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New to Massachusetts Blog

Jacobs Pond: An Underrated Kayak or Canoe Spot

Posted by Geoffrey Gordon on Mon, Jul 31, 2017 @ 02:38 PM

Jacobs Pond Great Blue Heron

Recently, my wife and I decided to take our kayaks out on Jacobs Pond. What we found there was an unexpected array of wildlife and scenery on par with that of Maine or Canada. We live in Norwell and still were pleasantly surprised by what we saw, experiencing a truly relaxing afternoon right in our own town. Although the entire pond is beautiful, a real gem is found when you explore upstream.  Thankfully, we were greeted with sunshine and a beautiful day despite weeks of dismal clouds and rain.  Pictured throughout this blog are photos of the wildlife we took ourselves.

Jacobs Pond Turtles.jpg

Photographed is a Great Blue Heron and some painted turtles enjoying the sunshine. In addition to the Blue Heron and painted turtles, we saw a diverse population of animals such as osprey, cormorants, ducks, and bull frogs. 

When it comes to fishing, this area is shallow and a little weedy.  However, if you enjoy bass fishing, the pond is plentiful. Besides bass you may find perch, pickerel, and sun fish. Given its great location, Jacob's pond makes for a fun and tranquil afternoon out on the water. 

For access, use the Jacobs Lane entrance.  At this location you can both park and launch your kayaks/canoes into the pond.  Trail heads are located here as well.

Kayaking on Jacobs pond.jpgTo finish off the day, I recommend walking across the boardwalk to the island located in the pond. The boardwalk is right off the Jacobs Lane entrance and is a perfect way to cap off a relaxing kayak/canoe tour of Jacobs Pond.

For additional information about Jacobs Pond, including history and trail details, click here.

Insurance question? Click here.

Tags: norwell, Jacobs Pond, kayak, canoe, wildlife, summer fun

Can I use my Cell Phone when driving in Massachusetts?

Posted by Sue Shiels on Thu, Dec 22, 2016 @ 01:35 PM

Welcome to Massachusetts….Now hang up that phone!!!

Cell phone.jpg

Each state has its own cell phone rules so it is important to be sure you know what they are if you are going to cross state lines.  For instance, in Connecticut and New Hampshire, any use of a hand-held device is prohibited.

However, in Massachusetts, drivers over 18 are allowed to use a hand held phone but are not allowed to text at all.  Keep in mind that as long as you are in a car and in the driver’s seat you cannot text.  That means if you are stopped at a red light or in traffic not moving it is NOT okay to text.

In Massachusetts, drivers under the age of 18 are banned from using any mobile device for any reason.  You cannot pick it up to plug in an address for directions, send a text, or call anybody. 

Another note, Bus Drivers are not allowed to use cell phones for anything; whether or not it is hand-held.

If you have any questions, or are not sure of the rules, it is best to err on the side of safety and caution and HANG UP THAT PHONE!!

Drive carefully and we hope that those around are as well!!

Tags: new to massachusetts, cell phones, driving, teen drivers, state laws

Summer Concerts at the ICA on Boston's waterfront

Posted by Geoffrey Gordon on Fri, Aug 26, 2016 @ 03:54 PM

Boston has always had a strong music scene, blending classical with progressive, with talent powered by Berklee College, the Boston Symphony, New England Conservatory and a hungry, energetic public. Thursday nights at the ICA is is terrific place to hear and see some of Boston's best emerging talent, for free!

Throughout the summer, the Berklee College summer series plays over 200 free concerts from mid spring to mid fall.  The Thursday night series at the ICA, the Institute of Comtemporary Art down on the waterfront, is special for a few reasons. Check out more details.ICA_Boston_concert_series.jpg

  • Accessibility.   With music starting officially at 6PM, and running until about 8:30 PM, it’s easy to get out to the waterfront from downtown, or to take the revese commute from the suburbs.  Our office is in Norwell, and if we leave Norwell at around 5PM, it’s a half hour in normal traffic to under an hour in really bad traffic.  Leaving around 5PM means we are early enough to get great seating for a group of 8-10. Parking is right next to the ICA, and costs $15 after 5PM.    

  • Groups.   We typically bring a few light snacks, but there are vendors selling sandwiches, snacks, and beverages (including wine and beer) right at the venue.   Overt partying is not cool, but social gatherings of lots of friends, and lots of couples, seems to be a theme at the ICA’s stadium.

