Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Still Gluten Free on Cape Cod!

For years now I've maintained a gluten-free list of restaurants and markets on Cape Cod - many with reviews. The list is organized by town and the restaurant links are clickable. It's only $3.

Yes I know there are some free apps out there, I have them.
They are nowhere near as extensive as my list. I offer a money back guarantee (no one who has bought the list has ever asked for a refund) on the list so if you need to be gluten free on Cape Cod you should have this list. More than 3/4 of the places I have on the list are NOT on the free apps.

I have Celiac disease and have been gluten free dining on Cape Cod for 13 years. I've got the goods! So if you need to be gluten free on Cape Cod please try our list it's the very best there is. Buy it just to the right of this post, in the narrow right column, there is a Paypal link.  Many thanks, enjoy the Cape!

The best information on being gluten free on Cape Cod!!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

So-So Mexican in Mashpee

I know, I know.... I'm almost non-existent as a blogger now, which is sad because I actually want to blog. I stopped writing because people keep telling me I can't write like I speak. So I've spent hours, sometimes days, rereading and rewriting blog posts. It took all the fun out of it, I got to the point where I dreaded doing it.

Since I want to blog a bit I decided I'm going to write like I speak. I'll do one quick reread and hit post. And if my English is crappy, something is spelled wrong, or a sentence would have made more sense structured a different way, tough. I hope you get the gist of what I'm trying to say. So on to my review:

El Colibri Restaurant, South Cape Village, Mashpee, MA

It's located in the old Oak & Embers location and owned by the same people (The Wicked Pizza group).  My first thought was: do we need more Mexican on the Cape?
My second thought was: why did they choose to do Mexican?  I'm a business person, I actually work with small business. I help them make good decisions that will in turn make them more successful. I'm not sure El Colibri was a great decision.

Had I been hired to come up with a concept for a restaurant on Cape Cod it would not have been Mexican. I don't think people come to the Cape to eat Mexican food, they come to eat seafood. My advice would have been a take off on a clam shack. Just a tiny bit more upscale so it would have table service and alcohol.

Sort of like Jasper White's Summer Shack in Boston. Very casual, the best lobster roll in town, oysters, clam chowder, grilled, fried and baked seafood. Maybe served in baskets with newspaper. Fantastic slaw, fries, corn on the cob, and seafood. If you ask tourists why they come to the Cape, seafood is usually among their top 5 reasons (along with beaches, biking, ice cream).

OK, they didn't ask me for help and what we got was another Mexican restaurant and I guess that's what I'll review. I was there the other night with 3 family members. The dining room was busy (but not full) and the bar was about half full. The interior of the restaurant looks more or less the same as it was when it was Oak & Embers. They painted the walls an orangy color and hung up some Mexican decor, but nothing else has changed.

The experience didn't start out really well. We waited quite a while for a server to even get to our table. We ordered drinks and the house Nachos. The regular Margarita's were excellent. They really make a fantastic drink. However, they didn't come in a Margarita glass but in a plain bar glass (I believe it's all the same glasses, plates, etc. that they used in Oak & Embers). Either way they were really good.

The Nachos came and they were so-so. Heavy on the refried beans and cheese. Slightly greasy. My daughter, who has never turned down a nacho of any sort, ate some but said she didn't really like them.  We ate half of them and the consensus was they were too heavy and nothing special.

We ordered dinner, Mahi Fish Taco, Smoked Pork Belly Taco, and Seafood Paella. The taco dinners only came with 2 taco's (most places seem to serve 3) which is fine by me but I would have expected more fish in mine since there were only 2 tacos.

My fish was in the shape of a fish stick, now please understand it was not breaded nor was it a fish stick, I'm just trying to give you an idea of the size. One taco had 1.5 of these "sticks" in them and the other had 1. The fish was "grilled" but so blackened that I am reasonably sure had you fed me a bite of one with a blindfold on I would not have been able to identify what sort of protein I was eating. The fish was almost flavorless. However the slaw and salsa in the taco were delish. I really enjoyed that slaw, along with the Margarita, is was the high point of the meal.

