The Alexander Home Page presents
Alexander's New England Odyssey
Holyoke, Massachusetts

Nash Dinosaur Prints

Nash Dinosaur Prints Don't be alarmed! Although it looks amazingly lifelike this fierce creature is merely a scuplture positioned in front of Nash's Dinosaur Land.
On the first leg of their trip through New England, Alex and his parents stopped to get out of the car, stretch their legs, and do a little sightseeing. The spot they chose was the area surrounding Holyoke, Massachusetts, just north of Springfield, where basketball was invented in 1891. Just four years later, in 1895, the sport of volleyball was invented in Holyoke. As a result, the decade of the 1890's has come to be known as "The Golden Age of Innovative Massachusetts Gym Teachers."

The principal reason for choosing this location was the allure of the Nash Dinosaur Prints, in South Hadley. The site showcases actual fossilized dinosaur footprints, on the very spot where they were discovered in 1933 by Carlton Nash.

The place is, quite frankly, a bit of a dump. It's a small building that is charitably called a gift shop and museum. Visitors can buy rocks, broken fossils, and pieces of petrified wood from just about everywhere but Massachusetts. The two-dollar admission fee entitles you to
Alex finds an alligator A fallen log
A closer look at the alligator The same log, through Alex's eyes
walk around in the backyard, where the dinosaur prints can been seen. If you visit the Nash place, keep your expectations low. The prints are not those of mighty beasts like tyrannosaurs or brontosaurs. The largest prints are smaller than those that might have been left by an ostrich, and the ones most easily seen might easily have belonged to a large chicken.

Be that as it may, Alex loved the Nash Dinosaur prints. He had a wonderful time in that little backyard, and he did not want to leave. The main attraction? An old log that looked, to him, like a brown alligator. He also found a rusted old metal trash can that, with a dose of imagination, he dubbed "a turtle."

Joseph Allen Skinner State Park

Although the dinosaur prints were a bit of a disappointment, the stop was not a total loss for Alex's parents, who did not enjoy the log nearly as much as Alex did. After leaving the Nash establishment, the family went to Joseph Allen Skinner State Park, and drove to the top of Mt. Holyoke, which offers a serene view of the Connecticut River Valley, and the town of Amherst.

While atop the mountain, Alex and his parents enjoyed a picnic lunch. Alex, with a palate mature beyond its years, graciously ate the green peppers from his father's sandwich.

The view from Mt. Holyoke Alexander and his father atop Mt. Holyoke
They also visited The Summit House, a 19th Century structure that served as a resting place for weary mountain climbers, and, later, as an exclusive hotel. One room in the Summit House is named for Jenny Lind, the Swedish Nightingale, who once ate dinner in that room. (This is a charming custom that we here at The Alexander Home Page would like to see revived. The next time you eat a meal at a friend's house, request, no -- insist that your host or hostess rename the dining room in your honor! And if your request is granted, let us know about it!)

After a pleasant visit, it was time to descend Mt. Holyoke, and continue the journey northward. Next stop: The White Mountains of New Hampshire.