Tag Archives: plants

Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway Part I (Boston, MA)

Dates Of Visits: August 12, 13, 18, 19, 2018

Location: Various locations in Boston, MA

Hours: Open daily, 7 a.m. until 11 p.m.

Cost: Free

Parking: there is some street parking available at some parts of the Greenway (particularly on Atlantic Ave) and several parking garages in the area.  There are also several MBTA train stations within walking distance to the Greenway such as South Station

Trail Size/Difficulty: 15 acres, 1.5 miles/easy

Handicapped Accessible: Yes

Dog Friendly: Yes

Highlights: flowers,scenic,dog friendly, historic

Websites: Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway

Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway Overview

Good Historical Overview Of The Greenway Project

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Like it or not, the morning and evening temperatures are beginning to plummet and the days are growing shorter.  Since I only have a short window to visit some of the more interesting outdoor venues for this season, I finally made it out to Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway.

Named after the matriarch of the Kennedy family, the Greenway has a wide variety of attractions.  From a carousel to works of to the beautiful gardens and flowers along the trail, the Greenway has something for everyone.

Since there is so much to see and photograph along the Greenway, I decided to break up this blog series into three parts.  The first part, which I will post today, is going to include the gardens and flowers at the Rose Kennedy Greenway.  Part 2 will include the art on the Greenway and Part 3 will include the entertainment along the Greenway.  And, of course, there will be dogs included in each post as well!

Once upon a time, specially from 1959 when the elevated John F Fitzgerald Kennedy-Central Artery construction ended and 1981 when the “Big Dig” (an underground tunnel project) began, an elevated highway spanned what is now the Greenway.  Fun fact: some of the dirt from the “Big Dig” tunnel project was used to resurface Spectacle Island in Boston Harbor.

The first thing you’ll notice on the Greenway, particularly during the spring and summer, are the bright, beautiful plants and flowers.

The gardens and flowers along the Greenway are all treated organically so people do not have to worry about their children and pets being affected by any pesticides and make the flowers look beautiful.

There are pollinators along the Greenway.  The pollinators, which were installed in 2016, are designed to attract and support pollinator species.  Since pollinating insects are important to all seed propagated plants, the pollinators provide an important role in the growth of the plants.

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The Greenway also has a garden where they grow edible fruits and vegetables such as bluberries.  The blueberries and other fruits and vegetables are a big hit with the birds.

I especially like how the buildings provide such a stark contrast to the beauty of the plants and flowers.

In fact, the buildings are so impressive I couldn’t help but take a few photos of the buildings as well.

Although it is only 1.5 miles long, the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway is full of surprises and special areas such as “Mothers’ Walk.”

Along the The Mothers’ Walk are engraved bricks with the names of loved ones.  For a measley $500 donation people could have names inscribed on bricks along the walk.

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Along the wall there is an inscription that reads, “To all who have cared, encouraged, inspired, laughed and loved, this Mothers’ Walk is dedicated to you and to those who have supported this beautiful Greenway.

There is also a park along the Greenway called The Carolyn Lynch Garden.  The garden was dedicated in Summer 2018 to Carolyn Hoff Lynch, an avid gardener and a leading philanthropist, who passed away in 2015.  The garden is bursting with colors in the spring and summer and has some scenic views.

Along Carolyn Lynch Park and other parts of the Greenway you will find historic events summarized on a timeline about the area.  The dates and events vary depending on where the timeline along the fences appear.  For instance in the part of the Greenway located in the North End, there are dates of events that took place in that area and quotes from people in the area.

The Greenway is a wonderful place to take your leashed pet.  Below are a few of the dogs I saw on the Greenway.

Tommy is a 6 year old Boxer, Labrador, Retriever, Beagle mix rescue dog.  Tommy is a social media star.  You can find him at bostondogtommy on Instagram.

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Jack is a 12 year old Pomeranian.

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Stayed Tuned for Part II coming soon!


