Friday, October 13, 2017

The Kind of Thing I Love to Hear

Last weekend at Maynard Fest I spoke to an acquaintance/friend whom I don't run into very often. This meant that we spent about twenty minutes standing in the street, where we tried to catch up on how life has been going for our families. He said something to me that I absolutely love and felt the need to share.

"We were thinking about moving, maybe to Florida or something—someplace warm, where the houses and general costs are less—but you can't take your community with you."

That's right.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

More Than Pleasantly Surprised by the Pleasant Cafe, and Other Local Good Stuff

A couple of weekends ago we had the luck of having a date night. Our daughter was at a birthday party sleepover and we were faced with a whole day of time to ourselves. I wanted to keep it local, but I also felt like I wanted to do something different.

We dusted off our tandem bike (it hadn't gotten out last year), and took the rail trail toward Stow. We even took it up into parts of the Assabet Wildlife Refuge.

While on the trail, we stopped to check out the new kayak launch at Ice House Landing. It looks really cool, and it's great that there's a parking lot just across the rail trail from it. So you can park your car and just walk your kayak across the trail and you're in the water. Kayakers have told me that one of the selling points is that you don't have to get your feet wet to get in the water. (If only there were a place that rented kayaks in town. How about near Ray and Sons, and they'd cart them over for you? Wishful thinking.)

Our nice, long bike ride led us to another Maynard Must—riding to Erikson's for ice cream. They were getting ready for their 80th anniversary celebration the next day.

In the evening there was an opening at 6 Bridges Gallery. The place was packed and people were having interesting conversations all around. There was the work of about 20 artists in this, their most recent, juried show with the theme of "connections," and many of the artists (from around the region) were in attendance.

Since we were sans kiddo, we decided we could really adult and have dinner at 9:00pm. That's right, the hour before 10:00! My husband wanted to have steak, and we needed to find a place to eat that would be open and serving at that hour. That's how we ended up at the Pleasant Cafe—they had steak tips on the menu, and they were open late. Let me just be honest here, I have lived in Maynard for twenty years and I had never been inside the Pleasant Cafe. I know, I know, shame on me, but my husband and I aren't really bar people, so unless the food is good, we're not going. Lucky for us, the food was excellent.

I had clam chowder to start, and he had a caprese salad. My chowder was good—a slightly tangier version than what I've had, but I liked it. The salad was great. But the steak tips were really, really, really good. We weren't that hungry, so we shared it, and that was plenty. We got to choose two sides, and I might have to say that the onion rings might be the best in town. On a whim I figured I'd make a healthy choice and order some green beans, not expecting much. They were bright and crisp, and obviously very fresh. I was totally impressed.

It was a little loud in the cafe during our dinner because when we arrived there was a DJ setting up. By 9:30 people were hitting the floor dancing. I don't dance, but I live vicariously through others, and we were lucky enough to have Bruce Davidson and Nicole Kosersky there cutting the rug. Have you ever seen that woman dance? She's the one who has led the flash mob during the Spring ArtWalk, and dancing seems to be her vocabulary (though the flash mob video doesn't show her talent).

As I said, we hadn't ever been in the PC before, and didn't get to see it before it was remodeled, but I like the way it looks. There's a nostalgic feel to it, with their old sign hung on the wall and the tin ceilings. There were a lot of younger patrons, but there seemed to be many regulars. There was a nice mixed-age feeling in the room.

We had a really nice day in Maynard all around, and I'm certain we'll be heading back to the Pleasant Cafe again soon. You can follow them on Facebook, too. Here's a link. 

Monday, June 19, 2017

Ribbon Cutting for the Maynard Honeybee Meadow 6/24, 2pm

Let me start by saying that this post is a little self serving, because I'm on the project, but I don't even feel bad about it because it's such a cool and wonderful thing, and so many of you helped make it happen. 

On Saturday, June 24th at two o'clock, there will be a ribbon cutting ceremony at the Maynard Honeybee Meadow. So many local citizens pitched in to help make this project happen, and Melissa Ljosa and I so appreciate it. If you don't know what I'm talking about, check out the link to the original campaign.

