Category Archives: family friendly

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

IMG_3873

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

Please like me on Facebook.


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.

 

IMG_0030

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.

IMG_0021

 

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

IMG_9847

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

IMG_9913

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

IMG_9935

Lola is a 2 year old mini Pincher Chihuahua.

IMG_9711

Fiona is a 8 month old Maltese Yorkie.

IMG_9700

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!

 

Please connect with me on Facebook to see other fun stuff not included in this blog!

 


Wickham Park (Manchester, CT)

Date Of Visit: May 30, 2017

Location: 1814 Tolland St, Manchester, CT

The address on the website is for the back entrance which is locked   Do not enter this address into your GPS.  The best way to go is to follow the instructions on their website or try using the address listed above.  I had to pull into a Dunkin’ Donuts to get directions.

There is also limited free parking on a side street (Vernon Rd)

Cost: $5 per car

Hours: open daily, sunrise to sunset

Park Size/Trail Difficulty: 250 acres/easy trails with some gentle inclines

Handicapped Accessible: Yes.

Dog Friendly: Yes

Highlights: scenic views, ponds, wetlands, wildlife, art, well maintained grounds, disc-golf field, bird sanctuary, nature center, gardens, flowers,hiking trails, picnic areas, ample parking

Website: Wickham Park

Map of Wickham Park: Map Of Wickham Park

IMG_8017

Wickham Park has a little a bit of everything for everyone.  There are gardens, wetlands and hiking trails for the nature lover.  There is a nature center and bird sanctuary for animal lovers to learn more about the inhabitants of the grounds.  There is also a play area for children and a beautiful scenic outlook for people to sit and enjoys beautiful views of the Hartford area.  There’s even tennis courts, pavilions and a disc golf field.  It is also one of the most beautiful parks I have visited (I know – I say that about all of the parks I visit).

If you have limited time or you don’t want to walk around too much, I would suggest going to Lot B first.  But, you can drive from lot to lot so tall of the areas of he park are very accessible.

Lot B is across from the Japanese themed Lotus Gardens, Irish Garden and other natural beauties.

There are also pretty structures and statues along the paths.

Knot Garden has a maze (it’s not as easy as it looks), statues and beautiful flowers.

There is a wide variety of birds, mammals and other animals at Wickham Park.

I caught this bird taking a dust bath.

These frogs were busy.  So I left them to their privacy, as much as there is at a park.

DSC_0417

There is also a bird sanctuary at Wickham.  All of the birds at the sanctuary were either injured or unable to survive in the wild on their own.  And, it looks like more are on their way.

Not all of the animals at the sanctuary were birds.  This sneaky fella found a way to score some choice feed.

DSC_0501

There is also a fun and educational nature next to a playground.  The animals are the nature center were much easier to photograph.

Wickham Park also offers stunning views of the Hartford and surrounding area.

There is also a disc golf field and easy to moderate hiking trails.

Wickham is worth the visit just for the art and architecture and nature alone.  The trails and gardens are just an added bonus.

Dogs are allowed at Wickham Park.  I was able to click a few photos of Holly as she hunted for a rabbit.

The only bad thing about my trip to Wickham Park was getting there.  The website has the address listed as 1329 Middle Turnpike West, Manchester, CT.  This is the back entrance and there was a gate preventing entry this way.  The main entrance is actually on Tolland St.

If you do use the address on their website (1329 Middle Turnpike West, Manchester, CT), to get to Wickham, drive west onto Burnside Ave and take a right onto Long Hill Drive (at a set of lights after about a mile (a Dunkin’ Donuts and strip mall will be on your left).  Then, take the next right onto Tolland St. or Tolland Turnpike.  The main entrance to Tolland Park will be on the right after about a mile.

Please connect with me on Facebook to see more fun stuff that I do not include on my blog!


Quincy Quarries Reservation (West Quincy, MA)

Date Of Visit: April 29, 2017

Location: 77 Ricciuti Drive, West Quincy, MA

Hours: Open daily, sunrise to sunset

Cost: Free

Parking: There is a lot that accommodates about 50 cars next to the reservation.  It fills up quickly on nice days.  I got the very last spot when I went in the morning.

Dog Friendly: Yes

Handicapped Accessible: Yes

Highlights: rocks for climbers to practice on, easy, gentle trails, graffiti, family friendly, scenic views

Website: Quincy Quarries Reservation

Trail and Rock Climbing Map: Quincy Quarries Rock Climbing And Trail Map

IMG_3841

Once the site for swimmers and divers, Quincy Quarry is now a haven for rock climbers, dogs and graffiti artists.

Quincy Quarries Reservation (or as we used to call it “The Quarries”) was originally built in 1825 as a large scale quarry industry,  Over the years, however, it has gone through some dramatic changes.

Fun fact: stones from the quarry were used to as the main source of stone for the Bunker Hill monument in Charlestown.

