Category Archives: photographs

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 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.

 

 

 

 


It’s Alive! Part III (Salem, MA)

 

Date Of Visit: October 8, 2017

Location: Peabody Essex Museum, 161 Essex St, Salem, MA

Hours: Tuesday – Sunday, 10:00 – 5:00.  Closed Monday

Cost:

Adults $20, seniors (65 and over) $18, students (with ID) $12, Youth (16 and under) and Salem, Mass. residents (with ID) admitted free*. (*Does not apply to youth in student/tour groups.) For late nights, $12 after 5 pm.

*events and some exhibits may be have a separate fee*

Parking: there are several parking garages in Salem ($20 to park the entire day this time of the year),  The best one to park at for this exhibit is the Museum Place Mall parking garage on Church St as it is directly across from the Essex St entrance of the mall.  You may also find limited street parking if you’re lucky for .75 an hour, 4 hour max.

Dog Friendly: No

Website: Peabody Essex Museum

Highlights: collection of movie posters and memorabilia from vintage sci-fi and horror films, videos and music of Kirk Hammett and Metallica

Tips:

  • The entrance is on Essex St (not Charter St)
  • You can view the impressive Yin Yu display at the museum for an extra $6 a person charge.  It is worth the extra fee (and you will see why soon)
  • This exhibit is running until Nov. 26, 2017

Welcome to the third, and final, installment of my photos and observations from the It’s Alive! horror and sc-fi movie collection exhibit.

In case you missed it, you can find part I here and part II here.

Welcome back to my photo blog of the It’s Alive! monster movie memorabilia collection.

AS I mentioned in the previous posts, there is so much more than just posters at this exhibit.

One of the more nostalgic parts of the exhibit are the toys, figures and books.  While I never had any of these specific toys or memorabilia growing up, I had similar toys and memorabilia.  I had to stop myself from playing with them.

This toy figure is a must for any fish tank.

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A replica of what many of the television rooms of that day where millions of families congregated to watch the movie of the week, the late late show or the aforementioned “Creature Double Feature” is set up at the exhibit.

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There are also masks from classic movie monsters.

This mask is the mask Lon Chaney wore in the film Bud Abbott & Lou Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948).  The mask was made by Bud Westmore.  It is made out of plaster with hair, glass, paint, sheltac and clay.

This mask is a gill-man prop head from Revenge Of The Creature (1955).  It was also created by Bud Westmore.  It is made from latex, rubber, paint, metal and glass.  A hose was connected to the mask which supplied air to the actor’s mouth and another hose was connected to the gills to make them look as though they were opening and closing.  Westmore was also credited with creating the design of the monster in The Creature From The Black Lagoon.

One of the coolest parts of the exhibit is the do-it-yourself monster movie poster machine

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Last but certainly not least, there is a collection of Kirk Hammett’s guitars and guitar cases, particularly the cases that are designed in the horror motif.

Videos of Kirk being interviewed and playing the guitar are shown on a loop by his display of guitars.  There are also quotes of his that are posted throughout the exhibit.

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At the end of the exhibit, near the exit, there is a book visitors can sign, leave feedback and add their own art work!

Dogs aren’t the only four legged cuties in Salem during my visit.  Wiggy (The Piggy) is a 1.5 year old Juliana pig.  He was very friendly and he even gave his guardian kisses.

I hope you have enjoyed this tour of the It’s Alive!  exhibit!  Below are some videos of the video clips they show on the walls of the exhibit and one of the figurines on display.


It’s Alive! Part II (Salem, MA)

 

Date Of Visit: October 8, 2017

Location: Peabody Essex Museum, 161 Essex St, Salem, MA

Hours: Tuesday – Sunday, 10:00 – 5:00.  Closed Monday

Cost:

Adults $20, seniors (65 and over) $18, students (with ID) $12, Youth (16 and under) and Salem, Mass. residents (with ID) admitted free*. (*Does not apply to youth in student/tour groups.) For late nights, $12 after 5 pm.

