Category Archives: Uncategorized

Christmas By Candlelight 2022 (Old Sturbridge Village, Sturbridge, MA)

Date Of Event: December 17, 2022

Location: Old Sturbridge Village, 29 Stallion Hill Road, Sturbridge, MA

Hours: Held annually, November 25, 26, 27, and December 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11, 16, 17, 18, 23, 27, 28, 29, and 30. Christmas by Candlelight runs from 2:00 – 8:00 pm.

Cost: $32 for adults and $16 for youth (4-17)

Parking: Free ample parking is available on site

Summary Houses are decorated in traditional style while period style actors bake, make ornaments, play musical instruments of the day and tell stories of days of yore.

Website: https://www.osv.org/event/christmas-by-candlelight-2022/

Have you ever wondered how some of the earlier settlers of New England celebrated the holidays? Then Old Sturbridge Village has just the thing for you.

Luckily, you can see see an accurate display of how New Englanders celebrated Christmas during the 1830s, 1850s and 1870s (except for bonuses like having indoor plumbing and electricity in homes and other modern day comforts) at their Christmas By Candlelight event. One of the biggest attractions is the Center Meeting House, especially during the evening.

The Center Meeting house was used for meetings, elections and sermons. During my visit they were playing music at the Meeting House.

Many other homes were also decorated for the event.

Everything from the furniture and the way the curtains were hung was true to that era, Even the character actors were dressed in clothing of that time.

This worker at Sturbridge was making stockings

As the light was waning and I didn’t want to use a flash in this environment, even though it would have helped bring out some of the features of the people and the settings, I used a prime lens with a low aperture so I could photograph in the low light conditions.

There were also people making decorations, knitting hats and baking holiday treats

There were also musicians performing traditional holiday music

As the sun set on Sturbridge Village, I was able to capture

In case you got cold, there were open fires for people to warm up

Sturbridge Village also showcased acres of lights and decorations

But not all of the lights were on trees and houses. Visitors also wore festive lights to get in the spirit of the event!

Each year Sturbridge Village holds a gingerbread home contest. They have showcased some incredible works in the past and this year was no different. It was a nice way to end the visit


22nd Annual Hampton Beach Master Sand Sculpting Classic (Hampton, NH)

Date Of Event: June 19, 2022

Location: Hampton Beach, 169 Ocean Blvd, Hampton, NH

Cost: Free

Parking: Metered parking is available at Hampton Beach. Since this is a popular event, parking is also available at various lots usually for $20 for the day during this event, although prices fluctuate based on the time of day and parking availability

For more parking information see below

https://www.hahttps://www.hamptonbeach.com/directions-parkingmptonbeach.com/directions-parking

Universally Accessible: Yes

Dog Friendly: Yes

Websites:

https://hamptonbeach.org/events/sand-sculpture-event/

https://hamptonbeach.org/events/sand-sculpture-event/contestants/s:

Summary: Sand sculptors from all over the globe competed for the Hampton Beach Sand Sculpting grand prize

It may seem strange to talk to about sand sculptures and the beach during October. But, what better way to feel warm and cozy during these colder days than looking back to this annual summer event.

The theme for this year’s sand sculpture event, which began in 2000 was “The Greatest Show On Earth.” All of the competitors contributed to sculpting the main sculptures for this theme.

I made two visits to the beach to view the sand sculptures which may explain the difference in light and shade in the photos.

I am posting the photos in the order they were located on the beach abd including info about each sculpture whenever background details were available..

“Transition” – Rusty Croft (Carmel, CA)

4th Place

As is evident by the gravestone like sculpture, this sculpture is a tribute to a loved one who has “transitioned.” This sculpture placed 4th in the competition. As I was photographing these works of art I found it

“Primal” – Chris Guinto (Captain Cook, HI)

Chris, originally from Florida but currently residing in Hawaii, is no stranger to the competition or to winning awards. He won the Sculptor’s Choice Award in 2021.

He described his dinosaur skeleton (or as he called it “spineasaurus”) coming to life. As you will see as a common feature of these sculptures, the attention to detail is incredible.

“I Am Life” – Melineige Beauregard (Hawaii)

1st Prize and People’s Choice

Melineige, who won the competition in 2017, repeated her standard of excellence with “I Am Life” bringing home first place.

She said the sculpture was based on the “flower of life” design that is present in all of nature and life. According to Melineige, this pattern connects us all through flowers and nature. The front side represents the “flower of life” while the back side represents the death and destruction that is also present in our lives.

“Knowledge Is Limited. Imagination Encircles The World” – John Gowdy (Italy/New Jersey)

This sculpture, based on a quote by Albert Einstein, uses symbols like books, an owl and pen and paper to show the different ways to express knowledge. Again, the attention to detail is amazing.

“Wyvern Whisperer” – Greg Grady (Derry, NH)

Governor’s Choice Award

Grady, another regular competitor and founder of the sand sculpture event, said the inspiration for the sand sculpture the Wyvern (pronounced (why-vurn) Whisperer was his son. His son asked him to make a dragon and they settled on a two legged dragon (wyverns are 2 legged dinosaurs) and he modeled the smaller figure on his son who likes to play “super hero.”