  • ICA_Boston_Berklee_kids.jpgThe Venue.  Looking out into the masterly developing Boston waterfront is a sight to behold.  Years ago I worked downtown at 125 High Street and parked on Northern Avenue, because you could park there for free and walk ito downtown.   Parking was free because there was nothing out there but Anthony’s Pier 4 and the No Name fish joint a couple piers down.  Today Anthony’s is gone, but the
    Harborwalk showcases a beautiful combining of urban coiff and the natural harshness of Boston's now fresh clean water. New piers have emerged with space for pleasure boats to tie up for dinner or…music.

  • And the ICA.  The Institute of Contemporary Art is constantly updating its featured displays, so there's always something fresh and new.  Thursday nights, admission is free, so take a tour during the show's intermission.   Personally I don't understand some of that stuff, but always feel a little closer connected to the urban art scene after taking in a tour of the work there. 

    The Berkelee musicians are incredible.  Part of a Berklee College education is understanding the mechanics of arranging a show: getting the equipment to the gig; setting up; scheduling the sound guy; making sure all players are confirmed and so forth.  This doesn’t happen by magic and is important to delivering the final product.  But it’s all prelude to…the Music.  The core of a Berklee education is learning, arranging, writing, and performing great music.  After the sound checks and final fine tuning, the music comes together as you would expect from professionals and aspiring professionals.  Whether you like jazz, funk, rock or a combination of these, the music is why these kids immerse their souls into generating sound that will touch you deeply.   

    And if you like, nobody will stop you from moving your feet and dancing the night away.  

These concerts are easy to get to, free, and features the best new music in Boston.  What are you waiting for? 

Fenway Park- Boston, MA

Posted by Marge Libby on Tue, Apr 16, 2013 @ 04:00 PM

“I believe in the Church of Baseball. I've tried all the major religions, and most of the minor ones… I've tried 'em all, I really have, and the only church that truly feeds the soul, day in, day out, is the Church of Baseball.”  (Annie Savoy, Bull Durham)

Fenway Park

For those who consider baseball a religion, surely Fenway Park is the old, beloved and highly respected “Grand Cathedral.” Here are a few tips to for your trip to Fenway Park.


Of course, the best place to start is “How Do I Get There from Here?”  This link will provide you with directions via automobile, subway, commuter rail, and bus along with parking information.

Game Day

If you’re going to a game, my best advice – GO EARLY!! Yawkey Way is closed prior to games, providing a unique atmosphere one will not find at any other ball park. Check out the Red Sox Team Store where you will find the largest selection of Red Sox souvenirs and memorabilia. Find someone who is signing autographs at Autograph Alley. Dance in the street to the Dixieland sound of the Hot Tamale Brass Band, who have performed before every home game since 1999. Catch the pre-game Dennis & Callahan show at the NESN Stage. Do it all, and even more.


Have your picture taken with the “Teammates” statue of four Red Sox Hall of Famers - Ted Williams, Bobby Doerr, Dom DiMaggio, and Johnny Pesky.  You could have your picture taken with the Ted Williams Jimmy Fund statue which depicts Williams with bat in hand, placing his hat on the head of a boy with cancer. This statue is a fitting tribute to the legend and the Jimmy Fund, which is the official charity of the Red Sox. Both statues can be found outside the Gate B entrance at the corner of Ipswich and Van Ness Streets.

Have a favorite player?  Commemorative bricks of players past & present can be found at Gates B & C. This link will provide you with the locations.

Want to really get to know Fenway Park? Check out the official Fenway Park Tour. The tour lasts about an hour and your stroll around the park may include a visit to the Hall of Fame, the Press Box, the Right Field Roof Deck, the Green Monster Seats and even the warning track. Bear in mind that the stops are subject to availability. Fenway Park Tours are conducted year round. They begin at the top of the hour (9-5). On game days, the tours are conducted only up to 3 hours prior to game time. Know the game schedule when planning your tour.


Hungry? Maybe you are a traditionalist – hotdogs, Cracker Jacks, and beer?  Of course you can get that at Fenway. Fenway’s cuisine has come a long way! You will find clam chowder (Legal Seafood), lobster rolls, tacos, meatball subs, cotton candy, kettle corn and even vegan choices! Not a beer fan? How about wine or frozen margaritas? For the chillier games, you will find the line at Dunkin’ Donuts is longer than the beer line. This link will provide a list of the concession stands at the park.

I hope you enjoy your day at the ballpark and can come to appreciate all that Fenway Park brings to Boston history and baseball history!

