Tag Archives: historic

Paul Revere House (Boston, MA)

Date Of Visit: September 7, 2019

Location: 19 North Square, Boston, MA

Hours:

Open year round.

Summer:
Open Daily
April 15 – October 31: 9:30 am to 5:15 pm
Winter:
November 1 – April 14: 9:30 am to 4:15 pm

Closed on Mondays during January, February and March.
Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day.

Cost:

Admission
Adults $5.00
Seniors and College Students $4.50
Children (ages 5-17) $1.00

Admission is Cash Only

Universally Accessible: No.  The historic home is not universally accessible.

Website: Paul Revere House

Highlights, historic home, character actors, guided tours

Summary: The Paul Revere House offers guided tours of the historic home.  A special visitor stopped by during my visit.

Photography is not allowed inside the Paul Revere House (which makes it particularly hard to post about my visit there).  However, there was a special guest during my visit.

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One of Paul’s besties, John Adams, happened to be visiting while I was there.  John regaled the crowd (don’t they look enthralled?) with his stories of his colorful past and his disdain for the British and French.

John also read a letter from his friend Benjamin Franklin.

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But, before too long, John checked his watch and he told us it was time to leave.

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Although I could not photograph inside the building, I did get some photos of the exterior of the building.

Paul Revere bought the he two story building, which was built in 1680, in 1770 .  It has four rooms and ninety percent of the structure, two doors, three window frames, and portions of the flooring, foundation, inner wall material and raftering are original.  The rooms have furniture and furnishings that look similar to those from that era.  There are staff members in the houses who give a historical background of the house.

People come from all over to visit the house.  These two visitors came all the way from Illinois!

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Rumor has it there may be another special guest there next Saturday (Sep[. 28)!


Bradley Palmer State Park (Topsfield, MA)

Date Of Visit: June 1, 2019

Location: 40 Asbury St, Topsfield, MA

Hours: Open daily from sunrise to sunset

Cost: Daily parking fee charged Memorial Day weekend through October 31

MA resident  $5

Non-MA resident  $10

There is a pay station located at the parking lot.

Parking: There is a parking area for about 50 or so cars.

Trails Size and Difficulty: 721 acres, easy to moderate

Universally Accessible: Yes, the main trail is universally accessible

Dog Friendly: Yes

Website: Bradley Palmer State Park Website

Bradley Palmer State Park Trail Map

Highlights: equestrian trails, meadows, plants, flowers, scenic views, wildlife, historic site, wading pool (June 26 – September 7 Open daily, 9:30am to 7:00pm)

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Named after noted attorney and businessman Bradley Palmer, Bradley Palmer State Park has numerous trails for cycling, horse riding or just hiking as well as beauty unmatched by most parks in the area.

There is a variety of wildlife at Bradley Palmer.  Snakes (garters mostly), frogs and toads and birds are abundant at the park.  I was careful to not get too close to the Fowler’s toad as it has poison glands that meet at the back of their eyes.  Actually, I had no idea about this while I took the photo.  It was only after I had somewhat foolishly gotten close to the frog, taken the photo and researched what type of frog it was that I found about this.  I am always careful to not disturb the wildlife though.  The only reason it looks like I was very close was because of my telephoto lens.  But it is something to keep in mind next time.

 

There are also numerous equestrian trails for horse riders to take their horses on.

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There are also open fields with obstacles for horses to make jumps.

 

In fact, it is the open areas with long trails that make Bradley Palmer so special.  There are so many pretty trees and flowers along the trails which are located along the Ipswich River. I could walk along the seemingly endless trails just taking in the scenic views along the way.

 

There are also historic buildings at the park.  Palmer had constructed a mansion called Willow Dale where he resided.  The building was restored in 2007 and is used for wedding receptions and other celebratory events under the name Willowdale Estate.  I didn’t take photos of the remodeled building as there was a wedding reception taking place there during my visit.

There is also an old abandoned building at one of the entrances to the park. I’m not sure what it was originally used for (perhaps a horse barn as Bradley Palmer enjoyed horses).  But, it is fun to think of it as being the home of a gnome or some other fantastical creature.

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 Bradley Palmer is a dog friendly park.  There is more than 720 acres for you and your pooch to explore.  Luke, a 7 year old, Tree Walker Coon hound, had fun on the trail.

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The one thing that made this shoot somewhat challenging (despite the birds who kept flying away before I could shoot them) was the lighting at the park.  Sunlight can be very difficult to work with.  Frankly, it is often easier to get a darker image and fix it in post production.  An over exposed photo can be very hard to “fix” later.  This is why it’s important to get the photo right in the camera whenever possible,

There are two easier ways to avoid getting too much light in your photo: come back later and (time permitting) shoot the photo at a later time when the lighting may be better or try to position yourself in a different angle where the light may be less harsh.  Those suggestions may seem obvious but sometimes the most obvious ideas do not always come to mind, especially if we may not have time to shoot the image later in the day.

