Category Archives: historical

Christmas In Salem (Salem, MA)

Date Of Visit: December 1, 2018 (event held Friday until Sunday, 11-30 to 12-2, event is usually held the first weekend of December)

Location: Salem, MA

Hours: Most homes were open 10 until 5

Cost: $35 per person (discounts may apply to seniors, military personnel and children)

Parking: There are several parking lots in the area (specifically on Congress St and New Liberty St)

Handicapped Accessible: Some homes are not handicapped accessible because of their old designs

Dog Friendly: No

Website: Christmas In Salem

Highlights: tours of historic homes, decorations

Summary: An annual event that allow s visitors to tour the inside of historic homes throughout the historic Salem, MA, area

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How many times have walked by the many historic homes of Salem, MA, and wondered what they look like on the inside?

The Christmas In Salem event in Salem, MA (held annually the first weekend of Dec) lets you see for yourself.

The 39th annual self-guided tour, which began at the House Of The Seven Gables, included tours of 15 homes.  Some of the homes featured on the tour are historic buildings run by the park service, some are actual home residences.  Tickets can be purchased on the day you visit, or (and I highly recommend it) you can purchase your tickets in advance online.  There is also a trolley that can take you to some of the homes.

One of the perks of the tour was the photography policy was relaxed and photography was allowed at most of the homes and buildings, even in buildings where photography is not usually allowed (namely, the House of the Seven Gables).  In fact, it is one of the reasons I finally made it to the House of the Seven Gables.  They usually don’t allow photography in that building.

As there are so many buildings included in the tour (15 in total, but only 11 that allowed photography), I will give a brief description and background of each building with links for additional information when available. I took a variety of photos from each building, depending on the size and beauty of the building.

As mentioned above, there are 15 homes or buildings (with a “bonus” second tour of your favorite home or building). You may also split up your visits so that you can go on 2 separate days rather than trying to visit all of the homes or buildings in one day.  I will list all of the homes and buildings in the order they are listed on the tour map you are given when you check in at the House of the Seven Gables.

House Of The Seven Gables (houses 1 and 2 on the tour)

House Of The Seven Gables 

The House Of Seven Gables has always been one of my favorite historic homes in all of  new England.  I have always loved the narrow, almost secret passageways and its history.

The House of the Seven Gables has The verse written on the wall in the first photo is from Hawthorne’s work The Marble Faun.  Some of the tour guides, such as the woman shown in the final photograph, read holiday stories or or other related works.  The woman shown in the portrait is Susanna Ingersoll, Hawthorne’s cousin.

There was also a Christmas tree in one of the rooms at the home.  Fun fact (except for those alive at the time): Christmas was banned by the Puritans in the MA colony from 1647 until 1681.  Rather than being a time for celebration and festivity that included some of the pagan origins associated with the holiday, the Puritans thought the holiday should be a time for fasting and humiliation.  Another fun fact: the first Christmas tree, similar to the tree shown below, in America is said to have been in the home of Cambridge resident and Harvard College professor Charles Follen in 1835.

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There was a wine tasting area, as well as a place to view the food and toys of this era.  The food shown below on the far right of the table is a common delicacy of that time, cod.

The outside of the House of the Seven Gables is as pretty as the interior.

Another fun fact: Although he visited his relatives at the Turner-Ingersoll Mansion (aka House of the Seven Gables), Nathaniel Hawthorne never lived in the house.  He was born on Union Street.  But, it may not seem that way when you visit.  The Union Street house where Hawthorne was born was purchased by The House of the Seven Gables Settlement Association and moved to the museum campus in 1958.

This building, located a short walk from the Salem Witch Museum at 14 Mall St, is one of the homes where Hawthorne lived in Salem.  This building is not included on the tour.

The third home on the tour, the Captain William Lane House, and the fourth home, the Josiah Getchell House, did not allow photography.

The fifth home of the tour was the Thomas Mogoun House, 58 Derby St.  As you will notice from the photos from the homes and buildings in the photos is that while they do have the original, or close to the original frame and structure, they were indeed more contemporary inside, unfortunately.  I was hoping to see rustic beds with hay instead of mattresses.  No such luck.

One of the more serene and peaceful places on the tour was the Saint Nicholas Orthodox Church at 64 Forrester St.  A choir of men and women were singing traditional Christmas songs (not contemporary or radio songs of course).  I really could have stayed and just listened to them because of their beautiful voices.  I didn’t take any photos inside of the church and this is actually a photo I took of the church from 2015 when I first began my blog.

