Tag Archives: Massachusetts

2021 Devil’s Dash/Creepy Clown Race (Salem, MA)

Date Of Event: October 23, 2021

Location: Fort Ave, Salem, MA

Summary: Runners from all over the region competed in the 6.66 mile Devil’s Dash or the 3.33 mile Creepy Clown race.

It’s that time of the year again in Salem, MA.

Devils, clowns and other scary characters came together in Salem MA last weekend to compete in the Devil’s Dash/Creepy Clown race.

The race started with the Creepy Clown 3.33 mile race. The Devil’s Dash race started shortly after the clowns race began. The Devil’s Dash was a hellish 6.66 miles. Although it wasn’t required, participants were, of course, encouraged to wear a costume. And many of the runners got into the spirit of the event!

I’m still confounded how people can smile while they’re running. That, to me, is the truly creepy part of the race.

People of all ages could participate in the race. But, the little runners are always the most fun to photograph

It’s also fun to see families or groups of people running together. I was lucky to see some

The race wasn’t just for people. Pets could also participate in the race. Or, they could root on their favorite runners.

Although the race was a rimed event with standings, all of the participants were winners in my book. In fact, all of the participants walked (or ran) away with a medal for their efforts.


2021 Salem Zombie Walk (Salem, MA)

Date Of Event: October 2, 2021 (held annually the first weekend of October)

Location: Salem, MA (about 45 mins northeast of Boston, MA and 1 hour southeast of Concord, NH)

Summary: An assortment of zombies, mad scientists and other costumed revelers roamed the streets of Salem, MA in the annual Salem Zombie Walk

The annual Salem Zombie Walk in Salem, MA, has quickly become one of the most popular events in October.

There were young zombies, which are both the creepiest and cutest for me to see!

Zombie families (one of my favorites)

A zombie dog

and whatever this lady is holding

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Although the event is called the “zombie walk”, there weren’t just zombies at the event. There were werewolves and mad doctors among other spooky characters

The zombies began their walk at Salem Commons in Washington Square. They continued throughout the heart of downtown Salem, shrieking, gyrating and moaning the entire way.

It’s always nice to see familiar, friendly faces at these events. Throughout the years, I have attended and posted blogs about the past few zombie walks and I often see familiar faces there. This zombie is a regular at the yearly events and he always has a monster with him. I hope to see him and all the other zombies next year!


Daffodils At Tower Hill (Tower Hill Botanic Garden, Boylston, MA)

Date Of Visit: April 25, 2021

Location: Tower Hill Botanic Garden, 11 French Drive, Boylston, MA (about an hour northwest of Boston, MA or 1 hour north of Providence, RI)

Hours: Open Daily, 10am–5pm (Tower Hill is closed on Thanksgiving, December 24, December 25, December 31, and January 1)

Cost: (all tickets must be purchased online at their website for a specific timed entry but visitors can stay as late as they wish)

Members: FREE (must reserve ticket)
Adults: $16
Seniors (65+): $11
Youth (6-18): $6
Children 5 and under: Free (must reserve ticket)

Dogs $7 (dogs are not allowed in the Yarnstorm grounds but there are trails they are allowed on)

Parking: there are about 100 plus free parking spots

Universally Accessible: Yes

Dog Friendly: Yes (dogs are not at Yarnstorm, but dogs are only allowed on the trails outside of the garden)

Summary: 40 artists knitted a variety of designs in the garden areas of Tower Hill Botanic Garden

Website: https://www.towerhillbg.org/

Every year, daffodils become the centerpiece of the gardens at the Tower Hill Botanic Garden as well as the rest of New England,. And this year was no different. According to their website, the peak time of the daffodils is the 3rs week of April until the first week of May. So, I chose the last week of April to visit.

Unfortunately, it was raining during my visit. The rain did let up a bit during my visit. But it did rain during my entire visit. And the rain did make for some pretty photo opportunities with the droplets on the flowers.

Ironically, it wasn’t the daffodils that stood out the most. It was the tulips that really caught my eye.

The decor of the gardens at Tower Hill Help to accentuate the beauty of the flowers.

Unfortunately, I could not stay long due to the rain and the difficulty taking photos while I tried to keep my camera dry. But I did my best to capture the beauty there as best I could. But daffodils will be there again next year and so will i!


