Location: Stanley Park, 400 Western Ave, Westfield, MA (about 2 hours west of Boston, MA and 1 hour northwest of Hartford, CT)
Official Season: Stanley Park is open to the public (7 days a week) from 7:00 am until dusk daily (1/2 hour before sunset) until the last Sunday in November. Upon entrance, please note gate closing times.
Off-Season: Gate 1, across from Westfield State University’s Woodward Center, is open year-round from 7:00 am until dusk daily, weather permitting. Upon entrance, please note gate closing times.
Parking: There are several free parking lots at Stanley Park, The main parking lots are located off Western Ave
Universally Accessible: Yes
Dog Friendly: Yes
Summary: A braille trail has been installed at Stanley Park
Many of us have heard of “rail trails” (formerly use railroad tracks transformed into hiking trails). But, few of us may have heard of a Braille Trail.
As we progress and develop a more universally accessible society, most parks and attractions are making efforts to ensure their trails and buildings are more accessible for all. Stanley Park is no different, Enter the Braille Trail at Stanley Park.
The Braille Trail at Stanley Park in Westfield, MA, was built and designed by Scout Jeremy T Trottier of Troop 821 as part of his Eagle Scout project. Jeremy, 15 at the time he began this project, has always wanted to become an Eagle Scout and he had been working hard to reach that goal. Besides, it’s in his blood. Jeremy’s father and uncle are both Eagle Scouts.
The trail, which is meant to give the visually impaired an enhanced experience at the trail, is located at a serene, shaded, usually quiet area of the park where a lot of the wildlife is active. The sounds of nature and wildlife are meant to enhance the experience for the visually impaired.
The 300 foot path is connected by a series of 3 wooden stations attached by a rope with placards containing information about the trail and park in braille and print.
There is also a bench at the end (or beginning) of the trail.
Jeremy fund raised to generate the $1,700 to pay for the plaques and other materials to create the trail; It was completed and officially dedicated September 9, 2017
In case you’re wondering, yes, Jeremy realized his dream when he was officially awarded Eagle Scout on January 13, 2018.
There are a lot more ladies these days in Salem, MA. Well, at least 26 more.
To commemorate the 10th anniversary of the artful Lady Of Salem the 26 ladies, shaped in the design of figureheads are displayed throughout the downtown area, They celebrate the “Golden Age Of Sail.”
So what is a figurehead and what do they symbolize? Figureheads are used to identify the ship in a non-literate society. They are carved from wood and placed at the bow of the ship. Figureheads were often thought to ward off evil spirits and give the crew good fortune. Since they are located at the front of the ship, they were considered the “eyes of the ship” and they were said to guide the captain and crew into safe harbor. Unlike the figureheads you will find on ships, these Ladies are 33’ tall and made out of light weight polyurethane foam molded form
Most of the Ladies can be found on light posts and on storefronts on Essex St. Only 3 of the 26 figureheads are located off Essex St
I am posting the Ladies in the order they are listed on the website listed above with the name of the artist and a little info about each one and information about what the figurehead may represent
Depending on where you are coming from, it may not be the best or easiest way for you to access them. There is no real order to view. View them at your leisure and convenience! One figurehead is located in the Old Salem Town Hall (better known for being one of the filming locations of Hocus Pocus).
At the bottom of the post I have included a map and list of the where the figureheads are located.
1 “DIY Shipbuilding Lady” – Keri May Killam
231 Essex St/Washington St (near Rockafellas)
As you will see in some of the other figureheads, some of the figureheads have themes and names, often based on the sponsor or artist of the figurehead. Since The Home Depot sponsored this figurehead you may noticed hardware related items on the board of the figurehead. The figurehead is also a nod to the “do it yourself” craftsmanship involved in building these vessels the figureheads were attached to. In colonial and post-colonial times, the East Coast had an abundant supply of Eastern Red-cedar, White Pine and a variety of Spruce and Oak trees which were used to build the vessels of Salem and the surrounding areas.
