New England is known for its stormy weather. But, there was a very different kind of storm at Tower Hill gardens. Yarnstorming, often referred to as “graffiti knitting” or “yarn bombing” is an art form that uses knitted and crocheted yarn as art instead of paint or water colors.
More than 25 works of art and over 2,000 pom poms were draped upon benches, trees, statues and poles around the garden.
I was able to use my 35 mm lens for these photos and I really like the way the colors popped and the crispness of the shots from the lens. It’s technically not a prime lens since it is an 18-35 mm (1.8). But it’s much easier to lug around than a telephoto.
Some of these artistic displays have signs next to the displays. These signs had bar codes you could scan with your cellphone to get more information about the display and the artist who made the display.
Spring was in the air and in the yarn at Tower Hill Botanic Garden’s Yarnstorm event.
Forty artists contributed to the artistic Yarnstorm exhibit at Tower Hill. The designs ranged from the colorful
to the creative
There were also some famous people along the trails.
This display, made in honor of the late Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, included her answer to “when will there be enough women on the Supreme Court?”
Some of my favorite exhibits were along the stairwell near the edge of the gardens.
But it’s hard to choose just one from the colorful garden.
The knitted art isn’t just on the trails outside of the botanic garden. Castor and Pullox were also dressed up for the event.
Just a friendly reminder that if you do go don’t forget to wear your hat and gloves. Because you never know what the weather will be like in New England!
Location: Olde Mystick Village, 27 Coogan Boulevard, Stonington, CT
Summary: Ice sculptures, ice scultpors and costumed visitors converged on the grounds of Olde Mystick Village
Don’t let the rising temperatures fool you. Winter is still very much in swing in New England. To celebrate the waning days of the winter season, Olde Mystick Village held its Ice In The Village festival. The event included over a dozen ice sculptures, two ice sculpting demonstrations and a there were even few characters straight out of Disney.
Mystic Village is known for its plethora of specialty shops and eateries. But the highlight last weekend were the ice sculptures that were installed around the village.
The sculptures ranged from artistic renderings of the animal kingdom
To carvings of food
But many of the sculptures were related to the businesses they were located in front of.
Some of the sculptures seemed to have a certain theme that fit in with the area and its history. Known for its seaport (the Mystic Seaport Museum is just a short distance from the village) Mystic has a rich nautical history. This anchor was a perfect symbol for the area.
This sculpture was popular with people who wanted to take their photos in the opening of the ice carving.
Perhaps the most popular part of the festival were the two ice sculpting demonstrations at the Ice In The Village event.
People were encouraged to wear their costumes and, fitting with the theme of ice and other cold things, Anna and Elsa made a surprise appearance.
Olde Mystick Village is a dog friendly venue and there were lots of dogs at the village during my visit. One of the dogs I saw there, Cocoa, a 9 year old Chocolate Lab, brought her own toy to the festival.
It is unclear whether they will hold this festival again in the upcoming years. But if they do I’ll see you there!
Parking: Metered street parking is available and there are two big parking garages on New Liberty St and Congress St
The Downtown Garage (New Liberty St) costs $1.50 per hour.
The Waterfront Garage (Congress St) costs $.75 per hour on weekdays and $1.50 per hour on weekends
Both garages operate from 7:00 AM to 10:00 PM Sunday through Wednesday and from 7:00 AM to 2:00 AM Thursday through Saturday.
Public Transportation: The MBTA’s Commuter Rail has a stop which deposits its passengers right at Washington St. $15 for a round trip ticket from North Station (fares vary depending upon where you leave from and where you are going)
The snow, ice and cold weather didn’t prevent countless revelers from heading to Salem for the annual Salem So Sweet ice sculpture celebration. In fact, it made for the ideal conditions.
For the past 19 years, Salem has been brightening up the winter days with a ice sculpture festival, highlighted by a special illumination show on the day they arrive.
Much like everything this past tear, everything seemed different and not just because of the obvious. The crowds were smaller, there was a less jovial feel to the event and it wasn’t as festive as in the past. While smaller crowds can be a plus for visitors and especially for visitors with a camera, it didn’t feel right. I’d rather wait and even jostle for a photograph and feel a more fun atmosphere. I suppose that is to be expected these days though. The crowds seemed to ebb and then gather sporadically. But it did seem to be a much smaller crowd this year.
The sculptures were delivered around noontime on the 6th. But, the celebration really heats up during the late afternoon and early evening. From 5 pm to 9 pm on Saturday the sculptures were illuminated. They are only lit up for these 4 hours. So it does attract a busy night time crowd. Although, of course, with most bars closed or operating with heavy restrictions, the night crowd was noticeably smaller.
Unfortunately, the ice sculptures are removed on Valentine’s Day, February 14. So you’ll have to wait until next year, when things are expected to be closer to “normal” to see the sculptures in person.
