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Sun Safety Tips

- Wednesday, July 10, 2024
Lallis & Higgins Insurance - Sun Safety Tips

Ozone layer depletion decreases our atmosphere's natural protection from the sun's harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation. This Web page provides an overview of the major health problems linked to overexposure to UV radiation. Understanding these risks and taking sensible precautions will help you enjoy the sun while reducing your chances of sun-related health problems.

Sun Safety Tips

Do NOT Burn

Sunburns significantly increase one's lifetime risk of developing skin cancer, especially for children.

Avoid Sun Tanning and Tanning Beds

UV radiation from tanning beds and the sun causes skin cancer and wrinkling.

Generously Apply Sunscreen

Generously apply about one ounce of sunscreen to cover all exposed skin 15 minutes before going outside. Sunscreen should have a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of at least 15 and provide broad-spectrum protection from both ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) rays. Reapply every two hours, even on cloudy days, and after swimming or sweating.

Wear Protective Clothing

Wear protective clothing, such as a long-sleeved shirt, pants, a wide-brimmed hat, and sunglasses, when possible.

Seek Shade

Seek shade when possible, and remember that the sun’s UV rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Use Extra Caution Near Water, Snow and Sand

Water, snow and sand reflect the damaging rays of the sun, which can increase your chance of sunburn.

Check the UV Index

The UV Index provides important information to help you plan your outdoor activities in ways that prevent sun overexposure. The UV Index forecast is issued daily by the National Weather Service and EPA.

Get Vitamin D Safely

Get Vitamin D safely through a diet that includes vitamin supplements and foods fortified with Vitamin D. Don't seek the sun.


Eight Best Fourth of July Fireworks In Massachusetts

- Tuesday, July 02, 2024
Lallis & Higgins Insurance - Boston Fourth of July Fireworks

It’s hard to believe that the Fourth of July is only a short week away. Independence Day is one of my favorite days of the year. All year long, I look forward to the parades, the picnics, and of course the fireworks. Due to safety concerns, it is illegal to set off fireworks in the Bay State. However, there are many amazing displays taking place throughout Massachusetts in July 2024. If you have been wondering, “Where is the best place to watch fireworks near me,” don’t sweat. Only In Your State has you covered with our list of the best July Fourth fireworks displays in Massachusetts.

1. Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular

Massachusetts’ biggest Independence Day Celebration takes place at Boston’s Charles River Esplanade. The Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular is a must-see event if you live near the city. This year’s celebration features music by The Mavericks & Kelli O’Hara, Darlene Love, and the spectacular Boston Pops. The Fireworks explode over the Charles on July 4 starting at 8 p.m., but if you want to snag a seat, you will want to come much earlier in the day.

2. Plymouth 4th of July

Is there a more patriotic place to celebrate the Fourth than Plymouth? The city hosts an all-day Plymouth 4th of July celebration on the Fourth with a 5K road race, a colorful holiday parade, food trucks, and a concert by the Plymouth Philharmonic Orchestra. The jaw-dropping fireworks display takes place at DCR Pilgrim Memorial State Park and begins around 9:15 p.m.

3. Star Spangled Springfield

Star Spangled Springfield has been going strong since 1991. This family-friendly celebration takes place in 2024 on the Fourth from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Come to Riverfront Park for an evening of music, entertainers, food, and fun. The fireworks launch at 9:30 p.m. and are free to view.

4. Salem’s July 4th Fireworks Extravaganza

The patriotic fun in Salem takes place at Salem’s July 4th Fireworks Extravaganza at the Salem Maritime National Historic Site. Children’s activities kick off the celebration at 4 p.m. and are followed by some fantastic live music, opening ceremonies, a concert by the 40-piece Hillyer Festival Orchestra, and a fireworks extravaganza starting at 9:15 p.m. There is no fee to view the fireworks and concert.

5. Fall River Fireworks Display

For a unique fireworks experience, be sure to attend the Fall River Fireworks Display celebration at Battleship Cove in Fall River. During this special event, you will be able to view the colorful sky from the deck of the battleship USS Massachusetts. The fun takes place on the night of the Fourth. The gates will be open from 7:30-8:45 p.m. The admission price is $15 per person (children under two are free). Tickets must be purchased online in advance.

6. Amherst Independence Day Fireworks And Celebration 2024

The town of Amherst will be celebrating America’s birthday early this year. Amherst Independence Day Fireworks And Celebration 2024 will take place on July 2 at UMass Amherst’s McGuirk Alumni Stadium. The fun starts at 6 p.m. with lawn games, live entertainment, and food trucks. Fireworks begin at dusk. This event is free (including parking) for all.

