Tag Archives: tourism

The Blue Trees (Salem, MA)

Date Of Visit: August 23, 2022

Location: Salem, MA

Cost: Free

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.

Boswell’s Books (Shelburne Falls, MA)

Date Visited: September 6, 2016

Location: 10 Bridge St, Shelburne Falls, MA


Mon – Wed: 11:00 a.m. 6:00 p.m.

Thu & Fri : 10:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Sat: 10:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Sun:   10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

(hours may vary depending on the time of the year)

Parking:  There is unmetered  off street parking available (2 hour limit) and a free parking area off Baker Ave with about 30 -40 free spots (take care not to park in the spots reserved for businesses and other tenants in the area) and additional off street parking.  Parking is difficult during peak times

Dog Friendly: Probably Not

Web Site: Boswell’s Books



Few things go better than cats and books.  And Boswell’s Books is proof of this.

Formerly named the Bridge Street Bookshop until 1991, Boswell’s Books was originally named after one of the previous owners’ cats, Boswell.  Since then, the book store has gone through some changes, including changes in location and changes in ownership.  But, the one mainstay has been Boswell.

The current feline resident of the bookstore, a 7 year old female tuxedo cat, is the fifth Boswell.

We found her resting in the front window taking a much deserved cat nap.


Boswell’s books has cute decor and, even though they may not be as big as some of the other bookstores, they make good use of the space they do have.

They even have acommodations for everyone, people and felines.


Boswell’s also holds special events such as book signings and book readings.  It’s a must-see if you’re in the Shelburne Falls area!

There are so many fun places to visit in Shelburne Falls.  In fact, one need only to walk along Bridge Street to find some wonderful places to shop.  I have always found these smaller, independtly owned businesses to have  such friendly and great service. Plus, it’s always good to support locally owned businesses.

Mocha Maya’s Coffee House (47 Bridge St) is a cozy little coffee shop where you can bring your recently purchased book to read and have a coffee, sandwich or blended drink.  They also host musical events.

Unfortunately, the Trolley Stop Antiques and Collectibles shop was not open during our visit.  As you can see, the shop has some very unusual products.

Even if you don’t want to stop in at any of the shops or diners, Shelburne Falls is a great place to walk around and appreciate the views and the atmosphere.

Boswell wasn’t the only pet I saw at Shelburne Falls.  Catfish (named after legendary New York Yankee pitcher Catfish Hunter) is a 4 year old (he will be turning 5 in November) Leonberger.  Leonberger’s are a large breed dog that were popular in Germany.  They were originally bred to be a symbolic dog that would mimic the lion in the town crest of Leonberg in Baden-Wurttemberg in Germany.  He’s truly a gentle giant.



Cutler Park (Needham, MA)

If you think all state parks are the same, with all the standard fare, you’ve obviously never been to Cutler Park.


Named for the State legislator, Leslie B. Cutler, who helped the Department of Conservation and Recreation of Massachusetts acquire the land, Cutler Park is majestic in its beauty.


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You are sure to find something to like about Cutler Park.

Whether it is the rolling hills,


Transparent water


Or abundant wildlife, such as these robins, chipmunks, moths and even canines…you won’t regret the time you spend there.




Master of camouflage.  Can you spot him?



Ever the comedian, Layla stuck her tongue out when I took her photo


Ladybug was wet from her swim in Cutler Pond.


Bodi was a good subject.  Too bad I had my telephoto lens on.


Bella decided to cool off while I took her photo


England gave me a big smile when I shot her photo


The 600 acre Cutler Park also boasts an array of colorful plants and flowers.  Such as cat tails, chrysanthemums and loose strife just to name a few.




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Cutler Park’s trails vary from dirt trails, makeshift narrow rocky trails and wood bridges over the marshy land.  The tall trees provide good shade and shelter from the elements.  It’s easy to get off the beaten path, literally.  But, be cognizant of where you are, Cutler Park is a huge park and one could easily find oneself lost or turned around.  Not that I would be speaking from experience or anything.

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One thing I noticed that I had not remember seeing before was the clouds reflecting on the shimmering waters of Cutler Park.

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Kayakers are prevalent at Cutler Park


People weren’t the only ones having fun in the water.  Ducks were dunking and Roscoe was fetching.

