Category Archives: Fun

Fun in Newburyport, MA, enjoyable, amusing and entertaining events, images, happenings on the Newburyport Blog.

Gluten Free Brazilian Cheese Balls-Bread with Tapioca Flour (also Lactose Free)

Bob's Red Mill Tapioca Flour (press image to enlarge)

Bob’s Red Mill Tapioca Flour (press image to enlarge)

I’ve been trying to figure out this recipe for a year and a half and have finally come up with a recipe that works (this is not the traditional Brazilian Cheese Bread recipe, that boils the milk and oil first).

One of the crucial things that I found out, is that there are 2 kinds of tapioca flour, fermented tapioca flour that rises (not sold at this point in the United States) and regular tapioca flour that does not rise (the tapioca flour that is sold in the United States).  So having figured that one out, the trick is to use gluten free baking powder to get this delicious cheese bread-balls-tiny loafs to rise.

Traditionally Brazilian Cheese Bread/Balls are round, for some reason I like mine looking like little loafs, so that’s what I’ve pictured here.

Brazilian Cheese Bread-tiny loaf (press image to enlarge)

Brazilian Cheese Bread-tiny loaf (press image to enlarge)

Brazilian Cheese Balls/Bread are traditionally chewy on the inside, this version is much more like regular bread – a eureka moment.

And this version is lactose free.  The cheese, mozzarella and parmesan are lactose free and I use lactose free milk.  You can use regular milk.

Tapioca flour has the consistency of cornstarch, and after a certain point, it’s impossible to mix by hand.  So what I’ve done is added enough tapioca flour to be able to mix, and then knead the dough with extra tapioca flour.

Recipe below:

2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

1/3 cup parmesan cheese

2 eggs

1 Cup milk (I use 1%)

1 1/2 t salt

2 t gluten-free baking powder

2/3 cup canola oil

3 cups tapioca flour (I use Bob’s Red Mill)

Extra tapioca flour for kneading the dough

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Dough ready for the oven (press image to enlarge)

Dough ready for the oven (press image to enlarge)

Mix cheese, salt, baking powder, then add eggs using a fork until the eggs are mixed into the chess, salt and baking powder mixture. Stir in milk and then add the oil, and you can still use a fork.  Add tapioca flour, mix with a spatula.

Put in the refrigerator for 15 to 30 minutes, to let the dough bubble (it bubbles!!) and to set.  The longer it sits, the firmer it will be. There will be a little oil on the top, don’t worry, it will be kneaded into the dough.

In a large bowl (you could do it on the counter, but the flour is so fine it gets everywhere, hence the recommendation for a bowl) put about 1/4 of a cup or so of tapioca flour (see photo).

Brazilian Cheese Bread cooling (press image to enlarge)

Brazilian Cheese Bread baked (press image to enlarge)

Take a third of the mixture, with part of any of the oil that is on top,  and put the dough in the bowl with a spatula and coat it with the tapioca flour (see photo).

Take square of  parchment paper and put the dough on the parchment paper and knead it. (Again, you could knead the dough on your kitchen counter, but this just makes it a whole lot easier to clean up.) Add more flour if needed (no pun intended), and knead it into the dough, until it is firm (see photo).  It will be greasy, don’t worry, it’s one of the things that makes it taste good.

The inside of the Brazilian Cheese Bread (press image to enlarge)

The inside of the Brazilian Cheese Bread (press image to enlarge)

Take enough flour to make about an inch and a half ball of dough. Roll the dough in your hands and then roll into a tube shape about 2 inches (see photo). A third of the dough makes about 15 little “loaves.”

Cover a cookie sheet (roughly 15″ x 10″) with parchment paper. Put the little loaves on the parchment paper (see photo) and put the cookie sheet into the 350 degree oven. Then take a look in about 15 minutes (it should take a total of  20 to 25 minutes, oven temperatures vary).

At 15 minutes the little loaves should be rising. Watch carefully for the next 10 minutes.  Often the loaves at the end of the cookie sheet will brown before the inside loaves.  Take out the loaves as they become golden and place on a piece of parchment paper to cool. You want the loaves golden (see photo) but not too brown.

