Category Archives: traveling

Winter Wildlife Cruise (Boston Harbor, MA)

Date visited: January 23, 20016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I did photograph this Eider as he swam with friends.

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and a few other elusive birds.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Winter Wildlife Cruise – Long Wharf

Winter Wildlife Cruise

Winter Wildlife Cruise II

 

 

 


Nobska Beach (Woods Hole, MA)

After a short stay at Scraggy Neck, it was time for our next stop on our Cape Cod Farewell Summer trip.

Our next destination was the Nobska Beach in the quaint village of Woods Hole in Falmouth, Massachusetts.  The Nobska area is so pretty and there are so many attractions because of its sheer beauty, I decided cover the Nobska area in two separate blogs.

The first thing that stands out at Nobska beach are the array of flowers and the makeshift trails at the beach (that and the lack of parking).  The only parking available is on the side of the road along the beach and a scant few spots in front of the light house (I’ll be posting photos of the light house in the second part of the Nobska photo blogs).

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Nobska Beach offers views of both Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket Island.

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Boats and the ferry make frequent trips to the islands

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If you hadn’t noticed, one of the treasures of Nobska Beach are the rocks and the rock formations.       DSC_0561 DSC_0573     DSC_0658

But, to capture the real beauty of the views from the beach, it was necessary to walk down a narrow trail down to this modest rocky ledge.

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But, the ledge was wide enough for me and my camera.  And the views were well worth the extra effort.

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Nobska Beach is also home to a variety of wildlife.

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At the base of the beach there are two memorials. A memorial for Dennis Jeff Sabo lies under some plants, almost unnoticed.  The memorial does not give any more information than his date of birth, date of death and name.  A Google search yielded no results.  The lack of details about Dennis adds to the memorials’ mystique.

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The other memorial is dedicated to Neilie Anne Heffernan Casey.  Neilie was a passenger on Flight 11 on September 11, 2001. A memorial and bench bearing her name lay in the area now dubbed “Neilie Point”.  A beautiful reminder of an awful day.

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Olde Mystik Village (Mystic, CT)

Tucked away in the quaint village of Mystic, Connecticut, stands the hidden gem known as The Olde Mystic Village.

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At first glance, Mistick Village may seem like a nondescript shopping center.  But, Mistick Village is much more.

There are many cramped stores for specialty merchandise such as custom made clothing and hand made jewelry, pet shops and eateries that dot the village.  It would be easy to dismiss it as just another shopping center. But Mistik Village has many unexpected charms.  One of the biggest surprises at Olde Mistik Village is something very unique.

Right there, smack dab in the middle of the village is a pond.

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Forget about the cinema and the fudge shop.  The ducks are the most popular attractions at the village.  People feed them their dietary recommended food.  Signs prominently remind people crackers and bread are not safe for the ducks to eat.

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They are not restricted to the pond area either.  You can regularly see the ducks roaming the walkways of the Mistik Village.

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And, since so many people feed them, they are not shy.

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The flowers and trees at Mistik Village are another unique feature of the shoopping center.

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Yes, that is a birdhouse on the flag pole.

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Keeping with the aquatic theme, a waterfall leads to a stream with koi fish.

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Some of the most charming elements of the village are the decor.  Walkways are furnished with wooden gateways.

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Wooden chairs rest in front of this fashion shop.

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Various structures are scattered throughout the village.

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Of course, the Mistik Village is a dog friendly area.

I met Theo and Rebel.  Theo was happy to see me.  Rebel, on the left, not so much.

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I also made a friend at Old Mistik Village.  Charley is a rescue dog from Hurricane Katrina.  His dad told us how, after noticing Charley, he arrived at the dog shelter at 5 a.m. to  make sure he could adopt him.  Charley is a very special dog.

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Mount Greylock (Lanesborough, MA)

If you want to feel on top of the world, or at least on top of Massachusetts, there’s no place like Mount Greylock.

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Clocking in at 3,491 feet and about an hour and a half west of Springfield, MA, Mount Greylock is the highest point in Massachusetts.  With its miles of hiking trails and scenic views, Mount Greylock is the perfect destination for hikers and nature lovers.  There is also a paved road to the summit with places to pull over to view the scenic beauty.

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There are also some cute and pretty attractions off the main trails.

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Even the views and flowers at the Visitor Center were captivating.

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Along the trails

But, the pinnacle of Mount Greylock is the tower that sits atop the summit.  First built as a tribute to the veterans of the first World War, the tower now serves as a memorial to all service members who have served the country.  When it is lit each night, the tower is said to be able to be seen from 70 miles.  The granite from which the tower was came from my hown city, Quincy (pronounced kwin-zee), Massachusetts.

