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Snowpocalypse 2010 comes to Haverhill

December 28th, 2010 by

There’s nothing like stepping outside after a heavy snow and experiencing the wintry quiet of car-less streets, bare trees creaking in the wind.

My plan yesterday was to head out and get some shots of Haverhill post-blizzard. Instead, I set one foot onto my porch, felt a frigid gust billow up my coat through the floor boards, thought “oh, HELL, no!” and promptly retreated back inside. Apparently, I am not quite the hearty New Englander I always believed I was.

Good thing Diane Beckwith-Zink is a braver soul than I (not to mention a much better photographer). She trekked all over Haverhill and Bradford, documenting the snowy aftermath of this winter’s first major storm. Diane was kind enough to let me share a few of her snaps, including this one of a frozen Merrimack:

Merrimack River

Now, check out how amazingly monochrome Bradford Common looks in this photo! I mean, it almost makes me glad I didn’t venture out during the storm itself. How would I have been able to find my my house in the snow among all the other white buildings?

Bradford Common

And here’s a great shot of the Whittier 1882 Building on the corner of Washington and Essex- one of the prettiest buildings downtown, and a favorite of mine. Although, someone’s got to do something about that tattered awning! It’s been deteriorating at a pretty rapid clip lately and has definitely reached eyesore status.

Downtown Haverhill

If you like these photos, there are a ton more to check out on Diane’s Flickr stream, including some really cool downtown panoramas. I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling a bit inspired to not be such a winter wuss next time and get out there!

Bradford Depot late night espionage

December 18th, 2010 by

Last night, passing through downtown on our way to check out Busy Arms at Kelley’s Pub, we noticed a freight train rolling over Washington hauling some unusual cargo. We were pretty excited to see such a shipment pass through town, so after watching it lope across the Merrimack from the Comeau Bridge, we caught up with it at the Bradford Depot where I managed to snap a few photos.

Hmmm...what could it be?

As it quietly chugged along in the dark a handful of staff emerged from Bradford Skateland, not only curious as to what all this stuff was, but why there was  some strange chick running up and down the platform trying to document it.

Figured it out yet?

In fact, one of the staffers flagged us down and with a stern face straight up asked if it was some sort of crazy top-secret rocketry and if I was engaged in espionage. (Geez- first UFOs and now secret agents?) Highly flattered, I confessed that I was actually not a spy, but a lover of alternative energy and we had spent the last fifteen minutes ogling a wind turbine.

Why don't we slap a couple of these up by the solar farm?

Meanwhile off it went creaking and clanking into the night, ready to bring clean energy to some lucky town down the line…

The Mighty Merrimack

June 22nd, 2010 by

This past week, our friend A.A.S. posted this great shot of the Merrimack River. It inspired me to immediately log onto Craigslist and start searching for a cheap boat to ply its waters, which are looking positively benign these days.

The Merrimack River- silent, but deadly

But, if you think the Merrimack looks compellingly placid, and you’re tempted to dip a toe in, don’t be fooled. “The place of strong current” is no misnomer- this waterway is wild and dangerous- a force to be reckoned with. Its 110 miles of twists and turns inevitably swallow  person or two each summer (pretty Merriwhack, if you ask me, River) and its waters are not immune to a few jabs at the expense of its cleanliness.

Merrimack Street panorama- Photo by A.A.S. on Flickr

But while some of us (particularly those who remember the Great Poo Flood of ’06) might be a bit hesitant to throw on a swimsuit and rush to Bradford’s new sandy beach, none of us can deny the impact the Merrimack has had on our fair city. The water power it provided during the late 1800’s put Haverhill on the map as “Queen Slipper City of the World.”

With the days at their longest and the weather at its most hospitable,  don’t forget to take a moment and sit out on one of the handful of decks jutting out towards the river, behind Washington St.  Sip your beer and enjoy not only the view, but the sound of the rushing river- a constant whispered reminder of the industrial revolution.

More back alley shenanigans

April 20th, 2010 by

Apparently, Jeremiah True, the guy who lives under the 125 bridge, and I aren’t the only ones who like to hang out in the service corridor behind Merrimack St. Aimee (Nascartrophywifey on flickr) has been spending some time back there too, and she and her friends echo my sentiments exactly:

"Don't tell her she can't do it."

Aimee et al had a pretty sweet looking weekend in the ‘verill while I was out of town- and I have to say, I’m more than a little envious of the sweet  mugs they snagged (at Jennie’s?). Ah well, even though they yoinked the choice thrift store treasure from my ‘hood, I’m happy to see some fun-loving people coming to visit.

And, maybe this whole Haverhill Fever Back Alley Riverwalk idea has some traction. What do you think, guys?

Under the bridge and on the edge.

April 12th, 2010 by

I can’t decide if this is utter insanity, or a brilliant security maneuver. I guess if you’re in a position to have to bed down under a bridge, why not situate yourself next to a GIANT SINKHOLE? If someone comes to bother you in the night, chances are high the earth will swallow them whole.

I’m not sure if this would really work for me, personally. I toss and turn a lot.

(Photo taken underneath the 125 bridge)

Where the riverwalk ends.

April 6th, 2010 by

The weather was beautiful Sunday. Hoping to reverse the effects of our Easter gluttony, we decided to head down to the newly opened Haverhill Riverwalk and get our power walk on.

Problem is, the riverwalk is 300 feet.

I mean, they’re glorious and all, don’t get me wrong, but that’s barely a stroll! It looks more like the parking lot was jealous of The Tap and went out and got it’s own totally kick ass deck. (There were two ladies sunbathing on it.)

Well, I guess this is only Phase A, right?  I checked the mayor’s monthly newsletter:

Phase B awaits further funding.


What DID seem to get funding though, was PHASE C! which is a more nature trail-esque walk on the Bradford side of the Merrimack. From the Mass Highway Dept. project web site:

The project begins at the Route 125 bridge over the Merrimack River and ends at the Gonzalian Bridge near the MBTA commuter rail station in Bradford. The section is approximately 3700 feet long. A linear park and interpretive elements are planned as well as several gateway entrances and parking.

So, we have that to look forward to…in 2015!

But hey, being a true Hillie is all about patience. Plus, we didn’t let the slow grinding gears of progress stop us. We enjoyed our own (albeit somewhat gritty) riverwalk behind Washington and Merrimack Streets instead. I give you the Haverhill Fever Back Alley Riverwalk!

Behind Washington St. Haverhill

To begin, cut across Riverfront Park.  If you’re lucky, your gateway to the Haverhill Fever Back Alley Riverwalk is pleasantly scented of beer brewing at The Tap. (It was Whittier White when we were passing by) Here are some of the more scenic highlights:

Like Swayze.

Like Swayze.

Hellllllo, Newman.

Helllllllo, Newman’s.

Working Man's Parking

Behind Woolworth's

The Haverhill Fever Back Alley Riverwalk’s colorful conclusion.

I don’t know. I’ll be excited when the new riverwalk is finally finished, but in the meantime, this one isn’t half bad. There’s interesting architecture, a glimpse into local culture, and even some art!

*shrug* I guess you can take your time, 2015.