Blogtoberfest 2016 – And How

IMG_6925Pumpkin Watch 2013 – I think we can do better this year.

at The Jump has been an annual celebration of all things Octobery and bloggy for a while now.

This year, the gist is largely the same. I’ll be blogging feverishly about all of the October things I love — horror movies, fall baking and decorating, the best road-trips of the season in and around New England, etc. — and you (yes, you!) are invited to submit a guest post at any time throughout the month. Readers pick the winner, and you’ll be entered to win a (fairly small) prize.

The topic can be just about anything that falls remotely under the umbrella of ‘October.’ That can definitely relate to Halloween and all the spookiness that ensues, but it doesn’t have to. Some equate October more with baseball or poker; others with Breast Cancer Awareness, others still with Jewish High Holy Days.

If you’re itching to blog but you’re stuck for inspiration, here’s a tip: there are more than 125 official ‘National Days‘ in October in the U.S. alone, including National Kick Butt Day and National Cheese Curd Day (plus some meant to be taken more seriously, such as National Coming Out Day and National Stop Bullying Day).

Here’s another nudge, too – you’re free to write a blog post, but photo montages, video, audio, and anything else you can come up with is also fair game. Send your entries to writerjax – at – gmail .com with the subject line BLOGTOBERFEST to get started, and keep an eye on The Jump for more entries and inspiration. You can follow the #Blogtoberfest hashtag, too — there are a few other similar ‘fests out there, but this time of year, we dominate.

Happy Blogging!





Carving Pumpkins with Abraham Lincoln

3690931259_ac8b895821_zIn search of something to do as a family on Columbus Day, I went to one of my favorite local blogs and found a pumpkin carving activity at Chesterwood, a largely outdoor museum just down the road from us.

The summer home of Daniel Chester French (who’s most famous for sculpting the Lincoln Memorial and the Concord Minuteman) Chesterwood is a sprawling property that has a museum proper, original buildings including an art studio, and a woodland walk peppered with rotating installments of contemporary art that stand in contrast to the historic setting.

This weekend, Chesterwood was also hosting a pumpkin carving activity for kids, with pumpkins donated by Taft Farms of Great Barrington.

We carved Juli’s first Jac-o-lantern, then took a stroll through the woods to look at the grounds and the current art exhibits.

We were able to buy one adult ticket for the three of us at $17.50 to attend the event, $8.25 a person if you assume a one-year-old gets free admission. Since Juli loved the art as much as the pumpkins and we also got to enjoy peak foliage and being outside as a fam, I thought the price was a good value.

...Casual reclining baby on a slab.

…Casual reclining baby on a slab.


Three boats, ready for the tides to turn

All Smiles.

All Smiles.


The 2015 Weird Food Round-up: Two Savories, Two Sweets

I never know where my annual ‘October food’ posts are going to take me. Sometimes, I find a lot of spooky party platters. Other times, it’s a trendy ingredient or a bizarre new dish from a restaurant… this year, I found myself gravitating toward some particularly good entrants into the Weird Food Race in the areas of convenience eating.

Photo by Mike Mozart via flickr

The Halloween Whopper
Burger King is bringing a black burger, similar to one of the menu items in its restaurants in Japan, to the United States. I’ve written about the burgers Japanese Burger Kings (and McDonalds) have introduced in the past… Now, their weirdness is coming stateside, with a few Americanizations.

Contrary to the Japanese version, which is made with squid ink, the American version will also have a pitch-black bun —  made with A1 steak sauce baked into the bread. Beyond that, it’s basically a Whopper slathered with even more steak sauce; no complaints here.

The Schnitzel Burger
Hard Rock Cafe has rolled out the Samuel Adams OctoberFest Schnitzel burger, which will be available at all U.S. Hard Rock locations until October 31. It features a lightly-breaded pork schnitzel, beer cheese sauce made with Samuel Adams OctoberFest beer, smoked bacon, sauerkraut, whole grain mustard, and fresh arugula on a pretzel bun. The arugula seems extraneous.

Yoo-hoo Candy Bars

For the nostalgic sweets-lover in all of us, there’s a new offering on the candy racks: the hard-to-describe taste of Yoo-hoo is now a candy bar, available in Trick-or-Treat sizes and, according to the wrapper, ‘milk-chocolate flavored…’ so its origins are just as sketchy as the original drink.

By far the favorite of the newsroom. Coffee and caramel

Caramel Macchiato Candy Corn
In likely the only instance we’ll ever see of the candy corn culinary experience being elevated, Brach’s has concocted a coffee infused bag of yummy that assures me the candy inside is also made with real honey. So, it’s good for you.

Read last year’s post