Northeastern Poultry Congress (Eastern States Exposition Center, West Springfield, MA)

Dates Of Event: January 13, 14 and 15, 2017 (photos taken January 14)

Location: Eastern States Exposition Center (1305 Memorial Ave, West Springfield, MA), Mallory Building, Gate 9

Hours: January 13 3:00 p.m. -8:00 p.m., January 14 9:00 a.m. – 4:00  p.m., January 15 8:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.

Cost: Admission is free

Parking: Free ample parking is located at or near the Mallory Building parking lot

Handicapped Accessible: Yes, the Mallory Building is handicapped accessible

Dog Friendly: Service dogs may be allowed

Web Site: Northeastern Poultry Congress

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Duck, duck, chicken?  That is the theme at the Northeastern Poultry Congress this weekend at the Eastern States Exposition Center in West Springfield, MA.

The poultry congress has chickens and other poultry of all kinds.

In fact, there were rows and rows of chicken being displayed and/or sold.

I had never considered the beauty of a chicken, or other fowl, before.  They really are beautiful and interesting looking.  The chickens and other poultry were available for purchase and somee were being judged.  Adults and children could be seen carrying chickens for purchase.  I  was surprised how the chickens and other fowl didn’t seem to resist or peck when they were being held (always with their face toward the persons body).

There were also chicks in an incubator.

These turkeys made it through the holiday season.

There were also events for children such as an event where the children both judged and exhibkited different poultry.

Concession stands were also available, although I didn’t see fried chicken on the menus.

There were also vendors selling art, nick knacks and other items.

The poultry weren’t the only cute animals at the show.  One of the vendors brought her own little pet with her to the show.

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The Northeastern Poultry Congress usually only stops by the Eastern States Exposition Center once a year.  But, you may be able to catch it at other venues throughout the year (refer too the web site shown above to see if it is stopping by a venue near you). So, don’t be a chicken!  Stop by and visit the lovely poultry if you do notice it is in your area.


New England International Auto Show (Boston, MA)

Dates Of Event: January 12 – 16, 2017 (photos taken January 12)

Location: Boston Convention & Exhibition Center, 415 Summer St, Boston, MA

Cost: Adult (13 and older): $15, child (6-12): $6, children under 6 get in free

Hours:

Thursday, January 12, 4:00 pm – 10:00 pm
Friday, January 13, 12:00 pm – 10:00 pm
Saturday, January 14, 10:00 am – 9:00 pm
Sunday, January 15, 10:00 am – 7:00 pm
Monday, January 16, 10:00 am- 6:00 pm

*Box Office closes 1 hour prior to the end of the Show each day.

Parking: There is ample parking at the Exhibition Center ($17 to self-park, $30 for valet parking) .

*you can also take the red line on the MBTA.  The Convention Center is about a mile walk from South Station, or you can take the Silver Line to the World Trade Center stop.  The Convention Center is a short walk from the World Trade Center stop*

Handicapped Accessible: According to the website for the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center, the building is handicapped accessible and there is “ample” handicapped parking.  There is also a golf cart that transports visitors from the entrance to the escalators.

Dog Friendly: Service dogs may be allowed

Web Site: New England International Auto Show

As a prelude to my post, I would like to acknowledge this as my 200th post.  I wanted to thank everyone who has viewed, shared, liked and/or commented on my blog.  I genuinely appreciate your support.  Here’s to many more posts!

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Are you in the market for a new car?  Do you have an extra couple hundred thousand to throw around?  Then, I’ve got the place for you.

The Boston Convention & Exhibition Center is hosting the New England International Auto Showthis weekend.  But, if you haven’t hit your number yet there is still sure to be a car for you.

There are cars of all makes and models for the taking.  All the major car companies showcased their vehicles.

While there were many mid priced vehicles, there was a special section for exotic and special vehicles, thankfully.  I tend to find most “mid priced” vehicles to look all the same (it’s the reason why I walk up to at least 2 other vehicles before I find mine in a parking lot but I digress).  The vehicles below do have this issue.

This Porsche 911 Targa 4S can be yours for the rock bottom price of $151.

