This Week’s Distractions: Feb. 9 to Feb. 15

By Mary Kate DePamphilis


Salem’s So Sweet Festival

If you are looking for something a little different this Valentine’s Day, other than your usual sit down 3-course dinner, Salem has just the event for you.  The 10th Annual Salem’s So Sweet Festival kicks off on Friday the 10th and lasts through the actual holiday on the 14th.

If there was ever a perfect time for excess in chocolate and red wine, Valentine’s Day is it! Beginning on Friday, February 10, nearly twenty downtown Salem restaurants and shops will indulge you in samplings of chocolate and wine in historic Hamilton Hall.

But the excitement doesn’t end there.  Over 15 dazzling ice sculptures will be on display in different areas of downtown Salem on Saturday and Sunday as well.  The Salem Trolley will be offering rides throughout the festival route, free for children and only $1 for adults! Most shops will be offering special deals and discounts, chocolate samplings, and raffle prizes as well.

Date: Friday, February 10th-Tuesday, February 14th; Chocolate/Wine Tasting on Friday, February 10th only

Location: Downtown Salem and Hamilton Hall, 9 Chestnut Street for the Chocolate/Wine Tasting

Price: $25 per person for the tasting; all other events are free of charge unless otherwise specified


New England Lego Users Group Display at Wenham Museum

Is your child obsessed with Legos? Looking for that special event to make the weekend memorable? Head on over to the Wenham Museum where kids can check out a room-size Lego model train layout that features city skyscrapers, country cottages, a futuristic monorail, 700 feet of track, trains, tunnels, and a carnival with rides! The display was created by the New England Lego Users Group, and will be open for viewing this weekend along with the museum’s regular galleries. While likely intended for children, all ages welcome. For more information, please call 978-468-2377 or visit the museum’s website.

Date; Saturday, Feb. 11 and Sunday, Feb. 12, 10AM to 4PM

Location: Wenham Museum, 132 Main St., Wenham

Price: Free with museum admission; $7.50/adults, $5.50/children ages 1 and over


“The Mind’s Eye” opens at the PEM

Come to Salem’s the Peabody Essex Museum to celebrate the opening day of “The Mind’s Eye,” an exhibit of photographic prints, three-dimensional photographic sculptures, films, artist’s books, albums and work prints. Take a tour, participate in art-making activities, watch films, or take part in an artist presentation by Jerry Uelsmann. For more information, please visit the Peabody Essex Museum website. The exhibit will be on display through May 13.

Date: Saturday, Feb. 11, 11 a.m. to 4:30PM

Location: Peabody Essex Museum, 161 Essex St., Salem

Cost: Museum admission


3rd Annual New England Winter Blues Festival

If you have yet to visit Blue Ocean Music Hall—a fantastic music venue by the sea, this weekend’s event makes it a must-see!  Four fantastic blues bands will play a high energy set and get you on the dance floor all night.  As requested by previous attendees, plenty of dance floor room has been added front and center stage.  The exciting lineup includes the funky R & B group The Get Backs, the old-school jump/blues group Mr. Nick & the Dirty Tricks and the Mississippi style blues band the Ten Foot Pole Cats.  A fourth group will soon be added to this dance-inducing roster.

The Blue Ocean Music Hall boasts a state of the art sound and lighting system over an intimate music hall atmosphere for 250-750 patrons.  The spectacular oceanfront location allows for panoramic views of the Atlantic while you dance and dine.  The venue has two full bars, and a menu featuring appetizers, soups, salads, and sandwiches with tableside service.  If you prefer to eat before the show, Seaglass Restaurant and Capri Seaside Italian Grill are located next door and across the street for exquisite seaside dining.

Make it a fun night at the Blue Ocean Music Hall for the New England Winter Blues Festival.  Get your tickets ASAP because this event will sell out!