When I took a beginner photography class, the teacher told us to shoot at 5.6 “because he said so.”  While it is obvious that this is not always the best setting to use, I did notice I shot most of my photos at 5.6 or 4.0.  Of course, it will vary upon where and when and the environment you’re shooting in, 5.6 is a good place to set your camera at and you can always adjust from there if you’re unsure what setting to use, particularly for beginners.

In a future post I will share some thoughts on photographing birds.  You know, the least frustrating part of photography ( :


Mystic Seaport – Part III (Mystic, CT)

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Date Of Visit: September 2, 2017

Location: 75 Greenmanville Ave. Mystic, CT

Hours: Open daily, 9:00 – 5:00 (hours may vary depending on the season)

Cost:

Adult – $28.95
Senior (ages 65+) – $26.95
Youth (ages 4-14) – $18.95
Children (3 and younger) – Free

Parking: there is a free parking lot across the street from the Seaport Museum.  There is also additional parking across the street from the parking lot for overflow

Handicapped Accessible: Yes, but not all of the buildings are accessible to the handicapped.  Approximately one-third of our buildings have wheelchair-accessible entrances; interior access varies. The village’s unpaved roads are generally firm and stable suitable for wheelchairs and strollers. All roads are basically level with a few slight inclines located near the Children’s Museum, Treworgy Planetarium and Membership Building.  (see link below for more info)

Mystic Seaport Accessibility Guide

Dog Friendly: Yes, but they are not allowed in the buildings

Website: Mystic Seaport

Highlights: living museum with character actors, boats, replicas of historic homes, figureheads, lighthouse replica, play area for children

Tips:

  • For an after museum viewing treat, Mystik Village, an open area shopping mall is a mere.9 miles away on Coogan Blvd
  • the museum’s main parking lot can fill up quickly if you don’t get there early.  Additional parking can be found in the lots off Rossie St on the other side of the main parking lot

In my previous posts about Mystic Seaport, I shown you the figureheads and the ships and boats of Mystic Seaport.

In this final installment, part three, I am going to focus on some of the buildings and historical items at the museum.  I hope you enjoy!IMG_0009

The first exhibit room at the Thompson Exhibition Hall has many interactive exhibits and artifacts and exhibits from a bygone era.

The first interactive exhibit is called “Sea States.”  At this exhibit, you can watch video of the water from calm

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to blustery

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and every other weather condition you can think of.

In the Thompson Building is a very large room packed with lots of historical items. And many of these exhibits and items have interactive devices that give more information and historical context to the items.

These carved etchings were made on teeth and bones of whales.

People may think captains and other sailors were not attached to their families, being away from them for so long and because of traditional family dynamics.  However, nothing could be further from the truth.  Sailors seemed to have a very strong connection to their families, especially their children.

Pictured below are a glove box, photo of Captain Richard Columbus Mears and his Nellie, his daughter (Nellie Goodsell Mears Van Valkenburgh) and some wood carvings he made.

Captain Mears, born in Accomack County, Virginia in 1829, was a merchant ship captain based mainly out of New York.

The black and gold item on the left is a glove box that Captain Mears sent to Nellie for her 13th birthday.  Believe it or not before plastics were invented people made these objects out of turtle shell.  This particular glove box was made out of a hawksbill turtle shell.

The photo next to the glove box is a photo of Captain Mears with Nellie.  To the right of the display are wood carvings by Captain Mears.  The napkin ring, also carved by Captain Mears has the letters N E L L I E with a heart next to it.

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This crib also has turtle shell in its design.  In the second photo you can see the turtle shell reflected in the mirror under the crib.

Most museums do not want you to touch their exhibits.  But, the Seaport Museum has this replica of a turtle for people to touch to see what they felt like that.  It was smooth and silky.  I want one.  A real one.

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This bed from that era, pictured below, had some interesting designs on it.

These carvings are miniature figureheads.  They are models of life sized figureheads that adorned ships of those days.

There are also several models of boats from the earlier days of the seaport.

Nikki McClure’s book To Market, To Market was on display at the Mallory Building.  McClure, a papercut artist based out of  Olympia, Washington, is an author and  illustrator who mainly writes children’s books with an environmental theme.  I love her art!

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The were other works of art from her books Waiting For High Tide and Life In Balance.

I liked these pieces from her exhibit best.

