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.
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…
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!
As we Haverhillians nurse our collective hangovers and look forward (albeit with bleary eyes) to 2011, let’s take a limp down memory lane, shall we? Here’s a look back at what stories totally turned your cranks in 2010. (I’ll give you a hint: it seems you guys love goofy videos and animated gifs)
Back in June, Pedro’s Bike Care threw open their doors and let the public come in and check out their sweet new office in downtown Haverhill. Cosmic Amanda and Chris sneaked a peek into their secret R&D lab, were treated to free beer and cupcakes, and not only enjoyed the hilarious mini bike races, but made some goofy animated gifs of them.
Pedestrian turn signals are a revolutionary product designed to show the world exactly where you’re thinking of going next. And just to demonstrate just how life-changing these high-impact noggin blinkers can be, Cosmic Amanda made a YouTube video. Apparently that did the trick, as this was our fourth most popular post of 2010.
The second ever post on Haverhill Fever managed to sneak into the top 3. As we said, a city is only as cool as the celebrities it spawns. Therefore, Haverhill is officially a big bag of awesome, because we can lay claim to America’s second funniest host of America’s Funniest Home Videos.
(Either Tom Bergeron brings the mad Google hits or you guys just wanted two tickets to the gun show…)
Back in April, we discovered that “blog research” is just a euphemism for completely demolishing a chicken burrito in the most unlady-like manner possible. The #2 post also delivers our most semi-pornographic animated gif in Haverhill Fever history. Coincidence? I think not.
NOM NOM NOM NOM NOM NOM NOM
So that brings us to the most popular post of 2010, which is… (drumroll)
This summer, a friend of the Feeve tipped us off to an indoor skate park being constructed in Ward Hill and sent along an exclusive sneak peak photo. By the end of 2010, Frozen Waves was open for business and shredding it up…check out this footage from the other night:
Well, there you have it! Thanks to all the cool people and awesome businesses we’ve become acquainted with through this blog for making 2010 a fun time for all of us at Haverhill Fever and a great year for all of Haverhill. Bring on 2011!
The other night I finally made good on a promise I’d made to myself nearly five years ago when I first moved within spitting distance of Haverhill’s very own ski slope. I, Cosmic Amanda, would Ski Bradford!
I figured I’m pretty coordinated, and pick up new skills quickly. How hard can this be, really? I pulled on my swishiest snow pants and we headed on down, meeting a couple of friends who were already a few runs deep.
I geared up, stepped into the bindings, and quickly got the mechanics of moving forward down. “This is so easy!” I thought. Then, despite my friends’ collective skepticism (and multiple warnings about my hubris), I headed straight for the ski lift to get this party started.
I'd soon learn the ski lift ride was where my doom was sealed.
I know you’re probably thinking “but Cosmic Amanda, if you’ve never before in your entire life set foot in a ski boot, let alone successfully gone down a bunny slope, why are you heading up a ski lift towards the very top of the steepest part of the hill?” And I suppose now is a good time for you all to know the truth: I am an idiot.
In fact, I didn’t quite step off the ski lift, I actually tumbled off it, which is when I realized how hard it is to get back up when you’re wearing two five foot planks clipped to your feet. Once I was upright and started moving towards the slope, as if by magic my skis became magnetically drawn to the trees that line the crest of the hill. Which would induce panic and I’d flail my poles around, causing me to fall down again.
So my first trip down Ski Bradford’s black diamond was on foot, while my friends glided down the slope carrying the rest of my gear for me. I met them part way down the hill on the intermediate slope where the next part of my skiing adventure involved inching down sideways and yet more toppling over.
My view for most of the evening
By now I resigned myself to starting over and taking a more logical approach to learning how to ski: the kiddie slope. That’s when my friend introduced me to the pizza/french fries method of teaching little kids to ski. Of course, my first attempt went a little something like this:
But, the more I kept at it, the more that pizza/french fries method really worked! In fact, in no time I moved on to hot dog! Check me out:
What? Photoshop? Whatever do you mean?
