Red Hat Review 2015

by Shirley Rabb

January 9th and some of our members started the year laughing with Loretta LaRoach at the Stoneham Theatre. Loretta is a funny, funny lady and this was a great way to start out the New Year.  Dinner was at the Ninety Nine restaurant in Stoneham and the food and conversation both ended the day on a great beginning.

January 13th and we went shopping.  Yup shopping at Wegman’s, the giant grocery store in Burlington.  This was an excursion just to check the store out. We all agreed it was just too big for our shopping needs.  They have a great area of prepared foods, Asian, veggie, subs, pizza and home style.  

This area we did partake in. We each got take out containers, made our
choices and got our items weighed. Our next step was to transport this food
upstairs where there is a huge dining area. This was fun, relaxing and
something we had not done before. It was an experience that we decided to
do because we are RED HATTERS.

February.  Snow, snow, snow and more snow was our weather from the end
of January and into February. Cancellations of planned functions and
meetings were common for the Boston area. By February 10th we had over 6
feet of snow on the ground and more coming. Not your everyday winter! But
we did persevere and planned a lunch meeting on February 18th at Brothers
restaurant in Wakefield.  This again was cancelled because the 6 feet of snow
had turned to almost 8 feet, and then to the worst winter in history. Over 9
feet of snow fell so far but spring is on the way.

March 11th and finally we had a meeting to discuss many great things for
the upcoming season of Red Hatters.

March 17th and out we went.  We drove to The Burren in Somerville for  St.
Patty’s day lunch and entertainment. The menu was corned beef and cabbage
or Guinness beef stew along with green and white Irish cake for dessert.   All
the food was  excellent.  The entertainment consisted of Tommy McCarthy,
Louise Costello and Robert Elliot on vocals.  An added treat was a young step
dancer that was perfection in his moves. A great time was had by all.  This
led us to believe that we were happily on our way again.

April 15th and our trip today took us to the Lowell Boat Shop Museum in
Amesbury. The property was purchased by Simeon Lowell in the 1700s and
has been in operation 221 years; the oldest continuously operating boat
shop in America.  It was here that the original fishing dory was developed
that was a mainstay for the fisherman of the region. The oldest buildings
remaining on the site are combined Greek Revival structures that were built
in the 1860s. Branded into the wood of the oldest building reveals that from
1897 through 1919, counts were recorded and an astonishing 2,029 boats
were built here, by hand, in 1911. The boat shop still builds custom dories
and skiffs, they repair and restore wooden boats, and they have classes in
boat building and maritime-related subjects. An excellent tour by a young
volunteer gave us the hands on information that was informative and
enlightening.  Our lunch was at the Barking Dog bar and grille where we had
the best burgers around. Your choice along with an extensive menu was a 4
ounce or 10 ounce burger with all the fixings, and they were so good. There
was even a one pound hot dog on a huge bun which one of our members
dug into. A great day to be in Amesbury by the water with our Red Hat

April 29th  and off to jail we go. The North East correctional facility in
Concord has a culinary class for inmates. The cost of the lunch today was
$3.21 and we had soup,delicious creamy mushroom, salad, main course of
either a Reuben sandwich or 2 huge pork cutlets. Along with the cutlets there
was spinach, tomato, green beens and pasta. For dessert there was Boston
cream pie,not a sliver but a piece. We had a lot of fun talking to our waiter
that is a resident of the jail for the next two years. His main job is training
the dogs for handicap people but because the restaurant was so busy he
volunteered to help out. A great meal,(with leftover), a great time and did I
mention $3.21!

May 5th and that translates to Cinco D'Mayo. We really do not like to pass up
any holiday so off we went to enjoy Mexican food at Mexico Lindo in Melrose.
The food was exciting and colorful and delicious and there were doggie bags
to go.

May 12 and a great buffet at the Whittier Regional Vocation Technical High
School in  Haverhill was where we headed.

The menu entrees were barbequed pulled pork with Texas toast; fish cakes
with remoulade sauce; sautéed chicken with grilled asparagus, sun dried
tomatoes and garlic,; rice and beans; assorted veggies; tortellini salad, salad
bar, homemade rolls, dessert and a drink. Did I mention that this was $9.95
with as many helpings as we wanted. The students were outstanding in their
ability to keep the glasses filled, the dirty dishes  removed and just generally
polite and almost professional. It was a great take-in as the food was all

We also met another Red Hat group from North Andover that came for the
buffet. A nice thing to do and always a pleasure to meet with our
counterparts from other areas. The day was beautiful and it was yet another
Red Hat Day.

May 27 and three members donned their Red Hat outfits and went to the
Stoneham theatre to see "How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying".
They reported that the cast was outstanding. Music, dancing and humor
filled the stage. This was senior Wednesday so the tickets were  $30.00 and
well worth it. Dinner was at Fusion Taste close by the theatre and the food
was excellent with take out boxes for all.

