Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Western Mass Ice Cream Places: Seren-Dip-ities

While my wife and I were out on a recent "galavanting" day we encountered a lady who is an ice cream affecianado.  She told us her four  favorites in the North Quabbin area so we decided to check out some of them.  Below are photos from one we visited in Orange, Mass.
This photo actually came from Cindy's Ice Cream in Granby Mass.  It seemed appropriate to put it here since the subject of the day was ice cream.  Now you know where the term "lucky dog" came from.  This puppy was enjoying his cone which included doggie "bisquit" treats.

This is the featured ice cream shop on East Main Street in Orange, Mass.
Their small cones are not quite this big but they are big!

There are two great ice cream shops in Orange, just a short distance from each other.  The other is Anne's which we will feature later.  If you are not a big ice cream eater, order something smaller than the small cone because they are huge at both places.  Seren-Dip-ities serves Maple Valley ice cream which is made in Hadley, Mass.  In addition to the 27 flavors of hard ice cream which are listed on the side of the building, they also have several flavors of soft serve ice cream.

When we arrived about supper time, the parking lot was practically full.  Before we finished, it was completely full.  In addition to ice cream, they serve a variety of other fast foods including seafood.  We were impressed with their mini-meals which were reasonably priced and which left room for ice cream (which is why we stopped there!)  The hot dog mini-meal featured two hot dogs, a small drink, and a choice of either curly fries, homemade fries, or regular fries for $6.00.  You should definitely choose the homemade fries---they were fabulous and the serving was large enough for sharing.  The homemade fries alone are enough for a return trip!

There were lots of outdoor picnic tables in a very relaxed setting.  Some were under trees, some under umbrellas and others were under a rustic covered pavilion which provides additional shade.  The property is surrounded by a pleasant wooded background.  Our time there was very peaceful.  In fact there seems to be a peaceful, relaxed atmosphere at many of the recent ice cream places we have visited.  We are impressed with Seren-Dip-ities and will stop again when we are in the area.   We might even drive up there again just for the outing.  I like the Orange area and enjoy  visiting nearby Tully Lake and the Community Boat House.

Check it out.  Summer is short.  Get up there before it is too late in the season.  I think you might enjoy exploring this part of Western Mass too.  If you are an outdoors person, be sure to visit the Trail Head outdoor store---good people and they also sponsor some of the outdoor activities in the area such as evening kayaking at the boat house.

 Update:  Here it is two weeks later and we are back again.  We could not resist the lure of the homemade french fries so we made sure our outing today included another stop at Seren-Dip-ities.  It was not quite as crowded on a mid-afternoon Monday so I was able to take more pictures without intruding on the privacy of other customers.  Pictures are worth a thousand words.

We each got our own hamburger mini-meal today with the delicious homemade fries.  We splurged and got a side order of corn on the cob which was quite tasty too.

Very comfortable seating areas.  You might be tempted to sit there and read awhile after your food. (If they are not too busy at the time!)

Under umbrellas.

Under the pavilion.

Under the trees.

They serve locally made ice cream from Hadley, Mass.

When I asked the young lady who served us today,  "We're back again. Do you know why?"
"Because we are awesome?"
That too, plus the fries!

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Visiting Historical Ipswich, MA

Last weekend my wife and I visited the historic town of Ipswich, MA which was founded in 1633.  Today, Ipswich is well known for its early 17th century homes; fifty-eight houses in town were built prior to 1725 – the largest number still standing and occupied of any community in the country.  Those houses , built from 1625 to 1725 are considered to be first period houses. This link will take you to a listing of 61 historical houses from that approximate time period , with pictures and descriptions.  The website also explains,

"First Period houses have steeply pitched roofs, are asymmetrical due to having been built in phases, and feature large central chimneys. Exposed chamfered summer beams are almost always found, especially in the front rooms. First Period builders were often trained in English Medieval techniques. The fronts of these houses often faced south to maximize heat from the sun’s rays, which explains why so many First Period homes line the north side of High Street in Ipswich." 

 Here are a few of the houses we saw.

This is the end view of an obviously big house.
This was at least a two family dwelling.

Notice the unique lean-to type of addition in the back.

I had never noticed this type of lean-to addition before.
Another typical street view.
This fence was duplicated from one seen in Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia.  Notice the crushed shells used as pathways in the front garden area.

Of course there were other reasons we liked Ipswich.  We had a great seafood dinner at the Clam Box and would recommend it.  You might want to consider sharing one of their meals...they are big.

We were very pleased with our stay at the Ipswich Inn Bed and Breakfast.  They honored our gift certificate which was eight years old!!

A beautiful blooming backyard.

Overlooking the ocean at the end of the Grand Alee of the Crane Mansion.

This is the Grand Alee (like a huge lawn) from the house to the ocean.

We even hiked down to briefly visit the famous Crane Beach.
One of the murals on a public building downtown.
We had fun "posing" with the people in the murals.