I also loved the educational historical buildings with the re-enactors.  The people in these buildings are very knowledgeable and friendly.

In this building, The Cooperage, coopers (barrel makers) were making barrels.  The old fashioned way.

This is the Nautical Instruments Shop.  They have many clocks and timepieces as well as  nautical devices such as compasses in this building.

The Mystic Print Shop is a true to life replica of the print shops of the 1800’s.  If you look closely at the photos in the corner, you will see how the template or blocks on the metal pad match up with the words on the printed sheets.

The people at the Shipsmith Shop and Hoop Shop reenact ship and mast builders.

There is also a replica of a lighthouse that you can enter.  A short documentary plays on a loop in the lighthouse.

There are also several shops that are replicas of the buildings of the 1800’s.

The Geo. H. Stone & Co store is a replica of the stores of the time.

 

Of course no living history museum would be complete with a school house.

The drug store had some interesting remedies of the time.

The Seamen’s Friend Society was a place the seamen could go to read, learn to read or have a book read to them.  Since sailors spent a lot of time at sea and began working at a very early age sometimes they were not literate.  They came to places like to be tutored or just to have someone read to them.

Formerly located in Saybrook, Connecticut, the Buckingham-Hall House is a two story building with two bedrooms and several sitting and family rooms.  Being self-sufficient people, there was also a sewing and quilting area with a variety of fibers.  The house was owned by William Hall Jr., from the estate of Samuel Buckingham.  I love how they used to design the windows in those days.  They weren’t big as many windows are these days.  But, they were much more fancy and, despite their small size, allowed for a good amount of light.  There was also an open hearth cooking demonstration in the kitchen during my visit.

One of the other homes at the Seaport Museum is the Thomas Greenman House.  The house was originally built for Thomas and Charlotte Greenman in 1942.  THomas Greenman was originally from Westerly, Rhode Island but made his way to Mystic later in his life.

The kitchen and the second floor are not accessible to visitors.  But the rooms on the first floor are decorated and furnished in the Victorian style of the 1870’s.  I always think I want to live in these types of houses because of their ornate designs and their charm.  Then I realize just how oppressive it must have been during the hot summers and frigid winters.  Not to mention they didn’t even have WI-FI.

The Burrows House is a very small home, yet almost as big as my apartment, that stands as an example of many of the homes of that era.  The house, which is said to have been built between 1805 and 1925, was the home of storekeeper Seth Winthrop Burrows and his milliner wife, Jane.  That is some tight stairwell.

The Stillman Building has a variety of interactive displays and historical items collected over the years of the seaport’s history.  My favorite part of their exhibits in this building are the notes children wrote about whales and the sea.

This timepiece, found by the children’s play area, acts like a sundial and gives precise times throughout the day.  But, people seemed more interesting in using it for coat and backpack storage.  I was tempted to check out that boat there.

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Lastly, the walkways to the different buildings is level and handicapped accessible (although some of the older historic buildings are not).  And there are lots of pretty views along the way.  I love the old pumper, which had to be moved manually.

Mystic Seaport is a dog friendly museum (although they are not allowed in the buildings).  These two cute curly dogs were hanging out by the bench with their guardians.

Fuzzy (the white dog on on the left) is a 4 year old female Goldendoodle.

C-Doo (short for Colossus of Doodle), on the right, is a 1 year old Goldendoodle


DrainSmart (Salem, MA)

Date Of Visit: April 9, 2017

Locations: Throughout Salem, MA

Highlights: DrainSmart Mural Project, sights and sounds of Salem

Think twice before you drop that seemingly harmless piece of paper on the sidewalk.  That is what the DrainSmart murals located throughout the city of Salem, MA, seem to be saying.

The DrainSmart Program was created to help create awareness of how littering causes so much pollution in our waters.  As the murals state, everything that enters the sewers drains to the ocean.

There were 12 murals planned for the city.  I photographed 5 of the best looking works.  Unfortunately, I could not locate some of the others or the others I did find had been worn away by pedestrian foot traffic and the elements.

Click here to see what they were supposed to look like.

The DrainSmart murals weren’t the only works of art or signs in the area.

Halloween isn’t the only time people dress up in Salem.  The Commonwealth Vintage Dancers held a Regency Dance Weekend in Salem, MA, while I was visiting.  The participants all wore attire that represented the time they were recreating.

Whenever I am in Salem, I am always taken by the historical significance and the architecture of the area.  This building, the Witch House, is the last standing structure with direct ties to the Salem Witch Trials.  In this house suspected witches and other people who were considered witnesses were tortured and threatened to confess to participating in witchcraft or witnessing witches.

