Summary: Built in 1810, Old Scituate Light is the 11th lighthouse lit in Massachusetts. The lighthouse is on the registry of historic landmarks in Massachusetts and is reportedly open for tours during certain periods of time during the year (see link above for more info). A rock jetty and rocky beachhead is a popular spot for sunrise watchers and tourists. The lighthouse has a rich history dating back to the early 1800s.
New England has no shortage of lighthouses and breath taking views of seascapes. In fact, due to the plethora of beautiful destinations along the water, some destinations seem to get overlooked. Old Lighthouse in Scituate, MA, is one of these overlooked destinations.
Built in 1810 for $4,000, Old Scituate Light played an important, but little known, role in the War Of 1812. After observing two British barges approaching the Scituate harbor, Abigail and Rebecca Bates, the daughters of the original keeper of the lighthouse (Simeon Bates) hid among a cluster of cedar trees which were once prominent in the area and played their fife and drum in an attempt to ward off the would be attackers. The two girls created such a loud din the barges were said to have retreated fearing an army was preparing for their attack. Their efforts are said to have saved Scituate from being sacked as there was, in reality, no standing army ready for a British attack. The girls went on to become known as the “American Army of Two.”
The 25 foot lighthouse (70 feet above sea level) has a natural/emplaced foundation. The light is a replicated lantern and the keeper does stay in the attached home. A bell, perhaps more for decor than function, stands outside the housekeeper’s residence. The lighthouse keeper is a teacher at nearby Marshfield High School.
There is also a memorial dedicated to the grounding of the Etrusco and the rescue efforts from that accident. On March 16, 1956, the ship came aground at Cedar Point during the St. Patrick’s Day Blizzard (it is New England after all). After the grounding of the freighter, five Scituate residents (all members of Scituate’s Civil Defense Communications Team) sprang into action and, despite blizzard conditions, kept in communication with the Coast Guard, providing key details and information to the Coast Guard. The Coast Guard would eventually rescue all 30 men from the grounded ship.
The surrounding grounds of the lighthouse provide for great photo opportunities.
The highlight of the lighthouse and the surrounding area is the beautiful views it offers which are especially spectacular during sunrise and sunset
As I was about to pack up and head to my next destination, I noticed this group of painted rocks with hopeful messages. Many of them seemed to have a special personal meaning. But, I think we call can derive some inspiration from their messages.
Location: corners of Taylor and Hedges Ave, Westfield, MA
Summary: Massachusetts based artists Shannon Chiba and Sarah Kinne honors the heroes of the Coronavirus pandemic with a mural in Westfield, MA that incorporates many of the places and things the area is known for.
Heroes come in all shapes, sizes and backgrounds. The “Heroes Are Everywhere” in Westfield, MA, pays tribute to the different heroes in our midst. And, especially if you’re from the area, you may notice many little tributes to the city.
The mural, which is painted on both sides of the Columbia Greenway Rail Trail Tunnel, includes paintings of doctors,
And everyone else lending a helping hand to others during these difficult times regardless of their age or size.
If you look closely, you may see such fixtures of western MA such as a black bear, the Whip City Whip Museum (the prominent brick building in the painting), the Great River bridges, the Westfield River and other staples of life in western MA such as blooming flowers and a birdhouse. The roof of the tunnel shows 4 F-15 jets buzzing by which is a common sight for anyone living near the Westfield based Barnes Air National Guard Base.
The tunnel where the mural is painted, which was painted in 2020 by Massachusetts based artists Shannon Chiba and Sarah Kinne, is part of the Columbia Greenway Rail Trail which is a popular spot for cyclists, hikers and joggers.
Hopefully, as time passes on, there will not be a need for murals like this.
Location: Boston Seaport Common, 85 Northern Ave, Boston, MA
Hours: Open to the public 24 hours a day until March 30
Summary: nearly 2,000 pink flamingos have been set up at the Boston Seaport Common until March 30
Flamingos have invaded Boston.
Over 1,900 flamingos (some of them a little tipsy) have been planted at the Boston Seaport as a way to brighten up the area and make people smile. This fly by night installation, which is the work of Massachusetts-based developer WS Development, won’t last long though. The birds are expected to stay at their location at the Seaport Common through Tuesday, March 30. Then, they are migrating to the Street Chestnut Hill (MA) and Market Street Lynfield (MA) from April 1-12.
Contrary to popular opinion, these flamingos are not new to the area. In fact, these flamingos have a long history in MA. Don Featherstone designed the first flamingos for Leominster based Union Products in 1957.