Marge Libby

Tags: ma, baseball, Boston, fenway park, fenway, green monster, monster, tours, new to ma, ma attractions, mass history

Pembroke Celebrating 300 years

Posted by Donna Bellavance on Thu, Jun 14, 2012 @ 01:31 PM

PembrokeAs a resident of Pembroke for 37 years, I am proud to share with others the good news that my town is celebrating its 300th anniversary this year.  Like so many towns in the South Shore, Pembroke has grown from a small community to a well-populated and bustling area with much to offer its residents.

The various committees working on the anniversary celebration have planned numerous events that should provide  fun for all attendees.

Some of the events planned are as follows:

June 15  

Pembroke’s largest water balloon fight

June 19
  Public Safety Night
July 22   Treasure Hunt followed by a cook out at the Herring Run
July 29   North River Cruise & Trolley Tour
August 10& 12   Pembroke Arts Festival
August 18 & 19   Aviation Week end
September 23   Road Race and Parade
October 20 & 21   Civil War Enactment followed by fireworks
November 3   Pembroke High School Concert
December 15   Closing Events
pembrokePlease visit Pembroke's website for all up-to-date info. There is a limited edition Pembroke 300th calendar available at the Pembroke Center library and the DPW office.

There are raffle tickets selling for $5 each for the Pembroke 300th Anniversary Quilt which is on display at the Pembroke Center Library.

Suggestions are being requested for items to put in the Pembroke Time Capsule.

I am sure that these events will be well attended by many proud Pembroke residents willing to share stories relating to the rich history of the town.

New to MA eBook

Donna Bellavance

Tags: pembroke, South Shore, anniversary, 300, colonial, town, gordon insurance, agordon, massachu

The Launch at Hingham Shipyard

Posted by Steve McClelland on Wed, Jun 06, 2012 @ 09:19 AM

shipyard resized 600Otherwise known as “the Launch at Hingham Shipyard,” this little treasure is worth checking out and getting to know. Despite the far distance from my house, I make the journey at least once a week.


During World War II, 227 warships were made at the Shipyard for use in battle. Recently, Samuels & Associates began developing at the shipyard and have transformed it into an outdoor mall rivaling the Derby Street shops.

What it has to offer

If I went through all of the stores and options open at the Shipyard, this would be either a boring list or a shadow of their website, so I’ll go through what brings me to the shipyard.

Red Mango

red mango cardThe first store that ever sparked my interest was Red Mango. I had never had frozen yogurt before, but when friends brought me to this new dessert experience after a trip to Nantasket beach, I was instantly hooked. Not only does it have excellent  flavors, the store is self-serve (priced by weight). Red Mango is the #1 reason I drive the 12 miles and 30 minutes to Hingham.


What better precursor to Red Mango than a restaurant owned by the Wahlberg family? As soon as Wahlburgers opened up I could tell it was a hit; mainly by the hypnotic smell and the line of people out the door. Moderately priced, the burgers are fine quality, the shakes taste great, and the fries are the reason I keep going back.


Need I say more? Before Wahlburgers sparked my interest, Panera was my restaurant of choice. Good options, fast service. Superb choice if you have picky eaters or vegetarians in your party. Not much to say about this South Shore classic.

Patriot Cinemas

Although I’ve never actually seen a movie here, I’ve heard it’s a great option for dinner and a movie nights. On the topic of movies, what is remarkable to me is that the Shipyard hosts free outdoor movies every Thursday night in July and August. Here is the program of events.


The Moorings

If you don’t live in Hingham/Weymouth and don’t want to commute all the way to this shopping mecca, why not move there? There are homes for sale right in the middle of the plaza. And what is convenient is the commuter ferry to Boston right at the Shipyard. Now this location is like a double edge sword when it comes to insurance. Not only is it condominiums, it coastal too. Check with your independant insurance agency to make sure your home is fully protected at the best price.


There are many stores like Bed Bath and Beyond, CVS, and Eastern Mountain Sports that people might be interested in. I have never gone shopping there so I can't really offer a complete review.


The Shipyard is a great place to go to get some shopping done, go out for a bite to eat, and spend time with friends. The parking situation is exponentially better than at Derby Street Shops. There’s always spots open and if not, there is a nearby parking lot waiting for your car to rest. Traffic is a minimum.

Every time I make the trip, it is worth it.

 shipyard map resized 600

New to MA eBook

Steven McClelland

Tags: cohasset, whitman, shipyard, massachusetts, norwell, ma, scituate, hanson, rockland, hingham, shopping, food, dining

Treat yourself to a concert date with the Plymouth Philharmonic

Posted by Geoffrey Gordon on Mon, Dec 05, 2011 @ 07:57 PM


Whether you’re new to Massachusetts or been here a while, if you want to hear some wonderful  music without the hassles of in-town drive, parking, and an expensive meal, consider the Plymouth Philharmonic. It's conveniently located on Court Street in Plymouth, just a mile off Route 3.