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The seventh home on the tour was the Ives-Webb-Whipple House at 1 Forrester St.  This house, which was built originally in 1760, was being shown and is still on the market.

The house was staged very tastefully.

The Captain John Hodges House at 81 Essex St was the 8th home on the tour.

The 9th home on the tour was the Richard Manning House located at 10 1/2 Herbert St.

The 10th building on the tour was the Immaculate Conception Church at 15 Hawthorne Blvd.  Although there was some pretty and interesting architecture and decor in the church, I didn’t take any photos there.

The 11th building on the tour, the Captain Simon Forrester House at, 188 Derby St, and the 12th home, the Benjamin W. Crowninshield House at 180 Derby St, did not allow photography.

Another building I had walked past countless times without visiting until this year (I stopped in during the summer and hope to post that shoot…someday) is the 13th building on the tour, the Salem Custom House at 176 Derby St.  Interestingly, Nathaniel Hawthorne worked here for some time.  He worked on a little book you may have heard of during his tenure there.

The 14th home on the tour, The Derby House at 168 Derby St was not available for tours during my visit.

The 15th and last home on the tour was the Captain Edward Allen Mansion House at 125 Derby St.

Not all of the historic homes are available for tours and the particular homes that are available for tours may change from year to year.  Since many of the homes are fairly small to average size and only so many people can enter a home at one time, the wait can be long to get into some houses. But the homes are all located near each other and the map lists them in a way that is makes them easy to find. I was able to hit each home in about 4 to 5 hours.  If you’re not in the Christmas Spirit, the mix of historical background and Christmas decor is sure to get you into it!

Similar places I have visited:

Witch House (Salem, MA)

Strawbery Banke Museum

 


Faneuil Hall Marketplace (Boston, MA)

 

 

Dates Of Visits: August 18 & 19, 2018

Location: Faneuil Hall, Congress St, Boston, MA

Hours:

Mon – Thurs:
10 am – 9 pm
10 am – 7 pm (Winter)
Fri – Sat:
10 am – 9 pm
Sun:
11 am – 7 pm
Noon – 6 pm (Winter)

Cost: Free

Parking:

There are several parking garages in the area and some street parking.  There are also several routes to take on the MBTA to get there.  Parking, transportation and driving directions can be found here.

Handicapped Accessible: Yes

Dog Friendly: Yes

Highlights: shopping, family friendly activities, dining, statues, historical

Website: Faneuil Hall Marketplace

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Fall has descended upon New England.  Big time.  It seemed like it was just last week that I was sweating in 80 degree weather.  Probably because it was.  Yes fall seems to come with a thud.  But, it also means sweater weather and foliage.  So, it’s a fair trade off as far as I’m concerned.

In an attempt to play catch up before the very busy fall season, I am trying to post as many photo shoots from the summer as I transition into fall.

This particular photo shoot was from Faneuil Hall, the most visited marketplace in Boston.  It is a mix of art, history, entertainment, commerce and more.

Faneuil Hall has a long and storied history.  Since 1743, Faneuil Hall has served as a market and meeting place.  One of the more famous stops on Boston’s Freedom Trail, it has been called the “Cradle Of Liberty.”

Faneuil Hall has two major buildings at the sight.  The first one, Faneuil Hall Marketplace mostly sells wares from a variety of top name shops.

Located behind Faneuil Hall, Quincy Market serves up a variety of foods.  From Thai to tacos, Quincy Market has pretty much any type of food you can imagine.  I prefer Quincy Market naturally.

Fanueil Hall Marketplace has a variety of statues on their premises.  One of the first statues you may see depending on which way you travel to the marketplace is the statue of former mayor Kevin Hagan White.

One of the lesser known, or at least less talked about mayors of Boston, Kevin White served as mayor during a pivotal time in Boston’s history.  The 51st mayor of Boston, Kevin White may be one of the least talked about mayors (particularly in a positive sense), yet he has a very interesting story and he governed Boston during a very tumultuous time.  Elected at the age of 38, Mayor White would hold office from 1968 until 1984 (so much for term limits).  During his time as mayor, White would govern during the racially divisive era of school busing.  Tensions about his handling of busing and race relations in the city during this time so much that his critics derisively called him, “Kevin Black.”  Race relations have always been a blemish on our past and Mayor White had his difficulties in this realm. But, he also governed during  a time of immense growth and development for the city. The fact that White isn’t well known positively or negatively shows he was a steady hand during a difficult time.

