Category Archives: new hampshire

African Burying Ground Memorial Park (Portsmouth, NH)

Date Of Visit: October 7, 2017

Location: 386 State St, Portsmouth, NH

Hours: open daily, 24 hours a day

Cost: Free

Parking: There is not a parking lot for the memorial but there is limited metered parking on State St (free before 8 a.m.)

Handicapped Accessible: Yes

Dog Friendly: Yes

Website: African Burying Ground Memorial Park

Highlights: sculptures, memorial, historical

Tips:

  • street parking is free before 8 a.m.
  • the entrance to the park is on State St, although it is often listed as Chestnut St.
  • don’t forget to read the signs placed throughout the memorial for more background information about the memorials

It’s not common knowledge, or it’s a conveniently forgotten fact, that Africans and other people were brought to the northern states as slaves.  It was not just something that plagued the south.

The first known slave that was sent to Portsmouth was a man from Guinea who was brought there in 1645.  He was not the only either.  Soon, hundreds of other slaves would follow.  In fact, during the Colonial Era, Portsmouth had the largest number of slaves in the colony.  Up to 4 percent of the population of the town were slaves, according to a 1767 census.  By 1810, there were virtually no slaves in the area.  However, rumors of the “Negro Burying Yard” persisted.

The site, referenced in town records as, “the Negro Burying Yard” was paved over, built upon and dismissed.  That is, until 2015.

Years and years passed with these bodies buried unceremoniously in an unmarked gravesite until a work crew excavating the area found wooden coffins with human remains buried under the pavement.  DNA analysis and other tests confirmed the individuals exhumed as being African.  In 2008, 8 bodies and coffins were dug up in the area.  There were roughly 200 bodies buried there.  After much debate, the town decided to re-inter the bodies in their original resting place.  In 2015, the remains were buried and the memorial was built and dedicated to them.

At the entrance to the park there is a memorial of two people on a slab facing  opposite directions.  This was meant to embody the separation and uncertainty experienced by those brought here as captives as well as their perserverance.  The gap between their fingertips is meant to be a reminder of their forced separation and the divisions of past injustice.

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The sculptures of the people are called The Entry Figures.  The male figure in the group stands for the first enslaved Africans that were brought to Portsmouth and those that followed.

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The woman on the other side of the represents Mother Africa.  She is endlessly straining past the obstacles that keep her from her children of the Diaspora.

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The pain etched on their faces is undeniable.

As you enter the park, you may notice words etched on the ground.  These words are the “petition line.”  The petition line is a collection of phrases from the Freedom Petition that 20 men who were purchased as slaves had filed with the New Hampshire legislature to gain their freedom.  (see video below to see the Petition Line).

Roughly in the middle of the park is a design under which the burial vault is located.  The Adinkra Figure “Sankofa” meaning “Return and Get It – Learn From The Past” forms a shield and cover for the burial vault.  The re-interred bodies rest beneath this this shield never to be disturbed again.

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The life-sized bronze silhouettes, known as the “community figures”, represent the collective community of Portsmouth.  They are meant to symbolize the people who fought to acknowledge, pay tribute to and defend the souls whose remains were recovered there.  Each of the figures has a line from a poem by the memorial’s designer  and sculptor, Jerome Meadows.

Encircling the figures on the railing are designs based on African kente cloth motif.  The shapes of the designs are meant to represent boat paddles.  The ceramic tiles were created by students from the Portsmouth Public Schools.  Having the children of the area create these decorative tiles was meant to be a gesture to those buried there.  The younger generation were able to contribute to the memorial and possibly, in some small way, pay tribute to the people buried there.  One of the videos below shows the tiles in their entirety.

The park is a peaceful place for reflection.  I was a relief and heart warming, though, to see children (you may hear them in one of the videos), playing and enjoying their time at the park, unaware of the tragedy that occurred there.  I think those buried there would be happy to know others are able to enjoy the park despite the sadness attached to it.

