Fast track me to townie status: Massachusetts North Shore Edition
March 9, 2013 2:15 PM   Subscribe

I am moving to Newburyport, MA in two weeks. Please help me land smoothly with recommendations for hairstylists, dog care, preferred ISPs, and anything else that pops to mind.

After a long and arduous job hunt, I landed something great in the North Shore area outside of Boston. I've secured an adorable apartment in Newburyport, have movers booked, and am starting to think about all of the smaller details of living there. I've lived in the same town for the last 10 years, and one thing I've really loved is knowing who to go to for anything I needed. Please help me land on my feet by contributing your recommendations for:

- Hairstylists - I have very thick, cowlick-laden white girl hair; I like a hairstylist who really listens and has mad execution skills, because sometimes I like really precise, crazy cuts. I do not care one whit about their skill with color, because I don't ever color my hair.

- Dog care - vets, day care, grooming, and boarding places. My current spot is great, as it has almost all of those services in the same place. I've used a local non-profit for 95% of Poodle's vet care, as it's incredibly cheap for annual vaccinations - if something like that exists in the area, I'd love to know about it.

- ISPs - who's the favorite/best deal in the area? I've been with Comcast for years (due to lack of alternatives) and hate them with the fire of a million suns.

- Auto mechanics - I've got a Toyota. It's in good shape, but this is one of those things I like to be prepared for ahead of time.

- Specialty grocery stores - I like to cook and bake and can, where do I go for the best cheese, bread, and your less common spices? Where's the best farmers' market? International grocery store?

- Bars and restaurants - I went to Salt when I was interviewing, and it was exactly the kind of place I like. What other great cocktail bars are around? What's the best comfy dive bar to sit in and play Scrabble? Best place to get a burger?

- Anything else you think is worth recommending! Some stuff I'll be happy to go into Boston for (especially the hairstylist), other stuff I'm hoping to find within walking distance of home or work.
posted by amelioration to Travel & Transportation around Boston, MA (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I can't help with much of your list but I can recommend a couple of restaurants in Amesbury:

Barking Dog

And Ovedia for coffee, tea and chocolate treats.

There's also:

The Grog in Newburyport
and Michael's Harborside
posted by eatcake at 2:29 PM on March 9, 2013

I lived in the area for a while years ago, so I can't help with most of the stuff, but The Thirsty Whale is a good dive bar/restaurant. I know it's still there because we stopped coming back from Logan in the recent past.

You might also want to try Flatbread Pizza in nearby Amesbury (my old haunt).

Nthing the Grog and Michael's. I sat with my dad at Michael's once and watched a guy unloading a giant tuna once. Pretty cool.

It's a neat town, so congrats and good luck!
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 2:33 PM on March 9, 2013

Tender Crop Farm if you are picky about knowing where your meat comes from and how it has been treated, and want to buy local. They're a working farm with attached grocery store. It's not cheap, but when we have the time and the moolah, we make the hour drive just to stock up from their butcher department. Also lots of fresh produce.

Also, they have a llama.
posted by instead of three wishes at 2:52 PM on March 9, 2013

North Shore Magazine is a pretty good resource for the area.

And welcome to my general neck of the woods!

If you have a bike or would like a bike, you should hit up Big Mike's Bikes in Gloucester (owned and operated by Metafilter's own kpht and her husband).

If you like apple picking in the autumn, there's no shortage of good farms. Connors Farm has an amazing corn maze every year.

If you like to swim, boat, or what not in ocean water, then the tide charts for the area are incredibly useful.

I haven't had occasion to go, but the North Shore Music Theater is apparently really good.

And Dar Williams is playing in the Newburyport City Hall Auditorium later this month.
posted by zizzle at 5:05 PM on March 9, 2013

Don't know if you're still paying attention to this but...

Welcome to the area! I worked in Newburyport for a few years, now next door in Amesbury. I live in Hampton NH, about 15 minutes north. My general tips...

Farmer's market is at the Tannery.

Also at the Tannery is Joppa Fine Foods. When my office was in the Tannery, I picked up sandwiches from Joppa more times than I care to mention. Nice cheese and wine selection, various interesting foods, and the aforementioned sandwiches.

On a similar note, on the opposite side of town, is Grand Trunk.

There are a million restaurants in Newburyport, many of them good. On the fancier end is Ceia, which I recommend. On the pubbier end is the Port Tavern. If you want a solid burger, soccer on the TV (crazy during World Cup), Irish music, and trivia nights, there you go.

Get your bagels at Abe's.

Walk or bike off your meal on the Clipper City Rail Trail. Or hit up Plum Island and the Parker River Wildlife Refuge. Get there quick before Plum Island washes away.

Not sure about hair salons in Newburyport. But if you're willing to drive to Boston, perhaps you're willing to drive north to Portsmouth NH to - ironically enough - In Boston. I (a man) have been getting my hair cut there for about twenty years, even driving up from Boston when I lived there. I, my wife, and my daughter swear by Lauren. And bonus, you can spend some time in Portsmouth which is not a bad thing.

Seconding Tender Crop Farm. Not cheap, but delicious. In Amesbury you'll find Cider Hill Farm, which also has a store as well as a CSA.

Someone mentioned Flatbread Pizza, which is in Amesbury. Very good, organic pies, in a very cool space with a big stone oven keeping it cozy.

Good coffee is tough to come by. If you're really picky and willing to make the trek, head up to Exeter NH (twenty minutes maybe?) and go to D Squared. It's the only place around I know of that makes a proper cappuccino and offers pour-overs. And bonus part two, you're in Exeter which is quaint and has some nice shops.

Feel free to MeMail me. And it seems like we may need to arrange a Newburyport/Amesbury meetup!
posted by schoolgirl report at 6:43 PM on March 10, 2013

Response by poster: This is all wonderfully helpful, thank you all! And I would love to arrange a meetup when I get a little bit settled.
posted by amelioration at 5:03 PM on March 11, 2013

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