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Also, off the beaten path you can find a tunnel, presumably once used when the state park was used as a water supplier.  Now, it carries graffiti and memories.  If tunnels could tell stories.

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A rickety staircase leads to some rail road tracks. Weirdly, the MBTA’s Commuter Rail runs through Cutler Park.  Granted, it is off the main paths, but it still out of place.  At least some people have a pretty view on their way home.

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As inviting as public transportation can be, I decided to drive to Cutler Park.  But, whether it is by plane, train or automobile, you should visit as well.

Witch City (Salem, MA)

When people think of Salem (MA), they often conjure thoughts of the witch hysteria, ghosts or a litany of other things that may go bump in the night.  But, this isn’t fair nor accurate. No, Salem is more than “haunted houses” and stores that sell kitschy souvenirs. Nor is it only fun to visit during the Halloween season. Still, it did feel a little odd wandering around Salem without a Fall chill in the air or leaves crunching beneath my feet.  But, it wasn’t any less fun.

Salem, being an important port for trade in early colonial days, is rich with tradition and history.  One of the main ports of trade is at Pickering Wharf in Salem Harbor.



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Anchored in the wharf is The Friendship.  The Friendship is a reconstruction of a 1700’s trading ship.  Tours are available, except today as they were renovating the ship.



Stately, rustic buildings dot the coast line. The ornate building with the dome atop it is the Custom House.  It is sandwiched in between the Salem Maritime National Historic Site (to the left) and the Simon Forrester House.


There is also a lighthouse located at the end of the pier.


Ducks and other birds frequent the harbor.

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Pickering Wharf has a variety of restaurants where you can enjoy fish, lobster and, well, fish.  It is also a hub for tour groups (whose favorite past time seems to be getting into my photos) and the occasional dog walker.  I found this dog who is all black, except for her front left paw.  DSC_0467

I could spend all day at Pickering Wharf.  But, in the interest of time, I began my journey to some of the other attractions in Salem.  The best part of visiting Salem is noticing the attractions and sites while you’re walking to each destination.

There was this house that caught my eye.


There was this display outside the Salem Witch Museum.


Irzyk Park, named after Brigadier General Albin F. Irzyk, has this retired Army tank in the park.


Saint Nicholas Church stands out against some of the more drab buildings.DSC_0600

I also bumped into Aida


As well as Simba and Jasmin


Eventually, I found my way to Winter Island.


Winter Island is a hidden jewel within the outskirts of Salem.  A mile from the downtown Salem area, it is used as a RV/trailer park as well as a place to launch boats and hold functions.  I walked the mile to Winter Island from downtown Salem. It is pretty much a straight walk or drive from tge downtown area.  But, if you choose to drive. there is ample parking outside of Winter Island.  There are an array of flowers and a pond (more like a reservoir) with a power plant adjacent which gives a nice touch.  Geese and ducks are abundant there.

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There is also a beach and an area for bird watching on Winter Island (it’s not really an “island” (it is more like a peninsula) but I will let it slide.  It was the beach, Waikiki Beach, that was most impressive.  Rocks are scattered along the beach and make shift trails on the hills behind the beach offer private views of the beach.  Since it was low tide, I was able to walk along the rocks for better views of the harbor.  A lighthouse gives a nice touch and birds and flowers are abundant.


A closeup of one of the many flowers on Waikiki Beach.


The lighthouse (Winter Island Light,),not the photographer, is tilted.DSC_0704

A bee pollinating.


The rocks at Waikiki Beach give the beach a unique landscape and offer a chance to get better views.  It also attracts a variety of bird life.

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There is also an area for bird watching at Winter Island.  Although they are easily scared away, I did capture these images of a Robin and a Red Winged Black Bird.



There is also an old ammunition bunker in the bird watching area at Fort Pickering on Winter Island.


It’s a shame that Salem is only remembered for the more commercial aspects and urban legends.  It isn’t all about being scared in Salem.  In fact, this is the scariest thing I saw all day.


Of course, no visit to Salem would be complete without a photo of Roger Conant, the founder of Salem, and a visit to the World War II Memorial at Salem Commons.


You can keep yourself quite busy just visiting the parks, beaches and assortment of other attractions in Salem all year round, not just during Halloween.  But, of course, I’ll be back in October anyways.

