Tag Archives: views

High Ledges Wildlife Sanctuary (Shelburne, MA)

Date Of Visit: October 14, 2017

Location: Patten Road, Shelburne, MA

Hours: Trails are open dawn until dusk

Cost: Free

Parking: there are 2 parking lots.  The first parking lot (called the “overflow parking lot”) which has room for about 10 cars is at the beginning of the entrance.  The other parking area is about a quarter of a mile down the main entrance road.  On the left of the road is room for about a dozen cars.

Trail Size/Difficulty: 782 acres, 5 miles/easy with some moderate inclines

Handicapped Accessible: No

Dog Friendly: No

Website: High Ledges Wildlife Sanctuary

Trail Map: High Ledges Wildlife Sanctuary Trail Map

Highlights: scenic, “high ledge”, wildlife,  easy trails, vernal pool, flowers, foliage during the fall

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Known for its pretty views of the Deerfield River Valley and Mount Greylock area, its variety of flowers along its trails and its various wildlife, High Ledges Wildlife Sanctuary is a great place for a quick hike to some beautiful views.

The sanctuary is a mixture of 5 miles of paved and dirt trails with a few boardwalks over some marshy areas.

Even though it was near the end of the foliage season, there was still lots of foliage on the trees during my visit.   The leaves on the ground added to the beauty of the sanctuary.

 

Rumor has it wolves roamed the High Ledges.  The Wolves’ Den Loop Trail leads to a geologic feature where local lore has it that the last wolf in the region was exterminated.

The highlight of the sanctuary is the overlook, or “high ledge” along the (wait for it…)…Ledges Trail.  The rolling hills and colorful trees offer a  picturesque vista.

 

It’s said you can see Mount Greylock from the ledge on a clear day. See it?  It’s right there…

Well, it’s somewhere there.

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The trails at High Ledges are easy overall.  But there are some strenuous areas.  My advice would be to stay on the main trails and to basically back track or follow the trail you took to the vista since that is the most direct route back and the trail is the easiest to travel, unless you’re looking for a challenge.  I felt the urge for a challenge that day and I usually do try the various trails so I can get a good feel of the park.  However, there really wasn’t, save for a few chipmunks and trees, along the side trails.

 

Chipmunks were busy storing nuts, and chewing on a few, in preparation for another long winter that will sadly soon be here.

 

 


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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Demarest Lloyd State Park

Date Of Visit: April 23, 2017

Location: Barney’s Joy Road, Dartmouth, MA (about 1.5 hours south of Boston and 45 minutes southeast of Providence, RI)

Hours: The park is generally open from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Park hours in season are 10 am to 6 pm weekdays and 8 am to 6 pm weekends and holidays.  You can park at the entrance (a gate prevents access in the off season) and walk the roughly half a mile to the beach

Cost: $12 MA Vehicle, $14 non-MA Vehicle, see website for additional fees for boating

Parking: there is ample parking near the beach after you pay at the entrance.

Handicapped Accessible: Yes

Dog Friendly: Yes, but they are not allowed on the beach from April 1st to September 15th, unless they are service pets

Website: Demarest Lloyd State Memorial Park

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Located along the southern coast of Massachusetts,  Demarest Lloyd State Park has some of the prettiest views of any state park I have visited.  Its abundant bird population, scenic views and sandbars make Demarest one of the truly special places to visit and get away from it all.

Demarest is a bird lovers paradise, especially during the off season when there are less people, cars and other disturbances to scare them away.

The views at Demarest are truly breath taking.

I kept thinking to myself, sometimes the world is indeed a very beautiful place.  It’s important to have places like this treasure to observe and appreciate pure beauty.  Demarest was easy to photograph.  The hardest part was deciding which photos to post.  All I had to do was check my settings and point and click.  The beauty was already there, all courtesy of Mother Nature.

It was low tide during my visit.  So, I was able to walk out onto some of the sandbars and get up close to some of the gulls at the park.

There were also several lobster pots and other cage-like devices that had washed up along the shore or were being stored there for safe keeping

If you do walk past the beach area, as I did, you should remember to pack or wear an extra pair of walking shoes (flip flops and sandals won’t be adequate) because the path turns from sand to pebbles and seashells.  It is worth the walk, though.

