Blog :: 2017

Tips for a Brighter Winter

Settled in New England, we are no strangers to the winter months! As autumn begins and fades, so do the hours of light that we experience. While there are countless things to look forward to in the winter, there are also symptoms of fatigue and dreariness that many Massachusetts natives, and transplants, experience.

We can enjoy the crisp air, apple cider, snow days, added exercise, layered clothing, and holidays, but when the excitement settles, some New England residents are left feeling less than joyous about the season change.

This leaves us to wonder… how do we combat the wintertime blues? With the end of daylight saving, we thought we’d look into some ways to brighten our days.

Along with the recommend daily exercise, time outdoors (even in the snow and cold!), and maintaining your typical routine, there are also things you can do in your home to bring more light and energy in the darker months.

Of course, if you’re experiencing more than just a bit of wintertime dreariness, you may also want to seek a doctor’s professional opinion. But, if you’re just looking to brighten up your home, or try some natural remedies first, look no further! We’ve broken down our tips into three main categories. You will find one main theme: visual and sensory cues.

 

Windows:

  • Clean your windows.
    • This task may even have the added bonus of an upper-body work-out depending on how many windows you have. Once you’ve finished, you’ll feel like you’ve achieved something and your home will be full of bright, uplifting light.
  • Remove the mesh screens. This added layer obstructs the view to the outside.
  • Maximize the daylight in your home, especially in the morning, by opening the blinds.
  • Make the windows of a room the focal point during the winter months.
  • While we’re on the topic of blinds, change out your heavy drapes with light colored window treatments.
    • By mounting treatments outside of the window frame, you can also create a visual cue that the windows are larger. As a bonus, when open, this will allow for the maximum amount of sunlight to come through.
  • Trim any shrubbery near the windows that would obstruct your view of the daylight. This is another chore that will add some exercise and an outdoor experience.
  • Open the windows.
    • It may seem counter-intuitive in the colder months, but even twenty minutes of fresh air and sunlight in your home can do wonders for your moods. Not to mention the fresh feeling and renewed scent your space will have once they’re closed.

 

Interior Design:

  • Remove dark rugs and textiles.
  • Add bright, light, and textured designs to your floor coverings, slips, and pillows.
  • Add reflective surfaces to your home.
    • Even a simple statement mirror can add a tremendous amount of light when placed mindfully.
  • Add full-spectrum or daylight toned bulbs to your home.
  • Light boxes, dawn simulators, and circadian rhythm simulators are all added light elements, as well – but you may want to discuss with a doctor if this is a good choice, first.
  • Add new pieces to your home.
    • Even small changes like one added piece of art, or a few bright photos, can add excitement to a space. This is especially helpful to make your home feel new, and get you excited to spend some quality time there.
  • Plants! Adding natural elements to your home helps to bring the outside in, adding natural air filtration, another indoor task, and a nurturing sensibility during months where self-care is especially important.
  • Aromatherapy is another added piece of interior design that we often overlook.
    • Having a signature scent for your home is something lots of designers recommend, but adding natural essential oils like lavender for calming, or orange for invigorating the senses, to your home can help various ailments. 

Schedule:

  • Maintain your typical routine.
    • See the people you normally would. Participate in a winter activity that you enjoy, or find a new one to try, adding enthusiasm to the time of year.
  • Make your bed daily.
    • This indicates your day is starting and you’re ready for what is ahead. The simple shift, if not already implemented, helps to prepare you for a good day.
  • Exercise.
    • Walking outside helps to get you light, air, and endorphins. If you are able, hiking also brings you into a new atmosphere that is said to help brighten your moods, as well.

 

Atwood Millet House Tour with Westford Historical Society

Nine years ago, the Atwood/Millet House at 4 Graniteville Road in Westford was vacant and in need of much care. It was purchased by Anson and Marie James, a young couple with energy and expertise in high end home restoration. This fall, the Jameses are re-opening their home to the public for one afternoon only.

The Westford Historical Society will be hosting a house tour at the historic Atwood/Millett/James house at 4 Graniteville Road in Westford on Sunday, November 5th, from noon to 4 p.m. Come see the transformation. Marie and Anson will be on site to share their stories and hear yours.

Tickets will be available at the door, cash or check only. $6 for Westford Historical Society members, $8 for non-members. $1 discount for students and seniors. Parking is across the street on Randolph Circle. For more information, the Facebook Event can be found here.

Originally built in 1878, this 3,475 square foot home is set on .57 acres and offers a great space for anyone looking for modern amenities with historic charm. Not only is it on tour with the Westford Historical Society, but it is for sale with Barrett Sotheby’s International Realty. For more information, take a look at the listing on our site, here.