A bronze statue was dedicated to Mayor White on November 1, 2006.  The statue, sculpted by Pablo Eduardo, shows Kevin White walking down the street.

The over-sized statue of White is meant to suggest he was a “larger than life” mayor.  He does have some pretty big shoes to fill.

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There are quotes from Mayor White’s inaugurations inscribed on the grounds.

 

There are other statues at Faneuil Hall.  In front of Faneuil Hall, at the entrance to the marketplace is a statue of politician and activist Samuel Adams.

 

The bronze statue was sculpted by Miss Ann Whitney in 1876 (although it was erected initially in 1880).

There are several inscriptions on each of the four panels that read as follows: ‘Samuel Adams 1722-1803 – A Patriot – He organized the Revolution, and signed the Declaration of Independence. Governor – A True Leader of the People. Erected A. D. 1880, from a fund bequeathed to the city of Boston by Jonathan Phillips. A statesman, incorruptible and fearless.’

The pedestal for the bronze statue is ten feet high. The statue sits upon a polished Quincy granite base and cap and a lower nine-feet square base of unpolished Quincy Granite.

Another person who is memorialized with a statue is James Michael Curley.

In stark contrast to Mayor White, Mayor Michael Curley was not overlooked nor was he without his share of notoriety.  Curley was re-elected while under indictment for mail fraud which he would eventually be convicted of in 1947 (he would later receive a full pardon for this and an earlier conviction in 1904 by President Truman).  He even technically remained mayor while in prison (his position was served by City Clerk John B Hynes while he was locked up).

Despite all of his escapades, Curley was a beloved mayor and was often thought of as a warrior for the working class.

Technically, these statues are across the street from Faneuil Hall Marketplace and not technically on the grounds of the marketplace.

This statue is sure to be less controversial.  At least in New England.

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Clutching a cigar (from his tradition of lighting a cigar when he thought his team had the game won before the final buzzer) and a book in another hand, Red Auerbach sits proudly on the walkway in Faneuil Hall Marketplace.  A plaque espouses his accomplishments.

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Two other Boston sports figures are memorialized at Faneuil Hall.  Bronze sneakers of “Legend” Larry Bird, Hall of Fame Forward and 3 time NBA MVP for the Boston Celtics, and Bill Rodgers, a 4 time Boston Marathon winner (including 3 in a row from 1978-1980) and former American record holder for running the Boston Marathon (2:09:27 or a 4:56 average mile – not too shabby).

There are also a variety of family friendly activities at Faneuil Hall.  Over the years, Fanueil Hall has transformed itself from just a shopping center and tourist hub to a place where people of all ages and backgrounds can have fun.

Each weekend during the summer they have special family friendly events such as puppet shows.

There are chess tables set up for people to test their skills.  There is even a Chess Blitz Tournament for more skilled players to compete against other worthy opponents.  I’m definitely not on that level.

Of course, the biggest attractions at Faneuil Hall are the stores and historical tours.  Scores of stores line the cobblestone walkways.  When it gets busier in the day, especially during the summer and holidays, the narrow walkways can get crowded.

 

With the pretty flowers and tall buildings, the best part of Faneuil Hall may be the views.

Part of Faneuil Hall Marketplace, Quincy Market is home to dozens of restaurants and food takeout establishments.  There are no shops in that building.  They only serve up food and beverages.  There are also areas to eat your food and people watch.  Signs from old businesses from that area.

There is also a piano.  But, this is no ordinary piano.  It is a piano from the Play Me I’m Yours piano playing program from 2016.  As an aside, I sometimes cringe when I look at my older posts.  I didn’t use photoshop and I posted way too may photos of the very same thing (even more than I post in my current blog posts).  But, I’ve also noticed I wrote more than I do now and I am trying to add more commentary, especially as a way to include facts and context to the photos.

During my visit there was an exhibit of old colonial style clothing and rifles.  There are a lot of these types of exhibits, particularly during the summer and patriotic holidays.

Fanueil Hall is chock full of history.  One could post a series of blog posts aboutthe history of the buildings and the area and still not do it justice.  One nugget I am aware of is about a grasshopper.  Specifically, this grasshopper.

