.


Summer Feet – Maine
http://www.summerfeet.net/

The 10 unique tours offered by Summer Feet are created from experience. Whether you join them for their half day 5 Lighthouse Portland Tour or one of their Weekend Bike Tour or Weeklong Bicycle Tours they give you a personalized, guided tour of their favorite, little-known areas of Maine. Cycling trips take you down picturesque coastal roads, onto quiet islands and along hidden paths. You’re rewarded at each turn with beautiful scenery and a taste of the best offerings of the coast.
#summerfeet
Backroads Bicycle Tours – Martha’s Vineyard, MA
http://www.backroads.com/trips/BMTI/marthas-vineyard-nantucket-biking-tour

Atlantic Islands & Beachside Villages
It’ll be early on. You’ll round a corner on one of the beach roads, maybe in ‘Sconset or Aquinnah. And it will hit you. The quiet. The open Atlantic pulsing on the shore. Sea birds above and a beach breeze rustling the dunes. It gives you that “I’m never going back” feeling where you imagine selling all your possessions and buying a lobster boat. It’s okay, the feeling passes eventually. But you’ll have five days to enjoy it.
#backroadsbicycletours
Great Freedom Adventures – Rhode Island
http://www.greatfreedomadventures.com/rhode-island-bike-vacations.html

The Rhode Island Tour: Sea Breezes, Lighthouses, Farms, and Yachts
Panoramic ocean vistas, wildlife-filled salt ponds, wide beaches, stately lighthouses, fishing villages, colonial Dutch windmills, grazing sheep, America’s Cup yachts, the “summer cottages” of 19th century millionaires, and so much more will captivate you as we bike Rhode Island’s inlets and isles.
#GreatFreedomAdventures
Easy Rider Tours –Berkshires, MA
http://www.easyridertours.com/new-england/berkshires-biking-vacations.html

Autumn in the Berkshires
Rich with color, art, and history, the Berkshire Hills of western Massachusetts make for spectacular fall cycling. Their routes lead through idyllic farmlands, forested hillsides, and quintessential New England villages. They’ll stop to visit the Berkshires’ best-loved cultural landmarks, from the Norman Rockwell Museum to Hancock Shaker Village, whose beautifully preserved buildings and gardens are all that remain of the Shakers’ eighteenth-century “City of Peace.” Artists, authors, and dreamers alike have found inspiration in the Berkshires’ beauty. Many a cyclist has as well!
#easyridertours
VBT – Vermont
http://www.vbt.com/tours/biking-southern-vermont-a-new-england-idyll/

Biking Southern Vermont: A New England Idyll
Quality and unsurpassed value is the unconditional foundation of every VBT active vacation. There’s nothing like traveling with a local to get the most out of your new destination: That’s why every VBT vacation is guided by two Trip Leaders who are local to the region. A fascinating blend of tour guide, coach, driver, and caregiver, your Trip Leaders will delight you with their detailed knowledge of customs and cuisine, knack for bringing you closer to your traveling companions, and unflappable good cheer.
#VermontBicycleTours
CT Bike Tours
http://www.ctbiketours.com/

Their bicycle tours are leisurely paced guided rides along gently rolling hills that are made easy to navigate thanks to their 24 speed “comfort bikes”…or, if you’ve brought it along, ride your own. Either way, join them on their popular shoreline bicycle and boat ride or, if your visit to Connecticut takes you away from the shore, they can design a guided ride that will take you along rolling country roads past scenic villages, forests and farms, anywhere in the state.
#CTBikeTours
Bike The Whites – New Hampshire
http://www.bikethewhites.com/

Bike the Whites is New Hampshire’s premier inn-to-inn bicycling tour combining the grandeur of the White Mountains with the pampered luxury and exquisite cuisine of three of New Hampshire’s finest Country Inns. Enjoy three days of cycling along scenic back roads on gently rolling terrain. Stop for a break by a covered bridge or scenic waterfall. Take a dip in a cool mountain lake.
#BikeNewHampshire

One-Of-A-Kind Special Adventure for a Special Occasion

Private Sailing Charters Around Boston Harbor

There are so many memorable occasions that would be over-the-top amazing on a privately charted sailing vessel: A Wedding, Rehearsal Dinner, Engagement, Anniversary, Milestone Birthday, Corporate Event or with a group of friends and family, “Just Because”. Enjoy the ride!


