Blueberry Picking on the North Shore

This jumbo blueberry was picked at Russell Orchards in Ipswich, Massachusetts

Blueberry picking is a great way to spend an afternoon outdoors. It's fun, educational and has the added payoff of an abundance of delicious, sweet blueberries to enjoy in all kinds of baked goods and treats.

We headed off to Russell Orchards recently to spend a few hours out in their field picking blueberries (Reminder: It's greenhead season, so bring bug spray!). We were pleased to find an abundance of plump, ripe blueberries awaiting our arrival. 'B' found a bush that was loaded with these monster blueberries - the biggest I've ever seen. Some of them were so big that they were more like pieces of fruit than berries! We had some hardy picking on that particular bush, but we decided it would be best to leave some of the monsters for the other folks who would surely be along in the near future.

We picked a few pints and skedaddled out of there just ahead of some approaching thunderstorms. On the ride home we discussed what we were going to do with our cache of blue gold - blueberry ice cream, blueberry pancakes, blueberry muffins, blueberry bread, blueberry jam, blueberry pie. The list goes on... We decided to make blueberry bread for starters.

I did a little research on blueberries and found that there are basically two kinds of blueberry bushes - low bush ('wild') blueberries and high bush (cultivated) blueberries. While some blueberry picking farms do raise and cultivate some low bush blueberries, it is far more profitable to them to maintain a crop of high bush blueberries.If you find blueberries in the wild, they will most likely be of the low bush blueberry variety - hence the 'wild' reference (although 'native' would be more accurate).

Blueberries also have many health benefits. They have very high levels of antioxidants, leading some to claim that blueberries are a superfood. Many studies have been done with blueberries and the findings seem to show that eating blueberries has a litany of beneficial effects that include:

  • Inhibiting mechanisms of cancer cell development
  • Inhibiting inflammation in vitro
  • Enhancing memory and learning in older adults
  • Lowering brain damage during a stroke event
  • Slowing the rate of cognitive decline for Alzheimer's patients
  • Aiding in lowering blood sugar
  • Alleviating symptoms of depression
  • Lowering Cholesterol and lipid levels
  • Possibly reducing the risk of heart disease
  • Possibly regulating blood pressure

Blueberries are good for you, fun to pick and great to eat raw or as a part of any number of treats. Make sure to head out to your favorite wild blueberry patch or use visit one of the following blueberry picking spots open to the public on the North Shore:

West Newbury

Robots and Beyond: Exploring Artificial Intelligence at MIT

Minsky Arm, created by Marvin Minsky on display at the MIT Museum!
Robots and Beyond shares the results of decades of Artificial Intelligence (AI) innovation at MIT. Explore the ideas that shaped AI and the birth of robotics, fields that are synonymous with research at MIT.
Where: MIT Museum

See The Addison’s Model Ship Collection - Andover

Addison Gallery of American Art Andover MA. Addison Gallery of American Art
Families are invited to explore The Addison Gallery's famed model ship collection, permanently installed in the building's lower level, consisted originally of 24 works commissioned by the museum's founder, Thomas Cochran, to document four centuries of American history.
10:00 am to 5:00 pm

MFA: Mark Rothko: Reflection

Museum of Fine Art Mark Rothko Exhibit
An immersive display of 11 masterpieces by Mark Rothko (1903–70), on loan from the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., invites visitors to contemplate the power of art to shape human experience. Opening on September 24, don’t miss “Mark Rothko: Reflection,” an immersive display of 11...
10:00 am to 4:00 pm

Public Skate and Learn to Skate at Peabody Skating Rink

Learn to Skate with the Peabody Skating Club at Peabody Skating Rink
The McVann-O'Keefe Skating Rink in Peabody is open for Public Skating weekdays from 10-11:45 am, Saturday's at 2 pm, and Sundays at 2:10 pm. Call today to ask about the Learn to Skate program at with the Peabody Skating Club. The ice is perfect. The Halloween and Christmas parties are a blast, and...
10:00 am to 11:45 am

Arts and Crafts for Little Ones with Colleen Apostolos-Marsh

Art Classes for children with Colleen Apostolos-Marsh
Certified Montessori teacher, artist and local mother, Colleen Apostolos-Marsh will guide your young artist in an exploration of color, shape, and texture. Using a variety of media, your child will be free to express their in a beautiful space while socializing and engaging in cooperative play.
10:15 am to 11:15 am

Flowers for Kids

Flowers are for Kids, too! Learn about these special flowers that cover the land that is Maudslay State Park in Newburyport Massachusetts
Flowers are for Kids, too! Learn about these special flowers that cover the land that is Maudslay State Park . Perfect for a photo op. The park interpreter knows what is blooming and when. Be sure to pack a camera. Wear comfortable walking shoes and bring water, bug spray recommended.
10:30 am to 11:30 am

Creature Catch!