Old Scituate Light (Scituate, MA)

Date Of Visit: April 10, 2021

Location: 100 Lighthouse Rd, Scituate, MA (about 40 mins southwest of Boston, MA or 1 hour northwest of Providence, RI)

Parking: There is a small parking area for about half a dozen cars and an overflow lot across the street

Hours: Open daily dawn until dusk

Cost: Free

Universally Accessible: Yes, the lighthouse is universally accessible but the jetty may not be universally accessible

Dog Friendly: Yes

Website: http://scituatehistoricalsociety.org/light/

Summary: Built in 1810, Old Scituate Light is the 11th lighthouse lit in Massachusetts. The lighthouse is on the registry of historic landmarks in Massachusetts and is reportedly open for tours during certain periods of time during the year (see link above for more info). A rock jetty and rocky beachhead is a popular spot for sunrise watchers and tourists. The lighthouse has a rich history dating back to the early 1800s.

New England has no shortage of lighthouses and breath taking views of seascapes. In fact, due to the plethora of beautiful destinations along the water, some destinations seem to get overlooked. Old Lighthouse in Scituate, MA, is one of these overlooked destinations.

Built in 1810 for $4,000, Old Scituate Light played an important, but little known, role in the War Of 1812. After observing two British barges approaching the Scituate harbor, Abigail and Rebecca Bates, the daughters of the original keeper of the lighthouse (Simeon Bates) hid among a cluster of cedar trees which were once prominent in the area and played their fife and drum in an attempt to ward off the would be attackers. The two girls created such a loud din the barges were said to have retreated fearing an army was preparing for their attack. Their efforts are said to have saved Scituate from being sacked as there was, in reality, no standing army ready for a British attack. The girls went on to become known as the “American Army of Two.”

The 25 foot lighthouse (70 feet above sea level) has a natural/emplaced foundation. The light is a replicated lantern and the keeper does stay in the attached home. A bell, perhaps more for decor than function, stands outside the housekeeper’s residence. The lighthouse keeper is a teacher at nearby Marshfield High School.

There is also a memorial dedicated to the grounding of the Etrusco and the rescue efforts from that accident. On March 16, 1956, the ship came aground at Cedar Point during the St. Patrick’s Day Blizzard (it is New England after all). After the grounding of the freighter, five Scituate residents (all members of Scituate’s Civil Defense Communications Team) sprang into action and, despite blizzard conditions, kept in communication with the Coast Guard, providing key details and information to the Coast Guard. The Coast Guard would eventually rescue all 30 men from the grounded ship.

The surrounding grounds of the lighthouse provide for great photo opportunities.

The highlight of the lighthouse and the surrounding area is the beautiful views it offers which are especially spectacular during sunrise and sunset

As I was about to pack up and head to my next destination, I noticed this group of painted rocks with hopeful messages. Many of them seemed to have a special personal meaning. But, I think we call can derive some inspiration from their messages.

And, of course, my favorite message


Heroes Are Everywhere (Westfield, MA)

Location: corners of Taylor and Hedges Ave, Westfield, MA

Summary: Massachusetts based artists Shannon Chiba and Sarah Kinne honors the heroes of the Coronavirus pandemic with a mural in Westfield, MA that incorporates many of the places and things the area is known for.

Heroes come in all shapes, sizes and backgrounds. The “Heroes Are Everywhere” in Westfield, MA, pays tribute to the different heroes in our midst. And, especially if you’re from the area, you may notice many little tributes to the city.

The mural, which is painted on both sides of the Columbia Greenway Rail Trail Tunnel, includes paintings of doctors,

Laborers

And everyone else lending a helping hand to others during these difficult times regardless of their age or size.

If you look closely, you may see such fixtures of western MA such as a black bear, the Whip City Whip Museum (the prominent brick building in the painting), the Great River bridges, the Westfield River and other staples of life in western MA such as blooming flowers and a birdhouse. The roof of the tunnel shows 4 F-15 jets buzzing by which is a common sight for anyone living near the Westfield based Barnes Air National Guard Base.

The tunnel where the mural is painted, which was painted in 2020 by Massachusetts based artists Shannon Chiba and Sarah Kinne, is part of the Columbia Greenway Rail Trail which is a popular spot for cyclists, hikers and joggers.

Hopefully, as time passes on, there will not be a need for murals like this.


