Things to Do in Amesbury: Gift Shops, Restaurants & More

Nest Home and Gift shop, Amesbury MA
Welcome to Nest!


It’s funny how you can live nearby a town and not know much about it – especially when it has so much to offer. I live just 30 minutes from this Massachusetts town, and only recently did I discover all the great things to do in Amesbury from shopping vintage boutiques, to dining at delicious bistros, and so much more.

A Visit to Nest

Taylor Simpson, owner of Nest, an adorable home and gift store, suggested I visit Amesbury when we first met on a photo shoot for Merrimack Valley Home Magazine. Taylor had designed a room we were featuring in our spring 2016 issue. In addition to the Nest store, Taylor launched Nest Designs out of Andover, specializing in staging, home improvement and interior design.

In Amesbury, I met up with Taylor, first in her store, and my immediate reaction was WOW! I love the entrance. The door was framed with a natural birch archway that gave the sense I was entering a very unique space. The spacious store was filled with eye-catching finds from colorful summer hats to glitzy jewelry.


Jewelry, soaps and succulents from Nest, Amesbury MA
Jewelry, soaps and succulents from Nest


As Taylor spoke with customers, I happily poked around investigating all of the fun finds. From herbal teas to the Nest Kids section, I was impressed with the great selection. As I made my way to the back of the store, I was drawn to a second, custom-built archway that led to the Nest Garden. My green thumb was pulsing with excitement as I entered a space that left me feeling I’d entered a magical forest. There were succulent arrangements everywhere. I’ve been obsessed with succulents ever since my father grew the largest Jade tree I’ve ever seen. And now, with succulents more popular than ever; this room was a haven for anyone looking to bring these earthy, easy care plants into their home.

I was further intrigued by the shelves of Fairy House items and fondly recalled the days when I would create little fairy gardens with Julia and Ally.


Fairy Houses from Nest, Amesbury MA
Fairy Houses


Nest alone is reason enough to pop up to Amesbury, but Taylor was nice enough to walk me around more of the downtown area.

More Things to do in Amesbury: Restaurants, Boutiques, Craft Beer and More

As we strolled by the dramatic rushing waterfall of the Powow River, I learned that Crave, Phat Cats Bistro and The Noshery are great restaurants to grab a bite. I was also reminded that Nest will be participating in this year’s Vintage Bazaar taking place in nearby Salisbury on June 25 & 26. I had a blast there last year with over 175 boutiques, vintages finds, indie crafts, salvage and more. Also happening in Amesbury on June 26th is the Carriagetown Car Show (Judd, do you want to go?).

Next up on our list of things to do in Amesbury – the Craft Beer Cellar, where I had the pleasure of meeting proprietor, Karen Wood. Karen showed me all around this beer lover’s dream (wine too) and turned me on to some great Father’s Day gift ideas too.


Beer and Wine at Craft Beer Cellar, Amesbury MA
Father’s Day Beer Boxes ($17-20), Beer and Wine at Craft Beer Cellar


Last stop on my Amesbury day of fun, Ovedia Artisan Chocolates, where a lemon chocolate truffle and Greek Frappe hit the spot. What’s a Greek Frappe? A coffee-based drink, shaken ‘til foamy, poured over coffee ice and finished with a splash of cream – YUM!


Things to do in Amesbury, get an Ovedia greek frappe
Greek Frappe by Ovedia


Shop Local

Be sure to check out all these great things to do in Amesbury, and remember SHOP LOCAL – help our small businesses thrive!

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The Junior League of Boston’s 2016 Show House

Emily O'Brian Photography - The Morning Room
The Morning Room


When friend, photographer and fellow blogger, Emily O’Brien, suggested we head down to West Newton to co-blog about the 2016 Junior League of Boston Show House, I jumped at the chance. Whether I’m looking for inspiration for Merrimack Valley Home or catching up on the latest design trends, I love exploring a beautiful home.

The Nathanial Allen House took this year’s honor as the 45th Anniversary Show House. Three months prior, it was in disarray, but thanks to organizers, 30 plus interior designers and landscape artists, the space was transformed into a wonderland of design, décor and elegant artistry.

Once a stop on the Underground Railroad; this mid-1800 Greek revival house was later converted to the country’s first co-educational school. It was intriguing the moment I set eyes on it. Four exterior columns add grandeur to the yellow building accented with green shutters and floor to ceiling windows immediately caught my eye.


