Herb Mackey’s Metal Sculpture Yard (Salem, MA)

Date Of Visit: February 2, 2019

Location: 10 Blaney St, Salem, MA

Hours: The garden is able to be viewed any day at any time

Cost: Free

Parking: There is parking located at the Salem Wharf (just punch in the address above) and there is street parking available nearby

Handicapped Accessible: Yes

Dog Friendly: Yes

Summary: A metal garden of sculptures, figures and other objects located at a home in Salem, MA.

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While there are many gardens in Salem. MA, the Herb Mackey Sculpture Garden located by the Salem Wharf is unlike any other garden you’ve ever seen.

You won’t find roses, tulips or daisies at this garden.  But, the garden is environmentally friendly.  Mackey makes all of his sculptures from recycled and reused materials.

If you’re lucky to show up when there people outside working you may get a tour of the garden.  I arrived too early for any tour.  And, if you do see Herb Mackey or any of his other workers during your visit you may be able to take a metal souvenir home, for a small fee.

Mackey doesn’t consider himself an “artist” though.  He is just having fun and his works are just a hobby.  A fun hobby at that.  You may not see his work in the local Peabody Essex Museum.  But, if you do make a detour from the commercially successful downtown area and make your way to Mackey’s Metal Garden you may see some more interesting art than you would at any museum.

 

Winter Island (Salem, MA)

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Date Of Visit: February 2, 2019

Location: 50 Winter Island Rd, Salem, MA

Hours: Open daily sunrise to sunset

Cost: Free

Parking: There is a parking area for about 20 to 30 cars at the park as well as street parking for about 2 dozen cars on Derby St before you arrive at Winter Island Rd

Handicapped Accessible: Yes.  However, some trails may be too steep

Dog Friendly: Yes

Size: 45 acres

Highlights: lighthouse, scenic views, military historical attraction, beach, easy trails, boat storage and launch areas, camping sites

Summary: Once the site of a fish drying and ship building location by the early settlers, Winter Island is now a haven for beach goers and boating enthusiasts.  Winter Island has easy trails with scenic views.  The most popular highlight of the park is Pickering Light which is located along the rocky shore.

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Ask anyone about Salem, MA, and you’re sure to hear about the House Of The Seven Gables, the Salem Witch Museum or one of the other historical museums, homes and shops that dot the city.  But, the best part of Salem may be miles (or more precisely a mile and a half) away from the historic downtown area.

Winter Island has a rich history as a shipbuilding area (a facility is still located there for this purpose) and as a defensive point for colonial and American forces during Queen Anne’s War and the American Revolutionary War.  It would continue to act in this capacity throughout the 19th century.  The area is also used to dry dock boats in the off season.  The area is used for people to camp in the RVs in the warmer seasons.  So the land is used year round.

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The lighthouse at Winter Island, Fort Pickering Light (aka Winter Island Light), was built to warn and protect sailors from the rocky coast.  Built in 1871, Pickering Light stands 28 feet above sea level,  It is built of iron lined with brick.  There used to be a bridge that connected the lighthouse to land.  I wish they had that there now!  Instead I had to walk down some rocks to get some photos up close.  The rocks can be slippery, especially this time of the year as it can be icy on the colder days.

There are also some military fortifications on display at the park.

From left to top left to bottom, Winter Island is a bunker installation and some markers in memory of those who were lost during war or other conflicts.

There is also a short trail that loops around park and offers some pretty views of the harbor.  Like most places, the best times to visit are during sunrise or sunset (or just before each time of day).  But, it is especially true here.  The orange, gold and blues help to accentuate the beauty of the park.  I spent quite a while at the park to ensure I could capture a few shots just before sunrise.  You gotta love those “golden hours.”

Don’t let the warm colors of the sunset fool you.  What looks like chunks of ice in these photos is actually ice on top of the lobster traps in the water.

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There are lots of ducks, seagulls and other birds at Winter Island.

There also seems to be a lot of reconstruction at the park.  This building looked like it was being gutted and perhaps renovated for future use.

A hidden gen within this hidden gem is Waikiki Beach.  The first sign you’ll see after you arrive at the entrance to the park is probably going to be the sign to Waikiki Beach.  While it may not compare to the beach in Hawaii that shares its name, it is a second close.

In the colder seasons you may find people skating or practicing hockey on the pond.

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The beach is usually packed with sun seekers and beach lovers during the warmer months, it is also a popular place for people to go and play with your dogs during the winter months.

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Rigby is a 5 year old mixed breed dog. His mom told me he had fun playing with Oliver at Waikiki Beach.  I have photographed Oliver in the past.  As his Instagram profile states he is a “good boy.”  You can find him here on Instagram or at oliverbestdog.

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Similar places I have visited:
(Hidden) Things to do in the area:

 

Hidden History – Whip City (Westfield, MA)

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Date Of Visits: January 25, 2019

Locations: Westfield, MA

Summary: The first and once leading manufacturer of whips in the United States, Westfield, MA, still retains the title of “whip city.”

