Author Archives: New England Nomad

About New England Nomad

Hi I'm Wayne. Welcome to my blog. I am a true New Englander through and through. I love everything about New England. I especially love discovering new places in New England and sharing my experiences with everyone. I tend to focus on the more unique and lesser known places and things in New England on my blog. Oh yeah, and I love dogs. I always try to include at least one dog in each of my blog posts. I discovered my love of photography a couple of years ago. I know, I got a late start. Now, I photograph anything that seems out of the ordinary, interesting, beautiful and/or unique. And I have noticed how every person, place or thing I photograph has a story behind it or him or her. I don't just photograph things or people or animals. I try to get their background, history or as much information as possible to give the subject more context and meaning. It's interesting how one simple photograph can evoke so much. I am currently using a Nikon D3200 "beginner's camera." Even though there are better cameras on the market, and I will upgrade some time, I love how it functions (usually) and it has served me well. The great thing about my blog is you don't have to be from New England, or even like New England to like my blog (although I've never met anyone who doesn't). All you have to like is to see and read about new or interesting places and things. Hopefully, you'll join me on my many adventures in New England!

Grafton Village Cheese Co (Brattleboro, VT)

Date Of Visit: August 6, 2017

Location: 400 Linden Street, Brattleboro, VT

Hours: Open daily, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Parking: There are about 15-20 parking spaces in the lot in front of the store

Handicapped Accessible: Yes

Highlights: a store that sells hand made cheese on site as well as an assortment of other snacks, household items and novelty items

Website: Grafton Village

Tips:

  • It gets very busy, especially during the summer and fall.  So, you may have to park across the street (the road can be very busy so use caution) or on the side of the road in front of the store
  • Retreat Farm, a family friendly farm, with animals and a short trail is located next to the Grafton Village Cheese Co

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Vermont is known for more than just maple syrup, Ben and Jerry’s and its lakes.  Tucked away along the mountains and lakes of Vermont stands one of the oldest cheese making companies in Vermont, the Grafton Village Cheese Company.

The original store, called the Grafton Cooperative Cheese Company, was founded in 1892 by dairy farmers who gathered together in a cooperative to make their surplus raw milk into cheese.  Before we had refrigeration, many of the cooperatives in the area would turn the abundant creamy milk into food that could be stored for longer period of times.  They’ve come along way from these beginnings.  As technology progressed, so did the Cooperative.

Unfortunately, the original cooperative burned down in 1912.  But, a non profit organization restored the company in the 1960’s and they have been a mainstay in the area ever since.

But, don’t let their name fool you.  Grafton Village Cheese also sells a variety of spreads, snacks, tea and other

Walking through the store, I was reminded of the general stores that used to seem to be around every corner when I  vacationed with my family as a child.  The barn-like wooden structure and

I love the rustic feel of the store and the area.

 

 

They have a wide selection of cheeses, chocolates, salsas and spreads.  And, if you’re lucky, you might be able to taste test samples of the  various jams, salsas and other jellies and spreads.

 

 

The store also supports the community with environmental, educational and philanthropic efforts.  You’ll find the donation boxes along the checkout counter.  There is also a farm next to the store that I will cover in my next blog post.

The staff at the Grafton Village Cheese Company are super friendly.  They posed for me with their signature product.

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The video below shows how they hand make the cheese at the store.


Castle Craig (Hubbard Park, Meriden, CT)

 

Date Of Visit: August 12, 2017

Location: Hubbard Park, 843 W Main St, Meriden, CT

Hours: open daily to hikers 7 a.m. until 4:45 p.m.

Cost: Free

Parking: There are about a dozen parking spaces in the front of the Hubbard Park and ample parking in the back of the park.  There is also ample parking in the parking lot at the tower.

Highlights: 32 foot tower at Hubbard Park that offers views of the Hartford, CT skyline and Mount Tom in Massachusetts as well as the Meriden, CT area

Website: Castle Craig – Wikipedia

Tips:

  • The gate to drive up to the tower opens at 10 a.m.
  • You can hike up to the tower when the park opens at 7 a.m.
  • The trail to the tower is open to vehicles only from May 1 – Oct 31
  • If you decide to hike to the castle, parking in the back of Hubbard Park is a better spot to park than in front of the park because it is closer to the trail to the castle
  • When hiking or driving to the tower, you will encounter two forks in the road – take a left both times

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As if the wide trails, beautiful scenery, assortment of birds and Mirror Lake at Hubbard Park wasn’t wonderful enough, there’s one more jewel of the park that takes a little bit more effort to get to.  But, it’s worth the trek.