The Junior League of Boston Decorator's 45th Anniversary Show House - The Nathaniel Allen House
The Nathaniel Allen House – 45th Anniversary Show House


This event is going on through June 5th. Tickets are $35 at or $40 at the door. Proceeds go to The Junior League of Boston.  You do not have to be a design guru to appreciate the glory of this experience. If you like design inspiration, a stroll through this house will give you a look at a wide variety of styles, colors, textures and unexpected approaches to room design.

I’ll share my favorite spaces within the 7,000 square foot property, but if you’d like to see more head over to Emily O’Brien’s blog for her photography spin, and visit the blog of interior designer Kim Macumber for her expert take.

And by all means, go check out this display of talent yourself – it’s a design adventure worth taking!

I could’ve spent the entire day admiring the style that each designer brought to the 24 rooms. It was remarkable that the rooms flowed so nicely together considering the designers worked independently. I did pick up on several trends throughout, including the use of natural wood elements, gold tones and a recurrent Greek key accent. But most surprising was the frequent presence of the color purple. One of my favorite rooms demonstrates this perfect pop of purple – notice the glossy purple woodwork around windows and doors.


The Art Salon designed by Steven Favreauat the Nathaniel Allen House
The Art Salon


The Art Salon, designed by Steven Favreau, was an elegant space featuring over 20 pieces of art and sculpture. The art hung upon a fabric backdrop with purple base trim which tied the room together with the purple woodworking.

Nearby the Art Salon was The Morning Room designed by Kate McCusker Rosenberger. This room was cheery and fun – I could easily see myself sitting in it all morning, afternoon and night. Yellow happens to be my favorite color, so I was naturally drawn to this space and the funky chairs and accents gave me an inviting throwback feeling.


The Morning Room designed by Kate McCusker Rosenberger at the Nathaniel Allen House
The Morning Room


The Morning Room designed by Kate McCusker Rosenberger at the Nathaniel Allen House
The Morning Room – So bright and cheery. Love those hooks!


I could honestly go on and on about this Decorators’ Show House. The Junior League of Boston certainly outdid themselves. If you have the chance to visit, don’t forget to look up!  Some of the most interesting displays of design happened on the ceilings.

Bonus pic – I loved this small space. Shouldn’t every house have a bar like this?


The Bar designed by Cecilia Walker at the Nathaniel Allen House
The Bar -Blues, brass and perfectly placed barware felt like Hollywood Glam. Designed by Cecilia Walker


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Bold Interior Design Tips from Miles Redd



Flipping through home magazines has been a pleasant pastime for me ever since becoming a homeowner. I love every aspect of transforming a space into some version of myself. Since becoming editor of Merrimack Valley Home Magazine, my passion for home decor and design has both escalated and been elevated. Last week I had the opportunity to visit the Boston Design Center for the second time. On this occasion I was invited to a presentation as part of Boston Design Week. This 12-day, citywide festival is intended to increase awareness and appreciation for all aspects of design including architecture, photography, landscape design, interior design, graphic design and more.

An Eclectic Approach to Interior Design

I was lucky enough to score a seat in the Miles Redd presentation called “The Art of the Approach.” Redd is an A-list interior designer whose work has been featured in all of the top home publications. His eclectic style is described as a “quirky brand of cozy glamour.” Quirky-cozy-glamour… I knew I would like this guy.

The moment Redd took the mic, he engaged the audience with real talk. This former Creative Director for Oscar de la Renta Home left any pretension at the door, and proceeded to take us through a captivating series of slides. He was easygoing and entertaining.

The slides shown would alternate between inspiration photographs and photos of rooms where the inspiration was applied. It was incredibly cool to see unassuming elements from an old photograph translated into room colors, fabric textures and design details that you might never expect to see together. “Inspiration comes in many forms,” said Redd. This was evident in his clever combinations – one of which was a red velvet banquette together with pink-shaded lamps. To my surprise, it worked in a dramatic display of bold color.

Redd said that he was all about pastiche – artistic work that imitates that of another work or artist – and explained that, “the subconscious picks up what it picks up.”

Interior Design Tips

Other useful points from Redd’s presentation include:

  • “You need one good thing in a room to bring everything up.”
  • “If you’re a modernist, you need one traditional thing and if you’re a traditionalist, you need one modern thing.”
  • “All space is relevant; it’s how you treat it.”