2 “West India Trade Lady” – YMCA Girls Today
228 Essex St
This figurehead is a symbol of the trade which existed in Salem in the Revolutionary and post Revolutionary times. Salem, at the time, was considered a hub for trade. In fact, arguably the first known millionaire in the United States was a merchant named Elias Hasket Derby, a merchant who made much of his money through trade. Ships would travel from Salem to the West Indies (Caribbean Islands), Barbados, and Jamaica with a cargo of dried codfish, haddock, mackerel, lumber, bay berry candles, and occasionally cows. They traded with the islanders for molasses, sugar, cotton, rum and slaves who were bought to work as field hands and domestics.
On a sad note, at least 18 Salem vessels were known to have transported slaves from Africa to America and the Caribbean
3 “Mermaid Lady” – Jeanne Pare Muse
230 Essex St
Evident by the various jewels, grass and the tail shape on the board, this figurehead has both the shape of a mermaid and the jewels you would find at the sponsor of the figurehead (Treasures Over Time). Mermaids were said to snare sailors with their beautiful appearance and even more beautiful voices. They were said to serenade sailors, eventually dragging them down to the bottom of the ocean
4 “Day Of The Dead Lady” Cynthia Mikula Smiszek
213 Essex St (near Wicked Good Books)
A tribute to the Day Of The Dead holiday, this figurehead displays not only the face painting that is associated with the day, it also has related symbols on the board. It is also a stark reminder of the risks of life at sea. In 1738 alone, over 400 people from Salem had died at sea because of disease, drowning, cannibalism and other dangers of life at sea.
5. “West India Trade Lady” – Shelia Farren Billings
215 Essex St
Believe it or not, at one time after the the Revolutionary War, there were almost 50 wharves. While many of the cargo of these vessels included rum, cotton, sugar and fish, some ships also brought slaves from Africa and the Caribbean. In the 1800s, Salem’s population of 10,000 included 200 African descendants.
6 “Philanthropic Lady” – Shelia Farren Billings
216 Essex St
This figurehead is a tribute to Captain John Bertram who was one of Salem’s wealthiest residents and philanthropist. In addition to being involved in the sea trade, he also managed several railroads and made his riches in the California Gold Rush. He helped fund Salem Hospital (1873), the home for Aged Men, the home for Aged Women and the Children’s Friend Society. Some of these organizations are still active today.
7 “Salem Museum Lady” – Mary Ellen Smiley
Inside the Old Town Hall vestibule (32 Derby Square)
Salem is known for its museums and landmarks. So it comes to no surprise there would be a figurehead bearing that name. The Town Hall where this figurehead is located may be best known for being one of the filming locations for the first Hocus Pocus movie. It was designed by the famous architect Charles Bulfinch. It is the earliest surviving municipal structure in Salem, MA, dating back to 1816 or 1817.
Although I could not gain entry to photograph this figurehead, I was able to copy and paste this photo I took of it in 2018
8 “Lady of Means” – Karen La Mesa/Tina Armstrong
210 Essex St
This figurehead has a connection to the sponsor Salem Five. But the coins which are evident along the board are also a reminder of the substantial trade Salem made with other countries and the origin of the sponsor of this figurehead
. As a result of the large sums of money generated from the overseas trade, particularly China, the Federalist Party decided to create banks in order to protect their investments. The original banks were named Salem Bank and Old Essex Bank. Eventually, the Nickel Bank (now named Salem Five) was established in 1855.
9 “Lady Hospitality” – Judith Pabich
209 Essex St
The Salem Inn, the sponsor of this figurehead, was established in 1834. This figurehead is a tribute to the Inn and the hospitality of the area.
10 “Sea Shell Lady” – Mary Ellen Halliwell
195 Essex St (taken down for maintenance)
Sailors were said to send “Sailor’s Valentines” to loved ones. The shells that were used to adorn the octagonal hinged wooden boxes can be seen on the board of this figurehead. In realty, historians now believe these boxes were made by women on the West Indian Island of Barbados and purchased by men while they were in port. Caribbean shells imported from Indonesia were used to make these elaborate heart shaped designs and patterns.