There were also fewer ice sculptures this year than in the past. Last year there were 26 sculptures. This year 17 sculptures adorned the streets of Salem. However, a few of them were either damaged, had melted substantially because of the warmer weather and sunlight during the day or, in one case, completely broken.
But, I did my best to photograph the sculptures that were available.
I have skipped a few that were too damaged or completed destroyed and one I forgot about because it was too far away (# 17 “Bakery”)
1 “Owl And Moon”
This owl, which was located near Witch City Wicks on Essex St probably looked better before it was illuminated since the sun helped to melt it and obscure some of its features. That was a common theme as you will see in some of these photos. It’s a trade off. Either take the photos of the sculptures when they are fresh and haven’t melted and haven’t been mutilated or wait until the are illuminated when they look, in my estimation, much prettier. I may take photos of the sculptures before and after illumination next year to avoid this from happening again.
2 The World
If you attend the ice sculpture festival each year, you may notice some of the same companies or organizations use the same type of sculptures each year like this sculpture also on Essex St. The Journeymasters, a travel agency company, usually has a sculpture of a globe with a star or some other kind of fanciful design around it.
3 “Thanking All Alumni On The Front Lines”
This sculpture, sponsored by Salem State University whose sports teams are named the Vikings, was located on Essex St near the Bewitched statue at Lappin Park. It was dedicated to the front line and first responders who graduated from the university’
4 Kids In Snow
Located in front of Salem Cycle on Washington St, this ice sculpture depicts two children sledding.
This sculpture of a fish was appropriately located next to Turner’s Seafood on Church St
6 Joan Of Arc Sword And Shield
Located outside of Coon’s Card & Gift Shop on Essex, this sculpture was dedicated to Joan of Arc.
This sculpture, located on Front St, had an actual rose near the top of the sculpture. It also accurately depicts how, while the sculpture look even more stunning at night, they can be much more difficult to photograph the darker it gets even with a tripod and careful photoshop editing. It wasn’t even that late either. I think it was close to 6:30 pm when this photo was taken. But it does get dark pretty early in these parts during the winter.
8 Rocking Horse
Nothing anything different or weird about this rocking horse sculpture which was located on Front St? Don’t lose your head trying to think.
Yes, this rocking horse is missing it’s neck and head. Although it was a little warm (by winter in New England standards) and the sun was beating on the sculptures during the day, this sculpture’s head didn’t melt off. It was almost certainly the act of vandalism or damaged during delivery.
11 2021 Picture Frame
Located on Central St, this sculpture was famous for people and sometimes their pets posing in together
12 Gingerbread House
This sculpture, located neat Witch City Mall (formerly Museum Place Mall) on Essex St, looked goof enough to eat.
13 Hello Kitty Phone
Unfortunately, the writing on the wall of the Peabody Essex Museum on Essex St made it a little hard to show all of the features of the cat.
This was the only sculpture that wasn’t illuminated. As you can see the sun had caused it to melt quite a bit.
This sculpture was appropriately located across from the oldest candy company in America (Ye Olde Pepper Company) and in front of the House of The Seven Gables, this sculpture depicts a train with a cargo of candy canes.
There were helpful guides at the event to hep you find the sculptures and distribute maps showing where all the sculptures are located, although most people used the map on their map from the event’s website. Some of the helpers got into the spirit of the event.
Although she didn’t say much, Samantha was also dressed up for the event.
Although they weren’t part of the actual event, there was some other decorations that lit up the event.
This house on Derby St is famous for decorating its property for major holidays and events.
You may notice a little critter walking up the pathway. When I was photographing the decorations I noticed this little animal approaching me. Having seen cats there during previous photo shoots at this location, I thought nothing of it until it got right in front of me. Yeah it’s a skunk. Fortunately there was a fence between us and the skunk didn’t spray. He or she just turned around and walked back the way he or she came from. It was a very close call!
The famous Jerry the dinosaur of Salem.
The city of Salem has also put up year round lighting displays that made the event even more Decorative than usual.
And this business on Derby St got into the Valentine’s Day spirit.
I look forward to photographing this extravaganza next year when things are more “normal.” But hopefully not too normal!
You can view photos from previous Salem’s Too Sweet Events that I have photographed in the past by clicking on the links below:
Date Of Visit: Dec, 23, 2020 (display is up until Jan. 3, 2021)
Location: Frank Newhall Look Park, 300 North Main St, Florence (Northampton), MA
Cost: Free (donations are appreciated)
Parking: There are roughly 50 parking spots at the entrance and several areas to park at along the trail
Universally Accessible: Yes
Dog Friendly: Yes
Highlights: lighted holiday sculptures
Summary: 23 lighted sculptures dot the grounds of Look Park
The pandemic hasn’t stopped the holiday cheer at Look Park in Florence (a village in Northampton) MA. Twenty three lighted displays as well as a few lighted bridges and gazebos brighten up the landscape at Look Park. This socially distant event can be seen from your vehicle. Or, you can walk around the park and view the displays up close. However, it is very dark at night. So do use caution. If you did miss the display before the holiday don’t fret. The display will be up until January 3.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The canal has two sides of course. So, stay tuned to the second part of my Cape Cod Canal trip!