The grassy fields and paves walkways used to be the site of a quarry industry.  And water took up most off the area that is now grass and concrete.  Business deals (a golf course is located just past where the quarry industries once stood) and a slew of deaths (mostly from diving into the water and some under more mysterious circumstances) at the quarry sparked the debate to fill in the quarries and use the land for business purposes.  According to the New York Times, at least 19 people have died there (and who knows how many cars and other objects lied at the bottom of the water). In fact, a post or series of posts could be dedicated to the controversial and mysterious past of the area.  So, the quarry was drained in most parts and the area was made into a walking park.

So, where did all the dirt come from to fill in the once watery quarry?  Remember he “Big Dig”?  Yup, that dirt was used to fill in the drained quarry.  There is still some water in the quarry.  But, people don’t jump in it anymore.  Not only is it very dirty, it is seemingly much more shallow and there is much less of it.

After the last quarry closed in 1963, the area was dormant except for the people, mostly younger kids, who enjoyed diving off the precipitous rocks.

It’s hard to believe this area was mostly just granite and water a few decades ago.

Rocks, paths and grass cover what was once water.

Boy have times changed,  The very same quarry that my father used to dive in have largely been filled in and paved over or have become fields.  And, instead of jumping off the quarry, people climb up them.

This particular rock was 60 feet high and the path to the top was pretty narrow.  But, I made it up.

The groups of climbers all work together to ensure their ascent is a safe one and cheers erupt from the other climbers whenever anyone makes it up.

You can learn a lot when you go on photo shoots.  I’ll never complain about my physical obstacles again after watching this climber.

The climbing teams, and it is a team effort, go through great efforts to ensure each climb is safe.  The people go over the procedures and safety protocols before each climb.  Each person has a role whether it is the person holding onto the line, the device keeping the person suspended or the climber.  Still, it’s hard to believe one rope or one board could be the difference between success and failure (although there are other backup safety measures as well).  It is very safe if you take the correct measures, though.

Its a long way down.

IMG_3395

The funny thing is I am not exactly fond of heights.  But, whenever I have my camera with me I get so focused on what I am doing and I don’t really think of the risks as much as getting a good photo.

The views from the rocks are impressive, the skyline of Boston being the highlight of the various views.  You can also check on the traffic into Boston from that rock before you leave.

There are several rocks at Quincy Quarry that people use to climb, draw on and just rest on.

The graffiti is one of the first things you will notice upon arriving at the Quincy Quarry Reservation.  In fact, it seems to be encouraged.

There was also this creative and romantic proposal scrawled against one of the rocks.

IMG_3800

There is also abundant wildlife at Quincy Quarry Reservation.  Although they weren’t there (or they were hiding) during my visit, coyotes and deer are known to inhabit the area.  I only came across a frog who thought he was hiding from me

DSC_0246

a chipmunk

DSC_0153

and various birds

I also saw lots of dogs at Quincy Quarry.

Baxter is a 2 year old Border Collie.  He may have three legs.  But, he is just as beautiful and sweet, if not more, as any other dog I saw that day.

Maddie is a 9 year old mixed shepherd.  But, hey, how did she get up there!?

Here is a video from YouTube to give you a sense of how different the quarry looked and just how popular of a spot it was.

video courtesy of Sean Hastings

Please follow me on Facebook to connect with me and view other photos , video and content not shared on my blog!

 

 


Kite Day (Cogswell’s Grant, Essex, MA)

Date Of Event: April 22, 2017

Location: Cogswell’s Grant, 60 Spring St, Essex, MA

Dog Friendly: Yes

Handicapped Accessible: Yes

Highlights: kites, bubbles, family friendly

Website: Cogswell’s Grant

 

Despite the wet and cold weather, it is kite flying season in New England.   But, would a little rain stop hardy New Englanders?  No, the rain and brisk temperature didn’t deter these true kite flying aficionados.

KONE (Kites Over New England) hosted the event at Cogswell’s Grant in Essex, MA and there were kites of all types flying through the air.  Kites in the shape of pirate ships or with Batman and Frozen (a particularly appropriate kite for that day) figures on them are a few of the types of kites that soared through the air.

Some unlucky kite flyers got their kites stuck in the trees.  But, the helpful staff at Cogswell’s helped untangle them.

Kite flyers of all ages enjoyed their time at Cogswell’s Grant.

Some of the visitors had more fun popping the bubbles being made by the bubble man.

Tessa, a 7 year old all white German Shepherd, was more interested fetching her stick.

KONE hosts several “kite days” in New England throughout the year and I hope to attend a kite day later when the weather is better!


