Tag Archives: road trip

Salem Willows (Salem, MA)

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Date Visited: July 23, 2016

Location: 167 Fort Ave, Salem, MA

Hours: The website for Salem Willows shows their hours as being daily from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. but you can get in to the park before 11.  We got their just before 10 and there was already some people there.  I think the hours are the hours of operation for the restaurants and other businesses in that area.

Cost: Free

Parking:  There are about 60 metered parking spots.  The meters cost 25 cents an hour.  There is also about 50 additional free parking spots in a nearby lot and off street parking is available.

Dog Friendly: Yes

Highlights: Family friendly, arcades, restaurants, willow trees, harbor, scenic walking path, grassy areas to grill, relax and for kids to play, jetty, place to rent surfboards and other aquatic sporting goods

As I entered Salem Willows I couldn’t help but think of my childhood of carnivals and traveling shows.  My friends and I would be so excited when the fair came to town.  Now, the fair is always in town.  In these days of sit down eateries and chain restaurants, it was refreshing.  If you d go, try the slushies or get a cone at Cappy’s!

Salem Willows has changed so much since its original opening in 1880.  Willows Pavilion which featured a skating rink and restaurant dominated the landscape.    Now, the area where the takeout food vendors are located still keeps the name of “on the line”.  But, the restaurants are much different.  In place of the sit down, grand restaurants stand take out vendors and ice cream shops.

There is also a stage for bands and other entertainers to perform.  Named after former  Salem resident and veteran, the Robert F Hayes Band Stand holds a summer concert series every year as well as holding other events.

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But, there is so much more to Salem Willows than nostalgic stroll past the smell of flour dough and the buzzing and ringing from the vendors and arcades.  Salem Willows is also, as the name would suggest, known for all of the willow trees planted to offer shade and beauty to the area.

The mostly shady loop around the bay and back too the parking area is an easy half mile walk.  Along the way there are benches to sit on and a jetty to fish off or just enjoy the views. The views from the bay were very pretty.  A variety of flowers and scenic views frame the busy blue waterway.

There was a lot of activity on and in the water at Salem Willows.  That is a man swimming in the last photos

There is also a place to rent surf/paddle/body boards and other watercraft and flotation devices.

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Salem’s love of art is evident even in the most unlikely places.  These trash cans and rocks displayed some of the street art of Salem.  I especially like the art on the rocks.  Each block has a different symbol of the area painted on them.

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Salem Willows is a great place to bring your dog for a short walk.  Dixie, a 4 year old Maltese, was enjoying the seasonal weather and cool breeze when she stopped to pose for photos for me.

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Video of “on the line” from Salem Willows

 

 


The Nature Trail and Cranberry Bog at Patriot Place (Foxborough, MA)

Date visited: January 9, 2016

Although the area is mostly known for being the home of the New England Patriots and its adjacent marketplace, Patriot Place has another impressive attraction – The Nature Trail and Cranberry Bog.  Admission to the trail and bog is free and the parking is ample evident by the photo below.  You can also park in the lots in front of the store and walk down to the trail.

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From the entrance the Nature Trail and Cranberry Bog greets you with a charming sitting area and pretty trees.

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Although most of the vegetation is dead (save for a few stubborn blueberries and cranberries), a thin layer of ice covered most  of the pond and the trees are bare this time of the year, the Nature Trail and Cranberry Bog at Patriot Place in Foxboro, MA, is just as beautiful in the winter as it is during the summertime.

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Located directly behind the expansive Bass Pro Shop, the Nature Trail and Cranberry Bog is a .5 mile loop with a 3 percent grade and some inclines as much as 12 percent.

It is a mostly dirty trail with a few boardwalks and bridges.  There are two benches in the middle of the first walking bridge.  Overall, it is an easy to semi-moderate trail.  I saw people of all age groups handle the trail, inclines and all, with little difficulty.

I found this strange, creepy looking branch or alien arm protruding from the ice.

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An extra bonus for any Patriots fan is you can see Gillette Stadium (the stadium the Patriots play in) from the main road on the way to the Nature Trail and Cranberry Bog.  You can also catch a quick glimpse of some of the stadium from the entrance to trail and bog.

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After finishing the loop, I met Chandler, a beautiful 6 year old tri-colored English Setter (thank you for the clarification, Adam).

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Witch Trial Memorial (Danvers, MA)

When most people think of the witch hysteria that gripped the New England colonies in 1692 and 1693, they are likely to think it began and took place exclusively in Salem.  However, although they are known as the Salem Witch Trials and Salem largely takes the infamy of the witch hunt, Salem does not hold that infamous title.

Salem Village, now known as Danvers, has the infamous distinction of being the beginning of the Salem witch hysteria.  It is here in Danvers, Massachusetts, where a somber memorial stands as a constant reminder to remember this past and to never let something like this happen again.

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Erected in May, 1992, the monuments lists the 20 people who were executed during the witch trials.

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Each slab lists a quote of innocence from each victim.

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The rays spilling in from the top of the memorial was a nice touch.

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Some of the more poignant quotes listed on the wall are:

“Well!  burn me or hang me.  I will stand in the truth of Christ…” – George Jacobs, Sr

“Amen. Amen.  A false tongue will never make a guilty person.” – Susannah Martin

The memorial also has a sculpture of “The Book Of Life” on top of a table that has a tribute etched in the base.

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Attached to each side of the book are chains.  Stark reminders of the pain they endured.

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Someone left a flower at the memorial, a common occurrence at this memorial, particularly during this time of the year.