*events and some exhibits may be have a separate fee*

Parking: there are several parking garages in Salem ($20 to park the entire day this time of the year),  The best one to park at for this exhibit is the Museum Place Mall parking garage on Church St as it is directly across from the Essex St entrance of the mall.  You may also find limited street parking if you’re lucky for .75 an hour, 4 hour max.

Dog Friendly: No

Website: Peabody Essex Museum

Highlights: collection of movie posters and memorabilia from vintage sci-fi and horror films, videos and music of Kirk Hammett and Metallica

Tips:

  • The entrance is on Essex St (not Charter St)
  • You can view the impressive Yin Yu display at the museum for an extra $6 a person charge.  It is worth the extra fee (and you will see why soon)
  • This exhibit is running until Nov. 26, 2017

Welcome to the second installment of the It’s Alive! exhibitif you dare.

There’s no better way to get yourself in the Halloween spirit than being in Salem, MA and viewing horror/sci-fi movie memorabilia.  It doesn’t hurt when you have the melodic sounds of Metallica playing in the background.

If you missed Part I you can find it here.

Now that we’ve covered most of the notorious movie villians (Dracula, Frankenstein, et al),  let’s get to view some heroes of these film genres.  Just kidding, here’s more villians!  Below are some famous stories with a different twist.

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In this unusual take on a Shakespeare story, Hamlet (1921) has a more violent twist.

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Belle at la Bete (Beauty And The Beast) (1946).

Cats, especially black cats, play a significant role in horror movies, and not usually in a good way.

From left to right: Tomb Of Ligeia (1965) and Mysteriet Svarta Katten (“The Black Cat) (1941)

These movie posters all have a unhealthy relationship (for instance, Norman certainly loved his mom).

Clockwise from the top left: I Married A Monster From Outer Space (1958), Psycho (1960), The Horror Of Party Beach: The Curse Of The Living Corpse (1964), Island Of Lost Souls (1932), The She-Creature (1956) and The Disembodied (1957)

The following movie posters all seem to deal with the demonic or demented

From left to right: Repulsione (1966), Rosemary’s Baby (1968), The Exorcist (1973), Whatever Happened to Baby Jane (1962)

The following movie posters have to deal with sci-fi and alien monsters

Clockwise from left to right: Barbarella (1968), It Conquered The World (1956), the original art work for The Day Of The Triiffids (1963) The Day Of The Triffids (1962), Doctor X (1932)

These movie posters are for Creatures (people from New England, especially Massachusetts and New Hampshire, may remember from the Creature Double Feature movie shows on channel 56 on television) .

From left to right: King Kong (1933), Mothra (1962), Tarantula! (1955) and (of course) Godzilla, King Of The Monsters! (1956)

These zombie movies came out before the current Walking Dead craze began.

Clockwise from the top left:  The Walking Dead (two movie posters from 1936), White Zombie (1932), Zombies: Dawn Of The Dead (1980), Night Of The Living Dead (1968) and  I Walked With A Zombie (1943)

The remainder of the movie posters fell into a “miscellaneous” category.

Clockwise from the top left: The Cabinet Of Dr. Caligari (1920), The Beast With 1,000,000 Eyes (1955), The Crawling Eye (1958), Metropolis (1927), The Old Dark House (1932), The Whispering Shadow (1933), The Invisible Ray (1948), King Kong Vs. Godzilla (1977), Murders In The Rue Morgue (1932), Mystery Of The Wax Museum (1933), Attack Of The 50 Foot Woman (1958), I Was A  Teenage Werewolf (1957), Barnum (Freaks) (1932), The The Return Of Chandu (1934) and Notre Dame de Paris (circa 1924)

Now, lest how you think that is all that is on display at the It’s Alive! exhibit, think again.

There are also a number of statues, figures and oh, well, I don’t want to give it all away straight away.

Similar to the movie posters, the prints and artwork of the movies are displayed in a separate section.  Now, these, to me, are the real art of the exhibit.  While the movie posters are impressive and cool, the prints have so much detail and you can see the craftsmanship involved.  I loved them.

