June 14, 2020 – The Mount, The Edith Wharton Estate – Massachusetts

Today Wilma and I Adventured to The Mount, The Edith Wharton Estate in Lenox, Massachusetts.  Edith Wharton was an author who designed both the home and the grounds.  The property included:  gardens, numerous trails, and the estate.  There are tours of both the gardens and home, and The Mount also hold various cultural events.

We had a pristine Advantage to The Mount. I had done minimal research but had confirmed that The Mount was dog friendly.  Upon arrival I was surprised to see the simplicity of the property but that did not last long as we soon were wandering into a wonderful scene.  We began walking into the woods past the “Stable” before arriving at the main home.  The home was beautiful, and quite immense.  We admired the home before heading to the nearby gardens.

The garden was bright and colorful, highlighted by a beautiful fountain in the center. We strolled around taking photographs and appreciating the bright variation of colors. From this flower garden you could pass through a tunnel of perfectly pruned trees to the next garden which was more ivy based, and also contained a lovely fountain.  Surprisingly I enjoyed the less colorful garden most, quite unique.

Besides the gardens we spent time exploring the endless trails, even arriving at a pond, I believe it was the Beaver Pond.  The trail along the Pond was just beautiful, scattered with wild flowers!  That was definitely my favorite part of the trails although we also enjoyed hiking through the woods, finding several small bridges, and streams. Some parts of the trails were labeled but they were a bit confusing without a map. However we were quite pleased to take a long walk in addition to exploring the gardens and estate.  We even located the Pet Cemetery, a dedication to Wharton’s best friends.  A special and sad little spot on our visit.

We also took some time to sit, relax and enjoy the environment, although Wilma generally preferred to lay down on her time, not on my planned “sitting time” – my funny girl.  Although there were many visitors and voices they were pretty well spread out and it was sill a peaceful place.  Such a beautiful day to enjoy The Mount (Rating:  4)

 

June 1, 2020 – Wickham Park – Connecticut

Today Wilma, My Mom and I Adventured to Wickham Park located in Manchester and East Hartford, Connecticut.  Wickford Park is a private, non-profit foundation.  It is 280 acres in size and has a vast amount of opportunities including:  gardens, playgrounds, sports facilities, and ponds.  It is also a popular location for community events and private weddings.

We had a fragrant Adventure to Wickham Park.  I was very happy to find yet another dog-friendly garden!  We arrived at the Park at around five and explored until it closed at eight.  The Park had beautiful gardens, decorative features to highlight the garden theme, boardwalks, bridges, and more.  We walked and walked, I believe exploring every garden in the Park.  Throughout the evening we often smelled the fragrance of flowers, including the lilacs, my favorite smell of all!!  We approached each turn eagerly, looking forward to the next garden.  And of course we took plenty of time to relax, enjoy the scenery, and take photographs.

Besides the beauty of the gardens, we were quite awed by the sky, blue with beautiful clouds.  The sun was streaming through the trees, creating a fantastic sunset.  It was really the perfect way to end a wonderful evening.  We absolutely loved our visit to Wickham Park and hope to be back in the future (Rating:  4).

 

 

 

 

 

May 25, 2020 – Connecticut College Arboretum – Connecticut

Today Wilma and I Adventured to the Connecticut College Arboretum in New London, Connecticut.  The Connecticut College Arboretum is an Arboretum and collection of botanical gardens.  It provides opportunities for research, teaching, conservation, education and recreation.

We had an eccentric Adventure to the Connecticut College Arboretum.  I had heard about the Arboretum back on our last visit to the area and was quite excited to head back to New London.  After some confusion with parking, we eventually arrived on Williams Street and parked at the gate entry.  Soon after heading in there was a map on a kiosk, but it did not have a detailed trail routes so we decided to wander with no specific plan.  We soon arrived at the Azalea garden, finding pink, orange, red, and various other colors.  From there we came upon a pond, hearing the bullfrogs chirping loudly, and birds singing.  We located a dock-like area and of course had to head out to the end.  Wilma seemed slightly uneasy at the shaking of the dock, but overall was quite brave and curious at this floating feature.  There were lily pads throughout, and rocks protruding.  After exploring the pond we headed on to the trails.