The Pork Belly taco was again only 2 tacos and they were overpowered by the barbeque/smoke and the pork belly was dry. Both meals were served with rice, beans, and a small nondescript salad.

The Seafood Paella was a bit dry as if the rice had been made way ahead of time and left to sit around. The seafood in it was fine, but it didn't look anything like the picture below, which I took off the restaurant Facebook page. The dish was predominately rice with a little seafood in the center.

So that's it, I'm not impressed. I don't think I'd go back for dinner again. I'd go to the bar with friends and have one of those yummy Margaritas. We spent $103.00 (not including tip) on our meal (we each had only 1 drink) so it's mid-priced, I guess. Honestly, 3 meals for $103 in a Mexican restaurant I'd have expected the food to be great. I do need to mention that they have a fairly extensive gluten free menu and I didn't have any problems at all with that. Everything I had was GF.

What slays me is that I love Wicked Pizza and go there regularly. How can they get one restaurant so right and the other is just ho-hum?  I'd love to hear from any of you that have been there to get your take on it.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Pillsbury goes gluten free!

Not sure if you know this already but it's totally news to me.  Has anyone seen these products?

http://www.pillsbury.com/products/gluten-free

On that page they also have a bunch of recipes you can use with their various products.  I  better start a pre-diet now before I find the products and start baking!

Also I keep hearing the Dunkin Donuts is going to have packaged GF muffins and donuts... has anyone seen any on the Cape?

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Crisp - A New Osterville Hangout!

Osterville certainly needs more dining choices and we finally have one.  Crisp at 791 Main Street in Osterville.   In a former life it was a pizza place and a coffee shop.   It is owned by the 5 Bays people.

I've been there twice.  I'll say right off the bat, I do like it.   It's got a great vibe.  However, there are a few negatives to my review, so read on.

They do have a small parking lot, a plus in Osterville but small is the operative word.  I've been lucky to get a space on the street each time I've gone but I suppose one could park in the big lot by Wimpys. They have a great outdoor seating area that has 2 fire pits and last night even the outdoor area was full.

The inside is an inviting, warm bistro.  With a large marble bar, nice wood high top tables and a couple of booths.  There is an open fire pizza oven that makes the place seem cozy and it smells like a wood fire.  This is the sort of place I love.

My first visit there was last Friday.  I met a bunch of people there from our "Friday Night" group and we all sat at one of the high top tables.  A few members of our group had one drink and left because Crisp only serves beer and wine and I guess they can't live without mixed drinks.   I'm fine with that and they have a nice wine list and some interesting beers.

I split my dinner with a friend and had the Caprese Salad and Shrimp Aglio e Olio.  As many of my readers know I have to be gluten free and Crisp has GF pasta on hand.  Both dishes were good.  And the GF pasta was a linguine and was cooked al dente.  Very nice.  I guess if I had to make a complaint about either dish it would be that the Shrimp dish was not as visually appealing as I would have liked, everything was pale in it.  But it tasted great.

I was there again last night, same great crowd and I'm still loving that wood fire smell.  This time we sat at the bar.  The bartender (Liam?) was adorable and I'd go back just to look at him.  (ok I'm old enough to be his mother but so what!?)  The place was quite crowded for a Wednesday night and I knew a few people in the crowd so that was fun.

Again I split my meal with a friend, we had the Rocket Salad and gluten free Margherita pizza.
The salad was fine but the greens are so...thin that you can't stab them with a fork.  So you have to shovel them all on to your fork with a knife or your finger.  I'd have liked it better if there was some other type of lettuce mixed in there that was a bit firmer so I could actually stab the arugula against it.  Small complaint but it was hard to eat.

My real problem was with the GF pizza.  I've been GF for about 11 years now so I get how hard it is to make a really good GF pizza.  That being said, it has been done.  Prior to ordering it we did ask if it was a thin and crispy crust.  We were told yes.

