Tag Archives: ponds

Stanley Park 2017 (Westfield, MA)

Dates Of Visits: May 31 & June 2, 2017

Location: 400 Western Ave, Westfield, MA

Hours:

Official Season: Open to the public (7 days a week) from 7:00 am until dusk daily(1/2 hour before sunset) from the first Saturday in May to the last Sunday in November.

Off-Season: Gate 1, across from Westfield State University’s Woodward Center, is open year-round from 7:00 am until dusk daily, weather permitting. Upon entrance, please note gate closing times.

Cost: Free

Parking: During the “official season” from around early May until the end of November, there are two parking areas with ample parking (probably room for 300 or more cars) .  During the off season, the second parking lot is closed.

Size/Trail Difficulty: 300 acres, easy trails

Handicapped Accessible: Yes

Dog Friendly:Yes

Highlights: sports fields, play area, pond, trails, flower garden, fountain, sculptures, covered bridge, birds, wildlife, ample parking

Website: Stanley Park

Map: Stanley Park Map

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If you read the title of this blog post and thought thought to yourself, “Hey you’ve already posted about this place” you would be correct.  I visited Stanley Park in June, 2015 but I was told, incorrectly, by a park worker that I was not allowed to take photos there with paying a fee first.  So, I was only able to use a few photos from my original visit and I had tp use my camera phone for the remainder of the photos and they did not come out very good.  So, I decided to take another trip to the park last week.  If you do want to see my original post you can access it here:  Stanley Park in 2015.

Named after Frank Stanley Beveridge, Stanley Park, Stanley Park is one of the most popular parks in Western MA.  Throughout the year they hold various memorial services  for veterans, musical shows and even a road race among other events.  But, Stanley Park is also a great to play to visit to get away from people and just have a peaceful hike along the many trails there or to just sit and watch the various wildlife that inhabit the park.

Originally from Pembroke Shores, Nova Scotia, Frank Stanley Beveridge would go on to create the company Stanley Home Products after immigrating to the states and eventually settling in Westfield, MA.  Because of his love if nature and its inhabitants, he would establish Stanley Park of Westfield, Inc. on twenty-five acres of land in Westfield, Massachusetts.  Since then it has grown exponentially but it has still kept the same natural beauty.

The first thing that stood out to me while visiting Stanley Park are the colors, particularly during the spring summer and especially during the fall foliage season.  Whether it is the variety of birds at the park, the colorful flowers and green grass or the Koi fish in the pond, the colors were really popping at Stanley.

One of the things Stanley Park is most known for is its population of black squirrels.  Since they are not indigenous to the area, their origins have often been a matter of curious debate.  No, they weren’t dropped off by aliens nor did they travel to the park as part of a family vacation.

The black squirrels are actually from Michigan.  They were gifts from former Stanley Home Products sales managers, Hubert L. Worell and Alvah (Al) Elzerman.  They were brought there in 1948 and their population has steadily increased.  As you can see, they are very well fed.

There is a soccer/lacrosse field, basketball court and play area for children in the main parking area.  You can also access the Beveridge Nature Sanctuary Trail from the parking area.  The Sanctuary Trail is 229 acres of easy trails with some gentle inclines.

Stanley Park is home to a variety of blue jays, cardinals, ducks, geese and other birds s well as frogs and turtles.

One of the best places at Stanley Park is the area behind the pond at the entrance.  Chipmunks, squirrels, birds and other critters stop by in the hopes of some nuts or other treats from passing visitors.  In fact, when I walked over to the area chipmunks actually came out from hiding to greet me, in the hopes I might have some snacks for them.  They weren’t disappointed.

You can even hand feed them.

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Stanley Park also has a garden area with roses, rhododendrons, azaleas and other flowers and pretty trees.

There is also a covered bridge at Stanley Park.  Even though it only allows foot traffic the Goodrich Bridge is still bridge and it is indeed covered.  It is one of the 13 wooden covered bridges in Massachusetts.  I never really considered it an actual covered bridge since it is not on a roadway or sidewalk.  But, it does meet the criteria.

An old blacksmith building is located near the bridge.

There is a mill by the pond and a couple of waterfalls.

 

There are also several memorials and monuments at Stanley Park.

This Veteran’s Memorial is dedicated to all of those in Westfield who have served.  Black plaques on the ground list the names of the people from Westfield who have died while serving.

This memorial, Our Lady Of Fatima, was dedicated in September 1952 to Otto Bono Calegari, a Westfield native who was killed during the Korean Conflict.  The memorial was handcrafted by Otto’s father, Rocco Calegari.