As we've been working, especially Melissa (she's the real powerhouse behind this project), we've been delighting when each flower opens, when we find Maynard Rocks hidden on the edges of the meadow, when people are enjoying the benches, or folks are just stopping to say hello.

The Maynard Honeybee Meadow before work began.
When we started this project more than a year ago, I feared that maybe it wouldn't live up to our dreams. Boy was I wrong. The various parts of the project that needed to be made were sourced locally from our own high school students, artists, woodworkers, and landscapers. Every person involved put in so much time and effort, and when I look at the meadow, I can't imagine it feeling complete with out each of their contributions.

But don't expect to see any bees yet, not unless they're coming from other areas. They can't go in until we've completed the work that we need to do. Also, if you visit the meadow you'll see a section of garden that is more established than the rest. That part was seeded in the fall and shows nicely how the meadow is developing.

We hope you will join us on Saturday. There is going to be some live music, and kids can work together to paint some toad houses that we'll be putting in the meadow. We're also going to have a ladybug release!

Where: 63 Summer St., behind ArtSpace Maynard. Limited parking is available at the back of the building, or you can park along Summer Street, but pay attention to all the no parking signs in the area.

If you're visiting the meadow, please don't pick the flowers., and please stay on the paths—there are many fragile seedlings that are trying to establish themselves. Keep dogs on the paths and out of the plantings, and clean up after them if they've left a mess. Thank you for helping us keep the meadow beautiful and safe.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Maynard: My Place, Your Place

I like using the word "place" when I talk about our town. The word can be used to refer to ones' home, as in, "Come on over to my place after work today." But "place" means more than that. My favorite of all the different and subtle meanings is the one that kind of means "where you belong"—your place. I have a place in Maynard.

If I handed you a map of our town, and asked you to circle your place, your home, you might find your street and guess as to where your house or apartment might be. But your place is bigger than that.

With our town's land area being about five square miles (including a golf course and conservation land), our ten-thousand citizens are packed in pretty tight. You know what that means, don't you? Sure it means that, if you're a home owner, you might be sharing your driveway with a few different houses, or that your house takes up at least fifty percent of your lot space. But it also means that you are part of a close community where running into other Maynardians (Maynardites?) is just what happens. Around here, if we aren't friends, then we do our best to like each other and get along. I wish the whole country could live like this.

With such limited space, every person who lives in Maynard should consider the downtown as part of their property, like a giant family room. It's the place where we can go and hang out with friends without having to make sure that all the dishes in the sink have been washed and all the clothes are picked up off the floor. It's where we get to see people without having had to make an appointment. In fact, I get to see people in town that I never get to see anywhere else. They've never been to my house, and I've never been to theirs, and yet I feel close to them. Heck, some even send us greeting cards.

So utilize all your property. Put yourself into the Maynard family room. Get connected to people here, because the more people you know, the more you'll realize that you're home, that this is your place.

We all have a place in Maynard.

Art's Specialties—two thumbs up!

I finally got to meet Art, the owner of Art's Specialties. I had hoped to get over there for the wine and smoked fish tasting that he had on Saturday, but I was traveling. I was so bummed. I heard it was nice.

I found myself in there with another Maynard friend on Sunday afternoon, looking for something I could make for dinner. I got some Italian sausage (really delicious, and not like any I've had before) and some spinach and asiago stuffed ravioli. Also delicious.

While I was there, I decided to buy a bottle of wine. It just so happens that the one I picked up happened to be one of the wines he had sampled on Saturday. He suggested a wine tasting, and like that he had three bottles of wine out for us to try. It was great. I loved my purchase and left with a few other things, too.

If you haven't been in yet, stop by. They are open late by Maynard standards, so though you can stop in during the day (yes, even on a Monday), you stop in after work if that works for you.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Strange Things Seen in Maynard, Episode No. 5, The Man With the Giant Rabbit

Have you seen the man walking around downtown carrying really big rabbit on his shoulder? I caught a glimpse of him a few times, but wasn't fast enough to grab his picture. Fortunately, Catherine A. helped me out.

