Archive for Uncategorized

Gropius House, Lincoln, MA

Toured the Gropius House, designed by Bauhaus founding architect Walter Gropius in 1938. Gropius left Germany in 1933, since Bauhaus’ modernist, non-decorative style was considered “degenerate” by the political regime. He joined the faculty at Harvard School of Design, and accepted the gift of land and funding from philanthropist Helen Storrow to build his new home.


The Bauhaus design featured straight lines, horizontals & verticals, and was built with industrial materials because home building materials of the time were too decorative. This is the front of the house, with small high windows to block out more of the street noise. Since it’s also the north side, there’s not much loss of sunlight.


This spiral staircase leads to their daughter’s roof deck and bedroom.


Just across the road is Gropius’ friend, collaborator, and Harvard colleague Marcel Breuer’s home, also a modernist design. Many of the furniture pieces in Gropius House were Breuer designs:


Gropius House’s foyer is dominated by this indoor spiral staircase, all vertical lines, echoed by the white clapboard walls which are hung vertically, instead of the typical horizontal outdoor clapboards.


Walter and Ise’s double desk, design by Breuer:


Living room, with “butterfly” stools and a big wooden Breuer lounge chair. The huge windows are south-facing, bringing in lots of light:


The small galley kitchen includes their clean-lined coffee and tea service:


Upstairs, the master bedroom is separated from the dressing room by a glass wall above Ise’s dressing table/make-up, and a mirror reflecting the master bath:


Here’s the guest room, with twin beds toe-to-toe. Note the prints by artist Jean Miro, one of many notable house guests:IMG_1629

Daughter’s bedroom, with a glimpse of the door to the deck at right. Her desk was her father’s office desk at the Bauhaus in Germany. Note the Breuer desk chair, a revolutionary design at the time:IMG_1630

View of the screened porch off the back of the house from the deck:IMG_1631There’ a concord grape vine growing up and hanging from the deck rafters, with a bird’s nest and bird in it. You can see the bird’s tail sticking out of the nest:IMG_1632

Views from the back yard:IMG_1633IMG_1634

Looking up to the deck:IMG_1635View into the dining room. The glass block wall lets light from the big south windows into the office with the double-desk on the other side.IMG_1636Side view of the spiral stair:IMG_1637

So many of the design elements we take for granted today were pioneered in this home which Gropius used as a showplace for potential clients.

Off to Concord Center for dinner, traditional New England architecture, and a stroll around some of the war monuments:


“The” World War. They did build more monuments to Concord residents who died in WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq…IMG_1640

Civil War memorial obelisk:IMG_1641


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Eldorado Canyon, Boulder, CO 6/25/18

Eldorado Canyon is just outside Boulder, and offers lots of hiking trails, a roaring South Boulder Creek, and lots of technical climbing routes up the sheer sandstone walls of the canyon.IMG_1612

In 2014, we did the longer Eldorado Canyon Trail, which you can see here. This time, We took a short hike across and along the creek.

Can you see the little climber about a third of the way up on this photo??




Climber close-up:IMG_1595

IMG_1611Here’s the cave:IMG_1597



Looking back at the bridge we had crossed:IMG_1600IMG_1602

Ropes are easier to see than the climber:IMG_1603


Climber in red:IMG_1607

Tumbled/eroded boulders make a natural arch:


Hummingbirds outside the visitor center:

Cattle on the road away from the Canyon:IMG_1615

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Blue Hills Reservation, Milton, MA 6-17-18

Back to the Blue Hills for some “forest bathing” to get a nature fix. This is on a trail off of Hillside Dr, near Houghton’s Pond.IMG_1446

Note the intersection marker #1120 on the tree – you can find this on the map – it’s part of the Breakneck Ledge loop, not that we knew that at the time. I wish there were more markers, on both the trees and the map. We tend to get lost here, not badly enough to be in trouble, but just not on the trail we think we’re on.  IMG_1447

But the woods are just lovely, whatever trail it might be.IMG_1448IMG_1449

Some big boulders, glacial erratics:IMG_1450

A dry stream bed:IMG_1451

Stairs up the the blue-blazed Skyline trail:IMG_1452IMG_1453

Tree canopy. It’s not the giant redwoods of Muir Woods, or the giant sequoias in Yosemite or Sequoia/Kings Canyon National Parks, but it’s ours! And a shorter commute.IMG_1454

Thanks, Friends of the Blue Hills, for preserving and protecting.

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Canton Audubon – 6/10/18

Just a quick hike on the trails at the Canton Audubon Sanctuary, and a visit into their Museum of American Bird Art. I like to take a photo of the map before hitting the trails.


Vernal pool: IMG_1432

Great trail markers (and we can still get disoriented):IMG_1433

Pequit BrookIMG_1434

Love this little sitting area:IMG_1435

Leaves are being eaten:IMG_1436IMG_1437IMG_1438IMG_1439IMG_1440

Wonderful stone wall:IMG_1441

Always something good to see here, on the trails and in the little museum.