7. Six Flags New England July 4th Firework Celebration

Enjoy three nights of fireworks this year at Six Flags New England. The Six Flags New England July 4th Firework Celebration displays will take place at 9:30 p.m. July 4-6, 2024. Spend the day riding the coasters and other amusements and then sit back and relax and view the show. Admission to the display is included in your regular Six Flags ticket. However, you can rent Premium Fireworks Seating for an additional fee.

8. Falmouth Fireworks

The Falmouth Fireworks celebration is considered one of the most spectacular displays in all of the nation! This magnificent volunteer-run event takes place on the Fourth at 8:30 p.m. at Falmouth Heights Beach. Attending this classic oceanfront event is always a great way to kick off a summer on the Cape.

Be sure to check individual event pages for the most up-to-date information as the weather may impact dates and times. And don’t forget to pack a comfy blanket to lie on while you gaze up at the magnificent light show in the sky.


Pros and Cons Of Owning A Condo

- Wednesday, June 26, 2024
Lallis & Higgins Insurance - Owning A Condo

Pros Of Owning A Condo

Here are some of the reasons why you’d choose condos over traditional homes:

Low Maintenance Living

As a condo owner, you benefit from low-maintenance living because the homeowners’ association (HOA) takes care of its upkeep. This means you won’t have to worry about mowing lawns, shoveling snow, or repairing roofs. These tasks fall to those owning traditional single-family homes.

The HOA also maintains common areas such as hallways, elevators, and pools. This arrangement allows you to enjoy your home life minus the cumbersome list of maintenance chores.


Another advantage of owning a condo is the enhanced security features that come with it. Many condominium complexes offer security services such as gated entries, 24-hour surveillance cameras, and on-site security personnel. These features can provide you with peace of mind, especially if you live alone or travel often.

Living in close proximity to neighbors can also increase overall safety. There’s always someone to keep an eye on things when you’re not around. This means fewer worries about break-ins or property damage, even if you’re not home.

Opportunities To Meet New People

Condo living naturally fosters a strong sense of community that can lead to new socializing opportunities for residents. Common spaces, such as pools, fitness centers, and lounges, increase the chances of crossing paths with neighbors more often than in a single-family home setting.

This constant interaction can quickly turn casual hellos into meaningful relationships. Most condo communities also organize social events and activities. This gives you an excellent chance to meet new people and build your social network in the comfort of your living space.


One of the most appealing benefits of condo living is the access to a range of amenities that might be costly or impractical to have in a single-family home. Most condos feature swimming pools, fitness centers, or a rooftop patio. These facilities elevate your lifestyle and provide you with leisure and fitness options at your doorstep.

Build Equity

Owning a condo means investing in your financial future through building equity. Unlike rent, which offers no return on investment, every mortgage payment you make on your condo is a step toward full ownership.

Over time, as you pay down your mortgage, the equity—the portion of your property that you truly ‘own’—increases. As the value of the condo appreciates, so does your investment. This equity can become a financial springboard for you, serving as an asset for future real estate ventures.

Cons Of Owning A Condo

Here are some of the downsides to owning a condo:

HOA Rules

Homeowners’ association (HOA) rules can significantly affect your lifestyle in a condo. Condo owners must comply with the HOA’s regulations. These regulations may dictate everything from the color you can paint your door to the types of vehicles you can park in your spot.

HOA restrictions can be limiting, especially if you value personal expression and freedom in your living space. Consider whether you can adhere to these rules before committing to a condo. Non-compliance can result in fines or other penalties.

Can Be Hard To Sell

Market saturation can make selling your condo a challenge. If there are many similar properties for sale in your area, you’ll find yourself in a competitive market. The overall upkeep and reputation of the community can also impact your unit’s desirability.

If the HOA fees are high or if there have been recent assessments, prospective buyers might be deterred. You may also face restrictions on marketing your property. Buyers must often be approved by the HOA, extending the selling process.

Condo Association Fees

In addition to your mortgage and property taxes, condo association fees can be expensive. These fees go towards maintaining and repairing common areas, amenities, and the building’s exterior.

Consider these fees before buying a condo as they can significantly affect your monthly budget. You’ll have to pay the fees whether you use the shared amenities or not.

Lack Of Privacy

Condo living often means close quarters with neighbors, leading to a potential lack of privacy. You might hear your neighbors’ conversations, their music, or other noises through the walls, floors, or ceilings.

Large windows and balconies can also mean your life is more visible to those around you. Evaluating your comfort with proximity and shared spaces is important, as these aspects are an intrinsic part of the condo lifestyle.

National Safety Month: Safety Tips That Everyone Should Know

- Sunday, June 16, 2024
Lallis & Higgins Insurance - Home Security

June is National Safety Month. While no one should live in constant fear, it is important to be alert and to know how to act fast in unsafe situations. Check out the safety tips below to increase your chances of safety and even survival in emergent situations.

