Tag Archives: family friendly

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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Dock Dogs 2017 (Agawam, MA)

 

Date Of Event: June 3, 2017 (first weekend of June each year)

Location: Parking lot of Dave’s Soda And Pet City, 151 Springfield Street
Agawam, MA

Cost: Free

Handicapped Accessible: Yes

Highlights: dogs, jumping,speed and agility contests, face painting, fund raising

Website: Dock Dogs

IMG_9966Dogs big and small came from all over New England and farther to take part in the Dock Dogs competition last week in Agawam, MA.

 

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In case you missed it, I covered last year’s Dock Dogs event.

There were two events at Dock Dogs during my visit.  There was the Big Air Wave and the Extreme Vertical contests.

The first event, the Big Air Wave contest, was a jumping contest.  The dog’s trainer would throw an object, usually a tennis ball, Frisbee or toy, and the dog would jump as far as he or she could to retrieve it.

Just watching the trainers getting their pets psyched up for the jump was fun to watch.

Some dogs needed a little more encouragement than others.  But, what I really loved was the trust and discipline the dogs had.

The second event was the Extreme Vertical contest. Each dog would have the chance to reach the bar resting on a hook.  Although the dogs try to grab the bar in their mouths, all the dog has to do is knock the bar off the hooks to be successful.  Yeah, that”s easy enough for me to say.

Even if the dogs didn’t grab the bar in their mouth they could still advance to the next round by just knocking it off the holder.  The winner was Coop, a 2 year old, Chocolate Lab, who was able to grab the bar at 7 feet, 2 inches.

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Some people seemed more interested in the swarm of bees one of the trees near the competition.

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By the time we came back from lunch, bee keepers had been called and had handled the situation.

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Not all of the dogs who came to Dave’s for the event participated.  But, even if they were just spectators they were still beautiful.  Below are just some of the dogs I saw at the Dock Dogs event.

Duke is an 8.5 year old German Short Hair Pointer.

This 10 wek old Belgian Malinois did not have a name yet.

Bella is a 7 year old Pomeranian.  She is known as “Bella The Therapy Dom.”  She works with Paws For Friendship as a therapy dog as well as being the official mascot of the East Forest Park Library.  You can find out more about Paws For Friendship here.  You can also contact Bella at bellatherapydog@gmail.com

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Lola is a 2 year old mini Pincher Chihuahua.

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Fiona is a 8 month old Maltese Yorkie.

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Fargo is a 3 year old German Shepherd.

Inky is a 15 month old Blue Merle Australian Sheepdog.

Meeko is a 15 month old Siberian Husky.

Tobin is a 2 year old Great Pyrenees.  His sister Maggie Mae, a 3 year old Great Pyrenees and Golden Retriever, is behind and to the right in the photos.

Token is a 5 year old Belgian Tervuren.

Fluffy Puffer, with the signature Newfoundland signature drool, is a 1 and a half year old Newfie

Miller is a 1 year old Golden Retriever and German Shepherd.

Rufus is a 7 year old Newfie.

Max is a 9 year old Border Collie.

There was also face painting, a bouncy house (I was tempted to go in it) and a variety of vendors and charitable organizations at the event.

Can’t wait until the next year’s Dock Dogs event!

Below are some videos of the dogs competing at Dock Dogs!

 

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Quincy Quarries Reservation (West Quincy, MA)

Date Of Visit: April 29, 2017

Location: 77 Ricciuti Drive, West Quincy, MA

Hours: Open daily, sunrise to sunset

Cost: Free

Parking: There is a lot that accommodates about 50 cars next to the reservation.  It fills up quickly on nice days.  I got the very last spot when I went in the morning.

Dog Friendly: Yes

Handicapped Accessible: Yes

Highlights: rocks for climbers to practice on, easy, gentle trails, graffiti, family friendly, scenic views

Website: Quincy Quarries Reservation

Trail and Rock Climbing Map: Quincy Quarries Rock Climbing And Trail Map

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Once the site for swimmers and divers, Quincy Quarry is now a haven for rock climbers, dogs and graffiti artists.

Quincy Quarries Reservation (or as we used to call it “The Quarries”) was originally built in 1825 as a large scale quarry industry,  Over the years, however, it has gone through some dramatic changes.

Fun fact: stones from the quarry were used to as the main source of stone for the Bunker Hill monument in Charlestown.

The grassy fields and paves walkways used to be the site of a quarry industry.  And water took up most off the area that is now grass and concrete.  Business deals (a golf course is located just past where the quarry industries once stood) and a slew of deaths (mostly from diving into the water and some under more mysterious circumstances) at the quarry sparked the debate to fill in the quarries and use the land for business purposes.  According to the New York Times, at least 19 people have died there (and who knows how many cars and other objects lied at the bottom of the water). In fact, a post or series of posts could be dedicated to the controversial and mysterious past of the area.  So, the quarry was drained in most parts and the area was made into a walking park.

So, where did all the dirt come from to fill in the once watery quarry?  Remember he “Big Dig”?  Yup, that dirt was used to fill in the drained quarry.  There is still some water in the quarry.  But, people don’t jump in it anymore.  Not only is it very dirty, it is seemingly much more shallow and there is much less of it.

After the last quarry closed in 1963, the area was dormant except for the people, mostly younger kids, who enjoyed diving off the precipitous rocks.

It’s hard to believe this area was mostly just granite and water a few decades ago.

Rocks, paths and grass cover what was once water.

Boy have times changed,  The very same quarry that my father used to dive in have largely been filled in and paved over or have become fields.  And, instead of jumping off the quarry, people climb up them.

This particular rock was 60 feet high and the path to the top was pretty narrow.  But, I made it up.

The groups of climbers all work together to ensure their ascent is a safe one and cheers erupt from the other climbers whenever anyone makes it up.

You can learn a lot when you go on photo shoots.  I’ll never complain about my physical obstacles again after watching this climber.

The climbing teams, and it is a team effort, go through great efforts to ensure each climb is safe.  The people go over the procedures and safety protocols before each climb.  Each person has a role whether it is the person holding onto the line, the device keeping the person suspended or the climber.  Still, it’s hard to believe one rope or one board could be the difference between success and failure (although there are other backup safety measures as well).  It is very safe if you take the correct measures, though.

Its a long way down.

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The funny thing is I am not exactly fond of heights.  But, whenever I have my camera with me I get so focused on what I am doing and I don’t really think of the risks as much as getting a good photo.

The views from the rocks are impressive, the skyline of Boston being the highlight of the various views.  You can also check on the traffic into Boston from that rock before you leave.

There are several rocks at Quincy Quarry that people use to climb, draw on and just rest on.

The graffiti is one of the first things you will notice upon arriving at the Quincy Quarry Reservation.  In fact, it seems to be encouraged.

There was also this creative and romantic proposal scrawled against one of the rocks.

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There is also abundant wildlife at Quincy Quarry Reservation.  Although they weren’t there (or they were hiding) during my visit, coyotes and deer are known to inhabit the area.  I only came across a frog who thought he was hiding from me

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a chipmunk

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and various birds

I also saw lots of dogs at Quincy Quarry.

Baxter is a 2 year old Border Collie.  He may have three legs.  But, he is just as beautiful and sweet, if not more, as any other dog I saw that day.

Maddie is a 9 year old mixed shepherd.  But, hey, how did she get up there!?

Here is a video from YouTube to give you a sense of how different the quarry looked and just how popular of a spot it was.

video courtesy of Sean Hastings

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