Category Archives: Westfield

Articulture (Artworks Westfield, Westfield, MA)

Date Of Event: May 4, 2019

Location: The Episcopal Church of Atonement, 36 Court St, Westfield, MA

Cost: Free

Summary: Artists from Westfield and the surrounding area showing off and selling their art.  The Westfield Fair conducts various events throughout the year to bring attention to various artists and their causes throughout western MA

Website: Westfield Artworks

For the past 3 years, the Westfield ArtWorks organization has been showing off some of the work of the talented artists from the area.  The event in May was no different.  The Episcopal Church of Atonement was bustling with the work of a diverse group of artists.  The first art display I noticed caught my attention because of the cause it supports.

Steve Jones, a veteran, uses his experience and his knowledge from his studies as an art therapist to help other veterans express themselves and provide a positive outlet through the Warrior’s Art Room organization.  Sometimes veterans have a hard time expressing how they feel and often don’t have people in their lives who can related to them on such a personal level.  The Warrior’s Art Room works to give them an opportunity to relate to other veterans.  Steve is standing next to his wife in the first photo.  One of the volunteers at his organization is painting in the second photo (from left to right)

 

You can find out more about Steve and his organization here.

One of the more unique authors I met at the fair was Westfield, MA, author Rhonda Boulette

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Rhonda writes children stories that children in Haiti can read.  Her book “Wolfgang Lost His Whistle” as a gift to the children of Haiti who do not have access to books.  The book is bilingual and she donated 50% of the book sales to the children of Haiti.

Jeff Bellefleur displayed his bear chainsaw carvings (he’s the one on the right).

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Shannon Chiba,  an ArtWorks Westfield board member, showed off her painting for me.

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There was also a space in the basement of the church for artists to show off and sell their work.  As I was looking over the art from all of the artists, I found this talented artist who was painting from a photo on her phone.

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There was also entertainment at the event.  The Berkshire Mountain Boys provided a bluegrass feel to the event.

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This shoot was not too hard to photograph.  I used AV (Aperture value, or aperture priority) except when I was photographing the band because of their movement (I used a setting of 500 or 1/500th of a second for my shutter speed which was enough to avoid any blur).  I also noticed I had my ISO up a bit (around 400 or 500 in some photos).  I have an awful habit of forgetting to reset it back to 100 after I increase it.  So that is some food for thought.  Every time you take a new photo, always check your settings as the lighting and the movement of your subject can warrant a change in all of your settings.  I’ve actually been using manual almost exclusively because it makes me more disciplines about always checking all of my settings.  Oh and the photos tend to look better too!


Westfield 350th (Westfield, MA)

Date Of Event: December 31, 2018

Location: Amelia Park, 21 Broad St, Westfield, MA

Cost: Free

Handicapped Accessible: Yes

Dog Friendly: Yes, although it’s not stated specifically on the website for the event, I saw a few dogs there

Highlights: ice sculptures, ice skating, family friendly, parade, campfires with smores and marshmallow roasting

Summary: the city of Westfield, MA celebrated its 350th birthday with their first “First Night.” The first night celebration included a variety of family friendly events and activities on New Year’s Eve.

Website: Westfield 350

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“Party like it’s 1669.”  That was the theme of the first night in Westfield, MA.

Yes, in 2019, well now, Westfield MA is celebrating its 350th anniversary.  There will be sure to be other commemorative events.  But, the kick off celebration was actually in 2018 albeit on New Year’s Eve.

It was the first first night in the city of Westfield and they pulled out all the stops.

The free event featured a juggler, ice sculptures and ice skating.

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I particularly liked how the the lighting around the ice sculptures changed colors.  the 350 on some of the sculptures signified the 350 years of the city of Westfield.

Guests were able to skate for free (some better than others).  I’m always impressed whenever I see someone do something that requires a special skill, particularly skating.  I never learned. But, maybe some day.  It’s also inspiring and fun watching people try.

This activity was a little different.  I’m not sure what it’s called.  But it looks fun and the kids enjoyed rolling around in the balls.

The Witches Of Whip City were also at the event.  “Whip City” is a reference to Westfield’s nickname which is a reference to their past.  During the 19th century, Westfild was a leader in the buggy whip industry.  Things have changed and there is currently only one whip business in the area (Westfield Whip https://www.westfieldwhip.com/).  But, the city has retained this title.  It is why you may see some businesses with the name “Whip City” attached to it (Whip City Music, Whip City Brewing, etc).  I will delve into this and other historic New England historical factoids later in a new feature to my Facebook page that I will discuss on that page later.

