Category Archives: flowers

Look Park (Florence, MA)

Date Of Visit: September 15, 2018

Location: 298 Main St, Florence (Northampton), MA

Hours: 7 a.m. until dusk

Cost:

January 1-March 31
No charge on weekdays; $5 on weekends

April 1-Columbus Day Weekend
$7 on weekdays; $9 on weekends, holidays

After Columbus Day Weekend-December 31
$3 on weekdays; $5 on weekends

Seasonal passes and bracelets can also be purchased

There are additional modest fees for riding the steam train, renting pavilions and playing mini golf.

Parking: There are several parking areas for about a couple hundred cars.

Park Size/Difficulty: 150 acres/easy

Handicapped Accessible: Yes

Dog Friendly: Yes

Website: Look Memorial Park

Highlights:

tennis courts, waterfall, family friendly, train, athletic fields, pond, bridges, wildlife, trees, water spray park, flowers, zoo, playgrounds,mini golf course, garden house

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If you’re looking for a fun time look no further than Look Park in Florence (a village in Northampton), MA.

Although it has so much to offer from athletic fields to tennis courts to a train that carries visitors throughout the park, Look Park is one of the more overlooked parks in western MA.  OK, I’ll stop with the word play now.

One of the first things that will catch your eye is the water fountain at Look Park. The fountain which is located along the entrance to the park, has multicolored tiles in the background and Frank Newhall Look Memorial Park inscribed on the concrete wall.

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Frank Newhall Look, the person who the park is named after, was the chief executive of the Prophylactic Brush Company, Florence, from 1877 to 1911.  His wife, Fannie Burr Look, provided the land, money to develop the land and a trust fund for future upkeep and maintenance.  No tax payers money is used for the upkeep of the park.  Entry fees, donations and proceeds from their concession concessions enabl the Board of Trustees to keep the park open and ensure tax payer money is not used to keep the park running.

One of the treasures of the park are the trees and flowers.  Many of these trees like those shown below have tags or signs on or near them stating the name of the tree and some facts about them.

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This tree which seems to have two trees (stems) growing out of the same trunk (known as codominant stems), is a Paper Birch White Birch tree.  The sign on the tree states that native Americans used the birch from this type of tree which can grow to as much as 70 feet, to make their lightweight birchbark canoes.

In fact, there are beautiful plants and trees throughout the park.

Tall trees abound in the park.  To get some perspective of just how tall these trees are, take a look at this man walking by this tree.

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This tree was dedicated to Grace and Iris.

But, Look Park has much more than flowers and trees.  There is also a pond and a stream that runs through the park

Mill River runs parallel to the park.

There is also a variety of wildlife at the park.  Who knew geese knew how to read signs!

In addition to the animals you may see roaming the park, there are also animals in the Christenson Zoo.  Christenson Zoo is more of a sanctuary than a zoo.  All of the raptors in the zoo have been rescued and would not be able to survive in the wild due to their injuries.

One of my favorite parts of the park are the bridges.  The covered bridges.

Birdhouses that look like actual houses are located in the park.

Another one of the cool features at the park is the steamer train that takes passengers in a loop around the park.

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If you don’t like train rides, you can go on this train slide.

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Or, give the pedal boats a try.

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Pavilions can also be rented for large parties.

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One of the other family friendly attractions at the park, the water spray park, was not working during my visit possibly because it was late in the summer season.

There are historic reminders at the park.  A sign along one of the trails shows how high the waters crested to during the hurricane of 1938.  It’s hard to imagine the water being so high!

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Dogs are welcome at Look Park.  The level trails and open spaces at Look Park are sure to make any dog happy.  I met two of these happy dogs during my visit.

Beau is a 4 and a half year old Pyranese.

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Clyde is a 3 year old hound mix.

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Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway Part I (Boston, MA)

Dates Of Visits: August 12, 13, 18, 19, 2018

Location: Various locations in Boston, MA

Hours: Open daily, 7 a.m. until 11 p.m.

Cost: Free

Parking: there is some street parking available at some parts of the Greenway (particularly on Atlantic Ave) and several parking garages in the area.  There are also several MBTA train stations within walking distance to the Greenway such as South Station

Trail Size/Difficulty: 15 acres, 1.5 miles/easy

Handicapped Accessible: Yes

Dog Friendly: Yes

Highlights: flowers,scenic,dog friendly, historic

Websites: Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway

Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway Overview

Good Historical Overview Of The Greenway Project

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Like it or not, the morning and evening temperatures are beginning to plummet and the days are growing shorter.  Since I only have a short window to visit some of the more interesting outdoor venues for this season, I finally made it out to Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway.

