Tag Archives: scenic

Red Rock Park (Lynn, MA)

Date Of Visit: October 1, 2017

Location: Lynn Shore Dr & Prescott Rd, Lynn, MA ong Lynn Shore Drive (about 20 minutes north of Boston)

Cost: Free

Parking: metered parking along Lynn Shore Drive.  IF you’re unable to find a spot along Lynn Shore, there is usually parking available on one of the side streets in the area.

Trail Size/Difficulty: .5 miles, easy

Handicapped Accessible: Yes

Dog Friendly: Yes

Website: Red Rock Park

Highlights: scenic views, easy walking and jogging path, walkway to the rocky water, spacious park

Tips:

  • During the months of July and August there are weekly concerts held along the Red Rock Park area
  • Try visiting during stormy weather to see some active waves

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Fall has a way of sneaking up on you in New England.  So, it’s important to make the best of each and every unseasonably warm day while you can.  And Red Rock Park, just minutes north of Boston, seemed like the perfect place to enjoy the last gasps of our warm weather.

Despite the temptation to stay curled up in my bed on a Saturday morning,  I was able to make it to Red Rock Park just after sunrise.  The “golden hours” (the first 2 hours after sunset and the 2 hours before sunset) sure do make a difference when it comes to photography.  In fact, some photographers won’t even take their camera out outside of those golden hours, at least not for nature photography.

When you see the sun glistening off the rocks, cement and sand during the morning sunrise, you can easily see why the park is called “Red Rock.”  Red Algae which sometimes floats ashore, while giving off a pungent odor, could be the reason for the reddish hue of the rocks.

A walkway leads to the rocks along the beach that offers some nice views of the Boston skyline,  Rock crabs, barnacle, mussels and sea stars inhabit the rocky waters.  If you’re lucky, you may see one of these critters in the tidal pools that form between the rocks.

The walking path, which leads to  is short and easy leads to Lynn Shore, a popular destination for cyclists and joggers.  There are also ramps along the way.

With its easy walking path and spacious park, Red Rock is the perfect place to take your four legged friend.  In fact, while I was there, I saw  some dogs being trained at the park.  The quarter mile marker is part of the Walking and Jogging Project launched to help promote physical activity of the Lynn, Swampscott and Nahant residents.   This 1/4 mile marker is one of the medallion markers along the 3 mile stretch.  Known as the Nahant, Swampscott and Lynn Good Health Partnership, the markers, placed at quarter mile spaces, go from the Tides restaurant (2B Wilson Rd) to the red Rock Bistro (141 Humphrey St).

 

Sampson, a friendly 12 week old Lab mix was enjoying the beautiful fall morning with his mom while I was visiting the park.  He is a rescue from the North Shore Animal League.

Below is a video from the rocks along the water.

Red Rock Park is one of the more popular spots for residents of the area to visit during stormy weather.  Below is a video of one of those stormy days in April, 2011.  It actually gets much worse, flooding the entire Lynn Shore Drive, when we experience a tropical storm or hurricane.  This video is courtesy of Steve Deveau.

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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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Bare Cove Park (Hingham, MA)

 

Dates Of Visit: July 28 & 30, 2017

Location: Bare Cove Park Drive, Hingham, MA (about 20 minutes south of Boston)

Hours: open daily, sunrise to sunset

Cost: Free

Parking: There are several parking areas.  The main parking area on Bare Cove Park Drive has room for about 40-50 vehicles

Trail Size/Difficulty: 484 acres, easy trails

Handicapped Accessible: Yes

Dog Friendly: Yes

Fitbit stats: 3:16, 985 calories, 10,069 steps, 4.21 miles

Highlights: scenic, water, family friendly, dock house with historical military items, wildlife

Website: Bare Cove Park

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I made two visits to Bare Cove Park.  The first time I visited the park was July 28th.  I got there late on the 28th and the lighting was poor.  So, I stopped by two days later, Sunday, July 30.

As you can see by the photos, there are some beautiful sunsets at Bear Cove.  Unfortunately, the lighting wasn’t very good, though.

 

Once the site of a U.S. Naval depot (more on this later), Bare Cove Park now is the home to a variety of wildlife.  I found many birds during my visit.  There are also supposed to be fox, deer and other animals at the park.  I didn’t see any of them.  But, I did see evidence of them.