Okay, so maybe I’m exaggerating my new found skills just a tiny bit, but once I finally got the hang of things I started having a blast…just in time for Ski Bradford to close up shop for the night. Bummer! I’ll be back, though…I fully intend to make it down the big hill this winter with my skis (and my dignity) intact.
Ski Bradford is located off South Cross Rd. and is open every day at 8:30am. On weekdays they’re open until 10:00pm, and on weekends they close at 4:30pm but reopen for night skiing Saturdays 6:00pm – 10:00pm. Their Web site is www.skibradford.com
Unofficial Haverhill Fever meteorologist Bob Simonds tweets:
Watching the blizzard, & getting ready to go snowshoeing later tonight.
If you don’t have anywhere to be right now, it might be a good night for starting a fire, cracking open that bottle of wine leftover from the holidays, and getting nice and cozy. (Why didn’t I think of asking for a pair of snow shoes this Christmas?)
Or, if you don’t have a fireplace, snow shoes, or a budding drinking problem, you could be a good do-bee and take a look in your closets and drawers for items you haven’t used at all in 2010. The Big Brother Big Sister Foundation passes through Haverhill every other month collecting resaleable clothing or household items right from your doorstep. If you just got a new winter coat, why not warm someone up with your old one?
Last night, passing through downtown on our way to check out Busy Arms at Kelley’s Pub, we noticed a freight train rolling over Washington hauling some unusual cargo. We were pretty excited to see such a shipment pass through town, so after watching it lope across the Merrimack from the Comeau Bridge, we caught up with it at the Bradford Depot where I managed to snap a few photos.
Hmmm...what could it be?
As it quietly chugged along in the dark a handful of staff emerged from Bradford Skateland, not only curious as to what all this stuff was, but why there was some strange chick running up and down the platform trying to document it.
Figured it out yet?
In fact, one of the staffers flagged us down and with a stern face straight up asked if it was some sort of crazy top-secret rocketry and if I was engaged in espionage. (Geez- first UFOs and now secret agents?) Highly flattered, I confessed that I was actually not a spy, but a lover of alternative energy and we had spent the last fifteen minutes ogling a wind turbine.
Why don't we slap a couple of these up by the solar farm?
Meanwhile off it went creaking and clanking into the night, ready to bring clean energy to some lucky town down the line…
I know, I know, I’ve been a terrible blogger. Sometimes life just gets in the way. But I’ve been promising myself I’d come back to the Feeve… In fact, just the other night I was driving through Ward Hill, when I made a wish on the North Star of Haverhill, twinkling high atop the incinerator stack: “Bring me something really good to get me back in the blogging spirit!”
Meanwhile, on the other side of the river, Tom from the Haverhill band Busy Arms was minding his own business when a Haverhill Fever bumper sticker fluttered into his lap, and BAM! here we are again.
Busy Arms are two guys- Tom on guitar and vocals and Brad on drums- and after one half of the outfit got hit in the junk with that serendipitous sticker, they contacted me with a couple of tracks and some news about their upcoming show at Kelley’s on Friday, December 17th.
In trying to sort out how to describe their sound the phrase “music made by boys with old-timey moustaches” sprung to mind, and believe me, being of the mopey indie rock persuasion this is just the sort of thing that turns my crank. The tracks they have up on ReverbNation are upbeat and quirky- distinct enough to be recognized as their own, but varied enough to hold interest, with the added bonus of appealing to a broad range of music-lovers- from folksy to gypsy.
I’m pretty psyched to know a band like this exists in Haverhill, and even more thrilled that they found me just in time to sit down and answer a few questions before their gig. Enjoy!
Busy Arms practicing their interpretive mime skits.
HF: What is the story behind the band name “Busy Arms?”
