Monday, May 11, 2015

Richie's Slush in Everett MA is Back in Business!

Richie's Slush, Everett MA (photo by Eric)
Richie's Slush in Everett, Mass., announced in mid-May that it would close it storefront after nearly 60 years in business, but  thankfully had a change of heart to reopen the legendary Italian ice landmark.

The Sunday message on the Richie's Slush web site said,"(Due) to unforeseen circumstances beyond our control, Richie's Store on the Parkway will not be opening this season. We apologize for this and hope you will purchase Richie's Italian Ice Products from one of our many other fine locations and retailers."

The new message, posted today, reads,

"Because of hard work and an overwhelming support from our customers, Richie's Original Store on the Parkway in Everett will RE-OPEN this Friday May 15th!

We would like to thank all of you for being such valued and loyal customers of our business for the past 50 years. We have always appreciated and enjoyed serving you and also want to thank you for so many calls and entries in our blog page, plus all the social media comments to us on Facebook and Twitter, etc... As you can imagine, we simply could not do what we do or be as successful as we've always been, were it not for customers like you!

So again, thank you, and we cannot wait to see all our awesome customer's back in line yelling out their favorite flavor. We look forward to seeing you in the near future!

Richie's Slush on the Parkway"

The 2084 Revere Beach Parkway shop location is a local legend  --  in business since 1956. The classic ice cream stand-like storefront, friendly old school service, lines down the street, the humble working classic location and, of course, the delicious slush never fail to create a wonderful summertime experience. Flavors like lemon, banana, watermelon, blue vanilla, cherry, root beer, orange cream, tangerine, mango, lime and sour blue raspberry are all beloved and consumed with great regularity by thousands of customers over the summer!

On a side note, many customers did not know that the Richie's wholesale business and retail store are under different management. According to a Facebook post, "Richie's wholesale had no association with the parkway store closing."

Welcome back, Richie's Slush, after that very brief hiatus.  You are part of a neighborhood and a community that extends well beyond its Everett location and we love you dearly.  At this moment, let's raise a toast to your amazing storefront with a root beer Italian ice mixed with soft serve vanilla ice cream...

Thursday, May 7, 2015

15 Outstanding Boston Travel Attractions

Swan Boats of Boston (photo by Eric)
The good news about taking a Boston, Mass., vacation is that there's no shortage of wonderful travel attractions. The bad news:  there's no way you'll be able to see all of them during your stay, given the city's seemingly infinite rich historical and modern offerings. While the following list is by no means exhaustive, these low and moderate cost attractions represent the best of Boston travel:

Boston Duck Tours - This educational and entertaining excursion allows you to discover  Boston and its incredible history on a World War II style landing craft on the streets of Boston -- and then into the Charles River for great views of Boston and Cambridge.

New England Aquarium  This world class museum seems to get better every year and features the Giant Ocean Tank spanning four floors and featuring more than 1, 000 animals. including Myrtle, a 550 lb green sea turtle.

Fenway Park Tour Knowledgeable and often humorous guides take you through one of Major League Baseball's most historic and cozy parks. From the famous Green Monster wall to stories on Babe Ruth, Ted Williams Carl Yastrzemski and David Ortiz, this tour hits its out of the park!

Prudential Building Skywalk Observatory Amazing 360 degree panoramic views of the Boston skyline and all the way up to New Hampshire (on a clear day) give a height advantage to this Boston attraction.

Museum of Science  More than 700 interactive exhibits make the Museum of Science an obvious choice for a morning, afternoon or day long destination. Not your basic, garden variety science museum, it seems like the adults can learn just as much as the kids from visiting the Museum of Science!

Old State House If you are going to walk the Freedom Trail and had to choose one stop along the way, the Old State House would probably be the best choice.  Interactive guides and staff dressed in Revolutionary period characters offer fun through tours (with a vast display of artifacts) and performances in this stately, historic building

Museum of Fine Arts  Almost 450,000 pieces of art from just about any genre make this a must-stop Boston attraction for all walks of life. One of the most spectacular sections of the Museum is the Art of the Americas, showcasing fifty-three galleries of art and artifacts that have haven't been displayed for decades.

Freedom Trail Walking Tour This one-mile, red brick stretch of Boston featuring 11 national historic sites will give you an great introduction to the American Revolution. Guides go into great detail of this important time in history through the official tour.

Franklin Park Zoo  A good zoo that has become better through the years, the Franklin Park Zoo offers a fine mix of animals that is well worth the price of admission.  Not a world class zoo, but certainly a vital part of one's family visit to Boston.

Paul Revere House As the oldest building in Boston, the Paul Revere House is a popular tourist attraction for those interest in colonial history -- and specifically the story behind Paul Revere's famous "Midnight Ride." Beautiful home, well-maintained, and a national landmark.

Boston's Children's Museum This old yet updated museum prides itself on hands-on exhibits that focus on  science, culture, environmental awareness, health and fitness, and the arts for children and families.

John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum  A well laid-out and defined mix of artifacts and exhibits (including videos) masterfully tell the story of JFK. The waterfront building is stunning in appearance and located on 10 acres with terrific views of the Boston skyline and islands.

Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum Located in  the Kenmore-Fenway section of Boston, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum might be Boston most charming museum with its 15th century Venetian palazzo architecture, beloved courtyard garden and surrounding galleries. Those galleries feature "significant examples of European, Asian, and American art, from paintings and sculpture to tapestries and decorative arts."

Swan Boats of Boston  Perhaps Boston's most beloved attraction, the traditional Swan Boats take visitors on an affordable 15 minute tour of the scenic Boston Public Garden with its open green lands, spectacular landscaping and serene pond.

Boston Movie and TV Sites Tour Over the past 20 or so years, Boston has evolved into a movie and television hot spot. The Boston Movie and TV Sites Tour takes you on a comprehensive excursion, including neighborhoods that featured Good Will Hunting, Cheers, The Departed, Ally McBeal, Fever Pitch and many more.

Editor's note: The Go Boston Card is a great way to package these Boston attractions, and many more at an excellent discount rate -- and often skip the line!

Related articles and resources:
Wicked awesome Boston travel tips 
Visiting Faneuil Hall in Boston
Best Boston pizza destinations
Free and inexpensive museum admission in the Boston area
Boston Red Sox tickets
Find the best deals on hotels in Boston
20 classic New England family travel attractions
12 reasons to love Central Massachusetts

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Closings and Tear Downs of Beloved New England Businesses

Brown's Ice Cream Stand in York Beach, Maine,
 is on the real estate market for 1.7 million (photo by Eric)
It breaks my heart to see beloved local New England businesses like the Hilltop Steak House, Christo's, Aunt Aleda's Bakery and Country Kitchen, Brown's Ice Cream and Benjamin's restaurant go out of business.

The other day when driving through Saugus, Mass., I saw contractors starting the process of tearing down the Hilltop Steak House to make way for a new shopping plaza. How creative. Hard to believe that America's largest steak house with the two hour waits and the charming plastic cows out front is gone forever. I hear the giant cactus sign will remain, but that's kind of like having a car without the engine.

Christo's, with its Greek salads, famous salad dressing, baked lamb, bar-style pizzas, and the large four color coded rooms (who can forget the Gold Room with that huge golden floor-to-ceiling fountain?), attained legendary status in the Brockton area since its inception in 1964. Owner Christos Tsaganis ran that restaurant with such dedication,  passion and personality but after his death in early 2013, family decided to follow up on Tsaganis's prior agreement to sell the building to Massasoit Community College. After a building tear down last year, an allied health and science building is in the works. The Christo's legend remains in a smaller form, however, as the take-out Christo's to Go in Whitman still serves up some of the past Christo's favorites.

Aunt Aleda's in Mansfield was a relative newcomer to the suburban Boston dining scene but quickly gained old-school nirvana status with its huge, quality breakfasts and a tremendous old fashioned bakery on the premises. Wicked Local Norton reported in January 2015 that the restaurant closed due to non payment of taxes. What a great loss, as it seems like so many local breakfast spots inexplicably deliver the improbable: screwing up breakfast with either overcooked eggs, soggy bacon, burnt toast, muffins no better than the supermarket kind, tepid tasting coffee, crummy service, or all of the above. And there was a real artistry to what was coming out of the bakery -- so different than the paint-by-numbers, generic baked good templates used to create mediocre treats by some other local bakeries. Aunt Aleda's always came through -- what a shame they couldn't last. The storefront is now the Looking Glass Cafe -- more on that soon!

Who would have ever thought that Brown's Old-Fashioned Ice Cream in York Beach, Maine, would ever close? Steve Dunne, who leased Brown's from the Brown family for the past 23 years, decided to open up Dunne's Ice Cream ice cream stand virtually right across the street from the entrance to Sohier Park and Nubble Lighthouse. Apparently no one in the Brown family wanted to continue the business, so the ice cream stand and property is up for sale at the price of  $1.7 million, according to Seacoastonline. While it's nice that Dunne's Ice Cream will continue the ice cream tradition near the "Nubble," there's kind of a bittersweet feeling knowing that a business synonymous with a York Beach summer vacation could very well be gone forever. We do wish Mr. Dunne well in his new business, which opened in June, but also hope that whoever purchases the Brown's property will continue the ice cream stand business there. One can never have enough ice cream and tradition.

Two weeks ago, I drove past Benjamin's restaurant in Taunton, Mass., and thought how nice it would be to get back there.  Well, that might not ever happen as the large, landmark restaurant that seemed to please all generations recently filed for bankruptcy and then suddenly closed, according to the Taunton Gazette.  Benjamin's was that proverbial lively "place to go in town" with its time-tested offerings of chicken, steak and seafood, some great entertainment (will always remember a certain band doing a fantastic cover of The Trammps "Disco Inferno!") spacious yet cozy carpeted dining spaces, and a nice dance floor. I will miss the prime rib and many will long for the baked stuffed lobster. Unfortunately, this sad demise of a great family business can now only result in holding onto dear memories. We hold out hope, however, that the next owner of the property keeps the revered Benjamin's restaurant tradition alive.

Related articles:
Gone but not forgotten New England restaurants
More memories of closed New England restaurants
Boston area business memories at Old School Boston



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