Category: Local Attractions

Donkey Hodie in Massachusetts

Alta Vista Farm, Rutland, Massachusetts

According to Wikipedia:

Inspired by the funny, quirky side of children’s television pioneer Fred Rogers, Donkey Hodie is set in the whimsical land of Someplace Else. The imaginative puppet series follows the adventures of Donkey Hodie, an enthusiastic and charming go-getter who takes on each day with curiosity, resilience, and sincerity, and her pals Purple Panda, Duck Duck, and Bob Dog. The social-emotional series is designed to empower children ages 3–5 to dream big and overcome obstacles in their own lives, to work hard and persevere in the face of failure, to be resourceful and discover they can solve problems on their own—and to laugh themselves silly along the way.

2006′

Wachusett Mountain Ski Area, Princeton, MA

At 2006 feet, Wachusett Mountain may not be the tallest, but its accessibility and ease of use make it extremely popular for Central Massachusetts residents. The snow shown here is man-made.

A New Year’s Wish: Lonely Fences, Revisited

A winter walk along the winding road to St. Joseph’s Abbey during the Omicron upsurge.

Aging wooden fences line the twisting, hilly, half-mile long road that leads to St. Joseph’s Abbey. The views of fields and distant hills are lovely and uplifting. The walk to the top takes stamina, and provides time for meditation.
Occasionally, one notices posts and railings that need repair.
A closer inspection shows the effect of time and weather.
Closer to the top, the hills beyond come into view.
Finally, the land levels off.
The journey is complete.
Inside the abbey, visitors can rest in the quiet glow of stained glass.
May we all find moments of rest and hope in the New Year.

Paper Flower Power

The paper flowers at Tower Hill Botanic Garden, Boylston, MA “pack a punch”.
Hundreds of flowers, some several feet across, create a bold statement against the backdrop of traditional New England architecture.
Enormous blossoms enhance the bright red and yellow hues of winterberry bushes below them.
The strings of electric lines are lit each evening for the popular Night Lights display.

A Towering Tribute

Bancroft Tower in Worcester, MA was designed to look like a miniature Romanesque castle.
Made of natural stone and granite, it is 56 feet high.
It was erected in 1900 in honor of George Bancroft: Worcester native, Secretary to the Navy, Founder of the U.S. Naval Academy and U.S. Minister to Great Britain and Germany.

Mindfulness

Photographs from a visit to the grounds of the Barre Center For Buddhist Studies in Barre, Massachusetts.

At the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies in Barre, MA thoughtful landscaping and architecture are designed to encourage reflection and contemplation in or out of doors.
Stone walls, sturdy trees, benches and other wooden elements recur throughout the grounds. Circular and domed shapes enhance architectural elements.
The large domed bell with striker is hung from a aged tree. In Buddhism, the bell is sometimes said to be the sound of the Buddha’s voice.
A dome-shaped stupa (a Buddhist monument housing sacred relics associated with the Buddha) is surrounded by greenery and stone walls.
The Meditation Hall features large circular windows. Circles are associated with enlightenment in Buddhist thought.
Wooden floors and exposed beams enhance the inside of the hall.
The vegetable garden is enclosed by a handmade willow fence. Garden sections are now being planted, as the Center will welcome on-site students once again this fall.
A wooden Thai Spirit House sits at the edge of the garden.

A “Sweet” Protest

In New England, mid to late February is the start of the maple syrup making season.

Up until the Civil War, using maple sugar was an act of political protest for many northern abolitionists, who refused to use cane sugar produced by slave colonies in the Caribbean. New England forests had been over logged to build ships for the slave trade of the era. Abolitionists attempted to reseed decimated areas with maple trees, and use maple sugar rather than cane for their needs.

The “Sap Castle” in Rutland, MA welcomes visitors to view the sugaring process and learn about its history during February and March.

The family living in this house have been making maple syrup for three generations.
Two kinds of taps: traditional metal and modern plastic.
The sap castle in operation, with smoke from the wood-fired stove billowing out of the chimney.
The sap boiler, also called the sap evaporator.
The wood fire is kept roaring!
Final filtering.
Testing the sugar content of the syrup.
This simple window display shows the grades of syrup.
The 24/7 self service maple syrup box. It runs on the honor system.
Choose your syrup, and slide your payment through a nearby slot.
A rock “maple leaf” guards the castle.

Made, Re-Found, Restyled

Local artisans and antique dealers combined forces to re-purpose an old mill. The result is an inviting atmosphere to shop for handmade and one-of-a -kind items while supporting talented neighbors. A relaxing atmosphere helps shoppers explore numerous rooms chock full of unique items not found in standard shopping venues.

Shop local!

Fruitlands

The Fruitlands Museum in Harvard, MA is situated on Prospect Hill, the site where Bronson Alcott and Charles Lane founded a short-lived experimental utopian community in 1843. The view from the hill is still beautiful today.

The Fruitlands Museum relates that:

“Fruitlands has been host to some of the most famous people in America. Thoreau walked Prospect Hill and admired its view; Ralph Waldo Emerson, a supporter of Alcott’s, visited here; and Louisa May (then 10) would relate her experiences at Fruitlands in her books Transcendental Wild Oats and Little Women.”

Quabbin Reservoir

“Quabbin Reservoir is one of the largest man-made public water supplies in the United States. Created in the 1930s by the construction of two huge earthen dams, the reservoir is fed by the three branches of the Swift River, and seasonally by the Ware River. Quabbin’s water covers 39 square miles, is 18 miles long and has 181 miles of shoreline. When full, Quabbin holds 412 billion gallons of water.

The New Salem and Enfield lookouts offer magnificent views of the reservoir. In order to flood the vast area of the Swift River Valley in the 1930s, the entire population of four towns had to be relocated. Hundreds of homes, businesses, a state highway, a railroad line, and 34 cemeteries were also moved or dismantled. Over 6,000 graves were relocated from the Valley to Quabbin Park Cemetery.”