1. Money Safety

Hide money in unexpected objects while traveling. Some great suggestions are chapstick tubes, lotion bottles, empty deodorant sticks, and even feminine hygiene products

Be sure to always secure your purse when shopping. Buckle the strap around your shopping cart, or even better—simply keep your purse or wallet on your person.

Memorize or save the cancellation numbers for all your cards.

2. Home Security

Keep your spare keys in creative places. Everyone knows to check under your doormat, inside your mailbox, or underneath that unique-looking rock by your porch.

Change all the locks when you move to a new home. You never know who previous tenants gave spare keys to.

Try to make it look like someone is home when you’re on vacation. Some signs that let thieves know you’re gone are packages or flyers left on the porch, an overgrown lawn, and trash cans that remain full on trash day. Consider asking a neighbor you trust to pick up your mail while you are gone and to roll out your trash cans on trash day. If you’re going to be gone for an especially long time, consider hiring someone to mow your lawn. And of course, you can always place a “Beware of dog” sign on your property.

Lock all your doors at night and whenever you leave the house. ALL of them. ALWAYS.

3. Self Defense

Head butts are more powerful than fists.

The most vulnerable places to hit an attacker are their groin, eyes, and ears.

If you are impaled, don’t pull the object out on your own. It is keeping blood from pouring out.

When calling for help, call out to specific people i.e., “Hey, you in the red shirt!”

It is a good idea to carry pepper spray.

Hitting the lock button on an iPhone five times in a row allows you to send an SOS signal to the police.

Take note of all the exits in every building you enter.

4. Water Safety

Always wear sunscreen outdoors, especially in the summer and especially around water.

Never swim alone.

You can use your pants as a life preserver in water by tying the ends and filling them with air.

If you are caught in a riptide, swim parallel to the shore while calling for help.

5. Car Safety

ALWAYS wear a seatbelt.

Reduce your speed in poor weather conditions.

If you slide on ice, lift your foot from the brake and use your steering wheel to guide your vehicle in the direction it is sliding.

Hit the brakes for deer but avoid sharp swerving—it’s better to hit the deer head-on than to roll your car.

Lock your car doors immediately upon leaving or entering your car. Don’t linger in parking garages and be alert in parking lots and garages (no earphones, and don’t be glued to your phone screen)

Be wary of people sitting in cars parked directly next to yours, especially in otherwise empty lots

If you think you are being followed, drive to a police station.

6. Travel Safety

Travel with a buddy whenever possible.

Avoid walking through or next to dark alleyways or places where people can easily hide.

Stay alert when traveling. Don’t use earphones or stare at your phone. Look passersby in the eyes. Single women might consider wearing a ring that looks like a wedding ring.

7. Fire Safety

Make sure to test your smoke alarms every month by pressing the “test button.” Change smoke alarm batteries at least once a year and every time the detectors make a chirping sound. Change the batteries in all smoke detectors every time you move into a new home.

If your home catches fire, get out, stay out, and immediately call for help.

Create a predetermined fire escape plan for your family. Discuss exits and a designated escape area outdoors. Make sure the escape area is at a safe distance from the house.

8. Online Safety

Don’t overshare online.

Don’t post photos that give away your address, such as photos with your house number in the background.

Don’t ever share personal information when chatting online with strangers.

Don’t post information about your income on social media.

Don’t click on unknown links or download unknown photos.

9. Missing Person Protocol

Call 911 immediately after a person is determined to be missing. The notion that a person must be missing for 24 hours before a police search may begin is a myth.

It is particularly important to call 911 immediately after a child goes missing. Even if you keep searching the house or public area the child went missing from, it’s much better to risk the embarrassment of finding the child before police arrive than to not get the police involved in time. If your child goes missing in a store or public place, ask employees to stand by all exits to make sure no one leaves with a child that matches your child’s description while you continue to search. Get everyone you possibly can to call out your child’s name. Not only does this increase the chances of your child responding, but it may also alarm an abductor and cause them to release the child.

Make sure children memorize their address (including zip code), and parents’ phone numbers in case of an emergency.

Note that most children are abducted by people they already know. Teach children not only about stranger danger but about appropriate vs. inappropriate adult behaviors. It’s a great idea to establish a “password” that babysitters must know before picking children up from school.

10. Natural Disaster Safety

Should you find yourself in an earthquake, crawl under a sturdy table or another sturdy piece of furniture. Avoid glass, windows, and any items that can fall.

Should you find yourself in a tornado, head to the basement or a room without windows on the lowest level of your home. Cover yourself with a sleeping bag or mattress, and wear safety goggles if you have them on hand.

Pay attention to all flood warnings. Tie down outdoor items like grills, trash cans, and lawn chairs. Be prepared to evacuate. Have at least one gallon of clean water on hand for every person and pet in the household. Turn off all utilities before evacuating.

