Category Archives: ice

Feeding Time At Stanley Park (Westfield, MA)

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Date Of Visit: December 28, 2016

Location: 400 Western Ave, Westfield, MA (about 2 hours west of Boston, MA and about 20 minutes west of Springfield, MA)

Cost: Free

Hours: Presently open everyday 8 a.m. -4:30 p.m. (hours change depending upon the season)

Parking: There are a few different parking areas.  The main parking lot on Western Ave has room for about 200 cars.

Handicapped Accessible: The playground area, fields and picnic areas are but the trails and many of the walkways are not.

Dog Friendly: Yes

Highlights: hiking trails, birds, wildlife, pond, flower garden, statues

Often considered the jewel of Westfield, Massachusetts, Stanley Parkis one of the prettiest parks in Western Massachusetts and it looks even more picturesque after a snowfall.

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Due to the recent cold spell and snow, the pond and much of the vegetation at Stanley Park had been iced over so they were eager to get some food.  As a disclaimer, most parks do not encourage you to feed birds.  But, if you do, there are certain foods you should never feed to ducks.  Bread is the biggest no-no on most list.  These are some better foods to feed to birds.

At any rate, visitors like to feed the birds at Stanley Park and that gave me an usually good chance to photograph some beautiful ducks.

There were so many birds congregating at the pond waiting for a nibble of food.

Luckily, one of the visitors at the park, Jim, brought some food for the hungry birds.

 

Jim’s dog took the birds in stride.

I have photographed Stanley Park before and, since it is very close to my mom’s house, I always try to make a visit out there as often as I can.So, you may sees posts about this park from time to time.

Stanley Park, or Stanley as it is more commonly known as, is a popular spot for dogs like Sansa is a 5 month old Siberian Husky.

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Below is a video of feeding time at Stanley Park:

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Boston Winter (Boston, MA)

Dates Of Event: December 7, 2016 – December 31, 2016 (the skating rink will be open until the end of February, 2017)

Location: Boston City Hall Plaza
1 City Hall Square

Hours:

Chalets
Sunday – Thursday 11am – 7pm
Friday & Saturday 11am – 8pm
Christmas Eve 11am – 4pm
Christmas Day Closed
New Year’s Eve 11am – 6pm
New Year’s Day Closed

Site (Skating & Attractions)
Sunday – Thursday 11am – 9pm
Friday & Saturday 11am – 10pm
Christmas Eve 11am – 4pm
Christmas Day Closed
New Year’s Eve 11am – 6pm
New Year’s Day Closed

Cost: Free

Parking: There are several parking gaarages in the area or you can try street parking (good luck).  If you don’t feel like driving, the Government Center Train Stop on the Green Line is directly across from Boston Winter.

Handicapped Accessible: Yes

Dog Friendly: No

Highlights: ice skating rink, shops, dj, shops, lights and ddecorations

Web Site: Boston Winter

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In an effort to make the city even more festive, Boston has installed a temporary skating rink and holiday attraction.  The 11,000 square foot ice skating path (it’s not really a rink but more of a circular ice path) is open to all skaters of any skill level.

The opening of Boston winter, the attraction nott the actual season, was delayed from December 2nd to December 7th because it was not cold enough to sustain the temperatures needed to keep the rink frozen.  Sadly, that is not a problem now.

People of all ages, backgrounds and ability took to the ice and reveled in the ice and atmosphere.  It’s a great event for couples and it is very family friendly.  I’m always surprised to some degree how well behaved and (usually) considerate people are at these events.  The walk ways and standing areas – there is no seating available and I’m sure that is by design – is narrow and congested in some areas but people are pretty courteous.

A dj keeps the event fun and loose.  He announced different people’s birthdays and tried to get the crowd excited.  He reminded me of the dj’s they used to have at roller skating rinks.

In addition to the skating rink, there are vendors selling a variety of goods from belts and clothing to novelty items.

The lighting and decor of the event is both tasteful yet festive.  Very often when people and businesses decorate for the holidays they overdo it.  I don’t think this was the case at Boston Winter (ok the tree with the spirals that light up may have been a bit much but I liked it!).

Below is a video of some of the skaters at Boston Winter.