Tiny loaves in container ready to freeze (press image to enlarge)

Tiny loaves in container ready to freeze (press image to enlarge)

Let loaves completely cool and then place in a container (see photo).  Place open container in refrigerator to cool some more.  When the loaves are cold, put the lid on the container and freeze.

To eat (if you haven’t eaten them all right then and there) you can defrost them in a microwave.

The loaves have bubbles, holes, just like real bread, and people that I have served them to just can’t stop eating them!! So they are great for folks who aren’t gluten free at all.

Makes 45 – 50 small “loaves.”

Another breakthrough gluten free eureka moment for moi, and hopefully for you too.

(To see why in the world The Newburyport Blog has a recipe for Gluten Free Brazilian Cheese Bread-Balls-Tiny Loaves, please press here.)

Tapioca flour in bowl (press image to enlarge)

Tapioca flour in bowl (press image to enlarge)

Dough in flour in bowl (press image to enlarge)

Dough in flour in bowl (press image to enlarge)

Flour kneaded (press image to enlarge)

Flour kneaded (press image to enlarge)

Newburyport Postcard, Plum Island Haystacks

Newburyport postcard, Plum Island Haystack, press image to enlarge.

Newburyport postcard, Plum Island Haystack, press image to enlarge.

It’s fall in Newburyport, and there are still farmers who in the marshes around  Newburyport and Newbury will create the iconic haystacks.  I know the readers of the Newburyport Blog enjoy old Newburyport postcards, and this one of the Newburyport marsh scene with the haystacks is so wonderful.

Walking with Dogs in the Greater Newburyport Area

First it was learning about the Happy Chickens blog, and now learning about a blog about dogs – “Walking with Dogs in Greater Newburyport, (off leash experiences in the Newburyport area),” by Kim Kudym.  Kim’s blog is an an exploration of the area’s gorgeous places that can be shared with a canine friend. How fun!

Indian Hill Reservoir in West Newbury, courtesy of Kim Kudym

Indian Hill Reservoir in West Newbury, courtesy of Kim Kudym, press image to enlarge

And how fun not only for dog owners, but anyone who would like to explore the area, with dogs, children, family, friends or just on your own.  Very cool!

Woodsom Farm in Amesbury, courtesy of Kim Kudym

Woodsom Farm in Amesbury, courtesy of Kim Kudym, press image to enlarge

Kim has started to post photos of outings in various places. Woodsom Farm in Amesbury, and Indian Hill Reservoir in West Newbury – and they just want to make you go out there and start exploring!!  There are also many Newburyport favorites including Cooper North Pasture and the Little River Nature Trail Newburyport, to name a few.

Woodsom Farm in Amesbury, courtesy of Kim Kudym

Woodsom Farm in Amesbury, courtesy of Kim Kudym, press image to enlarge

A great addition to the Newburyport blogosphere!!  Thanks Kim!!

The Best, Safest, Gluten Free Takeout Food in Newburyport

Boiled Lobsters

Boiled Lobsters

The best, safest, gluten free takeout food in Newburyport is from David’s Fish Market over the bridge in Salisbury (one of the best seafood markets ever).

David’s Fish Market has been a family owned and operated business for over 50 years.  It was started by Arthur David and is now run by his grandson Gordon Blaney.

David’s will boil you a lobster or lobsters, and it doesn’t get any fresher or any better.  The lobsters can be hot or cold.  Just give them a 2 hour notice (and remember to pay by cash or check, no credit or debit cards).

My favorite is cold lobster, one of my mother’s most loved meals, served with gluten free Hellmann’s mayonnaise and a little lemon, or a really good sauce/dip I recently came up with.

Sauce/dip for cold lobster:

Cook frozen chopped spinach, which is wicked healthy (microwave works great), drain and remove as much moister as possible (I use paper towels).

For one serving: 2 Tablespoons of cooked chopped spinach and mix with 2 Tablespoons of Hellmann’s mayonnaise, which is gluten free.  A few drops of gluten free Tamari Sauce (possible alternatives to Tamari sauce – soy sauce or worcestershire sauce).  That’s it, for some reason this combo is amazing.

And going to David’s is fun. You get to go over the Merrimack River on Rt 1 and it’s an old time fish market where you can see the fresh fish coming in and being prepared in back, like being filleted kind of prepared. You know it’s fresh. And if you live in Newburyport and the surrounding area, or are coming to visit, it’s a place not to be missed.