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Unfortunately (and of course), it began to rain during the event, proving the old New England weather cliche to be true (“don’t like the weather? just wait a minute”).  So I was unable to photograph some of the other attractions there such as a multi layered cake that was, unfortunately, made out of wood.  There was also campfires for toasting marshmallows and Smores which, obviously, weren’t very useful during the rain.

It’s unclear whether the city will continue this festivity in the future.  But, based on the turnout and the fun had by all I would say it is likely.  And I’ll be there.  Maybe I’ll bring my skates this year!

Similar places I’ve visited:

Westfield Fair

Northeast Reenactors Fair

Things To Do In The Area:

Naismith Memorial Basketball Hal Of Fame

 

 


911 Memorial Park (Westfield, MA)

Date Of Visit: September 3, 2018

Location: Union Avenue & North Elm Street

Parking: There are several parking lots (free of charge) in the area and some street parking nearby as well.

Handicapped Accessible: Yes

Highlights: 20′ high obelisk memorial to the victims of 9/11 who were natives of Westfield, MA

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They weren’t just bond traders, planning managers and vp’s.  They were sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, aunts and uncles and friends.  They were so much more than just a title or their professional achievements.

The 911 memorial at 911 Memorial Park is a somber reminder of the three people from Westfield, MA, and all of the people who were lost that day.

The park is easy to miss if you’re not looking for it.  The .05 acre park in Westfield, MA, serves to remind Westfield residents and anyone who visits the sacrifice and loss suffered on September 11, 2001. It was dedicated on September 11, 2011, ten years after the attacks.

The memorial is located on an island in the middle of a busy section of the city.  If you do visit, please take notice of this.  There are working traffic lights near the memorial.  Lights are installed in the ground to illuminate the area during the evening, or on overcast days.

The three people who died on that day had so much going for them and had achieved so much in such little time.  But, they were known for more than just their professional achievements.

Tara K Creamer (Shea) had graduated from UMASS Amherst and had a successful career as a planning manager at TJ Maxx.  But, she was more known for her radiant smile.

A bond trader and former draft pick of the Boston Celtics, Daniel Trant was known more for being a family man who loved playing sports with his children.

Brian Joseph Murphy worked as an electronic bond trader.  But, it was being a doting father and husband that he was most proud of.  One of the last things he did with “his girls” was apple picking.

As I took the photos for this memorial, I couldn’t help but think of just how bright blue and clear the skies were.  Much like they were on that day 17 years ago.

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The inscription on the bronze plaque states:

9-11 MEMORIAM
TO INNOCENCE LOST

TARA KATHLEEN CREAMER
FLIGHT 11
NOV. 30, 1970 – SEPT. 11, 2001

BRIAN JOSEPH MURPHY
WORLD TRADE CENTER
MARCH 21, 1960 – SEPT. 11, 2001

DANIEL PATRICK TRANT
WORLD TRADE CENTER
MAY 15, 1961 – SEPT. 11, 2001

I couldn’t find any information concerning the sculptor(s) or what material the memorial is made of.  In a way, this is refreshing.  The emphasis should be on the people and the memories their loved ones have of them.  As it should be on this day.

 


Stanley Park 2017 (Westfield, MA)

Dates Of Visits: May 31 & June 2, 2017

Location: 400 Western Ave, Westfield, MA

Hours:

Official Season: Open to the public (7 days a week) from 7:00 am until dusk daily(1/2 hour before sunset) from the first Saturday in May to the last Sunday in November.

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: During the “official season” from around early May until the end of November, there are two parking areas with ample parking (probably room for 300 or more cars) .  During the off season, the second parking lot is closed.

Size/Trail Difficulty: 300 acres, easy trails

Handicapped Accessible: Yes

Dog Friendly:Yes

Highlights: sports fields, play area, pond, trails, flower garden, fountain, sculptures, covered bridge, birds, wildlife, ample parking

Website: Stanley Park

Map: Stanley Park Map

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If you read the title of this blog post and thought thought to yourself, “Hey you’ve already posted about this place” you would be correct.  I visited Stanley Park in June, 2015 but I was told, incorrectly, by a park worker that I was not allowed to take photos there with paying a fee first.  So, I was only able to use a few photos from my original visit and I had tp use my camera phone for the remainder of the photos and they did not come out very good.  So, I decided to take another trip to the park last week.  If you do want to see my original post you can access it here:  Stanley Park in 2015.