One of the few creepy things at the park were these spiders.  And they were everywhere.  I must have seen dozens of them.  So, if you do lie out there on a  beach blanket, I’m just saying…but they have a purpose and place here as well.

Dogs like Demarest as well.

Bartley is a 2 year old German Shepherd.

Ranger is a 5 or 6 year old mixed breed dog.

Sadie is an 8 year old Lab.

 


Stavros Reservation (Essex, MA)

Date Of Visit: April 22, 2017

Location: 8 Island Rd, Essex, MA (about half an hour north of Boston)

Hours: Open daily from sunrise to sunset

Cost: Free

Parking: Parking is very limited.  There is not a parking lot for this reserve.  Parking is allowed on the grass at the side of the street

Size/Trail Difficulty/Time to Spend: 3/4 mile loop, easy trail with a moderate incline, your visit should last half an hour to an hour at the most

Handicapped Accessible: No, the trails are too steep in some parts

Dog Friendly: Yes

Highlights: stone structure, popular birding destination, scenic views of the water, pretty trees

Website: Starvos Reservation

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What better way to celebrate Earth Day then a visit to Stavros Reserve in Essex, MA?

It was a windy and raw day, more like a fall or winter day than a spring day.  But, such is the weather for New England.  I just considered myself lucky that it wasn’t snowing.   This is New England after all.

Stavros Reserve is easy enough to find.  Parking, however, is a different story.  After driving past the reserve in the hopes of finding a parking area, I turned around and settled on a parking spot on the grass by the side of the road.  Several cars (5-10) could probably squeeze in this parking area before the side of the road narrows to accommodate the traffic on Island Rd.

At first glance, Stavros Reserve doesn’t seem like much.  The moderately steep roughly quarter of a mile incline features some scenic views, pretty trees

and this creepy looking tree that reminded me of the trees from the Wizard Of Oz.

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Once you reach the end of the trail, you’ll see a stone structure that was once a fieldstone base of a 50-foot, three-level tower built by Lamont G. Burnham in the 1880s.

The top of the trail at the reservation has some eye catching views.

Inscribed on the marker under the tree is:

“This land is a memorial to

James Niclis Stavros

For the enjoyment of all who find

Renewal of spirit in nature

Mary F. Stavros

May 17, 1986”

As an aside, I fell in love with Essex while I was there.  Antique shops and well manicured colonial style homes line the main streets.  It’s an old New England town, incorporated as a town in Massachusetts in 1819, that has kept its charm.

The birds, seagulls specifically, were acting strangely while I was there.

That was enough for me.  I saw a flock of seagulls.  So I ran.  (only people over 40 might get that one)

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Glacial Potholes & Salmon Falls (Shelburne Falls, MA)

Date Visited: September 6, 2016

Location: Deerfield Ave, Shelburne Falls, MA

Hours: Open everyday, 24 hours a day

Cost: Free

Parking: There is off street parking with a 2 hour limit and police do take notice

Dog Friendly: Yes

Highlights: waterfall, glacial potholes, flowers, birds, shops, attractions

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The Salmon Falls and Glacial Potholes attraction in Shelburne Falls, MA, is a beautiful “two-fer.”  “Three-fer” if we include the bowling alley adjacent to the Salmon Falls and Glacial Potholes attractions.  IN fact, it is more accurately described as a “many-fer”s there are many attractions and beautiful attractions to the Salmon Falls area.

Although it may be best known for The Bridge Of Flowers (post to come shortly), beauty and grandeur abound Salmon Falls/Glacial Potholes area on Deerfield Ave.

The glacial potholes were ground out of granite during the high water of the Glacial Age.  The whirlpool action of the waves and the gyrating stones created the prominent holes in the stones.  It is said some of the grinding mills can still be seen in the smaller potholes.  Over 50 potholes exist in the confined area known as “Salmon Falls” when the the Native Americans resided here.  The potholes vary in size from 6 inches to 39 feet in diameter.  The 39 inch diameter pothole is considered the largest pothole on record.  And you thought the potholes on our roads were bad.

