Category Archives: Massachussetts

The Mount (Lenox,MA)

Date Of Visit: June 4, 2017

Location: 2 Plunkett St, Lenox,  MA (about 2 hours west of Boston and 1 hour northwest of Springfield, MA)

Hours: The Mount is open daily from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm through October 31st, except on early closing days (please see below). The Mount is open from 10:30 am – 3:00 pm most weekends in November through February. Please call 413-551-5100 to confirm hours.

Cost: $18 for adults, $17 for seniors (65 and older), $13 for students with id, $10 for members of the military, free for teens and children (18 and younger)

Handicapped Accessible: Yes

Dog Friendly: Service pets may be allowed

Highlights: home of author Edith Wharton, trails, fountains, flowers

Website: The Mount

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Once the home to one of Massachusetts’ more prominent authors, The Mount is more than just a beautiful mansion.  The Mount, once the home of Edith Wharton, has colorful gardens, fountains, art, spectacular views and history around every corner.

The Mount, which was recently restored, is an elegant house that has kept much of its original charm.  What is great about the mansion is that you can see the entire home in half an hour or so.  Yet, it isn’t so much the quantity of time and space the tour (I took a self guided tour but there may also be guided tours as well) would take.  But, rather, it is the quality of time and space the tour takes.  Around each corner is one beautiful piece of furniture and architecture.  Yeah, I think I could live here.

I couldn’t use my flash when I took photos inside of the mansion.  But, I did my best.  Sometimes the lack of lighting gives the home a mysterious feel.  Sometimes it just makes the photos look crappy.  You decide.

The two floor building has about a dozen rooms and there is a handicapped accessible entry and elevator.

Some of my favorite rooms had the old, antiquated tools and appliances we used to use.

The grounds of the Mount is as beautiful as the inside of the building.

The Beaver Loop Trail, a gentle, short trail (about half a mile) that runs along the grounds of The Mount, offers some very pretty views.

Edith Wharton was fond of animals (well, mostly she was fond of dogs not so much cats – oh well she wasn’t purrfect I guess).  Along the trail around the mansion, a side trail leads too a pet cemetery.

There are also little critters along the trail outside of the home.

The Mount is also hosting a special art exhibit called SculptureNow on its trail.  If you missed it, you can view the blog post I posted a few weeks ago bout the art exhibit here.

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Ordinary Matter (Boston Convention Center, South Boston, MA)

Date Of Visit: January 12, 2017

Location: Boston Convention Center (415 Summer St, Boston, MA)

Hours: Reception was January 21, 2017, 6-8.

Cost: Free

Parking: If you choose to park in their garage:

Weekday Rates:
0 – 1 Hour: $12
1 – 2 Hours: $18
2 -3 Hours: $24
3 – 10 Hours: $28
10 – 24 Hours: $32
Weeknight Rates:
Evenings: Enter Mon-Fri, 4 p.m. – 6 a.m., Exit before 8 a.m.
0 – 1 Hour: $10
1 – 3 Hours: $14
Over 3 Hours (until 8 a.m.): $18
Weekend Rates:
Sat, Sun & Holidays – Enter after 6 a.m., Exit before 8 a.m. the next day. 
0 – 1 Hour: $10
1 – 3 Hours: $14
Over 3 Hours (until 8 a.m.): $18
Monthly Passes:
Monthly – Reserved (limited availability): $500
Monthly – 24/7: $375
Monthly – Weekday Only: $350
Monthly – Nights/Weekends: $150
(Mon-Fri, in after 4 p.m., out by 10 a.m.; Weekends & Holidays, all day)
There is sometimes metered street parking available or other parking garges in the area.
Also, the Boston Convention Center is within walking distance ( 1 mile) from the South Station MBTA stop on the Red line and about half a milr from the World Trade Center  Green Line stop)
Handicapped Accessible: Yes
Web Site: Ordinary Matter
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It’s amazing how the ordinary things in life can bring us so much joy and make us content.  But, such is the art exhibit now being displayed at the Boston Convention Center in South Boston, MA.

During my visit to the New England International Auto Show, I noticed some striking art work in the lobby of the Boston Convention Center.

Ordinary Matter is an art exhibit that celebrates the history of still life.  Still life art is said to have began in  ancient Egypt and later became popularized by Dutch still life painters.  Now, it is a big hit in Boston.

The exhibit featured 9 the works of nine Massachusetts artists whose works were hung in the lobby area of the Boston “Convention Center.