Named after Frank Stanley Beveridge, Stanley Park, Stanley Park is one of the most popular parks in Western MA.  Throughout the year they hold various memorial services  for veterans, musical shows and even a road race among other events.  But, Stanley Park is also a great to play to visit to get away from people and just have a peaceful hike along the many trails there or to just sit and watch the various wildlife that inhabit the park.

Originally from Pembroke Shores, Nova Scotia, Frank Stanley Beveridge would go on to create the company Stanley Home Products after immigrating to the states and eventually settling in Westfield, MA.  Because of his love if nature and its inhabitants, he would establish Stanley Park of Westfield, Inc. on twenty-five acres of land in Westfield, Massachusetts.  Since then it has grown exponentially but it has still kept the same natural beauty.

The first thing that stood out to me while visiting Stanley Park are the colors, particularly during the spring summer and especially during the fall foliage season.  Whether it is the variety of birds at the park, the colorful flowers and green grass or the Koi fish in the pond, the colors were really popping at Stanley.

One of the things Stanley Park is most known for is its population of black squirrels.  Since they are not indigenous to the area, their origins have often been a matter of curious debate.  No, they weren’t dropped off by aliens nor did they travel to the park as part of a family vacation.

The black squirrels are actually from Michigan.  They were gifts from former Stanley Home Products sales managers, Hubert L. Worell and Alvah (Al) Elzerman.  They were brought there in 1948 and their population has steadily increased.  As you can see, they are very well fed.

There is a soccer/lacrosse field, basketball court and play area for children in the main parking area.  You can also access the Beveridge Nature Sanctuary Trail from the parking area.  The Sanctuary Trail is 229 acres of easy trails with some gentle inclines.

Stanley Park is home to a variety of blue jays, cardinals, ducks, geese and other birds s well as frogs and turtles.

One of the best places at Stanley Park is the area behind the pond at the entrance.  Chipmunks, squirrels, birds and other critters stop by in the hopes of some nuts or other treats from passing visitors.  In fact, when I walked over to the area chipmunks actually came out from hiding to greet me, in the hopes I might have some snacks for them.  They weren’t disappointed.

You can even hand feed them.

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Stanley Park also has a garden area with roses, rhododendrons, azaleas and other flowers and pretty trees.

There is also a covered bridge at Stanley Park.  Even though it only allows foot traffic the Goodrich Bridge is still bridge and it is indeed covered.  It is one of the 13 wooden covered bridges in Massachusetts.  I never really considered it an actual covered bridge since it is not on a roadway or sidewalk.  But, it does meet the criteria.

An old blacksmith building is located near the bridge.

There is a mill by the pond and a couple of waterfalls.

 

There are also several memorials and monuments at Stanley Park.

This Veteran’s Memorial is dedicated to all of those in Westfield who have served.  Black plaques on the ground list the names of the people from Westfield who have died while serving.

This memorial, Our Lady Of Fatima, was dedicated in September 1952 to Otto Bono Calegari, a Westfield native who was killed during the Korean Conflict.  The memorial was handcrafted by Otto’s father, Rocco Calegari.

The Carillon Tower is located near the gardens.  Completed in 1950, the tower tower was dedicated to world peace.  From time to time, the bells of the Carillon are rung at the tower as part of their Carillon Tower ceremonies.  The bronze doors are decorated with 14 relief sculptures portraying various aspects of the Park and Stanley Home Products, as well as profiles of Frank Stanley Beveridge and Catherine L. O’Brien.

The map in front of the tower measures 23 feet by 30 feet, and is composed of multicolored New York slate.

The Angel of Independence was a gift from Stanley Home Products sales persons from Mexico on October 25, 1958. The monument is a Replica of the statue Placido de lareforma in Mexico City which stands for Liberty and Freedom. The base is Vermont Marble and stands 30 feet tall.

I couldn’t find much information about this statue except that it is referred to as the “Children With Umbrella” statue.  It is a fairly new addition as far as I can tell.

There are also dinosaur tracks at Stanley Park.  Tracks that are said to be over 100 million years old.  The tracks are actually from the Carlton Nash Quarry South Hadley (MA).

There are two fountains at Stanley.  They are both located in the garden area and near the entrance by Gate 2.

