Tag Archives: Massachusetts

Heritage State Park (Holyoke, MA)

 

Date Of Visit: March 31, 2017

Location: 221 Appleton St., Holyoke, MA

Cost: Free, although there is a fee to enter or use some of the attractions at the park such as the Children’s Museum, Volleyball Hall Of Fame and the Holyoke Merry-Go-Round

Hours:

Park hours

Sunrise to sunset

Visitors center hours

Sunday:
12:00 pm-4:00 pm

Tuesday – Saturday:
12:00 pm-4:00 pm

Parking: Free onsite parking for about 50 cars is available in Visitors Center lot

Park Size/Difficulty: 7 acres/Easy

Handicapped Accessible: Yes

Dog Friendly: Yes, leashed dogs are allowed

Highlights: merry-go-round, canal, children’s museum, volleyball hall of fame, easy trail, statue, picnic area, play area, guided tours of the area

Website: Holyoke Heritage State Park

Tip: From May through mid-October, the park offers hour-long narrated train rides on a 1920s vintage railroad on Saturday and Sunday.

Fun Facts:

  • Holyoke is still known as the “paper city” because during the 19th century the city produced an estimated 80% of the writing paper used in the United States and was home to the largest paper and alpaca wool mills in the world
  • Between 85% and 90% of Holyoke’s energy which is powered by the municipally owned canals pictured below was carbon neutral as of 2016
  • Holyoke is also the birthplace of volleyball

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Among the abandoned and dilapidated buildings of a once thriving mill town there is a special park that preserves the history of the area while providing family friendly entertainment and honoring their heroes.

The first building you notice upon entering the park is the Holyoke Merry Go Round.  The affordable merry go round ($2 per ride) is very popular with children celebrating birthdays (perhaps I can have mine there).  The merry go round, which was once part of Mountain Park (an amusement park that used to be located in the area), has been around in one capacity or another since the early 1900s.

 

Railroad tracks remain at the park as a reminder of what was a staple of the area.  The railroad tracks are no longer in use.  Yet they remain a reminder of the railroad system that bisected the area.  The last photo shows the end of the tracks right next to the entrance of the Children’s Museum.

 

The Children’s Museum At Holyoke is located along the path of the canal (444 Dwight St).  Although we didn’t go in, I did take some photos of the some murals on the exterior of the building.

 

Located next to the children’s museum is the Volleyball Hall Of Fame.  Again, due to time constraints, we did not visit the museum.  But, it is certainly on my list!

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I loved walking along the canal.  The views of the old factories and the canal offered some nostalgia and pretty views.  I also appreciated the simple, yet historic, feel of the park.  It is, in a word, charming, despite the many abandoned buildings in disrepair that line the canal.  It felt like a refuge from the busy, crowded streets, although I am sure it is much more crowded during the summer season and when the temperatures rise (if that may ever come).

 

Along the walkway, which is handicapped accessible, there is a small picnic area and play area.  There are also some interesting exhibits.

One of the exhibits is a storm drain art display.  The artful displays encourage people to not pollute.

 

This flywheel stands near what was once the location of Skinner Mill.  The mill was sold in 1961 and burned in 1980.

 

The pearl of the park is the statue dedicated to all of the officers who have lost their lives while on duty as police officers.  The officer’s names are all engraved on the monument.

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There are three police officers’ names listed on the monument.  All three of these officers died while on duty working for the Holyoke police.

Officer John P. Driscoll lost his life on April 25, 1922 when he succumbed to injuries sustained when he fell from the running board of a car that he had commandeered after pursuing a vehicle that was being driven by a drunk driver.  Officer Driscoll had been with the agency for five years and was survived by his wife, five children and parents.

Officer James Gatzounas  died after being assaulted as he and other officers responded to a fight at a New Year’s Eve street party on January 1, 1977. During the altercation, Officer Gatzounas was kicked and punched as he attempted to place one of the suspects under arrest.  He later died after going into cardiac arrest.

Two suspects, ages 19 and 17, were charged with first degree murder. When Officer Gatzounas’ autopsy revealed he died of cardiac arrest instead of injuries from the beating, the charges were reduced to manslaughter.  Officer Gatzounas had been with the agency for 18 months and had previously served with the United States Army during the Vietnam War. He was survived by his wife and child.