The first problem arose when it took more than 45 minutes after we ordered it to get it.  Maybe they make the GF dough to order but if so they really should tell people that order it there will be a LONG wait.

The next mistake was the size.  It's tiny.  The other pizza's they serve there (made with flour) are large. So we should have been told up front that the GF pizza was very small.  And the bottom of it was almost raw.  It was certainly not crispy.  I wouldn't exactly call it a thin crust either.

Worse I don't think we got the Margherita pizza we ordered.  It was more like the Pollo without chicken.  It had the balsamic drizzle on it (which you can clearly see in the pix here) which is not mentioned on the menu for the Margherita pizza but balsamic vinegar is listed for the Pollo pizza. Maybe it was a hybrid but I don't especially like balsamic vinegar on my pizza which is why I ordered the Margherita.  (I know it's the latest thing but when did they start putting vinegar on pizza?)

However; by that time we had waited so long for the pizza I was starving and just wanted to eat.

The very best GF pizza I've ever had is at the Risotteria in NYC.  It is to die for.  (hint hint Crisp, they sell their pizza dough frozen and in a mix). It's so good it really isn't fair to use it as a comparison to anyone else (but I do because if the folks at the Risotteria can make GF pizza dough that tastes so wonderful then really other people should be able to as well).  I actually go to NYC just to get pizza.

However, there is one place on the Cape that has really good GF pizza and my feeling is the chef at Crisp should sneak over to this place and try their GF pizza.  In terms of goodness it's close to the Risotteria, not equal, mind you.  But close.  (drum roll)  It's at Wicked Pizza in Mashpee.

First of all at Wicked their pizza is big, like the non GF pizza's they serve.  And the dough is rolled very very thin. This is important with GF pizza because in my experience it is very difficult to cook it thru and get it crispy on the bottom if it isn't super thin.  When you get a pizza at Wicked its very thin, cooked all the way thru, and boy is it crispy.  That's how a GF pizza should be.

That is not close to what we got at Crisp.  I don't know for sure, but I bet the chef at Crisp does not have to be GF and I'm also betting that he/she has not had a lot of experience with GF pizza. I can only hope they take my advice and try a few so they can make some adjustments to their recipe.

And sadly it really didn't taste that good. The crust was just sort of chewy and tasteless.  My friend who dined with me does not have to be gluten free so it was a bummer for her.  She did get to taste the non gluten free pizza from a friend that was sitting near us and said it was good (it looked good, big pie, thin crust and crispy)

I'd suggest that you stick with the GF pasta and skip over the pizza until they make some improvements.

So there is my review, a bit mixed.  I'll certainly go there again but I'm not going to order pizza.  You can see the Crisp menu here.

(click on the pix to see larger versions)

Monday, February 4, 2013

Restaurant News you can use....

I know, I know, it's been a long time since I've posted.  I am sorry, way too much has happened and I've had trouble managing it all.  I've sold my home and bought another one.  Making that happen was a new cliff hanger a day.  It was a difficult sale but without the help of my agent, Michelle Tucker at William Raveis Realty in Osterville, I wouldn't have had a sale.  And she helped me find the perfect new house too.  Thanks, Michelle!

I've had a very sick family member and my dog almost died from DKA and is now diabetic.  Thank you so much Dr. Tom Burns and staff at Veterinary Associates of Cape Cod for saving him and helping me thru this.  My schedule has been filled up with school and modeling jobs.  Somehow life got in the way of writing.  Many of these things are still on the table, along with a new home rehab that is underway.  Forever indebted to Jim Bird and crew at Windjammer Building and Remodeling for making this as easy as it can be.  But seriously, I am going to really try and start posting again.

So my first post is mostly about gluten free restaurant news.  However if you are not gluten free, please keep reading as I talk about food and who doesn't love that?