It’s a good idea to always have at least two weeks’ worth of food storage available.


Is a Condo Right for You?

- Monday, June 10, 2024
Lallis & Higgins Insurance - Condo

Important Things to Keep in Mind When Buying a Condo

  • Condos represent a community form of ownership.
  • In addition to your monthly mortgage payment, local property taxes (in most areas), and insurance costs, you will pay a condo fee, also referred to as “homeowners’ association” (HOA) dues or fees.
  • Your lender will factor in the condo fee in determining how much of a loan you can qualify for. And, like detached homes, if your down payment is less than 20 percent of the purchase price, you may also have to pay PMI or private mortgage insurance each month-which is generally cancellable once you have more than 20% equity in your home.
  • Your monthly income, credit history, and monthly debts – the “home-buying basics” — help determine your mortgage eligibility.

Questions to Ask Your Real Estate Professional, Lender, and Condo Association

To help you learn more about purchasing a condo, here are some questions you may want to ask or research.

Remember, this is only a partial list to help you get started. If you have questions, ask your lender, real estate professional, real estate attorney, or the officers of the condo’s HOA. You may also find it helpful to do some online research.

In most cases, you have a limited period to review the condo documents after the seller accepts your purchase contract. Talk to your real estate professional, know your rights—and, if necessary, consult a real estate attorney.

  • How much can you afford to spend on a condo? Your lender will look at what your total monthly housing costs would be, taking into consideration the condo fee, property taxes, PMI (if applicable), plus the principal and interest payments on your mortgage loan. One of the best ways to determine how much you can afford is to get pre-qualified before you go condo shopping-ask your lender how.
  • What are your legal rights and obligations under the condo bylaws? As a prospective purchaser, you will receive a copy of the condo bylaws and other documents to review so you understand the rules about remodeling, leasing your unit, fees, penalties, parking restrictions, pet ownership, and other obligations. If you have any questions, you should talk with an officer of the condo association or a real estate attorney with experience in your area.
  • What is included in the condominium fee? Are utilities, hazard insurance premiums, or real estate taxes paid directly by homeowners, or are they included in the condo fee? Is there on-site property management?
  • Is parking deeded and/or assigned? Are there spaces for visitors? How many parking spaces are provided for the unit you want to purchase? Can spaces be purchased?
  • How are officers elected to the condo board or HOA?
  • How frequently are elections held? What are the qualifications to run for office? How long do officers serve? Are there term limits?
  • What kinds of modifications to the unit are allowed? Is there a committee that reviews and approves changes?
  • Can you talk to some owners in the community or building? What is it like living there? For example, is maintenance handled well? Is there much turnover? Are there concerns about noise levels or other problems?
  • What is the remaining useful life of the community or building’s major components? These components include the roof(s), sewer and water pipes outside individual units, parking lots or garages, elevators, and other major building infrastructure. Is there a potential impact on the value of your condo?
  • How much is in the cash reserve fund for future repairs? Are there any pending assessments or major repair projects that currently exceed the repair fund? Has the HOA’s accountant offered recommendations, or has the HOA obtained a study on the adequacy of the cash reserve fund? Having adequate funds for both routine maintenance and cash reserves for major repairs or unexpected costs is critical. Suppose necessary repair costs exceed the available funds. In that case, a special assessment can be imposed on all unit owners in the condo project, requiring a one-time payment or increasing the monthly condo fee for a period of time. Ask if the condo has any history of special assessments.
  • Does the master property insurance policy cover full replacement costs? Does the policy have a building ordinance clause to cover expenses associated with bringing the building up to code in the event rebuilding is required?
  • Does the master insurance policy cover the interior of the units as well as the “common elements” used by all residents? If not, you will probably be required under the terms of your mortgage financing to purchase and maintain an insurance policy to cover your condo’s interior, commonly known as an “HO-6” policy.
  • Is the complex renter-friendly? If you are looking at your condo as a long-term investment, you may not want any restrictions on your future ability to rent out or sublease the unit. But if you plan to make the condo your long-time residence, you may prefer that owner- occupancy is high, so you’ll be living among property owners (like you!). Inquire about all terms and conditions by which you can rent your unit, as there may be seasonal or other restrictions.
  • Ask to see the minutes from recent association meetings. This may help you identify the current “hot button” issues and see how they are being addressed.


10 Best Things to do South of Boston This Summer

- Monday, June 03, 2024
Lallis & Higgins Insurance - Duxbury Beach

South of Boston is full of historic and scenic destinations teeming with summer fun, said Paula Fisher, deputy director of See Plymouth, the tourism organization for the town and county of Plymouth.

