Tag Archives: New England

Westfield 350th (Westfield, MA)

Date Of Event: December 31, 2018

Location: Amelia Park, 21 Broad St, Westfield, MA

Cost: Free

Handicapped Accessible: Yes

Dog Friendly: Yes, although it’s not stated specifically on the website for the event, I saw a few dogs there

Highlights: ice sculptures, ice skating, family friendly, parade, campfires with smores and marshmallow roasting

Summary: the city of Westfield, MA celebrated its 350th birthday with their first “First Night.” The first night celebration included a variety of family friendly events and activities on New Year’s Eve.

Website: Westfield 350

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“Party like it’s 1669.”  That was the theme of the first night in Westfield, MA.

Yes, in 2019, well now, Westfield MA is celebrating its 350th anniversary.  There will be sure to be other commemorative events.  But, the kick off celebration was actually in 2018 albeit on New Year’s Eve.

It was the first first night in the city of Westfield and they pulled out all the stops.

The free event featured a juggler, ice sculptures and ice skating.

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I particularly liked how the the lighting around the ice sculptures changed colors.  the 350 on some of the sculptures signified the 350 years of the city of Westfield.

Guests were able to skate for free (some better than others).  I’m always impressed whenever I see someone do something that requires a special skill, particularly skating.  I never learned. But, maybe some day.  It’s also inspiring and fun watching people try.

This activity was a little different.  I’m not sure what it’s called.  But it looks fun and the kids enjoyed rolling around in the balls.

The Witches Of Whip City were also at the event.  “Whip City” is a reference to Westfield’s nickname which is a reference to their past.  During the 19th century, Westfild was a leader in the buggy whip industry.  Things have changed and there is currently only one whip business in the area (Westfield Whip https://www.westfieldwhip.com/).  But, the city has retained this title.  It is why you may see some businesses with the name “Whip City” attached to it (Whip City Music, Whip City Brewing, etc).  I will delve into this and other historic New England historical factoids later in a new feature to my Facebook page that I will discuss on that page later.

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Unfortunately (and of course), it began to rain during the event, proving the old New England weather cliche to be true (“don’t like the weather? just wait a minute”).  So I was unable to photograph some of the other attractions there such as a multi layered cake that was, unfortunately, made out of wood.  There was also campfires for toasting marshmallows and Smores which, obviously, weren’t very useful during the rain.

It’s unclear whether the city will continue this festivity in the future.  But, based on the turnout and the fun had by all I would say it is likely.  And I’ll be there.  Maybe I’ll bring my skates this year!

Similar places I’ve visited:

Westfield Fair

Northeast Reenactors Fair

Things To Do In The Area:

Naismith Memorial Basketball Hal Of Fame

 

 


Christmas In Salem (Salem, MA)

Date Of Visit: December 1, 2018 (event held Friday until Sunday, 11-30 to 12-2, event is usually held the first weekend of December)

Location: Salem, MA

Hours: Most homes were open 10 until 5

Cost: $35 per person (discounts may apply to seniors, military personnel and children)

Parking: There are several parking lots in the area (specifically on Congress St and New Liberty St)

Handicapped Accessible: Some homes are not handicapped accessible because of their old designs

Dog Friendly: No

Website: Christmas In Salem

Highlights: tours of historic homes, decorations

Summary: An annual event that allow s visitors to tour the inside of historic homes throughout the historic Salem, MA, area

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How many times have walked by the many historic homes of Salem, MA, and wondered what they look like on the inside?

The Christmas In Salem event in Salem, MA (held annually the first weekend of Dec) lets you see for yourself.

The 39th annual self-guided tour, which began at the House Of The Seven Gables, included tours of 15 homes.  Some of the homes featured on the tour are historic buildings run by the park service, some are actual home residences.  Tickets can be purchased on the day you visit, or (and I highly recommend it) you can purchase your tickets in advance online.  There is also a trolley that can take you to some of the homes.

One of the perks of the tour was the photography policy was relaxed and photography was allowed at most of the homes and buildings, even in buildings where photography is not usually allowed (namely, the House of the Seven Gables).  In fact, it is one of the reasons I finally made it to the House of the Seven Gables.  They usually don’t allow photography in that building.

As there are so many buildings included in the tour (15 in total, but only 11 that allowed photography), I will give a brief description and background of each building with links for additional information when available. I took a variety of photos from each building, depending on the size and beauty of the building.

As mentioned above, there are 15 homes or buildings (with a “bonus” second tour of your favorite home or building). You may also split up your visits so that you can go on 2 separate days rather than trying to visit all of the homes or buildings in one day.  I will list all of the homes and buildings in the order they are listed on the tour map you are given when you check in at the House of the Seven Gables.