This figurehead exhibits the importance of trade between China and Asia. In 1784 Elias Hasket Derby sent his ship “Grand Turk” to Canton, China with a cargo of tobacco, fish oil, sugar and earthenware. In return, the “Grand Turk” brought back furniture, silk, nankeen cloth and porcelain.
12 Quaker Lady” – Kenneth Glover
190 Essex St
In addition to settling in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, Quakers also settled in Salem, MA. The Quakers, who were also known as “The Society of Friends”, controlled shipping and trade on both sides of the Atlantic during the 1770s. There is also a connection to the witch hysteria which would plague Salem years later. One story claims that in 1656, two Quakers were found on a ship landing in Salem. After the town fathers inspected them for “Witch Marks” and none were found they were swiftly deported.
13 “I Am No Witch” – Kenneth Glover
137 Essex St (Armory Park)
This figurehead is a tribute to Lady Bridget Bishop by Kenneth Glover. After being missing for some time, it is now located in front of the Salem Armory Visitor Center on Essex Street. Bridget Bishop was a tavern keeper who was executed in 1692 during the Salem Witch Trials. The name of the figurehead is taken from a direct quote from Bridget Bishop refuting the charges of witchcraft against her.
14 ”Ladies of Good Fortune” – Lady Shalimar
188 Essex St
15 182 Essex St
Located near some of the psychics and palmists, these figureheads are a reminder of the superstitions and predictors of the risks at sea. Sailors avoided sailing on Fridays, they boarded with their right foot and having women on board was considered “bad luck.” This lady in these different different dresses appears to be a “reader” or someone who could predict some of these risks.
16 “Sailor Lady: Life at Sea” – Palmer’s Cove Yacht Club, John Devine
181 Essex St
A sailors job was never done. Traveling along the seas was risky hard work. From raising masts to defending from other sailors or pirates, there were many tasks and risks on the job. The Palmer’s Cove Yacht Club is sure to have experienced some of these tasks and risks, minus the pirates.
17 “Merchant Lady MaryKate” – MaryKate Ross
181 Essex St (Witch Tees storefront window)
This figurehead, appropriately placed inside a storefront, is a tribute to the merchants of Salem, specifically John Cabot and Elias Hasket Derby, who are attributed with launching Salem’s “Golden Age Of Sail” with their vessel “The Buccaneer” in 1783. Cabot and Hasket sailed to several Baltic ports and are said to be the first ship to trade with the Russian empire in St Petersburg. Through this risky trade that others were afraid to make, they made huge profit margins
18 “Lady Wendlyn” – The Torch Club
181 Essex St
This figurehead is meant to show the diversity of both the diversity of the people of the area as well as the diversity of the ancestors of the area. Despite our differences, we are all “Irish, Dominican, Panamanian, Haitian, English and Danish” according to the Torch Club
19 “Deep Blue Mystery Girl” – Bates Elementary School, 5th Grade Art Class
176 Essex St
The Deep Blue Mystery Girl, was made by the Bates Elementary School 5th grade class. I’m sure with a little help from their teacher. The figurehead is an homage to the seas and more accurately the sea monsters that were once thought to inhabit the waters the sailors sailed in. Bass and other fish became a major source of food and trade for these sailors. Not only did sailors see whales, a variety of fish and maybe even a few monsters. Of course some of the monsters they saw were often times just sharks, octopus and other sea critters. Some of them at least.
20 “Lady Liberty” – Nicko Papadimitrion
Witch City Mall entrance (186-3 Essex St)
Fittingly, the figurehead for “Lady Liberty” depicts the Statue Of Liberty with an I love Pizza shirt. If you look closely at the board of the figurehead you may see a popular landmark of NY as well as a plane flying an advertisement for the pizzeria. If you look closely at the building, you may also see a famous movie character near the building. New York was, and still is, an important hub for trade and tourism. And I’m sure many of the ships from the 18th and 19th century had figureheads on them.