I also think it is important to try to find light and not only learn from these memorials but also find inspiration there.

These videos below show the railing and petition line at the park.

 

 

 

 


Great Island Common (New Castle, NH)

Date Of Visit: September 23, 2017

Location: 301 Wentworth Rd. (Route 1B), New Castle, NH,  (1 hour northeast of Boston, MA, 1 hour southeast of Concord, NH)

Hours: Open daily 9 a.m. until 9 p.m.

Cost:

New Castle Residents:
– No admission charge if vehicle has current resident sticker.
– Residents may invite up to 25 guests at no charge – Over 25 guests, admission fees apply.
– Resident must be present for all guests.
Non-Residents:
– Admission charged from May to the end of September.
General Admission Fees
– Individuals:
0-5 yrs old free
6 to 65 years old $4.00
65 and older $2.00
Handicapped $1.00

Parking: There are about 50 or more parking spots available in the parking area

Handicapped Accessible: Yes

Dog Friendly: Yes, seasonally (pets are not allowed in the park or on the beach from May 15 to September 15)

Website: Great Island Common

Highlights: lighthouses, beach, places to grill, pavilions

Tips:

  • When you enter the park, you must turn right.  The parking area is at the end of the circular paved road
  • If you want to use a pavilion, you may have to call ahead and reserve the area

 

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No other name than Great Common Island may be more apt for this park.  Except it’s not really an island.  But, it is great.

The park, with attached beach, sits on the shore of New Castle ( a small town of 968 according to their 2010 census) just outside of Portsmouth, NH).  The park and beach area are only 32 acres.  But what it lacks in area it makes up for in beauty and charm.

The park offers some great views of the water.  It is a good place to watch the waves crash against the rocks, although the waves weren’t too strong during my visit.

Great Island Common is popular with fishing enthusiasts, boaters and the occasional bird.

You can view two lighthouses from Great Island Common.

Whaleback Lighthouse was established in 1830.  The granite lighthouse that stands there now was built in 1872 and it was automated in 1963.

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Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouse, just down the road from the park, is also visible from Great Island Common.  During the summer, there are open houses at the lighthouse on Sundays from mid May to late October from 1-5.  Since I was visiting on a Saturday I was not able to attend the open house.  Next to the lighthouse (to the left of the lighthouse in the photo above) is Coast Guard Station Portsmouth Harbor and Fort Constitution.  In the distance, past the lighthouse, you can see the foliage has just started to begin.

Wood Island Life Saving Station in Kittery, Maine, is also visible from the park. In 1827, Wood Island was given to the federal government so the U.S. Navy could build barracks.  However, it would eventually be used to quarantine Spanish-American War prisoners who had Yellow Fever.  It is presently not in use.

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One of the biggest attractions at the park is a sculpture of a painter by an easel working on the scenic skyline.

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Pretty good painting of me.  It looks so life-like.

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Great Island Common is not just a park.  A beach is also attached to the park.

The park is spacious for kids to play in with lots of big trees for shade.

Erected in 1984, the memorial honors all of the people of New Castle who have served the country in all wars and conflicts.  Two benches sit next to the memorial, one on each side of it.

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Great Island Common is dog friendly except from May 15 to September 15.  Luckily, I was able to visit the week after ban ended.  It was a picture perfect day with a calm breeze.  So, it was a great day to bring your dog out!

Miley is a 8 year old Yorkie Poodle.

Tuck is a 6 month Cocka Poo (Cocker Spaniel & Poodle mix)

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Remy (on the left) is a 10 year old Puggle and Phoebe (On the right) is a 1 and a half year old Puggle.

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Jaelo (pronounced “J Lo”)is a 10 year old Puggle.

Below is a video by the shore of Great Island Common.

Posted below is a drone video of the Great Island Common area on Paul Moore’s YouTube page

 


Governor John Langdon House (Portsmouth, NH)

Date Of Visit: August 26, 2017

Location: 143 Pleasant Street, Portsmouth, N.H.