June 3 and it was the Quincy Adams Historical tours day. We started early,at
9:00am from Wakefield passing slowly through the traffic on route 93 south
that went through Boston. Considering the time of day we really did pretty
good time. We got to Quincy at about 5 minutes to 10 which gave us time to
take a 10:15 tour.
We boarded a trolley that took us to the homes of John Adams and John
Quincy Adams birthplaces. These homes are the nation's oldest presidential

They stand on their original foundations about 75 feet apart.
We were told about the rural settings that John Adams grew up in before
going to and graduating from Harvard College. You could sense the history
in both homes as our guide told us that the furniture was reproductions of
the period changes as the homes changed through the years. We then
bordered the trolley again to go to the old house at "Peace field". This house
much larger than the other two has all original furnishings, including the wall
paper. It was about a one hour tour through this home. Again the history of
the homes and the history of our two presidents was very interesting. We
learned  a great deal (more than this article will absorb). It was about 3 hours
before we headed to the resting place of the presidents and their wives. A
short walk from the Historical park setting we went to the basement to view
the tombs of the presidents and their wives. A short history of the United
First Parish Church where the bodies are interred and we headed back
towards Wakefield. Our stop for a late lunch was at the 99 Restaurant in
Stoneham. It was a very great day weather-wise and otherwise. If you can
make the trip it is well worth the time.

June 14th and the start of a three play series at the Regal Players in Waltham.
Today the show was "Guys and Dolls". It was a rousing performance with
songs we were still singing on the way out. "Luck be a lady", "If I were a bell",
A bushel and a peck" and of course "Guys and Dolls". So many songs so
much fun. We ate our meal at the Chateau in Waltham where the food is
always good. We were disappointed that they would not give us separate
checks for the nine of us. Most restaurants usually do accommodate us, but
we figured it out in our own Red Hat way and it was a good day.

June 18 and without leaving any stone unturned we went to the Stoneham
Theatre to see "Sisters Summer School Catechism". This lady, Denise-Marie-
Christina Fennell, was a very funny lady. the show was non stop laughter.
Anyone that attended parochial school got the message loud and clear.
Those of us from the Tribe and other religions laughed so hard for two
hours; it was a joy performance. Dinner was at Fusion Taste a short walk
from the theatre and it was excellent food and perfect service. A great day
for the Red Hatters who just love to laugh.

June 24 and a golfing we did go. Kimball Farm in Westford was our
destination. We have been here a few other times in past years and had so
much fun we decided to add it to our agenda this year also. There were 8
members who walked the 9 hole course with the determination of Tiger
Woods. We had fun as we mixed our group with all the kids that were there.
It was a crowded beautiful day for golf. Although we passed on the boat
rides this year the pond was full of color and laughter. We ate at tables
outside as some of us enjoyed lobster rolls, hot dogs or clams. It was a fun
day; a typical Red Hat day.

July 12th and the Regal Players were performing "Kiss Me Kate". It was "The
Taming of the Shrew" with rousing songs and dances. "Wunderbar","To Darn
Hot" "Kiss Me Kate" and so many more songs. We all agreed it was a great
show with wonderful voices and we were humming, even when we got to the
Naked Fish restaurant for dinner.  It was a hot day,90 degrees, outdoors but
cool inside. Food and service were excellent and although the Red Sox lost
their game today we had a great time.

July 26 and take us out to the ball game. We were off to see the Lowell
Spinners play the Auburn Doubledays.
The day was cloudy with the promise of rain but we had umbrellas and rain
coats and we were Red Hat ready.

For $15.00 we had reserved seats behind home plate. We were served
hotdogs, drinks and ice-cream. We each received a  Pete Frates Bobble head
doll and a hard cover inspiring  book about Rick Hoyt a born spastic

We were recognized on the flashing bill board and we clapped our hands and
shouted whenever we were prompted along with everyone else. The game
was touch and go.

Four to nothing in favor of Auburn but tied up by the Spinners. In the 7th.
inning the announcement of rain coming had people moving out of their
seats; and the lights were turned on. We got our umbrellas out and got our
rain coats on but it started to rain a bit harder so we decide to head out as
Auburn went ahead again.

The final score was 6 to 5 with the Spinners winning, but we did not get to
see the rest of the game. It was fun, as it is every year and we will do it again
next year. How can you go wrong for $15.00?

August 7th and The Museum of Russian Icons in Clinton Ma. was our
destination. Only four members were available to go this day but it was a
great day.

The museum was founded by Gordon Lankton in 2006 and it now houses the
largest collection of Russian icons in North America. The current collection of
more than 700 icons spans six centuries from the 15th century to the
present. Icons are painted with egg tempera, a mixture of egg yolk and
natural minerals. The egg yolk acts as a binding agent and helps protect the
mineral's true color. After application of the tempera, the icon is then
covered with layers of linseed oil and varnishing agents further protecting
the icon and it's pigments from exposure to the elements.

