Far and “Right Here” in Londonderry

Aug 17, 2013 No Comments by

The amazing thing about being part of Visit Londonderry is that I never know exactly where a week will lead. Even though I have lived here since the 60’s, grew up at Kendalwood Condos, taught at the High School, and raised my family here, each day I learn something special about our community. One thing is for sure, Londonderry is the best place to Live, Work and Play! Each week I will share with you some of the amazing businesses and things I have learned about Londonderry.

This Monday the girls and I stepped out of Londonderry and made our way down to Boston to spend the day.  It seems since they were little I constantly would say, “And we will do this in Boston” and “we will go here” in Boston, but we hardly ever did.  Thanks to my friend Louise we actually didn’t just talk about it this time, Louise made it happen!  The one goal we had was to take our 4 girls to a restaurant Louise had been to only once, L’Osteria in Boston’s North end.

What is it the great texters type OMG!  We scooted down without any traffic at around 11:00 am.   Parking was a pickle, but not too bad really.  On the way down we put Meredith in charge of making a reservation, the last thing we wanted was to get “all the way down there” and not be able to get in.  Mere had to call a couple times, and each time this great guy Richie answered the phone.  He took our reservations and then told us not to worry when we were going to be a little late.  He could not have been friendlier.

I guess I haven’t been in the North End in a while, but it is beautiful and historic!  I’d forgotten about the historic part, I’ll tell you why in a minute.   We walked to L’Osteria and there was Richie standing outside, it felt like he was waiting to greet us.  We walked into the restaurant, and again OMG, they had a lovely table for 6 waiting for us by a window.  The atmosphere, the menu, our waitress lovely, patrons who you knew had been there many times before enjoying their meals.

Who’ve heard my money whining at other times, but this menu was so reasonable, actually beyond reasonable.  I think I can “type” for all of us, each meal a 10+.  Some of the items we had: me Lasagna, chicken masala, eggplant parm, sausage and pasta, chicken cacciatore. Oh and always one of my favorite things warm bread served and served again, and the finest Italian olive oil waiting to be used on the table!

Prices, you won’t believe. From $8.99 – maybe tops $12.99 and I’m not kidding!    We lingered and enjoyed.  Sometimes it just does the heart so much good to drive away even from an area we love and try something new.  Here’s a picture of Richie and us.  If you go, tell Richie we said hi, Richie is a good friend of the owners, and he made our experience extra special.

The historic part is that right down the street is the Old North Church, which you can into for free!  Paul Revere’s House, which we didn’t go in because it wasn’t free, but still beautiful and in this lovely courtyard you can walk around and it’s all on the Freedom Trail!  Again something free you can do.

While we were there we came upon a magazine photo shoot. This lovely girl was supposed to jump into her suitors arms for a jewelry commercial.  We watched and waited while they tried many times to get it right.  Finally my friend Louise said “if they don’t get it this time I’m going to jump into his arms myself!”  Louise is a hoot!  She showed us Boston on a shoe string and we were grateful for the memory and time we spent together.  Take your family, a friend, or go yourself and just sit out and people watch.

Steve Young always tries to remind us first that everything we need is right here in our beautiful area but also that everything else we might want to explore is just about 45 minutes away.  The ocean, the mountains and yes Boston, too!

Another place that you should explore, if you haven’t already, which is only about 15ish minutes away from us is McKinnon’s Grocery store in Salem.  I know, I know we have 3 perfectly good grocery stores right here in town, and believe me we go to each one of them, but sometimes it is just so nice to explore something else, see different food items, even get new recipe ideas.

McKinnon’s is a family run grocery store that started in MA.  So many people make the mistake of thinking the prices are higher, but your wrong.  Wow that sounds so forceful for me, a new me maybe!  Anyway of course some things are, just like with any grocery store, that’s why we shop each of ours here in town.   Overall their prices are in line and very fair, but Oh My the variety, setting, and overall experience is another 10+.  My mom use to love to go just to see different things and to try many of their read made foods that you just have to warm.  They have many hard to find items too.  Mom loved their salt cod. I love to use Tiger Shrimp for special occasions and they have them.  Same price as the others I pick up here and there.

Now this is the cutest thing, at least to me. John works in MA and it can be a pain going back and forth in that traffic. One thing he really enjoys is getting off the highway or taking the back roads up route 28 and stopping by McKinnon’s.   He loves walking around seeing new items, maybe trying a sample, and he always comes home with a new cheese that you can’t get around here (my favorite red dragon) or a new bottle of wine.  No, no, no it’s not pricey!  Some of their wine prices are lower than you will find anywhere else and again they have different things.  I have to commend their buyer Dave.  I met him only briefly, but you’ll see why when you go in.

Also they have the nicest, most professional Management team.  They are very lucky to have Eric Boucher who has been with McKinnon’s for years.  I have called and bugged this poor man more times then I’d like to admit, and not once has he been short or not taken a call.  That is just so impressive.  I love his story too, Eric started working there as a teenager and worked his way up.  He may not be an owner but the pride he takes in these stores and the way he makes sure the customer comes first, is the way businesses use to run.  I like that and you will too.

