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Blog :: 2019

An Insider's Guide to Holiday Shopping in Marblehead and Swampscott

View of Old Town, Marblehead

 

During this festive yet busy holiday season, we suggest stopping by some of our wonderful local shops for last-minute gifts, décor, clothing, and foodstuffs. Besides infusing money into our local economy, shopping around the Swampscott and Marblehead area will save you time and get you in the spirit of the season meandering from shop to shop with a hot coffee or cider in hand.

Below are a few of our favorite shops and a few we ran across during our recent Holiday Fair. We hope you enjoy each local shop and getting to know your neighborhood businesses.

Botticelli Cuff

Botticelli Cuff, Jambu Jewelry

1. Jambu Jewelry
38 Atlantic Ave, Marblehead, MA 01945
Website: JambuJewelry.com 

Jambu’s curated collection of handcrafted artisan jewelry is a must-see! Created by talented artists from NYC to LA, each piece is made to dazzle in sterling silver and 14 karat gold, with precious and semi-precious stones to suit your style from classic to edgy.

 


 

No photo description available.

2. Shoe Galley
46 Atlantic Ave, Marblehead, MA
Facebook: @theshoegalley

We love Shoe Galley’s wide selection of stylish footwear for men, women, and children. Their boot selection offers a myriad of choices for keeping your feet warm this holiday season and through the rest of winter.

 

 

3. O’rama’s Boutique Store
148 Washington St, Marblehead, MA
Shop Instore Only

A local treasure, O’rama’s Boutique, is touted as one of the best places in Marblehead to find gifts for others and oneself. You’ll find a treasure trove of magical possibilities to get lost amongst including jewelry, pajamas, candles, home décor, beauty products, and so much more.

 

 

Burgundy sweater dress, Bobbles and Lace

4. Bobbles & Lace
139 Washington Street, Marblehead, MA
Website: BobblesandLace.com

Right down the street from O’rama’s, Bobbles & Lace is the place to find that last-minute outfit for your holiday party. You’ll find a glamorous collection of classic and trendy women’s clothing from which to choose. You’re sure to be the best-dressed hostess or guest at the party!
 

 


 

5. Gold Bug Co.
43 Atlantic Ave, Marblehead, MA
Shop Instore Only

A mainstay in Marblehead since 1979, Gold Bug offers a range of sophisticated, budget-friendly fine jewelry. This little local shop is a gem of a find for last-minute gifts for family, friends, or a significant other.

 

 

Italian Herringbone Blanket, The Preppy Stitch

6. Preppy Stitch
44 Crestwood Road, Marblehead, MA
Website: ThePreppyStitch.com

Wonderful handstitched monogram gifts await at Preppy Stitch in Marblehead. Gabrielle Roberts, the owner of Preppy Stitch, designs embroidered items to make your own with a monogram or any other motif you may want to have in your preferred colors. These unique designs are terrific for gifting and include items such as a set of towels, sheets, dish towels, napkins, tablecloths, or bags as a closing gift, anniversary gift, or holiday present.

Big Dipper Waxworks Pillar Candle at The Farmacie Shop

 

7. The Farmacie Shop
218 Humphrey Street. Swampscott, MA
Website: TheFarmaciaShop.com

This newcomer to Swampstock commerce opened in mid-November, and we are so excited they did. Founded by Paulina, a pharmacist with a passion for beauty, health, and wellness, the Farmacie Shop sells natural and holistic products and services. From skincare to supplements, you’ll find a plethora of pleasant products and advice to keep you and your loved ones cared for and healthy.

 

 

 

Little Pink Houses Cards, Kat’s Boutique

8. Kats Boutique
212 Humphrey Street, Swampscott, MA
Website: KatsBoutique.com

Just steps away from The Farmacie Shop, Kat’s Boutique is a local favorite for women's clothing, jewelry, and accessories from local designers, artists, and international brands. The boutique also offers one-of-kind vintage finds that are handpicked for their beauty and brilliance. They specialize in genuine pearl jewelry and accessories.

 

 

Marblehead Harbor

9. Artist --Lynn Mercer Michaud
PH: 781-631-8283
Email: LynnMercerMichaud@yahoo.com
Website: ImmGallery.com/LynnMercerMichaud.com

This local artist creates breathtaking watercolor paintings of homes, landscapes, and portraits. Her works of art make endearing gifts for house closings, anniversaries, or holiday presents. She has various sizes, and the paintings can be duplicated easily if you need multiple copies for family members. She is also developing a line of note cards that can bear the same resemblance to the painting or can be scenes from Marblehead, which are great gifts as well for clients or friends.

 

10. Handcrafted Jewelry by Debra Goldberg
Phone: 781-771-8189

Debra Goldberg, a realtor at Raveis in Marblehead, designs her own line of jewelry which can be customized to your specific requests. She uses a huge variety of gems and acrylics as well as gold and silver and copper and can design anything you need to complete a certain outfit or a great signature everyday piece. You’ll find a quick turn-around time to make the jewelry at very reasonable prices. Perfect for holiday gifts!

Whether shopping Swampscott’s historic Olmsted district or charming downtown Marblehead, we hope you find that perfect item or gift you’ve been searching for.

Happy holiday and joyful shopping from our team to you!

 

 

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Our Favorite Holiday Events For 2019

 

Marblehead, Salem, Lynn, and the entire North Shore are steeped in tradition, and locals love to celebrate the holidays. From holiday markets, to theatre, to community-wide celebrations, we cherish our old-fashioned festivities. Here are some of our favorite holiday events for 2019 – enjoy!

Zoo Lights at the Stone Zoo

November 22 – January 4

Stone Zoo for Northshore children and families

 

Zoo Lights turns Stone Zoo into a winter wonderland, attracting thousands of visitors to stroll tree-lined paths lit by thousands of twinkling lights. Visit the zoo animals and our reindeer! Spot over 40 life-size animal sculptures made from millions of LEGO® bricks. Warm up by an open fire and make s’mores.

Appleton Farms Holiday Market

November 22, 5-8PM

Kick off the holidays with a trip to Appleton Farms family-friendly Holiday Market. Enjoy 20+ artisanal foods, handcrafted gifts, local craft beer, wine and a signature cocktail. Plus, kids activities and barnyard animals. Support local farmers – admission is free!

