Tag Archives: Franklin Park Zoo

We fancy … Rainy Day Dot Spots

… by the DottieHotties

“Who told you you’re allowed to rain on my parade?”

Rain can ruin everything; it negates your day at the park, your ability to wear suede, and instead of reaching for a healthy salad, you are forced to eat warm chocolate chip cookies, with frosting, and perhaps a side of peanut butter.  A day of gloomy weather can quite literally rain on  your parade.  Before you start wishing that rain-rain to go away, however, the sunny DottieHotties are here to tell you what we fancy about rainy days in Dorchester.

A Dorchester Rainy Day

Bekki fancies … a book with some spice.  

Leave it to the teacher to get all literal, but libraries have always held a special kind of magic for me.  My dad used to let us check out 2 books every Saturday, and now I enjoy watching my own kiddos explore the stacks — especially when the playground is soggy.  Dorchester boasts six branches of the Boston Public Library, more than any other part of the city!  On the way home, we’ll to stop for a treat at one of the cozy Flat Black cafes.  I melt at the mention of spicy chai tea, and my mini-dots both fancy a cookie from “the kangaroo sign”.

Leslie fancies … being cheesy.

My rainy day pick would be grilled cheese and tomato soup at The Plate.  I’ve been anxiously watching the little shop come to life during its renovations.  Located within view of the Red Line’s Central Avenue Station, it is a fantastically scrumptious lunch spot.  Stay tuned for a full post all about their delicious handcrafted comfort food.  With tummies full of warm cooking, my family fancies watching the river run fast from fresh rainfall on the Lower Mills bridge.

Meghann fancies … monkey business.  

My 3-year-old and I love to head over to the Gorilla House at the Franklin Park Zoo. It’s usually pretty quiet there when the weather’s grey so we get a front-row seat to watch the gorillas. After checking out Little Joe (my son’s favorite), the baby (my favorite) and the rest of the group, we wander through the rest of the complex and visit the ant-eater, the pygmy hippo and all the birds flying around the enclosures. Then, when the hunger bug hits, we drive over to The Mud House for hot chocolate and sandwiches … yum yum!

*     *     *

“And when it rains on your parade, look up rather than down. Without the rain, there would be no rainbow.”
Gilbert K. Chesterton

Birds of a feather, flock together

Why This Bird Tweets

… dotted by Bekki

“You Tweet?!”

Birds of a feather, flock together

My friends are often surprised when I mention my Twitter account. In most of my social and professional circles, creatures balk at the little blue bird icon; it is still mythically known as a trendy-device, used only to cause the ruffling of celebrity feathers.

I too was tweet-resistant … until I became one of the DottieHotties. Now that I am nested comfortably between my @handle and a witty #hashtag, I can honestly chirp that I am more connected to the Dorchester Community.

Perched on the branches below are a few of my favorite feeds to follow:


The Official Twitter feed of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA).

Favorite Tweet: Red Line: Normal service resuming. #mbta

Zoo New England Zoo New England ‏ @zoonewengland

Franklin Park and Stone Zoo

Favorite Tweet: (It was a draw, this bird simply couldn’t decide. )

My mom and I are featured in A.A. Milne’s most famous books, who am I??

Franklin Park Zoo’sTropicalForest is home to more than a dozen free-flight birds including golden-breasted starling & Lady Ross’s turaco.

DotCommCoop DotCommCoop ‏ @DotCommCoop

The Dorchester Community Cooperative is an organization currently being founded by residents of Dorchester, MA and surrounding communities. Visit us on facebook.

Favorite Tweet: Still plenty of food at the market. Come get your beet on.

Dorchester NewsDorchester News ‏ @YourDorchester

News and information about Dorchester from Boston.com and the Boston Globe

Favortie Tweet: Boston working to expand bike-share program, add more lanes –http://bo.st/yJTSRg

Dorchester ArtsDorchester Arts ‏ @DorchesterArts

Dorchester Arts – performing, participatory, outdoor and visual arts in rural Dorset

Favorite Tweet: Actors: 4 Female, 1 Male and 1 Child Actor Needed for site-specific show (£300 per week / £150 for child actor… http://bit.ly/yudd8r

This last tweet guided me towards a very important discovery; there is also a Dorchester, England. Not only has Twitter helped me to hatch a whole new view on Boston, it has aided in expanding my fledgling geography skills as well.



“You don’t have to build a web page to surf the web, and you don’t have to tweet to enjoy Twitter.”