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Mount Greylock State Reservation is a dog friendly park.  During my visit there were many dogs out enjoying the views.  DSC_0649

Izzy was patiently waiting for his mom outside the visitor’s center.

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Peanut was getting ready for his big hike.

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Max was tired from hiking the trails at Greylock.

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This fella was enjoying some rays.

Most of the wildlife at Mount Greylock was hidden during the day.  But, I did see this grasshopper.

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Mount Greylock is also a popular spot for paragliders.  In fact, several paragliders took off from Mount Greylock during the day.

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Mount Greylock is also a stop on the Appalachian Trail.  It’s a long way to Georgia.  Maybe I’ll try it sometime.

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Granville State Forest (Granville, MA)

Granville State Forest is 2,000 plus acre state forest and campground located in, you guessed it Granville, Massachusetts.  Be advised, the trails are long in between the various ponds, brooks and various other attractions.  But, you can drive on the unpaved roads if walking isn’t your style.

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Located about 45 minutes from Springfield, MA, Granville State Forest was once a popular hunting spot for the Tunxis.  I didn’t run into Tunxis during this visit.  But, I did see some stunning views.  Take this waterfall, for instance.

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But, to really get a sense of the beauty of the Hubbard River, one must get off the beaten path, or bridge as it were in this case.

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It’s amazing the things you see when you get off the main path.  Like this Frog with his lunch.

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Or this artful graffiti, especially the curse words.  It’s vary quaint.  Oh, you crazy kids.  At least I hope it was kids who wrote it.

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There are also an abundance of pretty flowers and trees.

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About a mile from the bridge over the Hubbard stream, there is the two acre Bahre Pond.  Bahre Pond has some pretty views.

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It is also teeming with wildlife, like this water snake.

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And this frog who thought he could hide from me.

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Granville State Park also has some paths off the main trails that have some hidden gems.

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The main attraction at Granville State Forest has to be the waterfall.  Below is a short video of the waterfall in all its splendor.


Hampton Ponds (Westfield, MA)

Pretty waterscapes are not regulated to the coastlines of New England.  Hampton Ponds State Park is proof of this.  A cute, expansive series of ponds that dot the Westfield area, Hampton Ponds is a popular area for swimmers, sun bathers and boaters.

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Upon reaching Hampton ponds, I was greeted by a gaggle of geese.

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And this one solitary goose.

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Hampton Ponds has some very impressive trees.

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But, it was the vivid greens and wild flowers of the ponds that stood out to me.

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Dragonflies also seemed to enjoy the greenery of Hampton Ponds.

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The water is so transparent at Hampton Ponds, you can see the fish that inhabit the waters.

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Birds are also plentiful at Hampton Ponds.  This swallow sort of blended into the sand on the beach head.

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Boaters and kayakers took advantage of the warm weather and clear waters at Hampton Ponds

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The motorboats created pretty ripples along the glassy water.

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Hampton Ponds doesn’t have any long walking trails.  But, it does make up for it with its pretty views.

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Hampton Ponds is also a popular spot for dogs.

Hercules stopped playing so I could take his photo.

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Sparky happily posed for his photo.

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Hampton Ponds is also the perfect place to reflect

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or to go fishing

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or to just play in the water.

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Mittaneague Park (West Springfield, MA)

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Legend has it the Native Americans called Mittaneague (pronounced Mit-tin-aig) “the valley of falling water.”  The park more than lives up to this description.

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Mittineague Park was, without question, the park with the most difficult terrain to travel that I have visited while writing this blog.  The sharp inclines, fences furnished with barbed wire and “no trespassing” signs, overgrown brush, unkempt make shift trails and other obstacles made it difficult to photograph.

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It is a shame because Mittineague has some wonderful views.

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Mittineague also has a tunnel under the railroad tracks that run through the park.

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During my visit, the train passed by on the rickety rails.

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and kept going…

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and kept going…

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and going…

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and, well, you get the picture…

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But, the gem of the park must be its stone bridges and walkways.

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Mittineague also has an impressive assortment of trees.  They are majestic not just in their stature but also in their sheer beauty.

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There is also a variety of plant life and wild flowers.

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Mittineague is also teeming with birds

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frogs

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and, of course, dogs.

Lucy did a great job fetching her frisbee.

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Lincoln posed proudly with his mommy.

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And Annabelle smiled broadly for her photo.

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Mittineague also has well manicured soccer fields and baseball diamonds and its basketball and tennis courts as well as a play area for kids.

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Or, the kids can just go for a swim in the various brooks and waterfalls at Mittineague.

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