By Marjorie Turner Hollman (courtesy The Bellingham Bulletin)
Choate [one syllable] Park in Medway, MA is a great place for readers…and walkers, we hope! The crusty snow pack and ice have made woodland treks extremely difficult in the winter. But getting the winter kinks out of our legs with a gentle walk around Choate Pond is just the thing. An additional marked trail through the woods offered promise for new adventures and places to explore when the ground dries out. The fifteen foot waterfall cascading over the dam that created Choate Pond is the first thing you see as you drive into the parking lot. We circled the pond on the packed dirt path, an easy walk for grandmothers and a little girl in a stroller. Along the way we saw a well-equipped playground, and several sandboxes with toys at the ready for children with lots of energy. A charming stone turtle, “Choatie,” rested in the center of one of the sand piles, just the right size for children to climb on to take a slow ride. Tennis courts, a volleyball court and ball fields make Choate Park a center for recreational activities in Medway.
Some local Audubon birding tours cite Choate Park as a “birding hotspot,” but the dreary weather the day we visited must have discouraged all but the hardiest of birds from showing themselves. A few geese and mallards poked about the pond, but otherwise we had the park to ourselves. The Park has bathrooms that are open during the summer in “The Hut” next to the swimming area. There is also a port-a pottie year-round on the paved road just beyond the playgrounds, leading up to the ball fields. The pond is open for swimming all summer, but the town posts no lifeguards. Because of health regulations concerning the swimming area, dogs are forbidden at Choate Park, so dogs and their owners will have to head elsewhere for their jaunts.
The Friends of Choate Park have worked with the Parks Department in Medway to create a spot that is clean, well-cared for, and an exciting focus of activity for residents, and neighbors. The parking lots are plowed year round, but the list of activities planned for the warmer months is too long to list here. See the web site for the Friends of Choate Park. http://focpmedway.wordpress.com/
To get there: Take Route 126 north to the Medway Line. At the flashing yellow light Route 126 turns left. Continue straight, on what becomes Main Street in Medway. A half mile at the next light, Route 109 joins Main Street. Continue on Main Street/Route 109 straight through the light. The next left is Mechanic Street. Turn left onto Mechanic, which quickly bears to the right, becoming Oak Street. This dead ends in the two parking lots of Choate Park on your left.
Marjorie Turner Hollman is a personal historian who loves the outdoors, and is the author of Easy Walks in Massachusetts, 2nd edition, More Easy Walks in Massachusetts, 2nd edition, and editor of Easy Walks and Paddles in the Ten Mile River Watershed. Just out is her latest book, Finding Easy Walks Wherever You Are. She has been a freelance writer for numerous local, regional, and national publications for the past 20+ years, has helped numerous families to save their stories, and has recorded multiple veterans oral histories, now housed at the Library of Congress. She is a co-author of the recent community history, Bellingham Now and Then.