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There are many stories about this grasshopper weathervane.  One tour guide mentioned it played a role in identifying patriots rather than loyalists.

Another story holds that that Shem Drowne, a wealthy merchant who had been discouraged by his many failures in colonial New England, was inspired by a grasshopper.  Contemplating his losses and failures, Drowne laid down in a field where he saw a boy chasing a grasshopper.  He and the boy became friends and when he later met the boy’s parents they adopted him thus enabling him to live a more prosperous life.  The grasshopper was meant to commemorate a turning point in his life.  The truth may be much less interesting and exciting.

According to this article, the grasshopper simply was a sign of commerce.  Since Faneuil Hall Marketplace was on the shore (the area has changed a but over the years) and it was visible to ships coming ashore it gave a clear signal they were open for business.  I think this is most likely the true story behind the grasshopper.

Dogs are also welcome at Faneuil Hall Marketplace.

This cutie had her eyelashes done for her trip to the marketplace.  You might be able to see her lashes better in the second photo.

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Below is a video of a quick walk-through of Quincy Market.  The foods smell as good as they look!

There are also lots of entertainers and shows at Faneuil Hall during the warmer seasons.  The Flying Hawaiian Show is one of these shows.  She is amazingly talented and such a great entertainer!


Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway Part II (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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In my first blog post of the Rose Kennedy Greenway, I posted photos of some of the beautiful flowers and plants on the Greenway.  In this installment, I will include photos of the beautiful artwork on the Greenway.

There are several art exhibits on the Greenway.  I figured I would post them in the order they appear on the Greenway.

The first part of the Greenway in this post is at Chinatown near the Lincoln Street Triangle.

Year Of The Dog by Rosa Puno is a nod to the current year of the dog in the Chinese zodiac calendar.  The exhibit has spinning cube-like blocks made of wood on a steel structure that has Chinese words with their translations and excerpts from people in the neighborhood that Rosa collected from people in the neighborhood.

This part of the Greenway has other attractions such as the human-made waterfall and stream and a sitting area where people can spend time together, play games or just play in the water.  Ahh, to  be young again.

The next work of art is a mural that is painted on a building that sits on Atlantic Ave.  The building this mural is changed annually.  Each year, usually in the spring, a new mural is painted by a different artist.

The 70’x76′ mural on the building at Dewey Square is called Carving Out Fresh Options.  It was painted by Shara Hughes.

I was fortunate enough to see the artist working on her mural while I was walking to work in May.

And, of course, the finished product.  During the summer, people lay out on towels or on chairs on the lawn in front of the Greenway which can make photographing it without obstructions challenging.

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There also are historical markers on the Greenway.  Two remnants of the old raised Central Artery highway that once carried traffic over this area.

One of the beams from the original Central Artery is located the building with the mural above.  It is located on Congress and Purchase Streets which is easy to remember by the axiom “people purchase congress.”  Sad but true.  It is easy to miss as I have probably walked past it hundreds of times but never gave it a second thought until I wrote this post.

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A plaque on the beam gives a brief history of the construction of the Central Artery project (built between 1951 and 1959) and fun facts (well they’re facts) such as the number of vehicles which used the highway when it was first built (75,000 vehicles) to the number of vehicles that used it in 1990 when the “Big Dig” began to be planned (200,000 vehicles).

There is another beam from the Central Artery located on Surface Road located on the edge of Faneuil Hall.

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Rumor has it there may be another one on Clinton Street.  But, I couldn’t find it.

Located across from the first steel beam from the Central Artery is Balancing Act by Aakash Nihalani.

The display is broken into two works, Balancing Act I and Balancing Act II.

Balancing Act I represents a tower of six cubes which appear to fall over as the middle one is pulled out of alignment.

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Balancing Act II  shows blocks which are precariously piled up and appear to be ready to collapse.  I think we all can related to this apt description of our everyday lives.

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The works almost seem unreal.  It’s as though they were a mirage or photo shopped into the photo (I swear I didn’t).  Akash just knows how to use colors and  materials.

Way Of The Woods by Daniel Ibanez and Margen-Lab is a tribute to the North American landscapes.  The nine logs are said to transform into contemporary interpretations of these raw natural materials.

The next work of art is an illuminated tunnel-like structure made by Luftwerk called Transition.