The Man displayed in the statue, flanked by two children, is John A. DiNapoli.  Officer DiNapoli was shot and killed i his vehicle while he was following a suspect.  Officer DiNapoli had served for 21 years.  DiNapoli was known for his service to the community.  he and a few other officers started a Christmas tradition of giving toys to the children of Holyoke who lived in high crime neighborhoods. He was survived by two grown children.  His son also became a police officer.

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Below is a short video from the Holyoke Merry Go Round

 


Northeast Reenactors Fair (West Springfield, MA)

Date Of Event: February 24, 2018

Location: Mallary Complex, Eastern States Exposition Center (1305 Memorial Avenue
West Springfield, MA)

Cost: $10 per person (2 day passes are also available for $20)

Parking: $5 to park for the day. Parking is ample.

Website: Northeast Reenactors Fair

Highlights: Items and people in costume from various eras

Hello fellow bloggers and readers, I have been out of commission for a while due to a back injury. But, I am recovering and I should be back to my normal blogging schedule soon. Thank you for your support and I look forward to posting more of my adventures!

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The Eastern State Exposition Center in West Springfield. MA, was in a time warp the last weekend of February.

The Northeast Reenactors (formerly the New England Reenactors) descended upon the Big E to show off their attire, sell their era-appropriate merchandise and celebrate the days of yore.

There were reenactors of every era in costume at the fair.

 

While there were reenactors from every time period, there were quite a lot of Vietnam War era reenactors.

 

The weapon in this photo, an M29 Mortar, is still used today, with some slight modifications. If you never thought you would ever use geometry, think again. The trajectory of the projectiles use a lot of geometry and other mathematical formulas to direct the mortars accurately. Also, it took five people, yes five people, to operator (the squad leader, the gunner, the assistant gunner, first ammunition bear and the second ammunition bearer). One of the projectiles can be seen to the right of the M 29.

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There were also vendors selling their wares. Many of the products being sold were home made replicas of the items of previous eras.

 

There were also various displays of the popular attire, books and other items from the various eras.

 

Check out the cameras used during the Vietnam era. Maybe I should consider trading in for one.

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It was such a big event, even two presidents showed up.

President Madison

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And, of course, President Lincoln.

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If all that wasn’t enough, there was also entertainment at the reenactors fair. Singers performed a variety of songs from the past.

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Below is a video of one of the talented performers.

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New England Nomad


SCAM (Salem, MA)

Date Of Visits: October 21, 2017 & February 10, 2018

Location: Essex St, Salem MA (shares the same entrance as Witch Tee’s at 173 Essex St)

Hours: Closed Mon – Thu, Fri: 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., Sat & Sun: 12-7 (Hours may vary depending on the season)

Cost: Free

Parking: Street parking is accessible throughout Salem and at the parking garages on Congress St and New Liberty St

Handicapped Accessible: The first floor is handicapped accessible but the only way to the second floor is by using a stairwell

Dog Friendly: Yes

Website: SCAM

Highlights: art made by local artists

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Beware! There is a scam in Salem.

But this scam does not involve some shady Nigerian Prince or a bug with your Windows operating system. No, this is an entirely different kind of scam.

SCAM (The Salem Collective of Artists and Musicians) has a wide collection of unique art from artists in Salem and the neighboring areas. I wen there on a whim. It was a busy weekend in Salem just before Halloween. So, I thought I would duck out from the foot traffic and stop in, And, was I glad I did!

I originally visited SCAM in October, 2017. The decor did have a Halloween or spooky theme in some areas and an early Christmas themed work of art.

The entrance way to SCAM is a shared entrance with Witch Tees on the pedestrian walkway on Essex St. Go to the right at the entrance to enter the art museum.

The first floor has a variety of art, novelty items and some merchandise for purchase.

My favorite pieces are the vintage art of celebrities from the past such as the art work with Marlon Brando and Leonard Nimoy. Little known fact: Leonard Nimoy was born in nearby Boston, MA.

I also liked the height chart that corresponded with the height of other celebrities. I was Keanu Reeves! Who knew Lady Gaga was so tiny! I also like how they have Matt Damon’s “crouching height.”

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Most of the art is on the second floor. There is a variety of unique art and innovative items on the second floor of SCAM.

Watch out where you step when you go upstairs!