Since we like history and old houses, we really enjoyed Ipswich.  We only got to sample a couple of their restaurants and after going home and doing more research, I found others I want to try on a return trip.  The Crane Mansion and grounds are magnificent but it was too early in the season to tour the mansion.  We will definitely be going back.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Some Old and Interesting Tombstones

I recently revisited  an old cemetery located off Route 47 near Sunderland.  As you can see there were several old tombstones and some unique ones as well.  Note the markings on the back of the left one in the grouping of three old ones.  You can see scoring on the back where the tools apparently gouged while it was being "mined".  What stories do these tell?

Perhaps the front views will tell. 


The individual close-up views below reveal the artistic details as well as details of their lives.

This man was a Revolutionary War veteran.

This one is made from a rock.  It is also part of a double tombstone as shown below.

Note the personalized inscription, "She did it her way."

Another made from a large piece of rock, perhaps granite

This one appears to be made from a millstone.

Note the ornate artwork on this one.
For more pictures from Riverside Cemetery in Sunderland, please check this link: Riverside Cemetery Photos.  If you do visit this beautiful place please be respectful and treat it with dignity.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Discovering Another Local Mill

Took my first scooter ride of the year today and enjoyed the mid-50's temperatures.  In addition to my trip to Atkins for cider donuts, I visited this nearby old mill location.

I'm not sure if this was originally part of the mill or not.  Perhaps it was the residence of the mill keeper.  You can see that the water is roaring over the spillway. What a lot of power this represents!

This is the mill building across the street from the above picture.  It is a large building so it must have contained an impressive mill operation.

The size of this spillpipe would have carried a large volume of water which then got diverted back into the stream.  To the right of the picture, at the corner of the building it looks like the remnants of a waterwheel.

The spillpipe leading back to the stream.

Side views of the mill building.

It looks like a wagon or truck could have loaded here.

How many people have gone through this door?

Another view of the falls.

 For those of you who are local, this building is located near the Granby-South Hadley line off Aldrich Street.  It is a private residence so please respect their privacy.  I did ask permission to take the pictures today.  You can see it all from your car if you drive slowly by and I'm sure the owners are used to that.  If anyone knows more specific information about this mill, I would be interested in it.

This link will take you to a video showing a typical type of millwork, grinding corn to make cornmeal and flour. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LWg53NV5ImQ

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Is Spring Really Here?

As you can tell, I have been keeping a low profile this winter.  It is Spring now isn't it?  It is hard to tell especially waking up this morning with a dusting of snow on the ground. 

Since this blog is supposed to be about my adventures, discoveries, trips, and exploring things, I haven't done much worth reporting--- except our trip to Kenya, maple sugaring, visiting the Old Mill Bookstore, viewing some unique tombstones in an old cemetery, and taking pictures of a house that always fascinates me.  Although it is a private residence now, it certainly looks like it used to be a water-powered mill.  I want to see inside it so badly that I am thinking of knocking on their door and offering them $5.00 to let me take a quick look around.

Perhaps my first "Spring" report will be about that house.  It is located on Rt 47 in North Hadley.

Here's the view from the bridge heading toward the house.
Close-up of where the waterwheel must have been.

  Can't you just imagine this water running through a chute that turned a waterwheel which provided power to a mill?  Can you also imagine what sleeping must be like here with the constant sound of that water running?  What a great location for a bed and breakfast!  I would be there in a flash!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Making Apple Cider in Granville

Fall Festivals are popular over the Columbus Day weekend so today my wife and I visited the one in Granville.  She was more interested in the product booths while I concentrated on the food vendors.  There were a lot of them and between my wife and me, we sampled: apple crisp with ice cream, maple cotton candy, beef brisket sandwich, strawberry ice cream, popcorn, apple cider and a cider donut.  We also brought home a bag of Macoun apples and a piece of the famous cheddar cheese from the Granville Country Store.

Taking the school bus to the top of the hill to visit the vendors there, we spotted a demonstration at the Harvest Hill Farm showing how apple cider was made "by hand" the old way,  so we stopped to check it out. Thought you might be interested too.


These young spectators were allowed to assist by putting apples into the grinding chute.

The power to grind the apples is supplied by this old one cylinder engine.  The engine is set to fire very slowly with the double flywheels supplying the continuing power until the cylinder fires again.

You can see the water for cooling the engine in the rectangular hopper at the top of the engine.This type of engine fires so infrequently they are very fuel efficient and were popular for farm work tasks like this and for pumping water which did not require a lot of power.  Each year the Cummington Fair displays a large collection of these machines.

Closeup of the apples being ground up before the juice is pressed from them.

Some young spectators try their hand at the press.

The apple juice is really flowing here.  This was not the kids at the press but the owner.

The finished product ends up in this small barrel to be served to waiting customers.  It doesn't get any fresher than this!

Fresh apples for sale.  We brought home a bag of sweet, juicy Macouns.   

 Since the return trip was downhill, we decided to walk the 1 1/2 miles back to our car enjoying the foliage, historic homes, and beautiful fall day.  We'll probably  be back to this area next week as we share the beauty of New England's foliage season with our out-of-state guest.