Go meet your local food growers for Farmers’ Market Week!


Be sure to stock up on fresh, delicious locally grown food for National Farmers Market Week (August 6-12) sponsored by The Farmers Market Coalition. Buying locally pays dividends back to your community in so many ways. It supports local small farm businesses. American farmers and ranchers receive only 15.6 cents of every food dollar consumers spend on food in the normal food distribution system, but Farmers markets offer an alternative that allows growers to retain more of the food dollar. Plus, growers selling locally create 13 farm jobs per $1 million in revenue, versus 3 jobs when not selling locally. It also helps to keep a greener planet. Getting your food locally rather than having it shipped from the other side of the country – or from other countries – saves on transportation and infrastructure costs and reduces the associated ecological toll.

Plus, at a Farmers Market you can ask questions and interact with the growers. It’s a win-win. See more benefits in the infographic below.

Here are some resources for finding a New England Farmer’s Market near you!

Infographic with reasons to suport local Farmers Markets

Posted in Events

Great road trip idea: Visiting New England Lighthouses


Portland Head Lighthouse in Cape Elizabeth, Maine

Looking for a fun summer weekend activity that combines history and scenic splendor? Plan a road trip to visit a few of New England’s many lighthouses – there are almost 200 up and down the coastal states, and even Vermont gets in on the act with lighthouses on the shores of Lake Champlain. This would be a good weekend to make that trip since Sunday is National Lighthouse Day.

Here’s a resource to help you plan your trip: New England Lighthouses: A Virtual Tour is a site compiled by tour guide, lecturer, historian, photographer and author Jeremy D’Entremont, who is an expert on New England’s lighthouses and other maritime subjects. The site offers a breakdown of lighthouses by state. Each lighthouse has a dedicated page with maps, photos, key facts, history, public accessibility info and more. If you’d like to visit the lighthouses by sea rather than by land, the site offers a list of Lighthouse Cruises in New England.

You can also head for the Maine Lighthouse Museum on the waterfront overlooking the scenic harbor of Rockland, Maine. It houses the nation’s largest collection of lighthouse artifacts and mementos, as well as exhibits on exhibits paying tribute to the United States Coast Guard and United States Life-Saving Services. Maine is often called the “Lighthouse State,” but it is not the state with the most lighthouses – Michigan is!

If historical landmarks are your thing, Boston Harbor is also a good destination. It boasts the Boston Lighthouse on Little Brewster Island, Boston Harbor, MA. You can take a tour and actually climb the 76 open spiral stairs and two ladders with hatches to get to the top.

According to Lighthouse Digest:

“This is the oldest light station, but not the oldest tower. The original tower, built in 1716, was destroyed during the Revolutionary War. The tower that stands there today was built in 1783.”

It’s also the only lighthouse that isn’t automated:

“All lighthouses in the United States are automated with the exception of Boston Lighthouse. Because Boston Light is the oldest station in the United States, Congress has declared that Boston Light always be a staffed station where the keepers must still turn the light on at night and turn it off at daybreak. Boston Light is the only official lighthouse with a keeper. However, there are many other light stations around the United States that have people living at them, however they are not keepers, and the lighthouses at these locations are automated and do not require a keeper to turn them on and off.”

Here are some other resources for planning your trip.

17 guides to help you make the most of summer in New England


New England has a relatively short summer season, but we manage to pack a lot of fun things into those few months … from lobster, clam & blueberry fests to concerts, historic events and cultural heritage celebrations … plus, we have wonderful beaches, parks, hiking trails and natural resources. We’ve compiled a guide of events and “best of” picks to help you plan out your summer.

New England Festivals 2017 – 2018 Calendar – from everfest, search by category – such as performing arts, cultural, food & beverage, seasonal or holiday, etc.

Best New England Summer Events in 2017  – from the annual Best of New England travel guide, Yankee’s editors share their picks for the best New England summer events … 10 “best of” picks for each state. You can also sign up for a free travel guide.

2017 Events Calendar from VisitNewEngland.com, search by category of event or by date.

Discover New England – List of events and suggestions for things to do, as well as information about each state and a free New England Travel Guide.

New England Summer Festivals A to Z – 26 of the Best Summer Events in New England from tripsavvy

How to celebrate July 4 in New England – this is our post from last year, but most links are updated with 2017 information,

Folk Festivals in New England 

Historic New England Events

Best Summer Seafood Festivals in New England

Best Boston Events – Best festivals, fun things to do, weekend street fairs, kids activities, and free entertainment in Boston by month

New England’s Best Beaches – Town & Country Magazine

The best beaches in New England – Conde Nast Traveler

New England National Parks and Sites

55 Amazing New England Hikes – an interactive guide features everything from mapped locations, to difficulty levels – compiled by Boston Magazine.

Hikes New England

Bike New England – cycling routes & trails – including charity rides

10 Best Summer Road Trips in New England – Ready for a New England road trip? From back roads and small towns to coastal spots, these are the best summer road trips in New England.

Another reason why local insurance agents are a good bet


On more than one occasion, we’ve touted the many ways that buying insurance through a local insurance agency is a good bet – personal service, expertise, advocacy, risk mitigation and more. But here’s another reason — local agents give back to the communities in which they do business. They live locally, they hire locally, they buy locally – and they give back to the community.

Here’s a case in point – and it’s only one example among many: Mariela’s Miles.

Every year in May, Renaissance Alliance employees participate in a program started by a true rock star in our accounting department, Mariela. The program is called “Mariela’s Miles” in her honor.

The program raises $1.00 for charity for every mile walked by staff members during the month of May. Last year, the charitable recipient was the Veteran’s Associate Medical Center of West Roxbury, MA in loving memory of Mariela’s husband. This year, staff is raising money for Autism Speaks, an organization dedicated to raising awareness and improving the lives of individuals with autism and related conditions.

We are pleased to announce that between the Renaissance Alliance corporate office in Wellesley, MA and the Bakker Insurance Agency in Avon, CT we walked a total of 1,062.12 miles, raising $1,062.12 for a great cause.

We think that programs like Mariela’s Miles are an excellent way to support important causes that make the world a better place while having a secondary benefit of giving employees that extra little motivation to engage in a healthy activity.

We challenge other agencies to launch a charitable walking program. The American Heart Association offers a toolkit on how to set up a workplace walking program. Charity driven, employer-sponsored health initiatives are a great-win-win opportunity for your agency. Connect with a local charity and have your staff drum up some fitness challenges that your agency supports with a donation. Or if you’d prefer, you can connect with organized charity events.

Here are some events that you and your staff could get involved in:

 

Thank a teacher during National Teacher Appreciation Week


May 7 through 12 is National Teacher Appreciation Week – and the 9th is National Teacher Appreciation Day. If you stop and think who influenced and shaped your life the most beyond your parents, it was probably a teacher! Maybe you are still in touch with a few who had a particular impact on your life – if so, it would be nice to reach out and thank them. But even if you’ve long lost touch with your teachers, you could still offer a thank you to teachers everywhere with a note of appreciation this week on your social media feed.   The National Education Association suggest posting with the hashtag #ThankATeacher and offers some ideas and some graphics – or create your own.

One person who has always been great about encouraging and thanking teachers is Ellen Degeneres. These fun clips from the Ellen Show offer times when she recognized a particularly great teacher.

The first one in our clips is a teacher from Massachusetts …

This is a teacher from Maine …

And we love Mr. Bonner …

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