Tag Archives: family friendly

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

 

 


Scarecrow In The Park (Cushman Park, Bernardston, MA)

Dates Of Event: October 19 – 21, 2018 (I attended Oct. 20)

Location: Cushman Park, 19 South St, Bernardston, MA

Cost: Free

Dog Friendly: Yes

Highlights: Scarecrows, parade, vendors

Website: Scarecrow In The Park (Facebook Page)

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Boo!

Now that I have your attention, Salem isn’t the only part of New England that celebrates the Halloween and Fall season.

Last weekend, the Bernardston Kiwanis sponsored the annual Scarecrow In The Park event to raise funds for the scholarship fund.

Among the three day event, the festival included an exhibition of classic cars, a tractor parade and a wood carving demonstration. But, the main attraction for most of the visitors are the scarecrows.

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The scarecrows were made by individual artists or a group of artists. The scarecrow below, which is a tribute to Dr Suess (Theodor Seuss Geisel), a native of nearby Springfield, MA, and thing number 1 and 2 from one of his stories, was created by a local elementary school.

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Another artist with ties to the area, Eric Carle, had a scarecrow dedicated to him. Holding one of his picture books (The Very Hungry Caterpillar), Carle is shown sitting on the ground with other symbols from his book. Although he is not from New England (he is a native of Syracuse, NY and has also lived in Florida among other places), he lived in Northampton, MA, for some time and there is a museum dedicated to him in Amherst, MA.

 

No, this isn’t your ex or your in-law.

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The scarecrows ran the gamut from the scary (and that could refer to the witch or the objects in the background in the photo above – I find them both to be very frightening)…

..to the humorous like this funny pirate.

 

But, most of the scarecrows were made for fun and they were all family friendly.

 

In addition to the scarecrows, there was a Halloween-themed graveyard display with phrases many of us from New England and anywhere else can relate to.

 

There were lots of vendors at the festival as well. A news article stated they were hoping to attract 60 vendors to the festival. It seemed like there were many more though.

This vendor make their own wares. The gentleman pictured below carves shapes and figures out of wood he finds. He does not plan the shapes ahead of time. He tole me he goes with the shape and feel that it gives him.

 

Another more popular vendor was the witch hat shop.

 

This cute wood carving shop was also a popular shop.

 

Speaking of wood carvings, wood carving exhibits and demonstrations were provided by Laker’s Acres from Orange, MA.

 

Some of the visitors came in costume. These visitors are actually parade marchers who participated in the tractor parade.

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If you did not wear a costume to the event, there were face painters there to help you get made up for the event.

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The make up artists did a great job on all of the people they worked on.

 

A parade of tractors (new and older models) drove down South St with parade marchers in tow.

 

A mad scramble ensued as some of the drivers threw candy to the onlookers. Note to festival planners: try throwing some Starburst next year.

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Across the street from the park, the fire department had some huge pumpkins that seemed to fit into the fall theme of the festival.

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The festival is a dog friendly event and we saw lots of cute dogs.

Pumblechook (named after Mr. Pumblechook from Great Expectations) is a 19 week old Boston Terrier. He is sporting a stylish skull and cross bones sweater.

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Nami is a 3 year old, Redbone Coon Hound and black Lab mix.

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Harley is a 3 year old Puggle.

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The video below shows some of the tractor parade.


Halloween In Salem – Part II (Salem, MA)

Date Of Visit: October 31, 2017

Location: Salem, MA

Welcome to Part II of my photo blog post from my Halloween in Salem series.  If you want to view part I you can find it here.

There were so many amazing costumes from my visit to Salem on Halloween.  But, I have to say this was my favorite.

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What better day to get married than Halloween?  This couple got dressed up for their big day!  Congrats and best wishes to this lovely couple!

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During my day in Salem, the people continued to arrive in a variety of costumes from the cute to the scary to the down right bizarre.  But, it was Chucky that really put a scare into me.   He always scared the heck out of me!

Even though there were some duplicates in terms of the costumes (such as the Hocu Pocus costumes), they all had their own flair and style.

While it’s great photographing all of the people in their costumes during the daytime, things really get going during the evening.

Salem really does come alive at night during Halloween.  As people get out of work and begin to celebrate, the city comes to life.  Besides, Halloween really is best celebrated in the evening. Even the costumes seem to look cooler and more scary as the sun sets and the evening descends upon the city.

The city closes down many of the side streets at 4 p.m. and they close the garages from 7 p.m. until 11 p.m. So, if you don’t leave by 7, you’re stuck there for a while!  It’s strange seeing the sity streets so desolate and walking down the usually busy streets.

There are bands that play well into the evening (the residents must love that) and the evening culminates with fireworks at 11:15.  I was long gone by then.

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So, it was another spooky and fun day full of surprises.  Until next year…maybe I’ll see you there then!

Lest I forget, there were so many beautiful dogs in Salem during Halloween.

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Freddy, a 7 year old Himalayan therapy dog, was tired from visiting patients earlier in the day.

