While a bit sluggish to get into the holiday spirit this year, downtown Haverhill merchants are all over Valentine’s Day. Last night I took a little stroll to see who got all decked out. From these paper hearts at Cutting Edge Salon, to roses in the window of Lounge 59, downtown Haverhill is really showing the love.
Window of Cutting Edge Salon at 32 Washington St.
I always love checking out the windows at The Classic Couple. Most of all I love their perpetually tinsel-haired mannequin- this time decked out in a ballgown with a blingy bodice and a skirt with photo-realistic rose print.
Window of The Classic Couple at 97 Washington St.
Jimmy at Mizan Salon regularly goes all out with his window displays, and this one is no exception. Simple idea, but really eye-catching!
Tickets are $10, which gets you in the door to try out some of Harbor Sweets’ handmade chocolates, MS Walker wines, and tasty cheeses. There will also a silent auction with items such as weekend getaways, artwork, and gift baskets- just in time for Valentine’s Day.
Not only does the event promise to be a nice distraction from the harsh winter we’ve been having, but proceeds will help bring Make Some Noise, a 16 week performing arts series, to downtown Haverhill this summer. And from what I hear, it won’t just be your average grandpappy’s jazz series. We have circus acts, drag queens, and some of Haverhill’s bestbands to look forward to.
I plan on stopping by and cramming my face full of Harbor Sweets- how about you?
Thursday nights at Mal’s Lounge have had their ups and downs. Their former karaoke night was pretty cool but never really caught on and their Thursday night dance parties struck me as, well, “meh.” Until now, that is.
Yes. Oh, yes. (I'll even excuse the misplaced apostrophe.)
According to their Facebook page, Mal’s is now screening the latest episodes of Jersey Shore on their giant screen every Thursday night from 10:00 – 11:00pm. Afterward, they turn it all over to KISS108 Weekend Blowout deejay, Jay Michaels. Brilliant! What better way to kick off the weekend than fist pumping the night away?
I get a lot of flak for my love of Jersey Shore, but c’mon- it is so good! I mean, check out this mid-season trailer. Shizz’s about to get serriussss:
Mal’s really going all out with this Jersey Shore themed night, too. They offer Snickerdoodle Snookie and Citron Situation shots (both sounds like they’d get you ham-hocked faster than you can say “cabs are here!”) so that after you’re done watching the episode you can reenact your favorite sloppy club scene.
Has anyone checked this night out yet? Any good? Personally, I’m psyched about this new development. In fact, I’m hosing myself down with self tanner as we speak.
A couple months back, the fine mustachioed fellows of Busy Arms inspired me right back into blogging. And to return the favor, I decided to check them out at Kelley’s in Bradford. As I expected, they were great, but unexpectedly I also had my mind blown by their opening act, The Four Legged Faithful.
Three of The Four Legged Faithful, back in December
At first, I was thrown off a bit by their lineup. “An upright bass and a banjo?” I thought, “I am so not in the mood for bluegrass right now.”
But, as I soon realized, while The Four Legged Faithful categorize themselves as a “Folk/Americana/Bluegrass” band, they are more than just a sum of those parts. Made up of Haverhillian Matthew Migliori on guitar and dobro along with Nate Pelletier (banjo, suitcase), Jon Kaplan (mandolin), and Joey Piegrog (upright bass, tambourine), The Four Legged Faithful come together to create a sound that’s as free spirited and uniquely theirs as it is old-timey.
In fact, why not take a listen right now?
Ever since that fateful night, I’ve been toe-tapping along with their EP, Human Being Feeling, which sounds great for having been recorded in band-member-Joey’s basement. So, to make sure you’re all hip to the awesomeness, I hit the band up with some questions as they prepare for two back-to-back gigs in Haverhill this weekend.
HF: Lately there seems to be a resurgence of good, old-timey Americana music, though you guys have been at it a while. What made you decide to pick up banjos and mandolins?
FLF: I haven’t a clue as to why we play these silly instruments. We are a weird bunch- maybe its due to our influences and/or our desire to be different and play beautiful, interesting, and meaningful music with instruments that differ from most other bands.