House Of The Seven Gables (houses 1 and 2 on the tour)

House Of The Seven Gables 

The House Of Seven Gables has always been one of my favorite historic homes in all of  new England.  I have always loved the narrow, almost secret passageways and its history.

The House of the Seven Gables has The verse written on the wall in the first photo is from Hawthorne’s work The Marble Faun.  Some of the tour guides, such as the woman shown in the final photograph, read holiday stories or or other related works.  The woman shown in the portrait is Susanna Ingersoll, Hawthorne’s cousin.

There was also a Christmas tree in one of the rooms at the home.  Fun fact (except for those alive at the time): Christmas was banned by the Puritans in the MA colony from 1647 until 1681.  Rather than being a time for celebration and festivity that included some of the pagan origins associated with the holiday, the Puritans thought the holiday should be a time for fasting and humiliation.  Another fun fact: the first Christmas tree, similar to the tree shown below, in America is said to have been in the home of Cambridge resident and Harvard College professor Charles Follen in 1835.

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There was a wine tasting area, as well as a place to view the food and toys of this era.  The food shown below on the far right of the table is a common delicacy of that time, cod.

The outside of the House of the Seven Gables is as pretty as the interior.

Another fun fact: Although he visited his relatives at the Turner-Ingersoll Mansion (aka House of the Seven Gables), Nathaniel Hawthorne never lived in the house.  He was born on Union Street.  But, it may not seem that way when you visit.  The Union Street house where Hawthorne was born was purchased by The House of the Seven Gables Settlement Association and moved to the museum campus in 1958.

This building, located a short walk from the Salem Witch Museum at 14 Mall St, is one of the homes where Hawthorne lived in Salem.  This building is not included on the tour.

The third home on the tour, the Captain William Lane House, and the fourth home, the Josiah Getchell House, did not allow photography.

The fifth home of the tour was the Thomas Mogoun House, 58 Derby St.  As you will notice from the photos from the homes and buildings in the photos is that while they do have the original, or close to the original frame and structure, they were indeed more contemporary inside, unfortunately.  I was hoping to see rustic beds with hay instead of mattresses.  No such luck.

One of the more serene and peaceful places on the tour was the Saint Nicholas Orthodox Church at 64 Forrester St.  A choir of men and women were singing traditional Christmas songs (not contemporary or radio songs of course).  I really could have stayed and just listened to them because of their beautiful voices.  I didn’t take any photos inside of the church and this is actually a photo I took of the church from 2015 when I first began my blog.

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The seventh home on the tour was the Ives-Webb-Whipple House at 1 Forrester St.  This house, which was built originally in 1760, was being shown and is still on the market.

The house was staged very tastefully.

The Captain John Hodges House at 81 Essex St was the 8th home on the tour.

The 9th home on the tour was the Richard Manning House located at 10 1/2 Herbert St.

The 10th building on the tour was the Immaculate Conception Church at 15 Hawthorne Blvd.  Although there was some pretty and interesting architecture and decor in the church, I didn’t take any photos there.

The 11th building on the tour, the Captain Simon Forrester House at, 188 Derby St, and the 12th home, the Benjamin W. Crowninshield House at 180 Derby St, did not allow photography.

Another building I had walked past countless times without visiting until this year (I stopped in during the summer and hope to post that shoot…someday) is the 13th building on the tour, the Salem Custom House at 176 Derby St.  Interestingly, Nathaniel Hawthorne worked here for some time.  He worked on a little book you may have heard of during his tenure there.

The 14th home on the tour, The Derby House at 168 Derby St was not available for tours during my visit.

The 15th and last home on the tour was the Captain Edward Allen Mansion House at 125 Derby St.

Not all of the historic homes are available for tours and the particular homes that are available for tours may change from year to year.  Since many of the homes are fairly small to average size and only so many people can enter a home at one time, the wait can be long to get into some houses. But the homes are all located near each other and the map lists them in a way that is makes them easy to find. I was able to hit each home in about 4 to 5 hours.  If you’re not in the Christmas Spirit, the mix of historical background and Christmas decor is sure to get you into it!

Similar places I have visited:

Witch House (Salem, MA)

Strawbery Banke Museum

 


Wreaths Across America (Veterans Memorial Cemetery, Agawam, MA)

Dates Of Visits: December 23 & 29, 2018

Location: Veterans Memorial Cemetery, 1309 Main St, Agawam, MA (4 miles southwest of Springfield, MA and 26 miles north of Hartford, CT)

Hours: The cemetery is open everyday from dawn until dusk.  The annual wreath ceremony takes place the third Saturday in December.  The wreaths will be at the cemeteries until Jan. 15

Parking:  Visitors can park on the side of the road in the cemetery and there is a parking area on the upper level of the cemetery.  There may also be limited street parking near the cemetery.