Clockwise from the top left: The Mummy by Basil Gogos, 1969, Lon Chaney as Phantom Of The Opera also by Basil Gogos, 1958, Dracula by Basil Gogos, circa 1970,  Vampyr by Erik Aaes, 1932, Dead Of Night by Frank Frazetta, 1964, The Berserker by Frank Frazetta, 1967 and Dracula Meets The Wolfman by Frank Frazetta, 1966

There are also suits and clothing from these vintage movies as well as life-like, real sized statues of movie stars and characters.

The mannequin above is a statue of Bela Lugosi.  The mannequin is wwearing the jacket and vest Bela wore in The White Zombie (1932).  The figure of Bela Lugosi was made of silicone by Mike Hill in 2010.

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What a scary suit!  This prop suit was from the movie Invaders From Mars (1953).  It was made by Norman Koch, Olive Koenitz and Gene Martin of the Western Costum Company.  It is made of plush cotton, zippers, metal, painted papier mache and wool.  It is 7 feet in length.

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This “saucer-man” figure from Invasion Of The Saucer-Men (1957) was made by Monster Effects in 2011.  It is made of paint, metal and fiberglass.  Paul Blaisdell created this pop collar on the suit.

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Mike Hill created this Boris Karloff figure in 2010 out of silicone.  The suit is the same suit Karloff wore in The Black Cat (1934).

Quite a collection, huh?  Well, believe it or not, there’s more!  Please join for the third and final installment of this series coming soon!

Salem was teeming with dogs during my visit (you’ll soon see why).  I saw Bella (on the left), a 1 and a half year old Akita, dressed as Batman and Seger (on the right), a 2 and a half year old Cattle dog mix, dressed as a prisoner after I left the museum.

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Below is a video of the It’s Alive! exhibit courtesy of Derek Millen.  He’s a pretty funny guy!  The video portion of the It’s Alive!  exhibit begins at around the 3:13 mark of the video (I have set up the video to start at the It’s Alive section of the video).


It’s Alive! Part I (Salem, MA)

 

Date Of Visit: October 8, 2017

Location: Peabody Essex Museum, 161 Essex St, Salem, MA

Hours: Tuesday – Sunday, 10:00 – 5:00.  Closed Monday

Cost:

Adults $20, seniors (65 and over) $18, students (with ID) $12, Youth (16 and under) and Salem, Mass. residents (with ID) admitted free*. (*Does not apply to youth in student/tour groups.) For late nights, $12 after 5 pm.

*events and some exhibits may be have a separate fee*

Parking: there are several parking garages in Salem ($20 to park the entire day this time of the year),  The best one to park at for this exhibit is the Museum Place Mall parking garage on Church St as it is directly across from the Essex St entrance of the mall.  You may also find limited street parking if you’re lucky for .75 an hour, 4 hour max.

Dog Friendly: No

Website: Peabody Essex Museum

Highlights: collection of movie posters and memorabilia from vintage sci-fi and horror films, videos and music of Kirk Hammett and Metallica

Tips:

  • The entrance is on Essex St (not Charter St)
  • You can view the impressive Yin Yu display at the museum for an extra $6 a person charge.  It is worth the extra fee (and you will see why soon)
  • This exhibit is running until Nov. 26, 2017

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Metallica in a museum.  Something doesn’t sound right.  But, don’t be so quick to judge.  They actually go together like big hair and a hot guitar solo.  But, don’t wait too long to see it.  This exhibit is only being shown until Nov. 26.

Kirk Hammett and the Peabody Essex Museum, located in the heart of Salem, have teamed up to showcase his movie poster collection.  Now, before you scoff at this exhibition, you must realize just how vast his collection (there are hundreds and I photographed them all).  But his collection goes far beyond just movie posters.  His collection includes movie props, life size figures and oh well I don’t want to give it all away just now.  Suffice it to say, I want a room like this in my next home!