Named after the matriarch of the Kennedy family, the Greenway has a wide variety of attractions.  From a carousel to works of to the beautiful gardens and flowers along the trail, the Greenway has something for everyone.

Since there is so much to see and photograph along the Greenway, I decided to break up this blog series into three parts.  The first part, which I will post today, is going to include the gardens and flowers at the Rose Kennedy Greenway.  Part 2 will include the art on the Greenway and Part 3 will include the entertainment along the Greenway.  And, of course, there will be dogs included in each post as well!

Once upon a time, specially from 1959 when the elevated John F Fitzgerald Kennedy-Central Artery construction ended and 1981 when the “Big Dig” (an underground tunnel project) began, an elevated highway spanned what is now the Greenway.  Fun fact: some of the dirt from the “Big Dig” tunnel project was used to resurface Spectacle Island in Boston Harbor.

The first thing you’ll notice on the Greenway, particularly during the spring and summer, are the bright, beautiful plants and flowers.

The gardens and flowers along the Greenway are all treated organically so people do not have to worry about their children and pets being affected by any pesticides and make the flowers look beautiful.

There are pollinators along the Greenway.  The pollinators, which were installed in 2016, are designed to attract and support pollinator species.  Since pollinating insects are important to all seed propagated plants, the pollinators provide an important role in the growth of the plants.

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The Greenway also has a garden where they grow edible fruits and vegetables such as bluberries.  The blueberries and other fruits and vegetables are a big hit with the birds.

I especially like how the buildings provide such a stark contrast to the beauty of the plants and flowers.

In fact, the buildings are so impressive I couldn’t help but take a few photos of the buildings as well.

Although it is only 1.5 miles long, the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway is full of surprises and special areas such as “Mothers’ Walk.”

Along the The Mothers’ Walk are engraved bricks with the names of loved ones.  For a measley $500 donation people could have names inscribed on bricks along the walk.

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Along the wall there is an inscription that reads, “To all who have cared, encouraged, inspired, laughed and loved, this Mothers’ Walk is dedicated to you and to those who have supported this beautiful Greenway.

There is also a park along the Greenway called The Carolyn Lynch Garden.  The garden was dedicated in Summer 2018 to Carolyn Hoff Lynch, an avid gardener and a leading philanthropist, who passed away in 2015.  The garden is bursting with colors in the spring and summer and has some scenic views.

Along Carolyn Lynch Park and other parts of the Greenway you will find historic events summarized on a timeline about the area.  The dates and events vary depending on where the timeline along the fences appear.  For instance in the part of the Greenway located in the North End, there are dates of events that took place in that area and quotes from people in the area.

The Greenway is a wonderful place to take your leashed pet.  Below are a few of the dogs I saw on the Greenway.

Tommy is a 6 year old Boxer, Labrador, Retriever, Beagle mix rescue dog.  Tommy is a social media star.  You can find him at bostondogtommy on Instagram.

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Jack is a 12 year old Pomeranian.

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Stayed Tuned for Part II coming soon!


Friday The 13th (Salem, MA)

Dates Of Visit: July 13 & 14, 2018

Location: Salem, MA

Handicapped Accessible: Yes

Dog Friendly: Yes

Highlights: architecture, dogs, flower boxes

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What is a better place to spend Friday the 13th than Salem, MA?  Well, maybe Camp Crystal Lake would be more appropriate.  But, I’m not stepping one foot there!

I actually spent the weekend in Salem and it was not at all scary during my visit.  In fact, it was downright peaceful.

The city of Salem was holding their annual window box competition that was judged at the end of July by the Salem Garden Club.  Roughly 40 people compete.   I was able to capture some of the prettier flower boxes.  I am not sure if all or any of these flower boxes were involved in the competition.  But, all of the window boxes and other flower baskets definitely looked like winners to me.

As an aside, Salem’s buildings are not always straight which can make photographing them difficult.  It’snot just an excuse for the photographer.  Well, maybe a little.  But, due to soil erosion and the age of some of the buildings in the area, the buildings have shifted.  So, while a window may look straight, the building may, in fact, not be.

I didn’t want to spend the entire day photographing the usual sites.  Well, maybe I did include a few popular places in this post.  But, I mostly wanted to get some photos of buildings that don’t get as much attention like the Essex Bank Building (built by Charles Bulfinch in 1811).