Duchess of Boston Sailing Charters – Boston, MA
http://www.duchessofbostonsailingcharters.com/

Captain Chris Is a licensed U.S. Coast Guard Captain with over 20 years of experience sailing. A Charter to the Outer Harbor Islands requires a minimum of 4 hours. There are many relaxing possibilities. Cool down with a swim off the Duchess followed by a fresh water rinse with the outdoor shower or enjoy one of the island walking trails before you sail back to the city. Talk to the Captain Chris to understand the Charter duration necessary for your outing.
Come Sail Away Now – Boston, MA
http://www.comesailawaynow.com/

Captain Don is a USCG Licensed Master. He is certified to captain a motor, towing, or sailing vessel of up to 100 tons in near coastal waters. Private boat charters on Boston Harbor are great for any occasion. The crew of Tupelo Honey works to meet your specific needs during your cruise around the harbor of Boston. A private charter aboard the Tupelo Honey allows for you to BYOB/snacks or have your cruise catered by one of the local area restaurants. We are happy to have food and beverages arranged for your sail if notified in advanced. We love to see Tupelo Honey chartered for engagement parties, graduations, first dates, a girl’s night out or other fun events.
Liberty Fleet of Tall Ships – Boston, MA
https://www.libertyfleet.com/

If you’re hosting a Boston special event for your company, friends, family, clients, or employees, you want it to be memorable. We can’t think of a better way to wow your guests than by bringing them sailing on board one of our magnificent tall ships for a Boston private sailing charter on Boston Harbor. With several catering and bar options, we are able to customize each occasion to fit your needs. Whether a Boston corporate mixer, a Boston wedding, or a Boston private party, come aboard with us for an unforgettable sailing experience!
All Hands Sailing – Charlestown, MA
http://www.allhandssailing.com/

Captains Bob Damiano and Linda Perry Riera invite you to be part of the great sailing tradition in Boston and share their love of New England cruising. Their 40′ Tartan, Argon, is ready to depart on a relaxing (or thrilling!) sail out of Charlestown. Whether you’ve never been on the water before or are an experienced sailor, you will have a memorable time. Our captained charters are private for your group only – the whole boat is yours! Guests are encouraged to become part of the crew by participating in the sailing adventure. Trim sails, or man the helm or just relax as we enjoy the Boston city skyline, explore the Boston Harbor Islands, or perhaps venture further.
#duchessofboston #comesailaway #libertyfleetoftallships #allhandssailing

A Summertime Family Adventure – Kayaking

Explore Scenic Kayaking Tours around Eastern Massachusetts

There are few sporting activities that give the outdoor enthusiast such a diverse array of experiences in one sport like kayaking does. You can choose the adrenaline rush of white water kayaking, the tranquility of paddling through calm waters viewing all the wildlife on the river banks or a change of pace from fishing off piers and bridges to fishing from your kayak with a boat that is designed specifically for the angler. People of all ages and all walks of life are becoming addicted to this sport, will you?


