Category Archives: flowers

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 section 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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Bare Cove Park (Hingham, MA)

 

Dates Of Visit: July 28 & 30, 2017

Location: Bare Cove Park Drive, Hingham, MA (about 20 minutes south of Boston)

Hours: open daily, sunrise to sunset

Cost: Free

Parking: There are several parking areas.  The main parking area on Bare Cove Park Drive has room for about 40-50 vehicles

Trail Size/Difficulty: 484 acres, easy trails

Handicapped Accessible: Yes

Dog Friendly: Yes

Fitbit stats: 3:16, 985 calories, 10,069 steps, 4.21 miles

Highlights: scenic, water, family friendly, dock house with historical military items, wildlife

Website: Bare Cove Park

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I made two visits to Bare Cove Park.  The first time I visited the park was July 28th.  I got there late on the 28th and the lighting was poor.  So, I stopped by two days later, Sunday, July 30.

As you can see by the photos, there are some beautiful sunsets at Bear Cove.  Unfortunately, the lighting wasn’t very good, though.

 

Once the site of a U.S. Naval depot (more on this later), Bare Cove Park now is the home to a variety of wildlife.  I found many birds during my visit.  There are also supposed to be fox, deer and other animals at the park.  I didn’t see any of them.  But, I did see evidence of them.

If you look closely at the little bird photo at the end, the bird has his or her lunch.

 

There was a crisp pre-autumn chill in the air when I made my way to Bare Cove Park.  It reminded me of the mornings you whittle away before the college and pro football games start.  But, I’d rather spend my day at Bare Cove anytime.

The views are simply amazing.

 

The thing that stood out to me mostly are the variety of pretty trees and flowers at the park.

 

Bare Cove is only 484 acres and it’s very easy to get around, even without a map of the park.  Trust me, I didn’t even get lost and I always get lost.  The trails are easy with hardly any inclines and they are mostly paved if you stay on the main trail.

 

Because of its proximity to Boston, Hingham was considered an important location for the military to produce ammunition and other supplies during World War II.  The magazines, or manufacturing  buildings, ran 24 hours, 7 days a week and employed thousands of people at is peak.

The dock house (only open Sunday from 12-2) has a variety of items from World War II that were manufactured in this very same area.

 

There are also two memorials outside of the dockchouse as well as other items from the days of the hey day at Bare Cove.  The ammunition depot was closed in the early 1970’s.

The memorial to the left, lying vertically on the ground, is dedicated to the men and women who worked at the ammunition depot during World War i, World War II and the Korean Conflict.

The memorial to the right standing up is dedicated to naval crew members who were lost when some ammunition exploded on a ship they were loading.

 

While dogs are allowed at Bare Cove the park is not considered a “dog park” per se.  All dogs are expected to be leashed or respond immediately to voice commands.  In my visits there all of these dogs fit into both or either category.

Here are a few of the cute four legged visitors at Bare Cove that I ran into during my visits.

Hickory is a 7 year old tree walking coon hound.

 

Bronn, named after a Games Of Throne charcater, is a 9 month old Newfie.  His mommy was teaching to fetch.

 

Gracie is a super friendly 2 year old pitbull.

 

Tundra (on the left), a 2 year old Golden Retriever, just got finished with his swim and was getting ready to go home.  His sibling, Piper (on the right), didn’t want to leave..

 

During my first visit, on the 28th of July, I met a very nice lady with three dogs.

America is a 10 year old mixed breed dog who got that name because the dog is a mix of many breeds, kind of like how America is a mix of all kinds of people.

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Sophia is a 6 year old chihuahua.

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Lily is a 10 year old Lab and Collie mix.

 

 

Bruiser is a 6 year old part pitbull.

 

Below is a video of fireflies at Bare Cove Park.  The lack of light and various animal aand bird noises give it a little bit of a spooky feel.

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Today’s featured link is a link to a 30 minute documentary that explains the history of Bear Cove Park.  The documentary was put together by Scott McMillan, the very same man who gave me a detailed tour of the dockhouse.

 


Buttonwood Farm (Griswold, CT)

 

Date Of Visit: July 22, 2017

Location: 473 Shetucket Turnpike, Griswold, CT

Cost: Free

Hours:

March 1 – October 30

Current Hours
Mon – Fri
 12pm–9pm
Sat – Sun 11:30am–9pm

Parking: There are about 50 parking spots in the parking lot.  When they are busy, you can park on the side of the busy street (as I had to)

Handicapped Accessible:

Dog Friendly: Yes

Highlights: ice cream shoppe, sunflowers (seasonally), family friendly, cows

Website: Buttonwood Farm

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Once the site of a dairy farm, Buttonwood Farm is so much more now.  Not only do they have a sunflower garden with a maze and a famous ice cream shoppe, they also are the site of one of the more popular charity events each year.