One of the truly interesting aspects of the exhibit is the stories behind the memorabilia.  There are movie posters which were either thrown out, papered over or left behind by theater owners or production companies with little or no concept they may be sought after items so many years later.  There are cheaply made movie props which are very valuable now.  And there are the games and action figures most of our moms threw out when we outgrew them but are very valuable either sentimentally or monetarily.  If only I held on to those Luke Skywalker figures.  I even cut the hand off one so it would be more “life like” (spoiler alert).

For better or worse, depending on your point of view, you’ll be hard pressed to find a movie poster from anytime after two very successful movies from the late 1970’s.  I thought it was great being a fan of older horror movies.  Plus, I also found out about some movies I wasn’t aware of that I can check out now.  I think this will be the case for most visitors at this exhibit which is a great thing when you think about it.

There’s also the music and some of his guitar collection.  A video of Kirk explaining hs collection and samples of his music playing on a loop while you admire his sci-fi and horror movie memorabilia give the exhibit just the right feel.  The music complements the memorabilia perfectly.  Hearing Kirk’s riffs on For Whom The Bell Tolls…as you view the assortment of zombies, vampires and other other worldly beings is the pure bliss.  One thing I noticed was how they seemed to re-use the same actors for horror films, even if it was for different movie monsters.  Talk about being typecast.  Poor Boris Karloff!

Metallica and movie posters equal a very happy Nomad indeed.

A couple of things.  Firstly, I wanted to post this on Friday the 13th for obvious reasons.  But, as I am typing this, it does not look like I will make that deadline.  And, secondly, due to the vast amount of posters and memorabilia, I am going to have to break this post into two or possibly three parts.

The movie posters are hung with care by category. such as “the undead”

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and darker fiction (this move scared the hell out of me!)

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You would have to try very hard to not notice the advertisements for the exhibit.  Of course, I couldn’t resist asking one of the staff there, “So, do you have an ‘It’s Alive!’ exhibit?”  The sarcasm was not lost on her.

 

Upon entering the exhibit, you are greeted with a short clip of Nosferatu

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You are then directed to the rest of the exhibit, where another sign states my three favorite words, yes, “photography is encouraged.”  Were you expecting something else?  OK, “dinner is served” is a close second.

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The exhibit begins with a movie prop called a Zapatron made out of aluminum, iron, bakelite, paper, paint and casein-formaldehyde resin by Kenneth Strickfaden.

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The movie poster collection begins appropriately enough with one of the most recognizable and perhaps even beloved characters, Frankenstein and the various offshoots from that movie franchise.

 

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Frankenstein, 1931.  This three sheet poster was discovered in the boarded over projection booth of a remodeled theater.  It eventually found its way into Kirk’s hands.

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This is another poster for the 1931 Frankenstein.  

 

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Yet another movie poster for the 1931 Frankenstein film.

Although the exhibit was set up well, it’s impossible to not have some reflections and lighting that may hit the posters in an unflattering way and , of course, using a flash under these circumstances would actually make it worse.  I also had to take some photos from a certain angle that minimized glare and reflections from showing.  So, it did make some of the photography challenging and time consuming as I had to check each image on my screen before I moved on to the next poster.  But, I still loved doing this shoot!

In the interest of saving space and time, I am going to try to combine the photos from each genre into groups of photos.  The remaining photos from the Frankenstein group are popular offshoots of the Frankenstein movie franchise like The Bride Of Frankenstein.

 

Clockwise from the top left: The Bride Of Frankenstein (three posters from 1935), Frankenstein Meets The Wolfman (1942), Abbot And Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948), Son Of Frankenstein (two posters from 1939) and Frankenstein (1931)

The next group of movie posters were  related to the Mummy movies.  Much like the Frankenstein franchise, mummy movies have been a staple of any horror fan’s collection.

 

Going clockwise from the top left: The Mummy (two posters from 1932), the Swedish release of The Mummy titled Mumien Vaknar (1933), The Ghoul (1933) and The Mummy’s Tomb (1942).

Of course, what would a movie monster memorabilia collection be without Dracula and his various copycats or copy bats?  Sorry. I couldn’t resist.

 

Clockwise from top left: Nosferatu (circa 1931), Dracula (three posters from 1931), Blacula (1972), Mark Of The Vampire (1935) and Dracula’s Daughter (two movie posters from 1936).