Talcott Greenhouse At Mount Holyoke College Botanic Garden (South Hadley, MA)

Date Of Visit: January 20, 2018

Location: 50 College St, South Hadley, MA

Hours: Mon-Fri: 9 a.m. – 4 p.m, Sat & Sun 1 p.m. -4 p.m. (hours may vary depending on the season)

Cost: Free

Parking: There is a parking lot for about 40 cars

Handicapped Accessible: Yes

Website: Talcott Greenhouse

Related Post: 2017 Spring Bulb Show At Smith College

Highlights: variety of plants in the Talcott Greenhouse at Mount Holyoke College

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It may seem a little early in the year for New Englanders to be talking about our gardens and plants, especially since we just received 3 inches of snow in the Boston area. But, the Talcott Greenhouse is a great place to go for a preview of the spring planting season that will soon be here.

The greenhouse has a wide variety of plants

There were a variety of plants and flowers that caught my attention like this huge cactus!

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The botanical garden is open all year. The plants are cared for by a friendly and knowledgeable staff. In fact, the person working there during my visit helped answer a few questions I had about some of the plants and flowers int eh garden.

This particular flower is an orchard. The banana-looking parts of he flower are actually where the plant stores water.

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Below are a few of the plants and flowers that caught my eye.

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Philodendron Erubescens (“Pink Princess”)

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Begonia Brevirimosa

Microsorum Thailandicum

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Sinning Bullata

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Begonia Silver Jewel Dibleys

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Cirita Keiko

and the rest…

I especially liked how the flowers were displayed throughout the botanical garden. The colors of the plants in each group seemed to blend so well with all of the other plants they were placed with.

The coolest part of the greenhouse was definitely this tree that was growing through a wall!


Prescott Park (Portsmouth, NH)

Date Of Visit: July 29, 2017

Location: 105 Marcy St, Portsmouth, NH

Hours: open daily, sunrise to sunset

Cost: Free

Parking: There is a parking lot located on Old Bay St as well as street parking throughout the area

Handicapped Accessible: Yes

Dog Friendly: No

Website: Prescott Park

Highlights: flowers and plants, scenic, family friendly

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Bursting with color and fragrances, Prescott Park is sure to impress even those with the faintest of green thumbs.

A gift from Sarah and Josie Prescott in 1940, Prescott Park has come a long way from its industrial beginnings.   The highlight of the park, at least during the summer, has to be the garden that sits at the entrance by Old Bay St and Marcy St.  But, Prescott Park has more than just flowers there.

Prescott Park is much more than the garden that I focused on during my visit.  In fact, it is such a big area that they hold concerts with such popular artists as Aaron Neville and Valerie June and other events at the park.  During my visit they were holding a children’s party where a play was being performed.

 

 

There are two memorials at Prescott Park.  The first memorial is a fountain which is dedicated to  a fountain dedicated to Charles Emerson Hovey, an Ensign in the United States Navy and Portsmouth, NH native, who was killed in action on September 24, 1911.

 

 

The next memorial is less obvious.  A sign and anchor stand in front of the prominent flower bed at the front of the garden.

 

 

The sign in front of the flower bed states “A Salute To An Ordinary Hero.”  This “ordinary hero” was Billy Juse, a New Hampshire native, who died in an underground tunnel while he was working on the Deer Island Project during the 1990’s.  He was 34.  Since he and another coworker, Tim Nordeen, died on the same day John Fitzgerald Kennedy’s body was recovered, his story was overlooked in the news.  One solemn reminder remains in the park.

There are also view of the Piscataqua River, a popular spot for boating and kayaking.

 

 

There are benches, art and pretty trees and flowers on the way to the garden at Prescott Park.

 

 

Prescott Park has a variety of beautiful and colorful plants and flowers.  Since we’ve had so much rain and

 

 

The flowers ranged from the common to the unique.

 

 

To the left in the photo is Pelargonium Geranium Timeless Orange (yeah they look red to me as well),  To the right is the Pelargonium Geranium Timeless Pink.  Yeah, I know all of the types of flowers in the world.  Kidding.  They all had their names neatly written on them on cards by the flower beds.