Monkey Love

….Dotted by Leslie

Wondering how you can top last year’s evening of Godiva chocolates, Merlot and Red Box DVD?  Have no fear, we recently discovered a very out of the ordinary idea for impressing your Sweetheart this year while also supporting an important local institution.

This Friday, February 10th, bring your Valentine for a voyeuristic peek into the private lives of animals during Franklin Park Zoo’s Sex at the Zoo lecture and Valentine’s Day themed event. Do animals find each other appealing or attractive? What are the similarities and differences between human and animal courtship? What can the techniques that animals use to attract mates teach us about friendship and romance?

Giraffes together

This strictly-for-adults only affair will feature a presentation by Dr. Rory Browne, zoo historian and member of Zoo New England’s Board of Directors, with insights about the pros and cons of relationships versus staying single in the animal kingdom. If you end up flying solo to the lecture, practice your newly-learned courtship skills on that cute guy or gal you’ve been eyeing at The Ledge and maybe even land yourself a last minute date for Valentine’s Day.

Local wines from Greenvale Vineyards and Still River Winery served, along with light refreshments.


$20 per ticket / $35 per pair

Tickets may be purchased online at www.franklinparkzoo.org or by calling 617-989-0113.

Watercolors by Celia McDonough

…dotted by Bekki*

“People love nostalgia.”

I thought she was exaggerating. Then I promptly melted upon seeing a painting of my beloved neighborhood. Celia was right…we all really do love nostalgia. There is something magical about seeing familiar places lovingly transformed into art.

As you will read on her website, “Celia (McDonough) believes that it is important to paint one’s own landscape and interpret the treasures, often overlooked, residing in our own backyards, surrounding neighborhoods, and shores.”

Clapp's Pear, Edward Everett Square

I had the good fortune to spend a Sunday afternoon with Celia. I had been talking about DottieHotties at the middle school where I teach art. One of my lunch-buddies suggested I contact her longtime friend. “You’ll love Celia!” declared the computer teacher, “She has done hundreds of paintings of Dorchester. She does all the watercolors for the Celebrate Dorchester Calendar. All the proceeds go towards this great school program, Project D.E.E.P.” Two emails later, I was welcomed into one of Celia’s many galleries — although she called it her living room.

Celia McDonough in her Adams Village Home

Over the next hour I was inspired hook, line and sinker. Every square inch of the McDonough’s Adams Village home is covered in family artwork. “This was my cubist phase … these are some vignettes … I did that one while sitting in a van in Florida … that is my daughter’s … those are some collages, if you look closely you can see I used paper decorations from my nail salon … and in the kitchen is some artwork by my grandchildren.”

The watercolor landscapes, however, were where I became sentimental. My maternal grandmother, “Mema,” was an accomplished painter, and I have precious memories of using watercolors along the warm Maine coastline with her; it made me wish for more time. Celia’s voice was comforting, “You have a lot on your plate with your two little ones, a full-time job…yes, you will paint again — once the kids get older. Keep the drawing going every little chance you get. You can paint with me this summer, I like to paint with people.” My Mema would have loved Celia.

Crossing Town Field

Once I composed myself, I asked Celia about her favorite places in Dorchester, “As far as restaurants go, I love the Venezia with its wonderful bay views, day or night in all seasons–I’ve painted the areas surrounding it countless times including the ever-present gas tank, boats, and nearby yacht clubs.”

Rainbow Tank from Squantum Seawall

Celia continued, “I think that’s what makes Dorchester so unique with its varied shores and inlets extending from South Boston to Milton. I never tire of painting or sketching the waters around UMass Boston and the JFK Library; the watershed areas along the Neponset River with its marshes and wildlife, and the dams, flowing currents, and ancient buildings surrounding the Bakers Chocolate Factory. My other favorite painting sites further inland include the wilderness areas near Franklin Park, the zoo, and the William Devine Golf Course.”

Mid-Winter at Malibu Beach

“In addition, there are Dorchester’s never-ending cityscapes, architecture, historical sites, and panoramic skylines begging to be captured. Over the last three decades, I’ve painted hundreds of watercolors of Dorchester and vision many more possiblities up the road. We’ve got it all– who’d want to live anywhere else!”

I couldn’t agree more Celia … although maybe I’m just being nostalgic.

An Evening at the Strand


Besides painting watercolor landscapes, Celia McDonough has also received commissions to paint numerous house portraits and still life paintings. A selection of her work is currently on display at The Mud House, 389 Neponset Avenue.

Each year, the Celebrate Dorchester Calendar can be purchased at Gerard’s Adams Corner Store, Cedar Grove Gardens or by contacting the Dorchester Educational Enrichment Program (Project D.E.E.P).