March 29, 2013 / Issue #36

Day Tripping: Beverly Farms

Photo Credit: Chris Crandall

Photo Credit: Chris Crandall

For the uninitiated, Beverly Farms is not a farm. It’s the northeastern-most section of the town of Beverly, MA. Travel just a mile or two to the north and you are in idyllic Manchester-by-the-Sea. And really, this part of Beverly is more Manchester than its namesake. As you drive along the twisting path of Rte. 127 you’ll spy towering iron gates to mansions that may make you feel a little cold on the inside. These are the kind of residences where sleds are named Rosebud and where Judge Smails might invite you to mow his lawn while he’s christening his boat, The Flying Wasp. But don’t let the hand full of opulent houses scare you away; Beverly Farms has a lot to offer, and we’ve got the lowdown for you.

As you round the bend on Rte. 127 and enter the tiny town center, you will be greeted by a handful of interesting shops. This is where you should park and fuel up. Plan to arrive early enough for breakfast. Park on-street or at the Beverly Farms MBTA station (another convenient way to get there) and head directly to newly opened Half Baked Cafe

Photo Credit: Chris Crandall

Photo Credit: Chris Crandall

Half Baked is the newborn baby of John and Sarah Thibodeau. Not only do they make the kind of breakfast sandwich that is so entirely from scratch even the english muffins are baked daily in house each morning, but they also make the ever-coveted but seldom found, fresh donut. You could buy an old fashioned, sure, you could do that…that might be the mood you are in. Of course, you might be in the mood for a maple-bacon donut, because, you know…bacon. Here’s what we suggest: order that breakfast sandwich (or one of the other breakfast options) but get a donut with your coffee as well. You can enjoy the donut as a breakfast appetizer. Don’t fret about the calories, you’ll be walking it off in a few minutes.

After you finish eating, hit the bathroom (this will be your last opportunity for a while) and then hit the road. If you follow Rte.127 north out of town in half a mile you will arrive at spacious West Beach. The entire walk has sidewalks and is smooth enough to deal with stroller wheels as well. Along the walk you’ll get a chance to peek at some pretty amazing houses and it’s that perfect family walk length–Long enough to be a legitimate walk while short enough to actually get there before the world starts to cave in.

When you get to West Beach you’ll notice one of two things: huge surf or lots of flats. We’ve been there at both high and low tide and each have their benefits. If you arrive during high tide the beach will be limited in size, but your kids will have a blast daring the waves to reach their feet as they dart back and forth like undersized halfbacks. If you are lucky, you may even see a few surfers.

During low tide, the water backs off quite a bit, leaving weathered pylons from a defunct pier safe to explore.

Photo Credit: Chris Crandall

Photo Credit: Chris Crandall

Assuming you visit during the offseason, there will be enough space for kids to run rampant so bring a ball and some gloves for a catch, a frisbee, a kite, you know the drill. If it’s warm out and the tide is low, this beach is perfect for long walks or settling in and building a high end sandcastle to match the homes you’ll see along the water. You’ll be amazed you found such a beautiful, quiet beach you’d never been to before.

Photo Credit: Chris Crandall

Photo Credit: Chris Crandall

Once you’ve had your fill, you can head back into town and grab some lunch at either Half Baked or Vidalia’s before hitting the road.

Alternate Plan: If your visit happens to begin closer to lunch-time, stop into either restaurant and order sandwiches to bring to the beach with you.  During your walk you’ll pass a liquor store on your right (The Cork and Cask) with a good wine selection.  They also carry multiple offerings of Ipswich’s truly excellent Privateer Rum. And if you are in the mood to stay the night and watch the sunset over the ocean while sipping said rum, there’s a unique house for rent via Airbnb that is literally across the street from the beach. It’s convenient, has multiple decks with big beach views and there’s even a pizza oven in the kitchen.

We Found It On Craigslist! 03.29.13

The title says it all. We search and curate for you. You click and view. So grab your coffee, settle into your Aero chair, try to look like you are working hard on those TPS reports and prepare to be inspired.


Schwinn Le Tour Racing Bike: You’ve got to love a vintage road bike that is described as “Like New”.  This is the kind of bike a smart person who loves biking would buy. No need to drop 3k when you can start the negotiations at < two bills and work from there.


Rear Bike Basket – $20: Attach this to your bike and you’ll instantly increase your haul-power. Good for: picnics, beer runs, frisbee golf, and up to three kids (just kidding).


Chariot Cougar 2 – $850: OK. This ain’t cheap. But if you want a stable, simple way to bring one or two little ones with you on long walks or bike rides (even x-country ski trips if you buy the attachments), this is the purchase for you. And when the kids are grown and gone, you can bring this on that x-country bike trip you’ve been imagining lately.


Kelty Trekker External Frame Backpack – $50: You may think you need the latest gear to enjoy an overnight camping trip but these classic external frame packs can carry a load without killing your back. They also make it easy to tie extra gear on the outside as well. All that, and if a bear mauls your pack while you are skinny dipping, you’re only out fifty bucks.


Gerry Baby Hiking Backpack – $20: Based on the fact this person was gifted this baby hauling backpack, we are guessing the price is negotiable. We suggest you offer to drop off a six pack of good local beer and see what happens. Even if you only use it for one season it’ll be worth the investment.


Cast Iron Pan Set, Skillet, Pot, Lodge – $30: Yes, we know the image is tiny. But hey, this is craigslist we are talking about so don’t complain. In real life, this pan is big and heavy. It’s not perfectly suited for long hikes in the backcountry–unless you are bringing your mules. But if you are car camping, you’ll be a hero when you pull these out of your trunk.


Redneck Fire Pit – $40: That’s right–It’s the innards of a washing machine repurposed as a fire pit. Act now and he may throw in that Camaro that’s been up on blocks in his front yard. You know the one, it’s been there since ’89 when his girlfriend told him it was ‘tasty‘.