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Monthly Archives: December 2010

Tap Into a Little History in the Making

With their 93 to 62 win over Florida State last night the University of Connecticut women’s basketball team set a new NCAA Division I basketball record for the most consecutive wins, last night being their 89th consecutive win. In doing so, they broke the mark set by the UCLA men’s basketball team back in 1971 to 1974 (88 consecutive wins).

The UConn women’s streak is still a work in progress with each new win setting a new record. If you would like to try to see a bit of this history in the making the UConn women play their home basketball games in the Harry A. Gampel Pavilion on Hillside Road on the Storrs campus of the University of Connecticut.

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How About A Little Outdoor Ice Skating this Holiday Season?

Everyone is familiar with the outdoor ice rink in Rockefeller Center in New York City. But New England has an outdoor ice rink that puts the one in New York to shame. I am speaking of the Bank of America City Center in the Greater Kennedy Plaza in downtown Providence, RI. At 14,000 square feet the Bank of America City Center rink is twice as big as the one in Rockefeller Center. So strap on the skates and head to Providence for some outdoor winter fun.

As a bonus, the center will be open Christmas Eve until 6:00 PM, and Christmas day from 4 PM to 10 PM.

The rink will be open until March 20th, 2011 and “normal” hours are Monday through Friday from 10 AM to 10 PM and Saturday and Sunday from 11 AM to 10 PM.

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Great New England Brews

Our post about the award winning breweries (Duo of New England Brews Garner Top Honors) proved to be so popular that we decided we would dig a little further to try to uncover the best breweries, micro breweries, and brew pubs (that make their own) in New England.

Now I will admit up front that our approach was very simplistic. We searched on “best breweries in New England” and culled through the first 2 pages of Google results (20 results). Any brewery, micro brewery, or brew pub that got mentioned more than once made the list. Did we miss some? No doubt. Nonetheless we did come up with a list of excellent New England breweries…

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Anyone Up for a Sports Hall of Fame?

Picture of the Basketball Hall of Fame

Basketball Hall of Fame, Springfield, MA

It turns out that there are three sports halls of fame located in New England, two in Massachusetts and one in Rhode Island. Touring a hall of fame can make for a vary enjoyable day for a sports fan. So without further ado, the halls of fame in New England (in alphabetical order):

  • The Basketball Hall of Fame, Springfield, MA – Officially the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, named after the founder of basketball. The Basketball Hall of Fame is the only hall of fame for a major North American sport (baseball, basketball, football, hockey, and soccer) located in New England, and it is appropriately located in the city where the game was invented by Dr. James Naismith in 1891.
  • The Volleyball Hall of Fame, Holyoke, MA – You will be forgiven if you did not know there was a Volleyball Hall of Fame. But there is one and it is located in Holyoke, MA which is by no coincidence it was created by William G. Morgan, a YMCA physical education director in 1895.
  • The International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum, Newport, RI – The International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum is housed in the historic Newport Casino. The Hall was established in 1954 and held its first induction ceremony in 1955.

There you have it. If you are a fan of basketball, volleyball, or tennis, then your Hall of Fame destination is in New England…

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How ‘Bout a Bonfire and 2 Sets of Fireworks to Ring in the New Year

If a bonfire on the beach and 2 sets of fireworks sounds like a great way to ring in 2011 then you might want to be on Old Orchard Beach for First Night Old Orchard Beach. The festivities start with a bonfire on the beach with marshmallow toasting, hot chocolate, and music. This will be followed by early fireworks at 6:15 PM for the kiddies, and then fireworks again at midnight.

Festivities will continue on Saturday with live music at the beach and other venues.