Date: Saturday, February 11th

Location: Blue Ocean Music Hall, 4 Oceanfront North, Salisbury

Price: $22.50; To buy tickets, log onto


The 12th Annual Lowell WinterFest

Starting today through Saturday, Lowell will be celebrating its new and expanded Winterfest!  There is certainly something for everyone at this unique event.  Highlights include the “Looks of Lowell” Fashion Show, WinterFest Wine & Dine Restaurant Specials, Soup Bowl Competition, Lowell Gallery Walk, Microbrew Showcase and Competition, Live Local and Regional Music, and of course–The National Human Dogsled Competition!

This is certainly an event for the whole family.  Thursday night public skating is offered at Tsongas Center.  Immediately following will be a broomball tournament on ice.  On Friday, in addition to the Human Dogsled competition, there will be a kid’s show at Lowell City Hall, including magic tricks.  You can roast marshmallows, see fire dancers, or perhaps sample some of the area’s finest chef’s soup recipes.  Winter Sleigh Rides, a “Smurfs” movie matinée, and an all you can eat chocolate fest are only some of the other events offered on Saturday for the kids.

If you don’t have kids or got a babysitter for the night, Thursday night there will be a microbrew showcase and competition—sampling and voting encouraged.  Friday night you can attend a boxing tournament or be wined and dined at one of the participating restaurants offering special deals.  Restaurants include Athenian Corner, Blue Taleh, Centro, Cobblestones, Fuse Bistro, and Lowell Beer Works.  Saturday night will feature a Polar Party  at Club Celsius where live music will entertain you under a giant heated tent.  And don’t forget the event wrap-up fireworks!

For a complete listing of events, please visit the official WinterFest website.   Get out and enjoy winter—become a part of this fabulous community event!

Date: Thursday, February 9th – Saturday, February 11th

Location: Various venues, locations, and restaurants throughout Lowell

Price: Varied


Danvers Art Association Re-opening

You’ve probably driven by the handsome brick building on Elliot Street in Danvers, next to the baseball field, on the way to the Danversport Yacht Club or the Cummings Center in Beverly.  If you didn’t already know, it is home to the Danvers Art Association.  Established in 1965, this non-profit organization is a group or artists and craftspeople who were tasked with restoring the historic Williams School building for its permanent location.  The association has grown to over 200 members and regularly displays art on the weekends.  Occasionally, the site also hosts theatrical and musical performances, Irish dancing, and yoga.

This weekend is the re-opening for the season.  Stop by to browse works of art and crafts for sale from professional and non-professional artists and artisans. Demonstrations of different techniques for painting and other crafts are done monthly.  This weekend, there will be a Valentine’s Day workshop for children and adults to create valentines for your loved ones.  Support your local artists.  NoBo wouldn’t be as pretty without them!

Date: Saturday, Feb. 11th & Sunday, Feb. 12th, Noon-4pm.

Location: Danvers Art Association, 105 Elliot Street, Danvers

Price: FREE


Judith Sargent & John Murray: A Timeless Love Story

Presented by the Peabody Historical Society, learn about the relationship of prominent 18th-century couple Judith Sargent and John Murray. Hosted by Peabody Historical Society presents historian Bonnie Hurd Smith, the lecture is sure to captivate attendees ahead of the Valentine’s Day holiday. For more information, please call 978-531-0805.

Date: Sunday, Feb. 12, 2012 at 2PM

Location: The Smith Barn, Felton Street, Peabody.

Price: Free/members, $5/nonmembers.


Sex in the 17th Century: A Lecture

You know those Puritans and their love of sex! On the heals of Valentine’s Day, visit the Ipswich Museum for their Wednesday evening lecture led by the Salem Museum’s curator of education, Mary-Ellen Smiley. Refreshments will be served following the lecture. Next week’s topic: sex in the 1600’s.

Date: Wednesday, February 15, 2012 at 7:30PM.

Location: The Ipswich Museum, 54 South Main St., Ipswich

Price: $10/nonmembers, free/members. or 978-356-2811.

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