Now for the truly scary part of the tour. The dinosaurs have invaded Prescott Park.  This is a great way to get kids interested and involved in viewing the flowers and plants at Prescott.  I

 

 

Sadly, dogs are not allowed at the flower garden area of Prescott Park.  But, I did see lots of dogs like Teddy, a 10 year old Pomeranian,  passing by on Old Bay Street which is next to the flower garden.

 

 

Today’s featured link is a link to an article that appeared in the Boston Globe magazine about the tragedy on the Deer Island Project in which Billy Juse and some of his co workers perished: Deer Island Tragedy

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Windsor Lake (North Adams, MA)


Spring Bulb Show (The Botanic Garden of Smith College, Northampton, MA)

Dates Of Event: March 4 – March 19, 2017 (photos taken March 4)

Location: The Botanic Garden of Smith College, 16 College Lane, Northampton, MA

Hours: 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM daily.
Friday, Saturday and Sunday extended hours 10:00 AM – 8:00 PM (members get in earlier at 9 .a.m)

Cost: Free ( a $5 donation is suggested)

Parking: unmetered parking is available on College Lane and additional parking is available throughout Northampton

Handicapped Accessible: Yes, from their website: There is one designated handicapped parking space in front of the Lyman Plant House. Two of the three front entrances to the Lyman Plant House and Conservatory are wheelchair accessible and the restrooms are accessible. There is a lift in the front of the building that goes between the lower level Church Exhibition Gallery and the Reception area. All but one of the greenhouses (the Fern House) are accessible.

Highlights: Avariety of flowers such as crocuses, hyacinths, narcissi, irises, lilies and tulips in full bloom or nearly in bloom at the Botanic garden of Smith College

Web Site: The Botanic Garden of Smith College

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Believe it or not, spring, for most if us, is right around the corner.  Soon enough, drab, colorless soil and grass and dead flowers and plant life will be replaced with the vibrant colors of spring and summer.

As an early celebration of the spring season, the Botanic Garden of Smith College is showcasing a colorful array of flowers as part of their Spring Bulb Show (which ironically ends the day before the Vernal Spring buds, get it?) .

There were a wide variety of flowers of display and I won’t even try to name or describe all of them, except to sayy they were very pretty.

The gaarden used works of art such as paintings and statues to highlight the beauty of the flowers.  It was very well done and it brought out the colors of the flowers.

The people at the Botanic garden were kind enough to open the rest of the garden to us which showcased an impressive field of flowers and trees.

I also spotted a frog, fish and some other mysterious faces at the garden.

 

We also saw Kaezli, a beautiful 4 year old Burnese Mountain Dog, outside the Botanic garden.

Below is a video of a plant that closes when it feels pressure or weight and a video of a waterfall at the garden.


Silvio O. Conte National Fish & Wildlife Refugee – Fort River Division (Hadley, MA)

Date Of Visit: September 7, 2016

Location: 69 Moody Bridge Rd, Hadley, MA

Hours: Open everyday, sunrise until sunset

Cost: Free

Parking: There is a lot at the entrance of the trail for about 20-30 cars

Dog Friendly: Yes

Handicap Accessible: Yes

Highlights: wildlife, easy trail, flowers

Web Site: Sylvio O. Conte National Fish & Wildlife Refuge

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Named after Silvio Ottavio Conte, a 16 term Republican member of the U.S. House of Reprentatives from Pittsfield, MA, the Silvio O. Conte National Fish & Wildlife Refuge is  and easy 1.1 mile trail dotted with trees, flowers and the occasional bird.

Broken into 9 divisions and 9 units across New England, the Sylvio O. Conte parks feature a variety of parks in Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut and New Hampshire.

I chose to visit the Fort River Division in Hadley, Massachusetts during the week of the Labor holiday.  So, the photos are not an accurate display of what the refuge looks like now.  It is undoubtedly even more beautiful with all of the foliage this time of the year.

The refuge has mostly flat, well groomed trails with some raised platform walkways.

