Tag Archives: geese

Coolidge Reservation (Manchester-By-The-Sea, MA)

Date visited: February 20, 2016

Cost: Free

Hours: 8 a.m. to sunset

Address: 15 Coolidge Point, Manchester By-The-Sea, MA

Coolidge Reservation

Parking: about 8-10 parking spaces, small lot.

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How could you not want to visit an area with the name “by the sea” in its name?  It sounds like the name of an idyllic setting from a novel.  And the town lives up to that description.  I passed by several fruit, vegetable and flower stands as well as signs to watch out for people riding horses.  The houses and town also had a very Norman Rockwell feel.

I wasn’t sure how the footing and appearance of the park would be given the recent snowy weather and icy conditions on many of the trails at other parks.  As it turned out, most of the ice and snow on the trails had melted and I only had to manage some small patches of ice and mud from the melted snow.

The trails are clearly marked and easy to walk.  There are no steep inclines and the paths are wide enough to accommodate the throng of visitors.

There are a few trails that meander slightly off the trail.  But one trail simply leads to the street and is behind a bunch of cattails so you really can’t view much of the pond.  The other stupid trail goes to a thorny, rocky dead end.

As you walk on the main trail, you will pass Clarke Pond on your left.  It was partially frozen and there were some ducks and geese milling around.  I also got a few shots off them dunking for lunch.  The gulls in the first photo looked like big blocks of snow at first glance.  I especially like how the mom and dad duck kept the baby duckling close to them.

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There were many breath taking views of the pond.  I especially like how the frozen parts of the pond break with the unfrozen sections.

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To the right of the main trail, I found a side road with a pond that channels into Clarke Pond. There were a variety of ducks and geese in this pond.

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I met a lot of friendly and cool people at Coolidge.  Shapoo was one of the cool and friendly folks I met (the name is a mix of shih tzu and poodle) .

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Much to my consternation, I was unable to find the Ocean Lawn which offers views of the Boston skyline and Cape Cod as well as scenic views of the water.  I totally missed the boat on that one as there are some great views and opportunities for some great shots from there.  But, to the left of the trail, Magnolia Beach more than made up for it which I will post about very soon…click here to read about my visit to Magnolia Beach.

 


Easton’s Beach (Newport, RI)

When most people think of Newport, Rhode Island, they undoubtedly think of the ornate  historic mansions.  But, there is another gem in Newport – Easton’s Beach.

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I was greeted by these Canadian Geese upon my arrival.

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A short drive from the mansions, Easton’s Beach is less than a mile long.  But, what it may lack in size it makes up in charm and beauty.

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The gulls, who were in abundance at the beach, are not shy.

Easton’s Beach is also a popular destination for sea loving dogs.  I met Jack during my visit.

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Parking was ample during my visit.  But I suspect it fills up quickly during the warmer seasons.  You do not  need to feed the meters in the off season.  After May 1st and until Oct. 31st parking fees are in effect (parking at an on-street metered space is limited to a maximum of three hours and the rate is $1.25 per hour and the meters located on Memorial Blvd. near Easton’s Beach are $2 per hour).   It’s definitely worth the 2 clams if you’re in the area.

 


Hampton Ponds (Westfield, MA)

Pretty waterscapes are not regulated to the coastlines of New England.  Hampton Ponds State Park is proof of this.  A cute, expansive series of ponds that dot the Westfield area, Hampton Ponds is a popular area for swimmers, sun bathers and boaters.

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Upon reaching Hampton ponds, I was greeted by a gaggle of geese.

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And this one solitary goose.

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Hampton Ponds has some very impressive trees.

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But, it was the vivid greens and wild flowers of the ponds that stood out to me.

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Dragonflies also seemed to enjoy the greenery of Hampton Ponds.

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The water is so transparent at Hampton Ponds, you can see the fish that inhabit the waters.

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Birds are also plentiful at Hampton Ponds.  This swallow sort of blended into the sand on the beach head.

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Boaters and kayakers took advantage of the warm weather and clear waters at Hampton Ponds

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The motorboats created pretty ripples along the glassy water.

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Hampton Ponds doesn’t have any long walking trails.  But, it does make up for it with its pretty views.

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Hampton Ponds is also a popular spot for dogs.

Hercules stopped playing so I could take his photo.

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Sparky happily posed for his photo.

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Hampton Ponds is also the perfect place to reflect

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or to go fishing

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or to just play in the water.

