Travel – Stage Fort Park – Gloucester, MA

Now this may not be much ‘traveling’ for me as I walk here with the dog every single day, but the fact that this place gets SO busy on nice days, weekends, and all summer long makes it a travel ‘spot’ in my book!

Stage Fort Park is a nice size park right on the ocean in Gloucester, MA. The sign in the middle of the park will tell you that it was the site of some of the first establishments in Gloucester in the 1600’s. Today within the park you will find an information center, a snack stand, a playground, basketball courts, a baseball field, tennis courts, bocce ball courts (?), two beaches, a dog park, and a bunch of open space with grass and trees. Sound like your kind of place? How could it not… it literally has something for everyone!

My personal favorites are the dog park, the beaches, and the open space… can you tell I’m one for the outdoors, and not so much the whole idea of organized sports? On a summer day you can find me with our dog Moose at the dog park, he will be the squeaking/barking, or on a blanket in the open space near the ocean reading a book while convincing the dog to take a nap in the sunshine. Its truly a great place to spend a few hours in the summer months!

 

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Dine – Jalapeños – Gloucester, MA

IMG_7003Moving from California to Massachusetts is hard, mainly because of the lack of good Mexican food. It took the boyfriend and I many less than amazing Mexican meals to not only discover this but then also to eventually find a couple good Mexican restaurants near us. A perk of living in a town supported heavily by tourism in the summer months, is that it forces the majority of restaurants to have good food and decent service, which it unfortunately not always the norm these days.

IMG_4153The restaurant can easily be found driving down main street Gloucester, as it takes up nearly half a block of store front. Once inside you realize how large it actually is, with an entire bar area and two different dining rooms. On occasion they will have a live band playing lively mariachi music in the bar, which easily travels throughout the restaurant.

Usually when we visit, we start off with margaritas, because why not? The husband likes their house marg on the rocks, while I mix it up with either a strawberry or IMG_7018mango marg. They do have entire list of specialty margaritas and drinks (in addition to a full bar), but we never get too fancy. My sister in law did try one that had banana liquor, and said it was good, although you’d have to really like banana liquor (I wasn’t sure anyone on earth did?).  They always bring delicious chips and salsa, which is more like pico de gallo, while you are deciding what to order.

Because we have been here so many times, we have tried a good majority of their menu, in addition to their ever changing specials. Some of our favorites include the tortilla soup, the fish tacos, and the enchiladas (chicken or cheese). To be honest the majority of the time we get enchiladas because we are creatures of habit and both happen to be obsessed with enchiladas. Whenever we go out we never order dessert, half because we’re stuffed and half because my husband hates sweets, so I have no idea what they are like. So, if your looking for some decently good Mexican on the North Shore make your way to Jalapeños!

Dine – Sugar Magnolia’s – Gloucester, MA

IMG_4146When we first moved to Gloucester, everyone told my husband that he MUST try Sugar Magnolias. Since he is not as much of a breakfast person as I am, he forgot about it, until I requested an adventure to breakfast one morning. The restaurant is only open for daily breakfast, and brunch on the weekends, so if you sleep in too late you will miss it! You can find the restaurant on main street in Gloucester, and can usually find a crowd milling about outside. During the week you can IMG_4336walk right in, but on weekends if you come any time after 8 expect to wait at least 20 minutes depending on how many in your group.

One of y favorite parts about the restaurant is that while you are waiting for your table they have an entire coffee bar set up, so you can get your caffeine fix before you sit down. It should also be noted that they have very good coffee, unlike many breakfast places who just order the cheapest bulk coffee, this place actually found and partnered with a local company who actually cares about their product!IMG_3369

Once seated, service is always fast and friendly, but mainly fast because they know how many people are waiting for every table in the place. Even if they had double the space I know they could fill it with how popular they are!

The menu has all of your breakfast favorites from eggs and bacon, to a dozen differentomelets, to strawberry pancakes. Their menu also has a few more special items like pineapple fritters, carrot cake pancakes, almond joy pancakes, and honey granola
coated french toast made with sweet bread! Another favorite part of their menu is their daily IMG_7066specials that always seem to match the season! In the fall you can find cranberry pumpkin french toast, and in the summer lemon ricotta pancakes. Lets not forget that they also have an espresso machine for any specialty coffee drink you may like, as well as a number bloody mary and mimosa options for those of you who are more fun than the rest of us!Because I love breakfast, and they have such a wonderful menu and coffee and drink selection Sugar Magnolias has quickly become one of my favorite restaurants in Gloucester! This place also holds a special place in my heart because my husband and I came here for a celebratory breakfast the morning after we got engaged, so it is a place I will never forget!