And that wasn’t even the most expensive car on the show room.  Some of these Ashton Martins were priced at over $300,000.  They’re still waiting for my check to clear.

Of course, I had to stop by and check out the Mustangs!

There were a few other classic cars at the show as well.

Randy is a bomb sniffing dog.  This 2 year old Labrador did a great job keeping everyone safe.

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Wild Bill’s Nostalgia (Middletown, CT)

Date Of Visit: December, 28, 2016

Location: 1003 Newfield St, Middletown, CT

Cost: Free

Hours:Open everyday, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Parking: There are about a dozen or so parking spots right in front of the store, and, in a pinch, parking is available on the front left hand side of the store as well as on the grounds.

Handicapped Friendly: The outside area is.  The aisles in the store are a bit too narrow for wheelchairs unfortunately.

Dog Friendly: The outside area probably is

Highlights: Memorabilia, outdoor attractions, clothing, toys, games and other items from the past available for purchase

Web Site: Wild Bill’s Nostalgia

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While the flag signifying the entrance to Wild Bill’s Nostalgia may seem plain,  the store and grounds is anything but.

“Relive memories and take lots of photographs”, “Wild” Bill Zeigler told us as we entered his unique shop.  So, I did.

Even as you walk in the front door, you are bombarded with unusual items and nostalgia.

The shop is so unique and , at times bizarre, that I stopped at the register expecting to have to pay an entrance fee.  But, despite it’s museum like feel, there is no fee to enter Wild Bill’s.  You’ll still end up leaving with your pockets a little lighter, though, after you browse the items inside.

One of the first things that caught my eye and sent me walking down memory lane immediately were the trading cards (love love love the trading cards for the old t.v. shows) and “cigarette candies” in the glass case by the register.  And who could forget the pins we all used to wear our denim jackets?  C’mon I wasn’t the only one.  Of course, what is a grown man doing buying trading cards and candy cigarettes, or the real ones for that matter?  But, that is the theme of this store; relive your youth and be a kid again for a little while.

“Wild” Bill Zeigler has run his business for 34 years.  Over the years, the shop has changed somewhat but he has always specialized in the unusual.

Speaking of the unusual and hard to find, items from the dust bin of yesterday overflow the shelves and aisles at Wild Bill’s.  Whether it is a Terminator statue, vintage shirts and posters,  G.I. Joe and Barbie figures or a weird horseshoe tree, you’re sure to find something you will like.  I still am kicking myself for not buying that Luke Skywalker poster.

Wild Bill’s even has items hanging from, and on the ceiling.  Not sure if some of those posters on the ceiling are for sale.

Another favorite part of the store for me was the selection of media, including old school video games.  And, there is a voliumnous collection of vinyl.

There is even an “adult section.”  Yes, I did check it out.  Strictly for research purposes.  Old beer cans, a few Playboys and other jokey gifts line the shelves.  I did spot these really cool old cameras and police detectors there.

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While shopping there, I couldn’t resist buying this cool KISS lunchbox and a Grease poster.

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If you think that is all there is to Wild Bill’s, then you’re sadly mistaken.  Even before you enter the store, attractions are visible.  So, the shopping experience is only the beginning of your Wild Bill experience.

A variety of exhibits, artistic displays and even a few abandoned haunted houses, which made them seem even creepier, occupy the grounds of Wild Bill’s.  Who knew Michael Jordan was a zombie basketball player! Rumor has it the amusemtnpark rea may be open during the warmer seasons at some point.

This orange and yellow “Rube Goldberg” looking contraption is actually a mailbox.

These cars are, keeping with the nostalgia theme, are Yugos.dsc_0432

Those aren’t the only cars on the grounds of Wild Bill’s.  Love the hippie mobile.

Cars aren’t the only vehicles on display at Wild Bill’s.  These boats are also on display.  If you do try to get close to these boats, as I did, be warned, it is very muddy in this section.  At least I hope it was mud.  I think they use a special chemical or add something to the soil to make sure the boats stand up and so I sort of sunk into the soil a bit and tracked muddy soil around the grounds.