I loved the trails at the Arboretum, feeling as though we were transferred into another environment.  Along the trail we found large boulders, views from atop of a ravine, a dock like boardwalk through a bog, and lots of greenery and trees.  Although I found the Trails a bit confusing we always ended up figuring out where we had been and where to go next.  There were numbers on several parts of the trail, but I was not sure what they were indicating, my guess is a self-guided tour.  We walked, walked, and attempted to traverse all the trails we could find.

After enjoying endless walking we found various areas of the Arboretum including the wildflower garden, and the conifer collection.  I actually found myself appreciating not having a map as we never knew what we might find around the corner.  Wilma enjoyed a nice long hike and as always was eager for some exercise and new terrain.  We spent about two and a half hours at this spectacular Arboretum.  Definitely a fun place to explore (Rating:  4).

May 13, 2020 – Acton Arboretum – Massachusetts

Today Wilma, My Mom, and I Adventured to  the Acton Arboretum in Acton, Massachusetts.  This was our second Adventure to the Acton Arboretum as My parents, Shadow, Wilma, and I visited exactly two years ago.  The Acton Arboretum which is situated on some of the 65 acres of conservation land in Acton.  It has a short trail system, and provides numerous gardens to explore.  The Arboretum offers self-guided tours, available for download.

We had a colorful Adventure to the Acton Arboretum. I decided to blog again about this Arboretum as it has been two years since our last visit. We had quite the challenge finding parking as spots were greatly reduced due to COVID. This was quite frustrating, but after a very long delay in plans we were able to locate a parking spot…let the relaxation and floral therapy begin!!

We took our time slowly exploring various corners of the park, both My Mom and I snapping constant photographs. We had no route, no plan, and no map, appreciating the spontaneity of the moments. The Park had many blooms, although was still in the early phases of spring. I absolutely loved the boardwalks, ponds, and a bright red bridge. There were benches along the route allowing one to stop and appreciate the gardens.  One of my favorite parts was a trail through the woods that included boardwalks and was scattered with bright yellow Celandine, blue bells, and various other wildflowers. The colors were vibrant and just spectacular. Along the way we saw several animals including a Baltimore Oriole, radiantly orange, and a sweet little turtle relaxing in the pond.

Throughout the evening Wilma enjoyed screaming at the squirrels (yes literally!), posing as requested, and becoming overzealous at the sight of any furry friend.   We spent about two and a half hours exploring, enjoying great company and appreciating all the sights and smells of spring.  Such a simple, but lovely place. I expect we will be the Arboretum again, hopefully long before another two years (Rating: 4).

May 13, 2020

 

May 13, 2018

May 9, 2020 -Studio 80 + Sculpture Grounds – Connecticut

Yesterday Wilma, and I Adventured to the Studio 80 + Sculpture Grounds in Old Lyme, Connecticut. As expected Studio 80+Sculpture Grounds is a Studio and outdoor Sculpture Ground, dedicated to arts education and appreciation. The Studio is open by appointment while the Grounds are open 365 days per year. The Sculptures on the Grounds are available for purchase.

We had a colorful Adventure to the Studio 80 + Sculpture Grounds on a breezy May day. I was excited to discover a new Sculpture Grounds to explore. We wandered through the woodsy section of the Grounds, appreciating sculptures in many directions. The Grounds were small, but had no shortage of sculptures to admire. The Grounds abutted a “waterfront” which I am guessing was the Lieutenant River. We wandered over to the water’s edge, and Wilma enjoyed posing on a bench, intently watching the fisherman from afar. It was a simple yet beautiful scene. One aspect I appreciated about the grounds were signs pointing to different locations identifying sections of the Sculpture Grounds (example: secret garden, waterfront…). I thought this was a fun, and artsy way to add character to the lovely display of artwork.

Throughout our visit Wilma was thrilled to roll around in the grass, and eager to explore. I had many flashes of our Shadow, as he would have been rolling alongside little Wilma, bittersweet!  Wilma appeared curious about some of the sculptures but had no moments of fear to these unexpected structures. We sauntered throughout the property several times to ensure we did not miss one of these special creations. We really loved our Adventure to the 80 + Sculpture Grounds and thank them for allowing dog-friendly guests (Rating: 4).

