Tag Archives: parks

Coggeshall Farm Museum (Bristol, RI)

Date Visited: June 18, 2016

Location: 1 Colt Drive, Bristol, Rhode Island (about half an hour from Providence and 1 hour from Boston, MA)  (401) 253-9062

Hours: presently open Tue-Sun 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

December 15 – April 15
Open Weekends, 10 am to 4 pm
Open February 16 – 21, 2016 for February vacation

April 15 – December 15
Open Tuesday through Sunday, 10 am to 4 pm.

Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day.

Cost:

Weekdays

Adults: $5
Seniors: $3
Children (3–12): $3
Children under 3: Free

Weekends

Adults: $7
Seniors: $5
Children (3–12): $5
Children under 3: Free

You can also purchase a membership for unlimited visits, free access to special events and discounts at their gift shop.  If you plan on going more than once or twice a year and especially if you go with your family, the membership is probably the best rate:

 

Individual membership: $25

Couples: $35

Family: $50

Parking:  There is a space for about 4 or 5 cars across from Coggeshall Farm.  You can also park at Colt State Park, which is adjacent to the farm but you may have to pay a fee to enter the park.

Size: 48 acres

Time To Allot For Visit: About An Hour

Dog Friendly: No (except for guide dogs)

Highlights: living museum, character actors, farm animals, historic style homes

Coggeshall Farm Museum

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You often find the most wonderful places in the most unexpected places.  On an otherwise nondescript trail at Colt State Park used for cycling and running, lies a farm frozen in time.

Established in 1973, the Coggeshall Museum Farm features interpreters and authentic reenactments of farm life in the year 1799.  Every last detail from the tools they use to the bedding (mostly hay) is authentic to the time it represents.

I loved the houses and workshops at Coggeshall.  The homes and interiors were definitely the highlight of the trip for me.  The rooms were modest and fairly bare (and I thought my room was small).

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Even the papers and bills in the houses are accurate to those days.  They don’t accept them as legal tender though, in case you were wondering.

Coggeshall Farm Museum also has a variety of animals.  When I came to visit there were 2 steer, 11 sheep and several chickens, turkeys and other fowl.  I also got to see some newly hatched chicks.

When I asked how long they keep the animals there I was told they usually live 6 to 8 years and then they have a “retirement plan.”  Yes, everything gets used at the farm.

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There were several character actors working during my visit.  This gentleman was cutting wood to store (it’s never too early to get ready for long, chilly winter nights).  When I asked how long it would take to cut all the wood he said, “util it is done”.  Where has that work ethic gone?

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The grounds are well kept and very pretty.  They also have a large grazing area for the animals.

Then there was Moe – the resident cat and pest control manager.  He was very friendly and playful as you can see.  Believe it or not, the chipmunk he’s hunting and carrying so gently escaped only a little worse for the wear.

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Coggeshall Farm also lets the patrons partake in some tasks (such as cutting wood) as long as it is supervised and they  have many events throughout the year such as Arts On The Farm and Farm Camp.  Check their website for more details.

 

 


Clipper City Rail Trail (Newburyport, MA)

Date Visited: June 18, 2016

Location: Off Low St, Newburyport, Massachusetts

Parking: I entered the trail from Low St and free parking is available at Cushing Park on Kent St (2 blocks away from the entrance to the park) and parking was ample there.  There are several other trailheads and depending upon where you join the trail there are various parking areas.  You can find parking at the local MBTA station on Parker St and some other designated places.  it is best to check their website for specific parking areas.  You may also find off street parking.

Hours: open everyday, dawn until dusk

Cost: Free

Dog Friendly:  Yes

Distance: 1.1 miles each way

Time To Allot:  Half an hour to an hour

Highlights: bridges, trails for cycling, running and walking, art, artifacts, flowers, trees, historical and other surprises along the trail.

The Clipper City Rail Trail is not just your ordinary run of the mill paved trail.  The 10 foot wide trail which eventually spills out on the Newburyport Harborwalk, is lined with various works of art and other surprises.  The great thing about the art and items on the trail is that they have special meaning and represent the people and times of the area.