As a new feature to my blog I am featuring a monthly historical account of one New England city, town or area.  But, my goal is to not focus on the obvious or well known historical aspects of certain areas.  Nor do I necessarily want to focus on the historically famous cities and towns in New England.  Rather, I am going to bring lesser known historical accounts of certain areas in New England.  Every area in New England has a hidden history and I hope these posts help to bring some light to these hidden pasts.

Whip City Music, Whip City Brew, Whip City Candle Company.  Why do so many places and shops in Westfield, MA have “whip city” in their name?

The short is because it is “whip city.”

Back in the horse and buggy days of the early 1900s (shortly before my birth), Westfield, MA, was the leading center of the buggy whip industry.  However, as automobiles became more affordable and accessible, the whip industry declined and many of the whip businesses closed shop.  Interestingly, the first car that was built in the United States (it was really a horse drawn buggy with a 4 HP, single cylinder gasoline engine) made its first run on public roads on September 21, 1893 in neighboring Springfield, MA.

The “whip city” brand still lives on.  Dozens of businesses from a siding and window installing company to a travel agency share the “whip city” name.  And the whip industry isn’t exactly dead.  Not yet at least.

People can still have whips made for whatever your purpose at Westfield Whip. The last remaining whip company in Westfield, MA, Westfield Whip was established in 1884.  Located at 360 Elm St, it is very easy to drive by the building and not notice its historical importance.  It may seem like any other old building in a city of old buildings.  But, it has a long history of industry and commerce in the city.  In fact it is such an important piece of history that it was placed on the National List of Historic Places on October 17, 1985.  The Westfield River runs along the side of the whip manufacturing building.  It was shuttered when I went to visit it Friday and it is only open by appointment only.

In 1872, Henry Martin Van Duesen formed his first partnership in Southfield and moved his business to Westfield in 1880 making it the first whip manufacturer in what would later be designated “whip city.”  Van Duesen began his career in the whip industry as a whip braider at the age of 11.  The building which once stood as the first whip building manufacturer was changed by Duesen to a factory to the production of lawn swings in 1925.  Stanley Hardware bought the factory in 1936 .  Now, it functions as an apartment building located at 42 Arnold St.  But it still retained the name of Van Duesen.

I did gain access to the front desk area and the friendly office worker allowed me to take a photo of the inside of the office area.  Just looking at the brick interior and the structure of the room you can see how it once certainly could have been used to manufacture goods.

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Fort Revere (Hull, MA)

Date Of Visit: January 12, 2019

Location: Fort Revere, Telegraph Hill, 60 Farina Rd, Hull, MA

Hours: Open daily from dawn until dusk

Cost: Free

Parking: There is room for about 10-15 cars in the parking lot

Handicapped Accessible: The fort is not handicapped accessible but there are views that can be enjoyed from the hill at the parking lot

Dog Friendly: Yes

Highlights: scenic, historical, picnic areas, barbecue grills

Summary: The former site of American fortification during the American Revolution, Fort Revere has also scenic views and picnic areas.

Websites: Fort Revere

Mass.gov Fort Revere Website

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As most people about Hull, Mass, and they will undoubtedly reference Nantasket Beach, the old Paragon Park and maybe even the Red Parrot.

But, the most beautiful part of Hull may be hidden up an otherwise unremarkable side road. In fact, you may easily drive by Farina Rd if you are not already aware of the beauty that sits atop the road.

For Revere offers some of the most beautiful views this side of Boston.

The views of Boston Harbor from Fort Revere are nothing less than breath taking. Boston Light is visible in the foreground and Graves Light stands behind it in the distance.

Once used as a American military installation during the American Revolution and later used as the site of a storehouse, Fort Revere is a truly hidden historical treasure. Although it is a shame it is used more for graffiti and other unproductive activities.

The steps at the fort are in disrepair. So be careful if you do visit.

On July 14, 1976 (Bastille Day) Fort Revere dedicated a memorial that commemorates the French forces who served and died at the fort in the American Revolution.

The memorials are written in English and French.

The graves from some of the people who served there still remain below the fort. You may notice rocks left on some of the tombstones.

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The bridge on to Spinnaker Hill Lane leads to Hog Island and there are pretty views of the coast of Hull.

There is also a tower that is no longer in use at Fort Revere.

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Fort Revere is a dog friendly attraction. These two Cocopoos (a Cocker Spaniel and Poodle mixed breed) named Sajac, the brown 10 year old dog in front, and Deacon, the white 1 year old dog in back, enjoyed walking around the fort.

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Founders Park(Hingham, MA)

Date Of Visit: January 12, 2019

Location: intersection of South Street and North Street, Hingham, MA (about 30 mins southeast of Boston, MA and about 1 hour northeast of Providence, RI)

Hours: Accessible 24 hours a day

Cost: Free

Parking: There is parking available at on the streets and a parking area near the park

Handicapped Accessible: Yes

Dog Friendly: Yes

Highlights: benches to sit on, sculpture, plants and flowers

Summary: Founders Park in Hingham, MA, is a small sitting area with flowers and a sculpture

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Sometimes “hidden gems” are in plain sight.