Pink Flamingos (Boston, MA)

Date Of Visit: March 27, 2021

Location: Boston Seaport Common, 85 Northern Ave, Boston, MA

Cost: Free

Hours: Open to the public 24 hours a day until March 30

Summary: nearly 2,000 pink flamingos have been set up at the Boston Seaport Common until March 30

Flamingos have invaded Boston.

Over 1,900 flamingos (some of them a little tipsy) have been planted at the Boston Seaport as a way to brighten up the area and make people smile. This fly by night installation, which is the work of Massachusetts-based developer WS Development, won’t last long though. The birds are expected to stay at their location at the Seaport Common through Tuesday, March 30. Then, they are migrating to the Street Chestnut Hill (MA) and Market Street Lynfield (MA) from April 1-12.

Contrary to popular opinion, these flamingos are not new to the area. In fact, these flamingos have a long history in MA. Don Featherstone designed the first flamingos for Leominster based Union Products in 1957.

They won’t be here for long! So make sure to flock to the Seaport before they fly away!


Yarnstorm (Tower Hill Botanic Hill, Boylston, MA)

Date Of Visit: March 20,2021

Location: Tower Hill Botanic Garden, 11 French Drive, Boylston, MA (about an hour northwest of Boston, MA or 1 hour north of Providence, RI)

Dates Of Exhibit: January 16-March 31, 2021

Hours: Open Daily, 10am–5pm (Tower Hill is closed on Thanksgiving, December 24, December 25, December 31, and January 1)

Cost: (all tickets must be purchased online at their website for a specific timed entry but visitors can stay as late as they wish)

Members: FREE (must reserve ticket)
Adults: $16
Seniors (65+): $11
Youth (6-18): $6
Children 5 and under: Free (must reserve ticket)

Dogs $7 (dogs are not allowed in the Yarnstorm grounds but there are trails they are allowed on)

Parking: there are about 100 plus free parking spots

Universally Accessible: Yes

Dog Friendly: Yes (dogs are not at Yarnstorm, but dogs are only allowed on the trails outside of the garden)

Summary: 40 artists knitted a variety of designs in the garden areas of Tower Hill Botanic Garden

Website: https://www.towerhillbg.org/

New England is known for its stormy weather. But, there was a very different kind of storm at Tower Hill gardens. Yarnstorming, often referred to as “graffiti knitting” or “yarn bombing” is an art form that uses knitted and crocheted yarn as art instead of paint or water colors.

More than 25 works of art and over 2,000 pom poms were draped upon benches, trees, statues and poles around the garden.

I was able to use my 35 mm lens for these photos and I really like the way the colors popped and the crispness of the shots from the lens. It’s technically not a prime lens since it is an 18-35 mm (1.8). But it’s much easier to lug around than a telephoto.

Some of these artistic displays have signs next to the displays. These signs had bar codes you could scan with your cellphone to get more information about the display and the artist who made the display.

Spring was in the air and in the yarn at Tower Hill Botanic Garden’s Yarnstorm event.

Forty artists contributed to the artistic Yarnstorm exhibit at Tower Hill. The designs ranged from the colorful

to the creative

There were also some famous people along the trails.

This display, made in honor of the late Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, included her answer to “when will there be enough women on the Supreme Court?”

Some of my favorite exhibits were along the stairwell near the edge of the gardens.

But it’s hard to choose just one from the colorful garden.

The knitted art isn’t just on the trails outside of the botanic garden. Castor and Pullox were also dressed up for the event.

Just a friendly reminder that if you do go don’t forget to wear your hat and gloves. Because you never know what the weather will be like in New England!


2021 Salem’s So Sweet (Salem, MA)

Date Of Event: February 6, 2021

Location: Salem, MA

Hours:Visible 24 hours a day, until they Feb 14

Cost: Free

Parking: Metered street parking is available and there are two big parking garages on New Liberty St and Congress St

The Downtown Garage (New Liberty St) costs $1.50 per hour.

The Waterfront Garage (Congress St) costs $.75 per hour on weekdays and $1.50  per hour on weekends

Both garages operate from 7:00 AM to 10:00 PM Sunday through Wednesday and from 7:00 AM to 2:00 AM Thursday through Saturday.

Public Transportation: The MBTA’s Commuter Rail has a stop which deposits its passengers right at Washington St. $15 for a round trip ticket from North Station (fares vary depending upon where you leave from and where you are going)

MBTA Commuter Rail

Universally Accessible: Yes

Dog Friendly: Yes

Summary: Over a dozen ice sculptures located throughout Salem, MA, are illuminated during the evening.