There is also an assortment of artistic renderings and statues.

There are also some sheds or other enclosed huts on the grounds.  The first one looks kind of cozy.

It’s hard to say which is more fun; the inside or outside of Wild Bill’s.  But, whichever your preference, Wild Bill’s is sure to grab your attention and take you down memory lane!

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Ware-Hardwick Covered Bridge (Hardwick-Ware, MA)

Date Of Visit: December 26, 2016

Location: Bridge St (no really, it’s called Bridge St) and Old Gilbertville Rd, Ware – Hardwick, MA

Cost: Free

Hours:Open everyday, 24 hours a day

Parking: Despite the signs to the contrary, you can park on the side of the road on Bridge St.  Parking isn’t available on the other side which leads to Old Gilbertville Rd.

Handicapped Accessible: Yes

Highlights: Covered Bridge in Central Mass

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Many years ago, wooden bridges, particularly covered bridges used to dot the landscapes of Massachusetts.

Now, Massachusetts only has about a dozen covered bridges that you can drive on.  Although it may not seem sturdy, the Ware-Hardwick Bridge, also known as the Granville Bridge because the bridge is in the unincorporated village of Gilbertville which is considered part of Hardwick,  is one of the few remaining traffic worthy covered bridges in Massachusetts.

The Ware-Hardwick Bridge, or Hardwick-Ware Bridge depending on which way you’re traveling, is 139.1 feet long and is 130.9 feet at its largest span. It is  19.7 feet wide and 14.4 feet tall.  I suspect trucks would have to seek alternate routes because of the low clearance.  But, according to the state Department of Transportation, there currently is no weight limit for vehicles passing through. Trucks wouldn’t typically use this bridge, in any event, since it is located on a side road.

 

The Ware-Hardwick Bridg crosses the Ware River which was relatively calm and iced over in some parts during my visit.

The bridge, which is a covered through lattice wooden single-web, double-chord truss design, was originally built in 1887 according to public records, despite the sign bearing the year 1886 just above the entrance on the Ware side.  It was added to the National Register of Historic Places on May 8, 1986, roughly 100 years after it was originally built.

The original bridge only had a capacity of 6 “short tons” (5.4 tons).  It was closed down in 2002 to restore the structural integrity of the bridge due in part to an insect infestation.  The bridge re-opened in October, 2010 after a $1.9 million restoration project.

Fun fact: the bridge was one of the few bridges to survive a major flooding on the Ware River in 1936.

Below is a video of us driving over the bridge.

 

 


Geographical Center Of Massachusetts (Rutland, MA)

Date Of Visit: December 26, 2016

Location: Central Tree Rd, Rutland, MA (I can give you the exact address if you are planning on visiting) (about half an hour northwest of Worcester, MA and 1 hour west of Boston, MA)

Hours: Everyday, 24 hours a day

Cost: Free

Parking: You can park on the side of street or park at one of the farms or stables on the road and walk over to it

Handicapped Accessible: Ye

Dog Friendly: Yes

Highlight: A maple tree planted at the geographical center of the state of MA

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This may look like any ordinary tree, an ordinary maple tree to be exact.  But, it is actually a very special tree.

The tree located on appropriately named Central Tree Rd is the marker for the exact geographical center of the state of Massachusetts.

Previously, an Elm tree stood there but it died of Dutch Elm disease around 1969.  The red maple tree was planted as a replacement.

A small wooden fence with a sign on it marks the center of the state.

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I’m sure the residents love all the attention.

 


Feeding Time At Stanley Park (Westfield, MA)

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Date Of Visit: December 28, 2016

Location: 400 Western Ave, Westfield, MA (about 2 hours west of Boston, MA and about 20 minutes west of Springfield, MA)

Cost: Free

Hours: Presently open everyday 8 a.m. -4:30 p.m. (hours change depending upon the season)

Parking: There are a few different parking areas.  The main parking lot on Western Ave has room for about 200 cars.

Handicapped Accessible: The playground area, fields and picnic areas are but the trails and many of the walkways are not.