Hours: (summer hours listed)

Friday – Sunday
June 1 – October 15
11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Tours on the hour.

Last tour at 4:00 p.m.

Closed July 4 (as well as other major holidays)

Cost:  $8 for adults, $7 for seniors, $4 for students

Free for Historic New England members and Portsmouth residents.

Parking: There is free parking in the lot on Pleasant St next to Citizens Bank and metered  or 2 hour parking throughout the city

Website: Governor John Langdon House

Tips:

  • tours start on the hour from 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m.

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One of the oldest homes in the Portsmouth, New Hampshire area, the Governor John Langdon House remains one of the most popular homes to visit in the historic homes in the Portsmouth area.

Built in 1784 by the three time governor (at the time called “President”) of New Hampshire as well as General in the American revolution and signer of the United States Constitution, John Langdon, the Langdon House has 4 rooms on both of its floors.  Many of the elaborate interior designs are attributed to prominent woodworker Ebenezer Clifford.

It was very interesting hearing about how little subtle things that we may not notice meant a lot to the dwellers of the house.  Such as the ornate architecture which signalled someone’s wealth and station in life.

Another indication of wealth in terms of decor and design of a house at that time is doors.  Yes, doors.  The more doors you had in your home was considered a sign of wealth.  The funny thing is that in the photo below one of the “doors” (the one on the left) is actually a false door.  It gave the impression that the house is of

Although his father did own slaves and servants were afforded meager living quarters, Governor John Langdon did not own slaves (according to historian and site manager of the Langdon House) Peter Michaud.  Langdon also reportedly opposed slavery and even went so far as to send letters to politicians in Washington expressing these sentiments.  But, working and living in the Langdon House was not an easy life.  The servants quarters were located in the third floor above the living and sleeping quarters on the second floor.  The tour does not show these rooms.  But,

If you look closely you will see how the house follows the rules of symmetry (another hallmark of a house owned by a person of wealth). If there is one window in one room, then the room across the hall would have the same.  If there were two windows, the room adjacent or across from it would have two, etc.  And some of the windows are ver ornate.  If toy look through the window, you may notice there was a wedding during our visit.  Periodically, during out tour of the house we would hear applause from outside of the house.

It’s hard to believe but on both sides of the house there was a clear view of the city and water.  Trees and buildings as well as other developments know obscure these views.

The rooms of the Langdon House show, what was considered at the time, luxury and opulence.

It was also interesting to view and learn about the various items in the rooms such as this humidor and a liquor serving device.

No details were spared in the construction of the house.  For one, unlike many houses at the time, the steps were wide and not as steep as most houses of the time.  Also, the design of the  The column, spiral and baluster shaped sequence was a sign of wealth as well.  In some cases, if the home owner did not have a lot of wealth, he would often have this sequence of railings pictured below until about half way through the staircase.  Then, he would have only the cheaper column railings until the end of the staircase.  This is not the case at the Langdon House.

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The kitchen area was, for its time, advanced.

The contraption shown below was used to let the servants know when a meal was ready to be served.

As you can see in the second photo, the straight line (vertical) to the right in the top section of the machine went to an up and down (horizontal) in the same part of the machine.  This alerted the servants that the food was ready to be served.

Much like the house itself, the grounds of the Langdon House are also well kept.

Dogs aren’t allowed in the Langdon House (an exception may be made for service pets).  But, I did see this smarty pants named Einstein, a 4 and a half year old Lab, Retriever and Chow mix, while I walked back to my car from the house.

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Today’s featured New England related blog post is Eric McCallister Photography.  The Portsmouth based photographer photographed a wedding at the Langdon House some years ago.  You can find him on Facebook here.


“Sea to Shore: Sculpture Inspired by the New England Seacoast” (Portsmouth, NH)

Dates Of Visits: July 29, 2017 & August 26, 2017

Location: Governor John Langdon House, 143 Pleasant St, Portsmouth, NH

Cost: Free unless you want to photograph the statues inside the Langdon House

Parking: There are several parking lots (notably the free parking lot next to Citizens Bank on Pleasant St) and street parking available throughout the city

Handicapped Accessible: The outdoor exhibits are but the Langdon House is not handicapped accessible.

