Category Archives: attractions

Hartley Mason Reservation & York Harbor Beach (York, ME)

Date Visited: April 23, 2016

Location: 480 York Street, York, Maine

Hours: Always Open

Parking: 2 hour off street parking is available, but limited.  There are also a few parking areas near the beach.

 

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A common destination for weddings, dog walkers and beach goers, the Hartley Mason Reservation is a small park with benches, memorials and other works of art.  Perhaps the most popular attraction to this site is the rock with the tiny figures, titled, “Pleasure Ground”.  The sculpture was made by Sumner Winebaum, a York resident, in 2011.  He titled it “Pleasure Ground” because Mason had described the reserve as a “pleasure ground”.  The sculpture is built on a rock nearly 8 feet long, 4 feet wide, and weighs three tons,.  The bronze figures range in height from 10 to 12 inches tall. Winebaum said his goal was to show people enjoying the park such as the two boys wrestling, the person reading and the two women debating (which he has described as his favorite part of the sculpture).

Tiny people doing all the things regular people do.  I wonder what book that tiny figure on the edge of the rock is reading.  Perhaps, “Little Women”.

An easy, clearly marked path leads down to the beach.

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Along the trail, there are also benches dedicated to people who have passed.

 

There is also a memorial dedicated to those lost at sea.  The York Fisherman’s Memorial is

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The inscription on the front reads: O HEAR US WHEN WE CRY TO THEE FOR THOSE IN PERIL ON THE SEA.  

On the back of the monument, there is an inscription that states: Dedicated to those who lost their lives at sea & for those who work and love the ocean… 

The memorial is dedicated to Captain Daniel A. Donnell who died at sea hauling traps.  He was 78 at the time of his death.

The trail is also a great place to take photos of the beach from afar.

From the moment I pulled up to the parking in front of the Hartley Mason Reservation, the view of the water struck me, especially with the weather conditions as they were.  A misty cloud covering filled the afternoon sky reaching all the way to the water making it hard to discern where the water ended and the sky began.  For most people, this is hardly ideal beach weather.  But, I, and my sensitive Irish screen, have always preferred this weather to the scorching unabated sunlight.

The trail eventually leads to the beach (there are also side trails, or if you’re feeling spry you can just walk down the rocky or grassy areas off the trail).  Due to time constraints, we just stopped at the beach head and took photos from there.  There were some modest waves and some pretty views. The beach does have a lot of rocky areas that wouldn’t be very comfortable to walk around in on sandals.  Wear comfortable footwear.

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Although the beach area is much larger and may have more accommodations (I will visit again later to capture the beach in its entirety), the section I visited had very little room for lying out.  There really was just rock and a concrete slab to stand, sit or lie on.  The parking is also pretty sparse at this section of the beach.  There are only a few parking spots and some are designated for certain people.  There is also an outdoor pool near the beach.

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The beach was very busy with not only human visitors but cute furry ones as well (I suppose some of the human visitors were furry as well but that is neither here nor there).

Kipper is a 9 year old German Shepherd.  He got to play in the water and he loves to play catch.  And his mom’s boots were pretty cool.

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Gracie is a 7 and a half year old Boxer with a very broad smile.

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Below is a video of the waves at York Beach Saturday.

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Bash Bish Falls (Mount Washington, MA)

Date Visited: March 12, 2016

Hours: Open everyday from sunrise to half an hour after sunset.

Cost: access to the trails and waterfalls is free. It may cost if you rent one of the Bash Bish cabins at nearby  Taconic Falls.

Bash Bish Falls

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Located in the most southwestern part of Massachusetts, Bash Bish Falls is considered one of the most dangerous waterfalls in not only Massachusetts but the entire United States.  It is also one of the most beautiful.

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According to legend, Bash Bish was the name of a Mohican Native American woman who was accused of adultery which was punishable by death..  Bash Bish was pushed over the falls while tied up in a canoe.

The shape of the falls is said to resemble a woman falling to her death. Another theory claims the segmented characteristic of the falls resembled the reuniting of Bash Bish and her daughter White Swan who had also disappeared over the falls according to the Mohican legend.  If the rapids of the stream leading from the waterfall and the speed of the water falling from the waterfall are any indication, the restless spirits may still be there.  It is also a good reason why swimming is not allowed as the rapids can be very strong and it is easy to hit a rock.

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Bash Bish Falls is located in Massachusetts, just past New York/Massachusetts border.