“Linked” – Bruce Phillips (San Diego, CA)

Bruce, from San Diego, CA, said his sculpture represents people and working together.

“Trolls” – Karen Fralich (Ontario, Canada)

2md Place

The meaning of this sculpture seems straight forward. Troll-like figures hug, offer treasures and act friendly to the crowned figure while they attempt to stab and mock him to his back

“Entropy” – Carl Jara (Lyndhurst, OH)

3rd Place

“Entropy”, in short a randomness or disorder in the system, certainly does show a disorder and randomness. Jara’s sculpture placed 3rd in the event.

“Let There Be Peace On Earth And Let It Begin With Me” – Justin Gordon (Groveland, MA)

“Hierarchy Of Needs” – Abe Waterman (Prince Edward Island, Canada)

Unfortunately, Abe’s sand sculpture collapsed due to weather conditions. So, a photograph of the sculpture was put in its place.

The sand sculptures are usually kept up for a week (in this case until June 26). The sculptures are also lit up for night viewing.


Stanley Park Braille Trail (Stanley Park, Westfield, MA)

Date Of Visit: July 4, 2021

Location: Stanley Park, 400 Western Ave, Westfield, MA (about 2 hours west of Boston, MA and 1 hour northwest of Hartford, CT)

Hours:

Official Season: Stanley Park is open to the public (7 days a week) from 7:00 am until dusk daily (1/2 hour before sunset) until the last Sunday in November. Upon entrance, please note gate closing times.

Off-Season: Gate 1, across from Westfield State University’s Woodward Center, is open year-round from 7:00 am until dusk daily, weather permitting. Upon entrance, please note gate closing times.

Cost: Free

Parking: There are several free parking lots at Stanley Park, The main parking lots are located off Western Ave

Universally Accessible: Yes

Dog Friendly: Yes

Summary: A braille trail has been installed at Stanley Park

Many of us have heard of “rail trails” (formerly use railroad tracks transformed into hiking trails). But, few of us may have heard of a Braille Trail.

As we progress and develop a more universally accessible society, most parks and attractions are making efforts to ensure their trails and buildings are more accessible for all. Stanley Park is no different, Enter the Braille Trail at Stanley Park.

The Braille Trail at Stanley Park in Westfield, MA, was built and designed by Scout Jeremy T Trottier of Troop 821 as part of his Eagle Scout project. Jeremy, 15 at the time he began this project, has always wanted to become an Eagle Scout and he had been working hard to reach that goal. Besides, it’s in his blood. Jeremy’s father and uncle are both Eagle Scouts.

The trail, which is meant to give the visually impaired an enhanced experience at the trail, is located at a serene, shaded, usually quiet area of the park where a lot of the wildlife is active. The sounds of nature and wildlife are meant to enhance the experience for the visually impaired.

The 300 foot path is connected by a series of 3 wooden stations attached by a rope with placards containing information about the trail and park in braille and print.

There is also a bench at the end (or beginning) of the trail.

Jeremy fund raised to generate the $1,700 to pay for the plaques and other materials to create the trail; It was completed and officially dedicated September 9, 2017

In case you’re wondering, yes, Jeremy realized his dream when he was officially awarded Eagle Scout on January 13, 2018.


Lady Of Salem 2022 (Salem, MA)

Date Of Visit: Sept 2022

Locations: Downtown Salem, MA (Essex St, Washington St and Derby St)

Hours: Accessible everyday, all day

Cost: Free

Parking: There are parking garages at 1 New Liberty St and Congress St and other parking lots (parking is very limited during the month of October)

Universally Accessible: Yes

Dog Friendly: Yes

Summary: 26 figureheads have been placed around the downtown Salem MA area

Websites

https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100064633061908

There are a lot more ladies these days in Salem, MA. Well, at least 26 more.

To commemorate the 10th anniversary of the artful Lady Of Salem the 26 ladies, shaped in the design of figureheads are displayed throughout the downtown area, They celebrate the “Golden Age Of Sail.”

So what is a figurehead and what do they symbolize? Figureheads are used to identify the ship in a non-literate society. They are carved from wood and placed at the bow of the ship. Figureheads were often thought to ward off evil spirits and give the crew good fortune. Since they are located at the front of the ship, they were considered the “eyes of the ship” and they were said to guide the captain and crew into safe harbor. Unlike the figureheads you will find on ships, these Ladies are 33’ tall and made out of light weight polyurethane foam molded form

Most of the Ladies can be found on light posts and on storefronts on Essex St. Only 3 of the 26 figureheads are located off Essex St

I am posting the Ladies in the order they are listed on the website listed above with the name of the artist and a little info about each one and information about what the figurehead may represent

Depending on where you are coming from, it may not be the best or easiest way for you to access them. There is no real order to view. View them at your leisure and convenience! One figurehead is located in the Old Salem Town Hall (better known for being one of the filming locations of Hocus Pocus).