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“Still Life” (2011) by Patricia Busso is an acrylic on wood painting.  According to the placard next to the painting, Patricia says that painting reminds her to take time to absorb the natural world.  She hopes her work is evocative of the unassuming beauty she seeks in the natural world.

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Brett X Gamache’s “Fish On A Yellow Plate” (2010) is a photographic reproduction of oil on canvas.  Brett, who lives and works in Salem (MA), has a MFA from the University of New Hampshire and a BFA from Mass Art.

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“Britton Gyre” (2012) by Nicole Duennebier is a photographic reproduction of acrylic on wood panel.  A Hartford, CT  native, Nicole received her Bachelor in Fine Arts at Maine College of Art with a major in painting.  She says she saw a natural connection between the darkness and the intricacy of undersea regions and the aesthetic of 16th century Dutch still life painting.

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From a distance, this looked like a real shelf with mugs and other beverageware.  But, “Still Life With Seven Objects” (2010) is a photographic reproduction of oil on canvas painted by David Harrison.  He received his BFA in fine arts/painting from Maryland Institute College of Art.

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“Hidden Window” (2015) by Michael Zachary is a photographic reproduction of hand-drawn marks.  He holds a BA from Bowdoin College and an MFA from Massachusetts College of Art.  His work has been featured in many exhibitions such as the Lux Eros Gallery in Los Angeles.

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Why am I hungry all of a sudden?  “Checkout” (2015) is an ink and digital work of art by Corey Corcoran.  Corey earned a BA at Massachusetts College of Art and he completed a residency at Vermont Studio Center in Johnson, VT.  His work has been displayed at a variety of venues nation wide.

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“Wherever You Rest Your Head” (2015) is a photographic reproduction of crayon, ink, gouache, oil pastel and acrylic on paper by Elisa H. Hamilton.  Elisa is a graduate of Massachusetts College of Art and Design where she earned a BFA in Painting.  Her work has been shown in a varieety of exhibitions.

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“Sunflowers In Mason Jar” (2005) by Maureen O’Connor is a photographic reproduction of oil on wood panel.  She earned a BFA from Massachusetts College of Art And Design.  Her work has been shown extensively throughout the country.

 

 

 

 

 

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This reminds me, where did I leave my keys?  I know they’re somewhere around here.  Anyways,  “Clink” (2008) by J.B. Jones is an oil on canvas painting.  An architect by profession, J.B.’s works can be found in private and corpofrate collections throughout New England.  He says his goal is to “create paintings from which the viewer might bring back one small pearl of real feeling.”

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Cascading Waters (Worcester, MA)

Date Visited: March 19, 2016

Location: 135 Olean St, Worcester, Massachusetts

Cost: Free

Hours: Open daily, sunrise to sunset

Parking: There are several parking lots at the Greater Worcester Land Trust which the Cascading Waters is part of.  The closest lot to the Cascading Waters is small with only room for about half a dozen cars.  You can also drive up to Cascading Waters via Cataract St and park on the dirt road there.

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One of the great things about Worcester (pronounced “Woo-stah”) is its diversity of people and  places.  One moment you could be in the heart of the city and only ten minutes later you could be at a grand waterfall.  It remind me a lot of Boston in this regard.

I found myself at one of the natural wonders of Worcester, Cascading Falls, Saturday.

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Located about an hour west of Boston, Cascading Falls is known for its beauty and trails.  There are both hiking and biking trails at the main parking area.  I chose the most direct hiking route to the falls.  The trail is pretty flat and straight with some pretty views.  I also noticed some greenery sprouting on the eve of the first day of Spring.  it’s about half a mile to the Cascading Waters from the parking area.

There is a trail to the right of the falls with a fairly steep incline.  The trail leads to the top of the falls.  You can go to the top of the waters.  The views are pretty sweet.

 

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There are also interesting rocks, pools of water and streams at the top of Cascading Waters.

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Although the sun was out and the temperatures did increase, it was still relatively cold as this branch shows.

The waterfall leads to a stream just under and behind the trail.

Cascading Waters is a great place to take your dog for a walk.  I met two golden retrievers; Wilson (on the left ) and Tucker, while I was there.

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Below are two videos of Cascading Waters from the trail view and view from the top of the falls.

