Celebrate Random Act of Kindness Week


heart and statement about random kindness

The world’s a mess, the market’s queasy, it’s the depths of February, and everyone has the flu. But cheer up! It’s almost Valentine’s Day! Let’s spread some love and goodwill by celebrating Random Acts of Kindness Week while we look at some of the good stuff, big and small, happening in the world:

  • Amidst all the hoopla of a Super Bowl victory parade, Philadelphia Eagles rookie cornerback Sidney Jones lost his cellphone. Fans found it and returned it to him, after snapping a few celebratory selfies with the Super Bowl champ.
  • In Wilmington, North Carolina, school crossing guard Minnie Galloway isn’t just keeping kids safe: she’s keeping them warm.
  • But not all of the Good Samaritans directing traffic are crossing guards!
  • Meanwhile in Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada, restaurant owner Elian Elias devotes a couple of hours of his day to providing free meals to the homeless.
  • In good news for the whole planet, France is two years ahead of schedule in switching away from coal-fired power plants to renewable energy. French President Emmanuel Macron announced at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davis, Switzerland that France would shut down all coal-burning plants by 2021.
  • In Hamilton, New Zealand, Senior Constable Neale Williams recognized a car he’d impounded before. Turned out the driver needed assistance getting her driver’s license, so Williams stepped in and offered his time and money to help her get back on the road – legally.
  • Speaking of random acts of kindness, rapper Drake has been on a roll recently, throwing down more than $125,000 on good works in Miami.

Come on, Drake! You’re making the rest of us look bad!

But you don’t have to have rap-superstar status (or a rap-superstar bank balance) to make a difference. There’s all sorts of ways to get involved, starting right at your front door. To help out in your community, try typing “local volunteering near me” into your favorite search engine.

Need more inspiration? Buzzfeed has you covered with 101 ideas for random acts of kindness. Now get out there and commit some Random Kindness!

Autumn in New England: What to see & do


colorful fall trees with leaves carpeting the ground

If leaf peeping is on your agenda this holiday weekend, here’s the latest weather and foliage reports from NECN. Overall, the foliage season is always enjoyable here in New England, but meteorologists say that this year will not be among the most spectacular displays. Our recent mild temperatures have slowed things down a bit and erratic weather patters and drought have taken a toll:

“All told, this autumn’s colors in New England will feature a notable absence of some maple oranges and reds. This makes our 2017 dominant colors yellow from birch and poplar, bronze from hickories and red/brown from oak. All of this, taken together, combines for a lovely display … just not the dazzling explosion of colors we’re used to – instead, a display heavily weighted toward yellow and brown.”

Don’t let that stop you — our local fall foliage is one of the wonders of nature and always puts on a show, even in the “off’ years. Here are some ideas for planning things to do over the holiday weekend and the next few weeks. If your wanderings take you north, be alert for wildlife since it’s peak season for human-animal collisions. It’s always a god idea to have your local independent insurance agent’s phone number or app handy on your mobile phone just in case.

Yankee Magazine is a great source of info on seasonal activities. Download their free foliage app, Leaf Peepr, as well as a free Ultimate Guide to Autumn in New England, available at the same link. They also offer:

Live Fall Foliage Map – Where’s the best New England fall foliage right now? The live fall foliage map lets fall-foliage fans report and track the evolution of autumn color in New England.

Peak foliage Map – This is a fun map: “To see how the color rolls through New England, click on the “play” button to the right. As the map changes, so will the calendar as it highlights the approximate peak dates for different parts of the region. Happy leaf-peeping!”

For ideas on where to go and what to do, see the articles listed under each map on the above links. The articles include:

  • 10 Places to Visit in New England in Fall
  • Favorite Fall Foliage Drives in New England
  • The best corn mazes in New England from Maine to Rhode Island.
  • Best Apple Orchards in New England
  • Fall Foliage Train Tours
  • 5 Best Pumpkin Festivals in New England
  • 12 New England Fairs to Visit This Fall

Discover New England also offers many great autumnal suggestions. They offer a brief explanation of what autumn colors are all about. Be sure to check out the Guide to New England in Fall, with a state-by-state breakdown, and information on

  • New England fall events
  • New England fall food festivals
  • New England fall scenic drives
  • New England fall foliage maps

Your seasonal flu prevention reminder!


fight the flu graphic

Flu season runs from October through May, generally peaking from December through March. Flu vaccines can take a few weeks to kick in so it’s good to get your shot early. Find out the place closest to you at the HealthMap Vaccine Finder.

Health experts say that everyone 6 months of age and older should get a flu vaccine every season, but it’s particularly important for people at high risk for developing potentially serious complications. These include:

  • Children younger than 5, but especially children younger than 2 years old
  • Adults 65 years of age and older
  • Pregnant women (and women up to two weeks postpartum)
  • Residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities
  • American Indians and Alaskan Natives
  • People who have medical conditions

There are a lot of myths about the flu and vaccines – for example, many people think you can get the flu from a vaccine or that healthy people don’t need a vaccine. Harvard Medical School separates fact from fiction in 10 Flu Myths. Another common myth is that the flu is just a very bad cold – wrong! This Healthcare Triage video explains the difference.

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.

Preventable deaths by age: A lifetime of risk


The news media often calls them “accidents” but the National Safety Council calls them “preventable deaths.” The upcoming months of July and August typically record the highest number of preventable deaths – primarily poisonings, car crashes, falls, drowning, choking and fires. And if you are surprised that poisonings are now topping the list, think about fatalities related opioids and other prescription drugs, which are spiking alarmingly in most regions of the country, displacing car crashes as a leading cause of accidental death.

June is National Safety Month, an annual observance sponsored by the National Safety Council. Take this quick interactive Safety Checkup to know your risks. We also liked the “lifetime of Risk” infographic (below) that maps out the highest risks for preventable deaths by age group.

National Safety Month
Provided by the National Safety Council