Tag Archives: Photography

Prismatica (Boston, MA)

Date Of Visit: February 25, 2019

Location: 60 Seaport Blvd, Boston, MA

Hours: Open daily, 24 hours until April 1.  It’s been viewed during the evening or overcast days

Cost: Free

Parking:

  • Parking can be found at the heated One Seaport Garage, located at 75 Sleep Street, Boston, MA 02210

Handicapped Accessible: Yes

Dog Friendly: Yes

Website: Prismatica

Summary: 25 illuminated panels light up the Boston Seaport area.

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Don’t be surprised if you see lights and hear unusual sounds in the Seaport area.  It’s not the mothership coming for us.  It’s just another light display on Seaport Blvd.

The light display, appropriately named “Prismatica”, will be on display until April 1.  Although the lighted panels will be on display all day, it is best to view them during the evening hours, particularly after dusk for obvious reasons.

The 25 panels, which were made by RAW Design in collaboration with ATOMIC3, are laminated with a dichronic film that transmits and reflects every color in the visible spectrum.  The lights in the panels change depending on the position of the light source and the observer.

The colors of the pillars can be changed by the visitors. However, the lighted pillars in these photos were turned because of the high winds the evening I took these photographs.  In fact, it was the precursor to one of our many New England snow storms.  And, as they turned, their colors also changed.

 

 

But, that’s not all that changes.

The pillars also play sounds.  When you turn the pillars they emit soft sounds in addition to changing their colors.

The colors of the panels do not have to be turned or manipulated to change.  As you can see from the photos below, the panels change colors on their own.

 

 

As I mentioned in my previous post, I am going to add more of the settings I used and my advice about shooting displays and places like this.  Although I do recommend using a tripod for shoots like this (evening shoots with low light) and I did bring mine with me, I did not have to use my tripod because the external light sources at this venue provided enough light for me to shoot without having to use the tripod.  Like many other photographers, I prefer to avoid using a tripod whenever possible because it is bulky and slows me down.  I was also able to bring out some of the light by bumping up my ISO a bit and using my settings in Adobe Lightroom.  This brings me to my next point about shooting late at night or in any lighting situation actually which I will outline below.

One thing I have noticed, for whatever it is worth, that it can be tempting and very easy to overcompensate for low light environments by overcompensating with the exposure, contrast, saturation and other settings.  I see it often.  I am sure you do as well.  While it may vary on the situation, I try to emulate the images as I saw them to the best of my ability.  I could have very easily upped the saturation and clarity (and the urge is very tempting to do so).  But I wanted to represent the display as closely as to what I saw and what it really looked like at least on that night.  That is a key point, too.  The same place, display or person can and often will look different on different days or even at different times of the same day.  Before I go on and on, which I could easily do, I’ll spare you all of my thoughts about this point.  There will be many other shoots to delve into the settings in Adobe or Photoshop.

To wrap up my details of this shoot, I used a 3.5 or 4.0 aperture setting for most of these shots with a variety of shutter speeds from 1/10 to 1/100 shutter speed (I usually shoot with an aperture priority setting so the camera chose that speed) and an ISO of 320 and I probably could have even gone lower.

Feel free to send comments about how you may have shot this light display or any other thoughts you may have about anything I have posted.  I am still learning.  So I would appreciate any thoughts you may have.

Similar Displays I Have Visited:

Loop (Boston, MA)

Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway Part II

 

 


Loop (Boston, MA)

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Date Of Visit: January 28, 2019

Location: 60 Seaport Blvd, Boston, MA

Cost: Free

Hours: 7:00am-10:00pm.
Dates of exhibit January 11th – February 17th

Parking:

  • Parking can be found at the heated One Seaport Garage, located at 75 Sleep Street, Boston, MA 02210

Handicapped Accessible: Yes

Dog Friendly: Yes

Website: The Loop

Summary: A light display that also features short “films” on a loop.  This exhibit is no longer on display.

The upside to the cold, dark winter nights are the exhibits, particularly illuminated exhibits, that are scattered throughout the city.  Lights and fun, interactive exhibits seem to bring a little more cheer to what may seem like long, cold, never ending winters.  This is the concept of the Bright Lights For Winter Nights season long festivities.

As a new-ish photographer, I like to share my experiences and observations with other photogs.  In this vein, I wanted to share my night time photography experiences.

One obstacle I have learned to overcome or at least improve in is night time photography. I have noted through my experiences that night time photographs is much more pretty than any daytime photographs, except for the golden hour of course.