The colors remain vibrant because of all the careful painting and protection
performed on all icons. It is a wonderful exhibit unlike your "regular"
museum and it is a great place to spend one or more hours anytime.

Our guide was knowable and fun to be with. Her explanations were clear and
she added bits and pieces to make the hour most enjoyable.

Our lunch was at the Old Timer restaurant not far from the museum.  We had
sandwiches and fries and agreed it was indeed an excellent outing.

August 15th the Corn and Tomato Festival was being held at Verrill Farms in
Concord and we did not want to miss this event. We arrived at 10:45 to get a
table under the tent and we were glad we did. The crowds started to gather
and the lines formed for the sampling of food made with tomatoes and corn.
We had tomato spice cake, corn pudding,veg.chili with corn bread, orzo
salad, gazpacho, gratin of saladette tomatoes, corn fritters with MA maple
syrup, and edamame and corn succotash with bacon and tomato. All this and
the music for $9.00. There was six different types of corn and eleven types
of tomatoes which were classed under "all you can eat".

It was very warm  with the temperature up at 88 degrees. We ate  and
listened to the music and then headed for Jordan's Furniture in Reading for
our ice cream desserts. It was a great day outdoors and we discovered that
not all tomatoes are red and not all corn is yellow and white.

August 16 and to complete this week-end we drove to Waltham to see the
Reagle Players perform "A Wonderful Town". The singing, the dancing and
the happiness on the stage made it a great play. We tried a new restaurant
(to us) called Demo's in Waltham. Basically Greek food but so good. There
were Kabobs, Spinach Pie, Mousaka and good conversation to end this week-

August 23rd and "The Italian Chicks" was the show at the Stoneham theatre
today. Four Italian women telling very funny Italian jokes geared for "Adults
only". There was laughter and applause even from the non Italian's in the
hall. The show was different for us but it was enjoyable. We decided on
Tulips in Stoneham for a Japanese Hibachi dinner. The chef entertained us as
he mixed and poured and served us of the hot grill. This in itself was a fun
show so all in all it was a very good day.

August 26 and off to the Museum Of Bad Art in Somerville. The museum was
founded in 1994 after antique dealer Scott Wilson showed a painting he had
recovered from the trash to some friends, who suggested starting a
collection. While every city in the world has at least one museum dedicated
to the best of art MOBA is the only museum dedicated to collecting and
exhibiting the worst. Our personal guide, Louise Reilly Sacco is part of the
family owned museum. The museum is known world wide and the Times of
London has recognized MOBA as one of the 50 greatest museums in the
world! So there! Under usual circumstance you need to attend the movie at
the Somerville theatre and then you can go down to the basement to view the
museum. It is a wonderful experience.

Right across Davis Sq. is the BBC The Boston Burger Company and with about
20 burgers to choose from so we had no problem with our meals. Burgers
piled high with battered onion rings, burgers with Mac and Cheese and
bacon on top, Burgers with quacamolie and onions and cheeses and more. It
was a fun experience. Next door is J P Licks for ice cream and we ended up
sitting outside watching the people pass by, as they wondered about a group
of seniors with Red Hats eating ice cream. It was a wonderful fun time that
we all enjoyed and will talk about to anyone that will listen.

September 2nd and you would think that summer was over; but not for us.
We were ready for our annual pot luck summer fun filled day in Derry NH.
One of our members recently purchased a house on the lake and with the
temperature predicted to be in the 90's it was bathing suits on. There was a
variety of food for us to share. Hot dogs and Kielbasa on the grill, make your
own salad, home made baked beans, salsa, chili, fruit, sherbet, and then
desserts of many kinds. Some of us went in to enjoy the lake and then a
neighbor got us on board his pontoon boat for a ride around the lake. What a
gorgeous day it was for all of us as we went home with leftovers and
memories of another great Red Hat Day.

September 12 and this afternoon we drove to Wilmington to see the Boston
Derby Dames Roller Derby. Our rooting team, the Cosmonaughties
were rolling against the Nutcrackers. The pushing and shoving and skating
scores were exhilarating. The shouting and cheering filled the Shriners
Auditorium, We had seats on the floor and at the end of the game some of
the members of "our team" joined us in a group picture.  We were cheered by
the other teams as we left with a rousing "Glad you came", and we really were
glad. The final score was 235 for our team and 110 for the other team. This
puts the Cosmonaughties in the finals to be held next month. What a great
fun thing to see and boy did we enjoy ourselves.