If you look closely at the little bird photo at the end, the bird has his or her lunch.

 

There was a crisp pre-autumn chill in the air when I made my way to Bare Cove Park.  It reminded me of the mornings you whittle away before the college and pro football games start.  But, I’d rather spend my day at Bare Cove anytime.

The views are simply amazing.

 

The thing that stood out to me mostly are the variety of pretty trees and flowers at the park.

 

Bare Cove is only 484 acres and it’s very easy to get around, even without a map of the park.  Trust me, I didn’t even get lost and I always get lost.  The trails are easy with hardly any inclines and they are mostly paved if you stay on the main trail.

 

Because of its proximity to Boston, Hingham was considered an important location for the military to produce ammunition and other supplies during World War II.  The magazines, or manufacturing  buildings, ran 24 hours, 7 days a week and employed thousands of people at is peak.

The dock house (only open Sunday from 12-2) has a variety of items from World War II that were manufactured in this very same area.

 

There are also two memorials outside of the dockchouse as well as other items from the days of the hey day at Bare Cove.  The ammunition depot was closed in the early 1970’s.

The memorial to the left, lying vertically on the ground, is dedicated to the men and women who worked at the ammunition depot during World War i, World War II and the Korean Conflict.

The memorial to the right standing up is dedicated to naval crew members who were lost when some ammunition exploded on a ship they were loading.

 

While dogs are allowed at Bare Cove the park is not considered a “dog park” per se.  All dogs are expected to be leashed or respond immediately to voice commands.  In my visits there all of these dogs fit into both or either category.

Here are a few of the cute four legged visitors at Bare Cove that I ran into during my visits.

Hickory is a 7 year old tree walking coon hound.

 

Bronn, named after a Games Of Throne charcater, is a 9 month old Newfie.  His mommy was teaching to fetch.

 

Gracie is a super friendly 2 year old pitbull.

 

Tundra (on the left), a 2 year old Golden Retriever, just got finished with his swim and was getting ready to go home.  His sibling, Piper (on the right), didn’t want to leave..

 

During my first visit, on the 28th of July, I met a very nice lady with three dogs.

America is a 10 year old mixed breed dog who got that name because the dog is a mix of many breeds, kind of like how America is a mix of all kinds of people.

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Sophia is a 6 year old chihuahua.

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Lily is a 10 year old Lab and Collie mix.

 

 

Bruiser is a 6 year old part pitbull.

 

Below is a video of fireflies at Bare Cove Park.  The lack of light and various animal aand bird noises give it a little bit of a spooky feel.

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Today’s featured link is a link to a 30 minute documentary that explains the history of Bear Cove Park.  The documentary was put together by Scott McMillan, the very same man who gave me a detailed tour of the dockhouse.

 


Harold Parker State Forest (No. Andover, MA)

 

Date Of Visit: June 25, 2017

Location: 305 Middleton St., No. Andover, MA (about 30 minutes north of Boston and about 1 hour southeast of Concord, NH)

Cost: There are several parking stations to pay per the hour or you can park at the headquarters which is what I did.  There wasn’t a charge to park at the headquarters the day I visited.   The charge to park at Berry Pond is $5 for MA vehicles; $6 for non-MA vehicles

Hours: trails are open sunrise to sunset.  Berry Pond Beach is open 10am-6pm from June 25- Sept 5.

Parking: There are several parking lots throughout the automated pay stations.

Trail Size/Difficulty: 35 miles of logging roads and trails/easy with some challenging inclines

Handicapped Accessible: Yes, the main paves trail is and Berry Pond has several handicapped parking spaces right near the beach.

Dog Friendly: Yes

Highlights: wildlife, beach, lakes, extensive trail system, campground area, rock climbing

Website: Harold Parker State Forest

Trail Map: Harold Parker State Forest Trail Map

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One of the more vast state forests I have visited to date, Harold Parker State Forest boasts over 35 miles of trails and roads, a beach (Berry Pond), several ponds and lakes and a variety of wildlife.  I spent over 6 hours there and, while I did cover a lot of ground, there was surely some a lot I didn’t see.  Tip of the day: if you do go, bring a trail map!

The trails at Harold Parker are generally easy with some moderate inclines.  Due to the various streams and wetlands, there are also several boardwalk trails.