Let's start with the Beach Tree Cantina on Main Street in Hyannis.  I raved about that place last spring, I really enjoyed it and one of my favorite bartenders from The Islander at Crosby Boat Yard, Caitlyn, started working there (not any longer sadly).  The food was great, the crowd was fun, and I had a lot of GF choices to nosh on.  However once the huge outdoor area opened and the weather warmed up, I didn't go as often.  I don't know what happened to me... I use to love big noisy crowds (when I was like 21!) but it was just too loud and crazy for me outside, not to mention I hate plastic cups.  Something about getting a high priced margarita in a plastic beer cup that doesn't appeal to me.  And that margarita didn't taste as good as it use to.  Did they change the recipe or was it the plastic?

One night I went with friends and we sat outside, which was fun until the crowd picked up.  I noticed that that crowd quickly got a lot younger.  Then we had to yell to hear each other, the noise level went way up (outdoor area was mobbed and there was music).  Every 2 minutes people would cut in between us to get their drinks (we always sit at the bar) which invariably would spill a little bit on me.  By the end of the evening I was hoarse from yelling, sticky from drink spills, and bruised from all the jostling.  Maybe I'm chilling out more as I get older but I didn't go back there all summer long, I was hoping that after Labor Day it would settle down a bit.

And it did, so I was hopeful because it's a nice place with decent food.  I was inside at the bar with a friend and went to order a few of the items on the menu I knew were gluten free.  As usual I told the bartender there I needed to be gluten free and he said, "I'm sorry we don't have anything that is gluten free."  Huh, you use to?  Another employee came over to talk to me and said the only thing I could order was a salmon salad.  I did order that and it was great but I'd like a few more choices.   I find this a little bit odd because Mexican food almost always has naturally gluten free options, like chips and salsa, or enchiladas which are made from corn tortillas.  But no, now nothing is gluten free.  I don't know when they made that decision but I'm not happy with it.  I hope this isn't a trend.

I'm always astounded when a restaurant makes a decision like, we won't do any allergy meals or gluten free meals.  That is leaving out a huge percentage of the eating population.  Which brings me to The Lanes at Mashpee Commons.  I was so excited for them to open.  My mom lives near the Commons and I have a few friends in Falmouth so we always meet in the middle in Mashpee.  I love the restaurants that are already at both sides of the Commons but I'm always happy to welcome a new place, especially one that has something else to do in it - bowling!

I was there with my friend Linda and my daughter a few weekends ago.  We had had dinner at Siena (they do wonderful gluten free) and we walked over to see what the Lanes looked like.  It looked fun!  There was a huge, fun crowd (but not so huge that it put me off) that included people of all ages.  All of them were having fun, eating, drinking, mingling and bowling.  We had just eaten dinner so we decided to check out how long the wait was for bowling - over an hour.  I think this place is going to be a hit.  It is owned by the folks that own Bobby Burns.

I was looking forward to going again soon, earlier so we could eat there and then bowl.  Therein lies the problem.  I emailed them about what they might have that is gluten free and they got back to me saying that they don't do gluten free at all.   They said that it is a small kitchen and they felt it would be difficult to control cross contamination, that they didn't not want to offer it if they couldn't do it right.

Ten years ago I would have said, "well that makes sense."  Today, not so much.  When I first went gluten free very few places offered any sort of gluten free food many because they were afraid of that cross contamination issue.  However since then I have gotten more restaurant savvy and I can name many places that have tiny kitchens and still offer a few gluten free choices.  It isn't difficult to have a pan or two that you use to cook a piece of fish in or a chicken breast in.  A baked potato is gluten free, a salad, even a bunless burger.

I can specifically name 2 Cape pizza places that do mainly pizza - pizza made from wheat flour and they offer gluten free pizza too.  There is flour flying around their kitchens every day, all day and yet they easily manage to serve me gluten free pizza every week and I've never ever been glutened at either  of them (and one has a tiny kitchen too).  So when a restaurant tells me it's too hard to do, I'm confused.  I can't remember the last time I went into a restaurant and they couldn't offer me even one GF choice... it was at least 8 years ago (heck even Beach Tree has that salmon salad).