While driving to Hull (more from that visit to be posted later), I almost drove right past this little park. But, eventually, I found it.

What the park lacks in size it makes up for in charm. With its benches and trees, plants and flowers this park is a wonderful place to sit and rest or contemplate.

Dedicated in 2008, Founder’s Park, Founder’s Park was constructed without the use of tax payer funds. After the MBTA Commuter Rail Tunnel that runs behind the area where the park is located, the the Garden Club of Hingham raised funds for the creation of the park. The Garden Club continues to care for the park.

The highlight of the park is the sculpture “A Bale of Turtles, a Croak of Frogs” by David Phillips. One of the details I noticed is that some turtles are bronze colored while others are green. I also like the little turtle trying to climb up the side of the rock.

Born on January 8, 1944 in Flint, Michigan, Phillips relocated to Cambridge MA in 1970. He has been an active participant in the New England art scene ever since. According to Phillips’s website, he has 13 sculptures dedicated to different parks and spaces in New England including this one. He has several more sculptures displayed throughout the states and abroad.

The one downside to the location of this park is the lack of parking. In fact, parking in general is fairly scarce in this area. Due to the narrow size of the road, there isn’t any street park allowed on South Street (the most direct route to the park) and, while there is parking allowed on some of the streets nearby it is sparse. There is a small parking area for patrons of a nearby shop (which is where I parked since I was only going to be there a short time). But, if you live nearby it would be a very good place to walk to and maybe take your pup.

Similar Places I’ve Visited:

911 Memorial Park (Westfield, MA)

Rotary Common Park (Nashua, NH)

Bear Hole Reservoir Trail (West Springfield, MA)

Dates Of Visits: December 26 & 27, 2018

Locations: Bear Hole Rd, West Springfield, MA and 175 Bridle Path Rd, West Springfield, MA

Hours: Open daily, dawn until dusk

Cost: Free

Parking: There is a parking area at the end of Bear Hole Rd for about 20 cars

Trail Size/Difficulty: 1,700 acres, 2.6 mile gravel and dirt loop, easy with a few average inclines

Handicapped Accessible: No, some of the trails are rocky, unpaved and steep

Dog Friendly: Yes

Highlights: vernal pools, waterfall, running, hiking, cycling, dog friendly (leashed), waterfall, wildlife, scenic views

Map: Bear Hole Reservation Trail Map (myhikes.com)

Websites: Bear Hole Reservoir Trail (alltrails.com)

Bear Hole Reservior Trail (myhikes.com)

Nestled at the end of what may seem like any other side street off Dewey St in West Springfield, MA, Bear Hole Reservoir Trail is truly a hidden gem.  If not for a relative who clued me into this hidden treasure, I may not have known it existed.  In fact, the first time I drove to the reservoir, I wasn’t quite sure I was going the correct way.  I’m sure many people drive by the main road that leads to the reservoir without realizing it.

Once thought to be the home of the Woronocos, a sub-group of the
Pocumtucks, Bear Hole Reservoir Trail has many natural wonders.Bear Hole Reservoir, which was built in 1956, was meant to deliver drinking water to the residents of West Springfield.  However, according to a 2012 report states the Bear Hole Reservoir and Treatment Facility has been inactive since 2011 although the West Springfield Works Department do still monitor the water supply.  Reports of seepage, poor construction and spalling concrete are a few of the reasons the reservoir is not in use for the town’s water supply.  However, it seems like it could be used as a water supply if there were drought like conditions or the main source of water was compromised.

The first attraction at you will probably see at Bear Hole is the waterfall and stream that leads to the head of the reservoir.

A variety of wildlife, such as deer, bears and even the occasional beaver have been reported and photographed at Bear Hole.

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I found this beaver chewing on a piece of vegetation when I went off the main trail.  There is a worn trail off the main trail by the waterfall, which is part of the Paucatuck Brook, where you can walk closer to the stream of water.  Although I didn’t see any deer, I did find evidence of them.

The head of the reservoir, which was partially frozen due to the cold temperatures, and the views along the way are a sight worth seeing.  The short hike is definitely worth it.

The tree-lined dirt trail is easy.  The only steep part is the incline from the front part of the reservoir onto the second part of the loop.  It may be better for some people to backtrack from the way you came as this trail is easier.  But, it will be longer than taking the loop back.

There are lots of pretty views along the trails, especially this time of the year with the icy vernal ponds.  I suppose that’s kind of ironic to type that.  But, I have gained a deeper appreciation over time for the skeletal tree structures and the icy bodies of water.  Bear Hole is proof that beauty does not only exist during the warmer seasons.

Leashed pets, and maybe some well behaved dogs off leash, are allowed at Bear Hole.  One of the dogs I saw on the trail is Roxie, a 3 year old Basenji (Africa’s “barkless dog”).

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I look forward to bringing more of Hidden New England to you.  If you would like to learn more about the hidden gems of New England, please take a moment to check out my Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/hiddennewengland/ and like or follow me there.  I plan on posting links and other information on my Facebook page that may not be included in my blog posts.