September 13 we went to the Stoneham theatre to see " A funny thing
happened on the way to the Forum". It was a laugh out loud, funny play. One
of our favorites, Kathy St. George was in the play and she is always a joy to
see, and hear. The entire cast seemed to be having as much fun as the
audience. Dinner was at  Gaetanos in Stoneham. We could not get separate
checks, when we usually do at other restaurants. The ladies' room was up
about 6 stairs and not easy for some of our members. The food was good
but take seven Red Hatters and one check and it took a few minutes. This is
probably not on our returning list of places. This week-end has been
exciting and funny and Red Hat.

September 27 and it was baseball. That is 19th century baseball. We were off
to Newbury to see two ball games played in the 1886 rules of the game. The
day was beautiful and so much fun. The first game featured a team from
Boston and a mixed team from various places in New England including
some from Melrose. The second game came back with the Boston team and
the team from Maine. The players joined us in conversation and kept us up
with the rules.

The players wear no helmets, batting gloves, eye-black or sunglasses. They
used one baseball and no gloves for catching the ball. As we sat watching the
teams it looked like the old movie "Field of dreams" where we expected Ted
Williams and Johnny Pesky to come out of the field. After the game we got a
tour of the Spencer Peirce Little Farm house, part of one of the oldest
running farms in America. The guide was knowledgeable and she made our
visit educational as well as enjoyable. Our restaurant of choice for dinner was
the 466 restaurant in Danvers. Good food, a view of the last quarter of the
Patriot's game on their TV and more Red Hat conversation. What to do next?

October 9th and three hearty Red Hatters went to visit the Armenian Museum
of America in Watertown. We had a great tour by the curators of the
museum. Three floors of artifacts, stories and memorable of the history of
Armenia-American community of the centuries; the challenges they faced
and the remarkable achievements and contributions of Armenians to

There was a selection of Armenian women's hand worked textiles that were
on view in the United Nations Plaza. There are paintings by Armenian artists,
and a gallery of photography that was outstanding. This was a lovely
museum and a day of enlightening education for us. We ate at the Seta's
Café, and Armenian restaurant about a mile from the museum. The rain
started as we drove home on the crowded route 128 but we talk about the
exhibits and the knowledge that we got and we had a great Red Hat Day.

October 21st and the Pingree School in South Hamilton was our project
today. The day started with a bit of rain and our plan was to view the outside
sculptures on the grounds of the school. As we are Red Hatters we forged
ahead and with the luck of the  purple and red
G-D the rain stopped when we got to our destination. The exhibit is called
The Flying Horse exhibit which comes from the former name of this property
that was given by the owners Sumner and Mary Weld Pingree. The family
constructed their family home here in 1931 and called the property Flying
Horse Farm, after the flagship of Mary's father's merchant fleet. Today the
buildings are a private high school for boys and girls. The sculptures range
in prices from $1,900.00 to $32,000.00. It is an amazing exhibit and we
drove around the campus, stopped to walk and take pictures on the beautiful
grounds. Here are a few of the 45 sculptures that are on display.

November 12 and off to the Whittier Regional Vocation High School in
Haverhill for lunch. The choices for entrees were steak or halibut, both with
sides; a drink was included (coffee or cold drinks)and the cost was $6.95.
There was also salad, soup and desserts to choose from at an additional
$3.00. The food was served by the students who were personable and
pleasant. Some of us did have pumpkin pie with whipped cream and ice
cream; Yummy!

The day was drizzly and damp but we had a great time and came home
happy and digestivly cheerful.

December 2nd and off to the Stoneham Theatre to see  "Christmas on the
Air". This was a performance that took us back to  the 1949 radio broadcast
of the annual Christmas time show from radio CKOS. A very different show
but the beginning of our holiday playtime.Our meal for this evening was at
Bacci's in Stoneham and Italian was the fair. The food was good and the Red
Hats stood out in the crowd making our happy holiday statement to the
assembled crowd.

December 6 and another unusual holiday play at the Gloucester Playhouse.
This show was called "Every Christmas Story Ever Told (and then some)".
Three actors had almost every holiday character make an appearance during
this fast moving funny show. From Rudolph to the Grinch, Frosty the
Snowman, Charlie Brown and many more. Unlike the regular Christmas Carol
show we had seen in the past this was different and took us further into the
season. One of our members even got to help the
performance by getting on stage. We ate this evening at the Gloucester
House where the service and the food made it a perfect ending to a perfect
Red Hat day.

December 9 and our finale to the year. Our annual holiday party, recycle gifts
and pot luck was held at the home of one of our members. Food was
plentiful and the exchange of gifts was fun with swaps all around.  Although
I was unable to attend I was brought enough left overs to celebrate for the
next few days.


This year 2015 has been a busy one for us. We have been to a multitude of
new places and repeated some others. It has been a wonderful fun filled
year; we have had one member pass away and we have added a new
member. It is for us to continue the happy times, the fun times, the get up
and go times. We wish for all our members and readers a New Year filled
with good health,and many Red Hat happening days.          

January 8, 2016

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