When I first moved here 30 some years ago, there used to be at least 3 independent local fish markets, David’s is the last one standing, and it’s awesome.

Worth Watching

This is worth watching, really.  A friend of mine sometimes says to me that what I need to do is, “get some gratitude in my attitude,” when I have what I sometimes call “that little itty bitty shitty committee” in my head.

That’s sort of what this is like (and I usually hate things like this), but actually, really and truly, it’s scientifically proven, you betcha, really.

I “discovered” this fellow, Shawn Achor, and “The Happiness Advantage”, while channel surfing on PBS last night. And it sounds like PBS will feature it lots more.

So I tried some of the recommendation today and came up with 3 things that I was grateful for, (not hard), smiled at least three times (not hard), and was nice to the Blue Cross Blue Shield person on the phone, and the person at the bank.

I figure in this wild partisan world if I smiled at people on my walk (this is just NOT done where I come from, New York City, and New England, well, we’re not on the whole, exactly too warm and fuzzy), maybe this guy might be right, maybe it could have a ripple effect.

Worth watching – the 12 minute version.

happinessadvntage

Press image to start

The Happiness Advantage, Shawn Achor (Press image to start).

Gluten Free BLT – Bacon Bowls – No Bread

Bacon Bowl - Megan Reardon, of "not martha"

Bacon Bowl, courtesy of Megan Reardon, of "not martha"

In my web-searching for nothing in particular, I came across this “thing,” this amazing “thing” that I’ve never heard about before.  And for folks who are looking for gluten free stuff (or just anyone), well how cool is this, a BTL bowl, a bacon bowl, a BLT without bread!!

I encountered this amazing “thing,” bacon bowl on a blog called “not martha.”  And from what I can make out the idea has zipped around, (I am late to the bacon bowl world, but I bet lots of other folks may be late to the bacon bowl world too!), but it looks like, from what I can make out, it all started with Megan Reardon, or “not martha,” (not Martha Stewart??).

This is not my photo, it belongs to, and is courtesy of Megan Reardon, who lives in Seattle, and writes “not martha.”  To learn how to make these amazing bacon bowl wonders press here.

George is Grinning and Orren Fox

George

George

George is grinning, huge wide smile, and those of you who have been readers of the Newburyport Blog for any length of time know that George is usually a glum sort of fellow, even with his passionate romance to Georgiana Tadpole (if you really would like to know about any of this frog stuff please press here).

Instead of telling the readers of the Newburyport Blog what is making George smile so hugely right off the bat (although he’s not smiling in the picture, I couldn’t get one of him smiling), I’m going to start at the beginning.

Way, way back (“in the day,” I’m not sure if it’s that far back) in 1990 I painted a whole bunch of paintings for a major New York show, oil on panel, and the panels warped (I used the wrong kind of panel – never did it again).  Panic city, you betcha.  I went to what was then Wendover Woodworks on Liberty Street in Newburyport, and one of the owners, Andy Willemsem saved my sorry soul by making some absolutely gorgeous frames that solved the warping problem and saved yours truly.  It was then I met Andy’s partner in this wonder furniture creating place, Henry Fox.

About 15 years ago, wandering around my Newburyport neighborhood, I ran into Henry Fox, who told me the harrowing tale of his son, born 3 months early with a host of medical problems who had been saved by the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at MassGeneral in Boston, and had just been moved to one of the more local hospitals.  I later shared this story with other families who had critically ill new borns, including my most wonderful neighbors, who found themselves and their newborn son also at MassGeneral. (The young man is now happily running around our neighborhood.)

Andy Willemsen moved on and Henry Fox named his wonderful furniture business after his two sons, “Fox Brothers.” (Still there on Liberty Street in Newburyport, still amazing.)

Fast forward to 2012, yesterday, a “new” or “new” to me, George and I being 5 years late to the story (not quite as bad as my late arrival to the David Sedaris planet, see earlier post, but not so good)  local Newburyport blog called “Happy Chickens Lay Healthy Eggs,” by a fifteen year old young man called Orren Fox.

I’m thinking Fox?? Fox?? Henry Fox?? The timing’s right.

And sure enough this blog is written by Henry’s son Orren, the one in intensive care 15 years ago.  How cool is that, but it gets so much better.