But of all the great interior design tips I picked up from Redd; one piece of advice stood out. He told a young designer who questioned his depth of experience that, no matter what, he had to believe in what he knew. If he doubted himself, his clients would sense that and doubt him as well.

I always love a good confidence message.

Visit to learn more and if Redd’s style speaks to you, consider his coffee table book, “The Big Book of Chic.” The photos of home decor are to die for.

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Hurricane Vase Fillers: Fun Seasonal Decor

Decorative Hurricane vase fillers
Top view- jelly beans – one of many great vase fillers

American Easter is a week away!  I say American because I’m a Greek girl. I celebrate Greek Easter which isn’t until May 1st this year. By that time, the Easter buzz will have come and gone. While I don’t go all out decorating for Easter, I always like to bring some seasonal décor to my home. My girls appreciate the holiday spirit that comes from a basket of colorful eggs and some pretty pastel placemats. My favorite thing to do at Easter, or any other holiday or change of season for that matter, is so simple and always a huge hit. They are cheap and easy vase fillers for the two hurricane candle holders that sit prominently on my kitchen island.

Years ago I bought two extra-large glass candle holders at Home Goods.  They had to have been less than $20 each. At Easter, I pop a pillar candle in the center of each hurricane and fill it with jelly beans. Done! Everyone who walks into my kitchen comments on these simple, yet eye-catching, holiday decorations.

Jellybean vase fillers
Jellybean Hurricane

I have also filled the hurricanes with candy hearts in February, Lucky Charms cereal in March, candy corn in October (most popular), shelled nuts in fall, wine corks in winter, terrariums made with coffee grounds and faux succulents in spring and faux lemons and limes in summer.

It’s a quick, inexpensive and fun way to add a little variety to my home décor. Give it a try, but know this: if you fill your hurricanes with candy, guests will go elbow deep into a burning candle to satisfy their sweet tooth – no matter how many times you tell them it’s just a decoration.

Search Pinterest for more fun and seasonal decorating ideas.

Enjoy! Happy Easter and happy spring!

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Boston Design Center – What a Place!

The above tub and tile backwall was the first thing I saw…tub envy!

I love visiting places I’ve never been and if it’s a place I’m technically not allowed to go, I’m even more intrigued. For years, I’ve wanted to check out the Boston Design Center, a trade-only design resource with some of the finest products in home décor. Unfortunately, I’m not an interior designer and haven’t had the opportunity to work with one until recently. Linda Holt of Linda Holt Interiors is not only a brilliant interior designer, but she and I work closely to produce Merrimack Valley Home magazine. It’s been a pleasure getting to know her through this and the more I’ve gotten to know her style, the more I knew she’d be the best person to help me take my sunroom from drab to fab. Finally, I had a reason and a connection to get into the Boston Design Center.


colors and swatches for sunroom
colors and swatches for my sunroom


Linda and I took a trip in yesterday and visited several designer showrooms. I found each one to be more captivating than the next. I just love looking at fabrics, furnishings, lighting, accessories, window hardware and more. You name it – if it’s home related, I’m into it. What I loved most about the Boston Design Center showrooms was that everything was custom and unique.


Boston Design Center mirror display
mirrors, mirrors on the wall


You would not find the items here at typical furniture or home stores and I like that. Of course, many things were not in my price range, but Linda directed me to those places she knew would suit my look and fit within my budget.


trim, trim and more trim
trim, trim and more trim


I was giddy walking from floor to floor, like a kid in a candy shop. This place was like an amusement park for home enthusiasts, like me. With a total of seven floors and over 60 showrooms, I could’ve easily spent the day here. However, we chose our designer destinations selectively and made efficient use of our time. I did my best to follow Linda, but more than a few times she found me lagging behind taking photos of one exceptional thing after another.


Boston Design Center view from above
a view from above


Now, if you’re not an interior designer and don’t plan to work with one any time soon, don’t worry- you’ll still have a chance to experience the Boston Design Center. They periodically have open days –their next is April 2nd for their annual sample sale and they’ve recently added a public area called Market Stalls. They took the west wing of their second floor and turned it into a cool, boutique-style market. This eclectic mix of home items may have captured my attention more than any other level. There was a casual and comfortable vibe to the Market Stalls that made it very appealing. Knowing that I could go back on my own also helped.


Boston Design Center market stall
just one of the many Market Stalls


If ever you have the chance or desire to pop into the Boston Design Center, I hope you have as enjoyable a design moment as I did.

Thank you Linda!

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