There are benches and lookouts along the way.

The views from the lookouts and on the trails are very pretty.

The flowers, plants and trees at the Sylvio O. Conte trail are also very pretty.

Although it was only the early part of September, I saw the signs of fall on the trail.  Leaves covered parts of the trail and some of the leaves appeared to be turning color already.

As the name indicates, the Fort River runs through a portion of the trail.

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The winding trails are very charming.  They make you wonder what could be around the next corner.  Even though it is only slightly more than a mile in length, the trail does provide a lot of surprises.  One of the surprises you may find on the trail is wildlife.  Deer, bobcats and coyote are said to populate the area.  But, I didn’t see any of them during my visit.  Oh, and then there are birds.  There are lots of birds at Sylvio O. Conte trail.  I photographed a few of them.

While it’s certainly not a challenging trail and you’re not likely to find too much wildlife or other surprises, I would still recommend this trail to anyone looking for a casual walk with some pretty scenery.


Bear Brook State Park (Allenstown, NH)

Date Visited: August 27, 2016

Location: 157 Deerfield Rd, Allenstown, NH

Cost: $4 for adults, $2 for children (ages 6-11), children 5 and under get in for free, NH residents 65 and older are also admitted free of charge

Hours: Open daily, sunrise to sunset, campground schedule: May 6 -Oct. 29 (2016), Sun-Thu 8 a.m. – 8 p.m., Fri 8 a.m. – 10 p.m.

Size: 10,000 acres

Time To Allot For Visit: 2 to 3 hours

Parking:  There are about 50-60 parking spaces in the main parking area (see photo below)

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Additional parking can be found at Hayes Field (see attached map)

Dog Friendly: Yes

Highlights: Very popular with cyclists, several large ponds and marshes, teeming with wildlife, campgrounds, archery target area, fishing (fly fishing only)

Lowlights: too big to hike or bike all in one day

Bear Brook State Park

Bear Brook State Park Trail Map

 

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A haven for cyclists and nature lovers, Bear Brook State Park in Allenstown, New Hampshire is the largest developed state park in New Hampshire.  Boasting 10,000 acres, over 40 miles of trails, several ponds and other bodies of water and marsh lands, Bear Brook is the biggest state park I have hiked.

Although there were many frogs and turtles visible at Bear Brook, birds, deer and other wildlife proved to be more elusive.

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Bear Brook also has a fishing area, two of them actually.  There is the Archery Pond, which also has an archery target area.  Only fly fishing is allowed in the pond.

The archery target practice area is to the right of the pond.

Across the paved road from Archery is a kids fishing pond for children 12 years old and younger.  A fishing pond for children!  How cute is that?

What my visit to Bear Brook lacked in deer, birds and other more typically photographed wildlife, it made up for in smaller critters.

I did see a few runners and hikers but the overwhelming majority of the visitors at Bear Brook were cyclists.  The trails vary from flat and easy to steep, rocky and challenging.  I would consider some trails to be very challenging even for the advanced cyclist and I did not see any cyclists on some of the more steep and rocky trails.

You never know what you’ll find at Bear Brook State Park.  While walking along the main trail, I came across this grave site for an unknown soldier from the Civil War.  There is no marker for the Union or Confederacy.  The only flag or designation displayed is an American flag.

There is also a stream running under a bridge at the entrance

There are also several ponds, marshes and creeks.

There are also beautiful, vividly colored trees, plant life, spiderwebs (ok, maybe that’s not so beautiful) and a sign that summer is soon ending.

Speaking of beautiful trees and plants, one that thing is hate to see at parks is the cutting down of trees or, as the parks call it”sanitation timber harvest.”  However, in the case of Bear Brook, and most state parks, there was good reason for this sanitation.  Because of an infestation of red pine scale, many of the red pine plantations had to be cut down.  The sanitation began in 2013 and was completed in 2014.  For whatever reason, it’s always sort of sad to see so many open spaces and stumps.