Don’t worry I’m getting back to my first love Londonderry, but I have to tell you about a couple other places that are just not “far” either.  Wednesday morning the girls and I went up to the Palace Theater to watch a production of Snow White.  This morning theater for children goes on all summer and it only cost $7 dollars for a ticket.   Mere’s friend Emily is playing Snow White, she has the voice of an angel.  I wish you could have seen all the little ones dressed in their Disney gowns, little guys watching the prince, or the shrieks we heard when the witch came out.  You will feel like you are in NYC ! The stage setting is magnificent and each of these shows last only 45 minutes, just the right amount of time for children.   A beautiful inexpensive break for mom or dad, too.  There may be a show left for this summer season, you’ll have to check.  Precious and professional share something different with your family.

Now as we left the Palace Theater, we decided to walk around Hanover Street a little and explore. There is so much waiting right in Manchester for all of us too!  Of course the girls caught wind of a yogurt place, I kept walking.  What did I could upon but this inviting store front for a place called Suddenly Soupy’s!!!!!!  The old LHS Home Economics teacher in me fell in love. I told the girls to go get their yogurt but I was staying at Soupy’s.  Suddenly they changed their minds.  The warmth, the aroma’s, the menu  Oh MY!  Every soup really is homemade, they start from Scratch, I can tell the difference?  I wanted each one of the five soups they had this day, but I decided to try the homemade Chile.  Suddenly the girls wanted the homemade Chicken noodle soup.  We sat down and all tried each other’s.   We had intended to take it to go and run.  Next thing you know we are sitting down, and ordering seconds!!!!   Arelia and Bogdan Panaitescu, a mother and daughter team are waiting to greet you.  You will Thank Me!

The Chile was truly the best I have ever had, that’s why we had not one but two orders.  They have corn chowder Thursdays, and today is Haddock Chowder Friday!!!!  I am hoping to go back with John to try that today.   Oh they have other things too, homemade meatloaf, fresh salads, smoothies even!  Take a walk around Manchester and stop in Suddenly Soupy’s, I could go on and on, but I’ll stop here.  Let me know what you think!

I know I know what about Londonderry, well the greatest event of the year is happening right now as your reading.

Londonderry Old Home Days!!!!!  Our family even plans our vacation days around this great celebration of our town!  I know I don’t have to tell you a lot about it, because it’s been on Londonderrynh.net and in local newspapers often so you don’t miss anything.   Last night for the first time we attended the Kids Festival on the common, and we were treated to our National Anthem sung by Monica Maney.  We are so lucky to have such a talented performer right here in our town.  She sang songs of the past and present too!  Monica took my breath away though when she sang “Proud to Be An American”!   I wish she was going to open up our parade with this song.  Thank You Monica for sharing your gift with us.

Now before I end things I have to let you know about so you won’t miss them over the weekend!

-I received just a nice call to help someone else in town yesterday, Ray of our new dollar store, called to tell me he had heard about a child in town Jasmine who needs all of our help!!!!!!!  There will be a booth and information on Saturday to help raise money for her family.  How sweet is that, Ray wasn’t calling for anything for himself, just to say “Hey we all need to help this family!”  Make a donation while you are walking around, we can all afford to give something and we should.  That’s another thing about Londonderry, we may have our “Snarky” moments at times, here and there, our I want this but you want that moments around town, but just like a family when we really need each other we come out of the woodwork to help!  Please give what you can, and don’t forget.  You can also go to Jasmine’s website, here it is.

– Creative Fitness for Women and Training Effects, both members of Visit Londonderry,  are sponsoring a Solo Benefit Concert with the lead singer of Mama Kicks, Lisa Guyer  this Sunday to raise money for the Salem Animal Rescue League, August 18th 1pm to 4pm.

-Also this Sunday there will be the second annual Christian Service, picnic and concert on the common from 11:00am – 2:00pm.  Come celebrate together as “one”, I’ve heard the picnic is delicious and free.  Hamburgers, Hot Dogs and More. How Great is That!!!!

-Oh I almost forgot, there is also a great open house going on this Saturday at Ms. Darlene’s Early Learning Center & Childcare.  They use to be located in Derry but have been looking for a new home for a few years.  Guess where they are located. The Jehovah Witness Church building located at 10 Kendall Pond Road.  What a beautiful new beginning for a building that has been part of our history for quite a while now.   I will tell you more about them in the weeks to come Here is a picture though.  If you’re searching for a caring loving place for your little ones, you may have just found it!

Happy Old Home Days, stop by our 2nd Annual Visit Londonderry Booth and say Hi.   With A Grateful Heart Sherry

On the Road with Sherry

About the author

Sherry has lived in Londonderry since the 1960's. Her mother was one of the first employees at Mr. Steer Meats. Sherry taught at the Londonderry High School for a number of years and spearheaded the first Career Education Class at the school. She has two daughters of her own with her husband John.
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