They won’t be here for long! So make sure to flock to the Seaport before they fly away!
New England is known for its stormy weather. But, there was a very different kind of storm at Tower Hill gardens. Yarnstorming, often referred to as “graffiti knitting” or “yarn bombing” is an art form that uses knitted and crocheted yarn as art instead of paint or water colors.
More than 25 works of art and over 2,000 pom poms were draped upon benches, trees, statues and poles around the garden.
I was able to use my 35 mm lens for these photos and I really like the way the colors popped and the crispness of the shots from the lens. It’s technically not a prime lens since it is an 18-35 mm (1.8). But it’s much easier to lug around than a telephoto.
Some of these artistic displays have signs next to the displays. These signs had bar codes you could scan with your cellphone to get more information about the display and the artist who made the display.
Spring was in the air and in the yarn at Tower Hill Botanic Garden’s Yarnstorm event.
Forty artists contributed to the artistic Yarnstorm exhibit at Tower Hill. The designs ranged from the colorful
to the creative
There were also some famous people along the trails.
This display, made in honor of the late Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, included her answer to “when will there be enough women on the Supreme Court?”
Some of my favorite exhibits were along the stairwell near the edge of the gardens.
But it’s hard to choose just one from the colorful garden.
The knitted art isn’t just on the trails outside of the botanic garden. Castor and Pullox were also dressed up for the event.
Just a friendly reminder that if you do go don’t forget to wear your hat and gloves. Because you never know what the weather will be like in New England!
Location: Olde Mystick Village, 27 Coogan Boulevard, Stonington, CT
Summary: Ice sculptures, ice scultpors and costumed visitors converged on the grounds of Olde Mystick Village
Don’t let the rising temperatures fool you. Winter is still very much in swing in New England. To celebrate the waning days of the winter season, Olde Mystick Village held its Ice In The Village festival. The event included over a dozen ice sculptures, two ice sculpting demonstrations and a there were even few characters straight out of Disney.
Mystic Village is known for its plethora of specialty shops and eateries. But the highlight last weekend were the ice sculptures that were installed around the village.
The sculptures ranged from artistic renderings of the animal kingdom
To carvings of food
But many of the sculptures were related to the businesses they were located in front of.
Some of the sculptures seemed to have a certain theme that fit in with the area and its history. Known for its seaport (the Mystic Seaport Museum is just a short distance from the village) Mystic has a rich nautical history. This anchor was a perfect symbol for the area.
This sculpture was popular with people who wanted to take their photos in the opening of the ice carving.
Perhaps the most popular part of the festival were the two ice sculpting demonstrations at the Ice In The Village event.
People were encouraged to wear their costumes and, fitting with the theme of ice and other cold things, Anna and Elsa made a surprise appearance.
Olde Mystick Village is a dog friendly venue and there were lots of dogs at the village during my visit. One of the dogs I saw there, Cocoa, a 9 year old Chocolate Lab, brought her own toy to the festival.
It is unclear whether they will hold this festival again in the upcoming years. But if they do I’ll see you there!
Parking: Metered street parking is available and there are two big parking garages on New Liberty St and Congress St
The Downtown Garage (New Liberty St) costs $1.50 per hour.
The Waterfront Garage (Congress St) costs $.75 per hour on weekdays and $1.50 per hour on weekends
Both garages operate from 7:00 AM to 10:00 PM Sunday through Wednesday and from 7:00 AM to 2:00 AM Thursday through Saturday.
Public Transportation: The MBTA’s Commuter Rail has a stop which deposits its passengers right at Washington St. $15 for a round trip ticket from North Station (fares vary depending upon where you leave from and where you are going)
The snow, ice and cold weather didn’t prevent countless revelers from heading to Salem for the annual Salem So Sweet ice sculpture celebration. In fact, it made for the ideal conditions.
For the past 19 years, Salem has been brightening up the winter days with a ice sculpture festival, highlighted by a special illumination show on the day they arrive.
Much like everything this past tear, everything seemed different and not just because of the obvious. The crowds were smaller, there was a less jovial feel to the event and it wasn’t as festive as in the past. While smaller crowds can be a plus for visitors and especially for visitors with a camera, it didn’t feel right. I’d rather wait and even jostle for a photograph and feel a more fun atmosphere. I suppose that is to be expected these days though. The crowds seemed to ebb and then gather sporadically. But it did seem to be a much smaller crowd this year.