Scrolling down the blog’s sidebar the young man has been interviewed/written up by the Huffington Post, NPR, Yankee Magazine, the Boston Globe to name a few, and has been to the White House, March 7, 2012,  for “Know Your Farmer Event.”

I’m beginning to join George in grinning from ear to ear about this young chicken farmer and organic food activist.

“Margaret Mead would have loved Orren.  A soulful and gifted young man who has done more to help make a positive impact by 15 than most folks do in a lifetime.” From Do Lectures.

And Orren has added bees, in “Bee Happy” – check it out here.

AND Orren has serendipitly gone into business with his brother Will (with a little help from Dad) making “FoxBoys” longboards, skateboards in the most glorious shape, a little like a boat, read and see all about them here.

And Orren Fox is so media savvy as to make grown “social media” folks weep – along with the Happy Chickens blog there are the Facebook pages that one actually enjoys looking at and reading, and twitter accounts.  But it may be in the blood because his Mom, who gave birth to him all those many 15 years ago, is Libby Delana, the founding partner of Newburyport’s Mechanica, the next generation branding firm.

So if you are discouraged by the news or local or federal politics, life in general, go investigate Orren Fox, a young man who transcends the sustainable movement.  It doesn’t matter if you are dark “green,” light “green,” in-between or orange; right wing, left wing, moderate or independent.  When you read about this fantastic story, you like George, will be grinning from ear to ear and doing a dance in the end zone of your choice.

Newburyport’s Local Historic District (LHD) as a Musical

I’m liking this whole Newburyport Local Historic District (LHD) mess as a musical (see previous post).

It could open with a Tom Salemi, one of Newburyport’s esteemed bloggers, character singing a solo, “Keep it Classy” (based on Tom’s great essay, “Take the Bagels, Leave the Petition,”on Newburyport’s LHD in Newburyport Today).

The stage is dark except for Tom’s character,  and then in the background, lights come up come slowly, we have two ladies in front of an establishment handing out fliers.  Their musical number is called “Fines, Fines, the LHD will Bankrupt You.”

And huddled at the front of the stage are preservationists (Newburyport preservationists tend in general to be meek and mild, “fierce” is not an adjective I would give to most Newburyport preservationist. “Fierce” goes good with some of the the anti-LHD folks, but not most preservationists, so that’s why they are huddling).  Lights come up slowly on them, and their musical number is, “It’s not True, It’s not True, It’s a Lie.” (Clearly this will be an ensemble piece.)

So Tom’s character is singing “Keep it Classy,”  while the two anti LHD women are singing “The LHD will Bankrupt You”, and the Newburyport preservationist are singing “It’s not True, It’s a Lie.”  And then everyone freezes, you know the way they do on stage.

Mark Twain

Mark Twain

And what I’m picturing here is having someone dressed as Mark Twain, maybe with a sign hanging across their chest so the audience will get it, walks on stage, spot light on him, everyone else is dimmed out.  Doesn’t sing, just looks at the audience and says, “A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.

The Mark Twain character walks off, and the Tom Salemi character sings one last  line of “Keep it Classy?” with a question mark in his voice, and then the lights fade out on all the characters. (Irony here, how elitist!!)

First possible scene of the new possible Broadway hit, “LHD-Bombshell,” (still a working title-the “Smash” thing again, see previous post).

Spring in Newburyport’s South End

Spring in Newburyport's South End

Spring in Newburyport's South End

I love walking through Newburyport’s South End. And spring is my favorite time of year in this gorgeous city.

Spring in Newburyport's South End

Spring in Newburyport's South End

I wait every year for this particular tree to bloom in Newburyport’s South End.

Spring in Newburyport's South End

Spring in Newburyport's South End

So many treasures to find walking around this gorgeous city of Newburyport, MA.  I found this jewel on my walking tour this morning in Newburyport’s beautiful and charming South End.

Newburyport Postcards, Clam Shacks

Newburyport Postcard, Calm Diggers and their Shanties "Joppa"

Newburyport Postcard, Calm Diggers and their Shanties "Joppa," press image to enlarge.

I’ve been going on another fun hunt, finding Newburyport postcards that are in the public domain.  Here are two of the clam shacks, one of the clam shanties with a trolley, and one with the clam diggers and their shanties at “Joppa.”  Joppa is on the water in the South End of Newburyport.