Plum Island Kayak – Newburyport, MA
http://www.plumislandkayak.com/plum/index.php

Located just 40 minutes north of Boston in Newburyport Massachusetts, they offer a wide variety of guided Kayak and Stand Up Paddle Board tours. Not interested in a group tour? Then why not rent or arrange for a private tour or private instruction. They also organize unique “Peddle & Paddle” adventures.
Ecotourz – Sandwich, MA
http://ecotourz.net/

Take a spectacular Kayak trip through extensive estuaries and marshes located in the Upper Cape, Enjoy a different perspective from the Historic Mill Creek which offers amazing wildlife consistent of Blue Herons, Osprey, as well as a wide variety of Tern and other fish feeding birdlife. The plant life on the creeks and marshes are truly special, as you travel deeper into the estuaries the grasses and flora change before your eyes.
Osprey Sea Kayak Adventures – Westport, MA
http://ospreyseakayak.com/

Osprey Sea Kayak Adventures offers a variety of guided trips, from tranquil sunset sojourns to exciting open water paddles. They have trips scheduled regularly throughout the season and most tours can easily be arranged with a day or two notice. They also offer custom adventures for groups of four or more people.
Discovery Adventures – Gloucester, MA
http://discoadventures.com/

Their Mission is to excite people of all ages, about the coastal and ocean environments with an emphasis on fun and exploration of the natural beauty around Cape Ann. Through their naturalist guided tours they seek to foster a love and respect for the ocean. Kayaks allow you to float gracefully along rocky inlets, tidal estuaries, and sandy beaches. Using your own power to move you quietly along, you visit areas only inhabited by seals, starfish, and sea birds.
Essex River Basin Adventures – Essex, MA
http://www.erba.com/tours.htm

Essex River Basin Adventures is the longest running sea kayak adventure company in Massachusetts, providing guided sea kayak tours, lessons, and sales since 1994. They are located just 40 miles north of Boston in historic Cape Ann. Paddle with them to explore the beauty of the Essex River Basin and coastal North Shore of Massachusetts.
Billington Sea Kayak – Plymouth, MA
http://www.billingtonseakayak.com/

Billington Sea Kayak is the place to go for the experienced kayaker, the beginner, or those who just want to find out more about paddle sports. BSK is a unique kayak and canoe business. Their shop is located right on Billington Sea, a large inland lake located in Plymouth, Massachusetts (about an hour’s drive from Boston) They offer a full line of kayaks and canoes to choose from, free on-water demos every weekend throughout the season, kayaking instruction taught by certified instructors, and helpful staff who are kayaking enthusiasts themselves.

New England Craft Breweries – Part 2 (Rhode Island & Connecticut)

The perfect activity/day trip for a rainy summer afternoon.

An American “Craft Brewer” is: small – (the brewery distributes no more than six million barrels of beer a year); independent – (less than 25 percent of the brewery is owned by a non-craft beer brewery (example: Anheuser-Bush) and…traditional – (the majority of the brewery’s output consists of “beers whose flavor derives from traditional or innovative brewing ingredients and their fermentation.”

If you’d like to participate in this movement that is taking our country by storm, here are a few local New England breweries to check-out and support the next time you’re have a craving for an authentic local cold craft beer.

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Rhode Island
Foolproof – Pawtucket, RI
http://www.foolproofbrewing.com/

At Foolproof, they think about beer a bit differently. To them, beer is not just an alcoholic beverage but an experience that should be thoroughly savored and enjoyed. That’s why when they brew each beer, they think about specific life experiences and what style of beer would be absolutely perfect for that particular occasion. That’s how they came up with the concept of “experience-based brewing.” Each of their beers serves as a tribute to a sacred beer drinking experience—whether you’re watching a baseball game, relaxing at home on a rainy day, or just catching up with friends at the local pub, Foolproof’s goal is to create a unique and fulfilling beer experience for you.
Newport Storm Brewery – Newport, RI
http://www.newportstorm.com/

It isn’t surprising to hear that four guys from college came up with an idea to start a brewery. What may be surprising is that these guys are all still great friends and the brewery is still growing after over a decade. Coastal Extreme Brewing (or The Newport Storm Brewery as they are known by many) was the dream of Brent, Derek, Mark, and Will. These four spent their years at Colby studying the science that would help them understand how to make beer while also doing the “sampling” that would make them love beer. In 1997, staring at graduation and a life just working in “a job”, the idea was hatched to start a brewery. They have focused over 15 years on a local, sustainable and unique approach to hand-crafting almost 20 different varieties of beer each year.
Ravenous Brewing Company – Woonsocket, RI
http://www.ravenousbrew.com/