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Ames Nowell State Park (Abington, MA)

Given the less than ideal  weather today (gloomy, overcast sky with nagging showers), I decided to visit a “basic” park close to home.  Just about 30 minutes south of Boston, Ames Nowell State Park seemed like the perfect place for an uneventful, short jaunt.  I was soon to be proven wrong. DSC_0314 Ames Nowell is named after, you guessed it, Ames Nowell, the grandson of the 35th governor of Massachusetts.  Ames Nowell purchased the land during the the Great Depression when the previous land owner could not afford the taxes for the land. One of the more usually mundane aspects of the park that is usually taken for granite (sorry) is the stones and rocks that are strewn about the park.  They seem to be lined and piled in designs and formations.  In fact, the entire park seems to be set up with design and aesthetics, perfect for a photographer. DSC_0615   DSC_0628 DSC_0443 DSC_0416  DSC_0493  DSC_0648 Ames Nowell is a 7,000 acre state park with roughly 10 miles of trails (I didn’t walk quite that much but it felt close to that) that encircles the vast Cleveland Pond.  Although I didn’t walk the entire trail,  I was able to capture quite a few birds during my hike like this goose, for instance. DSC_0556      DSC_0550 Suddenly, I heard a honking noise.  It was momma duck calling and waiting patiently for her (rather large) goslin (no, not that Goslin). DSC_0557 There was also this duck who showed me some flying skills     DSC_0451 DSC_0449  DSC_0461 DSC_0462 There were dogs a plenty at Ames Nowell. I ran into Griffey DSC_0357 I met Rusty DSC_0319 and Marcus (Marcus is the dog, not the man) DSC_0724 Flowers and various plant life is also aplenty in the park.  Daisies and lilies among other plants thrive in the park DSC_0616DSC_0540      DSC_0322 DSC_0378   DSC_0385 DSC_0370  DSC_0580 Being that it was a windy day, the water on the pond created some captivating ripples.   DSC_0506      DSC_0474      DSC_0399 DSC_0414 Ducks, geese, swans and dogs weren’t the only creatures I found at Ames Nowell.  I spotted this blue dragonfly buzzing among the trees and plants. DSC_0722 Ames also has a number of wooden bridges and walkways over the marshy and rougher terrain.  This particular bridge had a brook running under it. DSC_0633   DSC_0716  DSC_0705

Finally, as I was about to leave for the day, I saw this family of geese being fed by a little girl

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Then, they made their way to me, perhaps looking for dessert.

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Witch City (Salem, MA)

When people think of Salem (MA), they often conjure thoughts of the witch hysteria, ghosts or a litany of other things that may go bump in the night.  But, this isn’t fair nor accurate. No, Salem is more than “haunted houses” and stores that sell kitschy souvenirs. Nor is it only fun to visit during the Halloween season. Still, it did feel a little odd wandering around Salem without a Fall chill in the air or leaves crunching beneath my feet.  But, it wasn’t any less fun.

Salem, being an important port for trade in early colonial days, is rich with tradition and history.  One of the main ports of trade is at Pickering Wharf in Salem Harbor.

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Anchored in the wharf is The Friendship.  The Friendship is a reconstruction of a 1700’s trading ship.  Tours are available, except today as they were renovating the ship.

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Stately, rustic buildings dot the coast line. The ornate building with the dome atop it is the Custom House.  It is sandwiched in between the Salem Maritime National Historic Site (to the left) and the Simon Forrester House.

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There is also a lighthouse located at the end of the pier.

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Ducks and other birds frequent the harbor.

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Pickering Wharf has a variety of restaurants where you can enjoy fish, lobster and, well, fish.  It is also a hub for tour groups (whose favorite past time seems to be getting into my photos) and the occasional dog walker.  I found this dog who is all black, except for her front left paw.  DSC_0467

I could spend all day at Pickering Wharf.  But, in the interest of time, I began my journey to some of the other attractions in Salem.  The best part of visiting Salem is noticing the attractions and sites while you’re walking to each destination.

There was this house that caught my eye.

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There was this display outside the Salem Witch Museum.

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Irzyk Park, named after Brigadier General Albin F. Irzyk, has this retired Army tank in the park.

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Saint Nicholas Church stands out against some of the more drab buildings.DSC_0600

I also bumped into Aida

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As well as Simba and Jasmin

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Eventually, I found my way to Winter Island.

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Winter Island is a hidden jewel within the outskirts of Salem.  A mile from the downtown Salem area, it is used as a RV/trailer park as well as a place to launch boats and hold functions.  I walked the mile to Winter Island from downtown Salem. It is pretty much a straight walk or drive from tge downtown area.  But, if you choose to drive. there is ample parking outside of Winter Island.  There are an array of flowers and a pond (more like a reservoir) with a power plant adjacent which gives a nice touch.  Geese and ducks are abundant there.