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“Native Fish” by Bob Kimball (2010).  The sculpture consists of eleven stainless steel fish mounted on a large granite block wall on the edge of the Rail Trail.  The group of fish consist of half a dozen foot-long herring, two three-foot tuna, a five-foot cod and striped bass, and a seven-foot bluefin tuna.  The artist, Bob Kimball, is a brick and stone mason who specializes in working with copper, brass, glass and stainless steel.  He is based in the state of Washington.

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The “Great Blue Heron” piece was also created by Bob Kimball in 2010.  It was commissioned in memory of John Soward by his family and friends.  According to the plaque placed on the wall the work of art was dedicated to John Soward who lived on the other side of the wall where it is so prominently displayed.  The sculpture is based on John’s painting of the great blue heron.  John’s painting is below.  It’s a pretty accurate rendition.

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Around every corner and stretch of trail there is something interesting or fun to keep your interest peaked.  In fact, waiting to see what is next on the trail is enough to keep you going along the trail.

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“Wishbone” by James Irving (2010) is an interactive statue crafted by the Vermont based artist.  And, yes, you can sit on the seat there!

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“Steam Loco” by Scott Kessel and Matt Niland (2010).  Kessel and Niland, both from Middletown, CT, created this play locomotive train to resemble the locomotives of the time.  It is a magnetic interactive destination for young children and their families.

The 19th century granite blocks pictured above once supported the Old Railroad Bridge Embankment at the Merrimack River (a mile or so from their current location).  The blocks were relocated during the building of the rail trail.  They are purposefully displayed in a star pattern.

There also a couple of bridges along the trail.

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Unfortunately, some of the works of art have either been vandalized or disturbed by nature.  As I often say, this is why we can’t have nice things.This work of art “Will He” by Simon LaRochelle, based out of Quebec, is supposed to have a bicycle wheel in between the two slabs of limestone.  See the actual sculpture below.

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Some surprises along the trail are less artistic than others.

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“Torrential Flight” an aluminum sculpture by Brian Russell (2010) from Tennessee.

“Eclipse” by Rob Lorenson (2010) is a stainless steel.  Rob is based in Middleborough, Massachusetts.

Rob has two sculptures on the trail.  Closer to the harborwalk at the end of the trail stands his sculpture “Brushstrokes” a  red powder coated aluminum

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Newburyport purchased a horse sculpture called “Clyde” from artist Jamie Burnes based out of Weston, Massachusetts and Santa Fe, Mexico. Jamie specializes in making sculptures of horses, bulls and other land based animals.  Originally displayed on the waterfront as part of the sculpture park, Clyde is made of corten weathering steel and black locust wood and was made specifically for the trail.

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“Sparrows” by Dale Rodgers (2011) based in Haverhill, Massachusetts.  “Sparrows” is a 16-foot corten weathering steel sculpture of two sparrows, naturally.

“G-Swirl” by Dale Rogers (his second sculpture on the trail) (2010) is a scaled up stainless steel abstract sculpture.

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“Peace Offering” (2012) is not just a bronze sculpture.  It is actually a bench by Michael Alfano of Hopkinton, Massachusetts.  The bench acts as  a functional bench featuring a dove, in which the tail becomes the head of a hawk and the wings become hands that invite two people to sit down and discuss their differences.  The sculpture, which now sits at the harborwalk, down a flight of stairs from the rail trail, was purchased by Newburyport for the Rail Trail, in bronze.  There are also additional castings of the sculptures.  One of the additional castings was a gift of the 2012 Hopkinton High School graduates and is still at the high school.

 

Many of the models and structures are relevant to the history of the area like this rail.  The rail on the bridge is from the original rail trail that was in place during the train wreck on May 23, 1873.  The accident was due to a misplaced switch that forced a freight train onto a dead end side track.  Interestingly, no one was injured during the accident (the two passengers- a fireman and an engineer – jumped out of the train before it crashed) and the train was back on the track two days later.  But, it became famous, in part because many of the onlookers and the aforementioned engineer and fireman requested their photo be taken at the wreck.  The trail is also popular with skate and long boarders as you can see in the final photo.