TICA Cat Show (Crowne Point Plaza, Natick, MA)

 

Dates Of Event: February 18, 2017 – February 19

Location: Crowne Point Plaza, 1360 Worcester St, Natick, MA, 01760 (about an hour west of Boston)

Hours: 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Cost: Free

Parking: Ample free parking is available in the parking lot of the Crowne Point Plaza hotel

Handicapped Accessible: Yes

Highlights: cats of a variety of breeds being judged

dsc_0181

Talent and obedience shows aren’t just for dogs.

Yes, cats can pose, follow orders (ok they’re more like requests with cats) and be just as cute as dogs if given the chance.  And did they ever get the chance.

The TICA (The International Cat Association) held it’s annual cat show for a wide variety of cats to show off their talents and beauty.  The cramped venue had 6 different stages, more like booths, for these felines to show off their stuff.

The cats were grouped by kittens, household cats, alters (cats that have been neutered or spayed; “altered”), kittens and, of course, championship for the lucky few who get to advance.  I was warmly surprised to see the “household cats” category.

While there were so many cats being shown, I was unable to get all of the cats names, breeds and ages.  Since I am a detail-oriented person and I love giving as much as information as possible I was a little disappointed by this.  I do hope you don’t mind too much.

I did manage to get the name and breed of this cat.  She stood out to me because of her unique fur and markings.

Julia is an 8 month old Selkirk Rex.

dsc_0959

The cats were showcased by the judges.  It was interesting to see how each judge had their own personality and methods of showing off the cats.  Some spoke scarcely and were efficient.  Others spent more time with the cat, explaining their breed and sharing other fun facts.  The woman in the first photo I posted was my favorite judge.

It’s also interesting watching how the cats react to being judged.  Some are pretty chill and don’t seem to mind at all, possibly because they are very used to being judged.  Others…not as much.  However, they were all very compliant and well adjusted, even if you can tell it’s not their favorite activity.  It’s also funny to see how easily they can be distracted by shiny objects and feathers.

The cats were judged on Breed, Color and Division and win ribbons with letters corresponding with the first letter in each category (B for Breed, C for Color and D for Divison).  The Breed (B) ribbon is the most sought after ribbon.

Cats move around a lot.  A lot.  Sometimes it’s easier to get their photos while they are being held or when they are in their cages or crates.

Also, as an aside, the hotel where the show was held, the Crowne Point Plaza hotel, is a very cool hotel, at least the function rooms, bar and lobby seem hip.  I would highly recommend it, even if it just to go tot eh bar for a few drinks and dinner after work or during your vacation and leisure time, if you happen too be in the area.

I still think this cat tops them all.  But, I’m biased.  I do know the name, breed and age of this cat.  Bailey is a 7 year old Long haired domesticate.  Maybe I can enter her next year.

dsc_0396

Below is a video of some of the cats at the show.

 


Amherst Society Railway Society Railroad Hobby Show (Eastern States Exposition Center, West Springfield, MA)

 

Dates Of Event: January 28 and January 29, 2017 (it’s usually held the last week of January or the first week of February each year at the Eastern States Exposition Center)

Location: Eastern States Exposition Center, 1305 Memorial Avenue
West Springfield MA, exhibits are in three buildings (the Mallory Building, the Stroh Building and The Better Living Center, they are all adjacent or connected to each other)

Hours: Saturday, January 28, 2017 – 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Sunday January 29, 2017 – 10:00 am – 5:00 pm

Cost: Adults: $14.00 per day
Children 15 and under: FREE Accompanied by an Adult
EASTERN STATES PARKING: $5.00 per day

Tickets may be purchased online or at the site.  Tickets go on sale a the ticket booths one hour before the event

Parking: Parking is available for a $5 fee (not included in the ticket price) at the Gate 9 entrance.  Get there early as it does fill up

Handicapped Accessible: Yes

Highlights: model trains and train sets, vintage model trains, elaborate train sets, family friendly

dsc_0353

 

The annual Amherst Railway Society Railroad Hobby Show proved trains are not just for children.  The fact of the matter is the hobby show is fun for people of all ages.  In fact, watching some of the older men and women get into their train sets and even get dressed up as conductors is one of the best parts of the show.

dsc_1021

But, the best part is watching the children get excited to play with and watch the trains.

There are many activities at the hobby show geared for children.  There is an instructional event where children can learn how to make their own model trees, a table which has buttons for the children to use to move the trains or turn the lights of the train set off and on.  There is also a tor train that kids can take, with their parents or guardians, that makes a short journey inside the exhibition hall and other fun activities for children as well as a clown.

There were dozens, if not hundreds, of train sets set up.

While the trains were cool, I actually liked looking at the little accessories that people used to dot the landscapes of their sets.

Some of the city and town layouts were pretty elaborate and detailed.

There was also a cool Lego display.  Everything on this display was made out of Lego pieces.

What made this display cool were the hidden characters and objects in the display such as the Beatles crossing Abbey Road (and about to be hit by a truck)

dsc_0149

Batman (and friends)

Some famous vehicles