Category Archives: Agawam

Wreaths Across America (Veterans Memorial Cemetery, Agawam, MA)

Dates Of Visits: December 23 & 29, 2018

Location: Veterans Memorial Cemetery, 1309 Main St, Agawam, MA (4 miles southwest of Springfield, MA and 26 miles north of Hartford, CT)

Hours: The cemetery is open everyday from dawn until dusk.  The annual wreath ceremony takes place the third Saturday in December.  The wreaths will be at the cemeteries until Jan. 15

Parking:  Visitors can park on the side of the road in the cemetery and there is a parking area on the upper level of the cemetery.  There may also be limited street parking near the cemetery.

Handicapped Accessible: Yes

Highlights: 7,500 wreaths adorn the headstones of the graves at the military cemetery

Websites: Wreaths Across America

Agawam National Veterans Memorial Cemetery

Agawam Wreaths Across America

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It all started with one man and his wreaths.

In 1992, Morril Worcester, owner of Worcester Wreath Company and resident of Harrington, Maine, noticed he had a surplus of wreaths after the holiday season.  Thinking back to his visit to Arlington National Cemetery when he was a young boy, Morril decided to donate his surplus of wreaths to the cemetery.  With the help of then Maine Senator Olympia Snowe, Worcester sent his wreath surplus to Arlington Cemetery.  Special attention was given to lay wreaths at graves that seemed to get the least amount of visitors.

Over time, this cause grew.  Volunteers offered to transport the wreaths to other cemeteries from Maine to Virginia.  Then, in 2005, things changed.

After a photo of the graves at Arlington adorned with wreaths and covered in snow went viral in 2005, requests to help and expand this ceremony to all of the states poured in.  People offered to distribute and lay the wreaths at the cemetery, decorate the wreaths and help in many other ways.

Through the years, the cause has grown to include every veteran from every branch of the service including veterans who were prisoners of war and missing in action.

Now, Wreaths Across America conducts wreath laying ceremonies at more than 1,400 cemeteries, including Arlington National Cemetery, in all 50 U.S. states, at sea and abroad.  Veterans from all wars and conflicts the U.S. has been involved in are honored with a wreath.  While many, if not all, of the veterans cemeteries have wreath laying ceremonies conducted in them, they are not the only cemeteries where wreaths are laid.  Public cemeteries also have wreaths laid at the graves of veterans.  Wherever a veteran has been laid to rest you will find a wreath.

The goal of the Wreaths Across America group is to “remember, honor and teach” others throughout the year about the sacrifices of our veterans.   One way to do this is to sponsor a wreath.  The money from sponsoring a wreath is used for the wreath laying ceremony and the cost of transporting the wreaths.

One of the cemeteries where a wreath laying was conducted is the Agawam Veterans Memorial Cemetery.  Over 7,500 wreaths were laid at the cemetery.

I stopped by Agawam Veterans Memorial Cemetery to view and photograph some of the wreaths that have been laid by each veterans’ grave.  Agawam  is one of three Veterans Memorial Cemeteries in Massachusetts.  The other two are in Bourne, which is a naational memorial cemetery, and Winchendon which, like Agawam, is a state memorial cemetery.

It was bittersweet to see the care and honor given to all of the veterans’ graves at the cemetery.  The wreaths will be at each of the headstones until Wreath Clean Up Day on January 15.

 

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Happy Thanksgiving 2017 (Robinson Park, Agawam, MA)

Date Of Visit: November 23, 2017

Location: 428 North St, Feeding Hills (Agawam), MA

Hours: gates close at the park at 4 p.m. in the fall and winter.  During the late spring and during the summer, the gates and trails are open from sunrise until sunset

Cost: $8 for MA vehicle, $10 for non-MA vehicle

Parking: There are about 50 parking spots in the park itself at various designated parking areas.  There are also several entrances besides the actual entrance to the park (on North St and Feeding Hills Rd) where you can park for free but there are gates at these entrances and you have to walk rather than drive to the beach and fields in the park.

Time To Allot For Visit: 3 to 4 hours to hike the entire park

Size of the park: 800 acres, 5 miles of frontage on the Westfield River

Dog Friendly: Yes

Highlights: walking trails, stream, beach, picnic area, fields, lots of wildlife, great for bikers, joggers, walkers and dogs

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Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

There’s something about fall, especially in New England.  The hot sun and fresh crisp air is invigorating.  And what better place to spend such a seasonable fall day than Robinson Park in Agawam, MA?