At the bottom of the post I have included a map and list of the where the figureheads are located.

1 “DIY Shipbuilding Lady” – Keri May Killam

231 Essex St/Washington St (near Rockafellas)

As you will see in some of the other figureheads, some of the figureheads have themes and names, often based on the sponsor or artist of the figurehead. Since The Home Depot sponsored this figurehead you may noticed hardware related items on the board of the figurehead. The figurehead is also a nod to the “do it yourself” craftsmanship involved in building these vessels the figureheads were attached to. In colonial and post-colonial times, the East Coast had an abundant supply of Eastern Red-cedar, White Pine and a variety of Spruce and Oak trees which were used to build the vessels of Salem and the surrounding areas.

2 “West India Trade Lady” – YMCA Girls Today

228 Essex St

This figurehead is a symbol of the trade which existed in Salem in the Revolutionary and post Revolutionary times. Salem, at the time, was considered a hub for trade. In fact, arguably the first known millionaire in the United States was a merchant named Elias Hasket Derby, a merchant who made much of his money through trade. Ships would travel from Salem to the West Indies (Caribbean Islands), Barbados, and Jamaica with a cargo of dried codfish, haddock, mackerel, lumber, bay berry candles, and occasionally cows. They traded with the islanders for molasses, sugar, cotton, rum and slaves who were
bought to work as field hands and domestics.

On a sad note, at least 18 Salem vessels were known to have transported slaves from Africa to America and the Caribbean

3 “Mermaid Lady” – Jeanne Pare Muse

230 Essex St

Evident by the various jewels, grass and the tail shape on the board, this figurehead has both the shape of a mermaid and the jewels you would find at the sponsor of the figurehead (Treasures Over Time). Mermaids were said to snare sailors with their beautiful appearance and even more beautiful voices. They were said to serenade sailors, eventually dragging them down to the bottom of the ocean

4 “Day Of The Dead Lady” Cynthia Mikula Smiszek

213 Essex St (near Wicked Good Books)

A tribute to the Day Of The Dead holiday, this figurehead displays not only the face painting that is associated with the day, it also has related symbols on the board. It is also a stark reminder of the risks of life at sea. In 1738 alone, over 400 people from Salem had died at sea because of disease, drowning, cannibalism and other dangers of life at sea.

5. “West India Trade Lady” – Shelia Farren Billings

215 Essex St

Believe it or not, at one time after the the Revolutionary War, there were almost 50 wharves. While many of the cargo of these vessels included rum, cotton, sugar and fish, some ships also brought slaves from Africa and the Caribbean. In the 1800s, Salem’s population of 10,000 included 200 African descendants.

6 “Philanthropic Lady” – Shelia Farren Billings

216 Essex St

This figurehead is a tribute to Captain John Bertram who was one of Salem’s wealthiest residents and philanthropist. In addition to being involved in the sea trade, he also managed several railroads and made his riches in the California Gold Rush. He helped fund Salem Hospital (1873), the home for Aged Men, the home for Aged Women and the Children’s Friend Society. Some of these organizations are still active today.

7 “Salem Museum Lady” – Mary Ellen Smiley

Inside the Old Town Hall vestibule (32 Derby Square)

Salem is known for its museums and landmarks. So it comes to no surprise there would be a figurehead bearing that name. The Town Hall where this figurehead is located may be best known for being one of the filming locations for the first Hocus Pocus movie. It was designed by the famous architect Charles Bulfinch. It is the earliest surviving municipal structure in Salem, MA, dating back to 1816 or 1817.

Although I could not gain entry to photograph this figurehead, I was able to copy and paste this photo I took of it in 2018

8 “Lady of Means” – Karen La Mesa/Tina Armstrong

210 Essex St

This figurehead has a connection to the sponsor Salem Five. But the coins which are evident along the board are also a reminder of the substantial trade Salem made with other countries and the origin of the sponsor of this figurehead

. As a result of the large sums of money generated from the overseas trade, particularly China, the Federalist Party decided to create banks in order to protect their investments. The original banks were named Salem Bank and Old Essex Bank. Eventually, the Nickel Bank (now named Salem Five) was established in 1855.

9 “Lady Hospitality” – Judith Pabich

209 Essex St

The Salem Inn, the sponsor of this figurehead, was established in 1834. This figurehead is a tribute to the Inn and the hospitality of the area.

10 “Sea Shell Lady” – Mary Ellen Halliwell

195 Essex St (taken down for maintenance)

Sailors were said to send “Sailor’s Valentines” to loved ones. The shells that were used to adorn the octagonal hinged wooden boxes can be seen on the board of this figurehead. In realty, historians now believe these boxes were made by women on the West Indian Island of Barbados and purchased by men while they were in port. Caribbean shells imported from Indonesia were used to make these elaborate heart shaped designs and patterns.

11 “Lady Bernadette – China Trade Lady” – Cynthia Mikula Smiszek

196 Essex St

This figurehead exhibits the importance of trade between China and Asia. In 1784 Elias Hasket Derby sent his ship “Grand Turk” to Canton, China with a cargo of tobacco, fish oil, sugar and earthenware. In return, the “Grand Turk” brought back furniture, silk, nankeen cloth and porcelain.