Bubba is a 6 year old Mastiff and Doberman mix.

Romeo is a 14 week old Bernese Mountain dog.  He may look small now.  But, trust me, he’s not going to stay that size for long!

Galaxy is a 10 month old Pit Bull and American Bulldog mix

Bear is a 6 year old Siberian Husky and Border Collie mix.  His guardian said he is known as “The Dog Of Salem!”

Sophie is a 7 year old Black Russian Terrier.

Wilby is a 6 year old Sato dog from Puerto Rico.

 


Halloween In Salem – Part I (Salem, MA)

Date Of Visit: October 31, 2017

Location: Salem, MA

 

There’s no better place to be on Halloween than Salem, MA.  You might think I don’t have any second thoughts about the celebrations that celebrate a dark time in our history.  However, I have a different take on it.

I do actually have some mixed feelings about it, though, given the history of the witch trials in Salem so many years ago. It’s a quaint, pretty seaside city with a rich history and things to do all year round that transforms into a party town for 31 days.

But, I love the city for so many more reasons than just the pageantry and fun of their Halloween celebrations although I do find some of the novelty items to be a  bit distasteful.

My take on the whole commercialization and atmosphere of the season, though, is that we have taken a dark time and, despite that awful time, we’ve been able to turn a negative mark on the city into a time of fun and revelry.  I do think it’s important to remember the tragedy.  But I am also glad people are able to have fun and bring commerce and happy times to the area.

I thought I would begin this photo blog of my day in Salem with some couples and friends who have dressed up as a duo.

I think it’s funny how people walk by these, at times, bizarre outfits and act like it’s just another October day in Salem.  Definitely nothing out of the ordinary to see here.

I am always surprised by the creativity of the costumed visitors in Salem.  The “Cereal Killer” gave me a good chuckle.  And the Joker below was the best version  of him I saw during my visits, not just because of his look but his personality and the way he acted like him.

One of the more popular things to do in Salem, especially on Halloween, is have a psychic reading.  Each year, psychics flock to Salem to offer their services at the Psychic Fair.  There are also psychics who give readings all year round.

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The past few years I have arrived in Salem early in the morning on Halloween so that I can see as many people in their costumes as I possibly can.  And, this year, it paid off.  I saw these cute little trick or treaters walking through Essex St.  I think they trick or treat at some of the local businesses in the area.

And, yes, there were plenty of dogs in Salem for Halloween.

Alfie is a 1 year old Schnauzer mix.

Luna (on the left) is a 3 year old rescue Terrier mix.  On the right is Dobby, a 4 year old Golden Doodle.

Adele, dressed up as Beetlejuice, is a 10 month old Great Pyrenees.

Omid, Persian for “hope”, is a German Shepherd  rescue from Iran.  Omid was abused while he was in Iran and, after being hit by a car, he was left for dead.  But, a man saved her and brought him to a shelter.  Eventually, Omid was adopted by a family in the United States.  Omid is an inspirational example of how we should never give up and how things can change for the better, even in the darkest of times.  You can read more about him and like him on his Facebook Page.

You can also learn more about his story and see videos of him as a pup at the following YouTube videos:

Omid Video 1

Omid Video 2

These cuties got to see Salem in comfort and style.

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Thank you for stopping by and reading Part I of my photos of my day in Salem.  I may have to post 3 parts to include all of the photos from my trip.  Stay tuned for part II!

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Fall Pumpkin Float (Boston, MA)

 

Date Of Visit: October 20, 2017

Location: Frog Pond, Boston Common, Boston, MA

Website: 2017 Fall Pumpkin Float

Highlights: family friendly pumpkin festival, carousel, bouncy house and other activities for children (and adults)

Nothing says Halloween like costumes, candy and floating pumpkins.  Yes, floating pumpkins.

That is what was on display at Frog Pond last weekend as we ushered in the Halloween season.

But, these “floating pumpkins” weren’t floating in the air.  No, these pumpkins were floating on Frog Pond at the Boston Common.

Visitors who wanted to participate in the pumpkin float were asked to bring a hollowed out 8 inch or smaller carved pumpkin.

The carvings and designs on the pumpkins ranged from spooky to funny.

The organizers of the event encouraged visitors to come to the event in costume.  And they were not disappointed.

If you haven’t attended a pumpkin float before (it was my first time as well) and you want participate in the float event, each person drops off their pumpkin at one of the booths located by the pond.  At the booth, one of the volunteers inserts an l.e.d. light bulb.  I think it would have looked cooler with a candle.  But, since it is going into water, well that wouldn’t work out too good.  Then, the pumpkin is put on a piece of wood and pushed into the water so they all coalesce.  Periodically, a worker walked in the water to make sure they all group together.

As the sun set, the lights from the  jack o’ lanterns began to light up Frog Pond.

There was also a carousel, the Frog of Frog Pond, a d.j. from a local radio station, a bouncy house, bubbles, policemen on horses who took photos with visitors and other types of entertainment.

