Category Archives: attraction

Bridge Of Flowers (Shelburne Falls, MA)

Date Visited: September 6, 2016

Location: 22 Water St, Shelburne Falls, MA (1 hour west of Springfield, MA, 1.5 hours east of Hartford, CT and about 2 hours west of Boston)

Hours: Open April 1 – October 30, 24 hours a day

Cost: Free

Parking: There is available off street parking (the 2 hour unmetered parking limit on Bridge St is strictly enforced) and a free parking area off Baker Ave with about 30 -40 free spots (take care not to park in the spots reserved for businesses and other tenants in the area) and additional off street parking.  Parking is difficult during peak times.

Size: 400 feet long, 18 feet wide

Time To Allot For Visit: 30 minutes an hour.

Dog Friendly: No

Highlights: pretty flowers, scenic views, memorials, works of art, a master gardener is available on the bridge during peak weekends to ask questions about your own plants and gardens

Lowlights: bridge can get congested since it is narrow

Website: Bridge Of Flowers

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Built in 1908 for a measley $20,000 (roughly $500,000 in current day’s money) by the Shelburne Falls and Colrain Street Railway, the Bridge of Flowers is now home to a wide variety of flowers, trees and even some works of art.

Originally, the bridge was used as the main mode of transportation for the community.  However, once cars became more popular, the train was used less and the company went out of business.   Since the bridge could not be destroyed because it carried a water main between the towns of Colrain and Shelburne Falls, it was decided to do something with the bridge. Then, in 1929, the Shelburne Women’s Club sponsored Antoinette Burnham’s idea to transform the bridge into a garden.

More than 35,000 people visit the bridge ever year.  Yet, it is still something of an unknown attraction, even in New England.

Much to the consternation of my company, I can be very particular about my photos (although my guest on this day didn’t complain).  I tried my best to take photographs of the bridge without any visitors on the bridge or with as few people as possible on it and wow did it take a while to get those shots which just goes to show how much foot traffic it can get.  But, I did eventually get my shots of an empty or close to empty bridge.

This post is photo-heavy.  As much as I tried, it was very hard to choose flowers to include and which ones to not include.

The hardest part of this photo shoot was selecting the best photos to post.  The flowers are so pretty and the view nothing short of jaw dropping.  The flowers are also beautifully arranged.  I especially liked how the flowers complimented the landscape.

 

Birds and bees like the flowers, too.

Flowers and trees aren’t the only attractions at the Bridge Of Flowers.  Memorials and art are scattered throughout the bridge.

One of the works of art at the Bridge of Flowers is a stained glass window designed by Nancy Katz and created by Mark Liebowitz at the Garden House.  It is illuminated during the evening.

 

This water fountain is also at the area past the bridge.

I noticed this in one of the flower beds.  What is it?  A coded message?  A plan for a secret rendezvous?

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Also, and not least, there are war memorials on the bridge.  This memorial honors the veterans of World War I and World War II of the Buckland and Shelburne areas.  While it honors all of the veterans of these wars, the names of those made the supreme sacrifice from these areas are engraved on the plaque on the stone.

This memorial honors the veterans of Korean and Vietnam wars.  The names of the peolpe from the community who lost their lives in these wars are engraved on the plaque on the stone.

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Another great thing about the bridge is they plant flowers each month and it is “peak season” for different flowers at different times (their planting schedule is on their web site).  So you’re sure to see something new and pretty any time you go.  However, I would suggest going during the summer or, preferably, the fall.

Similar Places I Have Visited In New England:

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Glacial Potholes And Salmon Falls (Shelburne Falls, MA)

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Eindsor-Cornish Bridge (Windsor, VT and Cornish, NH)

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Wiggly Bridge (York, ME)

 


Bancroft Tower (Worcester, MA)

Date Visited: March 19, 2016

Cost: Free

Location: Bancroft Tower Road, Salisbury Park,Worcester, MA

Open: Daily from sunrise until 6 p.m.

Bancroft Tower

 

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In 1900, Stephen Salisbury II built a tower on what is now known as Salisbury Park as a tribute to his friend, historian and jack of all trades, George Bancroft.   And to think, my friends only usually give me gift cards, wine and books for my birthday.