I saw someone riding this cute bicycle at Stanley and she was kind enough too let me photograph it.  I especially liked the bell she would ring from time to time as she rode it.

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There is so much beauty at Stanley Park.  Just the way the trees bend and the views from the upper level where the garden is located to the duck ponds and the bridges that are scattered throughout the park are sights to behold.

Stanley Park is a great place to bring your dog, although he or she may want to chase or make friends with the ducks and geese there.

I met Duke, a 1 year old rescue, while I was walking along the Sanctuary Trail.  He was such a friendly guy!

.Biscuit, or Bubba, a 5 year old Bulldog and Mastiff was enjoying a walk along the boardwalk .  Her fur was so soft!

As the clouds came rolling in, it was evident it was time to leave.

This is video of the hail storm that followed shortly after we left.

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Pomeroy’s Maple Sugar House (Westfield, MA)

Date Of Visit: March 25, 2017

Location Pomeroy’s Sugar House, 491 Russelville Rd, Westfield, MA (about 2 hours west of Boston, MA, 20 minutes west of Springfield, MA)

Hours: Fri – Sun, 7:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Cost: Free tour of the maple sugar making house

Handicapped Accessible: The farm is but the restaurant might not be

Highlights: Maple sugar making, breakfast and bruch., cows and calfs

Website: Pomeroy’s Sugar House

 

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It’s March and that can only mean one thing.  Well two things.  Your March Madness bracket sheets are probably as marked up as a fifth grader’s book report  and it’s maple sugar house season. Since this is the peak of maple sugar season, we decided to take a trip to Pomeroy’s Sugar House.  Pomeroy’s Sugar House is a third-generation restaurant and maple sugar making house in Westfield, MA.

Because of the weather conditions during this time of the year, March is considered “Maple Sugar Making Month” in Massachusetts and many of the other states in New England.  The best conditions for collecting and producing maple sugar syrup is when the temperatures are cold at night (below freezing) and mild during the day (in the 40’s and warmer typically).  The season is supposed to last about 5 weeks.

The process begins usually during the beginning of the month of March when the temperatures begin to warm during the days.  The freeze and thaw process alters the pressure in the trees and gets the sap flowing so it can be collected.  Holes are cut into the maple trees with drills and spigots jut out from the trees.  Buckets are then propped up against the trees to collect the sugar   During their growing season, the maple trees create starch.  As the temperature increases, enzymes in the tree transform the starch into sugar during the Spring thaw.  The trees then absorb water through their roots which mixes with the sap and voila you have the makings of a tasty treat that is  considered a emblematic of New England.

Some of the more modernized maple sugar plants use tubing rather buckets to collect the sap.  But,many of the sugar houses still use buckets.  It gives it a more traditional look and it also shows visitors just how the process works step by step.  Each tree can usually yield between 10 to 14 gallons of sap per bucket with some trees having 2 or 3 buckets attached to them.

Even after the sap is collected the process is not complete yet.  Not even close.  Sap is 97.5 % water and only 2.5% sugar.  So it needs to be boiled down to get to the tasty goodness to makw syrup.  Through a long and somewhat arduous process, the sap is processed and turned into syrup with the help of these machines.

The truck below is one of the trucks Pomeroy’s uses to transport their sap from trees at other locations.

Fun fact (unless you’re one of those making the maple sugar): it takes 40 gallons of maple sap to make just one gallon of maple syrup.

Fun fact number two: the Native Americans introduced the process of making maple syrup to the European settlers.  It was all downhill from there.

The demand for these sugary treats is high.  In fact, the restaurant ran out of maple syrup during our visit.  But, the friendly staff at the sugar house were busy preparing more for later that day.  If you get the chance to go today, the staff at Pomeroy’s said they would have more by 5 p.m.  Or, stop by another day!

There is also a farm in back of Pomeroy’s Sugar House.  The cows were in their pens.

A baby calf was hiding in his or her hut but the calf eventually got out to say hi.

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Feeding Time At Stanley Park (Westfield, MA)

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Date Of Visit: December 28, 2016

Location: 400 Western Ave, Westfield, MA (about 2 hours west of Boston, MA and about 20 minutes west of Springfield, MA)

Cost: Free

Hours: Presently open everyday 8 a.m. -4:30 p.m. (hours change depending upon the season)

Parking: There are a few different parking areas.  The main parking lot on Western Ave has room for about 200 cars.

Handicapped Accessible: The playground area, fields and picnic areas are but the trails and many of the walkways are not.