It seems the rabbit owner only holds it as pictured when he's showing people how big it is. Usually you'll see him with it on his shoulder snuggled against his neck.

For a small town, Maynard's got interesting, and that makes me happy.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Art's Specialties—Open and Delicious!

I thought to myself, If they have smoked salmon cream cheese, I will be in a happy place. I walked in to Art's Specialties, the new specialty food shop that just opened on Nason Street that I had been hearing so much about.

The man working immediately stepped forward to welcome me. I asked about the cream cheese. Smiling, he pointed it right out to me. I picked up the package to inspect it. "To Die For" was the brand name, and before I even had a chance to ask, he confirmed what I had heard. "That is made right here in Maynard over on Main Street." People had told me that. How could I not have known? Can you believe it? This stuff gets sold all over the place, but had not been sold right here at home. I suppose it's because we never had the kind of place that would carry it. Now we do.

I walked through the shop, more and more delighted with every step I took. Alessandro let me sample some jelly. Among basic flavors, you could get beer jelly and wine jelly, which I tried. They were good, and I could see gifting them to someone I like. Then I sampled some lemon pepper olive oil. I could smell the lemon. The oil was tasty and light.

Other things you'll find: tea in bulk, a wall of hot sauces, spices, olives, appetizer sausages, prosciutto, cheeses, specialty vinegars, Mexican chocolate, bulk nuts, crackers, and more. I hear that they're going to try and get a bread supplier, so we might also have crusty loaves in our futures. Price wise, this is a specialty shop with many imported items, so don't expect discount store prices.

After gathering up a handful of items, I made my way to the checkout, where Alessandro (the manager) and I chatted for a bit. This is such an important part of any Maynard transaction for me. Yes, I'm there to buy something, but I'm also there to be part of something, part of the community, I guess. He held up his end beautifully.

Things I would suggest for them—tasting events! A vinegar tasting event—teach me about vinegar. Same for olive oil. A hot sauce tasting would be challenging, but might be amusing.

You can keep track of them on Facebook, but you should really just make your way downtown. If you're reading this blog, it's likely you live here in Maynard, so you're not much more than a mile from their door.

Right now, the store hours are Monday through Saturday 10:00–8:00, Sunday 12:00–8:00, but once they've been here for a little bit they'll probably tweak their hours.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Maynard and Stow Cultural Council Grant Recipients, the presentation

There were some technical issues at the 2017 Cultural Council awards ceremony that kept the members from being able to use this great slideshow of all the winners. At least we get to have it here.

Many thanks to Vivian Dao and Joseph Densen for putting this together. If anyone you know needs this kind of slideshow presentation, let me know and I'll put you in touch with them.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Cultural Council Grant Winners for Maynard and Stow

Earlier this week I had a post about the awards ceremony for the Cultural Council grant winners. Tim Hess (AKA Mr. H.) was kind enough to provide me with a list of all the recipients. Here they are:

Maynard Cultural Council Grant Recipients
Class of 2016 – 2017

Toni Ostrow, David Blodgett and Dan Villani
The Hip Swayers

For Untold Voices
Catroina Baker

For Origami Goldfish Art
Lisa Corfman

For his Civil Disobedience Lyceum Lecture
Jay DiPrima

For the Seagull Cinderella Parade
Donna Dodson
For Many Hands Working Together
Catherine Evans

for Down by the River
First Connections

For his travelling music series, Rollin’ on The River
Richard Maida

For the Summer Concert Series
The Maynard Community Band

Here for the Market is
Victoria Mangus

for a Summer Concert in the Park
Maynard Public Library

For Water Spirits Part One; Mill Town
Pamela Newton

For the River Mill and Moon Festival
Seth Wonkka

Stow Cultural Council Grant Recipients
Class of 2016 – 2017
For 2016/2017 Concert Series
Acton Community Chorus

For Concert by the Solstice Sackbuts
Alan Johnson

For The Children’s Garden
Ed Morgan

For 82nd Regional Exhibition of Art & Craft
Fitchburg Art Museum

For Scottish Country Dancing
Gregor Trinkaus-Randall

For Community Artistic Engagement
Hudson Area Arts Alliance d/b/a River’s Edge Arts Alliance