HF: Since you’re in a folksy band, don’t you feel compelled to grow twisty moustaches? I mean, I know Matt has a beard, but…
FLF: Jon would grow if mustache if mother nature allowed him to do so. We all got beardy face.
Note: not their actual twisty moustaches
HF: There has to be a story behind the band name “The Four Legged Faithful” right?
FLF: Our name comes from a description that a fan gave to us, that we sound like an animal in gallop. We used to be “The Shuck N Jives” but we wanted to change our name to something else. The idea is that each of us are a leg of a galloping animal.
HF: Who are your musical influences?
FLF: We have a broad range of influences: The Grateful Dead, Fleet Foxes, The Band, Mimi & Richard Farina, Alash, CSN, Midlake, Zappa, Any/all roots reggae, Old & In the Way, Garcia Grisman, Tool, White Denim, The Parkington Sisters, King Wilkie, etc
George! Watch out behind you!
HF: Who would win in a fight – The Soggy Bottom Boys or Emmet Otter’s Jug Band?
FLF: We actually don’t really listen to Bluegrass. We aim not to play bluegrass but to play beautiful music with traditional bluegrass instruments. Authentic bluegrass is near perfect melodies and furious picking – we are far from perfect and we embrace it by steering clear from traditional bluegrass. We would really suck if we tried to do what “authentic” bluegrass bands do. (Editor’s note: this answer marked a sad moment for yours truly, having realized what I thought was a totally witty pop culture reference didn’t even register on these guys because I AM NOW OLD APPARENTLY.)
HF: What else do you guys do when you’re not shuckin’ and jivin’?
FLF: We enjoy many leisure activities. Joey is involved in many other musical projects including his rock brain child called “Might”. Matt runs marathons and plays guitar for Merrimack Delta Dub Set. Nate likes hip hop dancing and doing yard work. Jon shoot baskets and sit on couches.
You can check out the (it turns out not-soggily-bottomed) boys tonight at Kelley’s in Bradford, and while you’re there see the band for tickets to tomorrow night’s Old School Freak Out! at the Chit Chat Lounge. The event, which promises to be “an underground art scene explosion” where “the entire mood will be built to feed your brain” is likely to sell out, but seems way too cool to miss, so get your mitts on some tickets!
Busy this weekend? The Four Legged Faithful will be back at the Chit Chat for two more gigs in February and March, so keep your eyes peeled and your moustaches waxed ’til it’s time for more shuckin’ and jivin’.
Has anyone ever really looked at the mural at The Tap?
I was hanging out in the dining room the other night, waiting for a turkey wrap, when my eyes drifted upwards and I began admiring the sweet ‘staches on the dudes at the bar. Then I noticed the nude on the wall behind them. Then my eyes drifted to the scene painted on the street and…wait- is that a 1980’s muscle car!?
This can only mean ONE thing: The Tap is some sort of portal for time travel.
If Doc Brown was from here, of COURSE the time machine would've been an Iroc.
Now that I know the secret, it was tempting to go back in time and warn myself not to eat all those fries, but if Back to the Future taught me anything, it was to be very careful not to interact with my past/future selves. Wouldn’t want to cause a major paradox!
You may remember I’ve bemoaned downtown Haverhill’s lack of a good brunch before. I mean, as much as I love Village Square, there are some Sunday mornings that simply require something a bit fancier…and, let’s be honest, a mimosa.
So, when I was at The Peddler’s Daughter Saturday night and noticed a flier on the wall announcing brunch from 12 – 3pm on Sundays, I could not have been more excited. So excited, in fact, that I went right home to bed so that I could wake up, rush back to Peds, and stuff it in my face. (My back-to-back Foursquare check-ins did not go unnoticed by Bob Simonds who asked “did you sleep there?” Har har)
The Peddler's Daughter, 45 Wingate St.: Sunday brunch savior.
I did have self-pride enough to not sit in the same booth that had been the scene of the previous night’s debauchery. And I decided to save the mimosa for next time, opting instead for water and coffee. So, this was no brunch of shame.
Here’s the menu, with options for everybody, and reasonable prices, too!