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At the end of the southern most side of the trail is “Archway”by Mark Richey Woodworking.  The archway, made of white oak, leads to the commuter train, fittingly, at the end of the rail trail.

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There are also several well manicured and cared for plants, trees, graffiti and grassy areas on the trail.

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As an added bonus (I know some of you who will really appreciate this), there is a pathway cut through the trees and brush to an ice cream shop with a handy sign to point the way.

There was also a PanMass Challenge when I was visiting.  The bike ride is actually a 5 mile loop that ends at the harborwalk.

With its long, wide trails and grassy areas, the Clipper Rail Trail is a great place to walk your dog.  Rufus, a 5 year old sheepdoodle, enjoyed the cloudless, sunny day on the trail.

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And Savannah, a 4 year old Lab mix, took a break to pose for me.

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Arms Park (Manchester, NH)

Date Visited: February 27, 2016

Location: 10 Arms St, Manchester, New Hampshire

Cost: Free but you may have to pay for parking

Parking: Parking was ample when I went during a winter weekend day.

Hours: Open everyday sunrise to sunset

Arms Park

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Arms Park is a unique kind of park.  In fact it’s not really a park at all.  A stream, fed by the Amoskeag Fishways, runs parallel to the park.  It is the perfect place for people who love the sound of water and watching waves (and based on my previous posts I know you’re out there).  There’s not much to Arms Park.  A parking lot takes up most of the area (which has led some to call it “Arms Parking”) and a few office buildings dot the landscape.  It’s certainly not one of the most picturesque landscapes but the stream and walkway does have a certain charm.  It is often used for observing important important days such as the annual Pearl Harbor Day observance event and the Fourth of July fireworks display.

The river is usually pretty rough and could consequently be dangerous if anyone got caught up it in.

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It was still fairly cold when I went to visit, so the water which did splash on the railing quickly turned to ice.

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A variety of birds like to seek refuge at Arms Park.  I saw a bunch of gulls there during my visit.

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Arms Park has a short walkway along the river with benches along the way.

The video below gives a better representation of the choppy water at Arms Park.

 


Boston Common (Boston, MA)

The only thing missing from the holiday display at Boston Common is a fresh layer of snowy ground covering.

I’m still getting the hang of my long time nemesis: night time photography.  So, some photos are a bit grainy or blurry.

The Menorah was lit today (Sunday) as Hanukkah began today.  It was not lit during my visit Friday night.

Boston Common has become a family friendly spot for people of all ages to enjoy.  The Tadpole Playground is a fairly new addition to the Common.

The Frog Pond is iced over during the winter for skaters young and old, and of various skating ability.

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the zamboni’s coming right at us!

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More pretty decorations and lights

There’s not a shortage of things to get even the Scroogiest folks in the holiday spirit.

The Prudential Tower is visible from the Boston Common.  Each day in December they are lighting the top of the tower in the colors associated with a different charitable cause, as part of their 31 nights of lights.  The night I went they were recognizing the Catching Joy organization.  Lucky for us, the charity’s logo has a variety of colors in their name.  My photo is a little blurry but I am posting a video of the tower’s lights changing colors below.

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The State House, located just behind the Boston Common, is also decorated for the holiday.

Lilly and Cameron (left to right) were both in the holiday spirit

To get a better sense of the fun that can be had at Boston Common, especially this time of the year, click on the videos below.  Someone interrupted my video recording to ask for directions in the first video ( :

 


Natural Bridge State Park (North Adams, MA)

The bridges of Western Massachusetts are not just the ones you see on the roadways. But, don’t let the name fool you.  The Natural Bridge State Park has so much more to offer.

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Before you reach the natural bridge, a brook greets you at the entrance.