 

Salmon Falls, as it was dubbed by the Native Americans, was a common area for hunting and fishing.  The waterfall still gives some pretty views against a once industrialized scenery as the backdrop.

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What makes the Salmon Falls and Glacial Potholes area are the small shops and antiquated buildings that give the area a very old fashioned small town feel.  This is true for pretty much the entire community of Shelburne Falls.

There is a bench for sitting, feeding the birds and just taking in the beauty around you.

Almost as a prelude to the much heralded Bridge of Flowers (which is located only a short walk or drive from the Salmon Falls and Glacial Potholes area), flowers and trees bound the Salmon Falls area.

If you’re lucky you might even find a feathered friend to photograph.

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Deerfield Ave, the road that leads to Salmon Falls and the Glacial Potholes, still has the old town feel that adds tot he charm of the area.  In fact, the entire Shelburne Falls area still has many “mom and pop” shops and independent businesses rather than chain stores.  It was nice walking around without being bombarded by convenience stores and restaurant chains that seem to scar so many other towns.

The Shelburne Bowling Alley is one of the oldest bowling alleys in the country.  In operation since 1906 (and yes it is still open for business currently), the Shelburne Bowling Alley could easily be mistaken for a barn or some other structure from a different time.

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There is also a variety of art throughout the area.  Some of the art I noticed looked different from the art I have seen in previous visits.  So it appears they do change it up every so often.  The art honors the history of the area and gives information about the area.

Below is a video of the falls at Salmon Falls.  It was an overcast and somewhat windy day when we first arrived at the Falls so you may hear the wind in the video.  But, most of the sound is from the rushing waters of the Falls.

Similar Places In New England I have Visited:

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Wadsworth Falls State Park (Middletown, CT)

 

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Cascading Waters (Worcester, MA)

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Bash Bish Falls (Mount Washington, MA)


Dorrs Pond (Manchester, NH)

Date Visited: August 7, 2016

Location: Dorrs Pond is part of Livingston Park which is located at 244 Hookset Rd, Manchester, NH (off Daniel Webster Highway)

Hours: Open 24 hours (use your best judgment if you go at nighttime)

Cost: Free

Parking:  There are about 70 or so parking spots by Dorrs Pond.  There is also additional parking by the play area and field by Livingston Park.

Dog Friendly: Yes

Size: 1.2 mile loop with some short side trails.

Time To Allot For Visit: 1 or 2 hours

Fun For One: Yes

Highlights: abundant wildlife, popular trails for runner, cyclists and walkers, pretty views, very well maintained, benches for sitting, skating on the pond during the winter

Lowlights: short loop (only 1.2 mile) so many runners have to complete the loop several times to get a good workout, some side trails end abruptly at parking lots or just stop without going anywhere

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Once an artificial pond to serve the people of Manchester, Dorrs Pond now serves a scenic retreat for cyclists, runners, nature lovers and dogs.

“hidden gem” is a phrase that gets thrown around a lot.  But, the photos below will show how this description is apt for Dorrs Pond.  In fact, I, and many people I talked to about it, had never been to this pond or ever even heard about before I went there.

One of the great things about Dorrs Pond is it is not a particularly difficult trail.  The trails are Dorrs Pond are pretty level with a few small inclines

The views at Dorrs Pond are beautiful.  Vivid greens and a variety of green, purple and other vibrant colors dot the landscape.

One of the best parts of Dorrs Pond is the wildlife.  There is a variety of birds, amphibians and other animals at the pond.

I also found this interesting shelter.  Unfortunately, no one was home.

During the winter, skating is allowed on the pond.  Also, there is a play area, playing field, restrooms and pool for children (and some adults) in addition to Dorrs Pond at Livingston Park.

Doors Pond is a great place to bring your dog.  The trail is not too long and the inclines are not very steep.  And it was a perfect day for taking your pooch out for a stroll.  I saw lots of dogs at Dorrs Pond.  Here are a few of the cute dogs at the park Sunday:

Katie, a 9 month old German Shepherd.