Loving Local Life: Carlisle

Once described by Thoreau as the “city of the woods,” Carlisle, Massachusetts is next on tour for our Loving Local Life series. Our second-to-last stop, Carlisle continues to be a natural community, with over 30% of land remaining under a conservation effort.

Great Brook Farm is a large destination for those around the town, open each day 11 am to dark (dependent on weather) from April to October. A modern dairy farm, Great Brook has 61 flavors of ice cream for visitors to enjoy after exploration of the trails. Perfect for biking, hiking, or a picnic, it is great for family and friends alike.

The Malcom Preserve is another outdoor adventure for those seeking one in Carlisle. This 11 acre reservation includes trails that suggest a minimum of one half hour to explore, with one wheelchair accessible trail spanning one half mile long, lined with crushed stone. The Malcom Preserve also leads to a larger protected landscape of 1,300 acres in surrounding towns.

The Carlisle Cranberry Bog continues the theme of natural enjoyment and agriculture that is prevalent in Carlisle. Cranberries have been grown here since 1904, currently with 19 acres of active production. The bog provides another outdoor experience, especially grand in autumn.

With local companies such as Kimball Farm to stop at for more ice cream, and Ferns Country Store for any of your other needs, Carlisle is a great trip to make, for all!

Loving Local Life: Lincoln

The next town along the “Patriot’s Trail” that we’re stopping at for our Loving Local Life series is Lincoln, MA.

Following with our trend of historical towns, Lincoln is no exception! Lincoln is home to the Thoreau Institute, part of the Walden Wood Project. The Thoreau Institute Library holds over 60,000 items, all pieces of Thoreau-related material. There are conservation efforts, a farm, and plentiful educational elements to the Walden Woods Project, where the Thoreau Library is located.

Lincoln is also home to the Gropious House. The Gropious House was designed by the founder of the Bauhaus design school, and follows the Bauhaus style combining traditional elements of New England architecture. Anyone interested in Historical Architecture (especially in New England) will love a visit here!

The Codman Estate is another historically-steeped element of town. Known to some as “The Grange,” this estate has been passed through generations. Not only is it a landmark to visit, but the Codman Community Farm is a Lincoln staple, which has been in continuous operation for over 150 years.

If the farm has peaked your interest in heading to the great outdoors, the Mass Audubon Drumlin Farm Wildlife Sanctuary is another great place to go. Drumlin Farm is a working farm, with 206 acres total, and four miles of trails to explore, with two Universally Accessible trails.

For something with a bit of indoor and outdoor choice, the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum makes a great local day trip! deCordova is a welcome place for new visitors and return guests alike, supplementing the 3,500 piece Permanent Collection in several media with ever-changing Upcoming Exhibits.  

Finally, no visit to Lincoln is complete without a stop at Ponyhenge. An eclectic display, a local property owner found that each time they went away they would return to a new pony figure or statue left on their land. When driving, pull off at 39 Old Sudbury Road in Lincoln and look across to find this display to complete your tour!

Loving Local Life: Bedford

For the second week of our Loving Local Life series, we’re highlighting Bedford, Massachusetts. This history-steeped town is another we are fortunate to be a part of!

With the oldest known flag in the United States, Bedford remains a part of history, often associated with the Battle of Lexington and Concord. The Pole Capping, an ‘act of defiance’ predating the revolution, is reenacted in April each year to commemorate the participation of the town in this historical event. Similarly, Bedford Day is another annual event, occurring each September, celebrating the incorporation of the town. The Bedford town website has extensive information about the history and events in the community (click here for A Citizen's Guide to Bedford). 

With our office centrally located, and many active Realtors® who work and live in Bedford, we’re in a great place to be a part of all the festivities. Bedford is family-friendly, active, and has a lot to offer those passing through.

In fact, Bedford has many visitors by chance! With the Rail Trails converging at Depot Park, residents and tourists from far and wide get some exercise. This great addition to the town and surround communities brings great value to those who take advantage of the easy, fun opportunity. With three trails, those going for a ride, walk, or run can choose where they visit each day. Of the three options, the most notable in length is the Minuteman Bikeway, at 10.5 miles long and begins in Bedford passing through adjacent towns, reaching West Cambridge.

Springs Brook Park is another element of the town, with a water park, a playground, and a yearly events schedule. In the past there have been magicians, yo-yo tricks, reptile events, and more. During the summer, there are also Fourth of July events and swimming lessons!

The Chip-In-Farm is a local company, open year-round. The farm sells locally sourced food as well as fertilizer during the spring and fall. There is a petting zoo for visitors to enjoy, birthday party accommodations, and a farm camp for kids during the summer.

Loving Local Life: Concord

In the coming weeks, we’ll be doing a series focusing on the towns we serve and why we love them! Check back each Monday for a new town.

This week, we’ll start where we got our start! You guessed it – Concord, Massachusetts.