So I won't be going to the Lanes very often, I'm very sorry to say.   Maybe they will let me bring in a take-out pizza from one of the pizza places I go to.  But for those of you that don't have to be gluten free or have any allergy issues it looks like a lot of fun.  It's cool and hip, check it out.

Next up is Bistrot de Soleil on Stevens Street in Hyannis.  They are in the spot that use to be Harry's.  I think, since Harry's closed, there have been a couple of restaurants or businesses in this spot that didn't make it.  So with that bias I went in to meet my gang of friends there one night because one of them was having a birthday.  I was pleasantly surprised.  The set up of the place is jazzed up but basically the same layout as the "new, old Harry's" (remember the old one was torn down and they built and opened in the new one?)  It's very nice inside.  The bar area is small but lively and the bartenders are good.  They greet you right way, the bar table service is fast, all good.

I'm pretty sure I've seen ads in the Cape Cod Times for them that says they do vegetarian and gluten free food.  They do and they are indicated right on the regular menu (which you can see online).  I've been there twice now and both times I liked it.  The food was good too.  I had a Risotto the first time and the other night I had the Short Rib with a great red wine sauce, it was excellent.  The service was great, food was very tasty, atmosphere was cozy and warm.  The first time we were there it was a Monday night and not very busy.  This last time was a Friday night and I'm glad I got there early.  Both the restaurant and bar were full.  The crowd was a good mix of people of all ages.  I'll be going back again soon.

Last but not least is Columbo's on Main Street in Hyannis.  When it first opened I went there a number of times and over the years have been a customer but they were not hugely gluten friendly back then.  They always found things for me to eat but without any sort of GF menu it involved a lot of back and forth with the kitchen and not a lot of options.

Well that has changed they now have a GF menu.  It isn't extensive but it is good.   I've always liked the restaurant, it has ample parking, and it's just a nice space.  It always has been a lively crowd with a good vibe and it still is.  I've been there a few times in the past couple of months and have really enjoyed it every time.

The bartender also worked at The Islander at Crosby Boat Yard (a fav of mine in the summer) a few years back and sadly I'm drawing a blank on his name (I'm so sorry, I honestly have name dyslexia) but he's a really nice guy and a great bartender.  He recognized me right away from The Islander and was attentive all evening long.

It is my understanding they have had the GF menu for a while now and they use to also offer GF pasta but they don't any more, very sad.  I have asked for it each time I've been there and I hope you do too because maybe if we keep asking they will bring it back!  After all it can't be that hard to store a couple of boxes of GF pasta, right (I'm not in the restaurant business so it probably isn't quite that easy but I hope they reconsider the pasta thing)?

The first time there I ordered a few items directly off the menu and they were all excellent.  The second time I noticed a couple of dishes on the specials menu that should be GF so I asked if they were.  After a trip to the kitchen and a conversation with the chef the answer was yes, so I had a risotto special.  Excellent!  The chef clearly knows his business... both GF and good food.  I'm a regular there now and looking forward to going back again soon.

It is my understanding that Columbo's is owned by the same "family" that owns the Black Cat, the Roadhouse and Beach Tree Cantina!  I don't know if the Roadhouse and Black Cat currently have GF menus, I'll have to check that out soon but I can tell you I've eaten at both places and they have always worked with me to provide me with great GF options.  So why can't they do it at Beach Tree Cantina?  Maybe being owned by the same "family" isn't the same as being run by the same people.  Shrugs.  Either way, I love Columbo's now.

So, that's my latest update.  I'm updating my gluten free dining on Cape Cod list too and working on a guide for going gluten free when you are first diagnosed.  If you have any restaurant news please let me know!

** PS:  Since I mention Harry's I want to tell you that they are on Willow Street now.  I haven't been there yet but I heard it was the same chef and good music.  I have no idea of they do GF but I'll try and find out!




Friday, August 31, 2012

Cape Cod Real Estate

The hunt for small and unique is on......


I've always loved real estate... maybe because my mom's hobby is moving.  Growing up we moved a number of times (every 4 years on average).  And once I got my driver's license my good friend Robin and I use to go to open houses on Saturdays when we were 16!!  Go figure.


