Every time I leave my forested home in favor of the coast, I imagine what it would be like to move there permanently. Nothing appeals to me more than the idea of spending every day by the ocean – or at least being within a short drive of the seaside. As a consequence of such visits, I also find myself rekindling my fascination with maritime art: spending weeks afterwards brushing up on New England’s seafaring history!
Though it’s been almost six months since my husband and I went to Salem for a mini-honeymoon, I’m glad that my academic circumstances prevented me from posting these photographs until now. Those wildly hot August days meandering past the Atlantic seem even more appealing in January!
Guess what the East Coast decided to do this weekend? Even though spring was just starting–grass growing, tiny flowers opening, skies staying bright long into the evening–a snowy Sunday just had to sneak in and send us all back into February.
Snow may make me cross at New England’s odd ways, but at the very least, it does make for some lovely photographs. I braved the cold to take a little walk yesterday morning, and managed to capture our local plants’ reactions to this wintry blast from the past!
It’s no secret that I’m in love with macro photography: there’s nothing I love more than trying to transform the quiet details of quotidian landscapes into strange, alien worlds. In warmer months, I attempt to document the secret histories of plants and trees, and my lens turns towards the snow itself in the winter.
Photographing snow and ice up close creates miniature landscapes like no other–great icy mountains and chasms no bigger than a pencil, endless Arctic landscapes glowing blue that run the width of a backyard…
My love for the seaside conquers all threats of winter chills, so I followed up my maritime art adventure at the Peabody Essex Museum with a trip to the ocean that made it all possible. The sun stayed surprisingly resilient for a day in November, making the journey rather pleasant and survivable, if seasonally inappropriate. Who says you can’t spend Thanksgiving on the shore?
If you love curiosities, early modern collections, the sea, and maritime art, the Peabody Essex Museum–in Salem, Massachusetts, just outside of Boston–is the place for you.
That sounds fairly generic and tour-brochure-ready, so let me clarify: I love all of the aspects of art and history mentioned above, and the PEM is probably among my top five museum favorites. I first visited in 2012, and have enjoyed returning as frequently as I could ever since.
This post is the first in a two-part series exploring my time at the PEM–I’ll start out by focusing on the permanent collections, and then move into the special exhibitions (okay, one very special exhibition!) sometime soon!
What exactly does a sugarloaf look like? While my trip up to the Mount Sugarloaf State Reservation in South Deerfield didn’t quite give me the answer I was looking for (I’ll leave that to Google), it did turn out to be a wonderful morning out that didn’t require too much driving. This small sandstone summit offers a gorgeously sweeping view of the whole “Valley”–even if it doesn’t have too much in common visually with sugarloaves themselves.
(In fact, the name actually seems to have derived from the fact that it’s made up of a rock called “Sugarloaf Arkose”–the more you know!)
If there’s one thing I’ve come to associate with Massachusetts, it’s industrial history. My journeys through North Adams, Easthampton, and now Lowell have all immersed me in the histories of former mill and factory towns.
Lowell is one of the largest cities in the state, but its historical district–at once both city and National Monument–is a fascinating synthesis of past and present.
*Technically, this is more like Eastern MA, but I’m always wandering from the Pioneer Valley, so perhaps that counts!