Handicapped Accessible: Yes

Highlights: 7,500 wreaths adorn the headstones of the graves at the military cemetery

Websites: Wreaths Across America

Agawam National Veterans Memorial Cemetery

Agawam Wreaths Across America

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It all started with one man and his wreaths.

In 1992, Morril Worcester, owner of Worcester Wreath Company and resident of Harrington, Maine, noticed he had a surplus of wreaths after the holiday season.  Thinking back to his visit to Arlington National Cemetery when he was a young boy, Morril decided to donate his surplus of wreaths to the cemetery.  With the help of then Maine Senator Olympia Snowe, Worcester sent his wreath surplus to Arlington Cemetery.  Special attention was given to lay wreaths at graves that seemed to get the least amount of visitors.

Over time, this cause grew.  Volunteers offered to transport the wreaths to other cemeteries from Maine to Virginia.  Then, in 2005, things changed.

After a photo of the graves at Arlington adorned with wreaths and covered in snow went viral in 2005, requests to help and expand this ceremony to all of the states poured in.  People offered to distribute and lay the wreaths at the cemetery, decorate the wreaths and help in many other ways.

Through the years, the cause has grown to include every veteran from every branch of the service including veterans who were prisoners of war and missing in action.

Now, Wreaths Across America conducts wreath laying ceremonies at more than 1,400 cemeteries, including Arlington National Cemetery, in all 50 U.S. states, at sea and abroad.  Veterans from all wars and conflicts the U.S. has been involved in are honored with a wreath.  While many, if not all, of the veterans cemeteries have wreath laying ceremonies conducted in them, they are not the only cemeteries where wreaths are laid.  Public cemeteries also have wreaths laid at the graves of veterans.  Wherever a veteran has been laid to rest you will find a wreath.

The goal of the Wreaths Across America group is to “remember, honor and teach” others throughout the year about the sacrifices of our veterans.   One way to do this is to sponsor a wreath.  The money from sponsoring a wreath is used for the wreath laying ceremony and the cost of transporting the wreaths.

One of the cemeteries where a wreath laying was conducted is the Agawam Veterans Memorial Cemetery.  Over 7,500 wreaths were laid at the cemetery.

I stopped by Agawam Veterans Memorial Cemetery to view and photograph some of the wreaths that have been laid by each veterans’ grave.  Agawam  is one of three Veterans Memorial Cemeteries in Massachusetts.  The other two are in Bourne, which is a naational memorial cemetery, and Winchendon which, like Agawam, is a state memorial cemetery.

It was bittersweet to see the care and honor given to all of the veterans’ graves at the cemetery.  The wreaths will be at each of the headstones until Wreath Clean Up Day on January 15.

 

Thank you for reading, commenting and liking my posts!

I also have also posted on my secondary, companion blog, Hidden New England, which you can find here: https://hiddennewengland.com/

You can find my Facebookpage for the blog here: https://www.facebook.com/hiddennewengland/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Last-Minute Tacky Shopping Night (Yankee Candle Village, South Deerfield, MA)

Date Of Event: December 19, 2018

Location: Yankee Candle Village, 45 Yankee Candle Way, South Deerfield, MA

Highlights: band, ballet dancers, wine and food tasting, ugly Christmas sweaters, extra savings during event

Nothing goes better together than Christmas and…ugly sweaters.

For the second year in a row, Yankee Candle Village hosted a special event to encourage holiday shoppers to dress in their most tacky sweaters.

Yankee Candle is known for their holiday decor and wide selection of all things Christmas.  But before you even enter the store, there is a beautiful light display.

2 The Top provided some holiday spirit with their Christmas song covers and a few more contemporary covers.

Dancers from Pioneer Valley Ballet performed in the candle fragrance section of the store.

There was also a wine tasting and food tasting area.

And, of course, there was a  holiday sweaters.  Some of the sweaters lit up.

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There were sweater families.

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And festive friends in sweaters.

The coordinator of the event was on the look for winning sweaters.

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And, yes, I did win a prize for one of the best “tacky sweaters.”  It’s also my clubbing shirt.

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Hancock-Adams Common Light Display (Quincy, MA)

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Dates Of Visit: December, 2018

Location: Hancock-Adams Common, 1305 Hancock St, Quincy, MA

Hours: Dusk until dawn

Handicapped Accessible: Yes

Dog Friendly: Yes

Parking: 1 and 2 hour street parking is available.  There is also a parking garage located at 1250 Hancock St

Highlights: holiday lights on display at the Hancock-Adams, Quincy, MA

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The newly constructed Hancock-Adams Common (it was dedicated in Sep. of this year) is home to one of the most festive holiday displays.