Free Range Omelet: Vine Ripened Tomato, Fresh Imported Mozzarella, Fresh Torn Basil, Fresh Seasonal Fruit Salad
Grand Marnier French Toast: Thick Slab Applewood Smoked Bacon, Vermont Maple Syrup
Build your own Free Range Omelet:
Diced Tomato, Purple onions, Mushrooms, Bacon, Spinach,
Aged Cheddar or Big Eye Swiss Served with Fresh Seasonal Fruit Salad
Irish Scrambled Eggs: Oak Smoked Salmon, Scrambled Eggs, Toasted Irish Brown Bread, Fresh Seasonal Fruit Salad
8oz Angus Burger, Sunnyside Egg, Applewood Smoked Bacon, Big Eye Swiss, House Cut Fries or Sweet Fries, Homemade Ketchup
Hairy Mary Bloody Mary: Absolut Citron Vodka, Ped’s House Mix, Celery Stalk
Loosy Goosy Mimosa: Cristalinno Cava, Fresh Orange Juice
16oz Can Narragansett: No Explanation needed
I’m usually an omelet aficionado, but I just had to try the Irish scrambled eggs, while my partner-in-dine Forrest tucked into the Grand Marnier french toast, heartied up with a side of corn beef hash.
Yes, the mug and glass were purposefully posed.
The portions were just right to bridge the breakfast – lunch gap, and everything was super tasty. The only thing I didn’t like about our brunch? It was a bit lonely. Look at all the empty tables!
Looking for a few good brunchers.
Come on, you guys. Haverhill once gave us brunch but we didn’t show it the love it needed and look what happened. Now, we have a second chance at something very special. Let’s make it work this time!
If loving brunch is wrong, I don’t want to be right.
Evenfall, a Haverhill Fever favorite due to its $1 Bar Bite Mondays and occasional hot single men events, is also home to some pretty killer ravioli, which are all made by hand. Don’t believe me? Check out the video Spiro recently posted on the Evenfall blog, @ Spiro’s Table:
If you haven’t tried Evenfall yet, or even just haven’t visited in a while, maybe these glamour shots of some of the featured dishes on their most recent menu will inspire you.
Crispy vegetable spring rolls with asian slaw
Organic baby greens salad topped with gruyere cheese
Aussie lamb rack with crispy mushroom croquettes and Farmer Dave's baby tatsoi
And check out this more candid shot of their new venison dish which features strudel and carrot puree.
Look at all that delicious color!
And now I need to stop. I had to loosen my belt just looking at these photos!
Every Saturday I take a break from hanging out in, thinking of or blogging about Haverhill, and head down to the basement of the Salem State University campus center, where I host a weekly radio show on WMWM called Radioculars. (SHAMELESS PLUG ALERT!)
Lately I’ve been especially digging and consequently packing my weekly playlist with emerging lo-fi synth-heavy genre chillwave. And each week as I sit there, spinning the fly jams, I daydream about what it would be part of a totally rad experimental band.
Well, the gods of indie rock must have been smiling down on me that afternoon, because as I did my usual once-over of Craigslist for amusing Haverhill-related posts, I came across this ad from Andy, a local musician searching for like-minded people to jam with in hopes of getting a project going. Of course the word SYNTH jumped right out at me. With the earnest vulnerability of someone starting afresh after a break up, (I get it- creative pursuits are deeply emotional) Andy explains what he’s looking for:
Click to see the full posting in all its marvelous glory.
Well, since he put it out there that the band is called The Great Adventure AND has a Facebook page, I just had to do some investigative googling…and I was not disappointed. Check out The Great Adventure:
I know, I know, it’s just two kids messing around, but it’s actually not half bad. In fact, I can just see it now- throw in a distant sounding vocal track, slap on some knock-off Wayfarers, drown the whole thing in lo-fi buzz, and we have the makings of the hottest new chillwave sensation right here in Haverhill.
What do you think? Am I crazy, or is there magic happening in this basement? More importantly, should I offer this kid my skills as lead vocalist/triangle player? I could always use a third hobby…
New downtown Haverhill resident and recent discoverer of this blog Matt Hunt wanted us to know that Becca wasn’t the only person traipsing around in the snow during the last storm. He sent in a few more great shots of downtown…just when you finally started to feel your toes again.