The sculptures were delivered around noontime on the 6th. But, the celebration really heats up during the late afternoon and early evening. From 5 pm to 9 pm on Saturday the sculptures were illuminated. They are only lit up for these 4 hours. So it does attract a busy night time crowd. Although, of course, with most bars closed or operating with heavy restrictions, the night crowd was noticeably smaller.
Unfortunately, the ice sculptures are removed on Valentine’s Day, February 14. So you’ll have to wait until next year, when things are expected to be closer to “normal” to see the sculptures in person.
There were also fewer ice sculptures this year than in the past. Last year there were 26 sculptures. This year 17 sculptures adorned the streets of Salem. However, a few of them were either damaged, had melted substantially because of the warmer weather and sunlight during the day or, in one case, completely broken.
But, I did my best to photograph the sculptures that were available.
I have skipped a few that were too damaged or completed destroyed and one I forgot about because it was too far away (# 17 “Bakery”)
1 “Owl And Moon”
This owl, which was located near Witch City Wicks on Essex St probably looked better before it was illuminated since the sun helped to melt it and obscure some of its features. That was a common theme as you will see in some of these photos. It’s a trade off. Either take the photos of the sculptures when they are fresh and haven’t melted and haven’t been mutilated or wait until the are illuminated when they look, in my estimation, much prettier. I may take photos of the sculptures before and after illumination next year to avoid this from happening again.
2 The World
If you attend the ice sculpture festival each year, you may notice some of the same companies or organizations use the same type of sculptures each year like this sculpture also on Essex St. The Journeymasters, a travel agency company, usually has a sculpture of a globe with a star or some other kind of fanciful design around it.
3 “Thanking All Alumni On The Front Lines”
This sculpture, sponsored by Salem State University whose sports teams are named the Vikings, was located on Essex St near the Bewitched statue at Lappin Park. It was dedicated to the front line and first responders who graduated from the university’
4 Kids In Snow
Located in front of Salem Cycle on Washington St, this ice sculpture depicts two children sledding.
This sculpture of a fish was appropriately located next to Turner’s Seafood on Church St
6 Joan Of Arc Sword And Shield
Located outside of Coon’s Card & Gift Shop on Essex, this sculpture was dedicated to Joan of Arc.
This sculpture, located on Front St, had an actual rose near the top of the sculpture. It also accurately depicts how, while the sculpture look even more stunning at night, they can be much more difficult to photograph the darker it gets even with a tripod and careful photoshop editing. It wasn’t even that late either. I think it was close to 6:30 pm when this photo was taken. But it does get dark pretty early in these parts during the winter.
8 Rocking Horse
Nothing anything different or weird about this rocking horse sculpture which was located on Front St? Don’t lose your head trying to think.
Yes, this rocking horse is missing it’s neck and head. Although it was a little warm (by winter in New England standards) and the sun was beating on the sculptures during the day, this sculpture’s head didn’t melt off. It was almost certainly the act of vandalism or damaged during delivery.
11 2021 Picture Frame
Located on Central St, this sculpture was famous for people and sometimes their pets posing in together
12 Gingerbread House
This sculpture, located neat Witch City Mall (formerly Museum Place Mall) on Essex St, looked goof enough to eat.
13 Hello Kitty Phone
Unfortunately, the writing on the wall of the Peabody Essex Museum on Essex St made it a little hard to show all of the features of the cat.
This was the only sculpture that wasn’t illuminated. As you can see the sun had caused it to melt quite a bit.
This sculpture was appropriately located across from the oldest candy company in America (Ye Olde Pepper Company) and in front of the House of The Seven Gables, this sculpture depicts a train with a cargo of candy canes.
There were helpful guides at the event to hep you find the sculptures and distribute maps showing where all the sculptures are located, although most people used the map on their map from the event’s website. Some of the helpers got into the spirit of the event.
Although she didn’t say much, Samantha was also dressed up for the event.
Although they weren’t part of the actual event, there was some other decorations that lit up the event.
This house on Derby St is famous for decorating its property for major holidays and events.
You may notice a little critter walking up the pathway. When I was photographing the decorations I noticed this little animal approaching me. Having seen cats there during previous photo shoots at this location, I thought nothing of it until it got right in front of me. Yeah it’s a skunk. Fortunately there was a fence between us and the skunk didn’t spray. He or she just turned around and walked back the way he or she came from. It was a very close call!
The famous Jerry the dinosaur of Salem.