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And the Stepping Stone Inn (built in 1933).

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This is the back side of the Old Town Hall in Salem.  You may recall seeing this building in the Hocus Pocus movie athough it may look more familiar from the front.  It is the oldest municipal building in Massachusetts dating back to 1816.  It is now used to display art and historical exhibits.  The second floor of the building, called Great Hall, has always been used as a public hall, and contained Town offices until 1837.

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Located across from historic Derby Wharf, the Custom House has a

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The eagle on top of the house is actually a replica of the original.  The original eagle was painted black during the second World War so that it would not be easily detected by any foreign fighters should they attack us on U.S. soil.

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Built in 1810 for the prominent Salem merchant Benjamin Crowninshied, The Home For Aged Women (it now operates as the Brookhouse Home) is another one of the more majestic buildings on Derby St.  The Brookhouse Home continues to offer assisted living and support to senior women

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There’s always a feeling of Halloween in the air in Salem as these doors and windows show.  After all, it’s never too early to count down the days until Halloween.

One of the more popular places in Salem, especially during Halloween, the Crow Haven Corner is Salem’s oldest witch shop.  Make sure to stop by the next time you’re in the area!

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The Salem Witch Museum from a different angle.  I love the angles and shapes of the wall and windows.

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These doors on an apartment complex on Derby St caught my attention.  They both seemed to keep the old style of Salem in their designs.

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One of the really cool things about Salem are the old buildings that have survived.  While the offices and stores are different than the what was originally housed there, the structures are still the same.

This building, where Rockafella’s restaurant is now located, was used as the first meeting house in Salem from 1634 to 1673.  Prior to that, as the sign suggests, it was used for worship in July and August of 1629.

The sign for Daniel Low & Co is a sign from a store which operated on Washington St.  It operated from 1874 until 1995.

Named after Aaron Waite and Jerathmiel Peirce, the Salem Maritime Museum store on Derby Street sells wares associated with your trip to Salem.  There are also helpful park rangers there to help you during your visit.

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Dogs weren’t afraid to venture out to Salem on the 13th either.

Luna is a 6 month old liver pepper mini Schnauzer.

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Bella is a 14 year old American Pitbull Terrier.

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Long Hill (Beverly, MA)

Dates of Visits: June 17, 2018 and July 13, 2018

Location: 572 Essex St, Beverly, MA (about 30 minutes northeast of Boston,MA)

Hours: Gardens are open year-round, daily, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Allow a minimum of 1½ hours. Peak bloom in May and June. Guided tours are offered in spring, summer, and fall and by appt.

Cost: Free

Parking: There is ample parking at the end of the entrance of the park to the left of the road

Trail Size/Difficulty: 1.2 mile loop, easy to slightly moderate in some areas

Handicapped Accessible: Yes, the estate and the grounds of the estate are accessible, although the trails may not be accessible to some people

Dog Friendly: Yes

Websites: Long Hill Trustees Website

Long Hill Facebook page

Maps: Map of Long Hill Gardens

Long Hill Trail Map

Highlights: gardens, trails, wildlife, farm, Long Hill estate, family friendly, children’s garden

Fun Facts:

  • The estate located at Long Hill was purchased by former Atlantic Monthly editor Ellery Sedgwick
  • The estate is available for weddings and other events
  • The trustees have partnered with the Food Project to give children the opportunity to learn about sustainable agricultural practices

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So, it’s the middle of July already. How did that happen?

After a brief heatwave, the weather has improved and it has been the perfect weather for a walk and photo session at Long Hill. In fact, I liked it so much I went twice.

Long Hill is teeming with flowers and plant life, especially this time of the year.

Adjacent to the flower gardens is what appears to be a storage area where they keep flowers to be planted at a later time.

There are also several flower beds and a well maintained garden next to the main parking area.

There are a variety of trees at Long Hill. Many of them have the name of the tree posted on them.

But, there is only one truly majestic tree at Long Hill; the tree standing in front of the estate at Long Hill.

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This dramatic copper beech was planted by the estate owner Mabel Sedgwick. The twin trunks of the tree seem to hug each other and merge together. In fact, legend holds that two trees were planted in the same hole and then they grew together.

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The grounds of the estate are well manicured with statues and other decorative items scattered around. The grounds of the house consist of six acres of gardens, including formal, geometric outdoor “rooms.” The sections or “rooms” include a variety of flowers such as handkerchief trees, southern magnolias and other plants that aren’t typically seen this far north.