The Phil, as its fans refer to it, has great music without the hassles of a trip to Boston or New York. They play both in Memorial Hall right on Court Street in Plymouth, and at the Duxbury Performing Arts Center near the high school. Prices are reasonable, with tickets running from $20 to $50 for the Christmas shows, depending on where you’ll hear the music.

The Christmas concert, Holiday Pops, is an annual favorite, playing this year on Saturday evening (8PM) and Sunday afternoon (3PM), DPlymouth PHilharmonic seatingecember 1oth and 11th.  Park right behind Memorial Hall, or across the street for free and walk a few steps into historic Memorial Hall. Tickets are still available as of December 4th. Let music director Steven Karidoyanes describe why he selected Vaughan Williams’ Fantasia on Christmas Carols and other seasonal treats.  His easy-going  yet professional approach to his music gives the show an intimate feel.

The concerts in March are a treat if you like a chorus, and tickets start at under $10. The Family Concert on March 4th features the Plymouth Children’s Chorus; the Power and Glory concert will feature the 250 voice High School Choral Consortium.  

A word on the seats at Memorial Hall: make no mistake, this is an older venue, so legroom is limited and the seats are small, especially in the balcony.  Do yourself a favor and try to get on the floor or in the mezzanine sections for a more relaxed seat.  It’s worth the expense.

More details about the Phil are available on-line, but the best way to really know what it’s about is to find your way to a concert. For the prices, bring a friend. You’ll be pleasantly surprised.

New to MA eBook

Geoff Gordon

Phil sponsor seal outlines FINAL

Tags: music, culture, Christmas concert, Plymouth Philharmonic, Plymouth Phil

Converting an Out of State License

Posted by Kasey McCarthy on Fri, Nov 04, 2011 @ 05:36 PM

MA LicenseConverts Wanted: How To Change Your Out-of-State Driver’s License

If you recently moved to  Massachusetts from another state, here are a few tips for converting an out of state driver’s license to Massachusetts.  The Commonwealth gives you 30 days to convert your license. 

While you are unpacking your boxes, you may want to keep in mind some of the documents outlined below that you will need to convert your driver’s license. There is also a  license application form to complete either on-line or printed before you go to the Registry of Motor vehicles. 

You will need to make a visit to one of the Registry’s branch  offices to complete the transaction and have your photo taken for your new Massachusetts license.

You may also be wondering if you can register your car in Massachusetts  before you change your license. The answer is absolutely “yes”. Plate registration and auto insurance may be secured before you change your license but it is expected that you will convert your license in 30 days.  Our agency can assist with the vehicle registration paperwork, offers free runner service, and provides auto insurance options.

Here is information provided by the  Registry outlining  the documentation needed if you are 18 years or older with an out of state license. For a complete list of acceptable documents, click here.

These are the types of documents needed:

  • Out-of-state License. If your out-of-state license DOES NOT have a photo, you must present acceptable photo ID from the Acceptable Identification Documents List.

    *Note: If you do not have your out-of-state license to surrender, you must provide a photo ID from the Acceptable Identification Documents list of identification AND a certified driving record not more than 30 days old from the state where you currently hold your License..
  • Document proving date of birth

  • Document proving signature
  • Document proving Massachusetts residency

    Note: An out-of-state License presented as one of the ID documents can be used document to confirm signature OR date of birth. It CANNOT be used to confirm both.
  • A Social Security Number (SSN) that the RMV can verify with the U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA) as having been issued to you OR an acceptable Denial Notice from the SSA. If you present a Denial Notice, you must also present proof of acceptable visa status, an I-94 (Record of Arrival and Departure), and a current non-U.S. Passport.
  • All documents must be originals. Photocopies will not be accepted. You must also clear a check through the National Driver Register and pay the required fees.
  • If you have a previous Massachusetts License that expired four or more years ago, you are required to show all of the identification listed above.
  • If you have a license from Canada, Mexico, or US Territory ( including Puerto Rico), you must present a driving record not more than 30 days old.