The city of Salem has also put up year round lighting displays that made the event even more Decorative than usual.
And this business on Derby St got into the Valentine’s Day spirit.
I look forward to photographing this extravaganza next year when things are more “normal.” But hopefully not too normal!
You can view photos from previous Salem’s Too Sweet Events that I have photographed in the past by clicking on the links below:
Highlights, historic home, character actors, guided tours
Summary: The Paul Revere House offers guided tours of the historic home. A special visitor stopped by during my visit.
Photography is not allowed inside the Paul Revere House (which makes it particularly hard to post about my visit there). However, there was a special guest during my visit.
One of Paul’s besties, John Adams, happened to be visiting while I was there. John regaled the crowd (don’t they look enthralled?) with his stories of his colorful past and his disdain for the British and French.
John also read a letter from his friend Benjamin Franklin.
But, before too long, John checked his watch and he told us it was time to leave.
Although I could not photograph inside the building, I did get some photos of the exterior of the building.
Paul Revere bought the he two story building, which was built in 1680, in 1770 . It has four rooms and ninety percent of the structure, two doors, three window frames, and portions of the flooring, foundation, inner wall material and raftering are original. The rooms have furniture and furnishings that look similar to those from that era. There are staff members in the houses who give a historical background of the house.
People come from all over to visit the house. These two visitors came all the way from Illinois!
Rumor has it there may be another special guest there next Saturday (Sep[. 28)!
Location: Salem Commons, Washington Square, Salem, MA
Highlights: vintage party, swing dancing,swing music,lawn games
Party goers of all ages and backgrounds gathered together earlier this month at the annual Vintage Law Party which celebrated the early 1900’s.
Although not required, vintage outfits were encouraged and many people came out in the vintage best.
Dance classes were offered by North Shore Swing.
The lessons must have worked because the dance floor was ablaze with swing dancers. Eat your heart out, Gene Kelly.
Music was provided by Dan Gabel’s High Society Orchestra
And, of course, Patty supplied the vocals.
There were also lawn games such as badminton, croquet and bocce. There was also a referee for the croquet tournament
Bocce can be a difficult game with lots of lots of twists and turns. These reaction shots how how a game can go in many different directions very quickly!
Ted and Jenna were the winners of the Witch’s Wicket Croquet Tournament.
The one photography tip I would give for this post is not about technique nor is it about equipment or anything photography related. My tip is to be bold (which is good advice for just about any aspect of our lives) and not be shy. Despite my photos of people and all of the wonderful people I have met, I’m not generally an overly social person. So, it’s not my nature to go up to complete strangers and ask for their photograph. In fact, I think I missed a few good photo opportunities in the past because of my shyness. Some people may find that hard to believe now.
I also think photography can be a solitary activity. All you need is your camera. But, my camera has helped me meet so many nice people I would never have met if I didn’t have a camera with me. So, don’t be too shy or worry what somewhat might say if you ask to take their photo. In my experience, they’ll most likely say “yes” or at least be flattered. You may make their day! The upside far outweighs the downside. The worst they will say is “no” and they have every right to say that. It’s not personal. Besides, it’s a good way to connect with someone. You may not just get a good photo. You may make a friend.
Location: Boston Public Garden, Arlington St, Boston, MA
It’s been 18 years since the attacks on the World Trade Center, yet the pain is still real and the scars are still raw for many. Built in 2002, the 911 Memorial at the Boston Garden gives people a place to reflect, leave flowers and other mementos and let us all remember.
The memorial includes names of the victims with ties to Massachusetts or the New England area. As I scanned the scanned the 250 names , one name stood out.
Madeline Amy Stewart (more commonly known as Amy Stewart) is considered the first person to give a description of the hijackers to the air traffic controllers. Amy, who was originally from Long Island and settled in Acton, MA, after her marriage, was a flight attendant on American Airlines Flight 11. Before her plane crashed into the North Tower, Amy relayed important information about the hijackers and the path of the plane she was on. Like many other people who died that day she was not supposed to work on that flight. She had picked up an extra shift for a colleague who had fallen ill. There are a lot of stories like that in the list of names etched in the memorial.
Each year, the Madeline Amy Sweeney Award For Civilian Bravery is awarded to one person from a who has displayed exceptional bravery, without regard for personal safety, in an effort to save the lives of another or others in actual imminent danger.
Annually, on the anniversary of the attacks, a wreath is placed at the memorial. Many people also leave mementos and reminders such as a photo of the Twin Towers and photos of some of the victims of the attack.