My mom is now in her 80's now and is still doing it like clock work, every 4 or 5 years... she picks up and moves to a new place.  As a matter of fact I've been looking at houses with her lately, this time we are both moving.

I've been in my current home for 15 years.  It was bought when 3 people and 2 dogs occupied this space and now that number is greatly reduced.  The house just seems like too much.  Too much money, gardens/landscaping, maintenance, house, cleaning, time.

So I'm in the market for a small house on a small yard (maybe a condo but it would have to be really special) but in a nice neighborhood.  And the house has to be unique in some way.... different and eclectic.  I'd like it move in ready but I'd be willing to do some work.  I've been looking at all sorts of small homes and cottages.  I'd prefer 1 floor living or at least a master on the first floor.  And tiny.

Apparently my criteria makes for a really tall order and I've been looking for months with no luck.  Not a lot of unique out there.  Or "it could be unique with an influx of $$$$$."  If you know of any house that is for sale send me an email!

One of my favorite RE places (other then zillow.com) is Curbed Cape Cod.  They have a great bunch of homes there and yes, mine is there too.  My favorite realtor:  Michelle Tucker at Wm. Raveis

Enjoy!

Saturday, March 31, 2012

I'm a Busy Body....

at Busy Bodies - Yoga Shack and Spa in Marstons Mills.

As anyone who knows me will tell you, I'm not a gym rat.  As a matter of fact I dislike gyms.... I am something of a germaphobe and I've always felt that gyms are a breeding ground for them.  That being said, I've been taking yoga classes at various yoga studios on the Cape for a number of years. I suppose they are germy too but they somehow feel less so and most yoga studio's are very relaxing (something I seriously need).

Lazy, but loved, Connor
I do exercise.  I am a committed, devoted, passionate, dog walker.  I take that beast out for a 4 mile walk, rain or shine.  I literally have to be flat on my back to miss walking him.  Rain? No problem, I've got rain gear. Snow?  I've got snowshoes, we've been out in blizzards. Wind? Love it. You may be saying... "wow what a great dog owner she is."  Truthfully, I walk him so I can eat whatever I want and not gain weight.  That's my weight loss secret... a young, active dog.  However... I am a good dog owner as this picture of Connor on my good chair, with a pillow, and his toys, attests too.

After tearing my meniscus and MCL last fall I've done a lot of physical therapy rehab.  And it was my physical therapist who told me:  "At your age you need to do more then just dog walking."  (When did this "at your age" thing start?)  So now that my knee has healed I've set out to find some more exercise for this aging body.

I knew there was a little gym in the Mills and I had even taken kickboxing there with my daughter many years ago (let me say, I am not a kickboxer).  So when I heard they had yoga classes, I thought I'd go check the gym out again.

The entrance to Busy Bodies.
Busy Bodies
First of all it's called Busy Bodies - Yoga Shack and Spa now.  And it has a lot of activities rolled into one location and I've been really enjoying it.  They have weight machines on the lower level.  It's a small weight training area but it looks complete and clean.  I have not tried the weight machines yet but since I have to "do more then walk" I'm going to try them out soon.  They have a spinning room on the lower level too. I am definitely going to try that.  Spinning (I think it's just a fancy name for stationary biking) is really good for your knees and since that's my trouble spot I need to keep them in shape.  So spinning is on my list as well.  Upstairs they have a big, bright, airy studio where they do all sorts of classes.... Body Sculpt, Pilates, Tap Dance, Pole Fitness (gonna try that one!), Body Blast, Dance, Core and more (and yes they still offer kickboxing).

The yoga studio
They recently opened a separate yoga studio in another building adjacent to the Busy Bodies.  It isn't a large space but it is very pretty and serene. They call it the Yoga Shack and Spa. There are 2 spa rooms and the very tranquil yoga studio. They re-did the yoga studio and it is really nice. Original wide pine floors freshly refinished, the walls are newly painted in a light yellow hue, a huge red barn door (I hope it opens it would be great to open it in good weather), exposed beams, high ceilings, and windows for good light. It is a really nice space for yoga. The massage rooms are brand new too, restful, relaxing, and clean. They offer a variety of spa services, massage, Reiki, Body Work, Aryuveda, and more.