Dog Friendly: No

Website:

Highlights: sculptures displayed on the grounds of the Langdon House

Tips:

  • You can photograph or view some of the statues outside of the Langdon House.  If you want to view all of them (there are about 20 to 30 more inside the house), you have to pay the admission price to enter the house – I highly recommend paying for the tour even if only so you can view the sculptures inside the house
  • If all the lots are full which is common this time of the year, (free) street parking and some metered parking near the center of town can be found on some of the side streets such as Parrot Ave.
  • All of the sculptures shown in this post are available for sale

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Land meets shore at the latest sculpture exhibit at the Governor John Langdon House in Portsmouth, Hew Hampshire.  The “Sea To Shore” sculpture display currently on display on the grounds and in the Langdon House.

The exhibit, which is on display until October 15, uses stone, metal, wood and other materials from the New England area with many of the themes of the New England seacoast.  The exhibit includes 45 pieces from

This sculpture titled “Fish With Travelers”was made out of granite by stone art enthusiast Thomas Berger. Talk about a fish out of water.

There are 10 more sculptures shown below that are on display on the grounds at the Langdon estate.

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Fisherman by Madeleine Lord made of welded steel.

Backstroker by David Adilman is made of Vermont gray marble.

Flotsam And Jetsam by Morris Norvin made form reclaimed steel barrels.

Serpentine by Irene Fairley made from Vermont marble.

Fragrant Flow by wood artist Jeffrey Cooper made of teak and bluestone.

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Moon Swings by Douglass Gray  made of steel.

Brown Crab by Thomas Berger made of fieldstone.

Urchin Sphere by Karin Stanley made of granite.

Genetically Modified Squid by Thomas Berger made of fieldstone.

Vertical Water” by Karin Stanley was not being displayed when I took the photos of the outdoor sculptures.

Inside the Governor John Langdon House there are many more sculptures.  You have to buy a ticket to view the sculptures (a tour of the house is included…blog post about the tour to follow soon).  I gladly forked over the $15 for the both of us to view them.

There are 34 sculptures displayed in the first floor parlor, hallway and dining areas.

Net by Amanda Sisk is made of mixed media.

Forever Free by Pete Spampinato made of bronze with an alabaster base.  Pete tends to feature animals in his work.  He says he did not begin sculpting until he retired.  He was inspired by the hardships animals had to endure during a trip to Africa.

Colossal Shell Goddess by Lindley Briggs made of resin and apoxie.  Lindley, in contrast to Pete, says her interest in the human figure has been rekindled.  Lindley says, “the boundaries between fantasy, reality and surreality are not necessarily firm.” She enjoys exploring these boundaries in her work.

Carousel Lobster by Jeffrey Briggs is made of fiberglass and resin.  Jeffrey builds carousels of all varieties as well as other works of art.  His latest work can be found at the carousel on The Rose Kennedy Greenway in Boston.  He often collaborates with Lindley (the sculptor featured above his sculpture).

Birds Of a Feather by Douglass Gray made of steel.

Gull by Alan Weinstein made of plaster and paint with a granite base.  Alan mainly paints.  But, he has branched out with his sculptures.

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Madonna 3 With Gorilla by Jeffrey Cooper made of cherry wood.  Sounds good enough to eat.

Sirena & Consorts With Sea Of Shells by Lindley Brigss made of apoxie and cast marble.  I especially like how the gorilla appears to be looking at the woman quizzically in the statue in the last photo.

Slaveship HMS Brookes by Martin Ulman made of mixed media.  The 43.5″ high ship sculpture was modeled after the British slave ship, “Brookes.”  The slave ship was used during the 18th century and it was said to carry 484 people, although it carried many more than that according to ship records and stories told by sailors.  The conditions were dreadful as Maya Angelou’s quote expresses.

