Good News from A Great City Haverhill, MA
The Heartbeat of Haverhill was invited to a 2 for 1 adventure Sunday afternoon when a friend of THOH blog, Jackie Taylor, messaged me with an invite to a wine tasting “meetup” sponsored by Haverhill IS Happening at her house followed by a wine tour and sampling next door at Willow Spring Vineyards winery I’d been meaning to write about the Winery and had never heard about the activities group so she’d piqued my interest. She sealed the deal with the promise of homemade chocolate truffles (and the recipe, hint hint).
Haverhill IS Happening (NOT to be confused with the very cool and informative Haverhill Happenings FaceBook page hosted by Rich Rosa and providing news, information and events happening in Haverhill and found at https://www.facebook.com/haverhillmass) is a relatively new and dues-free social club organized by Barbi Ivany who has lived in the Merrimack Valley for 18 years. She heard of an affiliated group and took the initiative to bring the fun to Haverhill. The idea is to meet new friends, explore new places and get out and enjoy what we have in our midst. Couples attend together or separately based on their interests, and singles always feel welcome.
Twenty people eagerly showed up for the Wine Tasting and Tour event. And Jackie was an amazing host to all. Her gorgeous Haverhill log cabin invited nature right up to the back door. Her cheese and cracker spread filled an acre-long table that was also dotted with homemade Lime/Cardamom and Orange/Cinnamon rich chocolate truffles. Between bites THOH wondered why and how people came to be involved in this group.
The group doesn’t advertise so the growth can be attributed to one thing only – word of mouth from people having a good time. One woman in the crowd said she’s a foodie and an adventurer; her husband on the other hand is more of a homebody content with a bag of M&Ms. Another woman sadly lost her dearest friend and was looking for ways to connect with new friends to try and fill that void. A couple just came for the wine. The core of the group ranged in age from 30s-60s and while the majority are from Haverhill, other Merrimack Valley towns were represented as well including Andover, Plaistow, Methuen, Lowell; there was even a Florida contingent. In operation only five months the group is 146 members strong. You can contact the group thorough its website if you want to try it out http://www.meetup.com/Haverhill-is-Happening/.
Anyone can recommend and host an event and events range from the more strenuous – snowshoeing and kayaking and Laser Tag to the more cerebral Trivia Nights, Karaoke and Paint Nights or simple gatherings like a house party or a restaurant visit. There can be more than one option in a night and all events are posted on the website and members pick and choose at will without a lot of rigmarole. Plus attendees get to see the profiles of others who have RSVPed “Yes”. Haverhill is Happening is a part of a larger Meetup organization, and tends to have more women than men in its ranks, although according to Barbi the men come out in force for the outdoor adventures. The website draws you into a maze of interests and location options, and you can attend meetups at any of the groups.
Picture a party where everyone just starts talking like they’ve known each other for years spurred on by exceptional snacking. This event started as a house party and random guests would pass food or wine along with comments that helped you decide between which to sample first. There were many newcomers in the crowd further evidence that hard working adults just want to have fun and Haverhill IS Happening shows them how easy that is. I chatted with the veterans who say they keep coming back because every event ends up in laughter and more often than not cocktails! Last week there might have been more laughter than usual as Greek Dancing for the Uninitiated was one of the events.
The Heartbeat of Haverhill is now a member and already the temptation is arriving in my in box – Mardi Gras Mexican, Chili Throw Down, Game Night, more Laser Craze….splinter groups promote tennis, yoga, meditation, volunteerism, travel, coffee lovers and on and on. The options are only limited by your imagination and time.
The Heartbeat of Haverhill could not believe how quickly two hours passed among friends at the wine tasting and then it was time to walk next door to Jackie’s neighbor’s winery for the wine tour and an advanced tasting of some wines yet to be bottled.
Watch for Part 2 of this blog where we visit the Willow Spring Vineyards!
(c) 2014 by Alison Colby-Campbell