Category Archives: New England

Murals (Salem, MA)

Date Of Visit: October 7, 2017

Location: Congress St, Harbor St, Ward St, Lafayette St, Salem, MA

Cost: Free

Hours: Accessible every day 24 hours

Parking: Street parking is available or you can park at the parking garage at 10 Congress St

Handicapped Accessible: Yes

Dog Friendly: Yes

Websites: Belin Mural

Medicine Man Mural

Highlights:murals

Tips:

  • most of the murals are on Wards St and Harbor St
  • some of these murals are in residential areas or painted on apartment complexes

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Sometimes poor judgment can lead to good outcomes.  Such was the case when I decided, against my better judgment, to visit Salem, MA (the Halloween headquarter of America) on a Saturday afternoon in October.  Parking was sparse (all of the main parking lots and parking spaces were taken or full).  But, because I had to park farther away from the downtown area, we spotted another hidden treasure in the city.

These murals were found on Congress St

But, most of the murals are located on Harbor St and Ward St.

These murals were all located along a wall on Harbor St.  Some of them were so well done they actually looked like photographs.

As these murals show, Salem is so much more than scary monsters and witchcraft lore.

So, the next time you’re in Salem, don’t just spend your time looking for ghosts and goblins, make sure to stop by and take a look at these works of art!

 


Artists’ Row (Salem, MA)

Dates of Visits: Throughout October, 2017

Location: Artists’ Row is located off Derby and Essex St

Hours: open daily

Cost: Free

Parking: There is street parking available throughout Salem and parking garages are available as well

Handicapped Accessble: Yes

Dog Friendly: Yes

Website: Artists’ Row

Highlights: Art displays, shops, restaurant, holiday displays

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A haven for artists, art lovers or just people looking for  unique works of art, Atists’ Row is another area which showcases the art and creativity of Salem.

I photographed Artists’ Row during my many excursions to Salem during the month of October.

As the name suggests, art is evident throughout the row.

 

 

From time to time, Artist Row has different art on display throughout the alley.  This particular art display was on exhibit during my visits.  The lettering and images bumped out so you can feel the images even if you couldn’t see them.  I especially like the references to Salem that are portrayed throughout the work of art.

 

 

Art is abundant along  the Row.

 

 

You can not only view art on Artists’ Row.  You can create you own art as well.Artists of all ages and backgrounds have the chance to create their own or just sit and enjoy the art around them. The tables with the plants growing out off them are one of the favorites of the visitors at Arrtists’ Row.

 

 

These rocks with words and quotes painted on them are piled on the side of the row for anyone in need of some inspiration.

 

 

These helpful signs show you which direction to go if you are lost.

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The shops along the row offer a variety of handmade crafts and other creative works of art.

The shops on Artists Row have to sign leases each year and, due to the weather conditions, some of the shops are not open year round.  So it is possible that some of the shops listed below may not be there when you visit.

Grace & Diggs has a variety of handmade, items all made by the owner Linda.  Many of the goods there have a very Halloween in Salem theme.

 

 

There is also a stand with hats on them that you can take a selfie with and post on Facebook (don’t forget to hashtag Grace&Diggs when you post the photo)!

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Ceramics By Sibel also has a variety of arts and crafts, all hand made by Sibel.  Many of her works are made using clay.  On her website, Sibel says she is “made of clay.  It is in my DNA.”  When she is not operating her business, Sibel sells her art at fairs and other markets (she is only by appointment only in Nov and Dec and her business is closed after Dec until May)

 

 

Sibel was busy working on a new piece of art during my visit.

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Boston Woodturning is another shop on the row.  Boston Woodturning creates crafts out of wood at their shop.  They also held a fun event in October in which they helped create and design little ghosts and scarecrows out of recycled materials for the  children who stopped by their store.

 

The one mainstay throughout the year is the Lobster Shanty.

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Sounds like my kind of place!

Now that the huge crowds of the Halloween season have long since dispersed and the area is tastefully decorated for the holiday season, it may be a great time to visit Artists’ Row.

Dogs like to walk among the art on Artist’ Row.  Must be because of all of the trees there.

Bernie is a 10 year old Rat Terrier.  His mom said he thinks he is the “Mayor Of Salem”.  Take that, Kim Driscoil!