It looks a lot more impressive during the evening hours.

Harbor Fog by Ross MIller is an interactive sculpture.  As a person or body comes closer to it it makes noises and generates fog.

The next work of art located on the Greenway is called GLOW.  GLOW is a collection of old neon signs that once illuminated the Massachusetts skies.  The signs are the collection of Lynn and Dave Waller.  Each sign is erected on a concrete block with the name of the city or town it once stood.  The signs are illuminated all day and night, during park hours.  But, as you can see by the photos, they look much prettier during the evening.

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The Siesta Motel on Route 1 North, Saugus, MA, circa 1950 sign looks cool enough during the day, particularly during an overcast day.

But, it looks much nicer during the evening.

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Unfortunately, the lights for the Fontaine’s Restaurant, VFE Parkway, West Roxbury, MA, circa 1952  (I actually ate breakfast there once…after the neon sign was installed wise acres) were not working when I went to visit it during the day and evening.

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European Restaurant, 218 Hanover Street, Boston, 1970.

The remaining signs were all taken during the evening hours to highlight their colorful artwork.

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Bay State Auto Spring, 83 Hampden St, Roxbury, MA, circa 1965

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The neon sign for Cycle Center, Natick, MA, 1956 is one of my favorites.  It lights up and changes colors as the rider pedals.

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General Electric Radio, 240 Blue Hill Ave, Roxbury, MA, circa 1925

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Flying Yankee Restaurant, Route 20 and Route 12, Auburn, MA, circa 1953.

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State Line Potato Chips, Route 20, Wilbraham, MA, c. 1950s

There is also a memorial to the victims of the Armenian genocide as well as the Armenian immigrants and immigrants of all backgrounds that came to the United States and settled in the Boston area.

The Armenian Heritage Park has a maze for people to walk that leads a fountain at the center of the circular path.  Words like science and commerce have been etched in the paths. A plaque near a bench at the park states the park is dedicated to those suffered to preserve the Armenian heritage.

The Abstract Sculpture honors the victims of the Armenian genocide and victims of all genocides as well as our open shores.

The inscription on the sculpture reads:

“Boston and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts have offered hope and refuge for immigrants seeking to begin new lives. The park is a gift to the people of the Commonwealth and the City of Boston from the Armenian-American community of Massachusetts. This sculpture is offered in honor of the one and one half million victims of the Armenian Genocide of 1915-1923. May it stand in remembrance of all genocides that have followed, and celebrate the diversity of the communities that have re-formed in the safety of these shores.”

There is also a statue dedicated to Tony DeMarco.  Who is Tony DeMarco?  Don’t say that too close to the North End of Boston.

Tony DeMarco is a former World Welterweight Champion who grew up in the North End section of Boston, MA.  Despite winning the Welterweight title, the Sicilian born boxer was best known for his slug fests with Carmen Basilio.  He would lose both fights but fought valiantly in both matches.

Gelato, a 4 month old mixed breed dog, also enjoyed the art work on the Greenway.

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Thank you all for stopping by and reading.  In my upcoming third and final installment of the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway, I will be focusing on some of the entertainment on the Greenway!

Sometimes it seems like your phone’s camera takes better photos then your camera, especially during the evening when you don’t have your tripod.  Click on the link below to access my Facebook page and view more night time photos and videos from the Greenway.  And give the page a “like” while you’re at it!

New England Nomad on Facebook


Independence Park (Beverly, MA)

Date Of Visit: July 14, 2018

Location: 33 Lothrop St, Beverly, MA (about 30 minutes northeast of Boston, MA)

Hours: Open daily sunrise to sunset

Parking: On street parking is available but limited. I did not see a parking lot at or near the beach.

Handicapped Accessible: Yes, certain areas are handicapped accessible. The beach is accessible through a paved walkway to the right of the beach.

Dog Friendly: Yes

Highlights: scenic, boating and other water activities, historical memorials, fishing, wildlife

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History, beauty and recreation await you at Independence Park.

The picturesque park offers scenic views and benches to sit.

Although the bench and path at the park are pretty and provide beautiful views, they do not lead to the beach.

 

I don’t usually take artistic license with the photos I take. But as I was editing this photo, I noticed how the red really stood out in the boat at the front of the group of boats.

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Although it may be possible to get to the beach from the path by the benches, a fence and rocky area prevent easy access to the beach.