12 Quaker Lady” – Kenneth Glover

190 Essex St

In addition to settling in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, Quakers also settled in Salem, MA. The Quakers, who were also known as “The Society of Friends”, controlled shipping and trade on both sides of the Atlantic during the 1770s. There is also a connection to the witch hysteria which would plague Salem years later. One story claims that in 1656, two Quakers were found on a ship landing in Salem. After the town fathers inspected them for “Witch Marks” and none were found they were swiftly deported.

13 “I Am No Witch” – Kenneth Glover

137 Essex St (Armory Park)

This figurehead is a tribute to Lady Bridget Bishop by Kenneth Glover. After being missing for some time, it is now located in front of the Salem Armory Visitor Center on Essex Street. Bridget Bishop was a tavern keeper who was executed in 1692 during the Salem Witch Trials. The name of the figurehead is taken from a direct quote from Bridget Bishop refuting the charges of witchcraft against her.

14 ”Ladies of Good Fortune” – Lady Shalimar

188 Essex St

15 182 Essex St

Located near some of the psychics and palmists, these figureheads are a reminder of the superstitions and predictors of the risks at sea. Sailors avoided sailing on Fridays, they boarded with their right foot and having women on board was considered “bad luck.” This lady in these different different dresses appears to be a “reader” or someone who could predict some of these risks.

16 “Sailor Lady: Life at Sea” – Palmer’s Cove Yacht Club, John Devine

181 Essex St

A sailors job was never done. Traveling along the seas was risky hard work. From raising masts to defending from other sailors or pirates, there were many tasks and risks on the job. The Palmer’s Cove Yacht Club is sure to have experienced some of these tasks and risks, minus the pirates.

17 “Merchant Lady MaryKate” – MaryKate Ross

181 Essex St (Witch Tees storefront window)

This figurehead, appropriately placed inside a storefront, is a tribute to the merchants of Salem, specifically John Cabot and Elias Hasket Derby, who are attributed with launching Salem’s “Golden Age Of Sail” with their vessel “The Buccaneer” in 1783. Cabot and Hasket sailed to several Baltic ports and are said to be the first ship to trade with the Russian empire in St Petersburg. Through this risky trade that others were afraid to make, they made huge profit margins

18 “Lady Wendlyn” – The Torch Club

181 Essex St

This figurehead is meant to show the diversity of both the diversity of the people of the area as well as the diversity of the ancestors of the area. Despite our differences, we are all “Irish, Dominican, Panamanian, Haitian, English and Danish” according to the Torch Club

19 “Deep Blue Mystery Girl” – Bates Elementary School, 5th Grade
Art Class

176 Essex St

The Deep Blue Mystery Girl, was made by the Bates Elementary School 5th grade class. I’m sure with a little help from their teacher. The figurehead is an homage to the seas and more accurately the sea monsters that were once thought to inhabit the waters the sailors sailed in. Bass and other fish became a major source of food and trade for these sailors. Not only did sailors see whales, a variety of fish and maybe even a few monsters. Of course some of the monsters they saw were often times just sharks, octopus and other sea critters. Some of them at least.

20 “Lady Liberty” – Nicko Papadimitrion

Witch City Mall entrance (186-3 Essex St)

Fittingly, the figurehead for “Lady Liberty” depicts the Statue Of Liberty with an I love Pizza shirt. If you look closely at the board of the figurehead you may see a popular landmark of NY as well as a plane flying an advertisement for the pizzeria. If you look closely at the building, you may also see a famous movie character near the building. New York was, and still is, an important hub for trade and tourism. And I’m sure many of the ships from the 18th and 19th century had figureheads on them.

21 “Grog Shoppe Lady” – Sheila Farren Billings

Village Tavern (168 Essex St)

Located above the entrance to the Village Tavern the Grog Shoppe Lady figurehead is a reference to the Grog, an alcoholic beverage originally made from water and rum. I know what you’re thinking. “Yum!” Taverns, as you can imagine, were a staple of most ports where Grog was served. The draft taps along the board of the figurehead is a fitting representation of the Village Tavern, the sponsor of the figurehead. And, no, I don’t think they serve Grog.

22 “Banking and Commerce Lady” – Amberlyn Narvie

168 Essex St (near fountain)

The “Banking and Commerce Lady” is representative of the Pierce & Waite Mercantile firm. Aaron Waite and Jerathmiel Peirce were the owners of the original Friendship vessel, a replica of which you can usually find docked at Derby Wharf. The coins placed upon the board are no doubt a tribute to the riches both men made as well as to the Beverly Cooperative Bank, the sponsor of the figurehead.

23 “Naumkeag Woman” – Dori Phillips

168 Essex St

Before it was known as Salem, it was known as “Naumkeag” (“still water dividing the bay” or “the fishing grounds”). Naumkeag also refers to an independent tribe in the Massachusetts confederacy of tribes. There are also some herbs or spices scattered along the board of the figurehead, certainly a tip of the hat to the sponsor of the figurehead (Scratch Kitchen).

