Date Of Visit: May 5, 2024 (this event has ended. It was scheduled from April 22 to May 16)
Location: Naumkeag, Trustees, 5 Prospect Hill Rd Stockbridge, MA
Cost: $15 for non-member adults ($9 for members) on weekdays and $20 for non-member adults ($12 for members) on weekends. Tickets for children cost $5 each ($3 for members) no matter the day, and admission for children younger than two is free. Tickets are sold for timed entry and must be purchased online; Tickets were sold in a time based entry system.
Parking: Free parking is available on site with a nearby overflow lot
What better way to celebrate the beginning of spring than walking along the 8 acre gardens of the Naumkeag (pronounced “Nom-keeg”) estate? More than 130,000 colorful tulips, daisies and minor bulbs greeted the visitors at the garden of Naumkeag.
My 24 mm prime lens and 18-400 mm telephoto lenses helped me get some really great bokeh (background blur) in the photos accentuating the beauty of the flowers. It didn’t hurt that the flowers were arranged in a such a pretty array of colors.
There were also some beautiful backgrounds at Naumkeag that provided some beautiful photo opportunities.
I could spend all day photographing these beautiful displays of flowers!
While the daffodils and tulips and other flowers were the main attraction at the event, there were other pretty and impressive statues and structures at Naumkeag. And, yes, those are bubbles at one of the statues there!
There were also models of eggs that looked like larger versions of the eggs birds lay with the name of the bird that lays them.
The “summer cottage” at Naumkeag was bult in 1884 when Joseph Choate, a prominent New York attorney and U.S. Ambassador to Great Britain, and his wife, Caroline hired an architect to build the 44 room home. Tours are available on the first floor and, of course, you can purchase items in the gift shop also on the first floor.
There are additional events during the fall and winter seasons at Naumkeag. You can check out there website for more information.
Date Of Event: February 11, 2023 (usually held annually the weekend of or before Valentine’s Day)
Location Downton Salem, MA
Summary: In addition to the 24 ice sculptures that were placed around the downtown Salem area, there were festivities and activities for all to enjoy
It was that time of the year when throngs of people descend upon Salem, MA. No, I’m not referring to the Halloween season.
The Salem’s So Sweet ice sculpture event is quickly becoming one of the biggest events in the city. It’s also a great example of how Salem has become a place to visit throughout the year.
Originally, 28 sculptures were expected to be displayed. But, only 24 sculptures made it to the city.
Due to the weather conditions, it was unseasonably mild during the day, and the sun beating down on them, some of the sculptures were a little worse for the wear by the time I got to photograph them. I also like to photograph after they are lighted at 5 pm.
I was able to use my 24 mm prime lens that has an aperture of 1.4 at its lowest (most open) setting. So I didn’t have to use a tripod, although it did get a little tricky the darker it became.
I am listing them in the numerical order they were listed on their map. Also, the lights on some of the sculptures changed colors and some of the sculptures had special guests posing with them. I have also included photos of some of the sculptures when they were not lighted and when they were lighted to show the difference in the appearance of the sculptures
2 Blackcraft’s Nydia
3 Crystal Snowflake
4 The Commonwealth’s Civic Engagement University
5 Crescent Moon Disco
7 Dog(and dog posing like the dog ice sculpture). The cute dog modeling for me is Grizzly, a 4 year old Bloodhound.
9 Love You Evermore
11 Hocus Pocus
12 Salem’s So Sweet Showcase
13 Lego Minifigure Zeke, a one year old Pyrenees and Komondor mix, was a good boy and posed for this photo for me!
14 Year Of The Rabbit
15 Cat – not available
16 Snail – not available
17 Skeleton Snowman
19 Gummi Bear
20 Cinderella’s Carriage
22 Dragonfly – not available
23 Peace Love & Music
24 Crystal Ball
25 Ancestry Days Tree
26 Shooting Stars
28 Polar Bear – not available (I really would have liked to see that one!)
There were also additional lights and decorative displays throughout the city. This house on Derby St (some of you know the one) is usually lit up for many of the holidays and special events
And there were these cute decorations
But, this event had so much more than pretty sculptures and decorations. In the Salem Visitors Center there was a desk set up for visitors to make Valentines for the city of Salem or for their own personal reasons.
