Thank You Nichole Schrafft for the Beverly Tree Farm Recommendation!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMany thanks to Nichole for her wonderful recommendation to purchase Christmas trees at the Beverly Tree Farm. Nichole wrote of her family’s tradition in this week’s “Nichole’s Family Picks of the Weekend.” Although we don’t have little ones any longer living at home to enjoy the wonderful hospitality provided by the Bertolon Family, I needed a freshly cut tree that will last through an extended holiday season. Usually our tree goes up the second week or so in December, but as our daughter won’t be home for Christmas she asked if we could get the tree up and decorate while she is visiting.

The dork that I am, I showed up at the farm by myself and without saw–I thought it was pick your own, not saw your own, too! Fortunately, the very sweet Mrs Bertolon had just the solution, which was to select from a small pile of trees that folks had cut the previous day, but had left behind.

My next dilemma was the fact they place the tree on top of your car, but for liability reasons cannot tie it down for you. After watching the dad in the car next to mine expertly tie his down, I attempted to secure ours. I couldn’t have been more inept and within a few moments, the super nice dad had successfully tied mine down, too (he mentioned that he formerly worked at a tree farm). Thank you beautiful family from Marblehead!

The Farm is only open tomorrow, Sunday, and next weekend, December 6th and 7th, or only as long as this year’s crop of harvestable trees last.

For more about Nichole’s family’s experience read her post here and visit the Beverly Tree Farm website here.


the-girls-and-JacksonMrs. Bertolon (holding her granddaughter)

Images courtesy Beverly Tree Farm Website

Middle Street Walk Gingerbread House contest

Hi Joey,

Would you please post this announcement in goodmorninggloucester?  The Middle Street Walk is coming up and we would love to have lots of Gingerbread Houses in the contest!

Thank you again!


Time to Start Making your Gingerbread House for the Middle Street Walk!


The 17th annual Middle Street Walk will be held on Saturday, December 13th this year and the Gingerbread House Contest is a huge part of the event!
We are very fortunate to have two professional bakers as our judges.  Barbara Catalini from Cakes by Barbara and her friend, Roz Puleo from Nahant, have been judging the contest since the beginning,
There are a few rules, which are listed below.  There will be several different entry levels, from 5 year old beginners to professional bakers.  Individuals and groups may enter. 
                                              What a wonderful way to kick off your holiday activities!
1. The contest is open to everyone.
2. Contestants may submit entries either individually, or as a group. More than one entry may be submitted.
3. All entries must be made entirely of gingerbread and decorated with candy or other edible embellishments. Anything that appears on the house must be edible. Contestants may decorate their entry with non-edible figures, material, etc.  However, these embellishments may not be connected to the house in any way. Everything that appears on, or is connected to, the house must be edible.
4. The gingerbread house submitted may take any shape, form or size. Creativity is encouraged and contestants should model their houses on places real or imaginary, basic or elaborate.
5. Each entry must be submitted on a cardboard, wooden or plastic base. There is no standard size or shape for the bases although it must be larger than the house.
6. Entries must be dropped off at Kyrouz Auditorium in Gloucester’s City Hall either Thursday, December 11th between the hours of 8:30 AM and 6:00 PM or on Friday, December 12th before Noon. There is an elevator in case you need it as the Auditorium is on the second floor.
7. Judging will occur prior to the start of the Middle Street Walk which begins at 11:00AM on Saturday, December 13th   Entries will be on display to the public that day at City Hall until it closes at 3:00 PM. Contestants can pick up their houses at that time or can pick them the next week during regular City Hall hours.
8. Entry forms will be on the tables set up in the Kyrouz auditorium Thursday, December 11th and Friday, December 12. Please make sure you fill out the front and the back of the form!  Turn the back side of the form UP next to your entry.  And, please make sure you fill out your contact information!
9. Prize ribbons will be awarded in numerous categories as stated on the entry form. Please make sure you enter your contact information!  This year there will be a trophy for Best of Show!
10. Please let us know if you are planning to submit a gingerbread house by registering over the phone to either of the following contacts: Barbara Catalini of Cakes by Barbara at 978-281-0639 or email   or Gloria Parsons at 978-283-9292 or email 
Cape Ann TV It will begin airing “How to Make a Gingerbread House with Barbara Catalini”:  Thursday, November 27 at 6:30 pm; Friday, November 28 at 3:00 pm and 7:30 pm; Saturday, November 29 at 8:00 am and 6:00 pm; Sunday, November 30 at 9:00 am and 12:00pm; Monday, December 1 at 9am; Tuesday, December 2 at 5:00 am; Thursday, December 4, 2014 at 8:00 am at 1:30 pm and 11:30 pm
It is also on the website on their “video” page.
Please visit  for more information about this year’s Walk and see Gingerbread House contest entries from past years.  The program for all the Middle Street Walk events and activities will be uploaded on the site by December 5th.  You may also pick up your programs from Sawyer Free Library, Cape Ann Museum and other places throughout Gloucester after December 8th.
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