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The memorial site has many pretty views to photograph from a variety of angles and the foliage added a nice touch.  The foliage gave a serene feeling in contrast to the moving memorial.

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In front of the memorial, there is monument that lists the generous donors who made the memorial possible.  You may notice the red door on the house in the background.  This is not unusual for the area.  The houses in Danvers and the surrounding area were beautiful in their understated uniqueness and pretty yet rustic nature.

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A sign, inconspicuously posted by the side of the road explains the origins and history of the site and surrounding area as well as the meaning behind the memorial.

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Waterfront Park (Woods Hole, MA)

The last leg of our summer’s swan song at Cape Cod was spent at Waterfront Park in Woods Hole.  Waterfront Park has several statues and sculptures.  The most recent statue is a memorial to environmentalist Rachel Carson, the author of Silent Spring and the Sea Around Us.  Both books are considered influential books in the environmentalist movement.  Carson had worked with Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) which is located in Woods Hole.

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The waterfront also has a shaded sitting area for the weary traveler to rest their bones.

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There is also a sun dial statue dedicated to Robert Crane, one of the original financial supporters of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.  The sun dial was constructed so that you could tell what time it is from any direction.  And, yes, it is accurate. A somewhat elaborate explanation is included on the ground in front of the sun dial.

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The “Flukes” is a bronze sculpture by Gordon Gund.  Gund, a successful businessman, was inspired to sculpt The Flukes after seeing pilot whales off the coast.  It looks like more of a slide or play thing which explains the sign in front of the sculpture.  I suspect it is not much of a deterrent.

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The Waterfront is also the main point of embarkment for the ferry to the islands of Cape Cod, mainly Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard.

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The waterfront also has some pretty views of the water and pretty flowers.

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The waterfront park is also known for its friendly visitors.  I met this friendly guy named Charlie as I was leaving.

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Goodbye summer!  See you again in 2016.


Nobska Beach (Woods Hole, MA)

After a short stay at Scraggy Neck, it was time for our next stop on our Cape Cod Farewell Summer trip.

Our next destination was the Nobska Beach in the quaint village of Woods Hole in Falmouth, Massachusetts.  The Nobska area is so pretty and there are so many attractions because of its sheer beauty, I decided cover the Nobska area in two separate blogs.

The first thing that stands out at Nobska beach are the array of flowers and the makeshift trails at the beach (that and the lack of parking).  The only parking available is on the side of the road along the beach and a scant few spots in front of the light house (I’ll be posting photos of the light house in the second part of the Nobska photo blogs).

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Nobska Beach offers views of both Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket Island.

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Boats and the ferry make frequent trips to the islands

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If you hadn’t noticed, one of the treasures of Nobska Beach are the rocks and the rock formations.       DSC_0561 DSC_0573     DSC_0658

But, to capture the real beauty of the views from the beach, it was necessary to walk down a narrow trail down to this modest rocky ledge.

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But, the ledge was wide enough for me and my camera.  And the views were well worth the extra effort.

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Nobska Beach is also home to a variety of wildlife.

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At the base of the beach there are two memorials. A memorial for Dennis Jeff Sabo lies under some plants, almost unnoticed.  The memorial does not give any more information than his date of birth, date of death and name.  A Google search yielded no results.  The lack of details about Dennis adds to the memorials’ mystique.

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The other memorial is dedicated to Neilie Anne Heffernan Casey.  Neilie was a passenger on Flight 11 on September 11, 2001. A memorial and bench bearing her name lay in the area now dubbed “Neilie Point”.  A beautiful reminder of an awful day.

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Scraggy Neck (Cataumet, MA)

After a brief but rewarding stay at Amrita Island, it was on the next destination on my Farewell Summer Cape Cod trip.  Scraggy Neck is a private beach in Cataumet, a village in Bourne, Massachusetts.

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The beach is usually monitored by guards during the summer season.  But, since summer was basically over, there were no guards when I arrived at the beach.

The entrance to the beach is grassy.  But, there is a makeshift trail you can follow.  The occasional flower stand in the grass

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The beach is long and it was high tide when I visited.  But, there wasn’t much of a beach head when I was visited.  The water did look clean and clear.

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Seaweed and shells littered the beach.

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Scraggy Neck is divided into two sides by a road that is frequented by joggers, bikers and cars.  It was on the other side of the road that showed off Scraggy Neck’s more scenic views.

A narrow path leads to the water.

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The fish is visible through the transparent water.

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This part of Scraggy Neck is mostly grassy.  So, it would not be the ideal area to lie out for a tan.

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Scraggy Neck is also a popular spot for boaters to launch from.

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After visiting Scraggy Neck, it was on to our next adventure….


Cape Cod Canal (Buzzards Bay, MA)

One last summer weekend.  One last chance to soak up the dwindling magic of summer.  What better way to laze away the remaining summer bliss than at the iconic Cape Cod Canal?

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The canal stretches for 7 miles for Sandwich, MA, to Buzzards Bay.  There are several entrances to the canal.  We chose the entrance near the end of the canal at Buzzards Bay.

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The views at the canal are one of the main attractions.

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Fishermen and fisher women dot the rocky edges of the canal and it is a popular starting point for bikers, runners and walkers.  The canal also is a bustling point for ships carrying a variety of cargo, particularly since it is so close to the Massachusetts Maritime Academy.  I caught one as it passed under the railroad bridge.

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Ducks and seagulls also find the canal too be a fun place to enjoy the summer.

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This lady thought I was spying on her.

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Well, until next summer…I’ll meet you at the canal.

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