The Hancock-Adams Common, named after two of the more prominent residents of Quincy (technically John Hancock was born in what was then known as Braintree but it was later incorporated into what is now known as Quincy).  At the north end of the display is John Adams

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John Hancock is located at the south part of the display, closer to Quincy Center (or as it is now being called The New Quincy Center)

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The center piece of the display is the 60 foot tree.

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But the Santa, nutcracker and snowman are all a very close second.

Speaking of Santa, these two Santa Clauses took some time away from the North Pole to check out the display.

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Thousands of lights illuminate the common.

The trees reflection so pretty in the gazing ball at City Hall.

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The 174 year old Quincy City Hall was also dressed up for the holidays.

The Christmas light display is dog friendly.  Al, a 2 year old English Bulldog posed in front of the tree for me.

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Halloween 2018 (Salem, MA)

 

Date Of Visit: October 31, 2018

Location: Downtown Salem, MA

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Another year and another Halloween in Salem, MA, in the books.  Although I’ve loved s

As always, the families that dress up and visit Salem are my favorite.  I love how they all get into the spirit of the day.

 

The girl to the right dressed as a lady bug in the photo below is holding my card.  I can’t think of a better advertisement.

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There were also some famous people in Salem for the big day!

 

One thing that never ceases to amaze me are the creativity people use while designing their costumes.

 

You’re not seeing double.  These two sets of Sanders sisters dropped by for a group photo.  Seeing that the theme of this year’s Haunted Happenings was the movie Hocus Pocus (some of the scenes for this film were filmed in Salem and the nearby area) it was appropriate.

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Rapunzel let her hair down.  Literally.

 

I’ve always thought there were two Halloween celebrations in Salem.  The day time celebration, which tends to be more family friendly and the night time celebration which has a more edgier and festive atmosphere.  Also, the costumes and props often have lights that illuminate the Halloween night.

 

As usual, I saw many dogs in Salem on Halloween.

Rocky is a 5 year old pit bull mix.  His coat, one that I see very often on pit bulls, is called a Brindle.

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Cannoli is a 7 year old German Shepherd.

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Until next year, or next week, Salem.

Below is a short video from Salem during Halloween

 


Halloweekend (Salem, MA)

Dates Of Visit: October 28, 2018

Location: Salem, MA

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Halloween always seems to creep up on me (no pun intended).  There are always so many fun, cool and interesting costumes each year that I visit Salem for Halloween.  These photos were taken the weekend before Halloween (also known as “Halloweekend”).  Since Halloween was on a weekday this year, Halloweekend is even busier in Salem than Halloween.

There were costumes of all kinds from scary to fun and everything in between.

Jason and Michael double teamed the Scream guy!

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Looks like the tables have been turned, Jason and Michael.

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Is there another Halloween sequel in the works?  Halloween 86: Michael Meyers Jr!

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But where’s the Tin Man?

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This lady had some cool face paint.  We both thought it was funny that, although smiling is the normal inclination when you are about to get your photo taken, she couldn’t smile because it might mess up her makeup.

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If you forgot to put on your makeup, there were face painters there to help you ouy.

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I love the creativity of the costumes people wore.

Scooby and friends are always a popular costume

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Theses costumes are inconceivable!

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Meanwhile, down at Fraggle Rock…

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I hadn’t realized that Halloween was so popular with the WWE! (Randy “Macho Man” Savage and Ric “Nature Boy” Flair from left to right for those of you who are not fans)

These ladies were already ready for Christmas!

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When I take photos, especially of pups and smaller people, I often kneel or bend down lower so I can shoot them from eye level or include the entire figure I am photographing.  I have also noticed that when I do this some people, especially children, will copy me and get low as well!  It always makes me smile.

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Sometimes things can get out of hand during Halloweekend.

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As much as I love all of the costumes during “Halloweekend” the kids costumes are always the best.  It’s great seeing them enjoy the Halloween festivities.

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The best photos during Halloween in Salem are often the shots you get at night.  Many people wear costumes or have props and accessories that light up and look very cool during the evening hours.

Some of the colors of Salem at night during Halloweekend.

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Dogs enjoy Halloweekend also!

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Mr. Man is a 10 year old Greyhound.

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I found Waldo.  Well, actually, his name is Wally, a 5 year old Shiba Inu.

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Blitz, Juno and Daisy (from left to right) were all dressed up in the Harry Potter gear!

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This dog had a ball during Halloweekend!