Located atop Hubbard Park in Meriden, CT, Castle Craig offers expansive views of the Hartford skyline, the Meriden, CT, area as well as views of Mount Tom in Massachusetts.  And, on a clear, day Long Island Sound is said to be visible.

The 32 foot tower stands on a 976 foot East Peak.  It also has the distinction of being the highest point 25 miles of the east coast from Maine to Florida, according to the plaque (although this claim has been challenged – in any event it’s pretty high up there!).  To be more precise, it would be fair to say East Peak is the highest peak closest to the Atlantic between Maine and Key West

You can either hike to the tower (the trail is open to hikers year round) or drive to the tower on Reservoir Rd (the road is open to vehicles from the beginning of May until the end of October).  We decided to drive to the top.  The road is a two way road.  So it can be narrow in some spots.  There are some nice spots to stop and look around but it’s hard to find spots wide enough to pull over.  I was able to take a photo of this body of water on the way up.

The origin of the name and design of the tower are in dispute.  Some claim it is named after a similar castle in Scotland called Craigellachie.  Others claim Hubbard was inspired by a Norman French Tower.  Still others argue that it is modeled after a 12th Century Turkish tower on the Danube.   As you can see it’s a hotly contested point of interest.

The paved trail to the tower is 3 miles each way, although there may be some nature trails you can seek out.  The trail difficulty is medium with a few steep inclines.  But, I did see people of all age groups and apparent fitness levels (I even saw one person with a knee brace and other people with other injuries) make their way up.  We would have hiked it if we had the time to do so.  So, pretty much anyone can make it to the tower.  Just be prepared if you do as it can be challenging in some areas.

The parking lot at the tower is pretty big (there is room for about 40-50 vehicles).  But, it seems most people choose to hike or even jog to the top.  In fact, we saw dozens of walkers on our drive to the top and only half a dozen cars in the lot at the tower.  Kudos to Connecticut for being such health nuts!

The tower and a rock with information about the tower are only a short walk from the lot.

Six flights of stairs takes you to the top of Craig Castle.

The views from Castle Craig are jaw dropping.

While I was walking to my car, I saw this grasshopper trying to blend into his or her surroundings.

Below is a video taken from the tower.

Today’s featured link is Hiking 101 who blogged about her Castle Craig Hike.

Hiking 101 posts about hikes in various locations in Connecticut and other areas as well as other mainly hiking related topics.

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Hubbard Park (Meriden, CT)

Date Of Visit: August 12, 2017

Location: 843 W. Main St, Meriden, CT (about 30 minutes southwest of Hartford, CT)

Hours: Open daily sunrise to sunset

Cost: Free

Parking: There is a small parking lot for about a dozen cars at the front of the park.  There is additional parking along the side of the park and at the back of the park.

Park Size/Trails: 1,803 acres, easy trails

Handicapped Accessible: Yes

Dog Friendly: Yes

Website: Hubbard Park

Highlights: lake, birds, trails, pool, tennis courts, play area for children, dinosaur track, picnic spots

Tips:

  • There is ample parking allowed in the back of the park
  • You need a special pass to use the pool at the park and it’s not open during the weekends
  • A trail that you can hike or drive up takes you to Castle Craig

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Hubbard Park in Meriden, CT, is not your average park.  With its trails, bodies of water, recreation areas and a winding trail to Castle Craig, Hubbard Park is a great place to spend the entire day.

There are streams, bridges and trails to the right of the entrance to the park.

The lake at Hubbard Park, Mirror Lake, is the highlight of the park.  Turtles, birds and frogs inhabit the lake and fountains are placed throughout the lake.

Hubbard Park attracts a lot of birds, particularly Canadian Geese.

But, there are more than just Canadian Geese at the park.

The ducks, geese and other birds are so used to being around people, and being fed by people I suspect, that they seem to be waiting for people to feed them.

This goose was tired from all of the activity at the park.

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There are also dinosaur tracks at the park.  The origins of the tracks remain a mystery.  You can see the prints in the puddles from rain earlier in the day.

Walter Hubbard, president of the Bradley & Hubbard Manufacturing Company, donated most of the land at the park in 1901.  John Olmsted, the son of Frederick Law Olmsted who designed Central Park, helped design Lake Meriden.

From the park, you can see the jewel of the Hubbard Park area, Castle Craig.  In my next post, we will explore this beautiful tower.