Dog Friendly: Yes

Highlights: hiking trails, birds, wildlife, pond, flower garden, statues

Often considered the jewel of Westfield, Massachusetts, Stanley Parkis one of the prettiest parks in Western Massachusetts and it looks even more picturesque after a snowfall.

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Due to the recent cold spell and snow, the pond and much of the vegetation at Stanley Park had been iced over so they were eager to get some food.  As a disclaimer, most parks do not encourage you to feed birds.  But, if you do, there are certain foods you should never feed to ducks.  Bread is the biggest no-no on most list.  These are some better foods to feed to birds.

At any rate, visitors like to feed the birds at Stanley Park and that gave me an usually good chance to photograph some beautiful ducks.

There were so many birds congregating at the pond waiting for a nibble of food.

Luckily, one of the visitors at the park, Jim, brought some food for the hungry birds.

 

Jim’s dog took the birds in stride.

I have photographed Stanley Park before and, since it is very close to my mom’s house, I always try to make a visit out there as often as I can.So, you may sees posts about this park from time to time.

Stanley Park, or Stanley as it is more commonly known as, is a popular spot for dogs like Sansa is a 5 month old Siberian Husky.

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Below is a video of feeding time at Stanley Park:

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Norman Rockwell Museum (Stockbridge, MA)

Date of Visit: October 15, 2016

Location: 9 Glendale Rd, Stockbridge, MA

Hours:

May – October and holidays:
open daily: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

November – April: open daily:
Weekdays: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Weekends and holidays: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Parking:  There is a  large parking area for 100 or more cars across from the museum.

Handicapped Accessible: Yes, and they even have a separate parking lot for handicapped parking beside the museum

Dog Friendly: No

Highlights: original art work by Norman Rockwell, other works of art by various artists, sculptures behind the museum

Web Site: Normal Rockwell Museum

Nothing may say Americana like the work of Norman Rockwell.    And, in a small town in the Berkshires you can still view this idyllic vision of America from so long ago.

But, even before you enter the museum, there is art abound.  Along the walk way to the museum there are these unique sculptures and works of art.

Since it was the middle of October during our visit, the grounds of the museum were bursting with colors.

Rockwell was a prolific artist and his work is widely regarded as being some of the finest art in modern American history.  Virtually every home, office or school has at one point hung a Rockwell painting, or more accurately somewhere in their building.  In fact, I remember seeing this one in my doctor’s office.

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The museum allows photograpy, just not flash photography.  So, make sure to grab your DSLR or make sure your camera phone is fully charged before you go.

It’s so hard to choose the best Rockwell painting, especially since everyone has different tastes.  But, here are a few of the paintings at the museum.

Throughout the day, a curator or other staff member gives a brief lecture on the life and works of Norman Rockwell.

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There are also works of art by other artists at the museum.  They range from more traditional works of art to modern works of art.  There wa also a special tribute to cartoonist and satirist Thomas Nast during our visit.

Behind the museum is an open area with sculptures, some of who were sculpted by Norman Rockwell’s son, Peter Rockwell.  The art work is very creative.

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“Monster” made from fiberglass resin by Peter Rockwell, 2014

Sculpture by Peter Rockwell

“Junkyard Baby Buggie” made of license plates, tools, hubcaps, antique bottle and miscellaneous articles by Thomas Fiorini listed at $11,000.

Sculpture by Peter Rockwell

“Birdy Buggy” by Erika Crofut.  Made of steel, vines and trash treasures.  Listed at $2,200.

“Nuclear Family Totem” by Angelo J Sinisi, made of steel and bronze.  For the low low price of $4,000.

“Christmas Buggy On Main” by Dee Moretto, made from wood, bondo, metal, fabric and paint.

“Bedrock Carriage” made of gypsum cement, copper and mocha moss, made by Thomas Mesquita.  It’s all yours for $3,000.

“Bachelor” by Nicole Peskin made of found objects and welded steel.  Listed at $9,000. Maybe I need one of these for my bachelor pad.

Sculpture by Peter Rockwell

 

There is also a tour of Norman Rockwell’s studio.