Have you heard of The Happy Place? I had not. One night, I got a text saying”Do you want to go to the happy place?” My first thought was that it was inappropriate spam, but then I realized my sister had sent it.
The Happy Place is a pop-up attraction consisting of a series of”sets” that you move through to play in and take pics. The sets are well lit, so it’s hard to get a bad photo. It’s been dubbed “the most Instagrammable pop-up in America,” by Boston magazine. So far it’s visited cities including LA, Toronto, and Chicago. A number of A-list celebrities have posted on social media about it, making it a must-see for many people.
We went late-morning on a Saturday with my sister, her husband, and their daughter. It was a lot of fun. We spent an hour there and could easily have spent more time. They offered us snack food, but we passed because we were planning to go for lunch afterward. We made some really nice and fun images. There were a few other families there and also a couple of college-age young ladies who dressed and planned for a serious photo shoot. On weekends, it’s $35 for an adult and $25 for a child but they control the number of people entering the venue (or at least they seemed to when we were there). My fear was Dinsey-like lines at each set but we seldom needed to wait and if we did it was less than two minutes. It is well staffed to provide you with assistance in getting the perfect shot and to help you enjoy your experience.
It is in Boston until June 30th and then I’m not sure what’s next. And yes, I had fun in the tub with all of the rubber ducks.
In yesterday’s post, I shared how we began the process by carving our design into blocks of sand using a large nail or spike. These became the molds. Once they were all finished and lined up on the ground a group of five men began the process of making molten iron. Initially, I thought they had been melting the iron all along. I thought it would take a long time. Wrong.
They had a furnace heated and ready. Once in their protective gear, they used a larger blower to add more air to the furnace and also added coke (not the drink but charcoaled coal). Once the furnace was hot enough they began to add scrap iron. Think old bathtubs, which are iron covered with enamel. Once the iron was melted, they poured it out through a spigot and into big, heavy ladles. The workers then poured the molten iron from the ladle into the molds. It quickly became solid but a very hot solid. Using shovels and other tools, they broke the iron pieced from the mold and put them into a tub of water to cool. Once cool, they used grinders to remove the rough edges. Almost everyone there stayed to see everyone else’s finished piece.
Photo credit to my wife for the photo of me.
Our little town is home to the Andres Institute of Art. It is a former ski hill that now has walking trails and beautiful stone and metal sculptures. As a fundraiser, they have an iron melt twice a year.
A few weeks ago, we joined in and went to the studio on the summit. There, we received a small square of tightly packed sand and a large spike to carve a pattern into the sand. This would be our mold. For an hour some sixty of us worked on our patterns. Some people carved intricate patterns while others were simpler. When completed, we brought them outside for the next stage.
Tomorrow…it gets hot.
A couple of weeks back, we drove down to Salisbury, MA. The community has a Gnome and Fairy Walk along a one-mile wooded path as a fundraiser. Different groups, classes, and individuals made fairy and gnome houses. While this was admittedly geared for children, we had fun looking around and seeing how creative everyone had bee.
It’s been a wet spring here in New England. Anticipating that local waterfalls would be at their peak, we took a drive a few towns over to Ashby, MA to see Trap Falls. It’s not huge but there are a nice picnic area and some parking.
I made these images the last week of April. As you can see, the leaves are still emerging on the trees in Boston. We live an hour north of the city, so we are a bit behind in terms of the transition. But spring is definitely here.