21 “Grog Shoppe Lady” – Sheila Farren Billings
Village Tavern (168 Essex St)
Located above the entrance to the Village Tavern the Grog Shoppe Lady figurehead is a reference to the Grog, an alcoholic beverage originally made from water and rum. I know what you’re thinking. “Yum!” Taverns, as you can imagine, were a staple of most ports where Grog was served. The draft taps along the board of the figurehead is a fitting representation of the Village Tavern, the sponsor of the figurehead. And, no, I don’t think they serve Grog.
22 “Banking and Commerce Lady” – Amberlyn Narvie
168 Essex St (near fountain)
The “Banking and Commerce Lady” is representative of the Pierce & Waite Mercantile firm. Aaron Waite and Jerathmiel Peirce were the owners of the original Friendship vessel, a replica of which you can usually find docked at Derby Wharf. The coins placed upon the board are no doubt a tribute to the riches both men made as well as to the Beverly Cooperative Bank, the sponsor of the figurehead.
23 “Naumkeag Woman” – Dori Phillips
168 Essex St
Before it was known as Salem, it was known as “Naumkeag” (“still water dividing the bay” or “the fishing grounds”). Naumkeag also refers to an independent tribe in the Massachusetts confederacy of tribes. There are also some herbs or spices scattered along the board of the figurehead, certainly a tip of the hat to the sponsor of the figurehead (Scratch Kitchen).
This figurehead is a throwback to when figureheads from the early 1800s and earlier were often carved from wood and placed at the bow of the ship. As you may notice, these figureheads, sometimes weighing over several tons, were heavy and would slow down the ships. So ship builders and their crews would opt for smaller, lighter figureheads.
25 East India Peacock Lady – Jeanne Pare Muse
In front of Peabody Essex Museum (161 Essex St)
If you look closely at this figurehead you may notice peacock feathers on the board and jewels on the lady.
Captains of ship boats in the early 1800s were expected to donate curious items they found during their trading expeditions. Some of these “curiosities” were shrunken heads, nose flutes, jewels and exotic shells. While I do see some exotic items on the lady, I think she left her shrunken heads at home.
Peacocks often roamed the country side of India, one of our trade partners at the time. In fact, they were so common and majestic they became the nation’s official bird. The peacock is associated with the Hindu God, Lakshmi, symbolizing patience. kindness, compassion and good luck
26 “Scarlet Letter Lady of Salem” – Jeanne Pare Muse
155 Derby St
One of Salem’s most famous residents was a writer you may have heard of. But, Nathaniel Hawthorne was not only a prolific writer. He was also a surveyor of revenue at the Custom House in Salem. This particular figurehead is a tribute to one of his greatest works.
These figureheads are going to be up until the middle of October. And, don’t forget to vote for your favorite figurehead at their Facebook page
Dogs also like the figureheads. I found this cute dog with some very big ears during my visit to the figureheads.
I would like to thank the Lady Of Salem Maritime Exhibition organizers for all their help, especially by providing photos of a few figureheads I could not find on my own and providing me with answers and info regarding this exhibit.
El corazón de Holyoke está vivo con murales. The heart of Holyoke is alive with murals.
Sponsored by the Nueva Esperanza, Inc in cooperation with Beyond Walls, the new murals in Holyoke, MA, named “El Corazon are meant to both give a voice to the artists in the neighborhood as well as give a glimpse into the culture of the community.
While most of the murals are clustered together on or near Main St, Clemente St and Hamilton St you will have to either walk quite a ways or drive to a few of the far flung destinations on High St. I wanted to take in the environment and experience the area. So I parked on Main St and walked to all of the murals. They were pretty easy to find.
All of the murals posted below are on the website attached above. I am including the murals in the order I visited them.