The park is has a wide variety of bird life.

As I was reviewing the photos, I couldn’t help feeling the tower was purposefully constructed to look as though it was  incomplete.  The sides are not rounded and seem almost as though they were cut off from the facade or the builder gave up half way through.  But, as the photos show it was indeed constructed this way by design.

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My favorite view from the tower was at the arched entrance.

The 56 foot tower is made  of natural stone and granite.  It was designed by Stephen C. Earle and Clellann W. Fisher.

The plaque at the memorial states:

BANCROFT TOWER
THIS TOWER WAS BUILT IN 1900
TO HONOR THE MEMORY OF

GEORGE BANCROFT
1800-1891

BORN AT THE FOOT OF THIS HILL
HE ROSE TO THE POSTS OF
SECRETARY OF THE NAVY
FOUNDER OF THE U.S. NAVAL ACADEMY
ANNAPOLIS, MARYLAND
U.S. MINISTER TO GREAT BRITAIN
AND GERMANY

THIS MEMORIAL WAS BUILT BY HIS
FRIEND AND ADMIRER
STEPHEN SALISBURY III

Jacks wasn’t impressed by the tower.

There were some views of the city from the parking lot.

During my visit and in my research after the shoot, I found out they let visitors inside the tower during October of each year.  The views at the top are said to give 360 degree views of the area.  The sorority and fraternity at the local college also holds a Halloween party for the kids in the area at the tower with mild scares.  So, it looks like a visit in October is on my list!

A walking tour of the Bancroft Tower:

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Burnside Fountain (Worcester, MA)

Date Visited: March 19, 2016

Location: next to Worcester Common, 455 Main St.

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Just outside of Worcester Common, at 455 Main St, sits an unusual monument.  Also known as “Turtle Boy”, the Burnside Fountain looks like a cross between a Roman sculpture and a high school prank gone wrong.  But, this statue is no prank.  It is a very real monument.  In fact, it is a gift from Harriet Burnside,  a philanthropist and the daughter of a prominent lawyer in Worcester; Samuel Burnside.  In her will, Harriet donated $5,000 to the city to build a fountain in memory of her father.  Harriet Burnside specifically requested the fountain be used as a drinking trough for horses and dogs.

Enter Charles Y. Harvey. Harvey was given the task of designing the fountain.  For some reason that is still unknown, he chose a design called “boy with turtle”.  Henry Bacon, who also worked on the Lincoln Memorial, designed the basin.

In an interesting turn of events, Harvey would take his own life, claiming before doing so that the half finished sculpture was telling him to do so.  Sherry Frye finished the sculpture.  The statue was completed in 1912.

The bronze statue sits on a pink rectangular basin.   The basin has four bowls, two on each side of the statue.

Despite the various interpretations, the statue is not meant to be as controversial.  It was just meant to be a statue about a boy and his turtle.  It was a simpler time.

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Dr. Seuss National Memorial Sculpture Garden (Springfield, MA)

Date visited: January 16, 2016

 

Located on the grounds of the Springfield Museums, the Dr.  Seuss National Memorial Sculpture Garden pays homage to one of Springfield’s most famous people, Theodor Seuss Geise (aka Dr. Seuss), and some of his characters.

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The grounds are accessible to the public during the museum’s normal hours without a fee.  You only need to pay if you want access to the museums.  The garden does not only have sculptures and art work related to Dr. Seuss’ characters.  There are statues and other pieces of art and buildings on the grounds.

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I will be posting about the Springfield Museums in a later post.  Here is a quick preview:

 

 

 


Yankee Candle Village (Deerfield, MA)

Date visited: December 23, 2015

Every year during the holidays, I make my annual trip to Yankee Candle Village in Deerfield, MA.

 

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The flagship shop of New England, the Yankee Candle Village is known for his decorative and at times eccentric displays.  But, during the holidays they go the extra mile.

From the moment you walk onto the property, the Yankee Candle Village welcomes you with holiday cheer and some unique decorations.