It’s also fun just walking around and checking out the sights and sounds of Salem, particularly on such a pleasant spring day.  They are building a hotel on Essex St and I noticed on the side of this building an old sign for Pickman Place.

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It’s always refreshing for me to see buildings that have stood the test of time and still stand today, even if they may have different tenants.  I may have an unhealthy attachment to historical buildings and landmarks.  They bind us together.  In a world that is ever changing and making way for new and better, it’s important to keep our history close at hand as well.  Imagine all of the different people who have walked those same streets, enjoyed the very same entertainers we have.  These streets could tell stories.

This side street where the Salem Witch Trials Memorial stands will be packed shoulder to shoulder in a mere 200 days.  On this day it was desolate.

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As was the mall.  There is something about the Museum Mall in Salem that seems creepy and kind of scary when there’s not a crowd there.

There were also musicians out in the warm weather.  You might not recognize the second musician.  He usually plays his instrument with a mask at the very same location during the Halloween season.

There were also some very cute dogs out in Salem during my visit.

Mojo is a 4 year old Airedale and Pointer rescue from Tennessee.

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Duke is a 9 month old Hungarian Vizsla.  I wonder if he’s related to Dennis?


Poet Seat’s Tower (Greenfield, MA)

Date Visited: May 13, 2016

Location:  Mountain Rd, Greenfield, MA

Parking: There are about half a dozen parking spots next to the tower and they fill up quickly.(and they were all filled at 8 o’clock on a Friday morning).  There is also parking at the gate of the entrance on Mountain Road for about another half a dozen vehicles.  The walk to the tower from the main entrance is about a mile.

Cost: Free

Hours: Open 365 days a year from sunrise to sunset

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Perhaps it’s the unobstructed, sweeping views of the landscapes or maybe it’s the solitude of being in such an isolated tall structure.  Whatever the reason, poets seemed to flock to this observation tower.  It has since been known as the “poets seat tower” because of the long tradition of poets that have been attracted to the location.  Frederick Goddard Tuckerman, a local poet at the time, is credited with bestowing this name on the structure in 1850.  The tower, which was built in 1912, now attracts people of all walks of life, not just poets.   Prior to the construction of the sandstone tower, a wooden observation tower had been built on the edge of the lookout in 1879.  A plaque at the tower acknowledges Tuckerman’s role in the history of the tower.

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Even before you reach the top of the tower, if you dare, there are some impressive views of the Greenfield (MA), Connecticut, Deerfield (MA) and Green River valleys.  The ledge of the road where the tower is bult has a rocky ledge from where you can get some views of the Greenfield area below.  It’s a long way down!

The highest point of Greenfield, the tower is 4 floors (counting the ground floor and top floor).  The views from each floor are pretty stunning.  After all the rain in the area, the greens were very vivid.

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As I stood looking over the land below I couldn’t help but think of how the landscape has changed over the years.  Many years ago people looked over farmlands and valleys.  Now, we look over schools, houses, parks and businesses.  I also thought about all of the people who came here to rid their mind and soul of their worries by taking in the beautiful views.  It really can make you take a step back (and hopefully not forward) when you’re up so high and appreciating the nature around us.

The journey to the top is not difficult.  A trip up one stairwell and one spiral staircase take you to the top.

The arches and architecture of the tower rival the beauty of the views from the top of the tower.

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And what would a historic structure be without graffiti?  As seems to be customary, particularly in Western Mass, there was graffiti on the walls of the sandstone structure.  It did seem fitting that poetry lined the walls of “Poet’s Seat Tower”

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“Jump off the cliff and build your wings on the way down”

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The are also benches along the road to the tower which offer views of the area.  There are also hiking trails that branch off from the road to the tower.  The trails look easy to moderate but I could not walk on them because of time constraints.  I did hear a lot of presumably animal activity in the woods.

Below is a video of the view from the top of Poet’s Seat Tower

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Bancroft Tower (Worcester, MA)

Date Visited: March 19, 2016

Cost: Free

Location: Bancroft Tower Road, Salisbury Park,Worcester, MA

Open: Daily from sunrise until 6 p.m.

Bancroft Tower

 

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In 1900, Stephen Salisbury II built a tower on what is now known as Salisbury Park as a tribute to his friend, historian and jack of all trades, George Bancroft.   And to think, my friends only usually give me gift cards, wine and books for my birthday.

The park is has a wide variety of bird life.

As I was reviewing the photos, I couldn’t help feeling the tower was purposefully constructed to look as though it was  incomplete.  The sides are not rounded and seem almost as though they were cut off from the facade or the builder gave up half way through.  But, as the photos show it was indeed constructed this way by design.

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My favorite view from the tower was at the arched entrance.