I used to hate night time photography.  Sunset and post sunset light used to mean it was time to pack up and go home.  Through experience, lessons from books and videos and classes, I have learned to not only appreciate night time photography, I actually prefer it.  In fact, in a recent discussion about photography I have described daytime photography, particularly mid day photography, as being like taking half a photo.  Displays, buildings and even nature all take on a different look when they are lit up at night.  It’s almost like photographing a completely different image.  I love it, even if it means having to lug around my tripod. I still struggle with it at times.  More often than not my struggles actually stem from the tripod itself.  At times, the tripod breaks, I forgot to tighten a screw on the tripod or some other issue arises.  Perhaps you can relate to my struggles.  But, unless it’s a very low light situation or very late at night, I rarely have to use the tripod.  In fact, because of all of the lighting fixtures at the Loop, I didn’t have to use the tripod to photograph The Loop.  The biggest tip I can give about low light photography is to not be afraid to boost the ISO (I always thought this was a no-no until recently).  You can always “fix” it in post production with your noise reduction tool if you use Lightroom.

Now, back to the display, one of the first exhibits of the Bright Lights Winter Nights display was The Loop.  Comprised of six illuminated, moving cylinders which play music and animations, the Loop is an interactive exhibit that allows you to watch film strip like shows.  While sitting in the loop exhibits, the person sitting can pull a handlebar which moves the images and creates an animated story.  Music and flickering lights complement the images.

The timed lights on the loops change in color and brightness of the loops.  The loops are very pretty, particularly during the dusk and the low light times of day.  In fact, if you only saw the lights you may mistake them as simply pretty lights.  The decorative lights on the trees and hang on the strings in the background help to accentuate the beauty of the illuminated loops.

The images inside of the loop are said to be based on fairy tales.  When used correctly, the images play out a story that look seamless.

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Dogs are welcome to view the exhibits.  Jack, a 12 year old Wheaton Terrier, and his mom stopped by to check out the Loop.

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Below are two videos the Loop display.  The first video is a walk through of the exhibit.  The second video is a video of the images that show as you pull the handlebar on the loop.  It’ was very cold, naturally it is Boston during winter, so there weren’t many people there to film the loop as I used.  So, I managed this on my own.  Using one hand to hold the camera and one hand to use the handlebar was no easy task.  But, I tried my best.  I hope you enjoy.

 

 

 


President’s Day Celebration (Quincy, MA)

Date Of Event: February 17, 2019

Location: Hancock-Adams Greenway, Quincy, MA (about 10 minutes south of Boston and 45 minutes northeast of Providence, RI)

Cost: Free

Parking: There was free parking available at the Ross Garage

Handicapped Accessible: Yes

Dog Friendly: Yes

Summary: Quincy, MA, held their first (of hopefully many) President’s Day celebrations which included games for children, a band, costumed entertainers, an orchestra, a play for children and the Fire Gypsy.

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What better place to spend Presidents Day than Quincy, MA, the home to two U.S. Presidents as well as former Governor of MA John Hancock (Hancock has been considered to be from Quincy after the part of Braintree he was from was annexed into Quincy)?

The first Presidents Day celebration included a tour of the crypt where the former Presidents John Adams and John Quincy Adams have been laid to rest.  Both presidents were originally buried in a tomb at the Hancock Cemetery across the street.  But, since John Adams wanted to buried in a church, the bodies were moved to the basement of what is now called the United First Parish Church.  The tomb where the bodies were originally laid to rest is still at the cemetery.  The presidents and their wives bodies, or remain, are in the crypt at the church.

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Some very tall costumed entertainers greeted visitors.

 

Souljacker ably covered some Rolling Stones and other classic rock bands.

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Behind The Mask performed for the children at the event.

 

There were also games such s air hockey and other table games for people to play.

 

One of the biggest attractions was the Fire Gypsy.  Despite the very cold temperatures, everyone stayed for the entire show.

 

The Presidents Day celebration was dog friendly.  I saw these two dogs during my visit.

Callie is a 5 year old Saint Bernard.

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Ren is a 9 month old Whippet mix.

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Air, Sea And Land (Boston, MA)

Date Of Visit: January 28, 2019

Location: Seaport Blvd, Boston, MA

Hours: The sculptures are accessible 24 hours a day

Cost: Free

Parking: limited street parking is available.  There are also parking garages and lots in the area (specifically at 101 Seaport Blvd and 85 Northern Ave)

Handicapped Accessible: Yes

Dog Friendly: Yes

Summary: 7 multi colored sculptures by Okuda San Miguel line Seaport Blvd

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Land, sea and air are not just ways to travel.  They’re also a new art installation in Boston’s Seaport District.   The art project by Okuda San Miguel, a Spanish painter from Santander, Spain, was installed on Seaport Blvd in October, 2018. As a guide to know where the sculptures are located on Seaport Blvd, the art installations begin near the side street of Sleeper St and extend to East Service Rd.

The sculptures are lit up at night, and since I think the lighting makes art seem to come alive, I thought this would be the ideal time to photograph the art work.  I actually happened upon these statues while I was on my way to photograph a different illuminated outdoor exhibit.  But, it just goes to show there’s always so many different exhibits in the city all year round.

The exhibit is meant to bring the viewer into his imagination so they can expand their thoughts on evolution, coexistence, and harmony.  Mythology and beasts play an important role San Miguel’s exhibit. The 7 sculptures which are located  range in height from 8 to 12 feet.  In his exhibit, Okuda separates animals into 2 separate categories: domestic and wild.  He uses these categories to emphasize the natural balance of our environment.