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Coolidge Reservation (Manchester-By-The-Sea, MA)

Date visited: February 20, 2016

Cost: Free

Hours: 8 a.m. to sunset

Address: 15 Coolidge Point, Manchester By-The-Sea, MA

Coolidge Reservation

Parking: about 8-10 parking spaces, small lot.

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How could you not want to visit an area with the name “by the sea” in its name?  It sounds like the name of an idyllic setting from a novel.  And the town lives up to that description.  I passed by several fruit, vegetable and flower stands as well as signs to watch out for people riding horses.  The houses and town also had a very Norman Rockwell feel.

I wasn’t sure how the footing and appearance of the park would be given the recent snowy weather and icy conditions on many of the trails at other parks.  As it turned out, most of the ice and snow on the trails had melted and I only had to manage some small patches of ice and mud from the melted snow.

The trails are clearly marked and easy to walk.  There are no steep inclines and the paths are wide enough to accommodate the throng of visitors.

There are a few trails that meander slightly off the trail.  But one trail simply leads to the street and is behind a bunch of cattails so you really can’t view much of the pond.  The other stupid trail goes to a thorny, rocky dead end.

As you walk on the main trail, you will pass Clarke Pond on your left.  It was partially frozen and there were some ducks and geese milling around.  I also got a few shots off them dunking for lunch.  The gulls in the first photo looked like big blocks of snow at first glance.  I especially like how the mom and dad duck kept the baby duckling close to them.

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There were many breath taking views of the pond.  I especially like how the frozen parts of the pond break with the unfrozen sections.

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To the right of the main trail, I found a side road with a pond that channels into Clarke Pond. There were a variety of ducks and geese in this pond.

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I met a lot of friendly and cool people at Coolidge.  Shapoo was one of the cool and friendly folks I met (the name is a mix of shih tzu and poodle) .

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Much to my consternation, I was unable to find the Ocean Lawn which offers views of the Boston skyline and Cape Cod as well as scenic views of the water.  I totally missed the boat on that one as there are some great views and opportunities for some great shots from there.  But, to the left of the trail, Magnolia Beach more than made up for it which I will post about very soon…click here to read about my visit to Magnolia Beach.

 


Winter Wildlife Cruise (Boston Harbor, MA)

Date visited: January 23, 20016

Price: $20 for adults, $10 for children (ages 3-11) and seniors (over 65)

This was a special cruise and is not something they do regularly in the winter.  During the spring, summer and fall they have cruises scheduled regularly.

Twenty degree weather and an impending winter storm; what better conditions for a harbor cruise.  Ironically, that statement could not be more accurate.

We were greeted by gulls and rough seas when we arrived at the wharf.

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As we made our way on to the boat for and they announced the cruise would be a three hour tour (in retrospect, that Gilligan’s Island reference should have been a bad omen), I was surprised by how roomy, comfortable and modern it was.  The three story boat had booths on the sides of the cabin area and ample seating.

Even before we left the wharf I took some shots of the bay.  You can see Logan Airport in the distance in some of the photos.

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As the boat left the bay, I took some obligatory photos of the skyline.

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I had to bundle up (and hold on tight to the railing) for the shoot.  I was surprised at how well I handled the overly active ocean.  I’ve never been particularly fond of roller coasters, wavy oceans or anything that moves to and fro quickly.  But, I did fine.  The only time I felt a tinge of sickness was when a fellow traveler described his own feelings of sea sickness (gee, thanks random stranger).  But, that quickly passed.

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There was a variety of sea life, although the choppy waters made it difficult to photograph all of them.  DCR (Department of Conservation and Recreation) officials were on the boat with binoculars on the lookout for wildlife and other points of interest and announcements were made whenever a bird or other animal was sighted.

I did photograph this Eider as he swam with friends.

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and a few other elusive birds.

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Even though it was a cruise for wildlife viewing some of the best views were of the harbor and the islands.

This is Spectacle Island.  Spectacle Island was made entirely from the dirt from the huge construction project known as the “Big Dig”.   it is much prettier during the summer.

These are some photos of Boston Light.  Boston Light is the first Lighthouse in America.  It is still working today.

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The Deer Island Waste Water Treatment Plant began operations in 1995.  It is clearly the jewel of Boston Harbor.  Prior to the construction of the sewage plant, sewage from Boston’s treatment facilities had contaminated shellfish after the sewage had been released.  Lunch, anyone?

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These structures are what is left of the bridge to Long Island (not the one in NY – we didn’t go out that far).  It was dismantled recently.  Personally, I think they should keep them.  They make for a good background for photography.