The 56 foot tower is made  of natural stone and granite.  It was designed by Stephen C. Earle and Clellann W. Fisher.

The plaque at the memorial states:

BANCROFT TOWER
THIS TOWER WAS BUILT IN 1900
TO HONOR THE MEMORY OF

GEORGE BANCROFT
1800-1891

BORN AT THE FOOT OF THIS HILL
HE ROSE TO THE POSTS OF
SECRETARY OF THE NAVY
FOUNDER OF THE U.S. NAVAL ACADEMY
ANNAPOLIS, MARYLAND
U.S. MINISTER TO GREAT BRITAIN
AND GERMANY

THIS MEMORIAL WAS BUILT BY HIS
FRIEND AND ADMIRER
STEPHEN SALISBURY III

Jacks wasn’t impressed by the tower.

There were some views of the city from the parking lot.

During my visit and in my research after the shoot, I found out they let visitors inside the tower during October of each year.  The views at the top are said to give 360 degree views of the area.  The sorority and fraternity at the local college also holds a Halloween party for the kids in the area at the tower with mild scares.  So, it looks like a visit in October is on my list!

A walking tour of the Bancroft Tower:

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Historic Homes of Salem (Salem, MA)

The historical homes of Salem help give the city a quaint feel.  You almost feel like you’re stepping into the pre-Colonial and Colonial days of New England as you traverse these historic areas. They also help keep the city connected to its past.  The homes of Salem range from the wood houses to the brick structures you see scattered around the city.  But, they are all beautiful in their own right.

There are 46 homes listed on the national register of historic homes in Salem, MA.  Don’t worry, I only photographed a few of them.  Let’s start with the John Ward House.  John Ward was a currier (a leather finisher)

The John Ward House, now owned by the Peabody Essex Museum, is an example of First Period architecture.  Originally built at a different location (St Peter Street, only a few blocks away from its current location) in 1684, the house had many renovations over the years.  It is located just down the street from the Salem Witch Museum.

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The Joshua Ward House, located closer to the Salem district area, has a more sordid history.  It is built on the same land as the birthplace of the former Sheriff George Corwin.  Corwin is known for his overzealous involvement in the questioning and torture of accused witches during the Salem Witch Hysteria.  The house is said to be haunted by Corwin. Additionally, George Washington is said to have spent a night there in 1789.

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The Corwin House, also known as the “Witch House” is located a little farther away from the center of town on Essex Street.  It is the house where accused witches were allegedly tortured in the hopes they would confess.  The fact these accused witches could withstand some of his tactics such as strangulation and still held their innocence is testament to their strength and integrity.  Naturally, this house is said to have paranormal activity.

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There are quite a few houses on Brown Street that have a pre-Colonial or Colonial look to them.  Many of them are decorated for the holiday season.  Here are a few

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Closer to the wharf, there are a cluster of historic homes.

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This home was built in 1843 by Johnathan Whipple

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This home, belonging to Penn-Townsend (a mariner), was built in 1771.

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This home, built by Jesse Kenney (a trader), was built in 1804.     DSC_0141

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Along Derby Street, there are a few historic homes, directly across from the wharf.  The Custom House remains in its original location there.  A park ranger stands at the base of the stairwell (on your right).

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The Hawkes House is the former home of Benjamin Hawkes, a ship builder and prominent resident of Salem.

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Of course, this is one of the most famous buildings in Salem, Massachusetts.   There was no photography allowed in the House of the Seven Gables.  So, I did not go in as I have already been there several times and the only reason to go on a tour this year would be to photograph the inside of the building.

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There are also some pretty inns adjacent to to The House of the Seven Gables.

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But, the really impressive homes were on Chestnut Street.  This house was built in 1850 for Francis Cox, a merchant.

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Some of the neighbors did not take kindly to my photography.  But, I carried on.

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Deacon John Stone,a distiller, lived here.

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Even the sidewalk and street are charming.

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This house was built in 1832 for Elizabeth King.

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Many of the historic homes have been converted to residencies.  In fact, almost all of them seemed to be inhabitated either as homes, apartment buildings or inns.  This house was originally built in 1804 for Amos and Solomon Towne.

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Some of these homes are so beautiful during the fall season.  I can only imagine how pretty they must look during the winter with freshly driven snow falling on the trees and walkways.

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This was my favorite house on Chestnut Street.  It wasn’t as big as some of the other buildings.  But, it was cozy and cute.

It was originally built by Stephen C. Phillips.

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I met Penuche (named after the fudge maybe?).

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And Lola.

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This concludes my journals from my trips to Salem, at least for now.  My next few blogs will deal with other parts of the wonderful New England area.