Going to Robinson Park on Thanksgiving has become a tradition for me.  Since it is so close to my relatives and it is such a big park with so much to photograph, it’s a wonderful place for me to take my camera and get close to nature.  It’s also a great way to work up an appetite for the big feast later.

If there’s one word I would use to describe Robinson Park it would be peaceful.  Especially today when many of us are reflecting on what we’re thankful for and spending some quality down time with loved ones.  Walking around and the park I felt as though I was the only there, partly because I probably was.  At least I didn’t see anyone during most of my time there

Except for the occasional dog walker, cyclist or fishing enthusiast, it was pretty quiet at Robinson Park today.

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There was a lot of bird and chipmunk activity as they get ready for winter.

There was also a sign of more life to come at the park.

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It’s rare to not see someone walking their dog at Robinson Park and today was no exception.  With it’s wide trails, plentiful bushes and trees and numerous side trails, it is a great place to take your pooch.

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Cabo is a 2 year old Black Lab.

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Papi is a 1 year old Pitt Bull Terrier mix.

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Sophie is a 12 year old Mini-Datsun.

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I have posted about this park previously.  To view my original, in depth post about this park from last year click here.

I hope everyone has a happy, peaceful and safe holiday weekend.

 


Dock Dogs 2017 (Agawam, MA)

 

Date Of Event: June 3, 2017 (first weekend of June each year)

Location: Parking lot of Dave’s Soda And Pet City, 151 Springfield Street
Agawam, MA

Cost: Free

Handicapped Accessible: Yes

Highlights: dogs, jumping,speed and agility contests, face painting, fund raising

Website: Dock Dogs

IMG_9966Dogs big and small came from all over New England and farther to take part in the Dock Dogs competition last week in Agawam, MA.

 

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In case you missed it, I covered last year’s Dock Dogs event.

There were two events at Dock Dogs during my visit.  There was the Big Air Wave and the Extreme Vertical contests.

The first event, the Big Air Wave contest, was a jumping contest.  The dog’s trainer would throw an object, usually a tennis ball, Frisbee or toy, and the dog would jump as far as he or she could to retrieve it.

Just watching the trainers getting their pets psyched up for the jump was fun to watch.

Some dogs needed a little more encouragement than others.  But, what I really loved was the trust and discipline the dogs had.

The second event was the Extreme Vertical contest. Each dog would have the chance to reach the bar resting on a hook.  Although the dogs try to grab the bar in their mouths, all the dog has to do is knock the bar off the hooks to be successful.  Yeah, that”s easy enough for me to say.

Even if the dogs didn’t grab the bar in their mouth they could still advance to the next round by just knocking it off the holder.  The winner was Coop, a 2 year old, Chocolate Lab, who was able to grab the bar at 7 feet, 2 inches.

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Some people seemed more interested in the swarm of bees one of the trees near the competition.

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By the time we came back from lunch, bee keepers had been called and had handled the situation.

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Not all of the dogs who came to Dave’s for the event participated.  But, even if they were just spectators they were still beautiful.  Below are just some of the dogs I saw at the Dock Dogs event.

Duke is an 8.5 year old German Short Hair Pointer.

This 10 wek old Belgian Malinois did not have a name yet.

Bella is a 7 year old Pomeranian.  She is known as “Bella The Therapy Dom.”  She works with Paws For Friendship as a therapy dog as well as being the official mascot of the East Forest Park Library.  You can find out more about Paws For Friendship here.  You can also contact Bella at bellatherapydog@gmail.com

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Lola is a 2 year old mini Pincher Chihuahua.

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Fiona is a 8 month old Maltese Yorkie.

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Fargo is a 3 year old German Shepherd.

Inky is a 15 month old Blue Merle Australian Sheepdog.

Meeko is a 15 month old Siberian Husky.

Tobin is a 2 year old Great Pyrenees.  His sister Maggie Mae, a 3 year old Great Pyrenees and Golden Retriever, is behind and to the right in the photos.

Token is a 5 year old Belgian Tervuren.