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That is just one of them more offbeat pieces of art or entertainment at SCAM.

The works of art on the second floor of SCAM are very creative and impressive. Some of the art on display is for sale.

SCAM is not a very big art museum. You can easily go through the building and view all of the art in 20 minutes or so.

From the outside of the building was yet another innovative work of art!

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SCAM changes up their decor and art from time to time. During a recent visit on February 10, I noticed there was a new set up in the front window. I love how they integrate action figures into different locations.

Below is a short video of the display at the front of SCAM.


Talcott Greenhouse At Mount Holyoke College Botanic Garden (South Hadley, MA)

Date Of Visit: January 20, 2018

Location: 50 College St, South Hadley, MA

Hours: Mon-Fri: 9 a.m. – 4 p.m, Sat & Sun 1 p.m. -4 p.m. (hours may vary depending on the season)

Cost: Free

Parking: There is a parking lot for about 40 cars

Handicapped Accessible: Yes

Website: Talcott Greenhouse

Related Post: 2017 Spring Bulb Show At Smith College

Highlights: variety of plants in the Talcott Greenhouse at Mount Holyoke College

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It may seem a little early in the year for New Englanders to be talking about our gardens and plants, especially since we just received 3 inches of snow in the Boston area. But, the Talcott Greenhouse is a great place to go for a preview of the spring planting season that will soon be here.

The greenhouse has a wide variety of plants

There were a variety of plants and flowers that caught my attention like this huge cactus!

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The botanical garden is open all year. The plants are cared for by a friendly and knowledgeable staff. In fact, the person working there during my visit helped answer a few questions I had about some of the plants and flowers int eh garden.

This particular flower is an orchard. The banana-looking parts of he flower are actually where the plant stores water.

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Below are a few of the plants and flowers that caught my eye.

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Philodendron Erubescens (“Pink Princess”)

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Begonia Brevirimosa

Microsorum Thailandicum

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Sinning Bullata

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Begonia Silver Jewel Dibleys

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Cirita Keiko

and the rest…

I especially liked how the flowers were displayed throughout the botanical garden. The colors of the plants in each group seemed to blend so well with all of the other plants they were placed with.

The coolest part of the greenhouse was definitely this tree that was growing through a wall!


16th Annual Salem’s So Sweet (Salem, MA)

Date Of Visit: February 10, 2017

Locations: Throughout the city of Salem

Hours:Visible 24 hours a day, until they melt

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 $0.75 per hour.

The Waterfront Garage (Congress St) costs $0.25 per hour.

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

Handicapped Accessible: Yes

Dog Friendly: Yes

Website: Salem’s So Sweet

Related Post: 2017 Salem’s So Sweet

Highlights; 24 Ice Sculptures that have light fixtures attached to them that light up at night

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What says “Happy Valentine’s Day” like chocolates, champagne and chunks of carved ice? That is what Salem served up this past weekend.

The festivities began Friday, February 9 with a special Salem’s So Sweet chocolate and wine tasting event.

Unfortunately for the sculptures, we experienced a spell of warm weather over the weekend. While it gave people a chance to roam around in t-shirts and, yes in some cases shorts, the 40 to 50 degree weather did not bode will for the ice sculptures. Yes, New England weather is so predictable and cooperative.

Although the sculptures are impressive in the daylight, they really come alive during the afternoon and evening after the lights attached to their stands are turned on. The lights were put on a little before 5 and then I hustled to get all of them photographed before it got too dark.

One of the really great things about the sculptures, besides the obvious beauty and intricacy of them, is that it is great platform for businesses in the area to market themselves in a tasteful and fun way. It is also great for the visitors to learn about businesses, particularly smaller businesses, they may not have been aware of before.

I noticed almost all of the sculptures were different but were in some ways similar to the sculptures they had last year (take notice, Journeymasters). I did notice that they had a certain similar theme with the ice sculptures from last year and this year, such as the sculptures located at the Salem Witch Museum, Bit Bar and Rockafellas.

I am posting the photos of the sculptures in the order they appear on the map from 1 to 24. I will also include a photo of the sculptures before and after they were lit. Not only do the sculptures light up, some of them change colors while they’re lit. I have showed different photos displaying the different colors of the sculptures as well as videos at the bottom to show them in all of their brightness.