And, if that wasn’t enough, there were warming stations, colorfully dressed guides to help you find the sculptures, a surprise movie star, a band and other activities to entertain the visitors
There was also a special activity for people of all ages to participate in called Brighter Ignite. Brighter Ignite is an illuminated traveling exhibit that encourages people to connect, engage and play. Inspired by the courage of the Maccabees in the story of Hanukkah, the exhibit was designed by artist Tova Speter. Brighter Ignited activates the light from the community and encourages us to explore how we too can stand up for what we believe in.
Below are some videos from the event. I wanted to illustrate just how pretty the sculptures looked as the changed colors!
Have you ever wondered how some of the earlier settlers of New England celebrated the holidays? Then Old Sturbridge Village has just the thing for you.
Luckily, you can see see an accurate display of how New Englanders celebrated Christmas during the 1830s, 1850s and 1870s (except for bonuses like having indoor plumbing and electricity in homes and other modern day comforts) at their Christmas By Candlelight event. One of the biggest attractions is the Center Meeting House, especially during the evening.
The Center Meeting house was used for meetings, elections and sermons. During my visit they were playing music at the Meeting House.
Many other homes were also decorated for the event.
Everything from the furniture and the way the curtains were hung was true to that era, Even the character actors were dressed in clothing of that time.
This worker at Sturbridge was making stockings
As the light was waning and I didn’t want to use a flash in this environment, even though it would have helped bring out some of the features of the people and the settings, I used a prime lens with a low aperture so I could photograph in the low light conditions.
There were also people making decorations, knitting hats and baking holiday treats
There were also musicians performing traditional holiday music
As the sun set on Sturbridge Village, I was able to capture
In case you got cold, there were open fires for people to warm up
Sturbridge Village also showcased acres of lights and decorations
But not all of the lights were on trees and houses. Visitors also wore festive lights to get in the spirit of the event!
Each year Sturbridge Village holds a gingerbread home contest. They have showcased some incredible works in the past and this year was no different. It was a nice way to end the visit
Location: Hampton Beach, 169 Ocean Blvd, Hampton, NH
Parking: Metered parking is available at Hampton Beach. Since this is a popular event, parking is also available at various lots usually for $20 for the day during this event, although prices fluctuate based on the time of day and parking availability
Summary: Sand sculptors from all over the globe competed for the Hampton Beach Sand Sculpting grand prize
It may seem strange to talk to about sand sculptures and the beach during October. But, what better way to feel warm and cozy during these colder days than looking back to this annual summer event.
The theme for this year’s sand sculpture event, which began in 2000, was “The Greatest Show On Earth.” All of the competitors contributed to sculpting the main sculptures for this theme.
I made two visits to the beach to view the sand sculptures which may explain the difference in light and shade in the photos.
I am posting the photos in the order they were located on the beach and including info about each sculpture whenever background details were available..
“Transition” – Rusty Croft (Carmel, CA)
As is evident by the gravestone like sculpture, this sculpture is a tribute to a loved one who has “transitioned.” This sculpture placed 4th in the competition. As I was photographing these works of art I found it
“Primal” – Chris Guinto (Captain Cook, HI)
Chris, originally from Florida but currently residing in Hawaii, is no stranger to the competition or to winning awards. He won the Sculptor’s Choice Award in 2021.
He described his dinosaur skeleton (or as he called it “spineasaurus”) coming to life. As you will see as a common feature of these sculptures, the attention to detail is incredible.
“I Am Life” – Melineige Beauregard (Hawaii)
1st Prize and People’s Choice
Melineige, who won the competition in 2017, repeated her standard of excellence with “I Am Life” bringing home first place.