The Carillon Tower is located near the gardens.  Completed in 1950, the tower tower was dedicated to world peace.  From time to time, the bells of the Carillon are rung at the tower as part of their Carillon Tower ceremonies.  The bronze doors are decorated with 14 relief sculptures portraying various aspects of the Park and Stanley Home Products, as well as profiles of Frank Stanley Beveridge and Catherine L. O’Brien.

The map in front of the tower measures 23 feet by 30 feet, and is composed of multicolored New York slate.

The Angel of Independence was a gift from Stanley Home Products sales persons from Mexico on October 25, 1958. The monument is a Replica of the statue Placido de lareforma in Mexico City which stands for Liberty and Freedom. The base is Vermont Marble and stands 30 feet tall.

I couldn’t find much information about this statue except that it is referred to as the “Children With Umbrella” statue.  It is a fairly new addition as far as I can tell.

There are also dinosaur tracks at Stanley Park.  Tracks that are said to be over 100 million years old.  The tracks are actually from the Carlton Nash Quarry South Hadley (MA).

There are two fountains at Stanley.  They are both located in the garden area and near the entrance by Gate 2.

I saw someone riding this cute bicycle at Stanley and she was kind enough too let me photograph it.  I especially liked the bell she would ring from time to time as she rode it.

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There is so much beauty at Stanley Park.  Just the way the trees bend and the views from the upper level where the garden is located to the duck ponds and the bridges that are scattered throughout the park are sights to behold.

Stanley Park is a great place to bring your dog, although he or she may want to chase or make friends with the ducks and geese there.

I met Duke, a 1 year old rescue, while I was walking along the Sanctuary Trail.  He was such a friendly guy!

.Biscuit, or Bubba, a 5 year old Bulldog and Mastiff was enjoying a walk along the boardwalk .  Her fur was so soft!

As the clouds came rolling in, it was evident it was time to leave.

This is video of the hail storm that followed shortly after we left.

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Norris Reservation (Norwell, MA)

Date Of Visit: April 8, 2017

Location: 10 Dover St, Norwell, MA (about 30 miles south of Boston)

Hours: Daily sunrise to sunset

Cost: Free for Trustees members, $5 parking fee for non members

Parking: There is a small lot by the entrance for about a dozen cars.  It fills up quickly during the summer and other peak times

Handicapped Accessible: No, the trails are too rocky and they often get muddy after rainy days

Park Size and Trail Difficulty: 129 acres, 2 miles loop trail, 2.5-3 miles of trails if you walk the side trails.  Trails are easy and accessible for people of all ages.

Dog Friendly: Yes

Highlights: ponds, streams, boardwalks, old mill site, old boat house, herring and other fish, birds, if you’re lucky you might see a beaver or other type of wildlife

Lowlights: Be careful of ticks (I brought home 3 with me)

Web Site: Norris Reservation

Trail Map: Norris Reservation Trail Map

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Once the site of a mill and the current site of an old boat house, Norris Reservation boasts white pine and oak trees, wetlands and a boardwalk teeming with wildlife as well as pretty trees with leaves that look like they’re still in foliage, pretty rock formations and plant life.

Truly a hidden jewel ( be careful driving to the parking lot- I drove past the entrance and had to enter through the exit of the small parking lot), Norris Reservation is a fine park to visit throughout the year.  During the winter, trails can be accessed with snowshoes if needed.  The flowers and trees are vibrant during the spring and summer and the trees are ablaze with foliage during the fall.  During my visit, it was a rather average spring day.  It was windy to begin but settled into a pretty standard spring day, albeit a bit on the cold side.  You can see the ripples in the water from the wind in some of the photos.

Along the walkway as you enter the reservation along Eleanor’s Path (named after the benefactor of the park, Eleanor Norris), there is a pond and a little waterfall.

I got to break out my new gear, my Canon EOS 8D for this shoot.  So, I was very excited to take it on for a test drive.  I’m still getting used to the buttons and how it operates.  But, I hope the photos are an improvement from my previous shots, especially as I get more familiar with it.

The main trail at Norris Reservation is probably the red trail which eventually takes you to Gordon’s Pond.  Gordon’s Pond has a boardwalk with scenic views and a small waterfall.  The pond is encircled with trees and it is popular with fishing enthusiasts.

Named after Albert P. Norris, whose wife donated the land upon his death, Norris Reservation hugs the North River which was once the center of pre-Colonial era ship building.  Along these side trails, you can find a lot of scenic views and bird life.