Newburyport clam shanties with trolley, press image to enlarge.

Newburyport clam shanties with trolley, press image to enlarge.

Marsh During a Storm-A Martin Johnson Heade Painting

Salt Marsh Hay by Martin Johnson Heade

Salt Marsh Hay by Martin Johnson Heade

Martin Johns Heade, 1819-1904, Salt Marsh Hay, c.1865, Oil on Canvas, 13″ x 26″, Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown, Ohio

The Newburyport Blog has been on a hunt for marsh paintings by Martin Johnson Heade, who painted the marshes around Newburyport. I love this painting of the marsh during a storm.

One of the remarkable things that we have all around our country is the small and art-rich museums. This particular painting comes from the Butler Institute of American Art in Youngstown Ohio.  And it’s not just an artist like Heade that is represented, but also painters like Winslow Homer and Edward Hopper.

Not all of us from New England can get to Youngstown, Ohio, but you can vistit the Butler Institute of American Art here.

Almond Meal-Flour Cookies (They are Gluten Free)

And now for something completely different.

Bob's Red Mill Almond Meal/Flour at Market Basket and Natural Grocer in Newburyport, click to enlarge.

Bob’s Red Mill Almond Meal/Flour at Market Basket and Natural Grocer in Newburyport, click to enlarge.

A lot of people arrive at the Newburyport Blog looking for “Newburyport, Gluten Free.”  I get emails from folks wondering if there is a Newburyport gluten free support group.  Nope, there isn’t, but I’ve sure have learned a whole lot about good old gluten free stuff, including the wonders of Almond Meal, incredibly good for you (whether you are gluten free or not), if you click the thumbnail of the back of the almond meal package, you’ll see.

The wonders and nutritional value of almond meal, press to enlarge.

The wonders and nutritional value of almond meal, press to enlarge.

Bob’s Red Mill Almond Meal/Flour can be found at Market Basket here in Newburyport as well as Natural Grocer.  It’s magic.  Aside from easy to bake cookies, that have changed my gluten free life, it’s also an amazing coating along with parmesan chess on things like fish, it has its own oil.  Who knew.  Now the readers of the Newburyport Blog know.  The frogs wish that almond meal had come into their lives decades ago (were they around decades ago, I don’t think so. Frogs!!).

_______________________________________________

Vanilla Almond Meal Cookies (and variations)
(Adapted from Elana’s Pantry, elanaspantry.com, Elana Amsterdam, website and cookbook)

1 ¼ cups blanched almond flour (Bob’s Red Mill)
Dash pumpkin spice or cinnamon (optional)
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¼ cup oil, canola or grapeseed oil (each has slightly different effect, I use canola oil)
3 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon water
2 teaspoons GF vanilla

  1. Combine almond meal, salt, baking soda in a bowl.
  2. Stir together sugar and water, add vanilla in a smaller bowl and then oil and combine.
  3. Mix wet ingredients into dry.
  4. Form ½ inch balls and press onto a parchment paper lined cookie sheet.
  5. Bake at 350° for 5-6 minutes
  6. Cool and serve (can also freeze, I freeze in plastic square containers separated by wax paper, can put in microwave to unfreeze or eat frozen!)
  7. Makes around 27 cookies, about 60 calories each
  1. For chocolate cookies use 2 teaspoons vanilla and 2 Table spoons cocoa powder (put into the dry ingredients)(I also like a dash/shake of cinnamon).
  2. For orange cookies use 1 teaspoon orange extract and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (I like a good shake/dash of pumpkin spice).
  3. For peanut butter cookies work in 1-2 teaspoons peanut butter at the end.
  4. For marble black and white cookies, take half  the mixture and add 1T of cocoa. Take one half vanilla and one half chocolate mixture for each cookie. (You can also add a teaspoon of peanut butter to the vanilla mixture to make marble black and white peanut butter cookies.)
  5. For lemon cookies use 1 teaspoon lemon extract and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Zest from one lemon optional, but delicious, and I like a good shake/dash of pumpkin spice.
  6. For chocolate chip cookies, use the vanilla recipe and add Nestle Toll House Semi-Sweet Chocolate Mini Morsels, the tiny ones. (You can also add chopped slivered almonds, and chopped dried mango is also fantastic. Any of those three ingredients, separate or together, are terrific.)