Collaborative Mural by Repoe 9 + Teck 3%
341 Main St
“Iguana Boina” (Iguana Beret) by Rafique
363 Main St
“Ojitos Lindos” (Cute Little Eyes) by Bikismo
387 Main St
“Yagrumo” by Vero Rivera
398 Main St
Transition of the Ancestors by Frankie Borrero
401 Main St
“La Danza” by David Zayas
57 Hamilton St
“Father And Baby Moose” by Bordalo II
44 Clemente St
If you look closely, you may notice the mixed media used to make this mural
“Seguimos Tostando” by Golden305, Bikismo + 305Ange
453 High St
“Tun Cutum PÁ” by Don Rimx
147 High St
I also found some other art in my travels around Holyoke
Summary: 29 Painted scallop shaped works of art are located throughout the city of Plymouth, MA
Plymouth is well known for their scallops. But, not the ones you’re thinking of.
No, these 4 foot tall fiberglass scallops are not edible. The scallops in Plymouth aren’t that big!
These appetizing works of art can be found throughout the city of Plymouth, MA. But, the majority of them are located on Water St or in the nearby side streets of Water St
You may notice 1620 written prominently on some of the scallops. This represents both the year Plymouth was settled as a colony and, of course, the 400 year anniversary of the settling which the city celebrated 2 years ago.
The scallops are not numbered and there is no suggested order to view them. So, I will post the photos in the order they are listed on the map in the attached website (they are listed in alphabetical order and not by location). However, I would not look for them in that order. In fact, I did not. I began my search with the scallop at the Gallop The Scallop scallop located at the Plimoth Grist Mill which is last on the list. You will also have to drive to get to some of these scallops.
Location: Dewey Square, Rose Kennedy Greenway, Boston, MA (1 hour and 10 mins southeast of Concord, NH and 1 hour northeast of Providence, RI)
Parking: Metered street parking is available. There are also several parking garages in the area. Visitors can also access the mural by taking the redline or commuter rail to the South Station train stop.
Summary: A new mural, “Breathe Life Together”, adorns a building at the Dewey Square section of the Rose Kennedy Greenway
Boom boxes and track suits have made a come back. At least they have at the mural at Dewey Square on the Rose Kennedy Greenway.
The mural, made with acrylic and aerosolized paints, the mural is meant to “honor and ask you to join the conversation about the past, present, and future of our communities in Boston, reminding us what we can do together” according to artist Rob “Problak” Gibbs.
A native of Roxbury, MA (Boston, MA), Gibbs uses graffiti to chronicle and immortalize the culture and history of the “Golden Age of hip hop.” Rob considers graffiti to be a form of hieroglyphs as well as a way to document and pay homage to underserved, underheard communities in the city.
Literally and figuratively rising from the grass, the young girl in the mural is a reminder of the past and our future.
The mural is located across from the South Station MBTA train stop on the red line. It is expected to remain there until the spring of 2023 when a new mural will be painted.
Parking: street parking and garage parking is available near the exhibit
Universally Accessible: Yes
Dog Friendly: Yes
Summary: The Blue Trees, an outdoor art exhibit, is adding some color to the streets of Salem, MA
If you have been seeing blue trees in the Salem (MA) area, don’t buy new glasses or make an appointment to see your eye doctor. You’re not seeing things. The trees in Salem have turned blue. At least some of them have.
The Blue Trees exhibit is the brainchild of Konstantin Dimopoulos, a conceptual and social artist originally from Port Said, Egypt. The Blue Trees are meant to draw attention to the deforestation happening around the globe. The environmentally safe watercolor used on the trees is temporary and is harmless to the trees, surrounding environment, people, waterways and wildlife. It will be washed away with the rain and other weather conditions. There are currently 27 places to see these blue trees including Houston, Sacramento, Vancouver, Singapore, Germany, Australia and, of course, Salem.
The trees were painted in time for Earth Day of this year and I was fortunate enough to see one of the painters at work.
The trees, which are part of the Peabody Essex Museum’s exhibit, can be found by the museum on Essex St.
