Ezra Erb


Ezra Erb

When I travel, I love the great outdoors, modern art, historical sites, good food, classic roadside attractions, and long drives in a convertible. Preferably all at once. The nickname is a tribute to a wise traveller in the Hitch-hikers Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams, who proved that all you really need to cross the galaxy (and beyond) is a towel.

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North America » United States » Massachusetts » Lowell April 18th 2015

The United States has many athletic based fundraisers. Altruistic outdoorspeople can run, bike, swim, hike and much else to raise money for charity. Few, however, offer the opportunity to raise money by white water rafting. Today, I did just that. The Lowell Parks and Conservation Trust arranges the trips, and we get the chance to raft a river with an unusual combination of natural excitement and industrial history. Lowell, one of the oldest industrial cities in the United States, sits at the confluence of the Merrimack and Concord Rivers. Its founders chose this spot due to a series of rapids on both to power their mills. The Merrimack River has the big one, Pawtucket Falls, which fueled the city’s famous tex... read more
Car wash
Twisted Sister warmup
Dam Rapid

North America » United States » Connecticut » Meriden November 2nd 2014

Foliage season can’t already be over. This year was the best in a long time, so many bright colorful trees. I want more! It can’t be over!! I WON’T LET IT!!! As pointless as this attitude sounds, it led directly to my hike today. Wistfully reading the foliage reports, I discovered that south central Connecticut still had peak color. This part of the region turns later than the rest, and holds on to it longer. Normally, even here color is fading by Halloween, another sign of just how remarkable this year has been foliage wise. Southern Connecticut is a longish drive, but certainly doable as a day trip. Once I knew the region, I needed a hike. This part of the state contains taprock ridges, narrow north-south hills carved by glaciers. The obvious target was the ... read more
Reservoir view
World of color
Kissed by the sun

North America » United States » Massachusetts » Needham October 25th 2014

I love fall in New England. Every day I look outside my apartment window at the bright yellow tree less than a yard away, and remind myself just how few places get foliage like this. It’s still bright late in the month, a small sign of one of the best foliage seasons in years. Today dawned bright and warm, creating the irresistible desire to hike. Local foliage was still at peak, so I wanted something close. I went to the popular Noanet Reservation less than twenty miles from Boston. Noanet lies within Dover. It’s one of those wealthy communities where everything wants to look like a horse farm. No tract housing here! The town has an extensive network of conservation land, of which Noanet forms a centerpiece. Once off the main highway everything became twisty, slow, ... read more
The Boulder
Boston view
Memorial view

North America » United States » New Hampshire » Francestown October 12th 2014

"Two roads diverged in a wood, and I -- I took the once less traveled by, And that has made all the difference." Robert Frost Robert Frost was sometimes called the poet laureate of New Hampshire. He spent much of his working years in the state, and his poems certainly reflect its rugged rural individualism. Today is a story of a time I took the trail less traveled, and the difference it made. Of all the seasons, many New England hikers love fall the most. Sure, we get that glorious carpet of color, but it’s almost a bonus. The air is warm but not enough to cause sweat, the nights are pleasantly cool, humidity drops significantly, and most of the mosquitoes have been killed off (ticks remain, unfortunately). The low humidity eliminates much of the summer ... read more
Parking lot foliage
First viewpoint
Accessible trail

North America » United States » Massachusetts » Boston » Back Bay December 31st 2013

New Year’s Eve traditionally involves going to parties, most with lots of alcohol. In 1975, a group of Boston artists decided the holiday deserved something better than repetitive pop music, bad drinks, and a televised ball drop. They founded First Night, a huge arts festival with performances and installations around the city and not a bar in sight. It became a huge success and spread to cities across the country. In 2008, the deep recession hit the non-profit that runs First Night hard. Last June, they finally ran out of funds for good and closed, leaving a huge hole in the city’s cultural fabric. Unwilling to let one of the region’s signature events disappear, the city of Boston took over organizing duties. Unlike the previous group, who tended to emphasize high-brow performance groups and family friendly ... read more
Handel and Hayden youth chorus

North America » United States » Massachusetts » Boston December 31st 2012

New Years Eve, for many people, involves going out to parties and lots of alcohol. In 1975 a group of Boston artists thought it was really unfortunate how much this night is identified with drinking. They conceived of a new way of experiencing New Years, one celebrating the arts and families, with no booze whatsoever. The festival they created, First Night, now involves a smorgasbord of arts events across the city; rock concerts to comedy shows, dance groups to spoken word, films to art installations, huge ice sculptures to outdoor dance parties. It’s become one of the city’s best known festivals, and inspired imitators across the country. While always successful creatively, the non-profit that runs it has lived a precarious existence. Rumors of their closing due to lack of funds have floated around for at least ... read more
Boston Children's Theater Show Quire
Airborne Comedians

North America » United States » New Hampshire » Weirs Beach October 17th 2012

Autumn in New England is truly special. Every fall as the days grow crisp, leaves lose their green chlorophyll, revealing the natural colors underneath. They turn an already memorable landscape into a kaleidoscope of beauty. The leaf display appears across the temperate zones of the world, but New England’s combination of hot humid summers, chilly dry falls, and range of deciduous tree species makes ours rank among the best of them all. The scenery is world famous. So many people travel here this time of year that our high tourist season, which in most of the United States ends in early September, lasts nearly two months longer. That popularity creates an obvious downside, lots of people and clogged roads anywhere near a view. Decades ago, I found a solution: put o... read more
Mount Major parking
Boulder Loop
Ridge climb

North America » United States » Massachusetts » Boston August 19th 2012

Boston’s North End is known for its Italian feasts. Every single weekend in summer, there is a festival honoring a saint. They are community gatherings and celebration of heritage. Above all, they are religious events, designed to bring blessings for the next year. Nearly all of them were brought from Italy by immigrants in the early 1900s. Even as the neighborhood has gentrified in recent decades, they have remained a staple of the event calendar. If I had to choose only one feast to experience, it would be the Feast of Madonna del Soccorso, much better known as the Fisherman’s Feast . It started among Sicilian fishermen in the 1500s , and was brought to the North End in 1910, making it the oldest feast of them all. It culminates with a religious blessing so unusual ... read more
Fisherman's Feast

North America » United States » Massachusetts » Revere July 14th 2012

Boston residents love to go to the beach. After all, we have an ocean on our doorstep. Today I went to one of the most historic, Revere Beach. Most Boston area residents probably rolled their eyes reading that. Revere Beach, the oldest public beach in the United States, was once Boston’s Coney Island. After World War II, a combination of ocean pollution, noise from the nearby airport, and suburban flight made the place a wreck; the beach people chose only when they lacked the means to get anywhere else. I can reassure readers that I did in fact end up here voluntarily. Thanks to lawsuits in the 1980s, the pollution has finally been cleaned up. The area has seen significant new construction, and people are slowly returning. To attract even more, the local business associat... read more
Fenway Century
Leto II
Revere Beach

Today was Independence Day. Happy Birthday United States! Those who know their history know the Declaration of Independence was actually approved on July 2nd, but it was not released to the public until two days later, hence everyone celebrating the holiday on the 4th. Normally, I know exactly what I’d be doing today. I’d gather food, lots of water, a book or two, and head to the Esplanade to claim a spot for the concert and fireworks. Seemingly every person in the Boston area has the same idea, leading to big crowds and a long wait. The earliest arrivals appear around dawn! Naturally, it all becomes a big party with many people attending with family and friends and hanging out all day. My group of MIT graduates has done this i... read more
USS Constitution and USCGS Eagle
USS Constitution cannon fire
Mortar fire

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