Tag Archives: beach

Independence Park (Beverly, MA)

Date Of Visit: July 14, 2018

Location: 33 Lothrop St, Beverly, MA (about 30 minutes northeast of Boston, MA)

Hours: Open daily sunrise to sunset

Parking: On street parking is available but limited. I did not see a parking lot at or near the beach.

Handicapped Accessible: Yes, certain areas are handicapped accessible. The beach is accessible through a paved walkway to the right of the beach.

Dog Friendly: Yes

Highlights: scenic, boating and other water activities, historical memorials, fishing, wildlife

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History, beauty and recreation await you at Independence Park.

The picturesque park offers scenic views and benches to sit.

Although the bench and path at the park are pretty and provide beautiful views, they do not lead to the beach.

 

I don’t usually take artistic license with the photos I take. But as I was editing this photo, I noticed how the red really stood out in the boat at the front of the group of boats.

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Although it may be possible to get to the beach from the path by the benches, a fence and rocky area prevent easy access to the beach.

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There are entrances to beach are a short jaunt to the right and left of the monuments at the park. And, to the right of the park is a paved walkway to the beach.

The beach offers beautiful views, a clean beach area and a jetty to fish off. Rumor has it striped bass (“stripers”) are abundant in the area.

 

There are a lot of birds and other wildlife at the beach.

 

The beach is a popular spot for paddle boarders, surfers and boaters.

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If you’re in the area and you want to try paddle boarding, kayaking or even winter paddling or snow shoeing during the winter, try Coast To Coast Paddle. Aaron, seen in the photo below, was getting ready to take a few paddlers out while I was taking photographs.

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As the name would suggest, Independence Park is more than just a haven for sun seekers and paddle boarders. It also has a rich history.

One of the plaques at the park states that in 1775 the first authorized armed ship, The Hanna, set sail in those waters to capture British vessels. Just standing in an area that played such a pivotal role in our history is pretty freegin cool when you think about it.

There are also cannons, monuments and flags on the grounds of the park.

 

The park is dog friendly and there were quite a few dogs at the beach while I was there.

Below are just a few of the cute dogs I saw during my visit.

Koa (on the left) is a 3 month old mixed breed dog. Frank (on the right) is a Golden Retriever.

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Polly is a 13 year old mixed breed dog.

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Willow is a 4 month old Englisg Cream Golden Retriever.

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(Oliver) Twist is a 5 year old Schnauzer Cairn Terrier mix (aka Carnauzer).

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Poppy is a Greyhound.

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Jade is an 8 year old mixed breed dog.

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Chicopee Memorial State Park (Chicopee, MA)

Date Of Visit: May 26, 2018

Location: 570 Burnett Rd., Chicopee, MA

Cost: MA residents: $8, Non-MA Vehicles: $15 (seasonal passes are also available – info on seasonal passes can be found here)

Hours:

Memorial Day – Labor Day

Sunday – Saturday:
9:00 am-7:00 pm

Labor Day – Memorial Day (weather dependent)

Sunday – Saturday:
8:00 am-4:00 pm

Parking: There are several parking areas that can accommodate roughly a few hundred cars. Parking does fill up quickly during summer weekend days.

Handicappped Accessible: Yes, the beach is accessible to all. But, some trails may not be accessible.

Dog Friendly: Yes

Park Size/Trail Difficulty: 562 acres/Easy to Slightly Moderate difficulty

Tip(s):

  • Leave early (at least on warm days) – there was a line of cars waiting to get in when we arrived at 8:55 (the park opened at 9)

Fun Facts:

  • Chicopee State Memorial Park was formerly known as the Cooley Brook Reservoir and Watershed
  • The park was the site of reservoirs built in 1896, 1912 and 1926 to provide water for the city of Chicopee
  • “Chicopee” is a word originating in the Algonquian languages of eastern North America meaning “violent waters”

Fitbit Stats: 2.5 miles hiked, 433 calories burned, 5,333 steps

Highlights: beach, trails for hiking, running and cycling, wildlife, Vietnam memorial, fishing, picnic tables, pretty landscapes, sites for barbecuing, cross country skiing and snow shoeing during the winter (or more like fall, winter and spring in New England)

Website: Chicopee Memorial State Park

Trail Map: Chicopee Memorial State Park Trail Map

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The main attraction for most visitors is the 25 acre pond that serves as a beach, restricted fishing area and area for dogs to play and swim in.