Inside the store, there is an assortment of holiday decorations and not just holiday decorations.  Wizard of Oz statues, model cars and other displays can be found throughout the shop.

There are Christmas trees galore.  Every where you look it seems there is a tree decorated in a unique way.

 

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There are also Christmas village light up displays located in one room.  They also have a Halloween village set up.

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There is also a stream with koi fish

Try as we might, we could not find Santa.  He wasn’t at his regular place

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He wasn’t at his desk either

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Finally, I found him in the shopping area

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There is also an area where customers can make their own candles with the colors and scents they choose.  They can also have a candle made in the form of their hands whether it be a fist, peace sign or index finger extended (no middle fingers allowed)

 

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There is also a fountain in the shopping area and a mechanized band that plays for the children.  It looks kinda creepy to me, though.

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As I left the shop and day turned into night, the lights from the trees and decorations outside lit up the area.  It was raining pretty hard so some of the images produced spots that almost look like snow.  Sadly, it was only raindrops.  There will not be any snow on Christmas for us this year.

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There are also many automated attractions at the shop.  For instance, in the front of the store there is a toy train that runs along the wall.

Every 4 minutes, it “snows” at the Snowplace Factory in the North Pole of the store.

 

To get a full appreciation of the light display, I am including a short video showing off all the lights outside the store.


Mayflower II (Plymouth, MA)

After visiting Plimoth Plantation, the next obvious destination was the Mayflower II.  The Mayflower II, an exhibit of the Plimoth Plantation, is a replica of the original Mayflower.  It is located only a few miles from Plimoth Plantation in the Frazier Memorial State Pier.

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Before you board the boat, you are informed the people on the boat are still living in the 17th century.  They are not aware of cellphones, automobiles or any other modern day comforts.  There is a replica of the Mayflower Compact in the entrance to the boarding area.

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Actors on the boat discuss the duties of crew members and portray people from that era.  This man reminded me of James Franco, particularly because of his dry sense of humor.

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The quarters of the Mayflower were not the most comfortable.  Not exactly Carnival Cruise.

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The views from the harbor were very pretty.

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Meet Porsche, a service dog I saw as I was leaving the pier.

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Rebecca Nurse Homestead (Danvers, MA)

As I mentioned in an earlier blog, not all of the accused witches from the Salem witch hysteria came from Salem, Massachusetts.  In a quaint, unassuming town once known as Salem Village (now Danvers, Massachusetts), a number of people were accused of “consorting with the devil.”  One of the denizens of Danvers who was accused of such transgressions was Rebecca Nurse.  The Rebecca Nurse Homestead in Danvers keeps Rebecca’s memory and the memory of all the victim’s of the hysteria alive.

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The main living quarters has been renovated and maintained through the years but it still keeps the basic feel of what living in that era was like.

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The early settlers planted most of their crops in their yard.  The staff at the Homestead continue growing these crops such as mugwort, sage and chamomile.

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Pictured below is the front of the house.  The front part of the house is what we might consider “the back” because the settlers always wanted their houses to face the south.

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The accommodations are what a modern day realtor might call “cozy”.

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They were “spinning” before it was cool.

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There is also a meeting house, shoemaker shed and wood shed that still have a very rustic feel to them.

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The Homestead also keeps their grounds well maintained.

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According to legend, after being hanged, Rebecca Nurse was buried in a shallow unmarked grave because people convicted of witchcraft were not considered worthy of a Christian burial.  Her family dug her up and buried her at the Nurse Homestead and they erected a memorial in her honor.

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George Jacobs, another victim of the witch hysteria, is also buried at the Nurse Homestead.

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Rebecca’s great grandson, Francis Nurse, resided st the homestead until he joined the Massachusetts Militia during the Revolutionary War.  He is know interred at the Rebecca Nurse Homestead.

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There are also a number of other monuments and graves in the Nurse gravesite

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There is also a variety of wildlife on the Nurse Homestead grounds.  I ran into these turkeys during my visit.

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And I met a bear.  Well, sort of.  One of the workers was dog sitting and he brought his Golden Lab, Bear with him to the homestead.  Bear likes to play catch.

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