Digging out cars downtown
Looking at this photo, I realized I’d never noticed how beautifully detailed the Mizan salon building’s architecture is. Holy cow! I wonder who lives on those upper floors…
Look at the detail on this building!
And finally, this one looks like a glimpse into our future, so get ready to flex your shoveling and scraping muscles again as a mix of snow and ice is heading right for us tomorrow evening.
Um, is it springtime yet? This shizz is nasty.
There’s a few more nice shots in Matt’s Facebook album. Thanks, Matt. And welcome to Haverhill!
This morning I got a hot tip that the downtown Haverhill Subway was FINALLY set to open for the first time today. (For months people have been asking me for the details on when this might go down.) The news came just as my stomach growled- plus, considering what it looked like before I was dying to see what they did with the space- so I headed down around lunchtime to see if the rumors were true.
Downtown Haverhill's new Subway
Rumor confirmed! The open sign was lit up and there was already a crowd inside…and as I shuffled up the snowy sidewalk I realized it was composed of the mayor, the franchise owners, and some chamber of commerce officials, along with a giant pair of scissors and some ribbon. Apparently I’d REALLY stumbled upon the opening! I was beckoned inside, and got the first unofficial photo of the ribbon cutting ceremony:
You know your blog has made it when you get to witness a ribbon cutting ceremony.
(SHOCKING REVELATION: Haverhill’s ceremonial scissors don’t actually cut anything- they’re just for show!)
A Subway Is Born:
Now, I haven’t been inside an eat-in Subway in a while, but I must say, compared to the old newspaper themed interiors I’ve seen this one looks pretty swanky. There are a few tables in the storefront windows, and a larger dining area in what used to be the back room before when it was a cupcake shop.
The irony of the faux brick wallpaper is not lost on me.
Also, I think the franchise owners have a real talent for hiring the right people. I visit their Bradford store occasionally and the woman working behind the counter always compliments me on my habit of totally piling on the veggies, so I wind up walking away feeling like a total winner, as opposed to someone who’s too lazy to make my own damn sandwich. The people working this new store seemed super friendly too. (though they did have all the bigwigs watching)
After all that pomp and circumstance, I managed to be the second person in line to buy a sub. So, all in all a fun little lunchventure full of excitement and ceremony, and extra pickles.
Dang! That turned out to be a bona fide as-promised blizzard today. And just like the last storm, I found myself nestled in a cocoon of blankets rather than running around in the snow like a good little blogger.
So, who better to take us on a tour of downtown Haverhill during a break in today’s storm than friend of the Feeve, Becca Fowler? She willingly braved the elements to show us the Shoe City’s snowpocalyptic aftermath.
Not only brave, but ever-so-stylish.
I have to say, if you’re considering moving into one of Haverhill’s many hip new renovated loft buildings, days like this kind of seal the deal. Slap on some snowshoes, stomp around town, and let those condo fees finally pay you back in the form of someone else doing all the snow removal. (Meanwhile, over in Bradford, we can expect our day/evening/night to look like this.)
The city of Haverhill, clearing the way.
Becca made her way down Locust St. heading towards Washington to do a quick survey of what businesses were open. (Answer: not many…but Hans Garden owner Tony drove all the way from Chinatown to serve his customers!)
During her adventure in the snow, she encountered one of Haverhill’s snow residents enjoying the weather…
I don't appreciate this snowman's smugness.
As well as some other downtown residents taking it to the streets all bundled up.
A couple more hearty New Englanders out in the snow.
Down by the river, Becca noted the city did a great job of clearing the parking lot and the river walk…
Really pretty view of the train bridge.
But nobody thought to shovel out the alleyway adjacent to the Tap.
By late afternoon the wind whipped up and the snow started blowing around again, and it was time to retreat back to the loft.
But not before having a little shoe-la-bration of one alongside the Soles of Haverhill shoe currently hanging out in Columbus Park, no doubt placed there to make us forget that this was the recent scene of a gruesome Gingerbreadicide. Nice try, Haverhill! I’m onto you!
Who doesn't love a good photo with a giant shoe?
Well, that concludes our tour today. Thanks for taking us around downtown, Becca. You really have Bob a run for his money today!