24 “Antique Curiosity Shoppe Lady” – Alicia Irick Cohen

In front of Peabody Essex Museum (161 Essex St)

This figurehead is a throwback to when figureheads from the early 1800s and earlier were often carved from wood and placed at the bow of the ship. As you may notice, these figureheads, sometimes weighing over several tons, were heavy and would slow down the ships. So ship builders and their crews would opt for smaller, lighter figureheads.

25 East India Peacock Lady – Jeanne Pare Muse

In front of Peabody Essex Museum (161 Essex St)

If you look closely at this figurehead you may notice peacock feathers on the board and jewels on the lady.

Captains of ship boats in the early 1800s were expected to donate curious items they found during their trading expeditions. Some of these “curiosities” were shrunken heads, nose flutes, jewels and exotic shells. While I do see some exotic items on the lady, I think she left her shrunken heads at home.

Peacocks often roamed the country side of India, one of our trade partners at the time. In fact, they were so common and majestic they became the nation’s official bird. The peacock is associated with the Hindu God, Lakshmi, symbolizing patience. kindness, compassion and good luck

26 “Scarlet Letter Lady of Salem” – Jeanne Pare Muse

155 Derby St

One of Salem’s most famous residents was a writer you may have heard of. But, Nathaniel Hawthorne was not only a prolific writer. He was also a surveyor of revenue at the Custom House in Salem. This particular figurehead is a tribute to one of his greatest works.

These figureheads are going to be up until the middle of October. And, don’t forget to vote for your favorite figurehead at their Facebook page

Dogs also like the figureheads. I found this cute dog with some very big ears during my visit to the figureheads.

I would like to thank the Lady Of Salem Maritime Exhibition organizers for all their help, especially by providing photos of a few figureheads I could not find on my own and providing me with answers and info regarding this exhibit.


21st Annual Hampton Beach Sand Sculpting Classic (Hampton Beach, Hampton, NH)

Dates Of Event: June 17 -19, 2021

Location: Hampton Beach, 115 Ocean Blvd, Hampton, NH

Hours: The beach is accessible daily from dawn until dusk

Cost: Free

Parking: Hampton Beach offers a variety of parking options.  If you’re lucky enough to get a parking spot in the main parking area it is $2 an hour during the summer.  There are also additional lots that range from 5 to 20 dollars for the day depending on when you arrive.  See link for additional parking info: Parking Info

Universally Accessible: Yes

Dog Friendly: Yes but dogs are not allowed on the beach during the summer

Website: https://hamptonbeach.org/event-listing/21st-annual-hampton-beach-sand-sculpting-classic/

Highlights: sand sculptures

Summary: Ten artists converged upon Hampton Beach to sculpt pieces of work.

Nothing says summer like long days of sunlight, road trips and, of course, sand sculptures. And as proof of this, Hampton Beach has ushered in the season with their 21st annual sand sculpting classic.

Ten sculptors from all the world put their talents to work at the sculpting competition. But, before the contest began the competitors collaborated to build the 100 ton main sponsor site sculpture. The sculpture pays tribute to the New Hampshire Marine Memorial statue which is located at the beach, the lifeguards who help to keep the beach safe and the sea life of the area.

The competition began on Jun 17 and ended on the 19th. Two hundred tons of sand are used for the sculptures and each competitor was given a plot size of 18×18 to complete their work on.

Although I haven’t been able to attend the actual sand sculpting competition the past few years, I do make sure to visit the day after the competition to photograph the sculptures in their pristine state. Even though I arrived at sunrise, there was already a healthy crowd at the beach and it was hard to get some photos with people in the background. But by using some creative angles and with some patience I was able to get most of the photos without any beachgoers in them.

After hours of grueling work, the winners were announced June 19th.

The winning sculpture “Empty” was sculpted by Abe Waterman of Prince Edward Island, Canada. Abe said he came up with the idea for this sculpture about a year and a half ago after his separation from his wife.

Second place was awarded to Melineige Beauregard of Montreal, Canada for “Rebirth Of Phoenix.” Melineige won the first place award last year.

Karen Fralich of Toronto Canada snagged third place with he sculpture, “Poker Face.”

And fourth place was awarded to Thomas Koet of Satellite Beach, Florida, for his sculpture, “Multiple Piercings.” Thomas also won the “People’s Choice Award” for his 2020 sculpture.

Chris Guinto of Key West, Florida, won the “Sculptor’s Choice Award” for his “Continuum” sculpture.

I don’t envy the judges who had to decide on the winning sculptures. They were all so well done.

The remaining sculptures are, in no particular order,

“Behind Every Successful Man There is a Strong Woman” by John Gowdy of Atlantic City, New Jersey.

“Pulled” by Carl D. Jara from Lyndhurst, Ohio

“Once Bitten” by Greg Grady of Derry, New Hampshire.

