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New to Massachusetts Blog

Striped Bass on the South Shore

Posted by Geoffrey Gordon on Fri, May 03, 2019 @ 12:03 PM

The great sport fish, the striped bass, is making its way up the eastern seaboard, and the buzz with local anglers is palatable. Most stripers that come to Massachusetts Bay wintered in Chesapeake Bay with its rich estuaries and moderate temperatures. Each spring they begin their journey north in search of food. They're due.

The food of choice around here are herring. Three herring spawning brooks feed the North River and are aptly named the First Herring Brook (in Scituate), the Second Herring Brook (in Norwell, where my father had a trap line behind his house as a kid), and the Third Herring Brook, the boundary separating Norwell and Hanover. Over the past several years, the North and South Rivers Watershed Association  has led an effort to remove dams from these brooks. Dams had powered mills back in the day, but lost their economic usefulness decades ago.  Their removal has paid off big in the resurgence of herring stock. Even native trout, gold standard habitat seekers, have returned to these brooks.striper and angler

Resurgent herring bring more than striped bass. The North River is alive with cormorants and ducks, egrets and great blue herons, and osprey and eagles. Every fisherman knows, here there are water fowl, there are fish.

The herring count in 2019 has been epic. Stop at the Third Herring Brook where River Street (Norwell) becomes Broadway (Hanover), through a pair of polarized glasses be amazed at the number of herring making their way up-stream. This food supply is why Stripers like the North River and nearby ocean.

Today (early May) in Massachusetts Bay the water temperatures are getting to the high 40’s, so the migrating fish aren’t be far behind. Edgartown water is now at 50 degrees (in early May); Plymouth and Mattapoisett are at 49. These temperatures are a few weeks late this year with all the rain and cloud cover  (often the first fish arrive the third week in April). But they're where the fish are comfortable enough to begin feeding here.

A lot of fishing is done alone, or with a single fishing buddy.  I personally like the alone time.  But fishing can be a great community event, such as the annual  NSRWA fishing tournament, happening in just a few weeks, the weekend of June 7-9.  That linked page will also describes many best fishing practices.

The overall striper population is under pressure on the East coast.  Overfishing and loss of spawning habitat in the Chesapeake are two commonly cited reasons.  With recreational anglers taking 75% of the fish (commercial fishermen taking the rest), a careful harvest is in everyone’s best interests.

Studies estimate a 9% mortality rate by recreational fishermen of caught and released striped bass . What can a recreational angler do to keep more fish alive?striper huge GG

  • Know the regulations. This year in Massachusetts the fish must be 28” long to keep; you may possess only one.  If you do keep a fish, filet, ice, and eat is as soon as possible. On the grill with a just a little mayo and fresh chopped dill is my favorite.
  • Retrieve quickly: don’t wait till the fish is so exhausted that it will die when you unhook and release it.
  • Skilled anglers remove multiple treble hooks from lures leaving only tail hooks to avoid fouling and facilitate hook removal.  You’ll still catch fish that bite, but you’ll always remove one hook faster than two, increasing the fish’s chance of survival. 
  • Return the fish to water as quickly as possible. This fish has just fought for its life and needs oxygen which it won't get above water.  If your landed fish is listless, help it get water through its gills by gently pushing it back and forth through the water. If successful, the fish will gain consciousness and take off.  You'll know.
  • This last one can be hard: release the monsters, like this holdover I caught last May  Female stripers are the bigger fish, and they carry thousands of eggs.  Let the really big ones go. The meat isn't as good, or as healthy, either. 

Respect the water and the habitat. Most fishermen are great stewards of our natural resources: that’s why we’re out there in all kinds of weather at all times of the day.   Retrieve debris including all your own line and we’ll all continue to enjoy the great outdoors, and with any luck, even catch a fish or two.

Tight lines!  

Tags: fishing, striped bass

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, wildlife, summer fun, Jacobs Pond, kayak, canoe

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

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: Boston, ma, baseball, 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: South Shore, pembroke, 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: massachusetts, cohasset, whitman, shipyard, norwell, ma, scituate, hanson, rockland, hingham, shopping, food, dining

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, ma rmv, 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, 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

Great Outdoor Opportunities in Halifax/Hanson

Posted by Geoffrey Gordon on Wed, Oct 12, 2011 @ 06:18 PM

Are you looking for a place to fish, hunt, do some bird watching, walk the dog, bike or ride your horse?  Halifax shares this treasure with Hanson.

There are parking areas off Elm Street in Halifax and Hawks Avenue in Hanson, but try not to block the walk thru for the equestrians at the Elm Street lot.  There is lots of wildlife and is well known by birders for the Heron, Egret, Osprey,swans, ducks, geese and lots of small birds.  You’ll have to get up pretty early to see deer but you can usually find their tracks.  The wildlife is more evident in the warmer months when you can find snakes, Muskrats and Snapping turtles.  You will find some hunters this time of year at Burrage and the adjacent trails, so be cautious and wear orange. If you’re walking a dog, be sure to keep it leashed.

Sorry, no ATV’s are allowed since this is a Wildlife Management Area that was purchased by the state in 2002.

Maybe we’ll see you there!  Enjoy and please don’t litter.

For insurance information and relevant resources, visit the Andrew G. Gordon Website.

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

 Geoff Gordon

Tags: United States, hanson, Bird, Birdwatching, Egret, halifax trails, hanson trails, Heron, Muskrat, nature trails halifax, Recreation, walking trails

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