Every year, daffodils become the centerpiece of the gardens at the Tower Hill Botanic Garden as well as the rest of New England,. And this year was no different. According to their website, the peak time of the daffodils is the 3rs week of April until the first week of May. So, I chose the last week of April to visit.
Unfortunately, it was raining during my visit. The rain did let up a bit during my visit. But it did rain during my entire visit. And the rain did make for some pretty photo opportunities with the droplets on the flowers.
Ironically, it wasn’t the daffodils that stood out the most. It was the tulips that really caught my eye.
The decor of the gardens at Tower Hill Help to accentuate the beauty of the flowers.
Unfortunately, I could not stay long due to the rain and the difficulty taking photos while I tried to keep my camera dry. But I did my best to capture the beauty there as best I could. But daffodils will be there again next year and so will i!
Summary: Built in 1810, Old Scituate Light is the 11th lighthouse lit in Massachusetts. The lighthouse is on the registry of historic landmarks in Massachusetts and is reportedly open for tours during certain periods of time during the year (see link above for more info). A rock jetty and rocky beachhead is a popular spot for sunrise watchers and tourists. The lighthouse has a rich history dating back to the early 1800s.
New England has no shortage of lighthouses and breath taking views of seascapes. In fact, due to the plethora of beautiful destinations along the water, some destinations seem to get overlooked. Old Lighthouse in Scituate, MA, is one of these overlooked destinations.
Built in 1810 for $4,000, Old Scituate Light played an important, but little known, role in the War Of 1812. After observing two British barges approaching the Scituate harbor, Abigail and Rebecca Bates, the daughters of the original keeper of the lighthouse (Simeon Bates) hid among a cluster of cedar trees which were once prominent in the area and played their fife and drum in an attempt to ward off the would be attackers. The two girls created such a loud din the barges were said to have retreated fearing an army was preparing for their attack. Their efforts are said to have saved Scituate from being sacked as there was, in reality, no standing army ready for a British attack. The girls went on to become known as the “American Army of Two.”
The 25 foot lighthouse (70 feet above sea level) has a natural/emplaced foundation. The light is a replicated lantern and the keeper does stay in the attached home. A bell, perhaps more for decor than function, stands outside the housekeeper’s residence. The lighthouse keeper is a teacher at nearby Marshfield High School.
There is also a memorial dedicated to the grounding of the Etrusco and the rescue efforts from that accident. On March 16, 1956, the ship came aground at Cedar Point during the St. Patrick’s Day Blizzard (it is New England after all). After the grounding of the freighter, five Scituate residents (all members of Scituate’s Civil Defense Communications Team) sprang into action and, despite blizzard conditions, kept in communication with the Coast Guard, providing key details and information to the Coast Guard. The Coast Guard would eventually rescue all 30 men from the grounded ship.
The surrounding grounds of the lighthouse provide for great photo opportunities.
The highlight of the lighthouse and the surrounding area is the beautiful views it offers which are especially spectacular during sunrise and sunset
As I was about to pack up and head to my next destination, I noticed this group of painted rocks with hopeful messages. Many of them seemed to have a special personal meaning. But, I think we call can derive some inspiration from their messages.
Location: corners of Taylor and Hedges Ave, Westfield, MA
Summary: Massachusetts based artists Shannon Chiba and Sarah Kinne honors the heroes of the Coronavirus pandemic with a mural in Westfield, MA that incorporates many of the places and things the area is known for.
Heroes come in all shapes, sizes and backgrounds. The “Heroes Are Everywhere” in Westfield, MA, pays tribute to the different heroes in our midst. And, especially if you’re from the area, you may notice many little tributes to the city.
The mural, which is painted on both sides of the Columbia Greenway Rail Trail Tunnel, includes paintings of doctors,
And everyone else lending a helping hand to others during these difficult times regardless of their age or size.
If you look closely, you may see such fixtures of western MA such as a black bear, the Whip City Whip Museum (the prominent brick building in the painting), the Great River bridges, the Westfield River and other staples of life in western MA such as blooming flowers and a birdhouse. The roof of the tunnel shows 4 F-15 jets buzzing by which is a common sight for anyone living near the Westfield based Barnes Air National Guard Base.
The tunnel where the mural is painted, which was painted in 2020 by Massachusetts based artists Shannon Chiba and Sarah Kinne, is part of the Columbia Greenway Rail Trail which is a popular spot for cyclists, hikers and joggers.
Hopefully, as time passes on, there will not be a need for murals like this.
Location: Boston Seaport Common, 85 Northern Ave, Boston, MA
Hours: Open to the public 24 hours a day until March 30
Summary: nearly 2,000 pink flamingos have been set up at the Boston Seaport Common until March 30
Flamingos have invaded Boston.
Over 1,900 flamingos (some of them a little tipsy) have been planted at the Boston Seaport as a way to brighten up the area and make people smile. This fly by night installation, which is the work of Massachusetts-based developer WS Development, won’t last long though. The birds are expected to stay at their location at the Seaport Common through Tuesday, March 30. Then, they are migrating to the Street Chestnut Hill (MA) and Market Street Lynfield (MA) from April 1-12.
Contrary to popular opinion, these flamingos are not new to the area. In fact, these flamingos have a long history in MA. Don Featherstone designed the first flamingos for Leominster based Union Products in 1957.
They won’t be here for long! So make sure to flock to the Seaport before they fly away!
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.