 

Holiday Live Shows At Lynn Auditorium

November 29: A Charlie Brown Christmas

A Charlie Brown Christmas Live On Stage Brings Holiday Cheer to The Lynn Auditorium on November 29th at 1:30 PM. This Stage Musical Celebrates Charles M. Schulz’s “Peanuts” Comic Strip and 1965 Television Special; Showcasing the Music of Vince Guaraldi.

December 5: The Elf on The Shelf Christmas Musical

This all-new musical and premiere stage production includes an exclusive invitation to Santa’s North Pole. Features an original story and score, dazzling sets and costumes, and wondrous moments that make even the most cynical believe.

December 7: The Nutcracker

This beautiful holiday classic is filled with magnificent scenery, stunning costumes and the amazing music by Tchaikovsky.

December 8: A Christmas Carol

Charles Dickens’ timeless tale is brought to life on the stage.

Marblehead Christmas Walk

December 5-8

 

Marblehead’s historic charm and the festive spirit of the holidays create an enchanting experience throughout the entire town. For full details including a map and trolley routes, Click Here. Here’s the fun-filled schedule:

Thursday, December 5

HOLIDAY SHOPPING PREVIEW PARTIES & UGLY SWEATER CONTEST

Sensational shopping and good cheer, raffles and more! From 5 to 8 PM, throughout Town.

HOLIDAY DÉCOR BY MARBLEHEAD GARDEN CLUBS

5 to 7 PM; King Hooper Mansion, 8 Hooper Street

GINGERBREAD FESTIVAL OPENING RECEPTION

5 to 6:30 PM, Jeremiah Lee Mansion, 161 Washington Street

TREE LIGHTING AND CAROLING

6 PM Festivities Begin, Lighting at 7PM. St. Michael’s Church, 26 Pleasant Street

December 6

FREEZE DANCE 

4 to 6 PM, Shubie’s Marketplace, 16 Atlantic Avenue

GINGERBREAD FESTIVAL

4 to 6 PM, Jeremiah Lee Mansion, 161 Washington Street

TREE LIGHTING CELEBRATION

6 PM, Entertainment & Festivities Begin; 7 PM Tree Lighting. At National Grand Bank (across from 91 Pleasant Street)

LOBSTER TRAP TREE LIGHTING WITH GLOVER’S REGIMENT

7:15 PM Tree Lighting with historical re-enactors. Mud Puddle Toys, 1 Pleasant Street

Saturday, December 7

SANTA’S LANDING BY LOBSTER BOAT

9 AM performance: “A Dancer’s Dream”. At 9:30 AM, Santa & Mrs. Claus step ashore! State Street Landing.

 

MARBLEHEAD HOLIDAY ARTISANS MARKETPLACE

10 AM to 5 PM, Marblehead Festival of Arts, Artisans Market; at King Hooper Mansion, 8 Hooper Street

MARBLEHEAD CHRISTMAS PARADE

11:45 AM along State Street Landing, Washington Street, Atlantic Avenue, and Pleasant Street

GINGERBREAD FESTIVAL

10 AM to 4 PM, Jeremiah Lee Mansion, 161 Washington Street

SANTA’S WORKSHOPS

10 AM to 5 PM, along Atlantic Avenue

CANDLELIGHT STROLL, MARBLEHEAD HISTORIC DISTRICT

4:30 PM, at the Old Town House

OLD NORTH FESTIVAL CHORUS

8 PM, Old North Church, 35 Washington Street

Sunday, December 8

GINGERBREAD FESTIVAL

Noon to 2 PM, Jeremiah Lee Mansion, 161 Washington Street

MARBLEHEAD FESTIVAL OF ARTS HOLIDAY ARTISANS MARKETPLACE

10 AM to 4 PM, King Hooper Mansion, 8 Hooper Street

SANTA’S WORKSHOPS

Noon to 4 PM, along Atlantic Avenue

OLD NORTH FESTIVAL CHORUS

7:30 PM, Old North Church, 35 Washington Street

Christmas in Salem Holiday House Tour 2019

December 6-8

2019 is the 40th anniversary of Historic Salem, Inc.’s largest fundraiser. Homes are beautifully decorated for the holidays and open for three days of tours. Christmas in Salem encourages visitors to enjoy Salem’s distinctive restaurants and shops. Ride the trolley from downtown parking to the tour; enjoy local history and a festive ride. For tickets, Click Here.

Christmas at Castle Hill, Ipswich

December 6-8

It’s worth the drive to Castle Hill for “An Old-Fashioned Christmas”. This 1920’s mansion is festively decorated by garden clubs, florists, and designers. Visit the Castle Hill gift shop and Harbor Sweets pop up cafe. Enjoy live holiday entertainment. Shop the Christmas Greens Courtyard for beautiful wreaths, kissing balls, and fresh cut greenery. It’s three days of holiday fun:

FRIDAY DECEMBER 6, 5-8PM: 

Make Friday a date night with evening tour hours, a cash bar, light appetizers, and festive music.

SATURDAY DECEMBER 7, 10AM-4PM:

Tour on Saturday for holiday decorating ideas. Enjoy live music, fresh baked cookies and cider, and a family treasure hunt.

SUNDAY, DECEMBER 8, NOON-4PM:

Visit with Santa Claus from 12pm-2pm, take photos, and do the holiday treasure hunt. Enjoy live music, fresh baked cookies and cider. For full details and tickets, Click Here.

2019 Holiday Classics Benefit Concert, Salem

December 13

In this holiday performance to benefit Project OUT, singer Nicole Lashomb takes us down memory lane with Holiday Favorites & Seasonal Classics. For details and tickets, Click Here

Pop-Up Holiday Market at GALA in Lynn

December 14-15

Shop local at the Downtown Lynn Holiday Sale at GALA in the LynnArts building. This two day event features local art, greeting cards, jewelry, sculpture, pottery, Lynn merchandise and much more… and it’s Free!

Experience the North Shore Lifestyle

If you’d like to learn more about the North Shore lifestyle, we recommend Our Favorite Summer Events and Life On The Water In Marblehead. The professional Realtors here at Sagan Harborside Realty have the expertise to find you the perfect home. Just give us a call at 781-593-6111.