“You can come here and enjoy beautiful scenery, wonderful restaurants, wineries, breweries, and also be immersed in early American history along all of these South Shore towns,” Fisher said.

Ahead, check out 10 things to do south of Boston this summer.

Ride the historic Paragon Carousel in Hull

Built in 1928, the Paragon Carousel on Nantasket Beach in the seaside town of Hull has been operating for nearly 100 years and was a former part of Paragon Park, an amusement park that was open from 1905 to 1984.

The carousel, the last remaining attraction from the park, includes the original 66 carved wooden horses and two rare Roman chariots.

“It’s so inexpensive,” Fisher said. “A single ride is $3 and a 10-ride pass is $25. There’s a creamery there as well so you can grab an ice cream.”

Visitors can make a day of it by ordering ice cream and snacks at the nearby Carousel Creamery and checking out The Paragon Park Museum, which displays artifacts, videos, and memorabilia from the amusement park.

What’s more, visitors can drop by the Restoration Studio and watch Restoration Curator James Hardison painstakingly restore the carousel horses.

The carousel is open on Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Dine out in Scituate

The coastal town of Scituate is an excellent place for a meal, according to Patrice Maye, a resident for 20 years and the founding chair of the Scituate Harbor Cultural District.

“We have a wealth of restaurants, and I’m proud of that,” Maye told in a travel article about things to do in Scituate.

Some excellent restaurants for hungry visitors, according to Maye: Satuit Tavern and Mill Wharf Restaurant & Pub for seafood, Salt Society for sushi, Crust for pizza, the waterfront pub T.K.O. Malleys for a burger, Galley Kitchen & Bar and Hibernian Tavern for live music, and Oro for a great date night.

Travelers can then stroll the Scituate Harbor Cultural District, which extends along the harbor from Cole Parkway and Front Street at St. Mary’s Church to the historic Scituate Lighthouse. Folks can shop, dine out, and enjoy the bustling Scituate Harbor.

Enjoy the full moon from Lawson Tower in Scituate

While in Scituate, visitors can check out a historic tower with fun programming at night, Fisher said.

Guests can climb the 153-foot Lawson’s Tower, on the National Register of Historic Places and billed as “the most beautiful, most photographed, and most expensive water tower in the world.” In 1902, Thomas Lawson, described as “a giant of the stock market in the early 1900s,” fell in love with Scituate and built a farm there. He had the tower constructed to enclose an unsightly water tank after sending his architect to Europe to research tower designs.

“The tower is open for people to purchase tickets to go to the top of the tower for the full moon,” Fisher said.

The Scituate Historical Society hosts “Trips to the Top” on select full moon evenings throughout the summer. After guests climb the 121 steps to the top, the society shares the history of the tower and members of the South Shore Astronomical Society offer telescopes for viewing the moon.

Full moon tower tours cost $10 and take place on June 21, July 20, Aug. 19, and Sept. 19, among other dates this year. The tower is not handicap accessible.

Wander the Norris Reservation in Norwell

The beautiful Trustees of Reservations properties across Massachusetts are perfect for experiencing slow travel, or mindfully and slowly exploring an area, Kate Fox, executive director of the Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism (MOTT), told in a recent article.

At the 129-acre Norris Reservation in Norwell, visitors can walk several loop or out-and-back carriage roads. The Patriot-Ledger recently named the reservation among the best places south of Boston for walks that give you a special reward or surprise.

At the reservation, you can “hike past a former mill pond, cross a wetlands boardwalk, and explore a forest of pine and oak on your way to a boathouse on the banks of the tidal North River,” according to the Trustees.

The reservation is free and open daily from sunrise to sunset.

Hit the beach in Duxbury

It’s worth spending a summer day on Duxbury Beach, Fisher said.

“It’s well kept up,” said Fisher. “It’s a very long beach in terms of plenty of room for people.”

The scenic, family-friendly beach has parking, lifeguards, bathroom facilities, a snack bar, and is ADA accessible.

Duxbury was recently named one of the best less-crowded summer vacation spots on the East Coast by Conde Nast Traveler, which wrote, “Walk across a historic wooden bridge to the town’s sandy six-mile barrier beach for a dip in the bay’s calm waters, or take a scenic stroll through the charming downtown area lined with old ship captain’s houses and shops.”

Duxbury Beach Park is open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. during the summer months. Horses, dogs, kites, fires, and alcohol are not allowed on the beach and parking costs $25 per day.

Eat breakfast at a historic home in Kingston

Visitors can enjoy a side of history with their breakfast at the Major John Bradford Homestead in Kingston.

The 1714 home was once owned by John Bradford (1653-1736), who founded the town of Kingston and was the grandson of Mayflower passenger Gov. William Bradford.

“They do a tour of the building and they do these nice breakfasts,” Fisher said.