Werewolves have always been a mainstay of the horror genre.  This is no different when it comes to movie poster collections.

 

 

Werewolf Of London (both from 1935)

These films are not related but I grouped them together for the sake of saving space and because the posters looked similar.  As a side note, I’ve been described as being like the poster on the right from time to time.  OK, I’ve said too much.

 

London After Midnight (1927) and Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde (1932)

These two movie posters are from movies that were based on two famous Edgar Allen Poe books.

 

From left to right: The Raven (1935) and The Black Cat (two movie posters from 1934)

Aliens and outer space are another common theme in this exhibit.  Me thinks Kirk likes his sci-fi.

 

Clockwise from the top left: Invaders From Mars (1953), The Day The Earth Stood Still (1953), Invasion Of The Saucer Men (1957), Alien (1979), Star Wars (1977), The Angry Red Planet (1960), The War Of The Worlds (1953) and When Worlds Collide (1951)

Creatures, particularly creatures from under the sea, are also prominently displayed at this exhibit.

 

From left to right: Creature From The Black Lagoon” (1954), It Came From Beneath The Sea (1955) , Monster From The Ocean Floor (1954).

There are also some posters of explorers who experience some adversity in different ways.

 

From left to right: Fantastic Voyage (1966) and II 7 Viaggio di Sinbad (The 7th Voyage Of Sinbad) (1959)

Sometimes I wish I could be this guy.

 

From left to right: The Invisible Man (two movie posters from 1933) and The Invisible Ray (1936).

While dogs are not allowed in the museum (with the possible exception of service dogs), I did see Churchill, a 2 year old Great Pyreneese on the way to my car.

Well, I hope I have whet your appetite for more movie posters and maybe a few other types of memorabilia which I will include in part II of this movie poster series.

Thank you for reading and I’ll see you soon…hopefully!

Below is a video of the It’s Alive! movie poster kick off event with a discussion of the collection led by Kirk Hammett.  (video courtesy of Radio Of Horror)

 

 

 


Witch House (Salem, MA)

Date Of Visit: October 1, 2017

Location: 310 1/2 Essex Street, Salem, MA (about 10 minutes north of Boston, MA)

Hours: Open March 15-November 15, daily 10am-5pm
Call for Winter Hours / Extended Hours in October

Cost:

Guided House Tour
Adult $10.25 Senior $ 8.25 Child (7-14) $ 6.25
Self-guided House Tour
Adult $8.25 Senior$6.25 Child (6-14) $4.25 Children Under 6 are free

Parking: there is street parking (75 cents for a maximum of 4 hours) if you get there early.  Otherwise, there are several parking lots and garages that charge $20 for the entire day of parking.  Generally, I park at the Museum Place Mall at Church St since it is closest to all of the attractions in Salem and within walking distance to the Witch House

Handicapped Accessible: No

Dog Friendly: No, although service dogs may be allowed

Website: The Witch House

Highlights: historical artifacts, knowledgeable staff, actual home of “with hunter” Judge Johnathan Corwin

Tips:

  • The entrance is in the rear of the building (off North St)

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“It’s October”, a passerby yelped to a disgruntled driver as he barely squeezed his sedan into the last available street parking spot.

Yup, it’s that time of the year again in Salem, Mass.

Although Salem has proven itself to be so much more than just an autumn destination, fall is still Salem’s biggest time of the year.

It’s unfortunate much of the draw to Salem is related t the witch hunt of 1692.  However, it does provide a learning opportunity and it also gives us a chance to remember the past in the hopes it won’t happen again.

One of the best places to get a no frills education about the Salem Witch Trials is the Witch House on Essex St., just one mile away from the actual hanging spot of these accused witches.

The last standing building directly related to the Salem Witch Trials, the Witch House has a dark, storied history.

As I walked around the house I couldn’t help but think of the innocent people who had been tortured into confessing and the backdoor deals that were made to avoid being accused or convicted of being a witch.  In this very room, John and Elizabeth’s (his wife) parlor or best room, people’s fates were sealed.  In total, 24 people would either be hung (19 in total), 1 person was pressed to death and 4 people died in prison.