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Luxury Kitchen Trends for 2020 and Beyond

Luxury kitchen trends for 2020 are centered around bespoke designs, high-quality materials, and high-tech functionality. Today’s kitchen designs combine the latest technology with timeless style. Hardware and lighting are more important than ever, as they’re truly the jewelry of the kitchen. Whether a home is traditional or modern, an outstanding kitchen design won’t look dated anytime soon. The true luxury kitchen is built to last.


Statement Kitchens With Pattern And Color


Creating a “feature wall” makes a visual statement in the kitchen, and strong pattern and color are the ongoing trends. Patterned tiles with a global aesthetic are the perfect update to a traditional kitchen. Open shelving lightens up the kitchen and provides display space, while rich color adds warmth.

 


Photo Courtesy of Emily Henderson

 

Durable quartzite now comes in bold designs that mimic veined marble and granite. Popular for countertops, this manufactured material is easier to work with than natural stone, so it can be used to cover large areas. We’ll continue to see tall backsplash areas, or even entire walls of patterned quartzite and real stone. Installed in a mirror-image pattern called bookmatching, it has a dramatic, elegant effect:

 

 

 


Source: TheDPages

 

Dark, moody cabinet colors are very on-trend. They evoke the richness of a dark wood kitchen, but add a modern aesthetic. Deep blues, greens, and soft blacks are popular, combined with rustic wood tones. Monotonous walls of wood-tone cabinets are out, as people are embracing colorful kitchens and two-toned cabinet finishes.

Matte finishes are the latest trend for stone and quartz countertops. They look fresh (after years of glossy kitchens), plus they’re easier to maintain. Matte countertops mix beautifully with shimmering tiles and trendy gold and brass hardware, creating an interplay of light. Luxury hardware trends include rose gold, matte brass, deep bronze, and matte black.

White kitchens are still popular, but designers are combining matte and glossy finishes with soft color to bring them to life. Pale aqua and greige are the perfect modern substitute for white, providing a light and airy look that’s completely custom.

 

 

luxury kitchen interior design manchester, MA

Open-plan kitchen in Manchester


Luxury Kitchens For Entertaining


Open-plan kitchens are still in high demand, sharing the same views as the living area. Features like double islands and a second dishwasher make entertaining easier.

 

Double islands and a view in Manchester

 

With the kitchen open to the living area, the focus is on beautiful finishes and uncluttered design. Reducing upper cabinets leaves space for a decorative tile or stone feature wall, visible from the living area. New storage options help keep everything close at hand and the kitchen clean and tidy.

Custom cabinetry walls are the perfect solution to open-plan interiors. They incorporate fully integrated appliances and concealed storage into a modern, furniture-quality design. Custom-finished in a beautiful wood, the cabinetry becomes a feature wall, creating a “hidden kitchen” effect:

 

Source: Pinterest


Luxury Trend: The Butler’s Pantry Returns


The current trend of removing upper cabinets makes kitchens feel more spacious, but it also creates storage issues. The traditional butler’s pantry is making a comeback, keeping clutter out of sight and adding additional prep space. A modern butler’s pantry may hold a coffee bar, wine refrigerator, countertop appliances (hello, Instant Pot) or a second dishwasher. Treat it with the same custom lighting and high-end finishes as the kitchen:

 

Luxury kitchen with butler's pantry,

Butler’s Pantry and Wine Bar, Swampscott

 

Some designers are even enlarging the butler’s pantry so it serves as a second kitchen, leaving the main kitchen practically mess-free.


Luxury Kitchen Lighting


Well-designed lighting makes luxury kitchens highly functional and illuminates its best features. A high-end kitchen will have three levels of lighting:

  • Task lighting – directed at work areas, it usually includes under-cabinet lighting and spotlights or ceiling fixtures over prep areas.
  • Ambient lighting – general lighting from chandeliers, with small ceiling spots where necessary. Advanced lighting designs include bright, efficient, and unobtrusive LEDs.
  • Accent lighting – added above or below cabinets and behind glass doors, it highlights decorative features and adds a soft glow when other lights are off.

 

Traditional white luxury kitchen in Lynnfield, MA

Traditional luxury kitchen in Lynnfield, MA

 

Dimmers and remote controls make it easy to adjust all three types of lighting. Smart Home systems can automatically control the light settings throughout the day.


Luxury Kitchen Appliances


Fully integrated appliances are a top luxury kitchen trend, followed closely by specialty appliances for specific lifestyles.

“Consumers looking for high end appliances are looking at SubZero/Wolf, Viking, Dacor, Monogram, and Thermador appliances. Consumers’ wish lists include speed ovens, microwave drawers, convection steam ovens, and coffee machines.”
Juanita Gillespie, Builders Source

Microwave and refrigerator drawers are easily incorporated into a kitchen island, an especially convenient design for families with children. Built in coffee machines by Thermador can create 28 different coffees. Steam ovens cook meals quickly and are a healthy alternative to microwaving. Gaggenau‘s Steam Oven has a sous-vide function, and a built-in vacuum drawer to seal food for cooking or storage.

Custom appliance colors are another luxury trend. These commercial-style refrigerators with gold hardware make a chic gourmet display:

 

Source: True Appliances

 

Smart Home technology is quickly becoming a luxury kitchen staple. Today you can control your oven from your phone, and check the refrigerator contents remotely to see what to buy for dinner.

Whether you’re looking to buy a home with a luxury kitchen, or planning a renovation to create the kitchen of your dreams, focus on high-quality design for a kitchen that lasts. Our professional Realtors here at Sagan Harborside Realty have the expertise to find you the perfect location. Just give us a call at 781-593-6111.

Finding The Best Fall Color On The North Shore

 

Colorful leaves on Elmwood Road, Marblehead

 

With three million acres of forested land, Massachusetts is a favorite destination for leaf-spotting. Tourists often head west to the mountains, but residents and visitors to the North Shore area will find plenty of fall color close by. Historic towns like Salem and Marblehead offer a combination of manicured parks, scenic vistas and nearby nature reserves. Short day trips will take you past quiet ponds, historic farms, taverns, and churches surrounded by trees dressed in magnificent yellow, gold and red.