 

 

Hugo is a 9 year old Great Pyrenees.  You can follow him on Instagram at hugoofsalem

 

 

 

 


Veterans Mall (Greenfield, MA)

Date Of Visit: October 14, 2017

Location: Main St, Greenfield, MA (next to the Town Hall Annex at 253 Main St) (45 minutes north of Springfield, MA)

Hours: open daily, 24 hours a day

Cost: Free

Parking: There is a good amount of metered street parking near the memorial park

Handicapped Accessible: Yes

Dog Friendly: Yes

Highlights: memorials, mural, sculptures

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It would be easy to miss the grand memorial at Veterans Memorial.   Couched in between the busy downtown business district, the memorial is almost an after thought, if you’re not expecting to see it.  I had to make a quick stop and scramble for parking at the last moment as I had already driven by it when my passenger brought it to my attention.

Located in the bustling Main St in downtown Greenfield, Veterans Mall is truly a hidden gem.Tucked away between the various retailers in the busy business district, Veterans Mall includes a mural and numerous war and veteran memorials.

The mural located at Veterans Mall includes images and symbols of Greenfield and the surrounding area such as Poets Tower and Greenfield Covered Bridge.

 

 

One of the cool aspects of the mural are the symbols around the border and in the mural that are indicative of the area such as the corn that is planted and farmed at the local farms.  There are also symbols that are common in any area across the area, the crazy weather we have(symbolized by the wind blowing its cold air) and symbols that are common across the nation such as children trick-or-treating.

 

The mural was repainted April 28, 2017 after 27 years.  Below is a photo of what it looked like before it was painted over.

See the source image

As if this wasn’t enough, there are several other war memorials at Veterans Mall.

This monument, dedicated to the people of Greenfield who served their country during the Vietnam War, has the name of every person from Greenfield who was killed in this war.  It’s hard not to tear up or take a deep breath while reading all of those names.  It will stop you cold and ground you to see the list of all of those lives cut short.

 

 

The Greenfield War Memorial, sculpted by Homer Gunn in 1965, sits in the center of the memorial park. The sculpture is meant to give a message of peace

Apparently, it also acts as a home for some of the residents of the area.

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A lot has changed since these memorials were first installed in the area.  Below is a photo of the two memorials from an earlier time, presumably when it was first dedicated over some 50 years ago.

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The memorial located next to the Vietnam War Memorial is a memorial to the veterans of World War I

Where there was once a pool of water stands a pine tree dedicated to the all of the women veterans of all wars.

Directly across from the War Memorial is another memorial by Homer Gunn.  This serpentine memorial is meant to chronicle the history of warfare during the 20th century. The memorial shows soldiers, airmen, sailors and marines in an array of different activities and using a variety of different weapons, machines and vehicles from different eras.  There are also shapes of geographic regions where they fought.

 

The park is a wonderful destination for all, even four legged visitors.  Watson is a 12 year old mixed breed rescue.

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High Ledges Wildlife Sanctuary (Shelburne, MA)

Date Of Visit: October 14, 2017

Location: Patten Road, Shelburne, MA

Hours: Trails are open dawn until dusk

Cost: Free

Parking: there are 2 parking lots.  The first parking lot (called the “overflow parking lot”) which has room for about 10 cars is at the beginning of the entrance.  The other parking area is about a quarter of a mile down the main entrance road.  On the left of the road is room for about a dozen cars.

Trail Size/Difficulty: 782 acres, 5 miles/easy with some moderate inclines

Handicapped Accessible: No

Dog Friendly: No

Website: High Ledges Wildlife Sanctuary

Trail Map: High Ledges Wildlife Sanctuary Trail Map

Highlights: scenic, “high ledge”, wildlife,  easy trails, vernal pool, flowers, foliage during the fall

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Known for its pretty views of the Deerfield River Valley and Mount Greylock area, its variety of flowers along its trails and its various wildlife, High Ledges Wildlife Sanctuary is a great place for a quick hike to some beautiful views.

The sanctuary is a mixture of 5 miles of paved and dirt trails with a few boardwalks over some marshy areas.

Even though it was near the end of the foliage season, there was still lots of foliage on the trees during my visit.   The leaves on the ground added to the beauty of the sanctuary.

 

Rumor has it wolves roamed the High Ledges.  The Wolves’ Den Loop Trail leads to a geologic feature where local lore has it that the last wolf in the region was exterminated.

The highlight of the sanctuary is the overlook, or “high ledge” along the (wait for it…)…Ledges Trail.  The rolling hills and colorful trees offer a  picturesque vista.

 

It’s said you can see Mount Greylock from the ledge on a clear day. See it?  It’s right there…

Well, it’s somewhere there.

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The trails at High Ledges are easy overall.  But there are some strenuous areas.  My advice would be to stay on the main trails and to basically back track or follow the trail you took to the vista since that is the most direct route back and the trail is the easiest to travel, unless you’re looking for a challenge.  I felt the urge for a challenge that day and I usually do try the various trails so I can get a good feel of the park.  However, there really wasn’t, save for a few chipmunks and trees, along the side trails.