Website: http://salemmainstreets.org/festivals/salem-so-sweet/

The snow, ice and cold weather didn’t prevent countless revelers from heading to Salem for the annual Salem So Sweet ice sculpture celebration. In fact, it made for the ideal conditions.

For the past 19 years, Salem has been brightening up the winter days with a ice sculpture festival, highlighted by a special illumination show on the day they arrive.

Much like everything this past tear, everything seemed different and not just because of the obvious. The crowds were smaller, there was a less jovial feel to the event and it wasn’t as festive as in the past. While smaller crowds can be a plus for visitors and especially for visitors with a camera, it didn’t feel right. I’d rather wait and even jostle for a photograph and feel a more fun atmosphere. I suppose that is to be expected these days though. The crowds seemed to ebb and then gather sporadically. But it did seem to be a much smaller crowd this year.

The sculptures were delivered around noontime on the 6th. But, the celebration really heats up during the late afternoon and early evening. From 5 pm to 9 pm on Saturday the sculptures were illuminated. They are only lit up for these 4 hours. So it does attract a busy night time crowd. Although, of course, with most bars closed or operating with heavy restrictions, the night crowd was noticeably smaller.

Unfortunately, the ice sculptures are removed on Valentine’s Day, February 14. So you’ll have to wait until next year, when things are expected to be closer to “normal” to see the sculptures in person.

There were also fewer ice sculptures this year than in the past. Last year there were 26 sculptures. This year 17 sculptures adorned the streets of Salem. However, a few of them were either damaged, had melted substantially because of the warmer weather and sunlight during the day or, in one case, completely broken.

But, I did my best to photograph the sculptures that were available.

I have listed the ice sculptures as they are listed on the map at the events’s website: http://salemmainstreets.org/festivals/salem-so-sweet/

I have skipped a few that were too damaged or completed destroyed and one I forgot about because it was too far away (# 17 “Bakery”)

1 “Owl And Moon”

This owl, which was located near Witch City Wicks on Essex St probably looked better before it was illuminated since the sun helped to melt it and obscure some of its features. That was a common theme as you will see in some of these photos. It’s a trade off. Either take the photos of the sculptures when they are fresh and haven’t melted and haven’t been mutilated or wait until the are illuminated when they look, in my estimation, much prettier. I may take photos of the sculptures before and after illumination next year to avoid this from happening again.

2 The World

If you attend the ice sculpture festival each year, you may notice some of the same companies or organizations use the same type of sculptures each year like this sculpture also on Essex St. The Journeymasters, a travel agency company, usually has a sculpture of a globe with a star or some other kind of fanciful design around it.

3 “Thanking All Alumni On The Front Lines”

This sculpture, sponsored by Salem State University whose sports teams are named the Vikings, was located on Essex St near the Bewitched statue at Lappin Park. It was dedicated to the front line and first responders who graduated from the university’

4 Kids In Snow

Located in front of Salem Cycle on Washington St, this ice sculpture depicts two children sledding.

5 Fish

This sculpture of a fish was appropriately located next to Turner’s Seafood on Church St

6 Joan Of Arc Sword And Shield

Located outside of Coon’s Card & Gift Shop on Essex, this sculpture was dedicated to Joan of Arc.

7 Sweets

This sculpture, located on Front St, had an actual rose near the top of the sculpture. It also accurately depicts how, while the sculpture look even more stunning at night, they can be much more difficult to photograph the darker it gets even with a tripod and careful photoshop editing. It wasn’t even that late either. I think it was close to 6:30 pm when this photo was taken. But it does get dark pretty early in these parts during the winter.

8 Rocking Horse

Nothing anything different or weird about this rocking horse sculpture which was located on Front St? Don’t lose your head trying to think.

Yes, this rocking horse is missing it’s neck and head. Although it was a little warm (by winter in New England standards) and the sun was beating on the sculptures during the day, this sculpture’s head didn’t melt off. It was almost certainly the act of vandalism or damaged during delivery.

11 2021 Picture Frame

Located on Central St, this sculpture was famous for people and sometimes their pets posing in together

12 Gingerbread House

This sculpture, located neat Witch City Mall (formerly Museum Place Mall) on Essex St, looked goof enough to eat.

13 Hello Kitty Phone

Unfortunately, the writing on the wall of the Peabody Essex Museum on Essex St made it a little hard to show all of the features of the cat.