The grounds are also a wonderful place to have a picnic with your family as this family did with their little one. Their little one was standing behind the tree when the photo was taken.

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As if all this wasn’t enough, there is also a 1.2 mile trail with mostly gentle with some moderate inclines. You can find many birds, garter snakes, frog and even a few chipmunks along the way.

If you get tired along the way don’t worry. There are chairs for you to sit.

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There are certain sounds you expect to hear while hiking along a trail. A bird squawking. A frog croaking or even a chipmunk chirping. These are all normal sounds you may hear along the trail. But, a rooster crowing? Yes, there is a small farm at Long Hill.

Next to the farm is a community outreach program called The Food Project to teach children how to grow sustainable foods, conserve and even pick their own fruit and vegetables.

Long Hill is a dog friendly park (technically, you may be asked to register your pet and sign some forms beforehand).

During my visits I saw a number of cute dogs.

Brutus is a 5 year old Doberman.

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Remy is a 3 year old Jack Russell Terrier mix.

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Whiskey is a 5 year old mixed breed dog.

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The Old Drake Hill Flower Bridge (Simsbury, CT)

Date Of Visit: September 10, 2017

Location: 1 Old Bridge Rd, Simsbury, CT (about half an hour northwest of Hartford, CT)

Hours: Available 24 hours a day

Cost: Free (but donations are appreciated)

Parking: There is room for about a dozen or so cars in the parking lot off Old Bridge Rd

Handicapped Accessible: No, There are some poles at the entrance to the bridge to prevent vehicles from driving onto the bridge and I am not sure if wheelchairs could get past them (see photo below).

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Dog Friendly: Yes

Highlights: flowers strategically placed on a bridge, scenic, historical landmark

Website: Old Drake Hill Flower Bridge

Tips:

  • parking is located on located on Old Bridge Rd off Drake Hill Rd.  There’s no parking located at the entrance by Riverside Rd
  • popular place for weddings, engagements and portrait photography

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There’s more than one “bridge of flowers” in New England.

Inspired by the Bridge Of Flowers in Shelburne, MA, the Old Drake Bridge Of Flowers, is by no means as long or as flowery as the Bridge Of Flowers in Shelburne, MA.  Yet, what it lacks in length and variety of flowers it makes up for in charm.

Each panel of the bridge is decorated with various flowers.  The bridge has 32 baskets and 48 boxes, some of which were built and added by an Eagle Scout, filled with flowers of an array of colors. The flowers bloom from late May to October.

During my visit, I met a woman who stops by every other day to water, trim and keep after the plants.  Clearly, she’s doing a wonderful job.

The bridge, originally built in 1892,  is an example of 19th century metal-truss bridge construction.  It spans 183 feet and includes a 12-foot roadway suspended 18 feet over Farmington River.  And it has been much traveled over the years.

The Old Drake Flower Bridge was originally built to be a one lane, one way bridge for vehicular traffic.  It was later replaced by a 2 lane bridge in 1992.  Finally, in 1995, it was restored as a pedestrian bridge.   It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1984

There are also plants and flowers by the sides of  each entrance to the bridge.

At the entrance to the bridge, off to the left side, there is a memorial dedicated to the original bridge (the Weatogue Bridge) that was built there before it was replaced by the Old Drake Flower Bridge.

The inscription on the historical marker reads reads:

A toll bridge was built here 
in 1734 by order of 
the General Assembly 
it was the first 
highway bridge across 
the Farmington River

The Old Flower Bridge is a popular place for weddings, portrait photography shoots and engagements.  In fact, I turned around from the parking lot the first day I went there because there was a wedding or wedding shoot taking place and I didn’t want to disrupt them.  The second day I went I ran into a couple who had just gotten engaged.  The beaming couple asked me to take their photo and went on their merry way of future bliss.

The Old Flower Bridge is dog friendly.

Lisa (on the right) is a 5 year old Havanese.  I love seeing how happy and proud dog guardians are in their photos.

Tucker Jones is a 2 year old Corgi.

Leila is a 9 year old Bernese and Beagle mix.

Below is a link to The Flash Lady Photography.  The Flash Lady Photography conducted an engagement photo shoot on the bridge in 2015.  You may notice many of the flowers are not on the bridge when these photos were taken as it was the end of October when the photos were taken.  I hope they’re both very happy now!

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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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