Fluffy Puffer, with the signature Newfoundland signature drool, is a 1 and a half year old Newfie

Miller is a 1 year old Golden Retriever and German Shepherd.

Rufus is a 7 year old Newfie.

Max is a 9 year old Border Collie.

There was also face painting, a bouncy house (I was tempted to go in it) and a variety of vendors and charitable organizations at the event.

Can’t wait until the next year’s Dock Dogs event!

Below are some videos of the dogs competing at Dock Dogs!

 

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Happy Thanksgiving (Robinson Park, Agawam, MA)

Date Of Visit: November 24, 2016

Location Robinson State Park, 428 North St, Feeding Hills Rd (Agawam), MA

Parking: about 10 parking spots are avaiilable in the back entrance on Feeding Hills Rd.  There is additional parking in the main entrance and by the beach area.

Cost: Free this time of the year when the park is unstaffed, $8 MA vehicle, $10 non-MA vehicles during “season”

Size: 1,025 acres

Handicap Accessible: Yes, but some parts of the main trail, which is paved, have sharp inclines.

Dog Friendly: Yes

Highlights: pretty views, wildlife, biking/hiking trails

Thanksgiving in Western Massachusetts.  What could be more emblematic of New England?  As it turned out, I’m not the only onr who feels this way.

As I approached the back entrance to Robinson State Park, every parking spot was taken (some spaces were parked 2 cars deep).  I did find a spot just in front of the main entrance )the gates were closed on this holiday, however).  Who knew a park would be so busy on a holiday?  At least that is how I used too think.  Now, it makes complete sense.

In the past, I never understood why people would spend Thanksgiving Day, or part of their Thanksgiving, at a park or some other outdoor attraction.  People should be home with their family, watching football or the parade and stuffing their faces, the younger me would say to myself.  But, now I get it.  What better place to spend the early mornings of Thanksgiving?   What better way and what better place to be thankful, especially at one of my favorite paarks.  In fact, I like it there so much I have posted about Robinson Park in the past.  But, I took a few different trails that I had never hiked on before this time.  At 1,025 acres, Robinson State is so big it could take days to thoroughly walk or even bike all of the trails.  So, I figured I would work up an appetite for my Thanksgiving dinner with a jaunt there.

The trees were barren and leaves carpeted the ground.  Only a few months ago these brooks were teeming with frogs and other amphibians.

I always love to see that one plant that has survived the elements.

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Theere is also a lot of eviddence of what the park used to be like.  A beam stands in the Westfield River, a reminder of the railroad bridge that once ran through the area.

This looks like a damn or some other waterflow management system that is now dry save for a brook that dribbles on by below.

I came across this falcon during my hike.  I was surprised at how close I got before the bird flew away.

I also came across lots of squirrels.  This one was resting ona tree limb enjoying a snack

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Robinson Park is a dog friendly paark.  I saw and heard lots of cute dogs during my time there.  All of the dogs I photographed happened to be rescues.  It was very refreshing to see so many rescued dogs there.

Annie, a mixed breed rescue, struck a pose for me.

Jessie, on the left, is a 3 year old Lab mix.  Shadow, on the right, is a 13 year old Lab mix as well.  They are both rescues.

Daisy, a yellow Lab rescue from Tennessee, had fun playing with her stick.

I hope everyone had a safe and happy Thanksgiving!

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American Legion Park (Feeding Hills, MA)

Date Visited: July 3, 2016

Location: 478 Springfield St, Feeding Hills (Agawam), MA

Hours: Open everyday, 24 hours a day

Cost: Free

Time To Allot For Visit: 5-10 minutes

Parking: While there is no designated parking area for the park there is plenty of parking available at the American Legion Post located behind the park and parking is available at the strip mall across the street

Dog Friendly: Yes

Highlights: sculpture, tank, memorial, well manicured grounds

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I don’t know about you but I’m really stoked to see that Judas Priest cover band.

But the real attraction on Springfield St in Feeding Hills (a territory in Agawam, MA), is the tank and Freedom Eagle sculpture located in front of “The Tank” American Legion Post 185.  The Tank is an eatery/event venue servicing veterans.