“Laugh” by Dan Belcher of Saint Louis, Missouri.

“Miss You, My Friend” by Justin Gordon of Groveland, Massachusetts. For some reason this one touched a chord with me.

Wally and the Plymouth Rock assurance mascot were also part of the sand sculpture celebration.

There was also a sand sculpture dedicated to retired police officer Jack Donaldson who passed away earlier this year from cancer. Jack worked both as a teacher and as a part time officer for 50 years.

The sand sculptures are lit up at night and they are removed after a week or two. So they may no longer be there. At least not until next year!


2021 Salem’s So Sweet (Salem, MA)

Date Of Event: February 6, 2021

Location: Salem, MA

Hours:Visible 24 hours a day, until they Feb 14

Cost: Free

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)

MBTA Commuter Rail

Universally Accessible: Yes

Dog Friendly: Yes

Summary: Over a dozen ice sculptures located throughout Salem, MA, are illuminated during the evening.

Website: http://salemmainstreets.org/festivals/salem-so-sweet/

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 listed the ice sculptures as they are listed on the map at the events’s website: http://salemmainstreets.org/festivals/salem-so-sweet/

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.

5 Fish

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.

7 Sweets

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.

15 Sailboat

This was the only sculpture that wasn’t illuminated. As you can see the sun had caused it to melt quite a bit.

16 Candy

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:

2017 Salem’s So Sweet: https://newenglandnomad2015.com/2017/02/13/salems-so-sweet-salem-ma/

2018 Salem’s So Sweet: https://newenglandnomad2015.com/2018/02/13/16th-annual-salems-so-sweet-salem-ma/

2019 Salem’s So Sweet: https://newenglandnomad2015.com/2019/02/14/salems-so-sweet-2019-salem-ma/


20th Annual Hampton Beach Sand Sculpting Classic (Hampton, NH)

Date Of Visit: Sep. 6, 2020

Location: Hampton Beach, 160 Ocean Blvd, Hampton, NH

Hours: Open daily dawn to dusk

Parking: The main parking area and and Ocean are closed during the sand sculpting festival. Visitors can park in one of the lots in the area. Parking costs 10 to 30 dollars depending on when you park

Universally Accessible: Yes

Dog Friendly: Yes

Highlights: sand sculptures, street performers,

Summary: Despite the Covid 19 pandemic, the show must go on at the

The next time someone tells you to go “pound sand”, say Ok and head over to Hampton Beach Sand Sculpting Festival!

Yes, not even a pandemic can stop the sculptors from showing off their creativity and skills, with the proper social distancing measures taken.

I decided to photograph the sand sculptures a little different this year than I have in the past. Instead of going to the beach early in the morning or during the competition, I waited until the evening when the sculptures are lit up. The photos of the back of the sculptures were taken earlier in the day. So you may see some beautiful images of the sunset in the background of those photos. The sky looked like it was on fire.

The festival, which usually takes place at the end of June, was postponed until Labor Day weekend this year due to the COVID19 outbreak.

First prize went to Meliniege Beauregard (http://sculpturebeauregard.com/) of Quebec, Canada, for her sculpture “Second Star To The Right And Straight On Till Morning”. Beauregard also won first place in last year’s competition.

Abe Waterman (http://www.abewaterman.com/) of Prince Edward Island snagged second place for “Yesterday’s Serenade.”

Third place was awarded to Thomas Koet of Satellite Beach, Florida for his sculpture ” Eye Of The Beholder.”

Karen Fralich (http://www.sandscapes.com/bio_krn.html) of Toronto, Canada, won fourth place with “Just Breathe.”

The coveted “Governor’s Choice”, selected by New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu, went to Cgris Guinto (https://ussandsculpting.com/chris-guinto/#.X17IImhKjOg) of Key West, Florida.

Although the remaining sculptures did not win a prize, they were still all very impressive. It must have been very hard to select this year’s winners.

Rusty Croft (https://www.rustycroft.com/) of Carmel, California, sculpted “Mood Swing.”

One of my favorites and perhaps one we can relate to was “It’s Overwhelming” by Justin Gordon (https://www.elwindesigns.com/) of Groveland, Massachusetts.

Another popular sculpture was “Squid Pro Quo” by Carl D. Hara (http://www.artcleveland.com/personal.html) from Cleveland, Ohio.

“Lady In Repose” by David Andrews of Wisconsin was one of the more creative sculptures.

Last but certainly not least, perennial competitor and founder of the sand sculpting festival, Greg Grady (https://www.facebook.com/ProfessionalSculptures) sculpted “I Believe.”

Grady also won an award from all of the other sand sculptors. Since Greg helped found the sand sculpting festival some 20 years it has grown in popularity and has been a big boost for the tourism and business industries in the area. For all of his efforts, the other sculptors presented Greg with this trophy.

The theme of the festival was the “Enchanted Land of the Sand.” All of the artists, named the “Grady Bunch” after founder and sculptor Greg Grady, helped created these sculptures. I waited until it got dark and the sculptures were lit up to photograph them. In retrospect I should have waited later. But I did have a long drive ahead of me and it was a long day. Next year I’ll wait a little later though. They do look so much better at night when they are lit up.