Along the McMullan Trail is the old boathouse.  I’m not sure if it’s operational for use and you’re not allowed to tie boats or dock there.  But, it is a nice place to hang out on the deck and take in the beauty of the area.

There is also a granite block in the Granite Boulders section of the trail.

There is also an abundance of birds at Norris Reservation.  I was able to shoot this robin, some black birds and a baby loon at the park.

Norris Reservation is an ideal place to take your pooch for a walk.  I saw dozens of cute dogs during my hike at Norris.  Below are some of the more photogenic dogs I saw on the trails.

Argos is an 11 month old White Shepherd.  I had never seen such a fluffy, cute pure white dog.  He really did stand out to me.

Delilah (on the left) is a 2 year old Boston Terrier and Harley is a 10 year old Yorkie and Shih Tzu mix.  They posed so well!

Colby is a 7 and a half Bernese Mountain Dog.  What a cute smile!

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Benson Park (Hudson, NH)

Date Of Visit: December 5, 2016

Location: 21 Kimball Hill Rd, Hudson, NH

Cost: Free

Hours: Open everyday dawn until dusk

Parking I saw about 50 or so spots in the parking lot area

Handicapped accessible: Yes, but not on the hiking trails

Dog Friendly: Yes

Size of park and trails: 160 acres, 3 mile loop

Highlights:  9/11 memorial, ponds, trails, birds, playground, wildlife, big and pretty trees, “Woman With The Shoe”, “The Gorilla House”

Formerly known as Benson’s Wild Animal Farm and later New England Playworld, Benson Park was once a vast zoo that entertained countless visitors with their animals and attractions.  The zoo may no longer be there but Benson Park still entertains visitors with its natural beauty.

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Benson Parkwas bought by the state of New Hampshire and then transferred to the town of Hudson in 1998.  It has since been converted to a play area and nature center.  However, some remnants of the zoo remain which you will see later in this post.

The trails at Benson Park are easywith a few inclines.

The park now boasts a 3 mile loop and several ponds and streams.  The ponds were partially frozen due to the cold weather and snow that was falling.  It created some interesting shapes on the ice.

The park is a wonderful place for birding.  There are a wide variety of birds at the park from egrets to much smaller birds like cardinals and robins.  Cute birdhouses are scattered throughout the park to attract birds.

It snowed earlier in the day and it was still snowing when I arrived at Benson Park.  The snow made the views at the park even prettier than usual.

I hope momma bird took her chicks out before all the snow.

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While I didn’t see any wildlife, I did see lots of evidence of them in the snow.  I would have loved to see just one of them up close.

The first thing you’ll notice as you enter Benson Park is the tasteful and somber September 11th memorial.  Since some of the planes involved in that fateful day left from Boston’s Logan International Airport, some families in New Hampshire were directly affected.  In fact, David Kovalcin, a resident of Hudson, was on Flight 11, the plane that crashed into the North Tower at the World Trade Center.

The memorial consists of several stone markers with the times and locations of each attack.  A clock with the accurate time of each attack is engraved at the top of each monument.  There is also a monument to each branch of the military that works to keep us safe.

There are benches surrounding the memorial to sit and reflect.

A steel beam from an elevator shaft at the World Trade Center is also at the memorial site.  The nine-ton beam is from an elevator shaft on the 21st floor of the North Tower.  Another bam stands next to it, representing the two towers at the site.

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On a happier note, just beyond the September 11 memorial, there is a play area for children.

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Just past the playground area is the “Gorilla House.”  Tony the Gorilla used to live in this cage when the park was a zoo.  The sign on the wall at the Gorilla House states that he used to watch tv and play in the Gorilla House when the area was a zoo.  But, I couldn’t feel anything but a little sad and bothered by it.  I know that is how we treat animals (which is a whole other issue for me) and he most likely was treated well enough.  But, I always find it bothersome to see a majestic animal like that confined in such a way.  The perspective you get from looking out through the bars from his view is poignant.  In any case, children enjoy playing inside the cage and I think Tony would have liked it that way.  A mural of what appears to be Tony is painted on the wall.

Fun fact: Colossus (aka Tony the Gorilla) ran for President against Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan in 1980.  Rumor has it voters didn’t agree with his pro banana free trade stance.

Another fun attraction for children (or young at heart adults) is the Old Woman In The Shoe, baased on the nursery tale of the same name.  The attraction is actually considered a historical monument.  It’s slightly larger than my apartment.

Benson Park is a great place to take your dog.  I saw a bunch of cute dogs during my visit.

