Tag Archives: traveling

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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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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There was this display outside the Salem Witch Museum.

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

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

I also bumped into Aida

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As well as Simba and Jasmin

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Eventually, I found my way to Winter Island.

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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.

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

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A bee pollinating.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.


Stanley Park (Westfield, MA)

As you enter the main parking entrance to the lush, well manicured 300 acre Stanley Park, you could easily take it for a playground or picnic area, at least at first glance. But, don’t be fooled.  There lies a bevy of trails, wildlife and plant life as well as an assortment of memorials nestled behind the soccer nets, basketball courts and play areas.

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Stanley Park has several walking bridges and elevated wooden walking paths to view the various wildlife.  The park also has a waterfall and mill.

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The critters are not shy either.  Being accustomed to the visitors, particularly those with food, chipmunks, ducks and squirrels (grey and black) will approach you within inches in the hopes of getting food, in this case peanuts, to store or eat. Aren’t they patient?

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Since the animals there are so used to seeing people and often being fed, Stanley Park is an ideal place to photograph all types of wildlife, especially the amateur photographer.  It’s pretty easy to get an otherwise skittish animal to get close enough to get a good shot of them, like these critters below.

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Unfortunately, during my most recent visit to the park, a park worker informed me you must pay a fee to take photos, a steep one at that.  I am still looking into this (the person in charge of the parks and recreational services was conveniently on vacation when I called Monday).  So, my trip was cut short.  I do have photos on my phone from a previous visit, though.  Posted below are the photos shot with my camera phone.  After looking into the matter with City Hall, an official told us the fee is only for weddings and other functions.  A person shooting photos on their own does not have to pay the fee.

The Connecticut River runs through Stanley Park which gives ample opportunity to get some pretty views.

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Yes, those are Koi fish in the river.

Stanley Park also has a well maintained garden that has a variety of plant life such as petunias and roses.

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There are also miles of trails that runs along the Connecticut River.  You could spend all day, or many hours following all of the trails.

Stanley Park also has many memorials and statues scattered around the flower and garden area.  The memorial below was erected in memory of Otto Bono Galegari who was killed in the Korean War.  Otto’s father constructed the monument in his son’s memory.  Just contemplating the emotional undertaking this must have been is inspiring.  In fact, it seems out of place in a park where people casually while away their summer days texting and playing catch.  It deserves a more reverent setting.

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And some religious guy:

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There is also the Angel of Independence statue which was set up as a tribute to the relationship between the United States and Mexico.

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There is also a visitor’s center that has a  a map of North America in front of the structure (not virtual size).

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Overall, Stanley Park is a great place to spend the day or just a few hours (you’ll quickly lose track of time when you’re there).  Just remember to bring lots of snacks for the squirrels, birds and ducks.


Pompey (Portsmouth, NH)

“The Granite State”, “God’s Country”, “The Mother of Rivers” and “The Live Free State” are just a few of the nicknames associated with New Hampshire and for good reason.  The lazy, slow paced lifestyle mixed with postcard views, New Hampshire is the ideal place to visit.  The only question is which part to visit first.  For me, it was an easy answer.  Portsmouth (whose motto is “Heaven’s Light Our Guide”).  Hands down.

One of my favorite areas to visit, Portsmouth, New Hampshire has always incorporated just the right amount of quaint, sleepy town with a modern, new city feel.  Yet recently, it has felt like perhaps it is incorporating too much modern feel.  Previously unscathed land is littered with cranes, earth moving tools and other construction equipment, even to the point of marring otherwise perfect landscapes. This is not your parent’s Portsmouth.  That being said, Portsmouth still has a plethora of attractions and sites to keep you busy all weekend.

While it is not exactly clear how Portsmouth got the nickname “Pompey”,  some of the leading theories include that it is the nickname of the football club in Portsmouth and a variety of theories based on legend and tales.

The scenic drive, mainly on Routes 1, 93 and 95, was a breeze coming from Boston.  Just watch out for the Exit 3 to Portsmouth.  It comes up pretty quick after the fork in the road on 95 . And, of course, there are the not so inconspicuous state troopers lying in wait.  The driving only gets tricky when you get to Portsmouth.  It’s an old town so there are lots of one way streets, narrow roads and the parking can be sparse if you don’t get there early.  The good thing is everything is within walking distance and, if you luck out, there is free parking at the parks.  Parking enforcement workers were prevalent throughout.

I began my trek at Prescott Park, the main hub for entertainment as it is the venue for the summer arts and festivals for the area.  Prescott Park offers benches, well kept grass, flowers, monuments and scenic views of the Piscataqua River.  When you first approach Prescott park, you will be greeted by a monument, a common theme in Portsmouth.  An over sized anchor dedicated to Billy Juse who, with Tim Nordeen, died working on the Deer Island Sewage plant stands near the center of the park.  This is one of the appealing things about Portsmouth.  The town has strong ties to their past and they remember those they have lost.  They don’t forget.