Neptune by John Vasapoli made of oak.  John says is love of sculptures and his love for music have been the main factors for driving his creative energy.  John has sculpted many statues of iconic musicians and singers such as Miles Davis and Duke Ellington.

Secrets Of The Sea by Nancy Diefenbach is made of marble and glass.  She says her joy is creating one-of-a-kind artworks in marble.  She likes to shape her thoughts through her carvings.

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Water Muse by David Adilman is made of limestone.

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Water Nymph by Elise Adams made of alabaster.  Elise began her career as a sculptor after working 30 plus years as a chiropractor.  Art had always been a love of hers.  But, she was discouraged from following this career path while she was growing up.  I think it’s fair to say we’re all happy she did change her career path.

A Vineyard Excursion by William Bloomfield made of alabaster.  After taking a stone carving course in the 70’s, William says he was hooked.  However, “life got busy” as he put it and he did not take up sculpting until 2006 when he enrolled in some classes at The Chautauqua Institution’s School of Art.  He says that from his initial exposure to stone carving more than 30 years ago he discovered that an essential element of my creative process is to let go of any preconceptions he might have of what the stone might evolve into before I put chisel to stone.

Turtles  by Pete Spampinato made of bronze with an alabaster base.

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Approaching Storm by Judith Morton made of steel and fiberglass.  Judith says she “loves to come face to face with a cold hard block of stone.”  She describes the process of sculpting as a “give and take” until the block of stone is warm and yielding from all of her carving.  She also describes the process as being sensual for both the eyes and the hands.

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Pastry Chef by Susan Neet Goodwin made of clay and multimedia.  Susan says her first piece that included the human face was a response to the Iranian hostage crisis. Since then many of her sculptures have become vehicles for political and humanitarian concerns.  As you may notice by herr other works of art, Susan’s art has a certain theme through it.

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Mermaid With A Trident by Mara Sfara made of bronze and marble.  Mara says her art offers a glimpse into the lives and feelings of the gods and goddesses from Greek mythology.  She also likes to inject humor into her pieces.

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Valley by Danielle Gerber made of copper.  A native of New Hampshire who moved to Maine, Danielle says her body of work is spurred from her love of forming metal and the natural patterns created through water and wind erosion.

Rolling Wave by Judith Morton made of steel, wood and sand.

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Hump  by Derrick Te Paske madde of butternut.  A professor at Framingham State University, Derrick says he is  primarily concerned with theoretical principles and digital production/reproduction methods. His art involves wood and other common tangible materials while employing tools and processes which are decidedly low tech, and results in unique and very physical objects.

Follow Your Dream by Melanie Zibit made of bronze and marble.  Melanie compares the sculpting process as being similar to writing a thoughtful essay or cooking a good meal for those you care about.  She says the process of creating art is like an act of love because you are sharing something deeply personal from one human being to another and sharing something personal spiritual and beautiful.

Circle Sea by Dan Rocha made of wood, metal, metal leaf and plastic.  A Massachusetts resident, Dan has won a number of awards for his works of art.

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Eagle Ray by Irene Fairley made of red Tenneessee marble.

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Eastport Cannery Worker  by Susan Neet Goodwin made of clay and multimedia.

 

Canyon by Danielle Gerber is made of bronze, brass and spray paint.  This sculpture shares the same theme as her other sculpture, Canyon.

Synthesis  by Kathleen Brennan made of hydrocal plaster.  Kathleen has several exhibitions currently on display throughout Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

Seahorse Green by Mara Sfara made of lucite and gemstone.

Binocular Beasts by Derrick Te Paske made of cast bronze and glass eyes.

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Aureus Piscari  by Kimberly JB Smith made of multimedia items (it is a 2 sided display).  A resident of New Hampshire, Kimberly is most known for her 2d and 3d compositions that include recycles and repurposed materials.  She uses paint, paper pulp and collage to create traditional and nontraditional materials in her creative process.  When she isn’t creating art, she enjoys teaching and publishing educational articles.