The home was bought in 1675 by Corwin, a local magistrate, and his wife Elizabeth (Gibbs).  Elizabeth was a wealthy widow having been previously married to Robert Gibbs.  They would have 10 children together.  Six of their children would die before the age of 25.  Only 2 children lived long enough to have families of their own.

The other room on the first floor showcases many of the tools and herbs used during that time.  As you can see in some of the photos, each historical artifact has a sign or placard next to it with an explanation or story behind the piece being displayed.

The Witch House has six rooms (if you count the foyer areas on two floors.  While not all of the items in the house are directly from that time, many of  the items in the building closely mimic the items of that era.

These chairs, for instance, are very similar to the chairs and tables used that time.  In fact, the 5 chairs at this table are symbolic of the 5 judges (out of 9) needed to convict someone of being a witch at that time.

On the table are copies of the pages of journals, diaries and court records of the inquisitions and court proceedings.

Judge Johnathan  Corwin, who resided here, was said to have questioned the accused at times using extreme measures such as tying people’s arms behind their backs to a chair similar to this one.  It forced more than one innocent person to confess.

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The windows and furniture featured in the house are very well crafted.

In the first room of the first floor there is a sealed off area that shows the inside of the walls.  The architecture of that day may be outdated but it still holds up to this day.

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Up a short, narrow, windy staircase, the second floor has two bedrooms.

In one of the rooms sits a machine for sewing or knitting.

This doll,  also known as a poppet, which was found in the wall of Bridget Bishop’s home, was said to have been a voodoo doll.  The catch is that most people at that time left these types of dolls in their walls as a sign of good luck.  Instead, In Bridget’s case, it was said to have been used to curse others.  Cute little fella, isn’t he?

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Dogs are not allowed in the Witch House (exceptions may be made for service dogs).  But, I met Abita, a 3 year old Lab mix, on my way to the house.  Abita was adopted from the Northeast Animal Shelter in Salem, MA.  What a cutie.

The video below comes courtesy of samuelaschak. It gives a more detailed historical background of the building and the historical highlights of the Corwin family and Salem.


Pinchot Sycamore Tree Park (Simsbury, CT)

Date Of Visit: September 10, 2017

Location: Hartford Rd Rt 185, Simsbury, CT

Hours: open daily, dawn until dusk

Cost: Free

Parking: There is free parking for about 10 cars to park.

Handicapped Accessible: Yes

Dog Friendly: Yes

Website: Pinchot Sycamore Tree Park

Highlights: biggest tree in Connecticut, boat launch, bench to sit

Tips:

  • It may be better to see the size of the tree in the fall, winter and spring when the trees skeleton is visible to fully appreciate the size of the tree
  • The park is the right just before the Bataan Corregidor Memorial Bridge on Rt 185 or just after the bridge, depending upon which way you’re traveling
  • Despite what your GPS says the best road to take to get to the tree is probably Cobtail Way

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Everyday, hundreds, if not thousands, of people pass by a historic landmark without even realizing it.  It is interesting  that so many people miss out on viewing the biggest tree in Connecticut and never know it.

When it was most recently measured in 2016 by the Connecticut Botanical Society, the trunk of the Pinchot Sycamore Tree was listed at 28 feet (8.5 meters) around and 100 feet (30 meters) tall.  It is estimated to be at least 200 years old and could be as old as 300 years.  The tree’s branches sprout in various directions.  With its thick, far reaching limbs, it could easily be used in a horror movie.

The tree was named in honor of influential conservationist and Connecticut resident Gifford Pinchot in 1965.  There was a re-dedication  in 1975.

There are two markers located by the tree.  The first marker (on the left below) is a thank you to all of the groups who have worked to make the park possible.  The second marker (on the right below) is the marker from the original dedication in 1965.  You’ll note the tree’s circumference was recorded as being 23 feet and 7 inches (as opposed to the 28 feet it was measured at in 2016).