For Minecraft Madness!
Jim Manning

For Lake Boon Water Carnival Music Boat
Lake Boon Association

For SpringFest Silent Movie
Lewis Halprin

For An Interactive Sculpture at Frogpond Farm
& Plein Air Poetry Chapbook 2017/03/18
Linda Hoffman

For Spinning History; Heroines on the Home Front
MarIlyn Zavorski

For Maynard Honeybee Meadow
Melissa Ljosa 

For Nashoba Symphonic Band
Nashoba Friends of Music

For Summer Reading Program and Special Events
Randall Library

For 2017 Arts Buffet Festival
Rosanne Peterson

For Sounds of Stow 2016-2017 Concert Season
Sounds of Stow

For Hale Middle School 7th and 8th Band Music in the Parks Festival
Stow Friends of Music

For Especially for Me
The Discovery Museums

For Expressive Arts Therapy Programs
The Virginia Thurston Healing Garden

Congratulations to all the winners! Good luck getting all your projects done. 

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Needed: Seriously Creative Thinkers for the Community School

I hate writing about bad news in Maynard, and this is bad news. But hopefully there is someone out there with the creative genius to help solve the problem.

The Union Congregational Church has been the home of Maynard's Community School for over forty years, and they are in a bit of trouble. The church is for sale, and the beloved preschool will have to leave by June 30th of this year.

It seemed that they might have a solution, but the deal fell through. Now they find they're back to the drawing board.

Here's the letter that I got:
"The Board of the Community School  is reaching out to the Maynard community to get everyone to put on their thinking caps on how we can maintain this critical community service for the families in our community. We have been located in downtown Maynard for over 40 years but we are going to lose our space as of June 30, 2017.  We thought we had a new space secured but it just fell through. We are now asking everyone to spread the word and be creative in thinking about a new space for us. We would love to stay in Maynard but are open to moving to a neighboring community if it is still very close to Maynard. 

If you don't know about the Community School, we are a non-profit half-day preschool program that is dedicated to providing high quality child care for all children. My daughter attended and it transformed her from a very shy 3 year old to a confident and caring 5 year old. This is our website if you want to find out more. 

Ideas should be sent to the school director, Sally Jackson,, or 978.897.9708"

My daughter also attended the Community School. She loved it there. They weren't trying to do too much—it was just right. We really loved that it was right here in downtown Maynard, and after picking my girl at noon, we'd often go over to one of the cafés, get some lunch, and talk about how to make our community even better. 

Obviously, any space would have to be ready to use by September, so timing is essential. Is there something we're not thinking of?

The photo is from their Facebook page. 

Here's What You Might Have Missed Last Night!

Last night both the Stow and Maynard Cultural Councils had their awards ceremony. This isn't the norm. Typically, artists apply for the Councils' grants, and if they get them, they get notice in the mail and that's the end of it, no fanfare, no pats on the back, no excitement. And people don't even get to hear about who won and why.

Last year, the Maynard Cultural Council decided that it wasn't enough. First, they reached out to make sure that artists were even aware of the grants—so many of us had no clue that our ideas would even qualify for a grant. Second, they wanted the awarding of the grants to be a big deal and to highlight all the great creative talent that we have in the area.

The awards ceremony for 2016 was the first attempt at making it into an event. It was held at 6 Bridges Gallery. I wasn't able to be there, but I heard it was a good start. This year, they really took it up a notch by both joining with the Stow Cultural Council and by getting an amazing venue. Steve Trumble, owner of the Fine Arts Theatre, loaned his space, giving the event a perfect setting, with its velvet curtains and the Chinese Empress and Emperor looking on.

Many people came out dressed to the nines. Small appetizers and the availability of beer and wine made for a comfortable and relaxed atmosphere. The night was full of happy artists and live music, with several people taking to dancing in the aisles. One of the highlights was when the three award-receiving bands (Workingman's Band, The Hip Swayers, and Seth Wonka's band) got up and together played the Youngbloods "Get Together".