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Finley, a Cavachon who will be 2 in September

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Reagan, a 4 month old Golden Retriever

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and Jackson, a 2 year old Basenji Greyhound.

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Similar Places In New England I Have Visited:

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Ames Nowell State Park

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Cutler Park

 

 


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

 

 


Cliff Walk (Newport, RI)

Dates Visited: June 25 & June 26, 2016

Location: 117 Memorial Blvd, Newport, RI (by Easton’s Beach)

Hours: open everyday dawn until dusk

Cost: Free

Parking: 3 hour metered parking is available at Easton Bank (but limited).  You can also park at other entry/exit points along the trail off Bellevue Ave (such as The Breakers mansion at 44 Ochre Point Ave which is free for a limited parking time and Narrangasett Ave.)

Distance: 3.5 miles each way

Time To Allot For Walk: The website suggests 2.5 hours.  I would allot 3-4 hours if you’re walking the entire trail (and back)

Dog Friendly: Yes

Highlights: scenic, free, always open, good for people of all ages, popular with joggers

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The Cliff Walk in Newport, Rhode Island, is not only a historically important attraction, it is also a great way to burn some extra calories or stroll along the shore, depending on your energy level.

Construction of the Cliff Walk began in 1880.  Since then, the trail has been extended and designed over a series of redevelopment projects.

The Cliff Walk, which begins at Memorial Blvd or Bellevue Ave (depending on where you start) takes you on a series of breath taking views and, at times, challenging trails.  Most people begin the trail at Memorial Blvd next to Easton’s beach (also known as First Beach).  This trail ends at Bailey Beach.  There is one “comfort station” on the walk at Narragansett Rd.

Rather than backtracking on the trail to get back, which you can do, it is easier to take the first right at Bailey Beach which leads onto Bellevue Ave.  You can follow Bellevue Ave all the way back to Memorial Blvd or one of the many access points along  the trail since it runs parallel to the cliff.  It is easier because it is a straight and more direct route.  I used this path to get back and it cut my walking time in half.

The views of Rhode Island Sound and First Beach from the Cliff Walk are astounding.

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The first two thirds of the 3.5 mile trek (starting from Memorial Blvd) is easy and well defined.  However, the terrain gets rocky, challenging and more scenic after the first 2 and a quarter miles.  The steps and paths go from being well defined and wide.

to rugged, rocky and narrow

Other than the challenging terrain, the Cliff Walk is an easy, fun trail  (it’s best to stop and turn around at the Breakers mansion or Webster Street if you’re starting from Memorial Blvd to avoid the more rocky terrain).

The Cliff Walk is also a good place for birding.  There were lots of birds flying here and there, calling out to each other and even a few relaxing on the rocks.  They look like they’re conspiring.

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Perhaps the most well known part of the trail is the 40 Steps.  In addition to providing you with an up close look of the shoreline, the 40 Steps also provides a little bit of history to the trail.  The 40 steps is where the servants and workers of the mansions used to congregate during the Gilded Age.

One of my favorite parts of the walk was watching the people on the various water crafts and other flotation devices.

Another great thing about the Cliff Walk are the unusual features of the trail.  Tunnels, makeshift trails, colorful flowers, even a memorial attached to a rock and other decorative items are scattered throughout the Cliff Walk.  The memorial on the rock is dedicated to former surfer pro Ryan Patrick Roberts, nicknamed “Gazoo”. Roberts, a Newport native, passed away February 5, 2000.  One wonders how they got the plaque on there and made it stay there.

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The Cliff Walk also offers many great views of the mansions and other buildings built along the shore.

Some of the visitors at the Cliff Walk weren’t contend to stay on the trail.

There were a lot of dogs on the trail during my visits.  It is a great place to take your pup for a walk.  But, you may want to avoid the rockier terrain when you take your dog to the Cliff Walk.

Remy is a 10 month German Short Hair Pointer and a loyal Red Sox fan I presume.

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Winston, a 4 year old Maltese from Seattle, WA, took the easy way around the Cliff Walk

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Fion is an 8 year old Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen.  Her breed is named after the area of France where that breed originated from (Vendeen).

