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Never been here before! Will have to visit one day! Lovely photos!
“This is such a charming town,” I say to Teddie. He snorts in derision. “You haven’t become a butterfly, have you?” he asks, eyeing me suspiciously. I cringe at my statement, though I made it in sincerity. “Charm,” however, is a word Teddie resents as much as he does what he calls the “butterflies”: summer tourists who flit to Rockport, Massachusetts for three to four weeks creating havoc among the locals. Teddie has spent years listening to their sentiments about his birthplace. “What enchanting views,” “You have such a quaint little store,” “It’s so quintessentially New England,” they will say, as if there were other unfortunate places which did not meet some unspoken regional standard. They would descend upon us every June, sip their lemonades, snap photos of the coastline, paddle around the promontory, then disappear leaving behind a few spare coins for tip and their detritus for…
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This is the first in a series about Stanley Park in Westfield, MA.
Right now Massachusetts is experiencing a snow less December. This is either a good thing or a bad thing depending on if you like snow or not. I have a love/ hate relationship with snow. I love how beautiful it looks when it first snows and the peaceful calm that surrounds the area. What I don’t like about snow is that it means we are in for a long and cold Winter and I am forced inside for a few months huddling under a blanket trying to stay warm.
The joy of the first warm day of the year is immense. I can go outside and explore the world again! The first warm day of 2015 was in early March of this year. By warm I mean about 43 degrees. To some that is still cold. To me it was like being in the Bahamas. I decided that Stanley Park would be a great place to visit that day. I live a stones throw away and the desire to see it covered in snow was too great for me to ignore.
Stanley Park is located at 400 Western Avenue in Westfield, MA. It is a privately owned 300-acre park. It was established in 1945 by the philanthropist and benefactor Frank Stanley Beveridge. You can check out their website at:
As I pulled into the parking lot I noticed I was only one in about 5 people there. This made me excited because normally in the warmer months this place is packed so I would get to experience the place all by my lonesome. It was so lovely and quiet.
I made my way down to the Duck Pond where all the ducks and swans are.
The ducks looked like they were having a grand time playing around in the snow! I next wanted to turn left and walk over to the covered bridge. I stepped off the little bridge that goes over the Duck Pond…and found myself in knee high snow! Oh my! Thank goodness I bought tall boots! I trudged my way over to the Covered Bridge and was met with a beautiful view.
The Covered Bridge has never looked so good!
The next stop on my walk was to be the Colonial Pond. The ducks and swans swim there, also, and are feed by visitors daily. My favorite to watch are the little kids. They always have huge smiles on their faces while watching the ducks eat.
Unfortunately, that knee high snow I mentioned earlier had become almost thigh high snow now. It was becoming an issue to get through.
My lovely and quiet stroll through the park was now becoming a workout! I decided to clean off a bench and just sit for a while and listen to the sounds of the park. The ducks were busy quacking away, the swan was gliding through the Duck Pond and the wind was blowing slightly. It was a peaceful way to spend a part of my day. After about 45 minutes I decided it was time to go home and have some tea. I left the park feeling invigorated and excited for the slowly impending Spring.
What do you do when the first warm day of the year arrives?
As I sit here at my kitchen table listening to it softly rain on and off outside, a thought occurred to me. I cannot even start to tell you about my travels around New England until I explain where my story began.
I was born and raised in Tampa, FL. I was an only child. I adored the sunshine and running around outside for hours on end until I was called in by my Mom or Dad. I had a very active imagination (which still exists today). I would watch television, movies or read books (I love to read) and imagine I was right there with the characters on their various adventures. I told myself that one day some how I would go on my own adventures and see as many beautiful and exciting places as I possibly could.
When I was around 7 years old my family and I moved up to western MA. A member of my Dad’s family fell very ill and he wanted to spend as much time with her as he could. She passed away a few months later. By that time my Dad had found a very nice job and we decided to stay up in MA.
Boy, what a change it was for me to get over! First was the weather. Now in Florida it doesn’t get what you Northerners call “cold”. The closest thing to what would be described as cold that I had experienced was about 40 degrees. That is still tee shirt weather to the people in New England! We did not also have this thing called snow. I had seen snow in Christmas movies but that was about it. Second was the clothes. My usual wardrobe consisted of open toed sandals, shorts (or skirt) and a tee shirt. Maybe a light jacket when I needed it. Now I had to go out and buy a winter jacket, mittens, scarves, a hat, sweaters etc to stay warm in. I hated wearing all those layers! I wanted to just run outside and play without having to put on about 10 lbs of clothing.
Now it wasn’t all bad things that I had to get used to. There were also really great things to New England that Florida did not have to offer. For instance, Fall, especially the gorgeous sight of the foliage changing color. I have seen pictures of this in magazines and books but never in person.
What a sight to behold. If you ever hear someone tell you that they don’t like looking at the fantastic reds, yellows, golds, oranges, etc that Mother Nature gives us in Autumn then I will tell you that person is insane. This is my favorite thing about Fall.
The moment I got my first point and shoot camera as a birthday gift I knew what the first thing I wanted to take pictures of. And I took countless photos. That first camera,a grey Nikon Coolpix, was the first in a long line of cameras that came with me on countless hikes in the forests, parks and basically anywhere my legs would take me.
I hope that you will come along with me as I continue on these countless hikes.