Homer’s Boat With Siren by Dan Rocha made of wood, metal, metal leaf and plastic.

Colossal Shell Goddess by Lindley Briggs made of resin and apoxie.

Wave by Valery Mahuchhy made of resin.  Valery says he knew from an early age he wanted to be a sculptor.  His art is on display all over the world.

Eve On The Beach by Josie Campbell Dellenbaugh made of bronze.  Originally from Albany, NY, Josie is best known for her stone carving.  One of her more prominent carvings is the Monument For Our Native Peoples in West Rutland, Vermont.

 

Heron Annoyed by James Pyne made of composite materials.  A resident of Maine, James focuses on birds in his art.  He describes birds as, “the most beautiful creatures on Earth.”

Dogs are not allowed in the Langdon House.  But, I did see a few dogs while I walked to the house.

This little cutie named Izzie is a 6 year old Havanese.

Today’s featured New England based photographer is Eric Gendron. Based out of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Eric photographs all over the New England area.  But, he primarily shoots in the New Hampshire and Maine area.  What I like most about his photography is that he can take the ordinary, like a park bench for instance, and turn  it into something beautiful and majestic.  You can follow him on Facebook here.

 

 

 

 

 


Prescott Park Gardens (Portsmouth, NH)

Date Of Visit: July 29, 2017

Location: 105 Marcy St, Portsmouth, NH

Hours: Open daily from sunrise to sunset

Cost: Free

Parking: Street parking is available on Old Bay St and Marcy St.  There is also a lot on Old Bay St.

Handicapped Accessible: Yes

Dog Friendly: No

Highlights: fountains, flowers, plants, trees, family friendly

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Portsmouth is known for its beautiful places.  So, it’s no big surprise when you come across a scenic view or a pitcuresque downtown area.  What is more unusual is a beautiful garden in a public setting.  Well, Prescott Park Gardens certainly seems to fit the bill.

Considered part of Prescott Park, Prescott Park Gardens is located next to the main garden at Prescott Park.

Even though it is only  a small area, the garden at Prescott Park is overflowing with colors and beauty.  Despite all of the trees, flowers and fountains and the high volume of visitors, it didn’t seemed cramped there. Even with the dizzying array of flowers, the park still seems quaint and understated.  I can only imagine how peaceful it must feel there when it’s not a busy time of day.

 

Despite the huge crowds it attracts, the park is kept in pristine condition.

 

The fountains at the garden give the area a serene feel.  Just watching the water and listening to the calming, rhythmic sounds of the water splashing is soothing.

 

Some people found some creative ways to cool down at the garden.

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Below is a video of the garden at Prescott Park.

Today’s featured link is Don Gargano’s photography website.  Don primarily shoots in the Portsmouth and New Castle, New Hampshire areas as well as Maine.  I have followed him for some time on Facebook and you can check out his page here.  Coincidentally, he has a photo of the garden at Prescott Park on his profile page!


Prescott Park (Portsmouth, NH)

Date Of Visit: July 29, 2017

Location: 105 Marcy St, Portsmouth, NH

Hours: open daily, sunrise to sunset

Cost: Free

Parking: There is a parking lot located on Old Bay St as well as street parking throughout the area

Handicapped Accessible: Yes

Dog Friendly: No

Website: Prescott Park

Highlights: flowers and plants, scenic, family friendly

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Bursting with color and fragrances, Prescott Park is sure to impress even those with the faintest of green thumbs.

A gift from Sarah and Josie Prescott in 1940, Prescott Park has come a long way from its industrial beginnings.   The highlight of the park, at least during the summer, has to be the garden that sits at the entrance by Old Bay St and Marcy St.  But, Prescott Park has more than just flowers there.

Prescott Park is much more than the garden that I focused on during my visit.  In fact, it is such a big area that they hold concerts with such popular artists as Aaron Neville and Valerie June and other events at the park.  During my visit they were holding a children’s party where a play was being performed.