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One visitor who was fishing with his grandson told me they caught kippers (a whole herring) and a large mouth bass.

The beach is the most popular part of the beach. There were lifeguards on duty (seasonally). While I was there, the little ones were busying themselves with a game of “Marco Polo.”

The views of the pond are pretty spectacular.

The paved trails, which are ideal for some cyclists and runners, are easy to slightly moderately difficult in some areas. They are manageable for most people of all age groups. For the more daring, there are some unpaved side trails to explore.

During our hike, I encountered a variety of wildlife. From the small minnows, robins and red winged blackbirds to the larger ducks and Canadian Geese, there is a variety of wildlife to appreciate at the park.

I also noticed this interesting web-like cocoon on a tree during my hike.

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Upon further research, I found out this is a “caterpillar cocoon.” Tent caterpillars spin these large, web-like structures in trees or other plants to protect the developing larvae.

Chicopee Memorial also has picnic areas and barbecue grills. They also allow people to play music at a “reasonable volume” as Milton would say (bonus points if you get that reference).

As you exit the park, there is a memorial dedicated to all of the people from Chicopee who served and died in the Vietnam conflict. A very sober reminder during this Memorial Day weekend.

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Chicopee Memorial park is a haven for dogs and dog lovers. I saw numerous dogs during our visit. One of the more popular areas for the dogs and their parents to congregate is the area just past the beach. An area is designated for the dogs to use. It is in this section of the pond that I met Maggie, a Black Lab who turns 2 tomorrow (5-27). Maggie had a fun time retrieving balls that her dad dutifully threw for her to fetch. She would often return the retrieved balls to me which was sweet.

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Holly, my mom’s 11 month old Dutch Shepherd mix, loved the views from the side of the trail. I suspect you will be seeing more of her in my future photo shoots in Western MA.

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As I was about to leave the park, I saw Bailey and I decided to get her photo. Bailey is an 11 month old Black Lab/Shepherd mix.

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Kite Day (Hampton Beach, NH)

 

Date Of Event: May 20, 2018

Location: Hampton Beach, 160 Ocean Blvd, Hampton, NH (about an hour north of Boston, MA and an hour northeast of Nashua, NH)

Hours: Hampton Beach is open everyday.  The beach is closed from 1 a.m. until sunrise.

Parking:  Parking cost me $2 an hour during my visit (pre-Memorial Day).  There are various parking options and rates at Hampton Beach.  You can find the parking rates here.  There are also several parking lots that generally charge $20 for all day parking during the late spring and summer seasons.

Handicapped Accessible: Yes

Dog Friendly: Yes

Highlights: kites, kite flying

Fun Facts:

  • Recently, “kite day” has also served as the “Kites Against Cancer” event in which funds are raised to fight cancer (the event was cancelled this year)
  • In addition to the visitors kites, the beach staff tie up several jumbo sized kites of their own

Website: Kites Against Cancer

Related Post: Kites Against Cancer 2017

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The next time tells you to go fly a kite.  Don’t take it personal.  Just head over to Hampton Beach.

Hampton Beach held their annual “Kite Day” event last weekend.  The Kite Day event usually serves as the day of the Kites Against Cancer event.  But, due to forecasts of potential of rainstorms and thunderstorms (and very high winds), the Kites Against Cancer event was cancelled.  Hopefully, the vent was merely postponed for another date (I will keep you all updated on my Facebook page if it does change dates).   You can learn more about the charity this event supports and make a donation at the Beyond The Rainbow website.

The high winds, perhaps too high, made for some great kite plying weather.  It also helped cool down the visitors at the beach.  The photos of the waves at the beach give a little evidence of the high winds that day.

 

 

Did I mention it was windy?  Well, there were some brave souls who decided to fly their kites despite the strong winds.