 

The Pumpkin Float, which was held at Pope John Paul Park in the past, was a dog friendly event.  And, some of the dogs came in costume!

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Porter is a 9 year old lion, I mean pit terrier.

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Tiny is a 3 year old Chihuahua.

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Bijo is an 11 year old mixed breed.  Bijo is wearing a boot because one of his nails was injured.

Below is a video of the “bubble man” at Frog Pond.  The kids loved popping the bubbles.

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2017 Zombie Walk (Salem, MA)

 

 

 

 

Date Of Event: October 7, 2017 (usually the first Saturday in October each year)

Location: Collins Cove Park, E. Collins Rd, Salem, MA

Parking: street parking can be found on Collins St. and the surrounding neighborhood

Website: Salem Zombie Walk

Handicapped Friendly: Yes

Dog Friendly: Yes

The zombies have invaded Salem, MA.  And I don’t just mean the ones engrossed with their phone screens wandering through the streets.

No, these zombies are participants in the annual Salem Zombie Walk.

There were zombies of all ages, attire and degrees of scariness.  It’s never too early to get into the Halloween spirit and these people were definitely in the spirit of the season!

But, my favorite zombies have to be the families and children who have dressed up for the walk.  After all, the families that stalk together stay together.

There’s nothing cuter than “zombie kids!”

The zombies arrived in a variety of different vehicles.  “Witch Taxi.”  How appropriate.  Was her broom broken?

After a quick game of zombie kickball, they all got lined up and began the walk.

Although there weren’t any dogs in the zombie walk (although they are welcome), I did see these cute dogs on the way to the park.

Gatsby is a 1 year and 3 month old Golden Retriever.

Baloo (named after the character in The Jungle Book) is a 5 year old Pomeranian.

These two friends watched the parade from the window of their home.  Perhaps I’ll see you next year…if the zombies don’t get you first!

Below are some videos from the festivities at the zombie walk.


Prescott Park (Portsmouth, NH)

Date Of Visit: July 29, 2017

Location: 105 Marcy St, Portsmouth, NH

Hours: open daily, sunrise to sunset

Cost: Free

Parking: There is a parking lot located on Old Bay St as well as street parking throughout the area

Handicapped Accessible: Yes

Dog Friendly: No

Website: Prescott Park

Highlights: flowers and plants, scenic, family friendly

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Bursting with color and fragrances, Prescott Park is sure to impress even those with the faintest of green thumbs.

A gift from Sarah and Josie Prescott in 1940, Prescott Park has come a long way from its industrial beginnings.   The highlight of the park, at least during the summer, has to be the garden that sits at the entrance by Old Bay St and Marcy St.  But, Prescott Park has more than just flowers there.

Prescott Park is much more than the garden that I focused on during my visit.  In fact, it is such a big area that they hold concerts with such popular artists as Aaron Neville and Valerie June and other events at the park.  During my visit they were holding a children’s party where a play was being performed.

 

 

There are two memorials at Prescott Park.  The first memorial is a fountain which is dedicated to  a fountain dedicated to Charles Emerson Hovey, an Ensign in the United States Navy and Portsmouth, NH native, who was killed in action on September 24, 1911.

 

 

The next memorial is less obvious.  A sign and anchor stand in front of the prominent flower bed at the front of the garden.

 

 

The sign in front of the flower bed states “A Salute To An Ordinary Hero.”  This “ordinary hero” was Billy Juse, a New Hampshire native, who died in an underground tunnel while he was working on the Deer Island Project during the 1990’s.  He was 34.  Since he and another coworker, Tim Nordeen, died on the same day John Fitzgerald Kennedy’s body was recovered, his story was overlooked in the news.  One solemn reminder remains in the park.

There are also view of the Piscataqua River, a popular spot for boating and kayaking.

 

 

There are benches, art and pretty trees and flowers on the way to the garden at Prescott Park.

 

 

Prescott Park has a variety of beautiful and colorful plants and flowers.  Since we’ve had so much rain and

 

 

The flowers ranged from the common to the unique.

 

 

To the left in the photo is Pelargonium Geranium Timeless Orange (yeah they look red to me as well),  To the right is the Pelargonium Geranium Timeless Pink.  Yeah, I know all of the types of flowers in the world.  Kidding.  They all had their names neatly written on them on cards by the flower beds.

Now for the truly scary part of the tour. The dinosaurs have invaded Prescott Park.  This is a great way to get kids interested and involved in viewing the flowers and plants at Prescott.  I

 

 

Sadly, dogs are not allowed at the flower garden area of Prescott Park.  But, I did see lots of dogs like Teddy, a 10 year old Pomeranian,  passing by on Old Bay Street which is next to the flower garden.

 

 

Today’s featured link is a link to an article that appeared in the Boston Globe magazine about the tragedy on the Deer Island Project in which Billy Juse and some of his co workers perished: Deer Island Tragedy

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