Dog Friendly: Yes

Highlights: hiking trails, birds, wildlife, pond, flower garden, statues

Often considered the jewel of Westfield, Massachusetts, Stanley Parkis one of the prettiest parks in Western Massachusetts and it looks even more picturesque after a snowfall.

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Due to the recent cold spell and snow, the pond and much of the vegetation at Stanley Park had been iced over so they were eager to get some food.  As a disclaimer, most parks do not encourage you to feed birds.  But, if you do, there are certain foods you should never feed to ducks.  Bread is the biggest no-no on most list.  These are some better foods to feed to birds.

At any rate, visitors like to feed the birds at Stanley Park and that gave me an usually good chance to photograph some beautiful ducks.

There were so many birds congregating at the pond waiting for a nibble of food.

Luckily, one of the visitors at the park, Jim, brought some food for the hungry birds.

 

Jim’s dog took the birds in stride.

I have photographed Stanley Park before and, since it is very close to my mom’s house, I always try to make a visit out there as often as I can.So, you may sees posts about this park from time to time.

Stanley Park, or Stanley as it is more commonly known as, is a popular spot for dogs like Sansa is a 5 month old Siberian Husky.

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Below is a video of feeding time at Stanley Park:

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Westfield Fair (Westfield, MA)

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Dates Of Event: August 19-21 (it’s usually held the third weekend of August of each year)

Location: 135 Russellville Rd, Westfield, MA

Hours: Friday 5-10 p.m., Saturday 8 a.m., – 10 p.m., Sunday 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Cost: $8, $6 for seniors (over 65),  Children under 12 get in free with an adult

Parking: There was ample parking on the fair grounds

Dog Friendly: No

Highlights: petting zoo, animals, tractor pull, demolition derby, arts and crafts

Westfield Fair

Summers bring to mind beach weather, vacations along the shore and, of course, fairs.  In fact, fairs often mark the winding down of the summer vacation season.  And no one may do city fairs better than Westfield, MA.

The 89th Westfield Fair had a very down home/country feel to it.  From the sheep show (yes you read that right), to the arts and crafts fair and the tractor pull, everything seemed more like “country fun”than the city fun I am more accustomed to.  I’m always game for new experiences, though, so I figured I give them a try.

Children from the Pioneer Valley (the section of the area that encompasses the Connecticut River in Massachusetts such as Westfield, Springfield and Chicopee to name a few cities and towns) showed off the animals they have been caring for.  I was taken by surprise by how the sheep seemed to like to cuddle.  It was remarkable how these little kids could handle and treat these animals with such care.  They also seemed very proud of their animals and the work they put into caring for them.

The sheep were evaluated and prizes were awarded to the best in show.

There was also a cattle show.  They take this show very seriously as you can tell by the care they were given.

The cows were also shown off and evaluated.  Some of the cows did not want me to moove, though (sorry, I couldn’t resist that one).  So, the children had to encourage them a bit.  Prizes were awarded to the participants.  Again, it is very cool to see some children who are barely as tall as the cows they were working with handle them so well.  Many of the participants have grown up in families that farm so they have a lot of experience in husbandry.  The pride they all take in their work is evident by their reactions.

Perhaps the most popular event during the day time was the tractor pull.  The Western Mass Tractor Pullers Association sponsored the event which featured tractors of various styles and eras.

The highlight of the event for me was the petting zoo and alpacas.

The goats, pig and other animals took the food from everyone very gently and they were very friendly.

I’ve always marveled at the folksy ways of the Western MA community.  Their down home, folksy ways are evident in so many ways, even their arts and crafts.

And no one knows how to bake like the folks in the western part of the state.  Someone had the unenviable task of tasting all of the goodness on these shelves to decide the winner of the bake fair (the Hershey’s Perfectly Chocolate Cake won).  Talk about pure drudgery!

There were several fun events and activities for children such as a climbing wall, a kiddie tractor pull event, musical performers, face painting (I went with the cat design), food trucks (the fries were to die for) and, of course, amusement rides (I declined).  A play train was available to cart you around to the various events.

Vehicles, specifically trucks, are a staple of the fair.  Everywhere you look there seems to be a souped up vehicle tricked out or a vehicle used for farming on display.

 

As we were leaving, we could see the participants of the scheduled demolition derby prepping for the event.

I can’t wait until next year’s fair!

Below is a video of the tractor pull event.

Tractor Pull At The Westfield Fair

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