The trail for Hayes Farm does not lead to a farm but rather what used to be a farm.  You can see remnants of the stones which surrounded the farm from the trail.

This is my only gripe about the park.  There are long swaths of land without much there.  It’s very pretty and largely untouched by humans.  In fact, it is such a big park that I was unable to get to one of the bigger attractions, Catamount Trail that is supposed to have pretty scenic views.  But, after 6 hours of hiking and photographing the park I didn’t have the energy for that hike.  But, keep it in mind if you do go.

There is also a campground with a place to park your camper or rent one of their own.  Check their website for fees and availability.

There were not many dogs at Bear Brook.  In fact, Jack, a 9 year old rat terrier from Rhode Island, is the only dog I saw during my trip.

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Similar Places I Have Visited In New England:

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Breakheart Reservation (Saugus, MA)

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Pawtuckaway State Park (Nottingham, NH)

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Green Animals Topiary Garden (Portsmouth, RI)

Date Visited: June 25, 2016

Location: 380 Corys Ln, Portsmouth, RI (about 15 minutes north of Newport, RI and 1 hour south of Boston, MA)  (401) 683-1267 

Hours: Open everyday  10-5 seasonally (May 21 – Oct. 10 this year but the dates may change each year)

Cost: $15.99 for adults, $6.99 for youth (ages 6-17).  There are discounts available if you provide an AARP card (I’m not quite that old yet) and if you have AAA and possibly if you’re in the military.  Take note that the Green Gardens is considered part of the Newport Mansions and their prices are based on how many houses you visit.  In this case, the price was based on a one house tour because there is only one mansion on the premises (the Brayton House)

Parking: Free parking for 24 vehicles

Dog Friendly: No (service dogs may be allowed)

Highlights: shrubs and bushes cut into shapes of animals and other shapes, pretty flowers and gardens, mansion (Brayton House)

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If you think the grass is always greener on the other side, you’ve never been to the Green Animals Topiary Garden in Portsmouth, Rhode Island.

Located adjacent to the Brayton house, the Green Animals display is the brainchild of gardener Joseph Carreiro.  Carreiro began the topiary in 1905 and the 80 pieces of topiary have been in place at the garden ever since.

The topiary may be the main  attraction.  But the flowers and plants are also very pretty.  In fact, as much as I loved the different shapes at the topiary, I found the flowers and the garden near the side of the topiary to be just as appealing.

The website states there are 80 different shapes sculpted into the greenery (although I don’t remember seeing that many).  I have included the most interesting of these 80.

The Damask Rose Garden is featured at the entrance of the topiary.

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The topiary has shapes of all kinds of animals. Like this giraffe.

DSC_0306DSC_0303with her/his baby giraffe (the black dot in this and some other photo is dirt on my sensor which I didn’t notice until after I got home unfortunately)

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And this duck.

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This is a growly bear (it is standing on its hind quarters)

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Not all of the shapes are made in the image of creatures that are presently with us.  This dinosaur was one of the scarier shapes in the garden.

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This colorful shape is of a yew rooster

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I don’t usually get this close to lions.

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This swan peaked her head out among the other green animals.

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This appears to be a bird

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It was a little warm for a polar bear

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Reindeers aren’t just in the North Pole.

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There are even human shapes cut into the greenery.  This human is riding a horse.

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This police officer helped direct traffic around the green garden.  I am not sure if he is affiliated with the Portsmouth department.

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There’s even a mythical unicorn

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This baby bear just wants a hug

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There are even inanimate objects cut into the greenery.  For instance, you can take a seat in this chair if you get tired (I am just kidding, you’re not allowed to climb and/or touch the greenery)

One of the few birds who actually sits still long enough for me to photograph him

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I looked like this elephant was going to charge!

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I don’t mean to boar you with this piece from the topiary.

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The handout I received did not have a description for this shape.  it appears to be a train.

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This mommy and baby bear were sitting outside the Brayton mansion.