Massabesic Lake (Manchester, NH)

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Date visited: January 30, 2016

Hours 8 a.m. – 8 p..m. (during the regular season, open without staff during the off season)

There are about 10-20 parking spots by the main entrance but there is a parking lot across the street for overflow traffic (watch out for the holes and bumps in the lot)

Cost: Free but it may cost to put a boat or other watercraft in the lake

“Massabesic” (pronounced Mass-A-Bee-Sick) is a Native American word for “place of much water” or “near the great brook”.  True to its translation, Massabesic Lake Watershed is definitely a place where you will find much water, albeit frozen.  Manchester Airport is nearby so it is not uncommon to see a plane fly by as is evident in one of the photos in the slideshow below.

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Normally, I would consider visiting a lake, pond or any body of water during the winter something of a waste.  Little did I realize though, lakes can be as much fun in the winter as they are during the summer.

A sign on the trail in Massabesic Lake warns you to stay on the trail.  This is partly because the houses are so close to the trail.  Also, you have to cross busy roadways at some points to continue on the trail.

There were people ice fishing (the orange flags on the poles in the water stick up when they get a bite).   Since Lake Massabesic is used as a watershed, people are not allowed to swim or put their bodies in the water.  But, you can fish, sail and canoe on the lake.

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There were people sailing on their ice boats.  You can hear the gentleman talking to me in the video below.  Are there any friendlier people on this planet than the people of New Hampshire?

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or relaxing in their favorite chair

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The Massabesic Lake is home to a trail that leads to Portsmouth, NH as part of the Rockingham Recreational Trail.  As much as I love Portsmouth, I wasn’t up for hiking that far (The Rockingham Recreational Trail is 26 miles total).  It is called a “Rail Trail” because it used to be part of the railway system and was converted over to a trail.  It is very popular with cyclists.  The cyclist pictured below had wide tires, presumably to deal with all off the ice as it was very icy.  He is a braver man than I.  There is also a 4 mile loop at the lake.

Overall, I would rate the trails I hiked easy to moderate in some parts.  The only hard part was dealing with the ice on the trails.  It went from being very easy to manage to downright dangerous due to the icy conditions.  As the snow melted in the morning it turned to mud, then iced over again.  During the morning hours, the ice was melting at a rapid pace.  Then, a few hours later, you could walk on the lake again because the temperatures dropped so much.  While the weather was warmish (by New Hampshire standards), you could hear the ice making noises as it melted.  You may be able to hear the “groaning” noises in the video below.

I did manage to walk out on the ice myself, after seeing everyone else out there first of course.

Meet Jackson, a Siberian husky.  Jackson has one blue eye and one brown eye.  I tried to photograph his eyes but he was blinking when the photo was taken.  You may be able to see his different colored eyes if you zoom in on the first photo. He was very playful  and friendly and what about that smile in the second photo!

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New England Nomad


The Nature Trail and Cranberry Bog at Patriot Place (Foxborough, MA)

Date visited: January 9, 2016

Although the area is mostly known for being the home of the New England Patriots and its adjacent marketplace, Patriot Place has another impressive attraction – The Nature Trail and Cranberry Bog.  Admission to the trail and bog is free and the parking is ample evident by the photo below.  You can also park in the lots in front of the store and walk down to the trail.

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From the entrance the Nature Trail and Cranberry Bog greets you with a charming sitting area and pretty trees.

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Although most of the vegetation is dead (save for a few stubborn blueberries and cranberries), a thin layer of ice covered most  of the pond and the trees are bare this time of the year, the Nature Trail and Cranberry Bog at Patriot Place in Foxboro, MA, is just as beautiful in the winter as it is during the summertime.

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Located directly behind the expansive Bass Pro Shop, the Nature Trail and Cranberry Bog is a .5 mile loop with a 3 percent grade and some inclines as much as 12 percent.

It is a mostly dirty trail with a few boardwalks and bridges.  There are two benches in the middle of the first walking bridge.  Overall, it is an easy to semi-moderate trail.  I saw people of all age groups handle the trail, inclines and all, with little difficulty.

I found this strange, creepy looking branch or alien arm protruding from the ice.

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An extra bonus for any Patriots fan is you can see Gillette Stadium (the stadium the Patriots play in) from the main road on the way to the Nature Trail and Cranberry Bog.  You can also catch a quick glimpse of some of the stadium from the entrance to trail and bog.

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After finishing the loop, I met Chandler, a beautiful 6 year old tri-colored English Setter (thank you for the clarification, Adam).

DSC_0833 Thank you for reading and please like my Facebook page to view videos, photos and more that I do not post on this blog:

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