(There is also a more detailed almond meal-flour chocolate chip recipe here.)

Newburyport Planning, Things Take Time

There have been howls of protest about The Clipper City Rail Trail, or The Newburyport Rail Trail, as I remember it, for about a decade.

The Rail Trail from underneath the High Street over pass.

The Rail Trail from underneath the High Street over pass.

And what I have found is that it is difficult for people to imagine what a project of a large magnitude would be like, and why should anyone’s money be used for it?

The same applies to the renovation of Brown Square. Now that people see tall (unplanted) trees in the renovation area, what I am hearing is that people are wondering if the goal is to make Brown Square look like it did in the old photographs and postcard.

Brown Square, courtesy of the Newburyport Library

Brown Square, courtesy of the Newburyport Library

The answer is yes, yes and yes. And BTW I’m pretty sure it’s going to be beautiful and help our tourist economy no less.

Now that the first part of the Newburyport Rail Trail is finished, people appear to finally see it as a huge asset to Newburyport, MA, one which everyone in Newburyport can enjoy, and also a help in attracting the tourist dollar.

And I was so pleased to see Geordie Vining of the Newburyport Planning Office finally get some well deserved recognition in the full page spread in the Spring issue of Newburyport Magazine, for the unbelievable work that he has done concerning this first completion of the Newport Rail Trail.

Ever since working with Geordie Vining on the restoration of High Street, I have had the utmost respect and admiration for the gentleman. Geordie measured every stretch of sidewalk along the High Street corridor, and as a result has been able to convince all and sundry that High Street met the ADA sidewalk codes, and the nature of the street never had to be altered. This attention to detail is not only thoughtful, but huge.

Eventually, like one or two years ago, the High Street Master Plan was finally voted on by the Newburyport City Council.

Things take time. Things take lots and lots of time.

And I have always been grateful that Geordie has stuck with us (i.e. Newburyport), because I have witnessed first hand the kind of flack that he receives (and it can be really nasty).

So, I know Geordie Vining would never think this way, but for me the enthusiasm now being expressed about the Newburyport Rail Trail is a vindication of sorts for all his hard work. And it would be great if people would trust any project that might be in Mr. Vining’s hands, and realize that “things take time,” lots and lots of time, and Geordie Vining has the vision, knowledge, patience to see this sort of thing through.

We as a city are very luck to have him in the Newburyport Planning Office. (And it’s called “Planning” for a reason, planning takes time–years, very often decades.)

Newburyport Walking Winter 2009

I see my neighbor all the way down our Newburyport street. He has a day-glow orange winter hat on. I want one.

My neighbors, a lovely young family, have two dogs, which are technically “hunting dogs.” I never thought that they (the dogs and my neighbors) actually went hunting, but they do.

I find out this missing piece of information when I start my quiz about the nifty orange day-glow winter hat. (I have memories, which I share, of Marisa Tormei’s character in the movie “My Cousin Vinny,” when she laments about the cute little baby deer out prancing around, and then “BAM”), but no, they don’t hunt deer, just tiny little birds, sometimes. And no, they are not like Dick Cheney, they have never shot anyone in the face.

But the hat, I love the hat. During Newburyport winters, often the only safe place, or navigatable place, to walk when there is a lot of snow and ice, is in the middle of the street. And I tend to blend in with the surrounding, no red coats, at least not yet, for moi. And the bright day-glow orange hat would most definitely “stick out.”

I tell my neighbors that I too would like to look like a day-glow orange pumpkin head, and much to my delight, right before Christmas, they appear at my door, with a hat in hand.

On Christmas day, my son, who is now old enough to be beyond the “I am so embarrassed, you’ve got to be kidding me, you’re wearing a day-glow orange hat” phase, and I walk along the narrow car filled street of Newburyport’s historic district.

As a distracted holiday mother with a cell phone, and a busily driving teenager wiz by, my son nods his head in agreement. “Good idea Mom, I definitely get this one now.”

We pass some well known fellow walkers, who do not recognize me in my new day-glow paraphernalia. But when they are aware of who the mysterious person is, who is underneath the orange day-glow winter hat, they want one of those hats too.