BA: That information is classified, but we like to leave any interpretation of our name up to the listener, much like our actual music.
HF: How did you guys come together?
BA: We have been friends for quite a few years. We were both orphans raised in the same catholic boarding house in the Czech Republic, and we were adopted by a pack of traveling gypsy wolves. It turned out that they were protestant cannibals so we had to flee. The only skills we had at that point were playing music and performing interpretive “tinman” mime skits, so we took the less dangerous route and decided to go to culinary school in America. That’s where we learned that we were better off just playing music. So we learned to play the drums and the guitar and we started recording our own records out of the kitchen. We’ve been delivering our savory delicatessen to basements and bar scenes all around New England ever since.
I appreciate the suspenders.
HF: You seem to have a pretty unique sound. How would you describe it?
BA: We really strive to make intricate and original music that incorporates chord changes and odd rhythms that you don’t normally hear in popular music. At the same time we try to make it approachable to the average person. It’s hard to pinpoint the kind of sound that we have, so we always ask people to listen and decide for themselves.
HF: Who are some of your musical influences?
BA: We listen to so much music, but the things that influence us the most are musicians/bands that have gone out of their way to be different and create a new artistic expression through their music that has been relatively untapped at that point. Artists also change album to album, and some albums that have really inspired us are “Smile” by the Beach Boys, “Their Satanic Majesty’s Request” by the Rolling Stones, “Sung Tongs” & “Feels” by Animal Collective, “In the Aeroplane Over the Sea” by Neutral Milk Hotel, and “Bows & Arrows” by the Walkmen.
Getting Busy up in Newburyport
HF: Describe the music scene in Haverhill. Who else is out there that you like?
BA: Honestly, the scene has been stagnant for quite some time. We think Haverhill needs an artistic revival, and not just musically. Fortunately there are some really amazing musicians around here and there are some good acts just starting to pop up. We have been in the process of setting up multiple musical shows/art gallery showings in the coming months, and we’ve been assembling some top notch musicians from all around the area. Four Legged Faithful are a really good old-timey bluegrass band, we’re looking forward to playing with them on Dec 17th!
HF: Any thoughts on/hopes and dreams for Haverhill?
BA: Well like we said, we really want to see an expansion of artistic expression in the storefronts and on the streets of Haverhill. Haverhill isn’t the most aesthetically pleasing city, but it has potential and we want to help it out in any way we can. It’s our hometown so it will always hold a special little place for us.
Can't they just use all those arms for hugging?
HF: Okay- who would win in a fight – Goro from Mortal Kombat or Dr. Octopus? (get it…they have a lot of arms)
BA: We debated about this for a long time, and consulted many outside sources, and we’ve come up with the conclusion that it would probably be a draw. Doc Oc’s got the reach, but Goro has got huge muscles.
HF: What’s your favorite venue, in Haverhill or beyond?
BA: TT the Bear’s in cambridge is one of our favorite places to play. It’s like the best kept secret of the Middle East that is a lot more intimate and accommodating to local acts like us.
HF: Idle Arms are the Devil’s playthings – what do you do to keep yourselves…um, Busy?
BA: We play music. Lots and lots of music. Brad has a recording studio out of Haverhill, and Tom designs print and web work for artists and bands.
HF: Thanks for taking the time to chat. Hey, before you go…plans for the future- upcoming gigs? Albums?
BA: We’re playing in Haverhill (Bradford technically) on Dec 17th at Kelley’s Pub with a bunch of our friends for the “Support Local Folk” event. it’s a night of folk, country, and rock music and it’s going to be tons of fun. We have other shows around the area which you can check out at busyarms.com. We are also working on a new EP to follow up our May 2010 full length release, and you can get a free copy of some new music at any of our shows.
So there you have it, folks! Kelley’s Pub: December 17. If you want to catch a bit of their quirky gypsy old-timey folksy charm before then, head on over to the Busy Arms pages on Facebook and ReverbNation.