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There are several entrances for Bash Bish.  One of the entrances, at the top of the hill from the Massachusetts entrance on Falls Rd, gives ample evidence as to why Bash Bish may be considered such a dangerous waterfall.  The stairs, which are a generous description, and walkway, also a generous description, are rocky and treacherous.  There is a railing to hold on to.  But, it’s still a tricky path.

I would recommend using the first parking spot on Falls Rd, if you’re traveling from Massachusetts.  The trails are easy to moderate with a few slight inclines from the first parking lot.  It is a 3/4 mile walk to the waterfall from the parking area.

There are many interesting rock formations along the trail. Little known factoid: I learned a new word recently for the strange piles of rocks stacked creatively that we often see along trails and at beaches like the rocks in the first two photos in the top row of photos below.  They are called cairns, unless you ask a conservationist or geologist in which case they will condescendingly call them just rock piles since real cairns are nature made and not man made.

Bash Bish Falls is a popular spot for dog walkers.  I met the following dogs during my hike.

Charlie

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Juno, a Rottweiler and Shepherd mix

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Cassie, a Bernese Mountain Dog.

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Murphy, a beautiful Golden retriever

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To get a better perspective of the waterfall and the stream leading from the waterfall, I have attached the following videos.


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:

 

 

 


Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall Of Fame (Springfield, MA)

Date visited: December 26, 2015

Although the city does not have a professional sports team, Springfield, Massachusetts is the home of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall Of Fame.  Of course, the game was invented there.  So, it is an appropriate location.

The great thing about playing hoop is all you need a ball a net and a decent pair of sneakers.  The Hall has the nets outside the entrance.  All you need is a ball.  I’m not sure how long you could play before they make you leave.  From this entrance the Hall is deceptively big (three floors).

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There is a big parking lot at the Hall but there are other business in the parking lot.  We arrived early to make sure we got a good spot.  It costs adults $22 a ticket, seniors (65 and older) pay $17 a ticket, $16 for youths (ages 5 to 15) and kids 4 and under get in free.  You can also sometimes purchase tickets at third party vendors at a reduced price (we got ours at the Big Y grocery store).  So, it doesn’t hurt to look around for other places to get your tickets.

I only wish I had gone there when I was younger.  In fact, when I was a kid I could easily see myself telling my folks they could drop me off when it opens (at 10) and come by and get me at closing time (4 or 5 on Saturday).  I could easily pass 6 or 7 hours there.  I am not sure they would go for it, though.  As time passes, our interests change.  While I do still love playing and I like watching, I am in no way even close to the fan I used to be.   But, the charming Hall of Fame made me a fan again.

Whether it is Pete Maravich’s “floppy socks” (one of my favorite exhibits)

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Or the creatively crafted flag made of sneakers

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Or the jerseys and sneakers of the best three of all time (sorry Kareem, Lebron and Wilt)

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There is something for everyone.

The Hall is also a great family friendly place.  There are so many activities geared for children.  Want to recreate when “Havlicek stole the ball?”  You can do so by telecasting that play and many others in their play by play booth.  Want to try to block a shot by one of the NBA’s  elite players?  There’s a game for that too.

There are also videos galore.  Along the wall there are little monitors with short videos of speeches, highlights and informational clips.  This video below is a video about the newest class of NBA Hall inductees (congrats Dikembe).  There is also a amphitheater in the hall.

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Being a native of the Boston area, I was drawn to the Boston Celtics’ memorabilia.  Such as a Larry Bird statue (striking resemblance)

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One of Red Auerbach’s cigars.  He used to light a cigar during every game he coached for the Celtics if/when he thought the game was over (before the official end) as a gimmick to psyche out the opponent.

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But, there are statues, mementos and reminders of every team from every era, even non professional teams like the Harlem Globetrotters (who did have some would be professional players play for them such as Wilt Chamberlain).  I used to love the Globetrotters.  I always felt badly for their rivals, the poor Washington Generals, though!

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There are certain players that you’re drawn to.  They may not be the best player or even the best to ever play their position, although one of my favorite characters is certainly in the top 3 at his position.  Charles Barkley played with an intensity and perseverance only matched by the other elites he is enshrined with.  But, he did it with flare and intensity.  I looked up one of his YouTube videos if you’re unfamiliar with him (the play 1:12 is ridiculous) .  Oh yeah and he is funny as hell.

Below is one of his rings for being on the NBA 50th anniversary all time team.