So for a couple of days of fun bringing in 2011 you may want to think of Old Orchard Beach, Maine…

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Duo of New England Brews Garner Top Honors

In its’ special “Best of Year Issue” (December 31,2010), the Wine Enthusiast magazine rated the top 25 beers of 2010. Two New England brews are in that top 25 with one garnering top honors as the best of 2010. The duo of top New England Brews:

1. Allagash Black (Belgian Style Stout), $8/750 ml
Allagash Brewing
50 Industrial Way
Portland, Maine 04103
Phone: 207-878-5385

Allagash Brewing is open for tours year-round. During the Summer the retail store is open Monday through Friday from 10 AM to 4:30 PM and Saturday from 1 AM to 2 PM. Tours are offered at 11 AM, 1 PM and 3 PM on Monday through Friday, and 11 AM and 1 PM on Saturday. In the Winter they are only open Monday through Friday 10 AM to 4:30 PM with tours at 11 AM, 1 PM and 3 PM.

14.Smuttynose Big Beer Series Scotch Ale, $7/22 oz
Smuttynose Brewing Company
225 Heritage Ave
Portsmouth, NH 03801
Phone: 603-436-4026

Smuttynose Brewing offers tours Fridays at 3:00 PM and Saturdays at 11:00 AM. After a tour of the Smuttynose Brewing Company, you may want to check out their sister company, the Portsmouth Brewery located in downtown Portsmouth.

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A Christmas Carol at the Berkshire Theater Festival

The Berkshire Theater Festival opened their production of A Christmas Carol last weekend (Dec. 11). Reading through the cast of characters you will find three individuals with the last name Taylor. That might lead one to speculate that they are related, but you might just drop it there unless you remember that Stockbridge, where the theater is located, is the stomping grounds of another famous Taylor – James Taylor.

The three are in fact James’ wife and twin sons. Kim Taylor, James’ wife, plays the role of Mrs. Cratchit, son Rufus is Tiny Tim, and son Rufus is young Ebeneezer Scrooge.

The play runs through December 30 and tickets are still available.

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The Mountain Dew Vertical Challenge 2010 / 2011

For the 2012/2012 season see: 2012 / 2013 Mountain Dew Vertical Challenge in New England

The Mountain Dew Vertical Challenge began in 1991. It is a series of free ski and snowboard races held at ski resorts throughout the northeast and west during each winter season. Below you will find the New England Mountain Dew Vertical Challenge races for the 2010/2011 winter season.

Mountain Dew Vertical Challenge Race Schedule for Each Location

  • Race Registration:t 8:00 AM
  • Mountain Dew Vertical Challenge Race starting time: 11:00 AM
  • Race Awards and Victory Party: 3:00 PM

Mountain Dew Vertical Challenge Races

December, 2010

  • 12/11: Okemo Mountain, Vermont
  • 12/31: Gunstock Mountain Resort, New Hampshire

January 2011

  • 1/8: King Pine, New Hampshire
  • 1/12: Attitash, New Hampshire
  • 1/15: Jay Peak, Vermont
  • 1/16: Burke Mountain, Vermont
  • 1/17: Bolton Valley, Vermont
  • 1/22: Black Mountain, Maine
  • 1/23: Gunstock Mountain Resort, New Hampshire
  • 1/29: Ragged Mountain Resort, New Hampshire
  • 1/30: Crotched Mountain, New Hampshire

February, 2011

  • 2/5: Shawnee Peak, Maine
  • 2/6: Pats Peak, New Hampshire
  • 2/12: Ski Sundown, Connecticut
  • 2/13: Mount Southington Ski Area, Connecticut
  • 2/19: Nashoba Valley, Massachusetts
  • 2/22: Mount Sunapee Resort, New Hampshire
  • 2/23: Waterville Valley, New Hampshire
  • 2/24: Black Mountain, New Hampshire
  • 2/26: Killington Resort, Vermont
  • 2/27: Pico Mountain, Vermont

March, 2011

  • 3/6: Jiminy Peak Mountain Resort, Massachusetts
  • 3/12: Bromley Mountain, Vermont


  • 4/2: Mount Snow, Vermont (FINALS)
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Winter Waterfires?