So readers of the Newburyport Blog, who know me from my different walking routes, if you see a brightly colored, orange, day-glow pumpkin head moving along the street–c’est moi.

Art, Paintings, Newburyport Show

marsh2

“Many locals know her only as the author of the Newburyport Political Blog. But the political junkie that is Mary Baker Eaton is also an accomplished artist whose work has appeared at prestigious New York City galleries and can be found in private and corporate collections across the country.

And, now, her readers ‑ and everyone else ‑ finally will be able to see her artwork up close, as Kerim Kaya, owner of Kaya Jewelers downtown, presents her paintings through Dec. 31.

The exhibit marks her first major local showing in 10 years, and the quirky Eaton, surrounded Monday morning by her exquisitely detailed paintings of Newburyport scenes, took every opportunity to promote her good friend, Kaya.

“This is a great way for two business people to get together,” she said, leaning against one of the jewelry display cases. “I help Kaya. Kaya helps me. Every time I tell someone about the show, I tell them, ‘You should come in and buy your significant other or yourself a nice piece of custom-made jewelry for Christmas…””

“…The paintings on display showcase Eaton’s love for the natural beauty of the community where she has lived for the past 30 years. A contemporary realist painter, she captures, with lifelike precision, the stillness of the Plum Island marshes, the petals of a bright yellow iris in the South End, apple blossoms clinging to a brick wall at the old gardens at Maudslay State Park and the Common Pasture, its vista unchanged by centuries.”

“Putting things in perspective,” by Ulrika G. Gerth, © The Newburyport Current, November 6, 2009

Blue Morning Glory, Oil on Panel, © Mary Baker

Blue Morning Glory, Oil on Panel, © Mary Baker

Kerim Kaya, a long time friend and owner of Kaya Jewelers, approached me about a month or so ago and asked if I would like to show my paintings in his gorgeous jewelry store, Kaya Jewelers, 41 State Street, on the corner of Essex Street. My response, especially in this economy that has hurt the arts so much was, “What a great idea!”

The show is up for all of November and December, and the reception is this Saturday, November 7, 2009 from 6 PM-9PM. Please stop by and say “Hello.” And do be sure to buy yourself or your significant-other a beautiful piece of jewelry for the holidays.

You can read the rest of the story in the Newburyport Current here.

The Newburyport Rail Trail

Entrance to Newburyport's Rail Trail--High Street

Entrance to Newburyport's Rail Trail--High Street

Sunday was one of those amazing, “this is why we live here,” kind of gorgeous, mild fall days. I had not checked on Newburyport’s Rail Trail for awhile, so I thought that I would go down to Market Street and see if I could walk down to the new bridge across Low Street, that was put in this past August.

The bridge over Low Street  headed toward the train station.

The bridge over Low Street headed toward the train station.

One of the questions that is often asked is, why is the city putting money towards a very expensive Rail Trail, when it could use the money for other things, in particular schools.

The answer to that, is that these kinds of projects have a completely different funding source, than, for example the Newburyport Schools do.

The Rail Trail from underneath the High Street over pass.

The Rail Trail from underneath the High Street over pass.

Route 1, which is right next to this part of the Rail Trail (one would never know it).

Route 1, which is right next to this part of the Rail Trail (one would never know it).

This is from the city’s website:

“Funding for the design of the Clipper City Rail Trail came primarily through grants from MHD (Massachusetts Highway Department) and the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), as well as the Community Preservation Act (CPA). The City hired Stantec (formerly known as Vollmer Associates) to develop the design for the facility. The City also secured the commitment of $3 million in federal and state funding for construction of the trail as part of the regional Transportation Improvement Plan. The primary source of funding is the federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) Improvement Program, which is designated specifically for projects that help reduce congestion and tailpipe emissions including by definition bicycle and pedestrian pathways. (This funding source cannot be used, for instance, for work on conventional roads or bridges, or schools and other general needs.) The reliance on federal funding requires that the MHD take charge of advertising, contracting, and managing the construction of the project once the design is completed. The City works closely with the MHD Resident Engineer to manage the contractor during the construction phase.”

From the Low Street bridge going up towards High Street.

From the Low Street bridge going up towards High Street.

These are some of the photos that I took. As you can see Newburyport’s Rail Trail is still under construction, but you can begin to get an idea just how remarkable an asset to the city that it will be.