15 Sailboat

This was the only sculpture that wasn’t illuminated. As you can see the sun had caused it to melt quite a bit.

16 Candy

This sculpture was appropriately located across from the oldest candy company in America (Ye Olde Pepper Company) and in front of the House of The Seven Gables, this sculpture depicts a train with a cargo of candy canes.

There were helpful guides at the event to hep you find the sculptures and distribute maps showing where all the sculptures are located, although most people used the map on their map from the event’s website. Some of the helpers got into the spirit of the event.

Although she didn’t say much, Samantha was also dressed up for the event.

Although they weren’t part of the actual event, there was some other decorations that lit up the event.

This house on Derby St is famous for decorating its property for major holidays and events.

You may notice a little critter walking up the pathway. When I was photographing the decorations I noticed this little animal approaching me. Having seen cats there during previous photo shoots at this location, I thought nothing of it until it got right in front of me. Yeah it’s a skunk. Fortunately there was a fence between us and the skunk didn’t spray. He or she just turned around and walked back the way he or she came from. It was a very close call!

The famous Jerry the dinosaur of Salem.

The city of Salem has also put up year round lighting displays that made the event even more Decorative than usual.

And this business on Derby St got into the Valentine’s Day spirit.

I look forward to photographing this extravaganza next year when things are more “normal.” But hopefully not too normal!

You can view photos from previous Salem’s Too Sweet Events that I have photographed in the past by clicking on the links below:

2017 Salem’s So Sweet: https://newenglandnomad2015.com/2017/02/13/salems-so-sweet-salem-ma/

2018 Salem’s So Sweet: https://newenglandnomad2015.com/2018/02/13/16th-annual-salems-so-sweet-salem-ma/

2019 Salem’s So Sweet: https://newenglandnomad2015.com/2019/02/14/salems-so-sweet-2019-salem-ma/


Look Park Holiday Light Display (Look Park, Florence, MA)

Date Of Visit: Dec, 23, 2020 (display is up until Jan. 3, 2021)

Location: Frank Newhall Look Park, 300 North Main St, Florence (Northampton), MA

Cost: Free (donations are appreciated)

Parking: There are roughly 50 parking spots at the entrance and several areas to park at along the trail

Universally Accessible: Yes

Dog Friendly: Yes

Highlights: lighted holiday sculptures

Summary: 23 lighted sculptures dot the grounds of Look Park

The pandemic hasn’t stopped the holiday cheer at Look Park in Florence (a village in Northampton) MA. Twenty three lighted displays as well as a few lighted bridges and gazebos brighten up the landscape at Look Park. This socially distant event can be seen from your vehicle. Or, you can walk around the park and view the displays up close. However, it is very dark at night. So do use caution. If you did miss the display before the holiday don’t fret. The display will be up until January 3.


Les Rang (Boston, MA)

Date Of Visit: January 10, 2020

Location: Seaport Common, 85 Northern Ave, Boston, MA

Website: Les Rang

Summary: An illuminated art installation on Boston’s Seaport District lit up the otherwise bleak winter sky.

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Decorative lights during the winter are no big deal, particularly during the holiday season.  But one decorative light display stood out.  The light display, named “Entres Les Rangs” consisted of hundreds of sticks with reflectors that lit up intermittently.

Entre les rangs, which translates to “between the rows” in English, first debuted in Montreal.  It was such a hit, the display was taken over the border all the way to Boston.  It has also been displayed in Georgetown, MA and London, England.

Different sequences of blue, pink and purple lights lit up the installation.  The reflectors were actually being lit up by bigger lights that you may see in some of the photos which changed the colors of the reflectors.

I was hoping to photograph the display while it was snowing or just after a snow storm.  But, uncharacteristically for winter in Boston, there wasn’t much snow in Boston while the display was installed, especially on the days I was available to photograph the installation.  This is just one of the things that can go wrong when you’re trying to get that “perfect photo.”  But it’s not always possible to control the weather.  In fact, it’s pretty darn hard to do this.  Another time I went to photograph the display one of the sets of lights wasn’t working.  I (and I imagine a small army of visitors) emailed the DCR who was in charge of the upkeep of the display and a few days later it was up and running. Such is the life of a WordPress photographer.

It is unclear if this or any other display will be in the area next winter.  But, if they are I will be sure to photograph it.  Hopefully it will snow this time!

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