Discover what creatures live in New England Ponds at Harold Parker State Forest!
Meet at Frye Pond Beach - Fish, frogs, snakes, and salamanders, let’s discover what lives in our tranquil New England ponds!  Nets and buckets are provided.  This activity can be wet and muddy.Recommend bringing water, insect repellent, sun screen, binoculars and camera. Appropriate for a
1:30 pm to 2:30 pm

LEGO Club at Newbury Library

Kids are invited to a freestyle LEGO buiild session at the Newbury Town Library!
Kids are invited to a freestyle LEGO buiild session at the Newbury Town Library! Drop in to the NTL Lego Club on Friday afternoons. We supply the Legos and a theme for each week for you to get inspired by. Let’s get building! No registration required. For kids ages 5 and up.
3:00 pm to 4:30 pm

Open Studio at Art Haven

Things to do north of Boston
Friday afternoons are a great time for families to drop-by fand enjoy Open Studio at Art Haven. Participate in a fun activity and access to the studio space to work on clay, painting, drawing or anything else you dream up. All ages are welcome with a parent.
3:30 pm to 5:00 pm

Astronomy After Hours at the MOS Observatory

Come to the Museum of Science rooftop for free stargazing and astronomy related
Tucked away on the roof of the Museum's parking garage, the Gilliland Observatory is a wonderful resource for our starry-eyed public. On clear nights, you can view stars, planets, the Moon, and other astronomical phenomena. On cloudy nights, tour the inside of the Observatory, and participate in...
8:30 pm to 10:00 pm

Saturday, May 26

MIT Museum's Idea Hub

Families can learn through hands-on science at MIT Museum's Idea Hub in Cambridge Massachusetts
Explore topics in design and engineering with artistic circuits, 3D programs, and a variety of other hands-on making and tinkering topics! Drop in each week and try out one of our many activities. Free with Museum admission for kids ages 12 and up.
Where: MIT Museum
12:00 pm to 4:00 pm

Turtle Time at IRWS

Kids will explore IRWS wetland in search of painted and snapping turtles.
As late Spring becomes early Summer, it means one thing: turtle time! Join us for an afternoon of exploring our wetlands in search of these fascinating reptiles.
1:30 pm to 3:00 pm

Gone Fishin' at Harold Parker

Kids will learn about pond fishing at Harold Parker State Forest
Meet at Frye Pond Beach - Great family fun for everyone interested in learning the basics of pond fishing in New England. All fishing tackle and bait is provided. Recommend bringing insect repellent, water, sun screen and a camera. Appropriate for children over 6 years old.
2:00 pm to 3:30 pm

Public Skate & Learn to Skate at Peabody Skating Rink

Learn to Skate with the Peabody Skating Club at Peabody Skating Rink
The McVann-O'Keefe Skating Rink in Peabody is open for Public Skating weekdays from 10-11:45 am, Saturday's at 2 pm, and Sundays at 2:10 pm. Call today to ask about the Learn to Skate program at with the Peabody Skating Club. The ice is perfect. The Halloween and Christmas parties are a blast, and...
2:00 pm to 3:45 pm

Woodcock Walk at Parker River National Wildlife Refuge

Explore Parker River National Wildlife Refuge and lear about the American Woodcock!
Each spring American woodcocks engage in one of nature’s most fascinating courtship displays. Here’s your chance to witness this “sky dance” up close and in-person! This program is appropriate for ages 8 and older. Meet the ranger on the deck of the visitor contact station at parking lot 1.
7:30 pm

Sunday, May 27

Robots and Beyond: Exploring Artificial Intelligence at MIT

Minsky Arm, created by Marvin Minsky on display at the MIT Museum!
Robots and Beyond shares the results of decades of Artificial Intelligence (AI) innovation at MIT. Explore the ideas that shaped AI and the birth of robotics, fields that are synonymous with research at MIT.
Where: MIT Museum

AJH: Newborn Care Class

Anna Jaques Hospital Parent Support Group Newborn Care Class
The Newborn Care class will cover practical baby care topics that will help you to feel more confident in your ability to care for your newborn. Classes are on Sundays from 9:30am-12:00am in the Higgins Conference Room at Anna Jaques Hospital.
9:30 am to 12:00 pm

Beginning Birding at Harold Parker

Meet at Harold Parker State Park for beginning birding in North Andover Massachusetts
Come to Harold Parker State Forest, for a birding session with the park interpreter!
9:30 am to 10:30 am

Swan Boat Rides in Boston Public Garden

Swan Boat Boston North Shore Parent, North Shore Parents Summer Activities Guide
The Public Garden may be one of the most ideal picnicking locations in Boston. Well-groomed and overflowing with tulips, cherry-trees, with willows cascading over the duck pond, the Boston Public Garden is a great place to relax during Boston's most beautiful season.
10:00 am to 4:00 pm

MFA: Mark Rothko: Reflection

Museum of Fine Art Mark Rothko Exhibit
An immersive display of 11 masterpieces by Mark Rothko (1903–70), on loan from the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., invites visitors to contemplate the power of art to shape human experience. Opening on September 24, don’t miss “Mark Rothko: Reflection,” an immersive display of 11...
10:00 am to 4:00 pm