 

Chipmunks were busy storing nuts, and chewing on a few, in preparation for another long winter that will sadly soon be here.

 

 


Daniel Webster Wildlife Sanctuary (Marshfield, MA)

Date Of Visit: November 5, 2017

Location: Winslow Cemetery Rd, Marshfield, MA (about 30 minutes southwest of Boston, MA)

Hours: Trails are open dawn until dusk

Cost:

ADMISSION

Members: Free
Nonmembers: $3 adults, $2 children (2-12), & seniors (65+)
EBT Participants: Free for up to 4 people when you show your EBT card

Parking: There is a parking lot for about 15-20 cars.

Handicapped Accessible: No

Dog Friendly” No, Mass Audubon Parks do not allow pets

Website:Daniel Webster Wildlife Sanctuary

Trail Map: Daniel Webster Wildlife Sanctuary Trail Map

Highlights: easy trails, scenic, foliage during the fall, wildlife, blinds to view animals, boardwalks over swamp lands

Tips: Although the website includes prices for admission, when I went tp the sanctuary there was no place to pay a fee

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A Mass Audubon park, Daniel Webster is home to a variety of birds,  winding trails and breathtaking views.

One of the many things that struck me about the park is just how set apart the park is from the hustle and bustle of the city.  I’m so used to traveling to parks that are located next to busy roadways and busy areas.  It is refreshing to be able to get away from the city without having to travel too far.

Daniel Webster Sanctuary was still holding on to some of the foliage that it is known for.

There are several bird feeders throughout the park, mostly at the entrance to the park.  The bird feeders attract a variety of birds and other critters.  Turtles, frogs and other mammals populate the sanctuary.   Northern harriers, an eastern coyote and a white-tailed deer are also known to visit the sanctuary.

These unusual bird feeders are designed to feed Purple Martins.  The small enclosures and the overall design is meant to protect the birds from other predators like the harrier hawks that hunt the area.

There are two blinds and the main entrance building from where you can photograph wildlife and nature in peace and quiet.

The trails at Daniel Webster are easy with a few gentle inclines.  There are also a few boardwalks which take you over red maple swamps to some areas with pretty views.  I especially like how the leaves on the ground and the way the trees and their branches almost made some of the trails seem like they were tunnels.  There are 5 walking trail loops at the park with 3.5 miles of trails in total and arounf every turn is another beautiful view.

Below is a video of one of the residents at the park at Daniel Webster Sanctuary from ( a weasel)  removing one off her babies from a shelter.  The video is from the Youtube account of  Migration Productions.  They have some wonderful videos.


Barker Character, Comic And Cartoon Museum (Cheshire, CT)

 

Date Of Visit: August 12, 2017

Location: 1188 Highland Avenue, Cheshire, CT

Cost:

  • Toddlers (3 & Under): Free
  • Children (4 – 17):  $3.00
  • Adults (18+):  $5.00

Hours:

Sunday CLOSED
Monday CLOSED
Tuesday CLOSED
Wednesday 12:00pm – 4:00pm
Thursday 12:00pm – 4:00pm
Friday 12:00pm – 4:00pm
Saturday 12:00pm – 4:00pm

Parking: The main parking area has room for only about half a dozen cars.  But, there is a parking area behind the museum you can park at.

Website: Barker Museum

Highlights: collection of toys, dolls, figurines, lunch boxes and many other memorabilia and collectibles.

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Memories and nostalgia fill the aisles of Barker Character, Comic an Cartoon Museum in Cheshire, CT.

You’re bound to find something among the nearly 80,000 items in the two floors at Barker museum. Whether it is an action figure (and there are tons of them there to view)

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or board games (you know before they had video games)

you’re bound to find something that catches your eye or reminds you of your youth.

There are even old Wheaties and other types of cereal boxes, Pez candy and dispensers and other candy.

The oldest item at the museum is a cast iron elephant ramp walker manufactured by the Ives Company in 1873.  The value of this toy is estimated between $225 and $250.

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There were some other unusual toys and collectibles at Barker.

I had a ton of these while I was growing up.  I remember saving up my allowance each week and saving so I could buy the new figures. It was quite a smurfy collection.

I also recognized this lunch box from my younger days.

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There are many other lunch boxes on display at the museum.

The deceivingly looking main building that looks like any other residency has art available for purchase from many of the most popular movies, cartoons and other types of entertainment.

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There are also sculptures of Dr. Seuss characters and other toys and figurines in the main building.

Outside of the buildings there are murals, statues and signs with drawings of famous cartoon characters on them.

As you can see, Barker’s is a fun for people of all ages!

Below is a video of some of the fun things to see at Barkers.


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.