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There are entrances to beach are a short jaunt to the right and left of the monuments at the park. And, to the right of the park is a paved walkway to the beach.

The beach offers beautiful views, a clean beach area and a jetty to fish off. Rumor has it striped bass (“stripers”) are abundant in the area.

 

There are a lot of birds and other wildlife at the beach.

 

The beach is a popular spot for paddle boarders, surfers and boaters.

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If you’re in the area and you want to try paddle boarding, kayaking or even winter paddling or snow shoeing during the winter, try Coast To Coast Paddle. Aaron, seen in the photo below, was getting ready to take a few paddlers out while I was taking photographs.

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As the name would suggest, Independence Park is more than just a haven for sun seekers and paddle boarders. It also has a rich history.

One of the plaques at the park states that in 1775 the first authorized armed ship, The Hanna, set sail in those waters to capture British vessels. Just standing in an area that played such a pivotal role in our history is pretty freegin cool when you think about it.

There are also cannons, monuments and flags on the grounds of the park.

 

The park is dog friendly and there were quite a few dogs at the beach while I was there.

Below are just a few of the cute dogs I saw during my visit.

Koa (on the left) is a 3 month old mixed breed dog. Frank (on the right) is a Golden Retriever.

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Polly is a 13 year old mixed breed dog.

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Willow is a 4 month old Englisg Cream Golden Retriever.

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(Oliver) Twist is a 5 year old Schnauzer Cairn Terrier mix (aka Carnauzer).

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Poppy is a Greyhound.

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Jade is an 8 year old mixed breed dog.

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Northeast Reenactors Fair (West Springfield, MA)

Date Of Event: February 24, 2018

Location: Mallary Complex, Eastern States Exposition Center (1305 Memorial Avenue
West Springfield, MA)

Cost: $10 per person (2 day passes are also available for $20)

Parking: $5 to park for the day. Parking is ample.

Website: Northeast Reenactors Fair

Highlights: Items and people in costume from various eras

Hello fellow bloggers and readers, I have been out of commission for a while due to a back injury. But, I am recovering and I should be back to my normal blogging schedule soon. Thank you for your support and I look forward to posting more of my adventures!

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The Eastern State Exposition Center in West Springfield. MA, was in a time warp the last weekend of February.

The Northeast Reenactors (formerly the New England Reenactors) descended upon the Big E to show off their attire, sell their era-appropriate merchandise and celebrate the days of yore.

There were reenactors of every era in costume at the fair.

 

While there were reenactors from every time period, there were quite a lot of Vietnam War era reenactors.

 

The weapon in this photo, an M29 Mortar, is still used today, with some slight modifications. If you never thought you would ever use geometry, think again. The trajectory of the projectiles use a lot of geometry and other mathematical formulas to direct the mortars accurately. Also, it took five people, yes five people, to operator (the squad leader, the gunner, the assistant gunner, first ammunition bear and the second ammunition bearer). One of the projectiles can be seen to the right of the M 29.

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There were also vendors selling their wares. Many of the products being sold were home made replicas of the items of previous eras.

 

There were also various displays of the popular attire, books and other items from the various eras.

 

Check out the cameras used during the Vietnam era. Maybe I should consider trading in for one.

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It was such a big event, even two presidents showed up.

President Madison

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And, of course, President Lincoln.

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If all that wasn’t enough, there was also entertainment at the reenactors fair. Singers performed a variety of songs from the past.

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Below is a video of one of the talented performers.

Please follow me on Facebook to view photos, video and other content not included on my blog.

New England Nomad


John F Kennedy Presidential Museum & Library (Boston, MA)

Date Of Visit: November 4, 2017

Location: 1109 Massachusetts Ave, Boston, MA

Hours:

The Museum is open seven (7) days per week, from 9:00 a.m.- 5:00 p.m. The start time for the last introductory film of the day is at 3:55 p.m.

We are closed on the following holidays:

  • New Year’s Day (January 1)
  • Thanksgiving Day (4th Thursday in November)
  • Christmas Day (December 25)

We close at 2:00 p.m. on the following days:

  • Day before Thanksgiving (Wednesday, November 22)
  • Christmas Eve (Sunday, December 24)
  • New Year’s Eve (Sunday, December 31)

Parking: There is free parking for about 50 cars in a lot in front of the museum

Cost:

Adults $14
Seniors 62+ $12
College Students with ID $12
Youth/Teens 13-17 $10
US Armed Forces Veterans $10

Free:

Handicapped Accessible:The museum is wheelchair accessible and guests may request a wheelchair at the front desk (a photo ID must be left). Wheelchairs are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Website: John F Kennedy Presidential Library And Museum

Highlights: historical items, photos and videos from John F Kennedy’s life.  There is also a special Kennedy 100 Milestones And Mementos exhibit which is scheduled to be on display until May, 2018.