 

 

There are two memorials at Prescott Park.  The first memorial is a fountain which is dedicated to  a fountain dedicated to Charles Emerson Hovey, an Ensign in the United States Navy and Portsmouth, NH native, who was killed in action on September 24, 1911.

 

 

The next memorial is less obvious.  A sign and anchor stand in front of the prominent flower bed at the front of the garden.

 

 

The sign in front of the flower bed states “A Salute To An Ordinary Hero.”  This “ordinary hero” was Billy Juse, a New Hampshire native, who died in an underground tunnel while he was working on the Deer Island Project during the 1990’s.  He was 34.  Since he and another coworker, Tim Nordeen, died on the same day John Fitzgerald Kennedy’s body was recovered, his story was overlooked in the news.  One solemn reminder remains in the park.

There are also view of the Piscataqua River, a popular spot for boating and kayaking.

 

 

There are benches, art and pretty trees and flowers on the way to the garden at Prescott Park.

 

 

Prescott Park has a variety of beautiful and colorful plants and flowers.  Since we’ve had so much rain and

 

 

The flowers ranged from the common to the unique.

 

 

To the left in the photo is Pelargonium Geranium Timeless Orange (yeah they look red to me as well),  To the right is the Pelargonium Geranium Timeless Pink.  Yeah, I know all of the types of flowers in the world.  Kidding.  They all had their names neatly written on them on cards by the flower beds.

Now for the truly scary part of the tour. The dinosaurs have invaded Prescott Park.  This is a great way to get kids interested and involved in viewing the flowers and plants at Prescott.  I

 

 

Sadly, dogs are not allowed at the flower garden area of Prescott Park.  But, I did see lots of dogs like Teddy, a 10 year old Pomeranian,  passing by on Old Bay Street which is next to the flower garden.

 

 

Today’s featured link is a link to an article that appeared in the Boston Globe magazine about the tragedy on the Deer Island Project in which Billy Juse and some of his co workers perished: Deer Island Tragedy

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Tuck Museum (Hampton, NH)

Date Of Visit: June 16, 2017

Location:40 Park Avenue, Hampton, NH (about 1 hour north of Boston, MA and 45 minutes east of Manchester, NH)

Hours: Spring / Summer / Fall Museum Hours
Sunday, Wednesday, Friday
1 to 4pm

Winter Museum Hours
January, February, and March
Wednesday, Friday
1 to 4pm
Sunday by appointment

Cost: Free but donations are appreciated

Parking: There is parking available at the side entrance of the building.  There is also additional parking behind the building.

Handicapped Accessible: Yes (thanks to Ryan Lamers)

Highlights: historical artifacts, memorials

Website: Tuck Museum Complex

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Who knew Hampton had so much history?  That is what many visitors think when they leave the Tuck Museum in Hampton, NH.

But, it really shouldn’t surprise anyone that so much history.  After all, it is one of the oldest settled areas of New Hampshire having been settled in 1638.

It’s also surprising that a small museum can have so much historical items and stories.  Upon entering the museum, you will most likely notice some of the historical articles from many years ago.  One of the main features is are the items from the defunct railway that ran to Hampton.

There are also two mannequins dressed in old military clothing from an earlier era.  This is a preview of an exhibit I will discuss later in this post.

The Tuck Museum is considered a “museum complex” because it has several structures and memorials on its land.  Guided tours are given to all of these buildings by the very knowledgeable staff.

The first place our guide took us to was the fire fighter building which had older firefighting equipment and vehicles.  It’s hard to believe , but true, that some of these vehicles were moved by humans, not horses, in the early days of the fire department in Hampton.  It is fitting since the fire department still remains the same – physically go and save lives, despite all of the technological advancements they have made.  It still boils down to the one constant – the brave men and women who work in that profession everyday.

You may notice the name Winnacunnet on the fire engine pictured above.  That used to be the name of Hampton (more specifically it was called Plantation of Winnacunnet) because of the pine trees in the area (Winnacunnet translates to “beautiful place of pines”).  A high school and street in the Hampton area still bear this name.