Funny thing is I didn’t find one button the entire time I was there.

During my visit, the sunflowers were in bloom and Buttonwood Farm was holding a fundraiser for their Sunflowers For Wishes charity.

 

 

The dirt trails in the sunflower maze are easy to navigate.  The path is only about half a mile long.  Due to the showy outer ray petals of the sunflowers, bees and other insects, like this beetle, are attracted to the nectar and pollen.

 

 

In addition to the sunflowers, people (big and small) could ride their cow train or tractor tour.  All proceeds, of course, went to the charity.

 

 

At the end of the sunflower maze, there is a hill on a short incline where you can view the sunflowers.

 

There were also some performers at the top off the hill.  A man was playing music and there was a local painter, Jacqueline Jones, who was preparing to paint the sunflower garden.

 

Since it was a charity event, there were charitable organizations like the “Make A Wish” foundation.  They had my dream car there!

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The cows at Buttonwood are so docile and beautiful.

 

Sunflowers aren’t just for people.  Dogs also like to walk along the sunflower maze.

 

Tunken (on the left) is an 8 year old Chocolate Lab mix and Duncan (On the right) is a 3 legged Harrier, fox and hound mix

 

Alie is a 12 year old Mini Pinscher.

 

Ian is a 5 month old Golden Retriever who is in training to be a service guide dog.

Below is a video of the maze at the sunflower garden.  What struck me is, despite the large crowd that was there, how peaceful and quiet the place seemed.  It seems like a wonderful place to go and just have some peace and quiet.

Today’s featured website is Jacqueline Jones’ Paintings From The Open Air.  Jackie was painting a portrait of the sunflower garden during my visit.  You can find her painting of the sunflower garden on her website.

Based out of New Haven, CT, Jackie specializes in painting the nature of the New England area.  She also enjoys painting in other areas outside of New England such as the Colorado and New York areas.  Jackie has also won a variety of awards and has studied with some of the accomplished artists in the New England area.

 


Spring Bulb Show (The Botanic Garden of Smith College, Northampton, MA)

Dates Of Event: March 4 – March 19, 2017 (photos taken March 4)

Location: The Botanic Garden of Smith College, 16 College Lane, Northampton, MA

Hours: 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM daily.
Friday, Saturday and Sunday extended hours 10:00 AM – 8:00 PM (members get in earlier at 9 .a.m)

Cost: Free ( a $5 donation is suggested)

Parking: unmetered parking is available on College Lane and additional parking is available throughout Northampton

Handicapped Accessible: Yes, from their website: There is one designated handicapped parking space in front of the Lyman Plant House. Two of the three front entrances to the Lyman Plant House and Conservatory are wheelchair accessible and the restrooms are accessible. There is a lift in the front of the building that goes between the lower level Church Exhibition Gallery and the Reception area. All but one of the greenhouses (the Fern House) are accessible.

Highlights: Avariety of flowers such as crocuses, hyacinths, narcissi, irises, lilies and tulips in full bloom or nearly in bloom at the Botanic garden of Smith College

Web Site: The Botanic Garden of Smith College

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Believe it or not, spring, for most if us, is right around the corner.  Soon enough, drab, colorless soil and grass and dead flowers and plant life will be replaced with the vibrant colors of spring and summer.

As an early celebration of the spring season, the Botanic Garden of Smith College is showcasing a colorful array of flowers as part of their Spring Bulb Show (which ironically ends the day before the Vernal Spring buds, get it?) .

There were a wide variety of flowers of display and I won’t even try to name or describe all of them, except to sayy they were very pretty.

The gaarden used works of art such as paintings and statues to highlight the beauty of the flowers.  It was very well done and it brought out the colors of the flowers.

The people at the Botanic garden were kind enough to open the rest of the garden to us which showcased an impressive field of flowers and trees.

I also spotted a frog, fish and some other mysterious faces at the garden.

 

We also saw Kaezli, a beautiful 4 year old Burnese Mountain Dog, outside the Botanic garden.

Below is a video of a plant that closes when it feels pressure or weight and a video of a waterfall at the garden.


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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