The first ice sculpture on the map was located on Essex St near Lappen Park (where the Bewitched statue is). This sculpture didn’t make it to end of the day. Whether it was due to a careless spectator or the result of all of the melting that took place, the top part of the sculpture was not on attached when I came back to photograph it after it was lit.

Universe sponsored by The Journeymasters

Han Solo sponsored by Gulu-Gulu Cage. Rumor has it Han was supposed to be on display during last year’s ice sculpture festival but he didn’t make it there in time. I’m glad he could join us this year.

Snowflake sponsored by Laura Lanes Skin Care.

Tank sponsored by Army Barracks.

Kissing Fish sponsored by Adriatic Restaurant And Bar.

Piggy Bank sponsored by People’s United Bank.

Princess And Frog sponsored by Maria’s Sweet Somethings.

This sculpture did not make it too far into the day either.

Dragon sponsored by Coon’s Card And Gift Shop.

Page The Dog sponsored by Bella Research Group.

Lobsterman sponsored by Turner’s Seafood.

Love Potion #9 sponsored by The Coven’s Cottage, Emporium 32, Modern Millie, Pamplemousse, Salem Trolley and The Trolley Depot.

Basset Hound sponsored by a variety of shops that are part of the Witch City Mall

Cactus sponsored by Peabody Essex Museum.

Super Mario Brothers sponsored by Bit Bar.

Cauldron sponsored by The Salem Witch Museum.

Bakery sponsored by Coffee Time Bake Shop.

Financial Wizard sponsored by Saint Jean’s Credit Union.

Lion sponsored by Jolie Tea Company.

Mug sponsored by Notch Brewery & Taproom.

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Waterfront Hotel sponsored by The Regatta Pub Restaurant at the Salem Waterfront Hotel.

This one made me laugh because while I was photographing it, a child who was with her mother, asked her mom, “What is rum?” Her mom was left speechless.

Rumson’s Rum sponsored by Pirate Dog Brand/Rumson’s Rum.

The Friendship sponsored by The Waite & Pierce National Park Service Information Center and Park Service. This is a sculpture of the boat, The Friendship, that is usually docked by the Pedrick House at Derby Wharf.

To celebrate the 350th anniversary of The House of the Seven Gables, 350th Anniversary was sponsored by House Of The Seven Gables and Ye Olde Pepper Candy Companie.

Of course, with the warmer weather and the special attractions, there were many people walking their dogs. Whenever I go to Salem, which if you read my blog regularly you must know is often, I always see such a wonderful array of dogs and Saturday was no different.

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Meko is a 2.5 year old Schnauzer/Yorkie rescue from Arkansas.

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Augie is a 2 and a half year old Pug.

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Marley is a 12 week old Lab mix.

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Cookie (yes like the Oreo cookie) is a 12 year old Border Collie.

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Ollie is a mixed breed shelter dog.

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Darwin, who was named after Charles Darwin whose boats was named the DHS Beagle.

Below are two videos of two sculptures that had lights on them that changed colors.

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Ice Floes (South Hadley, MA)

 

Date Of Visit: January 20, 2017

Location: 1 Alvord St, South Hadley, MA (Brunelle’s Marina)

Cost: Free

Parking: Parking for about 50 cars is available in the lot next to Brunelle’s

Handicapped Accessible: Yes, although some areas may be inaccessible

Dog Friendly: Yes

 

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New England’s bizarre weather has created yet another peculiar attracted that has peaked the interest of countless visitors; ice floes.

But, these icy chunks of frozen water are no ordinary ice floes.  These ice floes and ice chunks are so large some people have been seen lying on them, taking selfies on them and walking on them, cautiously (more on that later).

Although most of the ice floes and chunks of ice have surely melted with our recent warming trend, it is likely this may happen again this season or again next winter, although this was a fairly unusual event for this area.

The chunks of ice were stable in most areas.  But, not all areas.  Let’s just say I may know from experience.  So, do be careful if you do visit this icy attraction.

The slabs, caused by frigid temperatures have attracted large crowds.

Despite our downright balmy weather conditions this weekend, it has been a particularly cold winter.  But, hey that’s New England for you.

The ice chunks were often found bunched together, almost in a tectonic fashion.

The ice formed some very interesting shapes.

Another interesting aspect of the chunks of ice are the white and blueish colorful hues from the light shining through the ice.  The colors reminded me of crystals and diamonds.