The next building we went to on the property of the Tuck Museum complex was the barn which contained many of the machines, tools and equipment the people used to farm the land and conduct the everyday chores of the settlers of Hampton.  Everything from fishing equipment, agricultural devices to a shoe cobbler’s counter were housed in this barn.  Each of these devices has a story and history behind it.

It would take too long and take up too much space to explain each one.  But, if you do go on the tour at the museum the tour guide will keep you entertained with various anecdotes and fun facts about these machines and tools.  One fun fact you can impress your friends and hot dates with at dinner parties is that when cobblers made shoes there was only one shape to them so you could wear any shoe on any foot.  I was joking – please don’t tell anyone that on a date.

There is also a special military exhibit dedicated to the people connected to Hampton, NH.  Included in this exhibit are letters from people serving that have been donated on a temporary basis from family and friends of those who served abroad during wartime.  One of the storiees that stood out to me from my visit to this memorial was the story of Hampton residentof Lt. Rita Palmer and the Angels of Bataan.

The final room of the museum (I told you it was surprisingly big) was a room with household items and some of the luxuries of the early settlers of the area.

The framed work of art pictured above was made of human hair (does that make it a bona-fide “hair loom”?).

There are also some replicas of beach houses that used to dot the landscape of the Hampton area on the grounds.  Since it was raining outside, I was unable to get to them without getting my camera equipment wet, unfortunately.

Hampton has a rather obscure dark side in the form of a witch, Eunice “Goody” Cole.  Eunice Cole was the only woman convicted of witchcraft in Hampton, NH (although many others have been casually accused of being one I am sure).

After being released from indentured servitude, her husband and she settled in Mount Wollaston (now Quincy, MA) and they eventually made their way to Hampton, NH.  Since they did not have children (they were both beyond child bearing age) and some other characteristics of her that were considered unusual at the time, she must have been a witch.  Of course.  She was actually accused of witchcraft several times.  the first time she was convicted of witchcraft was in 1660.  She served 2 years in prison and was sentenced again for a number of years in 1668.  She was also found not guilty of witchcraft when she was tried in 1673.  And I thought we were litigious these days.

Eventually, Goody Cole was absolved of her accused crime of witchcraft on March 8, 1938.  The citizens passed a resolution restoring Eunice “Goody” Cole to her rightful place as a citizen of Hampton. The city went as far as to burn copies of all her court documents,  The burned documenst were said to be mixed with soil from her last home and reputed resting place and buried.  However, it was actually given to the Tuck Museum.

This brings me to the last few photos of the museum and its grounds.  Inside the museum there are some replicas of Goody Cole.

On the grounds of the museum is a memorial without her name or any other marking.  In fact, if you did not know the story about Eunice Cole you may just pass by it none the wiser. The marker was erected by Harold Fernald, a teacher and part time police officer from Hampton.  The stone is said to be from the location of Eunice Cole’s property.

As an aside, the North Shore paranormal Group and some other paranormal groups have done ghost hunting on the premises with what they considered convincing results that some paranormal activity occurred.  The fact the museum is located right across the street from a graveyard, mixed with the Goody Cole history, has added to the theories of paranormal activity.  Admittedly, I saw some unusual things during my stay in hampton.  But, it was mostly at the beach.

Another memorial on the grounds of Tuck Museum is dedicated to Thorvald, the brother of Viking explorer Leif Erickson and son of Erik the Red.  However, this memorial has more of a controversial past as some believe it was just a rock put there by Judge Charles A. lamprey to increase the value of land that he was developing for beach cottages in 1902.  Whatever the true story behind the rock, it has become a popular tourist attraction.

The grounds of the museum are well kept and worth strolling by even if you don’t venture into the museum.

marylizstyles is a fellow New England blogger who specializes in the fashion blogging genre.  Read a post about her recent dude that’s so nautical fashion adventure in Hampton, NH.