 

 

And, of course, the staff at Hampton Beach did a great job making sure their kites stayed up in the air despite the…well, you know.

 

 

What the event lacked in kites, it made up for in dogs.  There were dogs everywhere!

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Baxter, a 5 year old Boxer mix rescue, was having fun playing in the sand.

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Brady is a 2 year old Boxer.  Say what you want, Tom has nothing on this Brady.

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Razz, a 3 year old Jack Russell mix, I especially liked his black and white face.

 

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Brutus is a 1 and a half year old English Bulldog.  I don’t know what’s cutest about him.  The wrinkles, the tongue out or the cute little legs!

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Jackson, a 1 year old mixed breed, struck a pose for me during his walk.

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Kobe is a 16 month old Great Dane.  But, the real question is, can he dunk?  Scratch that.  At his height I would say most definitely.

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Goober is a 10 year old mixed breed who loves to play in the water.

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Pearl, a 6 year old English Springer Spaniel, is a gem of a dog!

If all this wasn’t enough, I arrived at the parking lot just in time to see the parade of trucks making their way to the 45th Annual Hampton Beach Tow and Trade Show.  This yearly event begins with a convoy of trucks, and a few wayward car drives who got mixed up in it making their way to the park for the event.  The neighbors must love all of the honking and diesel fumes at 10 a.m. on a Saturday.  Actually, a few of them did as you can see in the video below.  As an fyi, it is over 12 minutes long.

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Great Island Common (New Castle, NH)

Date Of Visit: September 23, 2017

Location: 301 Wentworth Rd. (Route 1B), New Castle, NH,  (1 hour northeast of Boston, MA, 1 hour southeast of Concord, NH)

Hours: Open daily 9 a.m. until 9 p.m.

Cost:

New Castle Residents:
– No admission charge if vehicle has current resident sticker.
– Residents may invite up to 25 guests at no charge – Over 25 guests, admission fees apply.
– Resident must be present for all guests.
Non-Residents:
– Admission charged from May to the end of September.
General Admission Fees
– Individuals:
0-5 yrs old free
6 to 65 years old $4.00
65 and older $2.00
Handicapped $1.00

Parking: There are about 50 or more parking spots available in the parking area

Handicapped Accessible: Yes

Dog Friendly: Yes, seasonally (pets are not allowed in the park or on the beach from May 15 to September 15)

Website: Great Island Common

Highlights: lighthouses, beach, places to grill, pavilions

Tips:

  • When you enter the park, you must turn right.  The parking area is at the end of the circular paved road
  • If you want to use a pavilion, you may have to call ahead and reserve the area

 

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No other name than Great Common Island may be more apt for this park.  Except it’s not really an island.  But, it is great.

The park, with attached beach, sits on the shore of New Castle ( a small town of 968 according to their 2010 census) just outside of Portsmouth, NH).  The park and beach area are only 32 acres.  But what it lacks in area it makes up for in beauty and charm.

The park offers some great views of the water.  It is a good place to watch the waves crash against the rocks, although the waves weren’t too strong during my visit.

Great Island Common is popular with fishing enthusiasts, boaters and the occasional bird.

You can view two lighthouses from Great Island Common.

Whaleback Lighthouse was established in 1830.  The granite lighthouse that stands there now was built in 1872 and it was automated in 1963.

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Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouse, just down the road from the park, is also visible from Great Island Common.  During the summer, there are open houses at the lighthouse on Sundays from mid May to late October from 1-5.  Since I was visiting on a Saturday I was not able to attend the open house.  Next to the lighthouse (to the left of the lighthouse in the photo above) is Coast Guard Station Portsmouth Harbor and Fort Constitution.  In the distance, past the lighthouse, you can see the foliage has just started to begin.

Wood Island Life Saving Station in Kittery, Maine, is also visible from the park. In 1827, Wood Island was given to the federal government so the U.S. Navy could build barracks.  However, it would eventually be used to quarantine Spanish-American War prisoners who had Yellow Fever.  It is presently not in use.

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One of the biggest attractions at the park is a sculpture of a painter by an easel working on the scenic skyline.

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Pretty good painting of me.  It looks so life-like.