Converting your driver’s license is one step you will take in becoming a Massachusetts resident. Our agency can help you sort out the information needed to convert your license and insure your autos and home. You can request a quote by calling us at 781-659-2262 or online at

New to MA eBook

Kasey McCarthy

Tags: ma rmv, converting an out of state license ma, converting a ma license, getting a ma license, ma license

MA Locations: Hanover

Posted by Sue Shiels on Wed, Oct 12, 2011 @ 06:39 PM

The Town of Hanover is a rural suburban town of approximately 14,000 residents. It has a good school system with all school buildings either new or recently renovated for today’s technology. Take a ride on Cedar Street and see the brand new High School that is in the finishing stages!

John Curtis Free Library, image via wikipediaHanover was originally settled as part of Scituate but became its own entity when a new Church parish was needed in 1727. The Town Government is a strong Town Manager/Open Town Meeting. Although it is not on the coast, the town is known for water. The southern border is a tidal freshwater river system known as North River and Indian Head. You can navigate to the Atlantic Ocean from there and  fresh water mussel grows abundantly in one of only two areas in the state.

The Town has a very active youth sports system and a new five million dollar sports facility which will open next spring in South Hanover. The town has a very active equine community with trails for walking and riding abundant. Hanover’s Seniors are served by many affordable housing options and a new Senior Center in Mid Town.

The John Curtis Free Library was added to and renovated in recent years to be the South Shore’s premier Library.

Although the housing market crisis has not completely passed over Hanover; the town has done well with overall foreclosure and valuations. All of these factors and it’s access to Boston and Cape Cod, shopping and hospitals, forests and beaches make Hanover a wonderful place to live.

If you recently moved to Massachusetts, visit our new home buyer page for tips on purchasing new home owner’s insurance. Also check out our auto page for auto insurance deals and information, as well as our Whiteboard series for great general tips.

New to MA eBook

Sue Shiels

Tags: insurance, United States, Registry of Motor Vehicles, Atlantic Ocean, Cape Cod, Cedar Street, Geoffrey Chaucer, Hanover, hanover ma, hanover school systems, hanover south shore, hanover town, Lloyd's of London, ma dmv, ma rmv, town of hanover

Welcome to Whitman

Posted by Bill Cordaro on Wed, Oct 12, 2011 @ 06:30 PM

If you’re from a small town and have recently moved to Whitman, then you’re sure to feel at home here.  With a population of 14,000 residents in a 7 mile square radius, you’ll make new acquaintances in no time!

The Toll House Inn, established in 1709, invented Toll House cookies in the late 1930’s. Although the Toll House burned completely down in 1984, their sign and landmark still remains on Bedford St.  (Rte 18).

Park your car only once downtown and avail yourself of many merchants and services within close walking distance.  Banking, coffee shops, restaurants, drug store, hair salons, dry cleaners, post office,  town hall, churches  and other merchants and services are just too numerous to mention. Walk over to our newly renovated Lower Town Park; it is listed as one of the 1,000 greatest places in Massachusetts by the state legislature. The Old Colony Commuter Rail, a short walking distance from downtown, provides rail service from Plymouth to Boston.

For the youth of Whitman, there are organized sports teams, active scout packs and a recreation commission that provides many activities. The Recreation department also oversees our swimming programs at our town pool, located at the Lower Town Park.

The Whitman Senior Center, also located downtown, provides many activities, trips and daily meals.

Some of the downtown restaurant favs are McGuiggan’s Irish Pub, Tea Time Cookies, Venus Café (great pizza!), Ted’s Place (seafood).  On Rte 18 is also the infamous Peaceful Meadows Ice Cream (dairy barn open year round).

Last December, Whitman just celebrated their 17th year Winterfest. Always held on a Saturday in December, the downtown streets are closed for their festival. Parades, fireworks, caroling, contests, etc. fill the day and though through the night.

Whitman hosts an annual Fourth of July Field Day at the park, with a road race, carriage or bike decorating, pie eating contests and other events.

The Town of Whitman was incorporated in 1875. As a primary South Shore residential community, it has retained much of its rural character.   

If you are  moving to Whitman or any town in Massachusetts, see our  website to view our whiteboard videos at The videos provide valuable tips if you are new to Massachusetts or buying a new home.

And if you’re thinking of moving to town soon, visit our new home buyer page for tips on purchasing new home owner’s insurance.   Also check out our Auto page for auto insurance deals and information, as well as our Whiteboard series for great general tips.

New to MA eBook

Bill Cordaro

Tags: massachusetts, South Shore, whitman, ma, town of whitman, whitman youth soccer, small massachusetts town, toll house inn, toll house cookies, old colony commuter rail, whitman winterfest, south shore community

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