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“What could have been?” is probably the most common phrase people come away with after their visit to the John F Kennedy Presidential Library And Museum

You can’t help but feel inspired while walking through the museum.  Even if you’re not an admirer of the man or his family, just looking at the historical items of the era and seeing how much he accomplished at such a young age is bound to make you feel motivated.  By the time he died at the age of 46, he had been a senator, war hero and President.  I’m  approaching that age and I’m not quite there in my career accomplishments.  Yet.

The first room you enter after paying your admission is a room with many of the items from JFK’s younger school days.  I actually used to use JFK’s less than stellar grades in his early education as an excuse when I didn’t always do well on my report card…it didn’t work out well for me, though.

 

There is also a photo of JFK with hsi favorite boat, the Victura, and his U.S. Navy dog tag.  During the summer, the Victura can be found on the lawn of the Kennedy Library.  However, during the winter months, and when I was visiting, it is kept at the Crosby Yacht yard in Osterville, Massachusetts where she was built.

 

Next to the first room of the museum is an auditorium where you can watch a quick film (about 20 minutes) about the life of President Kennedy.

After the film ends, visitors follow a stairwell into the heart of the museum where many of the historical items from Kennedy’s Presidency can be found.

The museum displays historical memorabilia and videos and photos in chronological order.  In the beginning of the museum you can view videos of the senator and presidential candidate Kennedy.

 

I especially liked the examples of shops and other memorabilia from that era.

 

Looking at the electoral map from the night of the election shows a sharp contrast to what it would look like these days.

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The states in red show states the Republican candidate (Richard Nixon) won.  The blue states are states Kennedy won.  The chief reason behind this, besides the changing political landscape, is that Nixon was the senator from California which would explain in part why he did so well on the west coast.  Kennedy’s running mate, Lyndon Baines Johnson (who was from Texas), helped Kennedy carry many of the southern states.  In fact, the whole Kennedy/Johnson relationship is full of dichotomy and complexities.  It has been believed, and essentially proven, the two men did not like each other very much before the election (and not the first time a president and vice president didn’t like each other).  But, Kennedy and his people thought they needed Baines on the ticket to help deliver the south.

The book shown below, an 1850 edition of the Douay English translation, is the Kennedy family bible that was brought over from Ireland by his forebears.  It is the bible JFK was sworn in on during his inauguration.

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After viewing the historical items from his campaign and early days of his presidency, there is a larger area with memorabilia from his presidency can be found.  There are also letters, memorabilia and other items from the Kennedy’s and not just John Kennedy.  There are also historical items from Robert Kennedy and Sargent Shriver, John’s brother-in-law.  The historical displays include an exact replica of the Oval Office while Kennedy was president.

 

In the photo below are two whale teeth etched with portraits of King Christian VI of Norway and Frederick William, the Great Elector of Brandenburg.  These whale teeth were used as book ends in the Oval Office.

Next to the whale teeth, to the right, is a whale tooth scrimshaw inscribed with a full rigged ship.  This was a gift from his close friend and class mate at Choate School, Lem Billings.  Kennedy kept this on his desk.  So much for saving the whales.

 

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The section with Jacqueline’s personal items is wonderful also.

 

One of the more interesting things I found at the museum were gifts other world leaders had given Kennedy and Jacqueline Kennedy, the first lady.

This stucco head of Buddha (circa 2nd century A.D.) was given to the president and his wife by the king of Afghanistan, Mohammed Zaher Shah.

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This gilded metal kris and sheath, decorated with ivory and precious stones, was given to the president by President Achmed Sukarno of Indonesia on April 24, 1961.

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This congratulatory message was sent to President Kennedy on his inauguration in 1961 from the surviving crew and captain of the Amagiri.  What makes that so interesting?  The Amagiri was the Japanese destroyer that on August 2, 1943, rammed PT 109, the boat Kennedy and his men were on during World War II.