Leaf season begins here in early October as the weather cools, telling the trees it’s time for fall colors. Avid leaf-watchers know the schedule changes each year according to the weather; peak colors on the North Shore usually occur in the last two weeks of October.

 

 

With our late-changing oaks here in the coastal plain, peak leaf colors come later in the season. The show may be over to the North, but late October brings swathes of yellow, rusty-orange and red to our coastline. From Boston up to Scarborough, the North Shore is renowned for its colorful fall vistas.

 

 

Photographing the colorful scenery is a favorite fall activity for tourists and locals alike. Those perfect combinations of location, light, and color are fleeting. So grab your camera or phone, and check out some landscape photography tips.

 

Colorful Trees In The Heart Of Salem

Salem Common is the perfect starting point for an afternoon of vibrant color. This beautiful park serves as a town square, right in the heart of Salem. Explore the Salem Witch Museum and browse the town’s unique shops surrounded by autumn’s glory.

 

 

Autumn Views In Marblehead

Marblehead's hills provide views for miles. Walk up Old Burial Hill to visit one of the most picturesque graveyards in New England. From the top you can see a panoramic view of the harbor, splashed with fall colors in red and gold.

Nearby Redd's Pond turns on the charm with colorful trees reflected in the calm waters. Famous for its model sailboat regattas, in autumn the pond is the ideal spot to snap a photo.

 

Image Courtesy of Jeff Kane

 

Fountain Park was the site of a fort during both the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812. These days, it has a large gazebo with benches to relax and take in the town’s best views of Marblehead Harbor. It’s the perfect spot for a picnic and a great place to view fall foliage.

Stroll through flaming orange trees at Chandler Hovey Park on your way to the Marblehead Lighthouse, which was originally built in 1835. Park grounds are open year-round, but the lighthouse hours vary by the season.

 

 

Fall Color Hikes: Marblehead, Lynn and Salem, MA

Whether you're an avid hiker or just take occasional walks, getting out in nature is the best way to enjoy the fall color. Marblehead Neck Wildlife Sanctuary is on the peninsula near Marblehead Light, and provides 18 acres of unspoiled woodlands and swamps close by. Walking trails for all ages are popular with leaf-peepers and birders. Its 3.5 mile circular drive is perfect for taking in views of the harbor.

Lynn Woods is a forest park near Lynn, with a formal garden and a cave to explore. Climb the stone tower and you’ll be rewarded with sweeping views of foliage and the Boston skyline in the distance.

Salem Woods is a wooded park with beautiful scenery. Easy trails make it the perfect spot for a family afternoon of leafy color.

 

Scenic Drives: Autumn On The North Shore

For a scenic drive through farmland, take Route 1A from Beverly inland to Newburyport and stop in historic Ipswich, which has more pre-1725 houses than any American town.

Along the coast, take in the color on Route 127 through Beverly and Manchester By-the-Sea, ending at Gloucester’s Ravenswood Park. Here you’ll find 600 quiet acres and ten miles of carriage paths and trails to explore.

 

Andover’s Fall Splendor

Spend an afternoon in Andover, famous for its autumn scenery and the magnificent garden at Stevens-Coolidge Place right in the center of town. It’s a favorite spot for plein air artists, so bring your paints and your camera.

 

Leaf-Peeping In Boston and Cambridge

A day trip to Boston will reward you with a rich palette of yellows and reds, displayed against the city’s architecture. The Boston Public Garden has a variety of trees from all over the world, so the colorful display starts earlier in the season and lasts longer. Close by, you can explore the Beacon Hill neighborhood’s historic streets.

One of the best displays of Boston-area foliage is in the city of Cambridge. Colorful trees line the bike path along the Charles River and Cambridge Common. Mount Auburn Cemetery is a magnificent garden cemetery and arboretum. Stroll through Mount Auburn for fall color, and a collection of plants and trees from around the world. Climb a hill for a view of the Boston skyline.

If you'd like to make autumn color part of your lifestyle, our professional Realtors here at Sagan Harborside Realty have the expertise to find you the perfect location. Just give us a call at 781-593-6111.

 

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Design A Stylish Porch For Entertaining

Watching the sunset with a drink in hand is reason enough to have a front or back porch. But a well-appointed porch gives your home extra space for entertaining – and extends our outdoor season on the North Shore well into the fall. Whether your porch is petite or grand, the right furnishings and accessories can turn it into a gathering spot. We've collected some of our favorite porch design ideas to inspire you.

Create An Outdoor Living Room:

Front porch decor greets your guests with a statement of your style. Classic planters and attractive light fixtures create a warm welcome. Furniture with deep cushions makes your porch as comfortable as the living room inside. Even a small porch may have room for a pair of chairs. Include as much seating as possible in your porch design, and you'll expand your living space to accommodate large groups.

Design Ideas For A Small Or Narrow Porch:

If your porch is small, or less than eight feet deep, you may think porch rockers or a bench are the only option. But comfortable chairs with cushions are often less than 30" deep. You can easily fit a pair, or even a row of chairs against a wall. Put a small drinks table between, and your guests can linger for hours.

 

Image Courtesy of Copper Lighting World

 

Tuck a small bench across the end of a narrow porch and instantly create a cozy seating nook:

 

Image Courtesy of Pottery Barn

 

You can even use the bench trick to create a small dining area – just add a small round table in front of the bench, and bring out folding bistro chairs when you're ready to eat.

On a porch that’s narrow but long, create separate seating and dining areas. A dining nook or bistro set at one end can seat 2-4 people. Place shallow furniture against the house, facing outwards, for more seating. Vintage wicker sofas and chairs are perfectly scaled for narrow porches, but you can find modern designs around 30" deep. Measure your porch before shopping so you'll know what will fit.

Small stackable chairs are perfect for entertaining on a narrow porch. Pair them with small tables, or add them to a dining area. These striped chairs from Frontgate are stylish and comfortable:

Striped Stacking Cafe’ Chairs, Frontgate

 

Design Ideas For A Large Porch:

Large porches usually have space for different seating and dining areas. A porch that’s eight feet or wider has room for a dining table and chairs. A long, narrow table can be the ideal solution for large dinner parties. Or, set it up as a serving area for drinks and appetizers.