The Ravenous Brewing Company, established in October 2012, it is situated in the northern end of Rhode Island. They are a family owned business very small in scale, and is what would typically be categorized as a “Nano” brewery. Their Ales are made with small equipment that requires true physical involvement from the brewers with each and every batch of beer produced. Though labor intensive, their passion and dedication for quality goes into every batch of Ravenous Ale that goes out into the market. Their batches of beer are forged by hand and truly qualify as handcrafted, artisan ales.
Bucket Brewery – Pawtucket, RI
http://bucketbrewery.com/

In the Fall of 2013, brewing began in the Bucket’s newest facility and in November, Bucket Brewery was officially opened to the public. In addition to the kegs of beer that were the exclusive packaging in the pilot site, Bucket started shipping beer in 64oz and 32oz containers. The beer has been very well received by their Rhode Island customers and the brewery continues to grow! Bucket now holds tours and tastings every Saturday, as well as the Friday Night Sound Check music and art series, and other events.

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Connecticut
Stony Creek Brewery – Branford, CT
http://stonycreekbeer.com/

Stony Creek Brewery believes this is the time for Connecticut craft beer, and their small yet ambitious team is doing their part to contribute creative, high-quality beers that inspire people across the region, and invest in a bright future for the state. Their modern brewery is a sight to be seen, with a stunning indoor/outdoor taproom, game pit, dock access, and a first-hand look at their canning and bottling lines right from the taproom.
Thimble Island Brewery – Branford, CT
http://www.thimbleislandbrewery.com/

Founders Justin Gargano and Mike Fawcett both grew up on the Connecticut shoreline. As do most home brewers, the two friends shared the dream of one day opening a brewery to share their creations with the community they have grown to love. Thimble Island Brewing Company continues to expand their recipes, now offering several standard varieties available on tap at bars and restaurants throughout the Connecticut shoreline, as well as specialty brews found only in the brewery’s tasting room. They are looking forward to opening the doors of a new larger facility, expected to be completed by the summer of 2015.
Beer’d Brewing Company – Stonington, CT
http://beerdbrewing.com/

What is The Beer’d Brewing Company? It is an amalgamation of art and science. A genuine local offering. A variance from the established norm. The Beer’d Brewing Company is the brain child of Aaren Simoncini. Brewing hand crafted ales in extremely small batches, The Beer’d Brewing Company will revisit the rich history of the South Eastern Connecticut, and pay homage to the highly skilled craftsman that created the foundation of this great community.

New England Craft Breweries Are All The Rage – Part 1 (Massachusetts)

A perfect activity/day trip for a rainy summer afternoon.

An American “Craft Brewer” is: small – (the brewery distributes no more than six million barrels of beer a year); independent – (less than 25 percent of the brewery is owned by a non-craft beer brewery (example: Anheuser-Bush) and…traditional – (the majority of the brewery’s output consists of “beers whose flavor derives from traditional or innovative brewing ingredients and their fermentation.”)

If you’d like to participate in this movement that is taking our country by storm, here are a few local New England breweries to check-out and support the next time you’re have a craving for an authentic cold craft brewski.

