Friday, August 5, 2016

Safari #95: Sunflower Festival at Buttonwood Farm

There's no better time for a road trip than the summer, and if you're looking for a unique outdoor event, I've got just the destination for you.

Buttonwood Farm in Griswold, Connecticut is a short 1.5 hours from Boston.  Every year in late July to early August, the farm plants nearly 15 acres of sunflowers.  It is truly a site to behold.

The sunflowers are sold with all proceeds benefitting the Make a Wish Foundation - and some are made into ice cream.  Yes, ice cream.  The cows get to enjoy eating the sunflowers once the growing season has ended.

Sounds pretty good to me.

My Tips

  • Check the Website.  The dates of the festival vary slightly from year to year, so be sure to check the site before you plan your trip.
  • Be Prepared to Wait in Line.  If you want ice cream, you might wait up to 30 minutes in line.  The farm is great about having as many scoopers as possible, but with the demand, you can expect to wait a little.
  • Bring the Kids.  Who wouldn't want to take a tractor ride out into the sunflower field?  The tractor ride is covered (so no sunburn worries there), and you'll get a bird eye view of the sunflowers in all of their beauty.  You will need to purchase tickets for the rides and wait in line depending on demand.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Safari #94: The Arnold Arboretum

Is there anything better than taking a long walk in beautiful surroundings?

Jamaica Plain's Arnold Arboretum is the perfect place for solitude, walking/jogging or even bird watching.  This urban oasis is easily accessible via car or the T (Forest Hills on the Orange Line).

One of the best views is available at the top of Peters Hill.  It's the perfect spot for reflection and catching a breeze after a brief climb.

My Tips

  • Be Aware of the Rules.  Despite its size, the Arboretum does not allow picnicking of any kind.  Take a few moments to read through park policies before your visit.
  • Wear Comfortable Shoes - the Arboretum has paths of varying degree - smooth pavement, dirt, and gravel.  Be sure to wear comfortable and supportive shoes that will handle all sorts of terrain.
  • View the Bonsai Trees -  the Bonsai collection sits within a wooden pavilion with large slots allowing you to view the plants from the outside.  

Things to Do

  • Check out a Tree Mob - want to learn more about trees?  Then try a tree mob - these scheduled events will teach you about specific trees and you'll meet new people while you're at it.  Sounds like a great activity for the tree geeks in all of us.
  • Lilac Sunday - every year, do you always find yourself asking, "What should I do with Mom for Mother's Day?"  Well, the Arboretum has your answer.  Lilac Sunday is a wonderful event celebrating both Mother's Day and blooming lilacs.  Food trucks are usually available as well for this special event.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Safari #93: Plant Nite

Are you ready to add a little sunshine to your apartment?  With Spring, Mother's Day, and graduation season right around the corner, the newest craze from the makers of Paint Nite might just be perfect for you - or any other plant lover in your life.

A few weeks ago, I tried a new variation on Paint Nite called Plant Nite, and yes, it does have something to do with plants.

Plant Nite allows you to create your own terrarium using a variety of low care plants (read: hard to kill).  Similar to Paint Nite, you'll have an engaging host who totally loves plants, access to a bar, snacks, and fun tunes.

During my visit, we created a terrarium using succulents (my favorite!), however, there are other nights that incorporate different types of plants and arrangements.  Let your creative spirit guide your choice!

My Tips

  • Go with Friends!  You know we've all been hiding indoors since December.  Invite your pals out, catch up, and create something that will make you smile.
  • Nothing Too Nice.  Aprons will be provided but won't necessarily save you from the dirt.
  • Check the Calendar.  There are events all over town, so choose the one that is best for you.

**First photo kindly borrowed from

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Safari #92: Back Bay's Ayer Mansion

Happy New Year fellow travelers!  I know, it 's been awhile.  What's my excuse?  Well, I got engaged and am now planning my wedding.  More about that some other time ;)

I haven't forgotten about you, so here's a new great spot to check out the next time you're up for an adventure - Ayer Mansion in Boston's Back Bay Neighborhood.

If you enjoy early Tiffany works, then the Ayer Mansion is an absolute must see.  Located at 395 Commonwealth Avenue, it's one of the few remaining homes that Tiffany designed, so it's a rare treat to be able to visit.  You will easily be able to appreciate works of stained glass as well as mosaics.  Be sure to spend time in the foyer to view the stairway, stair risers, and spectacular light fixtures.

My tips:

  • Make reservations ASAP.  Tours are limited and are only available two times per month.  A $10 donation is recommended at the time of your visit.
  • Take the T.  The house is almost equidistant between Kenmore and Hynes.  Metered parking is available but limited.
  • Be sure to view the exterior of the home.  You can see Tiffany stained glass from the outside as well.