The other side of the yoga studio
I've been taking some yoga and Pilates classes there and I've really enjoyed them. I'd say yoga-wise they have something that suits everyone. The first class I took was Yoga Nidra which is a type of conscious deep sleep, sort of a guided meditation/relaxation.  I did really relax in the class but I happen to need more exercise. I took another class there which included movement, chanting, and meditation.  It was a good workout but I still wanted a more challenging class. For people that want to expand their yoga practice further into yogic ideas, they will love these classes.  Since I'm at that "age" right now I'm looking into more exercise. Then I happened upon two instructors at the Yoga Shack that I adore, Kate Adams and Jennifer Healy.

Kate Adams teaches Kripalu Yoga on Monday morning and Hot Yoga on Sunday morning. I love Kate, she is not only a wonderful yoga teacher but just a really warm and kind person. Kate got her yoga teaching certificate at the Kripalu Center in Western MA (which is know world-wide). To me it is the Harvard of yoga training. Personally I'd love to take the Kripalu teacher training one day to deepen my own yoga practice.

But... back to Kate... she is exactly what I want in a yoga teacher. The class starts out easily enough, a bit of meditation, easy stretching moves but it gets progressively more challenging. Which I love. It's never too hard but just enough to push you. And Kate is very careful that her students are doing the poses correctly so you get the most out of her class. I leave her class feeling like I've really challenged myself but also very relaxed and happy. She teaches some of the best yoga classes I've ever taken. I hope she starts doing a few more at Busy Bodies/Yoga Shack because I'd take them all.

Lisa Jones, the owner of Busy Bodies, urged me to take Jennifer Healy's Pilates class. I'm only a so-so Pilates fan, because of my "age" I often find it too difficult to do and a lot of the core exercises require that you have your head and neck off the mat and that really hurts my neck. But Lisa told me I'd love Jen and the class.... and she was right.

Reception area of Yoga Shack and Spa
A former gymnast and dancer with over 10 years of Pilates instruction in both mat and machine, Jennifer Healy is a gem. I found her, like Kate (the yoga teacher), very careful that we were doing each exercise the exact right way to get the most out of them and to avoid any injury. And the class is challenging, some exercises I couldn't finish the amount of reps that Jen asked us to do. There have been times at other gyms where I've taken a class and if you can't keep up the teacher "calls you out." Makes you feel like a complete jerk for being out of shape and once that happens I NEVER go back.

Jennifer isn't like that at all. There was no "calling out" and I didn't feel embarrassed for not always being able to keep up. Just the opposite in fact, she is so supportive that I really loved the class and am going to continue taking it. Lisa told me that Jen is going to do a Barre Pilates class soon. I can't wait for that, I took ballet a bazillion years ago.

Because Busy Bodies - Yoga Shack and Spa is small you get a lot of personal attention and support. I've not done a huge variety of classes there yet and I know they have other great teachers that I have not mentioned. Really, for the first time in ages, I'm having a good gym experience. On top of all the things I've mentioned above, they also offer more goodies; personal training, boot camp, free child care, kids programs, nutrition counseling, and a lot more. Everyone is nice and the place is clean. So if you are in the upper/mid Cape area you should go by and give it a try.  It's a great gym with a ton of offerings and things to do. On their website they have an offer for a free one week trial, so you have no excuse for not checking it out. Lastly, the pictures in this article were all taken at Busy Bodies - Yoga Shack!

Busy Bodies - Yoga Shack and Spa
70 Industry Road
Marstons Mills, MA 02648
508-420-2101

(they are right next to the Stop and Shop plaza on Rt. 28 in the Mills, so very convenient.)
(click on any of the pictures to see a larger version)