March 8, 2020 – Franklin Sculpture Park – Massachusetts

On March 8, 2020 Shadow, Wilma, My Mom, and I Adventured to the Franklin Sculpture Park in Franklin, Massachusetts.  The Franklin Sculpture Park is a small sculpture Park.  The project to create this sculpture park was driven by the community, the land donated by the town, while the Franklin Art Center organized the artwork.  The Franklin Sculpture Park is free for visitors.

We had a refreshing Adventure to the Franklin Sculpture Park.  I was excited to find this Park as it had not popped up in my searches before.  Even better I was thrilled to have my Mom join us to explore this new location.  We arrived at the Park to find few other visitors.  We began the cement loop around the Park, scattered with sculptures throughout.  The sculptures were labeled, and many quite unique.  I think my favorite sculptures were:  two faces, a photograph sculpture, a path of rainbows, and fish artwork framing the water.  In thinking back I guess I should have payed a bit more attention to their titles, but likely you can locate them below.

We enjoyed strolling slowly, and appreciating great company.  There were ducks in the water adding a nature feel to what appeared to be a man-made pond, and energizing Wilma in anticipation.  The landscape was winter brown, but yet pretty in its own way.  We enjoyed a quite humorous moment when Wilma did not appear thrilled to find a monster-appearing structure in her view.  I took a quick video as this moment occurred and she soon warmed up to this mysterious creature.  We posed with several of the sculptures and enjoyed the moments.  Poor Shadow was quite disappointed not to take a dip, but yet the water did not look too clean for a sip.  Simple, but really a lovely Park.  So glad we discovered the Franklin Park Sculpture Park today (Rating:  3.5)

Throwback Adventure – Andres Institute of Art – New Hampshire

I will have sections of my blog that I will title “Throwback Adventure”, and will plan on posting them every Thursday. These are journeys we have taken before I started the blog, but are well worth sharing. Many of these Throwback Adventures will include our Buster, who was known for his crazy tail, his happy howl, and his zest for life. We miss him dearly…he is forever in our hearts!

In June 2015 Shadow, Buster, and I Adventured to the Andres Institute of Art in Brookline, New Hampshire.  The Andres Institute of Art is reported to be New England’s largest sculpture park.  It was founded in 1996 by supporter Paul Andres and sculptor John Weidman.  The Park is a public park and is free of charge, although donations are appreciated.

We had a unique Adventure to the Andres Institute of Art, one of our first sculpture park adventures.  We enjoyed hiking in the woods, the terrain a little overgrown, and uneven.  I remember finding some sculptures, but also thinking there were few available for viewing.  However, in reading more about it to create this blog I would guess if I had located a map beforehand my thoughts may have been different.  However, we enjoyed a warm walk, searching for the sculptures between the trees, and photographing those we located.  I should have been more prepared, but still glad we could visit this distinctive New England Park (Throwback blogs will not always be rated).

 

October 20, 2019 – West Branch Gallery and Sculpture Park – Vermont

This past weekend we had a getaway to Vermont, which involved many Adventures, most of which I will blog about.  We stayed in a cabin in the woods, and due to no wifi I am far behind on my blog, therefore posting much later then preferred.  However, definitely some amazing locations that I am excited to share.  I now will continue our Vermont Adventures from the weekend…in no particular order.

This weekend Shadow, Wilma, My Parents, and I Adventured to the West Branch Gallery and Sculpture Park in Stowe, Vermont.  The West Branch Gallery and Sculpture Park is located along the West Branch River.  It has an indoor gallery with a diverse selection of paintings and sculptures, while the outdoor grounds displays a variety of sculptures.  The Gallery also provides art services, and is available for private events.

We had an entertaining Adventure to the West Branch Gallery and Sculpture Park.  Shadow and Wilma were not allowed indoors, as expected, so we just explored the outdoor sculpture park.  The grounds were quite small, but had an interesting, and creative variety of sculptures.  The sculptures created good conversation, some laughs, and of course lots of posing.  I think my favorite sculpture was the feline, while I also appreciated the face sculpture, and numerous other symbolic sculptures.