Everyone knows that our arts culture and our local restaurant scene go hand in hand, and somebody on the Council was very smart in recognizing the symbiotic relationship. Some local restaurant owners were asked to participate (along with some other locals) by handing out the awards.

Awards were given for so many different kinds of local projects. I wish I had a list of them. If I get one, I will add it here. I was honored to be asked to give an award, and I was also on a couple of teams that were recipients of awards.

I expect that the event will continue to grow in talent and popularity as we go forward. So when you see notice of the Cultural Council Awards Ceremony happening, look through your party clothes and mark your calendars! March it the perfect time for a party!

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Why didn't anybody tell me?!

Maynard people, why didn't anyone tell me about how awesome Butler Lumber is?!?

I have lived in this town nearly twenty years, and whenever people have mentioned Butler Lumber, they have somehow never mentioned how unbelievably awesome it is. Have you been there?

Okay, so one friend did tell me about it (thanks Carol!). That's how I finally managed to get there. I mentioned to her that I wanted to do a post about how, though we lost Aubuchon, we have many other hardware type stores to fill many of those needs. That's when she asked if I had ever been to Butler. I shrugged my shoulders and said that I didn't think I had. She went on to tell me a Butler Lumber story.

A vintage chair of hers had lost one of its feet—a specialty kind of item that you can't get easily. On a whim she went to Butler. Mike (he's another story all together) the man behind the counter, walked right over to what she referred to as "some random drawer among many hundreds of drawers, a bit like card catalogs," and pulled out a package of two, the last two, of exactly what she needed. It still had it's 1980s price tag of something like $1.50. I didn't realize that it might be the kind of thing they'd carry, and the guy who knew exactly where everything was—it all piqued my curiosity.

I had a project in mind, so I decided to visit. As soon as I opened the door and stepped inside, my jaw dropped. I couldn't believe the place— all of the little oak drawers with their metal pulls, the funny vintage signs, nooks of hidden odds and ends—it was great. I walked around in awe. Being in Butler Lumber is like traveling back in time. It reminded me of my grandfather's old woodworking shop, a place where wood went in and came out transformed into something useful.

I asked the man at the desk if he minded if I took any pictures. He said it was fine. Of course it's my hobby to try and get to know everyone connected to Maynard, so I introduced myself and he handed me his business card—Mike Sawvelle. I told Mike about how I heard he could find anything in the place and asked him how he did it. He told me that he'd been working there for thirty years.

I mentioned what I was trying to do with my project. He didn't have what I needed, but came up with an alternate solution that used plexiglass. I wasn't sure if it would be the right solution, but he cut some up, and handed it to me. He wouldn't even let me pay for it. "Give it a try," he said. "If it works come back and buy what you need."

I stopped in again recently to return the plexiglass. It wasn't what I needed, but I was so grateful that he had gone to the trouble to help me. I chatted with him for a little while and I learned that whatever story I had told myself about him was really incomplete. He's not only really nice, he's also really interesting. Go talk to him, you'll see.

When I first walked into Butler Lumber at the end of last year, the first thing out of my mouth was, "Wow, this place is amazing!" Mike's response to me was, "Not all of these places are orange." He is so right. There's a real hardware experience just waiting to happen to you, right here in Maynard. Take the kids. There's really nothing quite like it.

They have a Facebook page, too.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Outdoor Sculpture Opportunities at ArtSpace Maynard

I have been loving the addition of sculpture to the ArtSpace property. It helps clarify to passersby that there's creative work happening in there. Right now, it seems the plans are to have work rotate out, so you can expect to see new pieces every so many often.

Recently, ArtSpace put out a call for submissions. If you know of any sculptors who might like an opportunity to show their work, let them know.

Here's the call to artists:

Outdoor Sculpture Opportunity at ArtSpace Maynard
ArtSpace Maynard is pleased to announce ArtSpace Outdoors 2017, our second annual exhibit, on the grounds of our historic building. We are now seeking proposals for our outdoor sculpture space.