Whether you’re looking for an afternoon filled with history, nature, or literature, you can find it here! Minuteman National Historical Park brings history alive where the first battle of the Revolution began. The park has a rotating schedule of events, a Junior Ranger program that you can guide yourself through and earn a badge, as well as programs for parents and teachers alike.

If you’re interested in the nature aspect of Concord, the conservation land is abundant! The Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge with an entrance on Monson Road includes trails and both a wildlife observation tower and platform. Hapgood Wright Town Forest, or “Fairyland Pond,” is another option for trails and relaxation in the conservation land of Concord.

For more varied exercise in nature, the South Bridge Boat House is open for kayak and canoe rentals throughout the warmer weather.

Nature and literature collide here in many ways, as well. A local (and tourist!) favorite is Walden Pond. This gorgeous location is brought to life throughout the year with the warm and changing air, the fall colors, and the tranquil feeling that accompanies the winter months.

Many choose to continue their literature tour of Concord by paying tribute to our great authors at Author’s Ridge in the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, leaving a pen in homage to their legacy. Coming full-circle, Louisa May Alcott’s Orchard House welcomes visitors to appreciate the history that Concord offers in literature at the “Home of Little Women!”

Even if you’re not looking for a long tour of history, nature, or literature, Concord still has a lot to offer. The community we are a part of here welcomes small business ventures, with local favorites such as The Concord Cheese Shop, celebrating 50 years in Concord this July, and Nesting on Main for lunch and treasures to be found!

Weekend Events in Greater Boston: Memorial Day 2017

Still not sure what you’re doing this Memorial Day Weekend? The towns we serve, and Greater Boston, have a lot of opportunities for you! 

In Bedford, MA the Memorial Day Ceremony and Bedford Memorial Day Parade take place. The events are said to start at 11:15am on Monday, at the Old Burying Ground in Bedford. 

In Lincoln, MA there will be a Memorial Day Barbecue for Veterans. This will be held at Bemis Hall, 15 Bedford Road, Lincoln from 11:30am - 1pm. However, Veterans must RSVP (contact: 781.259.8811, as per the website).

In Lexington, MA the weekend starts off with the Annual Discovery Day in the Municipal Parking Lot on Muzzey Street/Waltham Street. This event will be held from 1am - 3pm, followed by a free concert by The Nowhere Men from 3:30pm - 5:30pm. The day awaits you with dancing, food, shopping, clowns, and tables from each Town Department. Free parking and Lexpress Rides will also be available throughout the day for your convenience. 

On Memorial Day, Lexington will have wreath-laying ceremonies starting at 8:45am. For a full schedule, visit the town website here

If you are looking for something further out, Boston also has various events this weekend. 

For a summer feel, the Boston Pops present Jaws in concert on Thursday and Friday evening starting at 8pm. The iconic movie will be coupled with live score for an evening to really start the warmer weather.

Throughout the weekend the Memorial Day Flag display will be on the Boston Common. 

While you are in the city, there will also be free admission to the Museum of Fine Arts on Monday, from 10am - 4:45pm.

With all of this in mind, you can plan ahead and enjoy the weekend! 

Weekend Events in Greater Boston: SoWa Open Market

Every Saturday and Sunday between April 29th and October 29th from 10am - 4pm, local vendors and artisans gather together to create the SoWa Open Market in Boston, MA. Locals and visitors alike are welcomed to the various venues along Harrison Avenue, predominantly between Paul Sullivan Way and Union Park Street. The goal? To build community and support small, local businesses. 

Visit the SoWa Arts Market at 460 Harrison Avenue to meet the artisans who set-up shop for the weekend, 75-100 at a time. Carefully curated, this event provides the perfect opportunity to select art for your home, daily life, and more. Every First Friday of the month galleries open to the public from 5pm - 9pm for a night of new culture.

The SoWa Farmers Market is located at 500 Harrison Avenue, providing the ability to do some light (or heavy) shopping in place of your weekly stop to the grocer's. 

Cap your time at the SoWa Open Market with the Food Truck Bazaar and the Beer Garden, both located at 540 Harrison Avenue. The Food Truck Bazaar hosts 10-15 of Boston's best food trucks, weekly. The Beer Garden is the first weekly, outdoor venue of it's kind in Boston, hosted by eatBoston. 

Countless restaurants, studios, and stores are open throughout the year - including the Vintage Market at 450 Harrison Avenue. Selling antiques, vintage items, and oddities, this store is open all Sundays 10am - 4pm and alongside the Open Market on Saturdays 11am - 4pm.  

The weekends of mid-spring to mid-fall allow the ability to host a variety of events, workshops, and shopping opportunities in the South End, but the festivity does not end there! This community continues various gatherings throughout the year. The Power Station, once the world's largest electric power generation plant, has been renovated and restored as a venue for events of all kinds. For more, the continually updated calendar can be found here.