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Great Island Common is not just a park.  A beach is also attached to the park.

The park is spacious for kids to play in with lots of big trees for shade.

Erected in 1984, the memorial honors all of the people of New Castle who have served the country in all wars and conflicts.  Two benches sit next to the memorial, one on each side of it.

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Great Island Common is dog friendly except from May 15 to September 15.  Luckily, I was able to visit the week after ban ended.  It was a picture perfect day with a calm breeze.  So, it was a great day to bring your dog out!

Miley is a 8 year old Yorkie Poodle.

Tuck is a 6 month Cocka Poo (Cocker Spaniel & Poodle mix)

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Remy (on the left) is a 10 year old Puggle and Phoebe (On the right) is a 1 and a half year old Puggle.

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Jaelo (pronounced “J Lo”)is a 10 year old Puggle.

Below is a video by the shore of Great Island Common.

Posted below is a drone video of the Great Island Common area on Paul Moore’s YouTube page

 


Stratton Brooks State Park (Simsbury, CT)

***WordPress ate my original post (either that or I goofed up).  So, I have reposted my blog post.  Thank you for reading!***

Date Of Visit: September 9, 2017

Location: 149 Farms Village Road (Route 309), Simsbury, CT

Hours: open daily, sunrise to sunset

Cost: On weekends and holidays, admission tot he park costs $9 for residents of Simsbury and $15 for non residents.  There is no charge during weekdays and during the off season.

Parking: There are a few parking areas with ample parking

Trail Size/Difficulty: The main hiking and biking trail is 1.2 miles (2.4 round trip).  The trail is easy.

Handicapped Accessible: Yes

Dog Friendly: Yes
Website: Stratton Brooks State Park

Map: Stratton Brooks State Park Map

Highlights: trails, covered bridge, beach, lake, swimming, fishing, cycling trails

Tips:

  • admission to the park is free during the weekdays and after Labor Day (or at least it was free during my visit the week after Labor Day)
  • Stratton Brooks is considered the first “completely wheelchair accessible” park in Connecticut
  • The nature center is open on certain days (it was closed during my visit)

 

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There’s a reason why the Connecticut tourism website calls September the “second summer.”  With the last vestiges of summer lingering and the sparks of autumn blooming, this is perhaps the best time of the year to visit the parks and attractions of New England.

 

The trails at Stratton Brooks are easy and level with hardly any inclines.  The main trail goes past some residential homes.  So, it’s important to stay on the trail.

 

Brooks Stratton, originally called Massacoe State Forest, was originally used to demonstrate forest fire control adjacent to railroads. The railroad tracks have since been replaced by a biking and hiking trail.  White pines line the main hiking trail.

The covered bridge at the park was built in 1985, spans 45″.  It offers pretty views of Stratton Brook.

 

The beach at the park is a popular destination during hot summer days.  It has a decent sized beach area and enough room for everyone to splash around.

 

In 1996, this park became Connecticut’s first state park that is completely accessible by wheelchair.  But, I think some areas, such as the main hiking trail which can be rocky and the beach area, may be hard to maneuver around.

Besides hiking, cycling, running and swimming, the park also offers an area for fishing, trout is the main fish people catch.  During the winter ice fishing, cross country skiing, snow shoeing and ice skating are popular activities at the park.   Besides the trout that swim in the pond, there are other inhabitants of the pond such as ducks and a few frogs.

 

There is lots of room for dogs to roam around and play.  I saw quite a few cute dogs during my visit at Stratton Brooks.

Adisson is a playful one and a half year old Terrier mix,

 

Juju (short for Jujube) is a Chihuahua mix.  Fun fact: Juju doesn’t care for other dogs but she likes cats and people!

 

Sage is a rescue dog.  His guardian wasn’t sure what his breed or age is.  But, he’s a sweetheart!