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My visit to the Hall of Fame was also a learning experience.  Even though I was a pretty rabid fan as a younger person and still a casual fan, I learned a lot during my visit.  For instance, have you ever heard of Teresa Edwards?  I hadn’t either before my visit.  She is the most decorated basketball player of all time.  Among her achievements are 5 gold medals, a bronze medal, gold medals in the Pan Am, Games, Jones Cup and FIBA World Championship, among many other awards.

The best part for me was the lower level of the museum.  Several basketball hoops are set up so that all the patrons can shoot around (balls are provided free of charge).  Some of those kids can ball!

My trip to the Hall rekindled my fondness for basketball (it hadn’t been the same for me after Michael Jordan retired).  It also brought back a lot of memories from what I consider the “glory days” of the game.  It was a trip down memory lane.

Yeah, I still got some skills.

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Haunted Decorations (Salem, MA)

There’s something magical about Halloween.  It’s a time when adults can still pretend to be a kid again, even just for one night.  Even the most mature, sober person can forget their responsibilities and relive their carefree days just a little.

For the remainder of the week, I will be posting the remaining photos from my trips to Salem, MA.  In this edition, I am posting photos of the various decorations, some other miscellaneous things and, of course, a few dogs from my travels in Salem.

Salem is known world wide for getting into the spirit of Halloween.  Everywhere you look, there are decorations of the season.

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Besides the vendors selling merchandise there are also games and other fun types of activities.  This particular activity was meant to see if people could maintain eye contact with a complete stranger and possibly make a connection, even on just a platonic level.  It sounds like a good ice breaker to me.  The comments about the activity on the board are very interesting and humorous.

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Salem is also creative in how they tie the season to other causes like this witch who encourages people to keep Salem “wicked” clean.

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Even Witch’s Brew Cafe got into the mix.

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Other stores and attractions, many open only for the Halloween season, decorate for the season.

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Some stores have humorous names without even realizing it.  Of course, this is a name of a hole in a barrel that often contains alcohol.  But, it may have a double meaning..

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This is why Salem is so great.  The people even  get into it.  This resident decorated his or her residency and put out a can for donations for the Lion’s Club.

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This ghostly figure was seen in Salem harbor.

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Salem is also known for its art and not just during the Halloween season.  There is art everywhere it seems.  These paintings on Essex Street portray a mermaid and a fish-type creature.

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The dogs in Salem also get into the Halloween spirit.  It’s hard to tell from a front view but Astro had tarantulas drawn on his fur.

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Molly was quite the cute pumpkin.

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Oz was dressed as a Cadaver dog for Halloween.

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I will continue my Halloween in Salem themed photoblogs throughout the week.  Thank you for stopping by and Happy Halloween!

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Amrita Island (Bourne, MA)

After spending the morning at the Cape Cod Canal, it was time for the next stop on my day trip.  The next leg of my Cape weekend tour was spent at the hidden jewel of Bourne; Amrita Island. 

To view the blog about the first leg of my Cape Cod trip check out my blog about the Cape Cod Canal.

An island in the town of Bourne, Amrita Island is one of the lesser known islands of Cape Cod.  The reason many people may not know about this island is because it looks like any other side street in the area.  The only indication there may be an island there is an inconspicuous sign you could easily miss unless you were looking for it.

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Amrita Island is connected to Cataumet (the village within Bourne where Amrita Island is located) by an ornate, albeit short, stone bridge.

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There are spectacular views from the bridge.

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But, to get the best views, you have to get off the bridge and walk around the surrounding area

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There is also an abundance of plant life and pretty trees.

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There is also a variety of wildlife on Amrita Island.  Fish, ducks and birds are abundant onthe island. The fish were swarming in a circle for some reason.

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I also met Hadley, a resident of the island.

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I will be posting the next installment of my Cape Cod trip later this weekend.  Stay tuned!

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Cape Cod Canal (Buzzards Bay, MA)

One last summer weekend.  One last chance to soak up the dwindling magic of summer.  What better way to laze away the remaining summer bliss than at the iconic Cape Cod Canal?

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The canal stretches for 7 miles for Sandwich, MA, to Buzzards Bay.  There are several entrances to the canal.  We chose the entrance near the end of the canal at Buzzards Bay.

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The views at the canal are one of the main attractions.

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Fishermen and fisher women dot the rocky edges of the canal and it is a popular starting point for bikers, runners and walkers.  The canal also is a bustling point for ships carrying a variety of cargo, particularly since it is so close to the Massachusetts Maritime Academy.  I caught one as it passed under the railroad bridge.

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Ducks and seagulls also find the canal too be a fun place to enjoy the summer.

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This lady thought I was spying on her.

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Well, until next summer…I’ll meet you at the canal.

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