Michael Blanchard Photography

Michael Blanchard Inspirational Photography

The great thing about social media is it can introduce you to a few of your favorite things! That’s what happened to me several years ago when I came upon a  Michael Blanchard  photograph on Facebook I’ve been a fan ever since!

Nov - 428 Michale Blanchard Photography

Michael lives and works in Maine and makes trips to Martha’s Vineyard almost every weekend. He wakes up before the crack of dawn and in the solitude and the solstice of early morning sunrise  and sunsets  makes photographs that have become to known as inspirational photographs. You see, many take a photograph, but Michael has a way of creating images that evoke something inside yourself. That’s why he  has over 43,000 people follow him on Facebook.

Michael Blanchard Inspirational PhotographyPolaroid Camera

Michael’s first camera was a Polaroid camera he received as a teenager. But it wasn’t until the age of 54 that he found his interest in photography.  He recalls the first successful long exposure shot of Lucy Vincent. He sat quietly for an hour after that and felt so connected. That’s when he knew photography would be an important part of his life. The camera became a means of being quiet and reflective. It got him out of the house and on the beaches and he found a lost spirituality.

Michael Blanchard Photography

Why Martha’s Vineyard

It was a sailboat trip to MV  that would change Michael’s life! Once there he had the immediate, explainable desire to stay.  A few years later, he married a woman who had a home on the island. That is what we like to call Serendipity!  Michael has openly discussed in an open forum his ongoing recovery from the disease of alcoholism and the pain of his subsequent divorce from his wife. The island of Martha’s Vineyard and the art of photography helped to heal him.

Michael Blanchard Photography

3 Favorite Places

Lucy Vincent Beach, Moshup Beach and Menemsha are his three favorite places on the island. Being a big Jaws fan, he can see Hooper, Quint and Chief Brody heading out to sea to get the shark every time he sees the little fishing shacks in Menemsha.

Michael Blanchard PhotographySunrise or Sunset

Sunset is the time he loves best to photograph. The colors are different than at sunrise. He finds more interesting shots as evening approaches. But, he does admit some of his best photographs have been taken at sunrise.

Miachel Blanchard Photography Fighting For My Life

Fighting For My Life

Fighting For My Life Finding Hope and Serenity on Martha’s Vineyard, is the book that has helped Michael with his demons. He found while displaying his photographs on Facebook for the world to see, people responded to his words from healing from addiction, as much as the photos themselves. The two went hand-in-hand.  With a talent to take photographs that people liked and a want and need to share the life changing events. The book served the purpose as a cathartic  ” spilling out” of what he went through as a further means of how helping to heal. The book was designed and constructed to help raise money for addiction treatment, and most importantly, to help reduce the  shame alcoholics and addicts feel about their disease.  He wanted people to see the real and torturous existence of an alcoholic so they could better understand the disease and then use this information to help others who are struggling. He wants those who are struggling to know ” there is no shame as long as you take responsibility for your recovery”.

Michael Blanchard PhotographyThe Calendar

In May 2016 Michael will release a brand new calendar to help raise money for the Martha’s Vineyard  New Path’s Addiction Treatment Program and to increase awareness that additional resources are needed to fight the disease of addiction. Some of his stories and poetry and words of wisdom will be included to help those who need a boost of “hope”.  Thousands of his Facebook fans helped vote to choose the photos that will be in the calendar. It will be available through his website, several other websites as well as stores all over Martha’s Vineyard. The proceeds after costs will go to the New Paths Program.

Michael Blanchard PhotographyInspiration

Ansel Adams inspires Michael more  for what he said “photographs are made not taken” .  Adams would work in the darkroom for hours working to get the contrast right on a print.I In Michael’s case, editing photos is his creative escape.  Adams is his hero for “allowing” him to edit and experience the joy of creating something that is “him” and beautiful from the raw material generated by the camera.

Michael Blanchard Photography3 Things You Should Know

  1. The Camera is his means of connecting to whatever spirituality or divine energy that exists in the world. It is important in keeping him grounded and in the moment.
  2. The editing of photos is a means of creative expression he never had and allows him to channel feelings and emotions that would otherwise stay bottled up inside.
  3.  Photography is the window to the soul. He plans on using imagery  and cameras to help teenagers heal from addictions to drugs and alcohol. People can literally express themselves in the photos they choose to take.

Michael Blanchard PhotographyMichael Blanchard Inspirational Photography

To view his collection or order a book or calendar visit Michael Blanchard’s website and  follow him on  Facebook

On Island, you can find his work at Kennedy Studios in Vineyard Haven and Kelly House Gallery in Edgartown. This Summer his art will be displayed at a number of Black Dog stores throughout New England.