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Massachusetts
Trillium – Boston, MA
http://www.trilliumbrewing.com/

A family owned and operated brewery in the Fort Point Channel neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts. Trillium was created to realize a dream of bringing creative and flavorful beers to the consumer. Trillium craft beers are created on the shoulders of native ingredients and artisan practices, balancing them with modern-day expertise.
Cape Anne Brewing – Gloucester, MA
http://www.capeannbrewing.com/

Visit their brew house, enjoy a pint, and take a free tour of the Cape Ann Brewing Company. Taste their specialty craft beers on draft and brewed on premise. Fisherman’s beer — whose bold flavor and character reflect the spirit and courage of the sailors of the North Atlantic fishing fleet — is a tribute to hard work and a salute to friendships that endure. Cape Ann Brewing Company is an award-winning, family-owned, craft brewery in the heart of downtown Gloucester, Massachusetts on Boston’s North Shore.
Berkshire Brewing Company – South Deerfield, MA
http://www.berkshirebrewingcompany.com/

Berkshire Brewing Company was founded in the fall of 1994 in historic South Deerfield, MA. The founders shared a single purpose: to revive a time-honored tradition of high quality craft brewing in this part of the region. By word of mouth – and taste buds – Berkshire’s fresh, unfiltered, unpasteurized ales quickly became a success with beer-drinkers throughout Western Massachusetts and beyond.
Cambridge Brewing Company – Cambridge, MA
http://cambridgebrewingcompany.com/

Nationally acclaimed and locally cherished, the Cambridge Brewing Company has been at the forefront of the Pub Brewery movement since their inception in 1989. Their focus on high quality craft beers and seasonally inspired New England fare have led to numerous accolades and a devoted clientele. Their team of brewers crafts a wide array of traditional, new American and experimental beers styles. They are the first commercial brewery in America to produce a Belgian beer and their barrel cellar was one of the first of its kind, creating wood aged beers and utilizing micro flora to enhance flavors.
Newburyport Brewing Company – Newburyport, MA
http://nbptbrewing.com/

Co-Founded by Newburyport residents Bill Fisher & Chris Webb, Newburyport Brewing Company is Massachusetts’ only “keg and can” brewery with three ales: Newburyport Pale Ale™, Plum Island Belgian White™ and Green Head IPA™, the beer that bites you back. They brew great beer, play in an 8-piece funk band and love adventure. A few years ago while watching the Bruins win the Stanley Cup they decided to share their passions with the world by creating the Newburyport Brewing Company. Their brand is based on three things… Using the best ingredients in the world to brew amazing beer, sharing Newburyport and its rich seaport history, and going on adventures with great beer in a can.

Lovely Seaside Inns Sprinkled Throughout New England

If you’re looking for a relaxing and romantic getaway for a special occasion, or simply a little tranquility to re-charge your batteries alone or with a loved one, you won’t be disappointed by any one of the following beautiful seaside inns. Enjoy!