Though I generally do not consider myself one with the arts, I have really grown to love outdoor sculpture gardens, allowing my two best friends to join me.  It was just perfect to have my parents on our Adventure to the West Branch Gallery and Sculpture Park, another fun memory from our fabulous getaway (Rating:  3.5)

 

 

Throwback Adventure – Green Briar Nature Center

I will have sections of my blog that I will title “Throwback Adventure”, and will plan on posting them every Thursday. These are journeys we have taken before I started the blog, but are well worth sharing. Many of these Throwback Adventures will include our Buster, who was known for his crazy tail, his happy howl, and his zest for life. We miss him dearly…he is forever in our hearts!

In April 2014 Shadow, Wilma, and I Adventured to the Green Briar Nature Center in Sandwich, Massachusetts.  The Green Briar Nature Center is located adjacent to the well known Briar Patch of Thornton Burgess’s stories.  As you may know Burgess was a native of Sandwich, and is famous for his books, including Peter the Rabbit.  The Center is located along Smiling Pond, and includes interpretive trails and a wildflower garden.  The Center also offer nature programs, and contains a “jam kitchen”.

We had an enjoyable Adventure to the Green Briar Nature Center.  We were visiting in off-season, so had the entire Center to ourselves.  It was brown time of year in New England, but we spotted several tulips, and purple flowers on our walk.  I especially recall relaxing on the dock, and the boys enjoying a dip in the water, almost sending me right off the dock.  We relaxed and wandered around the premises, and found ourselves a bit disappointed that the jam kitchen was closed for the season.  I can imagine that this Center must be quite stunning when the wildflower gardens are in bloom, so we might just have to visit again.  Glad we were able to explore the Green Briar Nature Center (Throwback Adventures  will not always be rated).

 

August 31, 2019 – Lyman Allyn Art Museum Sculpture Trail – Connecticut

Yesterday Shadow, Wilma, My Mom, and I Adventured to the Lyman Allyn Art Museum Sculpture Walk in New London, Connecticut. The Sculpture Walk is part of the Lyman Allyn Art Museum. The Sculptures include work from: Lyman Allyn, David Smalley, Judy Cotton, and Gilbert Boro. The Sculpture Trail is free, and maps are available in the museum and online.

We had an innovative Adventure to the Lyman Allyn Art Museum Sculpture Trail. We arrived right before the Museum closed so were able to acquire a map. We studied the map and began wandering on the side of the property, heading around the building and down the entrances. I think my favorite sculptures on this end were the “Foo Dog”, a sculpture from the early Qing Dynasty, and one that appeared an abstract heart, which of course I posed with my two best buds!

After checking out the entrance side for sculptures we walked over to the Deshon Allyn House, a historic home. The amble started down a slope leading to a simple, but scenic wooden bridge. The bridge was surrounded with gigantic, beautiful pink hibiscus, definitely some of the largest ones I have ever seen!  It was the perfect entrance leading to the Home, a gorgeous architectural structure. The surrounding landscape was fantastic, highlighted by beautiful features, including elegant benches, and fencing. We snapped many photographs, and appreciated the experience. Shadow relished some cheerful rolls and resting in the grass, while Wilma enjoyed some rock hopping, while monitoring my Mom’s every move. Although you could see and hear the nearby highway, is still managed to be a peaceful oasis.

Our last part of exploring involved finding the rest of the sculptures in the front, and far side of the Museum building. There were several that made me think of hands, while one that I quickly labeled “Noah’s Arc”. We took some selfies, including a family photograph. By this point the Museum was closed leaving the grounds solely to ourselves. We really enjoyed our time exploring the Lyman Allyn Art Museum Trail. I love an Adventure with a map where you are searching for landmarks, in this case creative art sculptures. It is always nice to see art, literally in nature, quite the enriching experience. The Visitor Center was very kind and helpful, which added the perfect touch to our Adventure. A fun day at the Lyman Allyn Museum Sculpture Walk (Rating: 4).