Bearskin Neck (Rockport, MA)

A mere hour and change north of Boston, Rockport is famous for its scenic views, waterfront vistas and quaint setting.  I decided to begin my trek at the historic Bearskin Neck. DSC_0967

A cozy, sleepy town just off the beaten path of Rockport Center, I have only one gripe about Bearskin Neck (one which is common among New England attractions); parking.  There are a scant 11 parking spots at  the edge of Bearskin Neck where most of the tourists congregate and you will want to be cognizant of the time you spend while you’re parked.  There are parking meters which do take coins as well as credit and debit cards and it is strictly enforced.  Parking is also limited in the Rockport Center area, although you may park in a lot across from the beach in Rockport for $15 for the entire day.  Parking is also available at the town’s municipal parking lot.  From there, a free shuttle will also drop you off at Rockport Center.

Depending on who you choose to believe, Bearskin Neck’s name can be traced back to John Babson or, more predictably, a bear.  According to a sign posted in Rockport, Bearskin Neck got its name from a bear that got caught in a wave and was killed when it came to shore.  But, another tale insists it got its name when fishermen who saw the bearskin a prominent resident, John Babson, had left to dry on the rocks that occupy much of the area. 

Arriving at Bearskin Neck, I feared I had taken a wrong turn down a pedestrian only road.  It is easy to be confused by this since Bearskin Neck is only one small yet busy walkway.  But, eventually you will arrive at Bearskin Neck.  Be careful while driving o that road as people walked aimlessly throughout the road, stopped to take selfies in the middle of the road and paid little attention to the traffic around them.  When you do reach the end of Bearskin Neck you will find a small parking area, a sitting area with panoramic views, and a  rocky walkway that ends in a peninsula. DSC_0991DSC_0855 DSC_0973DSC_0851

Bearskin Neck is also a popular spot for boaters

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In fact, it was once a thriving fishing and lobster trapping area.  Now, not so much.  But, there are still some fishermen and women who still call it their trade.


Naturally, one of the more eye catching things about the Bearskin Neck section of Rockport are….the rocks.


Lots and lots of rocks

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The Straitsmouth Isle Lighthouse is visible from Bearskin Neck.  The island is closed to the public.  So, unless you have a boat, this is the closes you will get to it


Bearskin Neck and Rockport are a walking area with a quaint feel.  Art galleries, independent book stores and gift shops line the narrow, pedestrian streets of Bearskin Neck.

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There are many fun activities to do in bearskin Neck from kayaking to palm reading.  I would probably do the former prior to the latter just as an extra precaution.

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The “other” popular attraction in Bearskin Neck, besides the rocky peninsula, is Motif No. 1.  Motif number 1 is a replica of a fisherman’s shack.  The original Motif 1 was destructed during the Blizzard of 1978.  It has been featured in many classic paintings and even in film

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Bearskin neck is also teeming with wild life of all species.  For instance, I ran into “Paws” while I was on my journey.


Of course, there are also seagulls a plenty in Bearskin Neck.  They are especially fond of Motif No. 1. DSC_0897DSC_0899

This one seemed too shy to fly away. DSC_0870

He eventually decided to go for a dip with a friend instead DSC_0873

This seagull just wanted to get away from it all.  But, i still found him. DSC_0975

And then it was on to Rockport center.  Yes, that all pictured above happened in the Bearskin Neck section of Rockport – one small road and connecting peninsula. Rockport Center has a more modern feel to it, albeit just slightly more modern.

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Most of the noteworthy attractions, such as the Rockport Art Association, are located in the Cultural District on or off Main St.


The First Congregational Church of Rockport has been in the same location since 1805, although other churches with the same name had been at different locations dating back to the 1700’s.


One of the coolest things about Rockport Center, at least for photographing, are the nooks in between buildings that allow for more unique photograph taking

DSC_0926 DSC_0928 Rockport Front Beach is a cute little beach for boys and gulls of every age.  Sorry.

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On the way back to my car, Hooda let me take her photo.  But, only if she could stand by her dad.


To enjoy Rockport to its fullest, a weekend trip or, better yet, a three day weekend would do it justice.  I was barely able to take in a sampling of the main attractions in one day.  And, I still missed out on some of the attractions.  Beautiful and entertaining places are abundant.  I have many more shots I didn’t include in this blog. To date, Rockport has been the most photo friendly, fun place to photograph.