• This juried exhibition is open to sculptors 18 years or older. 
(Preference given to Massachusetts-based artists)
• Submitted work must be the property of the artist
• Up to 3 individual works may be submitted by each artist
• Work must be suitable for an extended outdoor exhibition
• Work must be secured for both the safety of visitors and the artwork itself

ArtSpace-Maynard is a nonprofit community art center located in the former 55,000 square foot Fowler Middle School in Maynard MA.  Currently in its 15th year of operation, ArtSpace is one of the largest and most vital art centers in New England. In addition to our gallery, we also provide studio space to over 80 artists, a printmaking studio, and home to the 70 seat Acme Theater.

ENTRY DEADLINE:  All applications, materials and the application fee of $20 must be received by 5:00 pm Tuesday, February 28, 2017
Artist Notification Date: March 17, 2017
For entry details please visit

I got a press release about The Brook Kitchen, formerly the Halfway Cafe

I got a press release from the Brook Kitchen. It's not the first time I've gotten one, but I find it funny to be considered press. I consider my title to be more like Person-Who-Likes-to-Share-Good-Stuff-About-01754-With-Others-Who-Live-in-01754, but it doesn't roll off the tongue very easily.

I haven't tried the Brook Kitchen yet, but I hope to get there with some friends soon. Have you been there yet? What did you think? Is the menu really "extensive"? Are they going to be at the Taste of Maynard?

Feel free to leave me a comment.


The Brook Kitchen & Tap Opens 2nd Location in Maynard, MA

Maynard, MA – The Brook Kitchen & Tap celebrates the opening of its second location this Saturday, Jan. 14th in Maynard, MA.

The Brook Kitchen & Tap features creative American style cuisine from Executive Chef/Partner Eric Bolduc. The extensive menu is sure to spice up the Maynard dining scene with innovative and creative American dishes, extensive craft beer/drink selection. It all happens in a creative and tasteful atmosphere.

In addition to the open layout, the restaurant space features a private function area and a bar area outfitted with hi-definition screens. There is plenty of free parking.

Location: The Brook Kitchen & Tap, 51 Main Street (RT 62), Maynard, MA

Hours of Operation: Sunday-Tuesday, 11:30am to 11pm and Wednesday -Saturday, 11:30am-1am.

The Brook Kitchen & Tap is operated by Executive Chef Eric Bolduc. Eric and his team specialize in creative American Cuisine, Craft Beer, and original cocktails.  Two locations: Holbrook, MA and now in Maynard, MA.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

The Lalli Family, well loved in Maynard

We were all deeply saddened to hear about the passing of Katherine Lalli. Their family is well known and loved around Maynard, and our hearts go out to them.

Katherine Lalli passed away on Christmas Eve morning in an automobile accident in Lancaster.  Not only was she educated through the Maynard school system but her family has always been very much involved in the Maynard community, especially her parents, who provide programs through Music Together of Assabet Valley, enjoyed by children in the Maynard, Acton, Concord, Sudbury communities and beyond.

For those of you who are looking for a way to honor the memory of Katherine Lalli, the Class of 2012 and the MHS Best Buddies Program are creating a scholarship fund for graduating seniors. The scholarship will benefit students who are pursuing a degree in early childhood education or special education, both passions of Katherine's.  Katherine was a graduate of the Maynard High School Class of 2012 and earned an Associate's Degree in early childhood education from Middlesex Community College.

Please make checks payable to "Town of Maynard." Include "Katherine K. Lalli Memorial Scholarship" on the memo line. Please mail donations to: Maynard High School, Katherine K. Lalli Memorial Scholarship, 1 Tiger Drive, Maynard, MA 01754. Acknowledgement of your gift will be forwarded to Katherine's family.  We're hoping many people will donate to this scholarship so that Katherine Lalli's legacy will stay alive for many years to come.   Thank you.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Hey Maynard: Let's talk about race!

Many of us are feeling a little helpless these days as we witness injustices taking place here in the U.S. People are trying to figure out what they can do to help.

A group of Maynard citizens has decided to get the conversation started about race. Here in Maynard, many we feel like we are open to differences, but wonder what else we could be doing to try and make, at least our small corner of the world, a better place. 

Please join in on the conversation. It's happening on January 17th at the Maynard Public Library (in the Roosevelt Room), 7:00-8:30pm.