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The Red Inn, Provincetown, MA
http://theredinn.com/
Built in 1805 on beautiful Provincetown Harbor, The Red Inn has welcomed guests since 1915, including President and Mrs. Theodore Roosevelt, celebrities, dignitaries, and — most importantly — everyday guests. Today The Red Inn is known around the world for offering premiere accommodations in a spectacular setting.
The Beach Plum Inn and Restaurant, Menemsha, MA
http://www.beachpluminn.com/
Perched atop the Vineyard Sound, since 1950, the 13-room inn’s simple accommodations provide a quiet respite and the stillness of up-island living. A path winding past chickens leads down to the beach in the 350-year old fishing village of Menemsha. Lodging options include rooms, private cottages and homes.
Dockside Inn – Oak Bluffs – Martha’s Vineyard, MA
http://www.vineyardinns.com/
The Dockside Inn, located along the famously picturesque Oak Bluffs Harbor, is a boutique-style hotel which perfectly blends handsome, award-winning contemporary design with whimsical nautical decor and modern convenience. The Dockside Inn’s 22 tastefully decorated rooms are perfect for couples, families, and wedding groups alike, and their in-town, harbor-side location makes them the perfect place from which to explore and enjoy all of the fabled historic sites and beautiful vistas that make a stay on Martha’s Vineyard such a memorable experience.
Bass Rocks Ocean Inn, Gloucester, MA
http://www.bassrocksoceaninn.com/
Anchoring the rocky coastline of Gloucester, The Bass Rocks Ocean Inn is a historic oceanfront hotel on Massachusetts’ north shore that has enchanted visitors for well over half a century. This serene, beloved inn delights with breathtaking ocean views and services and amenities that encourage guests to explore and embrace the charm of coastal New England.
Black Point Inn, Scarborough, ME
http://www.blackpointinn.com/
Black Point Inn is an historic, grand hotel on Prouts Neck, minutes from bustling Portland and with easy access from the Portland Jetport. Presiding over one of the most spectacular settings along Maine’s ruggedly beautiful coastline, Black Point Inn is nestled on lushly landscaped property located at the tip of Prouts Neck. Here, surrounded by water on three sides, you’ll be captivated by the Inn’s majestic cliffs and ever changing seascape.
The Claremont Hotel, Southwest Harbor, ME
http://www.theclaremonthotel.com/
The historic Claremont Hotel in Southwest Harbor, Maine, has provided classic refuge for visitors to Bar Harbor, Acadia National Park, and Mount Desert Island (MDI) each summer since 1884. Situated at the mouth of Somes Sound, the east coast’s only fjord, their six-acre shorefront resort includes the historic hotel with 24 guest rooms, the Phillips House with 6 private inn-style rooms, and 14 housekeeping cottages. On-site facilities include Xanthus restaurant and bar, dock, moorings, boat house restaurant, rowboats, bicycles, clay tennis court and two tournament-class croquet courts. Their housekeeping cottages, some with ocean views, all with fireplaces, decks and kitchenettes, are ideal for family vacations, or romantic weekend getaways. Xanthus, their acclaimed dining room, offers gourmet cuisine to hotel and outside guests, and water views from every table. Bed and breakfast meal plans are available to hotel guests.
Shelter Harbor inn – Westerly, RI
http://www.shelterharborinn.com/
Originally a farmhouse built in the early 1800’s, the Shelter Harbor Inn is now a charming, unpretentious country inn where the emphasis is on relaxation, good food and a warm, comfortable, and friendly atmosphere. The inn is located near one of the most beautiful sections of the Rhode Island Shoreline. Guests of the inn have access to a private beach in Weekapaug, a beautiful natural barrier beach stretching for two miles along the shores of Quonochontaug Pond and the Atlantic Ocean.
Pleasant View Inn – Westerly, RI
http://www.pvinn.com/
Situated on seven miles of sandy beach just steps away from the Atlantic Ocean a charming beachside family resort welcomes the season with new guestrooms and friendly service. An outdoor heated pool and onsite restaurant are yours to enjoy during your stay. Pleasant View Inn is within easy reach of the beach and convenient to shops, restaurants, and popular attractions such as: Watch Hill, Block Island Ferry Service and Mystic, Connecticut. As always, beachfront accommodations, a warm and inviting atmosphere, and thoughtful amenities are just a few reasons why Pleasant View Inn has been the go-to vacation spot for generations.
Inn at Stonington, Stonington Borough, CT
http://www.theinnatstonington.com/
The Inn at Stonington is a beautifully appointed 18-room inn located in Stonington Borough, Connecticut, a village rich in New England history. Set along the waterfront, The Inn is a short stroll from a host of award-winning restaurants, shops and galleries —an ideal setting for a romantic get-away or business retreat.
Madison Beach Hotel, Madison, CT
http://madisonbeachhotel.com/
A world of tranquility and comfortable elegance awaits you at Madison Beach Hotel. With 32 spacious beachfront rooms in Madison, Connecticut, each featuring all the comforts you could want, including complimentary Internet access, flat screen TVs with cable channels, and private balconies that overlook the water. Whether you are planning a romantic getaway or a spa weekend with your girlfriends, you’re sure to enjoy plush bedding, luxury linens, and upgraded amenities that come standard at Madison Beach resort.