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This Carrickmacross lace napkin was presented to President Kennedy by Prime Minister Sean Lemass of the Irish Fianna Fail party.

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While President Kennedy’s assassination is acknowledged, there is not much on exhibit about the assassination.  Rather, they focus on how the world responded to the tragedy. Fittingly, a darkened hallway leads to an area with photos of memorials dedicated to the slain president from all over the world.

 

There is also an area dedicated to the Kennedy family after President Kennedy’s death.  There are books written about John Kennedy, mementos that were made in his honor (such as the half dollar piece that was issued after his death) and the rest of the Kennedy family.   There are also historical artifacts such as a piece of the Berlin Wall which signify way the world has changed and how John Kennedy and other members of his family, specifically Ted, had possibly helped shape these changes.

 

There are also short films that play in small cinemas throughout the day at various locations in the museum.

The biggest attraction at the museum, however, is a special exhibit called JFK 100 Milestones and Mementos.

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This exhibit is on display to celebrate what would have been the 100th birthday (his birthday was May 29, 1917).  Everything from the hat and gloves he wore on his inauguration day, his first baby photo to hiss iconic Rayban sunglasses that he popularized are on display in chronological order of his life.  The exhibit is planned to be on display until May, 2018.

 

There are far too many items to post photos of.  Below are a few of the items that stood out to me.

 

Pictured below is the Profile In Courage Award that has been awarded annually since 1990.  Past recipients include John McCain and Russell Feingold (co-winners in 1999), Gerald Ford and John Lewis (co-winners in 2001), Gabrielle “Gabby” Giffords (2013) and former President Barack Obama (2017)

 

Behind the museum there is a path used by joggers and people just going for a walk.  There are some pretty views of the Boston skyline and the water.  There is also a pier you can walk out onto and look out at the bay.  It is a quiet place to ponder all that you have seen at the museum.

 

Sadly, we will be observing the death of this notable president later this month.  But, rather than focusing on his tragic death, it is much better to focus on his life and not his death.  This museum is a powerful reminder of his life and legacy.

 


Ye Olde Pepper Candie Companie (Salem, MA)

Dates Of Visit: October, 2017

Locations: 122 Derby Street, Salem, MA (about 30 minutes northeast of Boston, MA)

59 Main Street, North Andover, MA (about 30 minutes northwest of Boston, MA)

Hours:

July Thru October
Monday-Satuday: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Sundays: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

November Thru June
Monday-Satuday: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Sundays: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Parking: Street parking is available on Derby St and in the various garages throughout Salem

Highlights: Oldest candy shop in the country

Website: Ye Olde Pepper Candie Companie

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While driving along Derby St in historic Salem, MA, you might drive past the nondescript, white building with shuttered looking windows and think it”s just another building.  You would be wrong, though.

Two popular candies are said to have been popularized by people associated with the company.

The story of this historic company dates back to the early 1800’s when John Pepper, who is considered  by some to be responsible for creating “The Black Jack” candy according to the company’s web site, began selling his candies in Salem and the nearby communities.  Although there is some debate over who is responsible for creating this candy, it would go on to be considered the flagship candy of the store.

The other story holds that the Spencer family from North Salem were left destitute after a shipwreck.  In an effort to help the family, neighbors and friends donated supplies to help them in their time of need.  Mrs. Spencer used this sugar to create what would become known as “Salem Gilbratars” which are sold in the store to this day.

The company has come a long away from these simpler days.  The companie sells a variety of candies.  From the divisive candy corn, which people seem to hate or love but has become a staple of the Halloween season nonetheless, to the wide varieties of fudge and chocolate,

The companie remains one of the most popular spots to visit in Salem (MA) particularly during Halloween.  This photo was taken the weekend before Halloween (Oct. 28).

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The line would grow even longer during the day.  Good thing it wasn’t too cold out, not that it would have deterred the shoppers.

It’s funny how the exterior of the building seems to scream dull and boring but the inside of the store, particularly during the various holidays (they also hold candy cane making demonstrations during the Christmas season) and Halloween has so much character and decor.

This woman who was working at the shop during my visits even got dressed up for the season.  Rumor has it, she may be the original Mrs. Spencer.  And people say Salem doesn’t have ghosts.

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If you’re in the Salem area, or you just get a sweet tooth for some historic candy, stop by!  Ask for Mrs. Spencer.