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There is also a pet cemetery located at the topiary.  Four pets of the owners are buried there.  This section is very peaceful and decorative.  The cemetery has a bench for sitting and reflecting and gravestones with the names of the deceased friends.  It is very tranquil.

The flowers and garden are well kept and have some very vivid colors. I thought it was cute how they had “scarepeople” instead of scarecrows.  I also liked the different chairs and wind vane and other decor around the grounds.

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There is also a fish pond with goldfish in it.

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I also liked the Brayton House.  They do not allow flash photography in the house (although you can take photos with your cellphone).  I don’t like how photos look on my cellphone so I didn’t take any photos in the house but it is a must see on the tour.

 

 

 


Mass Audubon Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary (Easthampton, MA)

Date Visited: June 1, 2016

Location: 127 Combs Rd, Easthampton, MA

Hours:

Trails & Restrooms:
Daily, dawn to dusk

Visitor Center
Mon-Thurs, 9 am – noon
Fri, 9 am – 3:30 pm
Sat, 9 am – noon
Sunday seasonally

Cost:

Members: Free
Nonmembers:
$4 Adults
$3 Children (2-12)
$3 Seniors (65+)

A year long pass for new members cost me $32 for a “family” pass which includes two named adults living in the same household and their children or grandchildren under the age of 18 to free admission.  It usually costs $65.  The levels of passes can range from an individual ($48) to patron ($500).  Check their website or call them for more details.

Parking:  Parking was abundant.  There were some events for children going on when I went and there was room for everyone to park there.

Dog Friendly: No pets are allowed.  So leave Fido at home!

Highlights:  miles of trails, observation tower, lots of wildlife, great blue heron rookery, camps, programs, classes and activities (particularly for children), friendly and helpful staff

Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary

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Located about 20 minutes north of Springfield, MA and  just over an hour and a half west of Boston, MA, Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary is teeming with a variety of wildlife.  Some of the wildlife you see may surprise you.

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I had never been so close to a deer, at least not in the wild.  I was close enough to almost pat her.  It was almost unreal to be so close to such a beautiful animal and  not scare her off.

According to the staff member I spoke to about this doe, this particular doe was not an original resident of the sanctuary.  But, due to over development of the area and other factors, she has found her way to the sanctuary.

The 5 mile loop is well marked (remember the yellow path leads back to the visitor center).   There is an observation tower on the main trail (to the right of the trail).  It was pretty shaky but it gave some great views.

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On the walkway to the tower, I made a friend.  This immature redtail hawk is another animal that wasn’t originally at the sanctuary.  But, he or she has made a home there and the bird didn’t seem to shy until I got too close when he or she flew off onto a tree branch.

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Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary is a beautiful park.  Even if you’re not into photography, birding or looking for wildlife you would still enjoy a scenic hike on the trails.

There are two markers on a pole next to the observation tower displaying the levels of two of the big floods in the area (the floods of 1936 and 1984).

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I was a little disappointed too not see any turtles, frogs or other critters.  But, I saw and heard lots of chipmunks.  Either the last chipmunk in the right hand corner is very long or I should have changed my photo settings.  I thought it looked funny so I kept it!

Audubon sanctuaries are always a safe bet for a fun time at a clean and well maintained park with a lot of wildlife and Arcadia was no different.

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Mom’s House (Western MA)

As the year draws to an end I thought I would share some of the photos  taken from my mother’s house throughout the year.  Since she lives in an area that used to be farmland there are a lot of wooded areas that attract a variety of wildlife.  She also has a couple of bird feeders that attract birds of all types.  There are many other animals in the area over the years that I have heard or seen but not photographed such as deer, a horse, cows, mountain lions and reportedly even bears.

Check out the slideshow below to see some of the friends that have visited us this past year.  My cat, Bailey, is included in the slideshow.  I always bring her when I visit.

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I always like investigating the area when I visit for the holidays and long weekends.  I’ve always thought it would be a great place to retire.  The storms and sunsets can be jaw dropping.

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There are also a variety of plants, flowers and trees in her yard.

Have a happy, healthy and productive 2016!

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