Scene Here is a weekly photo-driven feature that captures moments in Valley culture from an outsider’s perspective. Reporters often don’t announce themselves when gathering information for the column. These pieces try to present places, people, and events from the perspective of a fly on the wall.

Scene Here: Frostilicus
Jan09

Scene Here: Frostilicus

As temperatures dip and the ice thickens on Heritage Park in East Longmeadow, ice skaters and hockey players of all ages lace up their freshly sharpened skates and brave the cold to carry on a generations-old winter tradition. Just ask Ryan Morton. He used to play here when he was a kid. Today, he’s shoveling off the ice for his three-year-old son, five-year-old daughter, and two older nephews, helping to ensure that the...

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Scene Here: A Respite from the Cold
Jan03

Scene Here: A Respite from the Cold

There’s always a little bit of added electricity in the air when a Nor’easter is bearing down on New England and the snowflakes start to fly. The cold brings out a sense of camaraderie in people: us v. the snow. Sometimes the best thing to do is to find a cozy corner (like this one at The Roost in Northampton), nestle in with your work, a cup of coffee, and a view of the outside, and watch others bundled up in their winter parkas and...

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Scene Here: Holidays in Whoville
Dec19

Scene Here: Holidays in Whoville

The quadrangle at the Springfield Museums, with its many sculptures of Dr. Seuss’ most famous characters, can inspire wonder in most visitors any day of the year, but there’s an extra bit of Seussian whimsy about it around the holidays. The characters — The Grinch, Max, Cindy Lou Who, Things 1 &2 — bathed in the glow of gently rotating colors, seem to come to life. Anyone pausing for a moment to revel quietly in the magic could be...

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Scene Here: The Rift in Holyoke
Nov28

Scene Here: The Rift in Holyoke

Reports of hate crimes have spiked across the nation in the wake of Donald Trump’s presidential election victory, and dozens of people marched through Holyoke on the evening of Friday, Nov. 18, to protest the president elect’s campaign promises and policies that many say have fueled a spike in bigotry. Among the more colorful protesters is a person in a Spiderman costume, another in a Guy Faux mask, and a young man in a beret proudly...

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Scene Here: Atop Long Mountain
Nov14

Scene Here: Atop Long Mountain

Room to Breathe What pairs well with local beer and wine this week? My opinion: some peace and quiet. It’s not always appreciated, or sought out. But after a nightmare of an election season — full of vitriol, lies and low blows — I was feeling a serious need to go high. I found companionship with the Seven Sisters, the series of ridgeline summits along the Holyoke Range between Mount Holyoke and Mount Hitchcock. Last Saturday, my...

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Scene Here: Easthamptonshire
Oct24

Scene Here: Easthamptonshire

If Frodo had been living in Easthampton’s new Mill 180 Park when Gandalf stopped by, he probably would have turned down the wizard’s all-powerful ring. Hidden inside an old mill building — with food, lawn games, coffee, beer, and wifi at your fingertips — it’s already easy enough to disappear. Tolkien readers aren’t the only ones around here who may be tempted to stop in for an extended lunch break and quietly turn invisible for a few...

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