 

Harold Parker is a popular spot for cyclists.  According to the New England Mountain Bike Association (NEMBA) the single track riding rates at Harold Parker State Forest are: 30% easy, 30% moderate, and 40% difficult with some rocky sections.

It is a little difficult finding the exact entrance to Harold Parker (I found 3 different addresses but I included the address of the headquarters at the top of this post).  It’s not a bad thing, though, because you can park in any of the various parking areas.  Just to make  sure to pay at the pay station when you do park.  You can also drive to each different parking area as the main road is paved and fairly wide enough for traffic, cyclists and hikers to share the road.

I began my day at Stearns Pond, one of the many ponds in the area.  Fishing is allowed and I met a friendly fisherman who goes there regularly to cast his lines.  They also allow non-motorized boating in the ponds.  There is an annual fishing festival held in September at the state forest.

 

Stearns Pond is only one of the many ponds, rivers and streams at Harold Parker State Forest.  In fact, it’s hard to keep track of which pond or river you are at, even with the aid of a map.  But, there were some amazing views from the various bodies of water.

 

Unexpectedly, I came across this huge rock.  I bet there’s a good story about this rock.  I couldn’t find anything about in my research, though.  It’s one big rock, though!  Right!?

 

One of the highlights of Harold Parker is Berry Pond which is essentially a beach area and playground for children and families.  It was a perfect beach day and the beach was packed.  But, with photographic trickery I was able to photograph the beach without showing the sun bathers and swimmers.  After all, not everyone wants to be seen in their Speedo.

 

Walking along the SKUG Reservation Trail, I came across the site of an old quarry and soapstone mill, the Jenkins Mill.  There’s not much now to indicate it was once a quarry.  If not for the marking on the map and a few rocks dispersed around the area, I would not have known it was once there.  It’s kind of a shame that something that meant so much to so many people and was once such an important part of the area is now little more than a blip on the screen.

 

There are lots of birds, chipmunks, frogs and other critters visible along the trail and in the water at Harold Parker.

 

Harold Parker State Forest is a dog friendly park.  However, I didn’t see as many dogs as I thought I would.   I did manage to see these three cuties, though!

Suzie is a 7 month old English Setter.  She is hearing impaired.  So, she can hear some sounds.  Her dad uses signals to help him communicate with her.

 

Bella (or “Bell”) is a 9 year old Beagle and Lab mix.

 

Herbie is a 1 year old Pit mix.

 

Below is a video of one of the brooks that runs through Harold Parker State Forest.  Enjoy!

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Pope John Paul II Park (Dorchester, MA)

Dates Of Visits: June 17 & 18, 2017

Location: There are several entrances at Gallivan Blvd. and Hallet St., Dorchester, MA

Cost: Free

Parking: There are multiple parking lots at the entrances

Hours: Open from sunrise til one hour before sunset

Trail Size/Difficulty: 2 miles, easy with moderate inclines

Handicapped Accessible: Yes

Dog Friendly: Yes

Highlights: wildlife, scenic, easy trails, ball fields

Website: Pope John Paul II Park

With its rolling hills, abundant wildlife, pretty trees and flowers and beautiful views, it’s hard to believe it once was the home to a drive in (remember those?)  and a land fill.

Connected to Senator Joseph Finnegan Park, Pope John Paul II Park is part of the extensive Neponset River Greenway.

Pope John Paul Park is not only beautiful for it’s natural beauty, there are also two murals at the park.

 

There are a variety of birds at Pope John Paul Park (but I didn’t see any cardinals which was unusual).

 

This bird had a meal for his or her babies,

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There are many pretty trees, plants and rolling hills along the paths.

 

The paths at John Paul Park are easy with some moderate inclines.

 

The paths are perfect for running, riding your bicycle or rollerblading with your dog.

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There are some wonderful views along the Neponset River which separates Dorchester from picturesque Quincy, MA.

 

People like to use the river to cruise along with their jet ski, boat or other aquatic vessel.

 

There is also a stream that flows under the bridge at the park.

 

There are also soccer and lacrosse fields as well as pavilions and benches for people to sit and watch the games.

Pope John Paul Park is a great place to bring your dog.  Zoey, a 5 year old mixed breed dog, brought her ball with her to the park.