Dogs are allowed at Castle Craig.  Because of its ample space and wide trails, Hubbard Park is a great place to take your dog.  Below are just two of the many dogs we saw there.

Mollie is a 9 and a half year old Dalmatian.

Beck is a 10 year old Border Collie mix.

Today’s featured link is Out And About Mom.   Out and About Mom explores the many family friendly spots in Connecticut.  A few years ago, she posted about the Festival Of Silver Lights, a family friendly light display at Hubbard Park.


Beyond Walls (Lynn, MA)

Date Of Visit: July 29, 2017

Location: Lynn, MA

Cost: Free

Parking: There is street parking and some parking lots available throughout the city

Handicapped Accessible: Yes

Dog Friendly: Yes

Website: Beyond Walls

Map of Mural Locations: Beyond Malls Mural Map

Tips:

  • A good landmark to enter into your GPS is The No Matter What Club (33 Spring St, Lynn). You can find parking in one of the lots near there or try to find street parking (I parked short term in the lot at 173 Oxford St)
  • If you take public transportation, the Lynn stop on the commuter rail (aka Central Square-Lynn) on the Newburyport/Rockport line is located in the heart of the city where the murals are easy to find
  • Most of the murals are on Munroe, Exchange, Oxford, Spring and Central streets

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In an effort to revitalize their city and bring people to their city, Lynn decided to add some color to the city.

The Beyond Walls Festivals took place between July 13-23.  During this week and a half time frame, artists came from all over the world to post their art throughout Lynn.

There were 15 murals total  I found all of the murals except one that is located at the state house (#15 on the map) and I saw a few extra surprises along the way.

What struck me most about these murals is the vivid colors and how the creativity of their projects.  There’s something about being outside in the open doing something you love.  I would love to be able to do this.  If only I could paint.  I’ll stick to photography I guess.

The murals below are listed in the order that they correspond to on the map which I have attached the link to above for your convenience if you decide to look for them yourself.  (https://www.beyond-walls.org/)

1

This mural was hard to photograph without gaining special access to the building roof, this mural was painted by the team of Nicole Salgar and Chuck Berrett (NS/CB).  Nicole (from Florida) and Chuck (based in New York), have been working as a mural painting team for many years.    This mural can be found at 33 Central St.

 

2

This mural, at 27-31 Spring St, was painted by Marka27, a native of Juarez, Mexico.  He draws much of his inspiration from his Mexican heritage.

 

3

Some of the murals proved harder to see and access than others.  This mural by Chris Coulon (aka Tallboy) and Brian Denahy, both of the North Shore area, was not accessible from the street.  It is located at 31 Spring St.

 

 

4

David Zayas from Puerto Rico painted this mural at 33 Spring St.  He tends to show his work through portraits of women, children and animals.

 

5

Team Rekloos, three artists from Boston, painted this mural on the back of the building at 69 Exchange St.

 

6

This mural was painted by Angurria from the Dominican Republic.  It can be found at 516 Washington St.  I like the simplicity of this one.  It’s simple, yet it is makes you wonder: who is this mural based on?  Who is the person that inspired this mural?  What is her name and what makes her so special (besides her natural beauty)?

 

7

Don Remix, an artist from Miami, painted the mural at 129 Munroe St and 515 Washing St.  Don tries to make a connection between nature, city and being.  In this mural, the bricks represent the city, the wood represents nature and the combination of wood and brick symbolize the human and animal element.

 

8

Bruce Orr and Good To Go (both from Lynn) painted the mural below on the back of the building at 129 Munroe St and 515 Washington St (the second mural posted).

Bruce has worked as everything from an art teacher and art therapist to a puppeteer.  He also plays the drums in his spare time.

Good To Go is an all male public arts team based out of Lynn.

 

9

Look at that bone structure.  The mural at 114-120 Munroe St was painted by Cedric “Vise” Douglas and Julez Roth.

Cedric, an artist from Boston, is the founder and Creative Director of the Up Truck which is a mobile art lab designed to engage underserved Boston communities through art and creativity.

 

10

Georgia Hill, all the way from Australia, painted this mural at 79-87 Munroe St.  Georgia specializes in black and white lettering, as you can see by this mural.

 

11

This lovely mural at 65 Munroe St was painted by Cey Adams.  Cey, an artist  from New York City, draws much of his inspiration from pop culture, ’60’s pop art, comic books and social and cultural themes.