The summer breakfasts begin on July 14 and include children’s activities, car shows, and more. Visitors can also tour a 1798 threshing barn, garden, exhibits, and a gift shop. The breakfast costs $15 for adults and $8 for kids age 5 to 10. Kids under the age of 5 are free.

The historic home, which is maintained by the Jones River Village Historical Society, is open on Sundays in July and August from 9 a.m. to noon. There is also a farm-to-table dinner planned by the society for July 20.

Visit the best open-air museum in America in Plymouth

Step back in time at Plimoth Patuxet Museums in Plymouth, recently named the best open-air museum in America by USA Today readers.

Visitors can explore a Historic Patuxet Homesite, 17th-Century English Village, climb aboard the Mayflower II — a full-scale replica of the ship that brought the pilgrims to America — check out the Plimoth Grist Mill, and more. The ship and the mill are located nearly three miles away from the main museum campus in downtown Plymouth.

“Visitors are immersed in a living history experience, interacting with historical interpreters who portray both Pilgrims and Wampanoag inhabitants and showcase daily life of the period,” wrote USA Today.

The museum is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets for all three living history sites cost $46 for adults and $29 for children age 5 to 12.

Go on a whale watch in Plymouth

Whale watching, a popular New England pastime, is booming in Plymouth, said Fisher.

“One of the reasons people come here is for whale watching,” said Fisher. “The Captain John Boats whale watching is a huge summer thing.”

Captain John Boats, established in 1946, runs daily fishing and whale watching excursions. The whale watching trips depart from Town Wharf, take four hours, are narrated by naturalists, and travel out to Stellwagen Bank. Stellwagen Bank is a marine sanctuary and one of the main feeding grounds for whales.

Whale watch tickets for Captain John Boats cost $73 for adults and $53 for children ages 4 to 12.

Can’t get enough of whales? Follow the Massachusetts Whale Trail.

Drive the ‘Back Roads of the South Shore’

Road trippers can drive along Routes 3A and 53 between Boston and Plymouth to discover the “Back Roads of the South Shore.”

“On the trail are a number of different historical sites that you can go to along the way,” Fisher said.

The trail is comprised of 40 historical sites in 12 towns along the South Shore. It begins with the Hull Lifesaving Museum in Hull and ends at the Jabez Howland House in Plymouth. In between, visitors can explore historical societies, museums, the birthplace of Abigail Adams, and more.

Interested travelers can pick up a map at See Plymouth at 4 North St. in Plymouth.

“Back Roads of the South Shore offers historic, hidden treasures in a relaxed and scenic atmosphere,” according to the map.

Immerse yourself in a Renaissance festival in Carver

King Richard’s Faire in Carver, named one of the best Renaissance festivals in the U.S. by the Travel Channel, will return for its 43rd season this summer. It is billed as the longest-running Renaissance festival in New England.

Hundreds of performers, from minstrels to acrobats to fire eaters to knights, dazzle crowds during the weekends-only festival full of food, rides, games, shopping, and entertainment. Period dress is optional.

“From August to October, hundreds of people converge on the 80-acre site to see knights battle on horseback, beggars compete in mud, and performers put on an acrobatic show,” wrote the Travel Channel.

The festival also has themed weekends and special events.

This year’s event takes place Aug. 31 to Oct. 20 and tickets cost $46 for adults and $26 for kids age 4 to 11.


Types of Pets

- Thursday, May 30, 2024
Lallis & Higgins Insurance - Pets

Traditional Pets

When you hear the word ‘pet,’ you probably think of cats and dogs. You may even consider birds and fish. More traditional pets are ones that have been domesticated to live as pets. They are usually bred in captivity and haven’t lived in the wild for generations.

Over the course of history, pets were domesticated because of a few key factors:

  • They grow and mature quickly, making them efficient to raise
  • There are multiple periods of fertility within a year, making them efficient to breed
  • Plant-based diets make them easy to feed
  • They adapt easily to new environments and changes

Cats as pets. Cats are wonderful companions because of their easy-going nature and low-maintenance care. Plus, they are playful and curious, so they can be very entertaining pets.

Cats can be mixed-breed or purebred, and you can choose a cat based on its characteristics, behavioral traits, and fur patterns. They can be trained to use a litter box inside.

Dogs as pets. Dogs bond with their owners and make excellent companions. While they are more high-maintenance than cats, they are also easier to train in general.

Dogs don’t traditionally use litter boxes like cats do, so you’ll have to invest time in training your pet dog to use the bathroom outside. Be available over the course of your day to let your dog out for bathroom breaks and activities.

Types of Exotic Pets

There is no definitive way to identify an animal as “exotic” when it comes to pets. Traditionally, exotic pets were considered wild animals taken into captivity. However, the definition has expanded to include any animal not bred to be domesticated and live in homes.