Speaking of the night time, the night life at Hampton Beach was vibrant despite some of the bars and clubs being closed. As you may see from the photos, the crowds were sparse compared to previous years.

The city closes down the main street where the sculptures are located and people are free to happily roam the streets. The drivers who are detoured because of this closure don’t share this sentiment I am sure.

The festival is a dog friendly event just not on the beach. At least not until the summer season ends. Bailey, a 1 year old English cream Golden Retriever, and Tucker, a 3 year old Yellow Lab rescue, enjoyed the sand sculptures, even though they were more interested in their treats!

Unfortunately, the sculptures were set to be up only until Sep 13. But, in a clear note of optimism, there has been talk of the next sand sculpture festival being even bigger and better to make up for this off year. See you there!

 


September 11th Living Memorial (Framingham, MA)

Date Of Visit: September 6, 2020

Location: Cushing Memorial Park, 80 Dudley Rd, Framingham, MA (about half an hour from southwest from Boston, MA or 1 hour northwest of Providence, RI)

Hours: Open daily dawn until dusk

Parking: Free parking for over 100 vehicles is located at the entrance to the park and another nearby parking lot

Summary: Located at in the heart of Framingham, MA, the Cushing Memorial Park pays homage to the 17 victims from Framingham, MA. who were lost during the September 11 attacks.

Although it may seem like it occurred yesterday, tomorrow will mark 19 years since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Since the flights that were involved in the attacks departed from Logan Airport in Boston, MA, many communities of Massachusetts and New England were directly effected. One of those communities was the city of Framingham, MA.

Seventeen people from Framingham, MA, lost their lives on September 11. In an effort to memorialize these victims, the city constructed a place of remembrance at Cushing Memorial Park.

Seventeen trees, for each of the 17 victims from Framingham, with plaques containing the names of each victim on the ground in front of each tree. A yellow and a white floral arrangement adorn the plaques. A gazebo with benches inside for people to sit and reflect is located on a slight incline along the memorial.

The grass circular “void” between the planted trees on the left and those planted on the right of the gazebo is meant to represent the seventeen lives that never reached a natural conclusion. The designers planted maples, pines and the seventeen trees to represent strength, beauty, unity and the continuation of life. While those who passed are no longer with us, the trees planted in their memory will live on for many years to come.

To the left of the gazebo and trees is a plaque with an explanation of the design of the memorial and the details of the memorial of remembrance.

One tree stood out from all of the other trees at the memorial. Off to the other side of the pedestrian corridor is a Callery Pear tree that was seeded from the Survivor Tree at the site of the 9/11 World Trade Center attacks. The seed for the tree was gifted from the National September 11 Memorial & Museum. It was dedicated on September 11, 2019.

A granite marker with bronze engravings of the names of the seventeen victims sits in front of the gazebo.

As I took these photos and walked along the trails of the manicured lawns and throngs of people playing, walking and laughing at the park I noticed that many of the people may not visit or think about the memorial except during the annual ceremony at the park. It also occurred to me that as time passes many visitors to the park may not have even been alive when these attacks took place. But this memorial and the names of those lost will remain through the passing of time.


Cape Cod Canal Part II (Buzzards Bay, Cape Cod, MA)

Date Of Visit: January 1, 2020

Location: 70 Main Street, Buzzards Bay, MA

Hours: Open daily dawn til dusk

Cost: Free

Canal Distance 7 miles each way

Parking: There are roughly 100 parking spots at the beginning of the canal as well as a parking area near the end of the canal for another 50 vehicles at Scusset Beach State Reservation

Universally Accessible: Yes, the canal path is paved and accessible to all

Dog Friendly: Yes

Highlights: scenic, wildlife,art, fishing, crabbing, boating, art

Summary: The 14 mile (7 miles each way) canal path is full of scenic views, abundant wildlife and even a little art

 

I wanted to start the new year off the right way. So what better way to celebrate 2020 than with a long hike along the Buzzards Bay side of the Cape Cod Canal? Little did I know this would be one of the few outings I would undertake for a while. There was so much potential and optimism for a happy and healthy new year. How little did we know just how things would change.

The first attraction you may notice, besides the bridge, at the canal is the Fisherman statue sculpted by David Lewis . The bronze statue is a tribute to long time Cape Cod fishing enthusiast and lure maker Stan Gibbs. Gibbs often fished along the canal.

One of the popular attractions at the canal is the railroad bridge which still operates to take trains across the canal.

The railroad is an engineering marvel that took years to complete. People worked tirelessly to make this bridge operational often times taking risks to make sure the job got done. And I still have dishes in the kitchen sink that need to be washed. So, I am in awe of their dedication.

I tried to get tot he canal as close to sunrise as possible (it was New Year’s Day after all). But, it’s definitely work the extra effort if you can get there in time for the sunrise or sunset. The views of the canal early in the morning are stunning.