 

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Marginal Way (Oguinquit, ME)

 

Date Of Visit: August 26, 2017

Location: Shore Rd, Ogunquit, ME  (2 hours and 45 minutes south of Bangor, ME and 1 hour and 15 minutes northeast of Concord, NH)

Hours: daily, sunrise to sunset

Cost: Free

Parking: There are several parking lots in the area and limited street parking is also available.  I parked at a lot on School St which is directly across from the entrance to Marginal Way.  The lots usually charge by the hour.  Below is a link to the municipal parking lots in the area:

Parking Lots Near Marginal Way

Distance/Difficulty: 1.25 miles (2.5 miles round trip)/easy

Handicapped Accessible: Yes, although some areas are narrow, it is handicapped accessible

Dog Friendly: Yes, but only during certain times of the year.  Dogs are permitted on the Marginal Way from October 1st to March 31st

Fitbit Stats: 2,5 miles, 4,768 steps, 752 calories

Highlights: scenic views, easy path, steps on the trail that lead to the beach

Website: Marginal Way Preservation Fund

Trail Maps: Marginal Way Trail Maps

Tips:

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Located Marginal Walk is anything but.  With its scenic views along the rocky coastline, access to Ogunquit Beach and pretty flowers and trees, Marginal Way is  a must see for anyone residing in or visiting Maine.

From the beginning of the walk, Marginal Way serves up some pretty views and a wide spectrum of colorful flowers.  The flowers from Sparhawk, the hotel located next to the entrance.

There are some stunning views along the way.

The path along the walk is generally wide with some narrow areas.  Most of the path is paved and I did see people with strollers.  There is also a bridge that is wide enough for two traffic and also seems to be handicapped accessible.

One of the unique things about this cliff walk is that you can walk down to the beach.  I noticed a few surfers ( I wish I learned how to surf in my younger days – maybe next year!)and sun seekers enjoying this part of the beach.  The rocks on the beach gave the beach a more natural feel.  There are also a few sandbars which allow you to walk out pretty far in the water.

Perhaps the best part of the walk, or at least the most rewarding part, is Perkins Cove at the end of the walk.  There  are a few eateries, several shops and a bridge.  The arts and crafts shops, coffee shop and candy store (which I highly recommend) give the area a quaint feel.

Sadly, dogs were not allowed on Marginal Way during my visit since they are only allowed on the walk during the fall and winter seasons.  But, I did see lots of dogs on the way to my car and at the end of the walk.

Gus, a 5 year old English Bulldog, was dressed to the nines for his photo shoot.

Landon, a 7 year old mixed hound retriever, showed me his pearly whites.

Below are some videos from my walk.  Just listening to the surf is so soothing.

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Babbs Beach (West Suffield, CT)

Date Of Visit: July 4, 2017

Location: 435 Babbs Rd, West Suffield, CT

Cost: Free (but it may soon cost $20 for non residents – see below)

Hours: open daily from sunrise to sunset

Parking:  There is designated handicapped parking closer to the beach

Dog Friendly: No

Handicapped Accessible: Yes

Highlights: beach, volleyball net, scenic, boating, concerts

Website: Babb’s Beach

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The former site of a small amusement park (Babb’s Beach Amusement Park), Babb’s Beach is a small, hidden beach located along the Congamond Lakes in Suffield, CT.

What Babb’s Beach lacks in size it makes up for in charm.

Parking was available on the grass in front of the beach when I went to visit.  But, only a week later, a sign was posted indicating it would cost non-Suffield residents $20 for the first vehicle and $5 for each additional vehicle  in each party to visit.  One of the reasons for this is the mess that was left behind by 4th of July visitors (present company excluded).  There are also about half a dozen handicapped parking spaces right along the entrance to the beach with handicapped accessible comfort stations.

There is a short, scenic walk from the main parking area to the beach head.

The beach is just as popular for the boating and other water activities as it is for the sunbathing and beach games (there is a volleyball net at the beach).

The beach is not very big (7 acres) and I could see how it may get overpopulated on busy summer days.  But, due to its somewhat hidden location and, surely, because of the additional fee they have just implemented, it will most likely remain the hidden treasure it was during my visit.

Today’s featured link is the Babb’s Rink Restoration Project.  Years ago, the Babb’s Roller Rink, located about a mile from the beach, was shut down.  They are now trying to raise money and awareness about the project to renovate and re-open the rink.