 

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Senator Joseph Finnegan Park (Dorchester, MA)

Date Of Visit: June 17, 2017

Location: corner of Taylor St. and Water St., Neponset area of Dorchester, Boston, MA

Hours: Open sunrise to sunset

Cost: Free

Parking: Parking is available by the main entrances on Water or Taylor St.  You can also park at Pope John Paul II Park on Hallet St or Gallivan Blvd as the trails for each park are connected

Park size/trail difficulty: 15 acres/easy

Handicapped Accessible: Yes

Dog Friendly: Yes

Highlights: scenic views, cycling/walking paths, wildlife

Website: Finnegan Park

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Bigger isn’t necessarily better.

Part of the Neponset River Greenway, at a scant 15 acres Finnegan Park is one of the smaller yet more charming parks to open in the Boston area.

Dedicated in May of this year, Finnegan Park is a small yet popular destination for anyone looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city it borders.

Some of the park’s more appealing features are the scenic views and birds that inhabit the area, if you find that sort of things appealing that is.  In the background you can see some of the residential buildings in the lovely Quincy, Massachusetts neighborhood. Egrets and Canadian geese are common visitors at the park.

There are also blocks of what looks like granite with words like “Charity” as well as the history of the area and descriptions of the wildlife in the area engraved on them.

One of the really cool things about the park is the train that passes by.  The very same train I take to work.

Named after former state senator and representative Joseph Finnegan who worked hard to revitalize the area, Finnegan Park is a great place to ride your bike, play hopscotch or take your dog for a walk.

 

 

Gladys had a fun time walking along the trails at Finnegan Park.

Finnegan Park is only one segment of the Neponset River Greenway.  In a future post I will be showing off another beautiful part of this project.

 

 

 


Wickham Park (Manchester, CT)

Date Of Visit: May 30, 2017

Location: 1814 Tolland St, Manchester, CT

The address on the website is for the back entrance which is locked   Do not enter this address into your GPS.  The best way to go is to follow the instructions on their website or try using the address listed above.  I had to pull into a Dunkin’ Donuts to get directions.

There is also limited free parking on a side street (Vernon Rd)

Cost: $5 per car

Hours: open daily, sunrise to sunset

Park Size/Trail Difficulty: 250 acres/easy trails with some gentle inclines

Handicapped Accessible: Yes.

Dog Friendly: Yes

Highlights: scenic views, ponds, wetlands, wildlife, art, well maintained grounds, disc-golf field, bird sanctuary, nature center, gardens, flowers,hiking trails, picnic areas, ample parking

Website: Wickham Park

Map of Wickham Park: Map Of Wickham Park

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Wickham Park has a little a bit of everything for everyone.  There are gardens, wetlands and hiking trails for the nature lover.  There is a nature center and bird sanctuary for animal lovers to learn more about the inhabitants of the grounds.  There is also a play area for children and a beautiful scenic outlook for people to sit and enjoys beautiful views of the Hartford area.  There’s even tennis courts, pavilions and a disc golf field.  It is also one of the most beautiful parks I have visited (I know – I say that about all of the parks I visit).

If you have limited time or you don’t want to walk around too much, I would suggest going to Lot B first.  But, you can drive from lot to lot so tall of the areas of he park are very accessible.

Lot B is across from the Japanese themed Lotus Gardens, Irish Garden and other natural beauties.

There are also pretty structures and statues along the paths.

Knot Garden has a maze (it’s not as easy as it looks), statues and beautiful flowers.

There is a wide variety of birds, mammals and other animals at Wickham Park.

I caught this bird taking a dust bath.

These frogs were busy.  So I left them to their privacy, as much as there is at a park.

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There is also a bird sanctuary at Wickham.  All of the birds at the sanctuary were either injured or unable to survive in the wild on their own.  And, it looks like more are on their way.

Not all of the animals at the sanctuary were birds.  This sneaky fella found a way to score some choice feed.

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There is also a fun and educational nature next to a playground.  The animals are the nature center were much easier to photograph.

Wickham Park also offers stunning views of the Hartford and surrounding area.

There is also a disc golf field and easy to moderate hiking trails.

Wickham is worth the visit just for the art and architecture and nature alone.  The trails and gardens are just an added bonus.