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.
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
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!
Location: Hampton Beach, 115 Ocean Blvd, Hampton, NH
Hours: The beach is accessible daily from dawn until dusk
Parking: Hampton Beach offers a variety of parking options. If you’re lucky enough to get a parking spot in the main parking area it is $2 an hour during the summer. There are also additional lots that range from 5 to 20 dollars for the day depending on when you arrive. See link for additional parking info: Parking Info
Universally Accessible: Yes
Dog Friendly: Yes but dogs are not allowed on the beach during the summer
Summary: Ten artists converged upon Hampton Beach to sculpt pieces of work.
Nothing says summer like long days of sunlight, road trips and, of course, sand sculptures. And as proof of this, Hampton Beach has ushered in the season with their 21st annual sand sculpting classic.
Ten sculptors from all the world put their talents to work at the sculpting competition. But, before the contest began the competitors collaborated to build the 100 ton main sponsor site sculpture. The sculpture pays tribute to the New Hampshire Marine Memorial statue which is located at the beach, the lifeguards who help to keep the beach safe and the sea life of the area.
The competition began on Jun 17 and ended on the 19th. Two hundred tons of sand are used for the sculptures and each competitor was given a plot size of 18×18 to complete their work on.
Although I haven’t been able to attend the actual sand sculpting competition the past few years, I do make sure to visit the day after the competition to photograph the sculptures in their pristine state. Even though I arrived at sunrise, there was already a healthy crowd at the beach and it was hard to get some photos with people in the background. But by using some creative angles and with some patience I was able to get most of the photos without any beachgoers in them.
After hours of grueling work, the winners were announced June 19th.
The winning sculpture “Empty” was sculpted by Abe Waterman of Prince Edward Island, Canada. Abe said he came up with the idea for this sculpture about a year and a half ago after his separation from his wife.
Second place was awarded to Melineige Beauregard of Montreal, Canada for “Rebirth Of Phoenix.” Melineige won the first place award last year.
Karen Fralich of Toronto Canada snagged third place with he sculpture, “Poker Face.”
And fourth place was awarded to Thomas Koet of Satellite Beach, Florida, for his sculpture, “Multiple Piercings.” Thomas also won the “People’s Choice Award” for his 2020 sculpture.
Chris Guinto of Key West, Florida, won the “Sculptor’s Choice Award” for his “Continuum” sculpture.
I don’t envy the judges who had to decide on the winning sculptures. They were all so well done.
The remaining sculptures are, in no particular order,
“Behind Every Successful Man There is a Strong Woman” by John Gowdy of Atlantic City, New Jersey.
“Pulled” by Carl D. Jara from Lyndhurst, Ohio
“Once Bitten” by Greg Grady of Derry, New Hampshire.
“Laugh” by Dan Belcher of Saint Louis, Missouri.
“Miss You, My Friend” by Justin Gordon of Groveland, Massachusetts. For some reason this one touched a chord with me.
Wally and the Plymouth Rock assurance mascot were also part of the sand sculpture celebration.
There was also a sand sculpture dedicated to retired police officer Jack Donaldson who passed away earlier this year from cancer. Jack worked both as a teacher and as a part time officer for 50 years.
The sand sculptures are lit up at night and they are removed after a week or two. So they may no longer be there. At least not until next year!
As you inch back to a re-opening, a sure sign that normalcy is a new mural on the Rose Kennedy Greenway. And what better way to celebrate a rebirth and promise than flowers, lobster, watermelon and other staples of spring and summer in New England!
The painting by Daniel Gordon, a Boston native who grew up in San Francisco, CA, and now resides in Brooklyn, NY, likes to use manipulation and distortion of imagery. In fact, if you look closely at the mural you may see hidden images among the painted objects.
In fact, everytime I look at this complex work of art I see something else.
The mural, which will be on display until May, 2022 when a new mural is expected to be painted, is located right across from the South Station train station and the Boston Federal Reserve on Atlantic St.