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Prescott Park also has a vivid array of flowers.  Petunias, “Black Eyed Susans”, Saxifraga and “Goldliocks” are just a few of the flowers you will find here.

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DSC_0366Prescott Park also has a water fountain dedicated to Ensign Charles Hovey.  Envoy was a Naval Academy graduate who was commanding a detachment of men when his men and he was ambushed, leaving Hovey mortally wounded.  I’ve always wondered why some receive honors and others dies in anonymity,  Not to question Hovey’s and his men’s bravery, yet so many, even from the Portsmouth area, have lived, fought and died courageously with little, if any, appreciation.

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It being a seasonable New Hampshire day, with low humidity with a cool breeze, I decided to continue on my walk all the way to the center of town, aptly named Portsmouth Center.  Portsmouth Center is only about a half a mile walk from Prescott park.  But, along the way, there were many attractions and sites to detour you.  There was the City of Portsmouth Fire Department’s memorial, Vigilance.   The two sided monument is dedicated to all of the firefighters who risk their lives protecting others.

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As impressive as the monument is, some visitors were more interested in the water flowing in the monument.  Well, it was a warm day and Lulu and Seka couldn’t resist the watery goodness.

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Further along my jaunt, the Praying Hands sculpture at Temple Israel caught my eye.

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The “crown jewel of Portsmouth”, Pierce Island is another must see section of Portsmouth.  Who wouldn’t want to live on that island?  The photo below is only one of the gems of the area.

DSC_0478Pierce Island is also host to Four Tree Island (or Three Tree Island, Five Tree Island – maybe they had a hard time counting all the trees).  A peninsula shaped picnic area, Four Tree Island has a wide variety of bird life and other types of critters.  I was lucky enough to run into this guy.  Woodchucks like this are common to the area and generally aren’t very dangerous.  And, no, I don’t know how much wood he would chuck.

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There is also a diverse group of bird life on Four Tree Island.  I caught this bird in flight.

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There were also a few ducks floating out there as well.

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A remnant of the past, a fishing trap lies on some rocks.

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Two comorants huddle on a rock.

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Portsmouth is a dog-friendly town.  Everywhere you go you are sure to see someone walking their pooch and seemingly ever other vehicle has a canine passenger, their head excitedly thrust out the open window.  There are also many parks, some hotels (provided they meet certain height and weight limits) and parks that allow dogs such as, South Mill Pond.  Not only are there pretty flowers and scenic views (it must be especially pretty during sunrises and sunsets), there are also ducks for Fido to play with.

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One thing Portsmouth does not lack is memorials and monuments. One of these memorials is called, fittingly enough,Memorial Park.  Memorial Park is a fairly new addition to the monuments in Portsmouth, having been constructed in 2013.  A tribute to all of the veterans who have served, the Memorial Park  The bricks on the ground surrounding the memorial have the names of veterans and others who have passed away.  “Honor”, “protect” and “remember” are emblazoned on the stones in the  from the original Memorial Bridge which are stacked in the middle of the memorial.  Flags were at half staff in tribute to the victims of the Texas floods.

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Another memorial is the New Hampshire Commercial Fishermen’s Memorial on Pierce Island that remembers all of the men and women who have been lost fishing the waters of New Hampshire.  The monument, which was dedicated in 1987, states “In Memory Of Those Who Fished And Were Called Away.  With Prayers For Those Who Fish Today.”   It’s hard not to think, even briefly, of how much the area has changed.  A once vibrant fishing community has now evolved into a modern economy.  Like many seaport towns in New England, the fishing industry has dries up for many people and the modern era of commerce has prevailed.  Although you will see the occasional palm reading den and mom and pop shop, office buildings, financial institutions, bars and construction companies now chiefly make up the economy.

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And, in Portsmouth Center, you will find another fountain.  This one is dedicated to former Portsmouth Mayor McEachern Keenan,

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New Hampshire, the Portsmouth area particularly, being a historically important area, has many historical houses and museums that are open to the public.  In the interest of time I was unable to view them, except from the exterior.  Posted below is the Governor John Langdon’s House.  Langdon was, among other things, the second Governor of New Hampshire.

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I’m not sure the frog is an original part of the Langdon’s estate.

DSC_0446The Treadwell Jenness House is another beautiful mansion I put on my “things to next time I am in Portsmouth list”, which may be sooner rather than later.

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There are many other attractions I didn’t have the time for such as The Portsmouth naval Shipyard Museum  The Isles Of Shoals Tours and The Strawberry Banke Museum.

Despite the congestion and having too much to do to fit into one day trip, the hardest decision I had to make for this trip was to leave.