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DSC_1028The tank is a M-60 tank monument dedicated to all veterans (past, present and future)

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Donated in 2005, the Freedom Eagle shows an eagle soaring through the air, fish clutched tightly in his or her grip

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There is also a memorial from the town of Agawam in remembrance of the people who served during World War I.

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Although it is a small park there is a lot to take in and it certainly makes you proud and grateful.

The area is also a common spot for dog walkers.  Across the street, we saw a group of four big dogs being walked.  This is a group of Bernese Mountain Dogs.  The dogs go to the local senior center and  visit Alzheimer’s patients as therapy dogs.

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From left to right: Roma, Tony and Lena (one of the other dogs was a bit camera shy).

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Veteran Greens Memorial Park (Agawam, MA)

Date Visited: May 30, 2016

Location: Main St, Agawam, MA (corner of School St & Main St)

Parking:  There is no off street parking but there are some lots across the street and a small parking area just before the memorial.

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On this important day, I thought it would be good to showcase one of the many war memorials in the Western Massachusetts area.  The Veterans Green Memorial Park, nestled in front of the Phelps Elementary School, is one of these tasteful memorials.

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The memorial, which recognizes every person who has died in war from the Agawam area dating all the way back to the American Revolutionary War.

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Due to the inclement weather and unpredictable weather patterns of the area (it is New England after all), parades and memorials were cancelled this year which gave me full access to the site but probably disappointed a lot of likely parade watchers.  There is usually a ceremony each year at the site and it looked strange not seeing any parades or people reveling in the streets and sidewalks during the day.

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The Benjamin Phelps Elementary School is located behind the memorial and a gazebo stands just off the side of the memorial.

What stands out most about the memorial is the bell.  It symbolizes so much; the tones rung out during remembrances, the readiness and alert nature of our armed forces and the ringing out of victory and freedom.

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Happy memorial and remember all those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.


Anne Sullivan Memorial (Feeding Hills/Agawam, MA)

Dates Visited: July 11, 2015 and August 22, 2015

Parking: there is a parking lot located next to the memorial with over a dozen or so parking spaces.  There are also parking lots and off street parking nearby.

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Although she is known more for her success as a teacher and most notably working with Hellen Keller in Tuscumbia, Alabama, and Boston, Massachusetts, Anne Sullivan is actually a product of Feeding Hills (a sub section of Agawam), Massachusetts.

I especially like how the trees still have leaves and the flowers are in bloom since I originally took these photos in the summer of last year.  It makes me yearn for the long spring and summer days.

I am never completely satisfied with my photos.  So, I made two trips to this memorial.  My biggest gripe with the first set of photos was there were too many cars and people in the background.  But, even when I went back another day earlier in the daytime there was still a lot of activity.  It is located by a busy intersection so it was unavoidable.  You can see the difference in the shadowing and angle of the sun from my two visits.

Sullivan lost her vision at an early age due to an infectious eye disease.  She would receive a series of treatments which considerably improved her vision while she was a student at Perkins School for the Blind in Boston.  This undoubtedly inspired her to work with other people who were visually impaired and challenged in other ways.

The centerpiece of the park is the monument of Anne Sullivan sitting with Helen Keller. The intensity in her stare is palpable. The sculpture, created by the Romanian-American sculptor Mico Kaufman, captures the moment Anne Sullivan successfully teaches Helen Keller her first word – “water.” The statue was dedicated on June 28, 1992.

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The park is well kept and there are many places to sit.  A gazebo stands off to the side as well.  It would be a peaceful place to relax and unwind, except the fact it is located at a busy intersection.

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There are additional monuments in the park.

This memorial is another tribute to Anne Sullivan’s work with Helen Keller.  The inscription reads, “Anne Sullivan…Teacher of Helen Keller.  Heroic friend of the deaf and blind.  Native of Feeding Hills.”

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This memorial is a tribute to the Agawam Militia who trained on this land during the revolutionary War.  I am always fascinated at how seemingly ordinary places like a busy intersection has so much history and significance.  In fact, the land you are standng on, or the land your house or apartment building was built upon most certainly has a hidden history you are not privy to.

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The trees at the Anne Sullivan memorial Park are very impressive, particularly when they still have their leaves.

The last monument I photographed at the park names the people on the memorial committee.  If you look closely, you may notice the inscription is also written in braille.

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