Summary: An illuminated art installation on Boston’s Seaport District lit up the otherwise bleak winter sky.
Decorative lights during the winter are no big deal, particularly during the holiday season. But one decorative light display stood out. The light display, named “Entres Les Rangs” consisted of hundreds of sticks with reflectors that lit up intermittently.
Entre les rangs, which translates to “between the rows” in English, first debuted in Montreal. It was such a hit, the display was taken over the border all the way to Boston. It has also been displayed in Georgetown, MA and London, England.
Different sequences of blue, pink and purple lights lit up the installation. The reflectors were actually being lit up by bigger lights that you may see in some of the photos which changed the colors of the reflectors.
I was hoping to photograph the display while it was snowing or just after a snow storm. But, uncharacteristically for winter in Boston, there wasn’t much snow in Boston while the display was installed, especially on the days I was available to photograph the installation. This is just one of the things that can go wrong when you’re trying to get that “perfect photo.” But it’s not always possible to control the weather. In fact, it’s pretty darn hard to do this. Another time I went to photograph the display one of the sets of lights wasn’t working. I (and I imagine a small army of visitors) emailed the DCR who was in charge of the upkeep of the display and a few days later it was up and running. Such is the life of a WordPress photographer.
It is unclear if this or any other display will be in the area next winter. But, if they are I will be sure to photograph it. Hopefully it will snow this time!
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Open weekends as well as some holidays such as Labor Day & Columbus Day
There is a vehicle entry fee. However, cyclists and walkers can access the park for free. Also, those with a military ID or handicap placard can enter the park at no cost.
Universally Accessible: Yes
Dog Friendly: Yes
Summary: 4 tree sculptures sculpted by Harold Grinspoon have been donated to Look Park in Florence, MA, a village in Northampton. Grinspoon and his team of artists, who operate out of nearby Agawam, MA, carved the sculptures.
Look Park has always been known for the trees that tower above the visitors who come to cycle, jog or play at the 150 acre park, But, there are a few unique trees there this summer.
If you want to avoid walking far at the park, the trees, which the park politely asks you not climb (wish I had known this beforehand), can all be found within a half mile distance and three of them (Entwined, Windows and The Beauty Of Nature) are clustered near each other. The only sculpture which is located only a little farther away from the first three is “Chroma Quartet.” Or, you can walk the entire loop (about a mile) and see them all while taking in the beauty of Look Park.
Four carved trees, carved and donated by Longmeadow resident and philanthropist Harold Grinspoon, are meant to bring some additional beauty to the park which is an especially welcome addition to the park during these times. They will be on display at the park for two years.
The first sculpture titled “The Beauty Of Nature”, which was sculpted in 2014, was made out of a cherry tree that stood behind Grinspoon’s home in Longmeadow, MA. The tree was already dead but remained standing. Grinspoon thought it was too pretty to cut down. So, he repurposed it as a work of art.
The title of the work of art reflects Grinspoon’s belief in the ever changing possibility of nature reinventing itself. The tree, which is part of his private SculptureNow collection, has also been displayed at The Mount in Lenox, MA.
This sculpture can be seen as you enter the park is located just past the main entrance.
The second sculpture, “Windows”, can be found a short distance from “The Beauty Of Nature.”
Created in 2017 as part of Grinspoon’s natural series, “Windows” is composed of one reclaimed branch of a live oak tree. The one long branch was quartered, separated and rearranged. Grinspoon derived the name from the shapes and views you can see by walking around the sculpture and looking through the different frames of the sculpture.
“Chroma Quartet”, which was reclaimed from a live oak tree, can be found along the way to the children’s play area and, fittingly, the music venue. It is named for its lively painted design and structural quality the artist felt evoked music. The sculpture is meant to look as though it is vibrating with the pulses of background sounds.
“Entwined”, which was sculpted in 2017 from a reclaimed live oak branch, can be found by the tennis courts and main parking lot by the main entrance.
The branch that was made into “Entwined” was cut in half lengthwise. The twisted form of the sculpture created the overlapping design.
This sculpture was previously exhibited on the front lawn of the Agawam Corporate Center in Agawam, MA, for two years in a natural finish before Grinspoon decided to paint it before it was installed at Look Park.
Look Park also has a wildlife sanctuary, fields to play in as well as a train that may be in operation soon! So, pack up the kids or dog and take a trip to Look Park and take in these beautiful sculptures!