I am posting the sculptures in the numerical order listed on the placards placed next to the sculptures.  The sculptures are numbered 1 to 7 beginning at the top of Seaport Blvd.  (near 60 Seaport Blvd). The sculptures are located in about a distance of a mile.

One thing I noticed is the sculptures almost look like they’re in 3D, especially when they’re lit up at night.  This is particularly evident with the multi colored vibrant sculptures.

I couldn’t find much information about the meaning or message about the art, except what I mentioned above.  The placards only listed the name of the sculpture and the category of the type of art the sculpture is categorized which I have included in parentheses.

The first sculpture in the display is called Creation (Light).

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Sculpture number 2 is called Creation (Water).

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The third sculpture is called Mythology (Mythological Being 1).

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Sculpture number 4 is called Mythology (Mythological Being 2).

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Natural Balance (Coexistence) is the fifth sculpture on Seaport Blvd.

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The sixth sculpture is Diversity (Domestic).

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The seventh sculpture is called Diversity (Wild).

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I am not sure how long the exhibit will be up although it seems unlikely the city would want to take down the sculptures during the winter since the inclement and cold conditions could make dissembling them difficult.  Also, it is somewhat dangerous to view and photograph these sculptures, particularly at night.  So, please do use caution if you do view these sculptures and use the many traffic lights on Seaport Blvd to ensure this safety.


Ice Invasion (Springfield, MA)

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Date Of Visit: January 26, 2019 (usually the last weekend of January)

Location: MGM Casino, One MGM Way, Springfield, MA and Downtown Springfield, MA area (about 2 hours west of Boston and 30 minutes north of Hartford, CT)

Cost: Free

Parking: There is parking available throughout the city and parking garages in the city.  Free parking to view the ice carving demonstration is also available at the MGM Casino.  Parking info available at the attached link: Parking In Springfield

Dog Friendly: Yes

Highlights: ice sculptures, ice carving demonstration

Summary: Thirteen ice sculptures of various shapes and sizes carved by Joe Almeida located throughout the city of Springfield (I found 11 of them).  Joe also conducted an ice carving demonstration during the Ice Invasion event.  Some of the sculptures are lit up at night.

Website: Ice Invasion

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While ice is nothing unusual this time of the year in New England, there was an ice invasion of a different sort this past weekend in Springfield, MA.

This Ice Invasion was part of the American Hockey League (AHL) All Star Classic celebration which was being held at the Mass Mutual Center in Springfield, MA.

Joe Almeida of Sculptures In Ice carved all of the sculptures for the event.  He kicked off the Ice Invasion with a live carving demonstration in front of the Armory in the common area on the grounds of the  Saturday afternoon.  Joe said the ice blocks can weigh up to as much as 300 pounds and he uses snow to write the MGM and Springfield in the sculpture.  The lights at the bottom of the sculpture give the golden color which is emblematic of the MGM Casino logo.

The first sculpture at the Ice Invasion was at the outdoor skating rink at the MGM.  Unfortunately, no one was skating during my visit.

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Most of the sculptures were located on Main St with a few located on the side streets (see link in the description above to view a map of all of the locations).

The most appropriate sculpture was a sculpture of a hockey player wearing a Springfield Thundercats uniform.

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Most of the other sculptures had a winter theme to them such as this ice sculpture of a person sledding.

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And this snowflake.

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While it certainly was cold and breezy, the temperatures were in the high 20s to low 30s and the sun was out.  So there was some melting noticeable.  In fact, it was a little hard to see some of the features of some of the sculptures and it was hard to tell what one of them was, specifically the sculpture at the Spring Museum.  I think it was a dragon.

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There were also two sculptures of people throwing snowballs.

This guy was very cold.

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There was also wildlife at the Ice Invasion.  This penguin was hanging out outside Union Station.

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And this bear

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All of the ice sculptures, except one, were in walking distance (although it was a fairly solid walk – my Fitbit recorded 5 miles back and forth during our stroll).  But, I did drive to photograph the last sculpture at the Springfield Museum.

Something to keep in mind is that some of the sculptures on the map were not on display.

Now, sadly, we are in store for a real ice invasion.

Below is a video of a news report on the local news about the event.  Who is that in the video at the 40 second mark?

 

Also, I have been posting on another page called Hidden New England.  I am focusing on some of the lesser known or “hidden treasures” of New England in this blog.  There may be some overlap from some places I have visited previously in this blog.  But I am also finding new hidden gems in the area to post about.  Please follow my blog and take a look at my Facebook page as well.  Here is the link to my Hidden New England page on WordPress: Hidden New England

The link to my Facebook page for Hidden New England is here : Hidden New England

Similar events and places I have visited:

2018 Greenfield Carnival Ice Sculptures

2018 Salem’s So Sweet Ice Sculptures

Things to do in the area:

MGM Springfield

Springfield Museums

 

 

 

 


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