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Straight Warf - Nantucket

I LOVE Movie Set Places

I LOVE movie set places and in New England there are many!

Straight Warf - Nantucket

Straight Wharf

What I really love are waterfront and coastal towns that have a vibe to them. Yes, sometimes they are very busy, especially in-season.  I like to visit them off-season, early in the morning or at sunset….You know the magical times! Which is not to say the magic isn’t there when things are bustling. Here’s a look at three of my favorite places that evoke that magical feeling.

Perkins Cove Scenic Coastline

Scenic View from Perkins

Perkins Cove

I’ve been going to Perkins Cove for over 25 years. Guess what, every time I go it’s just as magical as the first time I was there! I love the small paths with shops and restaurants. I still remember going into the Pottery Shop at Perkins Cove for the first time and being in awe of their hand crafted goods. I love finding true New England finds in all the shops here. Restaurants like Barnacle Billy’s and MC Perkins are casual and relaxing and serve good food.

Shops at Perkins Cove

I’ve taken Finest Scenic Cruises to Nubble lighthouse and I’ve walked the Marginal Way in all seasons.   Beyond the shops, restaurants and bustle, it’s the moments you experience! The moments when the sun is rising and there is barely anyone there as you take photos. Or the windy winter days where snow is hitting you sideways. Or it’s the smell of salt water while you are enjoying an ice cream or coffee. That ‘s the movie set life of scenic places I love. I can’t wait to breathe it all in again on my next visit to Perkins Cove. Perkins Cove Boats 1 - Copy

Sunapee Harbor

Lake Sunapee

Sunapee Harbor is a movie set! Well at least it looks like one! This has been a popular destination for summer vacations since the days of the steamship, when people use to come from Boston and New York City. The Grand Hotels are long gone but beautiful custom homes dot Lake Sunapee.

Lake Sunapee Harbor

The Anchorage Restaurant and Sunapee Harbor

MV Kearsarge 1

MV Kearsage 1 Restaurant Boat & MV MT Sunapee II Narrative Boat         Tours available on Sunapee Cruises

It’s a great place to visit in Summer when the few shops in the harbor are open. Lunch or dinner at the Anchorage is a must as is ice cream from the Quick Shack. A highlight here is Sunapee Cruises narrative scenic and dinner cruises.  The views on their sunset cruises are great and the air is so clean. Being in the center of Lake Sunapee is one of the most relaxing places I’ve ever been. 

  Nantucket

Cru Nantucket

View from Cru Nantucket. Every seat in the house has a great view!

I have a funny story about Nantucket. I was there twice over 30 years ago…pretty much just around Straight Wharf and town for the day. So that was my early Nantucket experience, no beach and the shops are not what they are today! Then for many years, when I would hear or read about Nantucket in tourism pieces I read there was barely any electricity on the island and you needed a bike to get around the island.

Isobel and Cleo

Isobel & Cleo! One of my favorite shops! Luxury handmade American made        knitware, Nantucket artisanal goods, made in USA

Vineyard Vines

Vineyard Vines an American clothing and accessory retailer founded in 1998 by brothers Shep and Ian Murray. The brand markets high end ties, hats, belts, shirts, shorts, bags for men, women, and children.

One Orange 1

One Orange a collaborative men’s lifestyle store

Two years ago I lived on Cape Cod for a year. I went to Nantucket several times because it is one of the most coolest places I have ever been! I have met a circle of people  who are the most creative individuals I have ever met! Enter Serendipity Again! I have learned more from these people and about about myself in the last two years than I could have ever imagined!

My admiration for these designers, shop owners, entrepreneurs and creative people that promote the island runs deep.  Honestly, almost daily, when I am not there…I am thinking about it…wishing I was there. In my opinion, there are more creative trend-setting things happening on Nantucket than in New York City!

Scanty Lighthouse

Sankaty Head lighthouse

 There is a coastal vibe from people who live and work here year round who literally travel all over the world for their work.  Nantucket is pure eye candy! From the shops on the wharf which catch the most amazing light. Each shop is creative in its own way and the staff are always so hospitable,  smiling, helpful and so upbeat!

From Sankaty Lighthouse to Brant Point the ACK feeling is amazing! Sconset can only be described as breathtaking + delicious. View some of the best sunrises and walks on the beach and sunsets at Galley Beach are speechless.

Cru Nantucket exterior patio

Cru Nantucket

The food and presentation at ACK restaurants like Cru, Straight Wharf and Town Restaurant are among the world’s best! Plus, there are many other restaurants that are open during the season that are equally as good. If the best in shopping and dining weren’t enough…Nantucket has some of the world’s best beaches.  You can see the sunrise and sunset like nowhere else! Everywhere you turn, there is magic on this island! 