An outdoor buffet is handy for storing table decor, candles, and serving pieces. To have room for a buffet alongside your dining table, your porch should be ten feet wide. A buffet is also the perfect spot for a vignette of elegant accessories and potted plants. This buffet is made from weather-resistant teak and granite. When you're not throwing parties, it's durable enough to hold plants and flowers:

 

Teak Buffet from Country Casual

 

With an outdoor sofa, loveseat and cocktail tables, a porch becomes a second living room. Look for durable frames in teak, aluminum or resin, with comfortable cushions in Sunbrella or Outdura fabrics that will last for years. Today's outdoor styles even include sectional furniture, so it's easy to find pieces that fit your space perfectly:

 

Chatham Sectional, Pottery Barn

 

Smaller pieces make it easy to rearrange the furniture for different events. Loveseats are very space-efficient (most people won’t sit three-to-a-sofa anyway) and they’re easy to move around. Combine a pair of loveseats with several chairs to create a more versatile seating area - like designer Suzanne Kasler has done on this stylish porch:

 

Design by Suzanne Kasler for Ballard Designs

 

Use area rugs to define different seating areas – they'll also add texture, color and a sense of warmth. A cheerful stripe adds casual flair, while a Persian-inspired rug provides a touch of elegance:

 

Outdoor Persian-inspired rug, Eyely

 

Design Your North Shore Porch For Fall: 

The nicest porches here in Marblehead, Swampscott, and Lynn take advantage of our beautiful Fall weather. If you have room, add an outdoor fireplace so you can enjoy being outside well into the Fall. Enclosing one end of the porch (or adding outdoor curtains) offers some protection from cold breezes.

Even without a fireplace, you can create a warm and cozy glow with candles and lanterns. Look for LED lanterns for long-lasting, safe outdoor lighting.

 

LED Outdoor lantern, Eyely

 

Quilts and blankets are a great way to add a pop of Fall color to the porch, and they'll keep you warm. Sunbrella makes outdoor throws that are warm and washable, so you can leave them outside. Add a covered basket or storage trunk to keep extra quilts and pillows handy.

 

Sunbrella Outdoor Throw

 

No matter what size or shape porch you’re working with, our design tips will help make it comfortable and inviting. A porch that's as well-appointed as your interiors will beckon your guests outside to enjoy the fresh sea air.

Do you love the charm of a classic porch? Sagan Harborside Realty has been matching porch-lovers to amazing homes with porches for years. Give us a call at 781-593-6111 to find your dream home on the North Shore of Boston.

 

 

When's The Best Time To Sell Your North Shore Home?

How do you know when is the best time of year to sell a home? Selling your home in Swampscott, Marblehead, or anywhere in the North Shore area is a matter of timing. Market demand varies according to the season, and buyers want to be settled in for our beautiful summers. Here at Sagan Harborside, our Realtors know that when you list your home for sale affects both how quickly it sells, and the price. The busiest selling seasons mean more buyers, but increased competition. A property for sale at a slow time of year may sit on the market, giving buyers the impression that it has a major flaw.

Feature Your Amenities To Sell A Home Faster

According to statistics, Spring and Fall are the best times to list and sell a home. However, since life events usually dictate when you need to sell, the timing isn’t always ideal. Before setting a listing date, we carefully examine your home’s strengths and weaknesses. Is there a guest suite? Is your property enjoyed most in Summer? If you have beautiful outdoor spaces, then a May listing lets you show them off. Homes with a nicely finished basement, cozy fireplaces, and energy-efficient heating have an advantage in Fall and Winter. If you must sell at the “wrong” time of year, consider professional staging to maximize your home’s appeal.

 

Swampscott beachfront home Sagan Harborside Realty

Swampscott beachfront home with staging

Should You Sell A Home In The Spring?

In areas like Marblehead, where many people vacation or have second homes, it’s smart to put a property on the market in time for summer, when the most people are in town. Homes that are listed in May typically sell nine days faster, on average. However, there is more competition on the market in May, which can keep prices down.

For waterfront and beach area homes, buyers want to finish closing in time to enjoy the summer season. Listing these homes earlier in the Spring, in March or April, markets them to buyers seeking a summer home.

Local school schedules influence the market for single family homes and larger condominiums. April, May and June are prime home-buying months for families with kids. If they’re changing school districts, they want to be settled in before school starts in August.

Is It Smart To Sell A Home In The Fall?

With fewer properties on the market, homes sold in the fall sell for 5% higher than average. September listings can reach buyers who want to close and move in before the holidays. Fall is also a great time to highlight your home’s curb appeal – the leaves are changing, and landscaping is still green. Add some color to your porch and patio with potted flowers. Outdoor seating areas are perfect for sunny fall days – keep cushions out to welcome potential buyers, and light the fire pit!

Spectacular Marblehead family home

 

Houses that don’t have a lot of outdoor amenities find it easier to compete in the Fall. Summertime buyers might be sold on a swimming pool, but in cold weather shoppers are more likely to appreciate features like a finished basement, large comfortable rooms, an upgraded heating system or a home office.

This Marblehead listing features a spacious home office.

 

Out-of-town buyers may also use vacation time over the holidays to look at houses, so if your Fall listing is still on the market, don’t worry!

Do North Shore Houses Sell In The Winter?

Many people think homes don’t sell once the weather gets cold, and the busy holiday season comes around. Professional realtors know from experience they can sell a home any time, once the right buyer comes along. Some houses are at their most charming in the winter – with snow on the ground, a roaring fireplace, and good smells coming from the kitchen. If your home is historic, or has beautiful interior details and furnishings, Fall or Winter may be the perfect time to list it.

Historic home for sale in Hamilton, MA unique woodwork and fireplace.

A historic home for sale in Hamilton, MA

 

Winter can be an excellent time to sell an older home that needs updating, especially if it’s in a desirable location near the water. With fewer properties on the market, more buyers are willing to consider a home that needs work. If someone is specifically looking for property to renovate, they’ll have time to finish the work before the summer season. If you’re selling a property that has potential for an extensive remodel, don’t hesitate to list it for sale in the winter.

No matter what time of year you need to sell your home, our professional  Realtors here at Sagan Harborside Realty have the expertise to help maximize your home’s selling potential. Just give us a call at 781-593-6111.