Many states have laws outlining species considered to be exotic. Some breeds of pets are illegal to keep, so check your local and state laws before adopting an exotic animal. These laws are designed to protect exotic animals since they require specialized care. Some types of exotic pets include:

Amphibians: Species that make good pets include African Clawed Frogs, Dwarf Clawed Frogs, Fire Bellied Toads, and Northern Leopard Frogs.

Birds: Many birds like finches and cockatiels are domesticated, but others are considered exotic, including African greys, Amazons, Canary Wing Bee Bees, Cockatoos, and Lories.

Insects and arachnids: Breeds most frequently adopted include hissing cockroaches, praying mantis, tarantulas, and scorpions.

Reptiles: Species include Anoles, Bearded Dragons, Burmese Pythons, Ornate Box Turtles, and Chinese Water Dragons

Rodents: While some of these pets may seem to be common, they are still considered exotic. Many families adopt chinchillas, mice, gerbils, prairie dogs, ferrets, and rats.

Need pet insurance? Contact Lallis & Higgins Insurance.


Safely Visit Oceans, Lakes, and Rivers

- Thursday, May 23, 2024
Lallis & Higgins Insurance - Safely Visit Oceans, Lakes, and Rivers

The risks

While spending time in natural bodies of water—like oceans, lakes, and rivers—can help you stay active, it is important to know that the water we swim, play, wade, and relax in can also spread germs.

Germs found in the water and sand often come from human or animal feces (poop). One way germs can be carried into swim areas is by heavy rain, which can carry whatever it comes in contact with (for example, poop from animals) into swim areas. These germs can also come from humans or animals pooping in or near the water.

Water contaminated with these germs can make you sick if you swallow it. It can also cause an infection if you get into the water with an open cut or wound (especially from a surgery or piercing).

Steps to take

Taking a few simple steps when you visit oceans, lakes, rivers, and other natural bodies of water can help protect everyone from these germs.

Know before you go

  • Before you head out, check online to find out if the swim area is currently monitored, is under advisory, or has been closed for health or safety reasons. This is especially important after a heavy rain.
  • If your body's ability to fight germs is already affected by other health problems or medicines, check with your healthcare provider before swimming in oceans, lakes, rivers, and other natural bodies of water.

Stay out of the water if

  • Signs say the swim area is closed.
  • The water looks cloudier than usual, is discolored, or smells bad. Cloudy water can be a warning that there are more germs in the water than normal. Discolored or smelly water could mean there is a harmful algal bloom (HAB) in the water.
  • You see any pipes draining into or around the water.
  • You are sick with diarrhea.
  • You have an open cut or wound (especially from a surgery or piercing). If you do go in the water while a cut or wound is still healing, use waterproof bandages to completely cover

Once you are in the swim area

  • Don't swallow the water.
  • Keep sand away from your mouth and children's mouths.
  • Don't poop in the water.
  • Every hour, take kids on bathroom breaks and check diapers. Diapers should be changed in a bathroom or diaper-changing area to keep germs away from the water and sand.
  • Wash your hands for 20 seconds before eating food, especially if you have been playing in or touching sand.


Buying a Personal Watercraft: Beginner's Guide

- Tuesday, May 14, 2024
Lallis & Higgins Insurance

Personal watercrafts (PWCs) offer nimble handling and amazing performance in a package that’s affordable and easy to own. Some could argue that no boating option offers more value—or bang for the buck—than a personal watercraft. In much the same way Kleenex has became synonymous with facial tissue, a PWC is often referred to as a Jet Ski, WaveRunner or Sea-Doo—which are all known name brands of personal watercraft manufacturers including Kawasaki, Yamaha and BRP, sequentially. Buying the best PWC for your needs, similar to buying any boat, involves making a few important choices.

How to Buy a Personal Watercraft (PWC), Jet Ski or WaveRunner

  1. Determine the number of passengers you want to carry.
  2. Compare different models—rec-light, recreation, touring/luxury, performance, and stand-up.
  3. Decide if you'd like to buy new or pre-owned.
  4. Set your budget and explore financing options.
  5. Start shopping—find out where to buy.
  6. Research personal watercraft values and consult pricing guides.
  7. Work with a dealer—and close the deal.

Two-Passenger or Three-Passenger?

Almost all new PWC models are rated to carry three people, but not all are really comfortable with three adults on board. Mid-size three-passengers models can carry three adults in a pinch but two adults and a child is really more realistic. Some of the smaller Rec-Light-category models, and some high-performance PWC, are rated for two passengers. A three-passenger model offers seat room and buoyancy to comfortably carry two adults for a long cruise. That three-passenger rating is also a requirement when using a PWC to tow tubers or wake boarders in most states.