 

12

Cambridge, MA, native Caleb Neelon painted this mural at 33 Munroe St with help from Lena McCarthy.

Neelon enjoys a diverse range of activities.  In addition to street painting, Neelon, who has authored or collaborated on 2 dozen books, has worked as a curator at museums as well as working on documentaries.

Lena McCarthy is an accomplished visual artist.  She has an exhibit called, “In Search Of Open Spaces” that is currently on display in the atrium of the Joseph Moakley Courthouse (1 Courthouse Way, Boston, MA)

 

13

Fonki, an artist from Montreal, painted this mural at 18 Munroe St.  Originally from France, Fonki discovered graffiti at the age of 15.  Since then, he has mastered his craft and has been featured in exhibitions for such famous groups as the Christie’s auction house.  Anyone who can’t relate to this mural, specifically the heart being tossed in the air, has obviously never been in love.

 

14

This mural at 173 Oxford St was painted by Temp & Relm, both from Lynn.  The lettering is kind of faint.  But, the artists took an old, outdated, uncomplimentary phrase about Lynn; “Lynn, Lynn…city of sin” and put a new twist on it, “Lynn, Lynn…city of firsts.”

 

The last mural is located at City Hall Square (3 City Hall Square, Lynn, MA).  Unfortunately, I was not able to photograph this last mural.

Some of the murals and art work in Lynn were either not listed on the official website or were not part of the actual Beyond Walls Festival.  But, they are still worthy of being mentioned here.

This mural is one of my favorites.  It has so many parts to it.  For one, the artwork is beautiful.  But, there’s so much more to it.

From the many important historical figures who resided or had some connection to Lynn (such as Frederick Douglass, former Red Sox ball player Harry Agannis and Maria Mitchell, an American astronomer who discovered a comet which later became known as “Miss Mitchell’s Comet”) and the illustrations of the workers who made Lynn such a prosperous city, the mural gives a colorful history of the city.  The quotes from Vincent Ferrini and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (who both also have a connection to Lynn) are a nice touch also.

 

This is another mural or art work that I found in my travels.  The phrase says:  “Love Her Beauty.  Respect Her Body.”

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Today’s featured New England link is to the link to Irish Se7en’s website.

Irish Se7en primarily shoots in the North Shore area north of Boston, specifically Lynn, Marblehead, Nahant and Swampscott.  But, he also photographs areas in and around the Boston area.   He also uses a drone to get photos from a different perspective. His photographs are amazing.

You can like his Facebook page here.

Please stop by and like my Facebook page.

 

 

 


Prescott Park Gardens (Portsmouth, NH)

Date Of Visit: July 29, 2017

Location: 105 Marcy St, Portsmouth, NH

Hours: Open daily from sunrise to sunset

Cost: Free

Parking: Street parking is available on Old Bay St and Marcy St.  There is also a lot on Old Bay St.

Handicapped Accessible: Yes

Dog Friendly: No

Highlights: fountains, flowers, plants, trees, family friendly

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Portsmouth is known for its beautiful places.  So, it’s no big surprise when you come across a scenic view or a pitcuresque downtown area.  What is more unusual is a beautiful garden in a public setting.  Well, Prescott Park Gardens certainly seems to fit the bill.

Considered part of Prescott Park, Prescott Park Gardens is located next to the main garden at Prescott Park.

Even though it is only  a small area, the garden at Prescott Park is overflowing with colors and beauty.  Despite all of the trees, flowers and fountains and the high volume of visitors, it didn’t seemed cramped there. Even with the dizzying array of flowers, the park still seems quaint and understated.  I can only imagine how peaceful it must feel there when it’s not a busy time of day.

 

Despite the huge crowds it attracts, the park is kept in pristine condition.

 

The fountains at the garden give the area a serene feel.  Just watching the water and listening to the calming, rhythmic sounds of the water splashing is soothing.

 

Some people found some creative ways to cool down at the garden.

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Below is a video of the garden at Prescott Park.

Today’s featured link is Don Gargano’s photography website.  Don primarily shoots in the Portsmouth and New Castle, New Hampshire areas as well as Maine.  I have followed him for some time on Facebook and you can check out his page here.  Coincidentally, he has a photo of the garden at Prescott Park on his profile page!