 

Visiting The Salem Antique & Classic Boat Show

Vintage and antique boats filled the Hawthorne Cove Marina in Salem last weekend, August 24-25 for the 37th Annual Antique & Classic Boat Festival. This popular North Shore boat show gives visitors the rare opportunity to view and tour a unique collection of privately owned vintage boats. Dating from the early 19th to the mid-20th century, many of these classic vessels are built from wood. It’s one of our favorite August things to do!

Schooner, Malabar II

 

Museum-quality motor yachts, mahogany speedboats, sloops, yawls, and schooners arrived in shipshape condition for the weekend.

 

Photo by Antique & Classic Boat Festival

 

Most boats are in the water, and are still in use today, after being lovingly restored.

 

1939 Greavette Streamliner

 

Swampscott Dory, detail

 

A Swampscott Dory

 

Like any gathering of sailors, this show is an excuse to trade cruising tales and share a boat’s history and restoration story. Interiors are decked out with flowers and table settings. The captain and crew may even wear vintage attire to set the mood. A simple “permission to come aboard” will usually get you a tour of the cabin, and a history lesson.

Boat Show Award Winners

The boats were judged by the show visitors, with voting closing Saturday at 4 p.m. Awards were handed out in seven categories: Best Sailboat, Best Powerboat, Best Reproduction, Best Hand-Powered Boat, Finest Interior, Best Restoration By Owner, and Best In Original Condition.

Aimee Beth, Finest Interior 2019, photo by Antique & Classic Boat Festival

 

Malabar II, Best Sailboat of 2019, photo by Antique & Classic Boat Festival

 

The Malabar II is a beautiful 52-foot schooner built in 1922, designed by reknowned yacht designer John Alden.

Smaller boats were also on display, like a circa-1970 Swampscott dory built by Pert Lowell of Newbury, Massachusetts. Its current owner is 16-year-old Alex Giniatis of Hanover. Alex has sailed to the festival from Hingham, Massachusetts, aboard his grandfather’s 1946 catboat Tabby every year since he was just 4 years old. Tabby received an Honorable Mention this year, for Best Sailboat.

Winning the award for Best Reproduction was the Lewis H. Story, a recreation of an early 18th century fishing sailboat known as a “Chewbacco” owned by the Essex Historical Society and Shipbuilding Museum. It was commissioned in 1998 to serve as the museum’s flagship vessel. The Lewis H. Story measures 30 feet on deck and her hull, deck arrangement and rig are a fine example of the small, fast boats built locally after the Revolutionary War. The Lewis H. Story is named in honor of Essex shipwright and maritime historian, Lewis H. Story 1873-1948. 

The Lewis H. Story, Best Reproduction winner.

The Antique & Classic Boat Festival is always a fun opportunity for the kids to tour and learn about maritime history firsthand. The annual Blessing of the Fleet reminds us that these boats are still very much at sea. And there were plenty of other things to do – a crafts fair, artist booths, and sea-themed children’s activities. Free boat rides were provided by Mahi Mahi Cruises & Charters. Live music carried on the vintage theme with tunes by The New New Orleans Jazz Band, the Mood Elevators, and Toby Tobas on steel drums.

If you live in the North Shore area, or plan to visit Salem in August, the annual Antique & Classic Boat Show is a must-visit event. If you’re planning a move to the area, Sagan Harborside Realty is your lifestyle expert for Marblehead, Swampscott, or North Shore luxury homes. Just give us a call at 781-593-6111.

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    Guest Room Tips For A Luxury Retreat

    A beautifully appointed guest suite is a gift to your guests they'll appreciate and remember. Creating the perfect guest room means adding thoughtful touches that make your guests feel pampered and completely at home. We've gathered our favorite guest room tips and ideas, so you can be guest-ready when the holidays come around.


    Spending the night in your guest room is a great way to decide what improvements you'd like to make. Is the mattress comfortable?  A memory foam topper adds instant luxury. Did the sun wake you up too early? You'll want room-darkening draperies or shades. Is the closet too full? Be sure to clear out at least half the closet for hanging space, and provide empty hangers. 


    Is your guest room attractive? If it's a collection of cast-offs from other rooms, freshen them up with paint or new upholstery. Add a plush upholstered headboard. Embrace a quirky mismatched look, and give your guests a charming spot to Instagram.


    Guest Room Furniture


    The ideal guest room has a plush, cozy mattress, enough storage and a spot to relax, read or work. A small desk can be used for a laptop, or as a makeup vanity (just add a mirror and good lighting). A seating area lets your guests relax in private. If your usual guests have babies, add a rocking chair. Short term guests don't unpack, so a luggage rack or a bench at the foot of the bed is handy for suitcases. Finally, cover those cold hard floors with a fluffy rug.

    Guest Room from our Swampscott Listing
     Guest Room from our Swampscott Listing


    Guest Room Amenities


    Top quality bedding is a worthwhile investment. Not only will your guests love the silky-soft finish, high-end sheets will last for years. Include European square pillows for reading in bed. Give your guests a choice of sleeping pillows, both feather and non-allergenic. Layer a light blanket under a cozy duvet for year-round comfort. Bedside lamps should be at least 28" tall, and have 3-way bulbs for reading.


    �Tenora Bedding Collection by Sferra

     Tenora Bedding Collection by Sferra

     

    A plush throw is a luxurious touch - and your guests can use it for an afternoon nap without unmaking the bed.
    Luxury Wool Throw at Gessato.com

    Luxury Wool Throw at Gessato.com

     

    Pamper your guests with hotel-style touches like plenty of white towels, mini toiletries, a blow dryer, and ironing board. A basket of things they may need, like razors, toothbrushes, and allergy or headache medicines are a thoughtful touch.

     


     Hospitality Supplies by Beekman 1802
    Hospitality Supplies by Beekman 1802


    Encourage guests to explore on their own with books about the local area, brochures and coupons for nearby activities and a map of the town. Local post cards and stamps add old-fashioned fun to their stay.


    Guest Room Snacks and Coffee


    A basket of snacks like granola bars, pretzels, or fruit lets guests help themselves without having to ask. Add mineral water, baked goods, or even a bottle of wine as a welcome gift. If your guest suite has space, a coffee bar and a small refrigerator will make them even more self-sufficient. We love the idea of gathering everything onto a guest room cart; it looks stylish and makes re-stocking easy.