Compare Brands & Models

Rec-Light Models

These most-affordable PWC models can carry two adults (or two adults and a child), have a 60 to 100 HP engine, and can reach a top speed of about 45 MPH. They don’t really have enough power to tow a tube or boarder, and often don’t have some of the convenience features found on larger models. They also have a smaller and lighter hull that works fine in smooth water but can deliver a rougher ride when conditions get choppy.

Recreation Models

The mid-rage offered by PWC manufacturers, these models are larger and faster than the Rec-Light models, and can come with more features. Engine options may range from about 120 to 180 HP, good for a top speed of 50 to 60 MPH. Features offered on Recreation models include electronic reverse control, speed control options, performance options (such as a fuel-saving ECO mode), security systems, and optional audio systems. Some models can be set up for long-range cruising with a bolstered seat, or for towing with a tow-line pylon.

Luxury/Touring Models

These feature-laden models offer the most-powerful engines, with more than 300 HP available and a top speed exceeding 65 MPH. The large hull—over 11 feet long—is designed to offer a comfortable and stable ride in most water conditions. They also offer more storage and fuel capacity than the Recreation models. Electronic trim and reverse controls, adjustable speed and performance options, a touch screen display, a security system, adjustable handlebar angle are often standard equipment. There are models designed for specifically for touring, fishing and tow sports.

Performance Models

Designed for experienced riders looking for no-compromise performance inspired by competition, a Performance PWC is often the quickest and fastest boat on any lake. The hull and deck is often molded from special lightweight material, the jet pump is enhanced with special components, and the highest horsepower engine is placed under the seat. The result is not just top speed approaching 70 MPH, but eye-popping acceleration and razor-sharp handling. These are not machines intended for beginning riders.

Stand-Up Models

This is where the sport began—a narrow hull with a handlebar control mounted on a moveable pole. Riding a Stand-Up PWC requires some athletic ability and a lot of practice, but it’s that challenge that many riders find rewarding and entertaining.

Currently the Kawasaki Jet Ski SX-R is the only Stand-Up model available for recreational riding. The Yamaha SuperJet is sold only for closed-course competition. Pre-owned models are an option for those who want to give a stand-up model a try.

PWC Gear & Accessories

Trailer: Most PWC owners have a trailer to transport the craft, even if it’s kept on the water during the riding season. A trailer will be needed to transport the craft for service and off-season storage.

Life Jacket or PFD: A Type III PFD must be worn when riding a PWC—learn more here.

Riding Gear: Neoprene shorts or PWC trunks with a neoprene liner provide the PWC rider and passengers with a comfort and protection. A PWC wet suit can be worn for riding in cold water or for extending the riding season. Closed-toe boat shoes, water shoes or PWC riding booties provide better traction and protection than bare feet or flip-flops.


Tips for Choosing a Pet

- Friday, May 10, 2024
Lallis & Higgins Insurance - Pets

Consider housing. Cats and dogs can roam freely, but fish and exotic pets require housing that looks and feels like their natural habitat. While some exotic pets, like ferrets, can roam free in your house like cats and dogs, others cannot. For example, reptiles carry diseases that are dangerous for humans, so they should be kept properly caged.

If you have to purchase a cage or tank, think about how large your pet will grow and purchase a home that will meet his needs long-term. If you adopt more than one of the same animal, they may require a larger home to share or separate homes depending on the species.

Turtles and amphibians may need tanks that have both water and “land” to be completely fulfilled. Since reptiles are cold-blooded, you may have to invest in a UV light to help regulate body temperature.

Veterinary costs. Cats and dogs require regular examinations and vaccinations, and so do many exotic pets. All pets have specific needs, so don’t assume that small pets like fish are easier to care for. Do your research and find a veterinarian who specializes in the care of your particular pet.

If you already have pets, talk to your veterinarian before adopting another one. Your vet can help you navigate local laws for exotic pets and ensure all your animals are compatible and will get along. They can also give you tips for introducing your new pet to the ones you already own.

Food. Pet food nutrition labels aren’t the same as those for human food but as with humans, quality is better. Cats are meat eaters and need diets that are high in animal protein. Your dog must have water, protein, fat, carbs, and some vitamins and minerals to be healthy. Other animals, like snakes, are carnivores and need to eat thawed, pre-killed rodents to meet their nutritional needs.

Some reptiles require a variety of fresh vegetation. You may be tempted to just give lettuce, but your pet will not get enough nutrients to thrive without variety. No pets should be given human food unless it is cooked meat or fresh fruits and vegetables that are safe for your particular breed. Processed foods are highly dangerous to many species. Fresh water is an important requirement no matter what kind of pet you adopt. Always check with your vet for advice on what is best for your pet's nutritional needs.


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