The trail along the canal is 7 miles each way. So make sure to pack some comfortable walking or running shoes if you do try to make the trip in one visit.

It was an unusually warm January day when I set out on my hike. There wasn’t too much wildlife present except for the occasional bird.

There is also some art along the canal (about 2 miles into the trail). The art was made by the Americorps of Cape Cod in 2012. It was a surprising and welcome sight.

The birds in the water and air aren’t the only birds at the canal. These works of art were displayed along the trail. I couldn’t find any more information about who created these works of art. But they were much easier to photograph than the birds in the air and water.

Off the beaten path (specifically up a stairway along the side of the canal trail) there was this memorial to the submariners who are still on patrol.

Although the Canal is a popular spot for fishing enthusiasts, since it was January 1st and not really typical fishing weather, I did not see anyone fishing during my visit. But, I did see this man pulling out an empty crab pot.

The highlight of the canal walk for my was the end. And that’s not because it meant the walk was over. I did still have to walk back after all. The views of Cape Cod Bay from the jetty are breathtaking. The only advice I would give is to be careful walking along the rocks of the jetty, especially if they are icy or wet from rain or a storm. But I could (and did) spend a while just staring out into the bay. The breeze can be pretty strong at the end of the jetty even during warmer days. So maybe bring a sweater if you do venture out there.

The jetty is located next to Scusset Beach. Parking is available for this beach. So you don’t have to walk all the way along the canal to get there. After walking so long along the canal path it was exciting to see a different landscape.

Since it was an unusually warmish day for January, and the beginning of a new year, I saw a lot of people visiting the canal. The day did start in thew 20s. But, this is New England and “warm” can be relative. So it was a “warm” day for January in New England (it eventually warmed up to the 30s and 40s).

One of the dogs I saw at the canal was Tushy (yeah like a “butt”). Tushy is a 5 year old mixed (mostly Shepherd mix) breed.

I also saw Lulu, a 3 year old English Bulldog.

The next time I go to the canal I want to travel like Lulu!

If you missed part I of my visit to the Cape Cod Canal, you can find it below:

https://newenglandnomad2015.com/2020/08/12/cape-cod-canal-part-i-bourne-cape-cod-ma/

 

 


Cape Cod Canal Part I (Bourne, Cape Cod, MA)

Date Of Visit: August 1, 2020

Location: Bell Rd, Bourne, MA

Hours: Open daily dawn until dusk

Cost: Free

Parking: Free parking is available at the beginning and end of the trail There are roughly 40 to 50 parking spots in two small parking lots at the beginning of the path of the canal

Highlights: scenic, wildlife, boating, cycling, fishing

Summary: the Cape Cod Canal, constructed from between 1909 and 1914, the 6 miles (on the Bourne side) has some beautiful views and many opportunities for recreational activities or bird watching.

IMG_1658

Altjough it’s a haven for cyclists and fishing enthusiasts, the Cape Cod Canal has so much more than just running. cycling and fishing to enjoy along the canal. in fact with its beautiful views and wildlife, the Cape Cod Canal has a little bit of everything for everyone to enjoy.

I arrived at the canal just in time for sunrise. Like most places, the canal is so much different during sunrise. It’s almost like it’s a completely different place. It’s so serene and quiet.

One of the bridges, ironically called the Railroad Bridge, was built to transport trains along the canal. It is still in function to this day.

IMG_1619

One of the more popular activities on the canal take place in the water. Boaters of all types of water crafts cruise along the canal.

Just be careful to not get too close. I’m sure the boater did this on purpose. But the cool water felt good. Luckily my gear didn’t get wet.

IMG_2540

There is also a wide variety of bird life along the canal.

Since there are a lot of fish in the canal the birds spend a lot of time hunting along the canal. And sometimes they find a fish or two.

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But birds aren’t the only animals along the canal. If you’re lucky and you look at the right spot at the right time you might see some other surprises.

IMG_2472

This seal was swimming in the canal. Since the canal opens up to Cape Cod Bay, it’s not uncommon to see them there.

But the biggest attraction for most of the visitors to the canal is the fishing. In fact, it was pretty hard to find an area to photograph without a fishing enthusiast being in the shot. The fishing enthusiasts do get there early. The canal was pretty packed with them by the time I had arrived at 5:30. One of the people told me he got there at 3:30.

IMG_1726

I didn’t see many of the fishing enthusiasts catching anything but colds and the feels.  But this guy did catch one pretty big fish!

And, for those of you who do care he did release it back to the canal.

Most of the fish in the canal are bass, herring, mackerel and whiting as well as other smaller fish.

My favorite part of the canal is the beautiful views along the canal. I walked the entire 6 miles each way and the path is pretty flat. Just be careful of all of the cyclists and runners. And don’t forget to wear comfortable walking or running shoes. The path is closed to motor vehicles.

The canal is dog friendly. I saw this cute 10 month old Alaskan Shepherd Bernese mix named Dorothy along the canal.

IMG_2249-2-denoise

The canal has two sides of course. So, stay tuned to the second part of my Cape Cod Canal trip!