     

    �Photo Courtesy of KellyNan.com
     Photo Courtesy of KellyNan.com

    Essentials For A 5-Star Guest Suite


    These luxury touches will make your guests feel extra-pampered and loved.

    • Fresh flowers
      • For an instant welcome. Use a sturdy vase that won't tip easily, or a blooming plant in a pretty pot. 
    • Air freshener
      • A spray freshener for the bath area and an oil diffuser for the bedroom.
    • Bedside carafe of water
      • An old-fashioned touch that's much appreciated - they come in all styles, from modern to monogrammed.
    • Covered waste can
      • A step-can is easy and sanitary, a nice touch when the trash isn't emptied daily.
    • Extra toilet paper and plunger
      • Stash it in an easy-to-find spot, so no one has to ask.
    • Framed wi-fi password
    • Reading material
      • A few current magazines or books; essays, short stories and light fiction are a nice touch.
    • Slippers
    • Charging station
      • A USB outlet or power strip with USB ports is a simple solution.
    • TV-remote instructions
      • Print out your channel guide, and a few pointers for your particular setup.
    • Hamper
      • Keeping only the clean clothes in a suitcase helps travelers stay organized.
    • Night lights
      • A bathroom nightlight and motion-sensor nightlights in hallways help guests navigate in the dark.
    • Welcome treat
      • Chocolate on the pillow anyone? A sweet treat tells guests you're happy to host them!
    • Spare keys
      • Guests love to come and go as they please. Give them printed instructions for the alarm, if you have one.


     Image Courtesy of AlmostMakesPerfect.com 

    Image Courtesy of AlmostMakesPerfect.com

     

    If you’d like to be settled in your dream home before the holidays, Sagan Harborside Realty is your best resource for Marblehead, Swampscott, or North Shore luxury homes. Just give us a call at 781-593-6111.

     

    Wine Storage Systems To Upgrade Your Home

    Those of us who enjoy a crisp, chilled white wine on a summer evening, or sipping a full-bodied red in front of the fireplace usually keep a few bottles of wine on hand. A true wine connoisseur may even be in the market for a home with custom wine storage or a built-in wine cellar.


    �Architect: Robert A.M. Stern

    Of course, a dedicated wine cellar (and tasting room) is a luxury that requires a lot of space, as well as a large budget. When it comes to getting the best out of our wines, there are plenty of affordable storage options. We know you can do better than that shelf above the stove! First, let’s look at the best ways to store wine, and why it matters.


    Tips for Wine Storage

    Unless you’re a serious collector putting up bottles for years of aging, you probably don’t need a custom cellar. However, wine does need to be stored at a consistent temperature, ideally between 45 and 65 degrees. Large temperature swings must be avoided, and temperatures over 70 degrees will “cook” a wine and destroy its complex flavors.

    For long-term storage, your kitchen refrigerator is too cold – although it’s fine for wine you’ll drink in a week or two. To preserve your wines’ subtle flavors and have them ready to serve, follow these tips:

    • Heat is very bad for wine, so a kitchen shelf is not ideal. Your laundry room or pantry are probably too warm as well.
    • Avoid locating wine racks in direct sunlight or under fluorescent lights. Exposure to light is very damaging, hence the dark color of wine bottles.
    • Storage in a cool spot in your home (consistently under 70 degrees) is fine for wines you’ll drink in a year or two.
    • Store bottles on their sides to keep the liquid against the cork – this keeps the cork from drying out and letting air in.
    • Artificial corks and plastic caps don’t require horizontal storage.
    • A wine refrigerator set at 55° F is perfect for storage and keeps your wine at what many experts believe is the ideal serving temperature.

     

    Do You Need A Wine Cellar?

    The short answer to this question is no – you can create good conditions to store wine at home in a number of ways. However, if you’re investing in wines to be opened after several years, you’ll need optimal storage conditions in order for them to mature properly. And if you’re a gourmet cook and want to have a large selection on hand to complement your menu, good storage will ensure that your wines maintain their flavors.

    Traditional underground cellars were created in ancient times to provide the consistent temperature and humidity levels required for long-term wine storage. Modern wineries still use underground cellars for aging. If your home has a cellar, it may be the ideal location to store your wine collection. Humidity levels of 50%-80% are thought to be best to keep corks from drying out. Too much humidity can encourage mold, so it’s important to test your cellar area. A cool basement that’s not too damp can be used to create an excellent cellar just by adding horizontal wine racks.


    What’s The Best Wine Storage System For Your Home?

    If your home isn’t blessed with a basement that can also work as a cellar, there are plenty of ways to incorporate good storage practices into your home. Interior designers have unique and creative ways to turn wasted space into wine storage.

    �Photo Courtesy of The Renovation Spot
     Photo Courtesy of The Renovation Spot


    Wine Storage in Bar Furniture

    Wine connoisseurs may advise against keeping your wine in a bar cabinet, but for short term storage (a few months to a few years) it’s just fine. Look for a cabinet with horizontal racks, and place it in a cool room away from direct sunlight.

    �Wine Storage Cabinet, Wayfair
     Wine Storage Cabinet, Wayfair


    Modular Wine Racks

    Modular wine racks are available in many styles. A modular system can fit into tight spaces and lets you add additional racks as your collection grows. Create a wine storage area by re-purposing unused space in a cooler area of your home, like an empty closet or outdated wet bar.

    Modular racks by Vinotemp
    Modular racks by Vinotemp

     

    Cabinet-style modular units can be added to built-ins, hung above a piece of furniture, or stacked in a closet for a custom look.

    Modular storage by Kessick
     Modular storage by Kessick


    Wine Refrigerators

    The next step up from racks and cabinets is refrigerated wine storage. From small, countertop wine refrigerators to large dual-zone units that hold hundreds of bottles, a wine refrigerator is the easiest way to create cellar-like conditions in your home. Specially-designed wine buffets are even available with refrigerators built-in.

    Under-counter wine refrigerators have become popular additions to modern kitchens. They’re an affordable way to keep your collection conveniently at hand. A dual-zone model provides ideal storage conditions for reds and whites, and the best serving temperatures for both.