Picture of Waterfire ProvidenceNot familiar with the Providence Waterfires? The Waterfires are a public/performance art event consisting of 100 torch-lit vessels installed on three rivers that pass through downtown Providence in Waterplace Park (the Woonasquatucket, Moshassuck, and Providence). First created by award-winning sculpture Barnaby Evans in 1994, the Waterfires have grown to attract hundreds of thousands every year. Attendance averages about 40,000 for each burn. Waterfires are a free public art installation/urban festival that can be enjoyed by the whole family.

The bulk of the Waterfire schedule, as one might expect, runs through the warm weather months of June through September. But there are typically partial and basin fires sporadically through fall and winter months as well as a few in the early spring. To find the “off-season” Waterfires check out the Waterfire schedule.

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New England Fly & Drive Vacation

Many thanks to Joe Laing of El Monte RV Rentals for providing us with this guest post. While these plans are more suited to warmer months, it is never too early to start planning…

Logan International: Perfect Hub for Fly & Drive RV Vacations

Flying into Boston’s Logan International Airport is the perfect first step for a National Park Service RV camping adventure. Less than a day’s drive from this bustling East Coast hub discover two magnificent National Park Service gems with adventures to please your entire family.

The ease of flying in and renting a motorhome keeps travel plans simple and frees you from hotel reservations, pricey restaurant meals and a long drive home. Consider these itineraries for an unforgettable fly & drive East Coast RV vacation.

Cape Cod National Seashore

Picture of Marconi Beach, Cape Cod

Marconi Beach

Once you’ve landed at Logan, collect your RV rental and take a short two-hour trip south to Cape Cod National Seashore. Warning – the wild, pine-studded dunes of Cape Cod will most likely haunt your dreams once you’ve visited! But that’s really not an issue, since there’s almost too much to see and do in just one trip.

While exploring the more than forty thousand acres of the National Seashore, you’ll encounter not only the enormity of the Atlantic, but also inland treasures in tidal flats, bogs and marshes. Your Cape Cod National Seashore RV adventure can be custom-built around your own particular passions. For example, six distinctly different swimming beaches can be the centerpiece of your exploration, if your family loves to splash in the sun.

On the other hand, if you like to hit the trails on vacation, forest, marsh and beach ecosystems are showcased in Cape Cod’s vibrant trail system. One more way visitors can get to know the Cape in-depth is on one of the many ranger-guided tours. Whether it’s lighthouses, local wildlife or the area’s abundant natural attractions, there’s a tour to match.

Before leaving the area, be sure to stop by one of the many “seafood shacks” to sample the local cuisine. One last note – RV campgrounds are abundant in the towns and villages of the Cape.

Boston Logan International to Acadia National Park

Picture of the Schoodic Peninsula, Acadia National Park

Schoodic Peninsula, Acadia National Park

Another Eastern Seaboard itinerary easily accessible from Logan is Acadia National Park in Maine. Just five hours north of Boston and located on scenic Mount Desert Island, Acadia’s granite shores thrill thousands of RV campers annually.

Wind up the road to the top of Cadillac Mountain or follow an historic hiking trail to the Wild Gardens of Acadia; both routes are filled with unforgettable scenery. Another popular activity for RV travelers is to wind along the Park Loop Road for a taste of both sea and shore. For a touch of history and great views from the water, be sure to take a tour boat to the Cranberry Isles.

While you’re discovering Acadia, make one of the island’s comfortable RV campgrounds your home. There are two within the park, and several options in the town of Bar Harbor. Surrounded by rugged beauty and pleasant RV amenities, it’s a safe bet you will be planning next year’s trip before you ever head back to Boston.

Flying to centrally-located Boston and then cruising the Eastern Seaboard by RV can be habit-forming. These are only two of the plentiful pleasures waiting for RV campers on America’s eastern shore. Pick your itinerary for this year’s trip and prepare to make remarkable vacation memories.

About the Author
Joe Laing is the Marketing Director for El Monte RV Rentals. For other great RV camping vacation ideas see the Monty’s Musings RV Camping Blog.

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