Prescott Park (Portsmouth, NH)

Date Of Visit: July 29, 2017

Location: 105 Marcy St, Portsmouth, NH

Hours: open daily, sunrise to sunset

Cost: Free

Parking: There is a parking lot located on Old Bay St as well as street parking throughout the area

Handicapped Accessible: Yes

Dog Friendly: No

Website: Prescott Park

Highlights: flowers and plants, scenic, family friendly

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Bursting with color and fragrances, Prescott Park is sure to impress even those with the faintest of green thumbs.

A gift from Sarah and Josie Prescott in 1940, Prescott Park has come a long way from its industrial beginnings.   The highlight of the park, at least during the summer, has to be the garden that sits at the entrance by Old Bay St and Marcy St.  But, Prescott Park has more than just flowers there.

Prescott Park is much more than the garden that I focused on during my visit.  In fact, it is such a big area that they hold concerts with such popular artists as Aaron Neville and Valerie June and other events at the park.  During my visit they were holding a children’s party where a play was being performed.

 

 

There are two memorials at Prescott Park.  The first memorial is a fountain which is dedicated to  a fountain dedicated to Charles Emerson Hovey, an Ensign in the United States Navy and Portsmouth, NH native, who was killed in action on September 24, 1911.

 

 

The next memorial is less obvious.  A sign and anchor stand in front of the prominent flower bed at the front of the garden.

 

 

The sign in front of the flower bed states “A Salute To An Ordinary Hero.”  This “ordinary hero” was Billy Juse, a New Hampshire native, who died in an underground tunnel while he was working on the Deer Island Project during the 1990’s.  He was 34.  Since he and another coworker, Tim Nordeen, died on the same day John Fitzgerald Kennedy’s body was recovered, his story was overlooked in the news.  One solemn reminder remains in the park.

There are also view of the Piscataqua River, a popular spot for boating and kayaking.

 

 

There are benches, art and pretty trees and flowers on the way to the garden at Prescott Park.

 

 

Prescott Park has a variety of beautiful and colorful plants and flowers.  Since we’ve had so much rain and

 

 

The flowers ranged from the common to the unique.

 

 

To the left in the photo is Pelargonium Geranium Timeless Orange (yeah they look red to me as well),  To the right is the Pelargonium Geranium Timeless Pink.  Yeah, I know all of the types of flowers in the world.  Kidding.  They all had their names neatly written on them on cards by the flower beds.

Now for the truly scary part of the tour. The dinosaurs have invaded Prescott Park.  This is a great way to get kids interested and involved in viewing the flowers and plants at Prescott.  I

 

 

Sadly, dogs are not allowed at the flower garden area of Prescott Park.  But, I did see lots of dogs like Teddy, a 10 year old Pomeranian,  passing by on Old Bay Street which is next to the flower garden.

 

 

Today’s featured link is a link to an article that appeared in the Boston Globe magazine about the tragedy on the Deer Island Project in which Billy Juse and some of his co workers perished: Deer Island Tragedy

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Babbs Beach (West Suffield, CT)

Date Of Visit: July 4, 2017

Location: 435 Babbs Rd, West Suffield, CT

Cost: Free (but it may soon cost $20 for non residents – see below)

Hours: open daily from sunrise to sunset

Parking:  There is designated handicapped parking closer to the beach

Dog Friendly: No

Handicapped Accessible: Yes

Highlights: beach, volleyball net, scenic, boating, concerts

Website: Babb’s Beach

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The former site of a small amusement park (Babb’s Beach Amusement Park), Babb’s Beach is a small, hidden beach located along the Congamond Lakes in Suffield, CT.

What Babb’s Beach lacks in size it makes up for in charm.

Parking was available on the grass in front of the beach when I went to visit.  But, only a week later, a sign was posted indicating it would cost non-Suffield residents $20 for the first vehicle and $5 for each additional vehicle  in each party to visit.  One of the reasons for this is the mess that was left behind by 4th of July visitors (present company excluded).  There are also about half a dozen handicapped parking spaces right along the entrance to the beach with handicapped accessible comfort stations.

There is a short, scenic walk from the main parking area to the beach head.

The beach is just as popular for the boating and other water activities as it is for the sunbathing and beach games (there is a volleyball net at the beach).

The beach is not very big (7 acres) and I could see how it may get overpopulated on busy summer days.  But, due to its somewhat hidden location and, surely, because of the additional fee they have just implemented, it will most likely remain the hidden treasure it was during my visit.

Today’s featured link is the Babb’s Rink Restoration Project.  Years ago, the Babb’s Roller Rink, located about a mile from the beach, was shut down.  They are now trying to raise money and awareness about the project to renovate and re-open the rink.