Where to Celebrate Independence Day in New England


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Independence Day in New England – does it get any more authentic than that? From America’s Oldest 4th of July Celebration in Bristol (230 consecutive years!) and the Boston Hatch Shell on the Esplanade to Old Sturbridge Village Independence Day and the old-fashioned Enfield Town Celebration – we just seem to know how to do it up right! You might also want to visit the site where everything started: Minute Man National Historical Park, where they’ll be reading the Declaration of Independence at 1 pm on July 4 by the North Bridge!

Here are some other July 4 Events to help you in your planning:

July 4 Safety Tips

Hang on — as insurance professionals, we wouldn’t be doing our job if we didn’t also issue a few reminders for holiday safety. Insurance is all about planning ahead!

Red Cross Issues Safety Tips For 4th of July Holiday

Fireworks Safety

Stay Safe this 4th of July

Top 10 Safe Driving Tips for the 4th of July Weekend

Celebrate National Blueberry Month


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July is National Blueberry Month – and they’re in season locally right now. The wild blueberry is the official fruit of Maine, which produces about 25% of all lowbush blueberries in North America. Blueberries are often called a “superfood” by nutritionists – check out the infographic below to see why. And check out these delicious-sounding recipes and cooking tips. Here’s where to “pick your own” in Massachusetts, in New Hampshire, in Connecticut, in Rhode Island, in Maine, in Vermont.

Click to enlarge – Courtesy of: U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council

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Summer crime forecast: chance of burglaries, assaults high


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Summer may be a time for relaxing, but don’t let your guard down when it comes to crime. According to a study examining seasonal crime patterns that was recently released by the federal Bureau of Justice Statistics, most types of crime are more likely to happen in summer. See Burglaries in Summer, School Assaults in Fall.

  • Your house is much more likely to be broken into in the summer – Burglary is 11% more common in the summer than in the winter — that’s more seasonal variation than for any other single type of crime.
  • You’re more likely to be a victim of violent crime in summer – “serious violence was significantly higher during the summer than during the winter, spring and fall seasons.”

However, as the Vox article reminds us that muggings, rape and assault – all crimes, really – can happen in any season.

Law enforcement and loss control experts offer a few tips:

Personal Security–At Home, On the Street, While Traveling – Released by the Bureau of Diplomatic Security

Crime Prevention for Homeowners – Tips During the Warm Weather Months

Keep Your Home Safe on Vacation: 9 Essential Tips

Lonely Planet – Top Tips for Safe Travel

LAPD Crime Prevention Tips – tips sheets on a wide variety of scenarios

Prior related posts on this blog:

Going on vacation? 5 steps to secure your home while you are away!

Staying Cyber Safe During Your Vacations

Vacation Rentals and Homeowners Insurance

Curious Klepto Critters Steal Cameras: Will insurance cover this?

First and foremost, stay safe. Things are just things and can be replaced – plus, the right insurance coverage can help mitigate any loss of possessions. Your personal safety is what’s paramount!

New England summer toolkit – road trips & local treasures


Why not stay local this summer and enjoy all the treasures that New England has to offer? We’ve compiled some tips & tools to get you on your way.

First and foremost, before you hit the road, check Gas Buddy and fueleconomy.gov to get the best gas prices. And make sure that your car is in tip-top shape: Consumer Reports offers a great guide to summer road travel with tips for family travel, maintenance and vehicle prep, fuel economy, travel gear, safety & more.

Here are some ideas of where to go:

Find New England Beaches, Whale Watching tours and some great cycling routes – all these, and many more ideas at Discover New England.

Yankee Magazine is a local favorite with great information and ideas for local travel and events. Eat healthy, eat local by finding the best New England Farmers’ markets – pair your veggies with some seafood – here are the 5 best tips for cooking lobster at home. On the road, check out some “only in New England” landmarks – or just explore the Best of New England with the 2013 Editor’s Choice Awards.

If you want to leave the car behind and go by foot, check out Hike New England to explore more than 200 trail reports for detailed guides that include a description of the hike, trail distances, a difficulty rating, and driving directions; often photos or trail maps are also provided.

Boston.com offers 25 things to do under $25 and many other ideas in Explore New England.

If your travels include your pet, check out pet friendly New England lodgings. The Boston Globe recently highlighted a pick of pet friendly choices in New England. Get more pet-friendly trip help from Boston.com.

Have safe and fun wanderings – and don’t forget to load your insurance agent’s telephone number in your mobile phone, just in case!

Grill Safely This Summer!


While cooking out is arguable the most basic American rite of summer, it can be hazardous to your health and safety. Fires caused by grilling accidents cause about $70 million in damages each year nationwide and injure more than 7,000. How can you prevent you and your family becoming one of those statistics?
Good Morning America featured an eye-opening video and ten handy barbecue tips to help keep you and your family safe this summer – and still enjoying eating outside!
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The most important thing to remember is to keep your grill well away from other structures, such as your house or garage, that could ignite. Even though it’s convenient to be able to grill for your party guests right there on your deck or patio, it’s not a good idea. If there are going to be kids at your cookout, consider drawing a 10 foot circle in chalk around the grill and making it a strict no go zone for anyone under 12.
It’s smart to make sure your grill is always in the best possible shape. The US Consumer Product Safety Commission has a safety checklist for all grill owners, gas or charcoal, to make sure your grill isn’t posing any hidden dangers. The National Fire Protection Agency has two helpful, short videos on gas grill safety.
Once you’re sure your grill is in good working order and safely located away from the house, it’s time to think about what to serve. Keep cold foods cold and hot foods hot, and never use the same plate for raw and cooked meats as the US Health Department reminds us in this list of grilling food safety recommendations. Consider grilling more fruits and vegetables and less meats, because while you don’t have to give up burgers altogether, charred meat can be hazardous to your health. Precooking slightly can help, as can marinating, a tip that’s not only safer, but delicious.
In case you’re not scared enough already, here’s a safety tip you probably haven’t heard before. A Rhode Island hospital admitted six people last March with stomach perforations caused by wire brush bristles that were used to clean a gas grill. But don’t worry too much: this one is simple to fix. After you’ve scrubbed the grill clean with that wire brush, wipe it down again with a sponge, just to make sure.