This is Andy Warhol’s Bald Eagle, from his Endangered Species series:IMG_1442

A John James Audubon original:IMG_1443


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Massapoag Trail, Sharon, MA 6/3/18

We did it again – found another section of trail in Sharon that we’d never hiked before! This time we started at Mann’s Pond:

IMG_1395IMG_1399crossed the dam, where yellow irises are blooming:


and headed down part of the Loop Trail ….


to the bridge…. We went over the bridge at the bottom, but then turned back and headed up onto Deborah Sampson Rd to Billings.

At the signboard by the parking lot, there’s detailed info about taking the scenic route to cross Billings and enter a fairly new section of the Massapoag Trail:


This is what we planned to do, take the orange trail from Mann’s Pond, at the bottom of the map, follow the orange up through the private property, to meet up with the blue trail (above #3), and follow that back to Mann’s Pond:


So we followed the directions #2, and followed the signs.

When you cross Billings, you can see the railing for the steps just beyond the guardrail, although the orange paint has faded:


Many thanks to Eagle Scout Jimmy Townsend, and the Arguimbau family for letting us walk through the trail on their land. Years ago, we had tried this section of trail, but it was so overgrown, you couldn’t follow a path.IMG_1406

The trail is very narrow and lush:



The skunk cabbage are trying to take over the trail again, including some nice little boardwalks:


We’re 1/2 mile to Devil’s Rock, and 1/4 mile to the footbridge that we usually reach from Brook Rd on our way to the Rock – we’re coming at it from the opposite direction:


And there are still more boardwalks, and cinderblocks:

The sun is shining on the Massapoag Brook:IMG_1418

We finally reach the bridge, and turn left to cross it and head towards Brook Rd.IMG_1419

Love the sound of the brook; not so fond of the sounds from the Gun Club nearby.

We crossed Brook Rd, took the little paved path towards Rob Lane:


The blue metal hiker-blazes mark the trail which enters the woods leading back to Billings St and Mann’s Pond.

There’s a botanical Loop Trail in this section of the Massapoag trail, and some beautiful stone walls:


You have to take this driveway out onto Billings St., and you’re back at Mann’s Pond.


Great hike, a little overgrown, but it’s always exciting to find new-to-us trails in Sharon, after all these years.

Much thanks to the Eagle Scouts and the Friends of Sharon Conservation who make the town’s natural areas so accessible and enjoyable.

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Adams Farm, Walpole, MA 5/27/18

Adams Farm is town-owned land in Walpole, with hiking, biking, and the town’s community garden plots – and with adjacent conservation land totals about 700 acres.


The main trails are easy, level, wide, and dog-friendly. Plus there’s a nice bench at a major trail intersection.  The hiking info on their website is great – details about every trail, which are all pretty clearly blazed. They guide you by landmarks so it was hard even for us to get lost.

We took the blue/white trail, 1.5 miles (about 50 minutes) which leads to a natural labrynth:


Blueberries are starting to bloom along the trail:


This section of trail is narrower than the main one:


Saw a pink Lady Slipper along the trail:

Lady slipperSee the blue/white blazes on the left fork, and the red on the right? That’s a well-marked trail:


What would a walk in the New England woods be without some gorgeous old stone walls. I love the openings between the precariously-perched stones; makes me think this wall isn’t original construction, because a century (at least) of dirt and leaf-litter would have built up to fill in those holes:


On the route back, we took a detour onto the Monarch Trail skirting a wide field which sees a lot of monarch butterflies in season (not today):


There’s a vernal pool, with a great view of the barn:


The trail was created recently, thanks to an Eagle Scout. More barn views. They have music and other events there:


Nice combination of stone wall and fence:

monarch trail

We walked over to explore the butterfly garden on the far side of the barn:

Great find, more trails to explore, and only 15 minutes away.


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Borderland State Park, Northwest Trail, Sharon, MA 5/5/18

Love this trail into Borderland State Park, off of Massapoag Ave, just across from Mansfield St.

You start out on a zigzag trail up towards the main part of the Park, if you want to go that far. IMG_1335

That granite block by the side of the road marks the trail location, and space to park. The greenery is starting to pop along the trail:



Little flowers too:

The little buds almost look like green confetti floating:


The trail crosses a stream coming out of a pond:


The downstream side:


Just past the stream is a small rocky hill to the right where you can sit and look out at the pond:


and the wildlife:

We walked on a little ways till we came to the intersection where the Split Rock Trail heads off to the left:


Stone wall along the trail:


and boardwalk over a little swampy spot leading to a big rock formation – a glacial erratic?



Walked around to the left, and lo and behold, it’s the Split Rock itself!


Far side of the rock:IMG_1355

Looking down on the boardwalk from up at the top:


More splits on this side of the rock:


There’s a little garden growing atop the Split Rock:

Headed back, finding a plant with leaf buds in various stages of unfurling:

Back at the stream, we found a way in through thorns to get the babbling little waterfall as it pours out of the pond:


The trail seems even greener after a little while in the sun:


Almost at the street, and we pass this fallen tree which has become a buffet for critters:



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