    �Undercounter Wine Refrigerator by Subzero
     Undercounter Wine Refrigerator by Subzero

     

    If your enthusiasm for fine wines turns you into a collector, you may indeed need a cellar of your own. WineEnthusiast.com has refrigerators that accommodate 300 bottles. Beautifully-designed custom storage can even become a focal point in your interior design:

    �Custom Storage by Kessick
     Custom Storage by Kessick
    Photo by Eric Cucciaioni

     

    Are you looking for a home with wine storage? Whether you’d like a kitchen with a wine refrigerator or a deluxe wine cellar, Sagan Harborside Realty is your best resource for Marblehead, Swampscott, or North Shore luxury homes. Just give us a call at 781-593-6111.

     

    Our Favorite Summer Events In Marblehead & Swampscott

    Our Marblehead Summer 2019 is in full swing at last, and Boston’s North Shore is brimming with options for outdoor fun. Sunny beach days, sailing afternoons, and casual cook-outs are summertime favorites. But look around Marblehead and Swampscott, and you’ll find local music concerts, outdoor festivals, family getaways and history-inspired events that bring even more excitement to these lazy, hazy days.

    The Marblehead Great Picnic

    Bring the kids and head over to Reynolds Playground in Marblehead on Sunday, July 14 for a family-friendly picnic. Enjoy a free hamburger or hot dog, or sample chowder recipes from Three Cod Tavern, The Landing Restaurant Marblehead and The Barnacle Restaurant Inc. Save room for dessert from Coffey Ice Cream. Sponsored by the Marblehead Old Car Club, the Great Picnic features hundreds of vintage and antique cars on display. There will be plenty of activities to keep the kids busy too.

    The Marblehead Great Picnic

     

    Fort Sewall Revolutionary War Camp

    History buffs will love visiting the recreation of an 18th century Revolutionary War encampment, presented by the reenactors of Glover’s Marblehead Regiment. This living history event takes place at Fort Sewall the weekend of July 13-14. Learn about 18th-century life from demonstrations of musket ball making, navigation, marlin-spike work, medicine, candle making, cooking, and militia musket drills as part of tours of historic Fort Sewall. Listen to fife and drum concerts throughout the day, sample some 18th-century snacks, or shop for historic goods at the sutler.

    Fort Sewall Revolutionary War Camp
     Photo Courtesy of Wicked Local

    The Marblehead volunteer militia will be called upon to fight for liberty when the Forces of the Crown (also known as the Redcoats) land in Marblehead to stop the colonial rebels. You’ll see history in action as the two regiments battle it out. Kids can even sign up with the regiment and learn to drill and march to the beat of a drum. Everyone is invited to join our soldier sailors in singing traditional sea-chanteys. This family-friendly event is a hands-on history lesson for the kids that everyone will love.


    The Marblehead Open Golf Tournament

    The Marblehead Open Golf Tournament � 

    Golfers will love the opportunity to play a round at the Tedesco Country Club on Monday, July 15. This Chamber of Commerce fundraiser starts at 11:30 am with registration and a lunch buffet, followed by a shotgun start at 1pm. Join us afterwards to celebrate with cocktails and a barbeque.

     

    Family Camping Weekends on Childrens’ Island

    Make summer-camp memories with your kids on Children’s Island, a beautiful kids summer camp in the middle of Marblehead Harbor. While the day camp is open to kids all summer, Family Camping weekends (July 20th and August 17) pack all kinds of summer-camp fun into two days. Just a 15 minute Hannah Glover Ferry ride, the rustic island is a great way to explore the coast while swimming, sailing, and kayaking with your kids. There’s a barn stocked with arts and crafts activities, a saltwater pool, and evening campfire.

     

    Family Camping Weekends on Childrens Island

     

    Swampscott By the Sea Summer Concert Series

    The Swampscott By the Sea Summer Concert Series is an annual summer tradition that invites locals and tourists alike to listen to crowd-pleasing music on Swampscott’s beautiful Town Hall Lawn. Bring a lawn chair and a picnic Wednesdays from 6-8 pm.

    Swampscott By the Sea Summer Concert Series
     Photo Courtesy of SwampscottConcerts.com

    Here’s this summer’s lineup:

    •     July 17 - Amy Kucharik & Friends With Benefits – Swing & Blues
    •     July 31 - Southern City Band – Country
    •     July 24 - Stan Strickland – Jazz
    •     August 14 - Karen K and the Jitterbugs – Family and Kids

     

    2019 Revere Beach International Sand Sculpting Festival

    2019 Revere Beach International Sand Sculpting Festival

    Photo Courtesy of Revere Beach Partnership

    Head down to America’s first public beach to take in the world-class International Sand Sculpting Festival on July 26th – July 28th. With over a million visitors each year, this fun-in-the-sun event is centered around a magnificent sand sculpting competition. Grab a gourmet meal from one of the food trucks, shop the unique vendors and enjoy old-fashioned beach town amusements.

     

    Corinthian Classic Yacht Regatta

    Whether you’re a seasoned sailor or just like messing about, you’ll love watching classic wooden sailing yachts racing across the harbor. Hosted by the Corinthian Yacht Club, the regatta celebrates “Classic Yachts and Characters” this year from Saturday, August 10 – Sunday, August 11.

    “There are only a few occasions where exquisite wooden sailboats of impressive pedigree actually get together and sail. They aren’t mooring mermaids. They love to duke it out with sailors onboard who know how to extract the type of performance their boats were designed to get.” --CCYC

     

     Corinthian Classic Yacht Regatta

    Image Courtesy of Panerai

     

    With its exceptional port so close to Boston, Marblehead has long been known as the birthplace of the American Navy. Classic yacht regattas have been celebrating this sailing heritage every summer since the early ‘80s. Take a picnic up to Castle Rock or Chandler Hovey Park for great views of the sailing fleet in action.

    You don’t need to live in Marblehead year round to enjoy our local events – it’s easy to plan your summer trip to see the regatta or have a family camping trip. But owning a home on the North Shore makes you part of this vibrant community, where every summer is special. If you’re looking to buy or sell a home in Marblehead, Swampscott, Salem, or on the beautiful North Shore waterfront, we’re your local experts – just give Sagan Harborside a call at 781-593-6111.
     

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    Explore The North Shore

    bench facing harbor with moored boats

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