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Believe it or not, Penny, a Great Pyrenees,  is only one year old.

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Fort Taber/Fort Rodman Park (New Bedford, MA)

Date Visited: June 11, 2016

Location: 1000 Rodney French Blvd, New Bedford, MA

Parking: There are about 70-100 spots or so in the park itself but plenty of off street parking as well.

Cost: Free

Hours: Dawn until dusk
Dog Friendly: It sure is!

Highlights: forts, lighthouse, jetty, beach, war memorials, walking trails, playground with slides and swings for children (or adults if you’re so inclined), military museum, war reenactments, pretty views

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The highlight of the park for most visitors has to be the jetty.  Fishing off the jetty, or anywhere else at the park is allowed.  But, they have a strict “catch and release” policy because most of the fish are contaminated with PCB (poly-chlorinated bipenyls).  So, they would not be safe to eat.  PCB’s are known cancer causing toxins.  The New Bedford Harbor is lined with these cancer-causing toxins that were released into the harbor between 1938 and 1973 by factories such as the electrical component manufacturer Aerovox.  The harbor is in the process of being cleaned.  But, it could take many more years before the job is complete.

Seashells and seaweed were scattered along the bridge, evidence of some recent stormy seas.

There are so many beautiful views and interesting things at Fort Taber Park.  The lighthouse in the photos is the

Since New Bedford has been known for its whaling and seafaring history, the park (and all of New Bedford) is also known for its lighthouses.  In the background of  the fort in the photo below you can see Clarks Point Lighthouse, first originally built in 1797 (it was replaced with a stone tower in 1804).

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The lighthouse below is the Butler Flats Lighthouse, originally built in 1898.

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There are several war memorials dedicated to the men and women of Fall River who have served their country, with a specific emphasis on those who were killed in action.

The memorial below is a Vietnam War Memorial that really stood out to me.  If you look closely at the board in the final photo, you can see photos of the service people from New Bedford who were killed in the war.   Everything about this memorial has meaning.  The 43 stars on the memorial represent all of the 43 people from New Bedford who died in Vietnam.  The outline of Vietnam is in orange as a reference to Agent Orange who died from Agent Orange.  Even the service ribbons on the memorial have meaning.  The blue ribbon represents the National Defense Ribbon which is representative of everyone who served in Vietnam.  The other two ribbons represent in country veterans.  The two plants at the memorial signify life.

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There are also several memorials to all of the 20th century wars America has been in, although I did not notice any memorials for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.  I am assuming this may be because those actions are still not officially over even if we have pulled out most of our military presence in those places.

A tribute does stand for Army Staff Sargent Joseph Camara of New Bedford, MA, who was killed in action on September 1, 2003 while serving during Operation Iraqi Freedom  when the humvee he was traveling in hit a land mine.  He was serving with the 115th Military Police Company as a member of the Rhode Island National Guard in the Iraq War.  He was 40 years old when he died.  He was also a member of the New Bedford Police Department.  His memorial is located at the bottom of the gallery below.

There is also a replica of a Sherman tank stands as a tribute to the LST amphibious force T-4 who lost their lives in training for the invasion on D-Day.  During the training exercises, sadly, many men lost their lives training for the invasion.

While I was visiting it was 17th century drill day.  Reenactors from the Dartmouth militia, in full 17th century garb, showed how weapons were used, described the different types of warfare of the day and answered any questions the public had.

The staff also allowed visitors inside Fort Taber.  The guide explained they stopped using this Civil War fort once the ballistics that were used became too effective against the barricades of the fort.

Grass and rust had overtaken what was once a formidable fortification.

One of the best parts of my visit – on the way to my car, I saw this man and woman playing their instruments.

 

One of the great things I noticed about the New Bedford area as I walked around taking photos and from the crowd at Fort Taber is the diversity of the cultures and people of the area.  The photographs above illustrate this.  The music sounded like it had an up tempo flamenco influence.  It sounded beautiful.  And I love their attire.

Fort Taber/Fort Rodman is a dog friendly park.  The park is a great place for dogs.  There are miles of trails for your dog to wander.

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