To get a better sense of the size of the tree, take a look at the trunk of the this tree in proportion to this model.

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There is also a bench located near the back of the tree that is dedicated to Pauline Schwartz.  The note on the bench states, “Come Have A Seat By Pauline Schwartz’s Favorite Tree” with some designs and, although it is slightly worn, an image that appears to be a person’s face.  Pauline, a native of Bridgeport, CT, passed away in 2013 in Las Vegas, NV.  A bench was dedicated in her honor because of her love of the park.

Behind the tree, almost hidden from the park is a boat launch that offers views of the Farmington River.

The entrance to the park is a little hard to find, unless you know where.  ON Rt 185 just before or after the bridge, there are two green poles that mark the entrance to the park.  The road to the parking lot is short but a little narrow.

As I mentioned in the tips section, it’s probably better to fully appreciate the size of the during the fall, winter or spring when the leaves are off the tree, so you can see the full size of the tree without the leaves hiding the skeleton of the tree.  Below is a photo of what the tree looks like without its leaves (from foursquare.com).


Red Rock Park (Lynn, MA)

Date Of Visit: October 1, 2017

Location: Lynn Shore Dr & Prescott Rd, Lynn, MA ong Lynn Shore Drive (about 20 minutes north of Boston)

Cost: Free

Parking: metered parking along Lynn Shore Drive.  IF you’re unable to find a spot along Lynn Shore, there is usually parking available on one of the side streets in the area.

Trail Size/Difficulty: .5 miles, easy

Handicapped Accessible: Yes

Dog Friendly: Yes

Website: Red Rock Park

Highlights: scenic views, easy walking and jogging path, walkway to the rocky water, spacious park

Tips:

  • During the months of July and August there are weekly concerts held along the Red Rock Park area
  • Try visiting during stormy weather to see some active waves

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Fall has a way of sneaking up on you in New England.  So, it’s important to make the best of each and every unseasonably warm day while you can.  And Red Rock Park, just minutes north of Boston, seemed like the perfect place to enjoy the last gasps of our warm weather.

Despite the temptation to stay curled up in my bed on a Saturday morning,  I was able to make it to Red Rock Park just after sunrise.  The “golden hours” (the first 2 hours after sunset and the 2 hours before sunset) sure do make a difference when it comes to photography.  In fact, some photographers won’t even take their camera out outside of those golden hours, at least not for nature photography.

When you see the sun glistening off the rocks, cement and sand during the morning sunrise, you can easily see why the park is called “Red Rock.”  Red Algae which sometimes floats ashore, while giving off a pungent odor, could be the reason for the reddish hue of the rocks.

A walkway leads to the rocks along the beach that offers some nice views of the Boston skyline,  Rock crabs, barnacle, mussels and sea stars inhabit the rocky waters.  If you’re lucky, you may see one of these critters in the tidal pools that form between the rocks.

The walking path, which leads to  is short and easy leads to Lynn Shore, a popular destination for cyclists and joggers.  There are also ramps along the way.

With its easy walking path and spacious park, Red Rock is the perfect place to take your four legged friend.  In fact, while I was there, I saw  some dogs being trained at the park.  The quarter mile marker is part of the Walking and Jogging Project launched to help promote physical activity of the Lynn, Swampscott and Nahant residents.   This 1/4 mile marker is one of the medallion markers along the 3 mile stretch.  Known as the Nahant, Swampscott and Lynn Good Health Partnership, the markers, placed at quarter mile spaces, go from the Tides restaurant (2B Wilson Rd) to the red Rock Bistro (141 Humphrey St).

 

Sampson, a friendly 12 week old Lab mix was enjoying the beautiful fall morning with his mom while I was visiting the park.  He is a rescue from the North Shore Animal League.

Below is a video from the rocks along the water.

Red Rock Park is one of the more popular spots for residents of the area to visit during stormy weather.  Below is a video of one of those stormy days in April, 2011.  It actually gets much worse, flooding the entire Lynn Shore Drive, when we experience a tropical storm or hurricane.  This video is courtesy of Steve Deveau.

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