Kuma (Japanese for “bear”), a 10 month old Akita from Maine, had fun playing in the snow.

Issy (short for Isabel), a 1 year old Lab mix, posed perfectly for me!

On my way to my car I saw this cutie.  Daisy is a 4 year old Yellow Labrador.

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Massasoit State Park (East Taunton, MA)

Date Of Visit: November 6, 2016

Location: 1361 Middleboro Ave, East Taunton, MA (about 45 minutes south of Boston, MA)

Cost: Free this time of the year.  Seasonal prices are not posted on the web site or at the park.

Hours: Open Daily 7:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. (hours may vary depending upon the season)

Parking: There were roughly 50 to 60 parking spots in the lot

Handicap Accessible:  No.  The side trails can be very rocky and, in some areas difficult to navigate.  The main road is paved but cars and other vehicles do travel along the road often.

Dog Friendly: Yes

Time To Spend During Visit: 2 to 3 hours

Highlights: pretty trees, pretty views, bodies of water, dog and horse friendly, cranberry bogs, boat launch (the seasonal camping sitees have not been opened since the 2008camping season)

Web Site: Massasoit State Park

Trail Map: Massasoit State Park Trail Map

Named after the sachem, or leader, of the Wompanoag Confederacy, Massasoit State Park boasts 1,207 acres of trails, 5 bodies of water and a beach area.  Add to that some pretty sweet views.

The first thing you’ll notice, and perhaps the main attraction, at Massasoit State Park are the cranberry bogs.  The colors of the cranberry and the trees clash to make some pretty contrasts, particularly during foliage season.

The trails at Massasoit State Park are mostly easy with a few moderate inclines.  There were a few boardwalks and makeshift bridges made out of trees and other debris.Many of the trails were carpeted with leaves.

Signs of foliage were everywhere.  Trees burst with orange, red, yellow and green this time of the year.

Massasoit has 5 ponds and a beach area.  The bodies of water are surrounded by pretty trees and vegetation.

Swans and other birds inhabit the ponds.

As you can tell by the photos, the weather changed about, oh, 16 times during the day.  In other words, it was your typical New England day.  It rained, hard at times, for short periods of time and the sun crept out as well.

Another thing I noticed at Massasoit State Park are the rocks.  There are white rocks placed throughout the park and other big rocks with crystal-like elements in them.

The park is also popular with cyclists.  I saw dozens of cyclists during my visit.  This friendly cyclist was nice enough to let me photograph him.

With its wide paved trail and abundant side trails, Massasoit is the perfect place to bring your dog and I saw several dogs enjoying the fall weather during my visit.

Rex is a 6 and a half year old Blue Tick Coon Hound.  Never heard of a Blue Tick Coon Hound?  Join the club.  Apparently, Blue Tick Coon Hounds are hunting dogs that are prevalent in West Virginia, which is where Rex is from.

Granger is a 4 year old Black Mouth Cur.

Cocoa is a 10 year old Chihuahua and terrier mix breed.  He lives nearby and visits the park often.

I also saw these two playmates at Massasoit.

Grace, a 2 year old Doberman and Sydney , a 1 year old Golden Doodle, affectionately played at the park.

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Myles Standish State Forest (Carver, MA)

Date visited: December 6, 2015

Spending a crisp autumn day at Myles Standish State Park makes you long for summer days.

Since it is so big, Myles Standish has several parking areas.  I parked at the main parking area where the ranger headquarters is located on Cranberry Rd.  There were about 30 or 40 parking spots at this parking area.  It wasn’t a problem finding a spot when I went but I bet it fills up quickly if you don’t go early during the spring and summer.  Myles Standish also has camp sites for tents and some for RV’s.  It costs $8 for MA residents and $10 for non MA residents to visit for the day when the park is open for the season.  It is free off during the off season.

As beautiful as the forest is in late fall, it must be even so much prettier when all the flowers are in bloom or during foliage season.  The wind was just strong enough to give the water a little ripple effect.

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There were birds a plenty at Myles Standish.  The woodpecker in the second photo was too busy pecking to be scared away.

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Myles Standish is a huge forest and it extends into several towns.  There are 16 ponds, 13 miles of hiking trails and 15 miles of biking trails in Myles Standish.  I stopped by Fearing Pond.

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There was also quite a few pretty trees and vegetation at the forest.

My one gripe about Myles Standish is the amount of trees they had cut down.  It wasn’t clear why they had the trees down.  But, it was unsettling nonetheless.

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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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