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There is also a beach and an area for bird watching on Winter Island (it’s not really an “island” (it is more like a peninsula) but I will let it slide.  It was the beach, Waikiki Beach, that was most impressive.  Rocks are scattered along the beach and make shift trails on the hills behind the beach offer private views of the beach.  Since it was low tide, I was able to walk along the rocks for better views of the harbor.  A lighthouse gives a nice touch and birds and flowers are abundant.

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A closeup of one of the many flowers on Waikiki Beach.

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A bee pollinating.

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The rocks at Waikiki Beach give the beach a unique landscape and offer a chance to get better views.  It also attracts a variety of bird life.

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There is also an area for bird watching at Winter Island.  Although they are easily scared away, I did capture these images of a Robin and a Red Winged Black Bird.

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There is also an old ammunition bunker in the bird watching area at Fort Pickering on Winter Island.

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It’s a shame that Salem is only remembered for the more commercial aspects and urban legends.  It isn’t all about being scared in Salem.  In fact, this is the scariest thing I saw all day.

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Of course, no visit to Salem would be complete without a photo of Roger Conant, the founder of Salem, and a visit to the World War II Memorial at Salem Commons.

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You can keep yourself quite busy just visiting the parks, beaches and assortment of other attractions in Salem all year round, not just during Halloween.  But, of course, I’ll be back in October anyways.


Woods Pond (Lenox, MA)

When one thinks of the jewels of Lenox, places like the Pleasant Valley Sanctuary, Tanglewood and their many historical and cultural attractions come to mind.   Wood Pond does not necessarily come to mind at first.  It is, however, truly a hidden jewel in the Lenox area of the Berkshire region.  Woods Pond, an hour west of Springfield and roughly 2 and a half hours west of Boston is a straight drive on the Mass Pike (exit 2) with a few lefts and rights once you’re off the exit.

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If there is one thing Woods Pond doesn’t lack it is scenic views.  In fact, after viewing one of my photos taken at Woods Pond, a friend of mine described it as looking like a painting.  Although I only walked a fraction of the trails, I was awestruck by the beauty I viewed.

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Unexpectedly, the breezy and overcast weather conditions actually provided for some pretty photography.  The wind created modest ripples in the shimmering blue water contrasted with the vibrant green hues of the algae.

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A variety of flowers and plant life such as babies breath, daisies and chrysanthemums are evident at Woods Pond, just to name a few.

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Unfortunately, a common issue with many parks, Woods Pond is littered with trash. Bottles, charred ash from campfires, plastic bags and even the skeleton remains of a de-boned fish are scattered throughout.  Like a scratch on the Venus de Milo, this debris stands out all the more against the otherwise pristine environment.  People, yuck.

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Another issue I did have with Woods Pond goes back to the desecration of the land.  To meet the electrical needs of houses that arguably should never have been built in the area, annoying power lines traverse the pond.  Also, transformers scar an otherwise picturesque woodland.  I can only imagine how many two headed fish we will see during my next visit.  Oh yeah, a construction company liberally posts how trespassing is frowned upon.  This private property extends from the right side of the trails of the pond, a rather large area.

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Those issues aside, Woods Pond is a beautiful pond with an easy trails to hike, bike, walk or jog.  And, in case you forget your umbrella, trees provide shelter from the sun and rain. Cars are also allowed on the trails.

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There is also a diverse group of wildlife at Woods Pond.  Many shrieks and rustling of leaves can be heard.  The hard part is tracking down the origins of these noises.  I did find these critters.

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It was so sweet to see mommy and daddy protecting their babies.

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Dogs are also allowed at the park.  Patrick was too excited to stand still for a photo.

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Also, Woods Pond has a launching area for kayaks and there were several kayakers enjoying the seasonable weather.

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Alas, just when you might think your visit to Woods Pond is complete, there is a Train Museum with a functioning rail train. A toy train model and a old time control board are some of the displays in the museum.

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Yes, in case you’re wondering, The train still makes trips.

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In the rear of the museum, there is a train.  The very one that still makes treks out to New York and other surrounding areas (Lenox is only 42 miles from Albany, NY)

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With its winding trails, picture perfect and train museum, Woods Pond is definitely a must-see.  Just expect to spend a long time.  My only regret is I didn’t have more time to spend at this true gem.