Below is a slideshow of some of the other shots from my cruise.  It was very windy and the sea was pretty choppy.  I tried to capture this in the photos.

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Finally, I found a cute furry animal named Bailey to photograph when I disembarked from the boat.

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See below for videos of the cruise to get a better idea of just how windy it was.

Winter Wildlife Cruise – Long Wharf

Winter Wildlife Cruise

Winter Wildlife Cruise II

 

 

 


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).

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Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall Of Fame (Springfield, MA)

Date visited: December 26, 2015

Although the city does not have a professional sports team, Springfield, Massachusetts is the home of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall Of Fame.  Of course, the game was invented there.  So, it is an appropriate location.

The great thing about playing hoop is all you need a ball a net and a decent pair of sneakers.  The Hall has the nets outside the entrance.  All you need is a ball.  I’m not sure how long you could play before they make you leave.  From this entrance the Hall is deceptively big (three floors).

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There is a big parking lot at the Hall but there are other business in the parking lot.  We arrived early to make sure we got a good spot.  It costs adults $22 a ticket, seniors (65 and older) pay $17 a ticket, $16 for youths (ages 5 to 15) and kids 4 and under get in free.  You can also sometimes purchase tickets at third party vendors at a reduced price (we got ours at the Big Y grocery store).  So, it doesn’t hurt to look around for other places to get your tickets.

I only wish I had gone there when I was younger.  In fact, when I was a kid I could easily see myself telling my folks they could drop me off when it opens (at 10) and come by and get me at closing time (4 or 5 on Saturday).  I could easily pass 6 or 7 hours there.  I am not sure they would go for it, though.  As time passes, our interests change.  While I do still love playing and I like watching, I am in no way even close to the fan I used to be.   But, the charming Hall of Fame made me a fan again.

Whether it is Pete Maravich’s “floppy socks” (one of my favorite exhibits)

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Or the creatively crafted flag made of sneakers

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Or the jerseys and sneakers of the best three of all time (sorry Kareem, Lebron and Wilt)

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There is something for everyone.

The Hall is also a great family friendly place.  There are so many activities geared for children.  Want to recreate when “Havlicek stole the ball?”  You can do so by telecasting that play and many others in their play by play booth.  Want to try to block a shot by one of the NBA’s  elite players?  There’s a game for that too.

There are also videos galore.  Along the wall there are little monitors with short videos of speeches, highlights and informational clips.  This video below is a video about the newest class of NBA Hall inductees (congrats Dikembe).  There is also a amphitheater in the hall.

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Being a native of the Boston area, I was drawn to the Boston Celtics’ memorabilia.  Such as a Larry Bird statue (striking resemblance)

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One of Red Auerbach’s cigars.  He used to light a cigar during every game he coached for the Celtics if/when he thought the game was over (before the official end) as a gimmick to psyche out the opponent.

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But, there are statues, mementos and reminders of every team from every era, even non professional teams like the Harlem Globetrotters (who did have some would be professional players play for them such as Wilt Chamberlain).  I used to love the Globetrotters.  I always felt badly for their rivals, the poor Washington Generals, though!

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There are certain players that you’re drawn to.  They may not be the best player or even the best to ever play their position, although one of my favorite characters is certainly in the top 3 at his position.  Charles Barkley played with an intensity and perseverance only matched by the other elites he is enshrined with.  But, he did it with flare and intensity.  I looked up one of his YouTube videos if you’re unfamiliar with him (the play 1:12 is ridiculous) .  Oh yeah and he is funny as hell.

Below is one of his rings for being on the NBA 50th anniversary all time team.

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My visit to the Hall of Fame was also a learning experience.  Even though I was a pretty rabid fan as a younger person and still a casual fan, I learned a lot during my visit.  For instance, have you ever heard of Teresa Edwards?  I hadn’t either before my visit.  She is the most decorated basketball player of all time.  Among her achievements are 5 gold medals, a bronze medal, gold medals in the Pan Am, Games, Jones Cup and FIBA World Championship, among many other awards.

The best part for me was the lower level of the museum.  Several basketball hoops are set up so that all the patrons can shoot around (balls are provided free of charge).  Some of those kids can ball!

My trip to the Hall rekindled my fondness for basketball (it hadn’t been the same for me after Michael Jordan retired).  It also brought back a lot of memories from what I consider the “glory days” of the game.  It was a trip down memory lane.

Yeah, I still got some skills.

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