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Formed through series of continental collisions, erosion and the meltwaters caused by the Ice Age, the natural marble bridge is the only one of its kind in North America.

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Deep crevices and chasms were carved through the years of erosion and warming and cooling.

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The only marble bridge in North America, the natural bridge in North Adams is located just off the The Mohawk Trail. 

Adding to the beauty of the natural bridge, the park has a waterfall.

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The Natural Bridge State Park also has impressive views of the bridge and the park it overlooks.

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There are many flowers, trees, rocks, bridges (a bridge on a bridge of all things) and even David’s Bench that give the Natural Bridge State Park a special charm.

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During our travels, we met Sasha.

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Just as you think you’ve seen all the Natural Bridge State Park has to offer there is a small park area atop the walking bridge.  Statues and other structures made from the materials mined from the one time quarry rest along the top of the lofty bridge.  It capped off a perfect visit.

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Chester-Blandford State Forest (Chester, MA)

After photographing a variety of mountainous, rocky state parks, I thought it was time to mix it up and visit a rocky, hilly waterfall.  Initially, we planned on visiting CM Gardner State Park.  But, the helpful park rangers at CM Gardner suggested something more picturesque, Chester-Blandford State Forest.

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Since it encompasses such a large area (over 2,700 acres), Chester-Blandford has several entrances.  The first part of the park we arrived at, Boulder Park, is a rather small area with a pond and a few ill defined trails.  But, right from the rocky steps and mossy trails at the entrance it has a unique charm.

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The trails also have some unique walkways and structures.

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The highlight of the park may be the deep opening off the main trail.

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Boulder Rock also has some eye catching plants and wild life.

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The pond near the end of the main trail was a nice surprise.

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Boulder Rock also had its share of wildlife such as this salamander and mouse.

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Alas, our trip to Boulder Rock was over.  But, about a mile down the road another entrance beckoned us, the main entrance to the Sanderson Brooks Falls trail of Chester-Blandford.

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Pitcuresque views are scattered along the Brooks Falls trail.

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Due to the lack of rain recently, the rapids weren’t very, well, rapid.  But, the relatively still water and rocky brook provided some good shots.

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Sanderson Brook Falls also had a fair share of wildlife such as caterpillars,

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Toads

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and dogs, like Loona.

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After a roughly half an hour trek along some rocky terrain, a number of bridges and some steep inclines, I made it to the falls.   DSC_0338  DSC_0340   DSC_0354  DSC_0352 DSC_0351  DSC_0344  DSC_0341

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The brooks and falls are sure to be more active during the stormy seasons.  But, it is still impressive and worth the trip.

To get the full effect of the falls, click on the short video below.

Is there anywhere in the New England area you would like me to visit?

What are some of your favorite waterfalls?

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Hampton Ponds (Westfield, MA)

Pretty waterscapes are not regulated to the coastlines of New England.  Hampton Ponds State Park is proof of this.  A cute, expansive series of ponds that dot the Westfield area, Hampton Ponds is a popular area for swimmers, sun bathers and boaters.

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Upon reaching Hampton ponds, I was greeted by a gaggle of geese.

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And this one solitary goose.

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Hampton Ponds has some very impressive trees.

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But, it was the vivid greens and wild flowers of the ponds that stood out to me.

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Dragonflies also seemed to enjoy the greenery of Hampton Ponds.

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The water is so transparent at Hampton Ponds, you can see the fish that inhabit the waters.

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Birds are also plentiful at Hampton Ponds.  This swallow sort of blended into the sand on the beach head.

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Boaters and kayakers took advantage of the warm weather and clear waters at Hampton Ponds

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The motorboats created pretty ripples along the glassy water.

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Hampton Ponds doesn’t have any long walking trails.  But, it does make up for it with its pretty views.

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Hampton Ponds is also a popular spot for dogs.

Hercules stopped playing so I could take his photo.

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Sparky happily posed for his photo.

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Hampton Ponds is also the perfect place to reflect

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or to go fishing

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or to just play in the water.

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