Date Of Visit: May 5, 2024 (this event has ended. It was scheduled from April 22 to May 16)
Location: Naumkeag, Trustees, 5 Prospect Hill Rd Stockbridge, MA
Cost: $15 for non-member adults ($9 for members) on weekdays and $20 for non-member adults ($12 for members) on weekends. Tickets for children cost $5 each ($3 for members) no matter the day, and admission for children younger than two is free. Tickets are sold for timed entry and must be purchased online; Tickets were sold in a time based entry system.
Parking: Free parking is available on site with a nearby overflow lot
What better way to celebrate the beginning of spring than walking along the 8 acre gardens of the Naumkeag (pronounced “Nom-keeg”) estate? More than 130,000 colorful tulips, daisies and minor bulbs greeted the visitors at the garden of Naumkeag.
My 24 mm prime lens and 18-400 mm telephoto lenses helped me get some really great bokeh (background blur) in the photos accentuating the beauty of the flowers. It didn’t hurt that the flowers were arranged in a such a pretty array of colors.
There were also some beautiful backgrounds at Naumkeag that provided some beautiful photo opportunities.
I could spend all day photographing these beautiful displays of flowers!
While the daffodils and tulips and other flowers were the main attraction at the event, there were other pretty and impressive statues and structures at Naumkeag. And, yes, those are bubbles at one of the statues there!
There were also models of eggs that looked like larger versions of the eggs birds lay with the name of the bird that lays them.
The “summer cottage” at Naumkeag was bult in 1884 when Joseph Choate, a prominent New York attorney and U.S. Ambassador to Great Britain, and his wife, Caroline hired an architect to build the 44 room home. Tours are available on the first floor and, of course, you can purchase items in the gift shop also on the first floor.
There are additional events during the fall and winter seasons at Naumkeag. You can check out there website for more information.
The skies of Hampton Beach were full of parrots, ducklings and other colorful shapes last weekend at the annual Kites Against Cancer event. All proceeds from this annual event went to the Together We Can fund.
Each year the beach hosts the fund raiser event which as originally started by Anne-Marie Viviano, a former Exeter Hospital cancer patient. Benefits from this fundraiser went to the Together We Can campaign which helps fund innovative, progressive and compassionate healthcare at the hospital.
Volunteers and frolickers flocked to the beach to fly their kites and support this worthy cause. It’s so heartwarming to see people come together and having fun while supporting such an important cause.
The kites took center stage with an array of colors, shapes and designs.
It was the perfect conditions for kite flying, perhaps a little too perfect. The winds were particularly strong. But there were volunteers making sure the kites stayed in the air and didn’t stray too far from the beach.
Visitors could make their own kites and even write the names of loved ones or a special message for them on their kites.
While the kite flying took place all day long, the fundraiser event was from 12 to 3. The event included raffles, kite making and other activities.
There was also a special guest at the event. Ella Kate, the reigning Little Miss Hampton Beach stopped by to partake in the events.
The event is dog friendly. Bubbles, an 11 month old Great Dane, went to see the kites.
The Kites Against Cancer event is held annually each May, although the event was not held during the pandemic. So, barring any unforseen events, make sure to take your kite to Hampton Beach next year!
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
Location: Hampton Beach, 169 Ocean Blvd, Hampton, NH
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
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 and including info about each sculpture whenever background details were available..
“Transition” – Rusty Croft (Carmel, CA)
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)
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)
“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.
Location: Stanley Park, 400 Western Ave, Westfield, MA (about 2 hours west of Boston, MA and 1 hour northwest of Hartford, CT)
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
Location: Hampton Beach, 115 Ocean Blvd, Hampton, NH
Hours: The beach is accessible daily from dawn until dusk
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
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!
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:
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.
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!
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.