Nantucket

Brant Point Lighthouse 1 F - Copy - Copy

Brant Point Lighthouse

There is peace! There is  a quiet that I have only experienced while living on Cape Cod. Clearly, there is a creative vibe among the people who live, work and play here that is second to none! No wonder people call Nantucket their “Happy Place”! It will be good to be bACK!

All Photos by Melissa Tyler

 

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Cupcake Charlies Mashpee Commons

Cape Cod President’s Day Weekend

Weekend Getaway

Hyannis Yacht Club


Hyannis Yacht Club

So last  weekend was the long President’s Day Weekend.  Oh, yes, it was Valentine’s Day too! So we got in the car and took a drive and did what we love!  We went to New England. More specifically, Cape Cod!

Wrentham Premium Outlets Tory Burch

 On our way we stopped at Wrentham Village Premium Outlets  It has been our experience overall, that WVPR always has   the most enthusiastic and happy sales associates we have ever seen any where…well except maybe Nantucket. But that’s another story. Armani, Nautica, Ralph Lauren, Coach, Michael Kors and  one of favorite mustdo stops at Tory Burch.  Guess what? That pocketbook I have been dreaming about since last year in gold was now in silver and well YES, I had too!

Mashpee Commons 1

Now, Here’s where I start entering my Happy Place!  Cape Cod and the Islands! A short 40 minutes drive from WVPO, remember it’s winter and I made my next stop Mashpee Commons. I LOVE Mashpee Commons too! They have some wonderful shops that are authentic New England like Maiden Voyage,  The Black Dog, Puritan Cape Cod, Vineyard Vines, Purple Poppy and Cupcake Charlies.

Cupcake Charlies Mashpee Commons

Cupcake Charlies has the BEST cupcakes I have ever had! My favorite is the Ultimate Chocolate and this weekend it was decorated for Valentine’s. Apparently, New England agrees with my taste as Cupcake Charlies has been consistently voted BEST Cupcakes in New England.

Roadhouse Cafe Hyannis
So of course after  the drive to the cape and all that shopping it’s time for dinner. Roadhouse Cafe in Hyannis is a must. After more than 25 years of going out to the Cape and a year of living on the Cape I know all the best places to go!  Overall, many of the restaurants on Cape Cod and the Islands offer not only the best hospitality and service but the best food and presentation I have ever had. That Friday evening at the Roadhouse Cafe was no exception! By the way, the house salad dressing is so good, they bottle it and sell it locally on Cape Cod.

RoadHouse Cafe

Saturday, was Boot Camp day with Alison Caron Design  Alison has not only been a friend of mine for many years, but I along with the rest of Cape Cod and the Islands and beyond have admired her work in numerous Cape Cod magazines for over a decade. While not designing for the Cape’s top companies like Cape Cod Beer, Alison won the 2015 Hermes  Creative Award from the Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals for an international business report. She’s involved in a whole lot more but that’s another story.Alison Caron Boot Camp

Boot camp included lunch at my forever favorite pizza place on the cape Pizza Barbone It was great to meet with new and old friends and talk about projects and the future. 

Pizza Barbone

Earlier in the morning before Boot Camp we took a drive to Seagull Beach. What a surprise to see the snow drifted almost a foot high so sad to say we did not have our ocean beach walk. But, all the same it was great to just take it all in.

Seagull Beach

 Saturday Night Dining

How cool was it that Valentine’s and President’s Day combined to make a wonderful four day weekend! We dined at another favorite  Yarmouth House Restaurant  You can’t visit, yet alone live on Cape Cod for a year with out dining at one of our friends Ted Zambeli’s restaurants.  So good to see our friends that work here that once again provide great hospitality, service and delicious food. Presentation is key here as it is at some of other favorite restaurants in the area.

Bar at Yarmouth House Restaurant

Yarmouth House Restaurant

Presentation and big portions are a strong point. First off, the dipping oil with the fresh Parmesan cheese was mouth watering! The French onion soup was so good and had excellent presentation, as did our Caesar salad and seafood entree. Desert! Yes, we overdid it tonite! Chocolate cake and a Irish coffee!  The Yarmouth House

Yarmouth House Restaurant

Sunday was a relaxing day. Catching up with more friends. Seeing the sights. Planning our next visit. But first, we had to stop at Bagels and Beyond for their tasty non doughy bagels. Look, I’am originally from New York so I know my bagels. These my friends are the best bagels I have ever had! Incidentally, Bagels & Beyond 1st store was in New Jersey! Lucky for the Cape, Bagels & Beyond has several locations to keep the Cape Cod going!

Bagels and Beyond

Well, that’s it for now. I will be back soon from numerous locations throughout Cape Cod and the Islands and all of New England and look for my new updated website to premiere soon this Spring 2016!

Photos By Melissa Tyler

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