She said the sculpture was based on the “flower of life” design that is present in all of nature and life. According to Melineige, this pattern connects us all through flowers and nature. The front side represents the “flower of life” while the back side represents the death and destruction that is also present in our lives.
“Knowledge Is Limited. Imagination Encircles The World” – John Gowdy (Italy/New Jersey)
This sculpture, based on a quote by Albert Einstein, uses symbols like books, an owl and pen and paper to show the different ways to express knowledge. Again, the attention to detail is amazing.
“Wyvern Whisperer” – Greg Grady (Derry, NH)
Governor’s Choice Award
Grady, another regular competitor and founder of the sand sculpture event, said the inspiration for the sand sculpture the Wyvern (pronounced (why-vurn) Whisperer was his son. His son asked him to make a dragon and they settled on a two legged dragon (wyverns are 2 legged dinosaurs) and he modeled the smaller figure on his son who likes to play “super hero.”
“Linked” – Bruce Phillips (San Diego, CA)
Bruce, from San Diego, CA, said his sculpture represents people and working together.
“Trolls” – Karen Fralich (Ontario, Canada)
The meaning of this sculpture seems straight forward. Troll-like figures hug, offer treasures and act friendly to the crowned figure while they attempt to stab and mock him to his back
“Entropy” – Carl Jara (Lyndhurst, OH)
“Entropy”, in short a randomness or disorder in the system, certainly does show a disorder and randomness. Jara’s sculpture placed 3rd in the event.
“Let There Be Peace On Earth And Let It Begin With Me” – Justin Gordon (Groveland, MA)
“Hierarchy Of Needs” – Abe Waterman (Prince Edward Island, Canada)
Unfortunately, Abe’s sand sculpture collapsed due to weather conditions. So, a photograph of the sculpture was put in its place.
The sand sculptures are usually kept up for a week (in this case until June 26). The sculptures are also lit up for night viewing.
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.
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!
Summary: Coppal House Farm hosted their 7th annual Sunrise In The Sunflowers Festival
Summer, sunrises and sunflower. Who could possibly ask for more?
On August 1, he Coppal House Farm turned their farm into a sunflower paradise.
I arrived at Coppal House Farm bright and early for the “Sunrise In The Sunflowers” event which is particularly popular with photographers of all skill levels. I was surprised to see such a healthy crowd at 5:30 am. As the name of the event would suggest, the sunflowers really do pop with the rays of sun beaming on them. Initially, I was shocked to see the sunflowers were not facing the view of the sunrise. But, then it made complete sense as the sunbeams really hit the flowers and brought out their beauty. This time of day (the golden hour) is the optimal and, in my opinion, only time to photograph these flowers (except for possibly sunset).
I didn’t realize there were other types of sunflowers besides the yellow sunflowers that are so prominent.
There were also several props and decor for people to pose near for portrait shoots.
But there weren’t just sunflowers at the house farm.
There were a variety of different flowers at the farm.
There were also a few spooky trees at the event.
If you do visit Coppal House Farm don’t forget to buy a sunflower to take home or view the animals at the farm.
Every year, daffodils become the centerpiece of the gardens at the Tower Hill Botanic Garden as well as the rest of New England,. And this year was no different. According to their website, the peak time of the daffodils is the 3rs week of April until the first week of May. So, I chose the last week of April to visit.
Unfortunately, it was raining during my visit. The rain did let up a bit during my visit. But it did rain during my entire visit. And the rain did make for some pretty photo opportunities with the droplets on the flowers.
Ironically, it wasn’t the daffodils that stood out the most. It was the tulips that really caught my eye.
The decor of the gardens at Tower Hill Help to accentuate the beauty of the flowers.
Unfortunately, I could not stay long due to the rain and the difficulty taking photos while I tried to keep my camera dry. But I did my best to capture the beauty there as best I could. But daffodils will be there again next year and so will i!