Another thing I noticed on the memorial is a few of the names had FDNY after their names (indicating they worked for the Fire Department of New York) and, as I researched the memorial and names on the memorials, just how many people had ties to the New England area. It’s not unusual to meet someone in one of the New England states who has a relative who resides in New York, or who may have been born there or lived there at some point. We’re very much connected to New York and other parts of the areas affected by the attacks and the connection is very much evident when you visit the memorial.
The early bird gets the unobstructed sand sculpture photos. Or, at least so I thought.
The last Sunday of July, I decided to wake up early and photograph the sand sculptures from the annual Sand Sculpting Festival at Revere Beach. There was one slight problem. Everyone else north of Boston had the same idea. The streets and sidewalks at the beach were already slightly clogged with revelers, sun seekers and photogs by the time I arrived “early” at 6 a.m. But, with some effort, I was still able to get a few shots without people, workers or other objects in the background of most of my shots.
The annual sand sculpting event included 15 sand sculptors from all over the world. Awards were given to the top five sculptures that were judged by a panel of experts. There were also a “People’s Choice” award the visitors were able to vote for and a “Sculptor’s Choice” award the sculptors all voted for.
Then, there were 8 additional sand sculptures which did not win a prize but are no less impressive.
So, instead of a big, dramatic countdown, let’s start from the top of the list!
First place went to Canadian artist Melineige Beauregard for her sculpture, “The Nest.” Melineige also works with snow and ice to make sculptures during the colder seasons.
Third place went to Ilya Filimontsev from Russia for his sculpture “Guardian Angels.”
Fourth place went to Abe Waterman of Canada for his sculpture “I Just Can’t Bring Myself To Care, Doctor: An Ode To Apathy.”
Dan Belcher from Missouri came in fifth place with his sculpture “Trance.” Dan has been creating sand sculptures around the world since 1990.
The Sculptor’s Choice Award which was voted on by all of the sand sculptors was awarded to David Mac from Belgium for his work “La Renaissance De Notre Dame.”
The People’s Choice Award was awarded to Sudarsan Pattnaik from India for his sculpture “Save Our Ocean Stop Plastic Pollution.
Although only five of the sculptures won a prize, they were worthy of our praise. One of my favorites from the festival was “Eye Of The Tiger” by Sue McGrew of Washington state. She has been sculpting sand for over a decade.
“Attempting Union” by Morgan Rudluff from Santa Cruz, California was another popular sculpture at the event.
Fergus Mulvany of Dublin, Ireland, created another fan favorite called “Deep Sleep Diving.”
“Dream About Flight” by Aleksei Rybak from Russia is another sculpture that failed to qualify for one of the top spots in the competition.
“Mama Look !! I Found My Teddy!” by Deb Barrett Cutulle was popular sculpture despite not placing in the top of the competition.
“Horsepower” by Maxim Gazendam was another sculpture that failed to place in the top five.
“The Birth Of A New Universe” by Pavel Mylnikov from Russia was another sculpture that failed to make the cut.
The theme of this year’s sand sculpture festival was a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the moon landing. And many of the sculptures from the To commemorate this monumental achievement, the main sand sculpture included sculptures of the astronauts involved in the voyage. Each of the sculptors contributed to these sculptures.
You have to be careful photographing the sunset, especially when you’re photographing it with other objects. For instance, I chose to use a lower aperture (5.6 for most of the photos) which left the sculptures often a bit dark. I also noticed that when I did edit the photos, I had to be careful to not use too much brightness or contrast or other buttons to control the darkness of the sculptures, especially the faces of the sculptures, because it can blow out the colors of the sunset. So, I chose to keep the sculptures a little dark and close up on the key features like faces to capture them without worrying about the background.
You can also try photographing from different angles where the shadows won’t be as bad. I was trying to avoid taking photos with people or other objects in the background. So it was hard to get photos of the sculptures from certain angles without getting people in the background and it also limited the angles I could shoot from. There were a lot of people there despite the early time of the shoot!
Since it’s unlikely the sand sculptures are going to move (and if the do leave immediately!), you can use AV (or Aperture Priority) mode so you can concentrate solely on the aperture settings. I have been using manual mode exclusively with my photos. But it took me a long time to get there. So, I do suggest using aperture priority mode if you’re not comfortable using full manual mode unless you’re photographing things that have action or some other element that requires a fast or variable shutter speed.