A few of the visitors decided to make good use of the snow and made this snowman.  But, I’m not sure what the sticks in the head are all about.  it’s a little disturbing, actually.

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The ice floes are also popular with dogs.

Princess is a 3 year old Maltese.

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Winston, a 5 year old English Cream Golden Retriever, barked out his approval of the floes.

Below is a video of the ice floes floating and traveling down the Connecticut River.

 

 

 


Ice Sculptures (Greenfield, MA)

Date Of Visit: February 3, 2017 (Carnival is usually held annually the first weekend of February)

Location: Main St, Greenfield, MA

Cost: Free

Parking: I found metered street parking to be plentiful on Main St.  There is also parking available on the side streets off Main St.

Handicapped Accessible: Yes

Dog Friendly: Yes

Tips:

  • the sculptures are lit up at night
  • there are several events and exhibits during the carnival (see the website below and the link to my post from last year’s carnival to see what other events take place at the carnival

Website: Greenfield Winter Carnival

Highlights: Ice sculptures from the Greenfield Winter Carnival

Well, we made it.  We’ve officially made it half way through the winter season.  Pause for collective groan. But, cheer up.  To celebrate this monumental milestone, Greenfield holds their annual winter carnival fair.  The fair includes a variety activities such as a parade of lights to kick off the carnival, face painting, a k9 keg pull a cardboard sled race among many other fun family friendly activities.  But, the highlight for many of the visitors to the Greenfield Winter Carnival are the ice sculptures.

Unfortunately, I was not able to attend the festivities this year.  But, I did post about it last year.

You can click here to view my blog post from last year’s winter carnival.

Unlike other ice sculpture exhibits where the sculptures are carved elsewhere and delivered, like the Salem’s So Sweet ice sculptures which are going to be on display this upcoming weekend, the ice sculptures at the Greenfield carnival are carved on sight on Main Street.  In fact, you may see some of the chunks of ice from the original blocks of ice in some of the photos below.

There were 11 total ice sculptures.  They are located on both sides of Main St.  We found 10 of them.  All of them are located on Main St. These sculptures are also lit up during the evening and some were already lit when we saw them during the afternoon.  The frigid and blustery conditions ensured the sculptures remained frozen despite the abundant sunshine.

The first sculpture on Main St (going from south to north) was created Sue O’Sullivan of Royalston, MA.

The second sculpture was created by Brendon Kellner of Cambridge, MA.  I think the figures are supposed to be dancing or about to embrace.  Or, they’re choking each other.  It is up to your particular interpretation today.  It may also depend on how your day is going, I suppose.

The next sculpture of a family of penguins (there is a little one in the middle of the two larger penguins) was created by Marc Cinamella of Palmerton, PA.

This sculpture was certainly one of the more popular ice sculptures and my favorite.  There were a group of photographers huddled around this sculpture.  Of course, waiting for the scene to clear out before I took my photo was less than pleasant given the conditions.  The intricate detail of the sculpture really is impressive.  The sculpture was carved by Mark Bosworth of Athol, MA.

Unfortunately, I did the shadow of this groundhog look a like sculpture.

This sculpture created by Chef Ben Pike and Franklin County Tech School Culinary students.

This snowflake is not any ordinary snowflake.  This icy snowflake was carved by hometown Greenfield citizen John Passiglia.

This howling wolf was created by Robert Markey of Ashfield, MA.  I’m not sure if it was done by design or if it was the way the sun was reflecting off the sculpture but I like how the wolf seems to disappear the father you look up on the sculpture in the second photo.

 

These humongous legs and feet were carved by Annaliese Bischoff from Leverett, MA.

David Barclay of Northampton, MA carved this dragon.  I love the scales on the chest of the sculpture.

The final sculpture we found (there was one more farther down the road we missed) of a certain Boston Bruins goalie was carved by Michael Legassey of Athol, MA.

In case you were wondering, yes there were many dogs attending the carnival festivities.

Andrew is a 3 year old Black Mouth Cur.

Bella, a 2 year old Shih Tzu was dressed for the cold temperatures.

Marcey, a rescue all the way from Chicago, is an 8 year old Shepherd mix.

Marcey’s sister, Zoie, a 5 year old Shih Tzu, showed off her talents.