We’re at the mid-point of this year’s Easy Walks, Massachusetts Walking Tour, which has brought the tour from the Blackstone Valley to a sojourn in the Upper Charles River watershed. It was a relatively short walk for the troupe from Hopedale into Milford, so they stopped for supplies, had lunch in downtown Milford, then headed to the home of their hosts Beth and Skip Farwell, where they set up tents for the night.
Part of the work of planning the tour is arranging for the musicians to have a place to stay each night. Mostly they camp. One night a friend put them up in real beds! It’s been fun for me to share my local friends with the musicians, and wonderful for these friends to open their yards for one night of camping, to provide a place to stay, showers, and sometimes even a hot meal.
The recent storm occurred the evening they performed at the Hopedale Unitarian Church, and thankfully there was ample room for the travelers to set up their beds indoors, high and dry, with a kitchen to cook breakfast in, to boot.
Milford’s concert took place at the Milford Senior Center on North Bow Street, right at the terminus of one portion of the Upper Charles Trail. Each concert is unique, as different community musicians appear during the first half of the shows, which are all from 6-8PM. Milford’s concert was no exception–we were treated to “MacLeod and Ladd” fiddle and guitar music, a mix of Irish, jazz, and other tunes.
The Mudville Madrigal Singers from Holliston brought accapella music, tight harmonies, from 16th century tunes to modern day music. Although I had nothing to do with their appearing, each group of community musicians turned out to include dear friends of mine, who I had not seen in a long time. What a sweet chance to catch up with them, and to enjoy their music as well.
And of course, the WAlking Tour played–their harmonies are getting sweeter with each evening’s performance, the “patter” that is a characteristic of these concerts seems to include more humor each night. The warmth and affection the musicians share for each other is fun to see and be part of.
8AM the next morning the Massachusetts Walking Tour returned to the Sr. Center to meet up with folks who were interested in joining them on the trail. Jennifer, another friend of mine and ace trail finder, arrived bright and early and ready to walk. (A number of trails in Easy WAlks in Massachusetts are included because of Jennifer’s sharp eye in discovering small local trails, and her willingness to set out on trails at 7AM so I could beat the summer heat!)
The Upper Charles Trail near the Sr. Center is actually a short dogleg portion of the Upper Charles trail, and the spot where you need to make the turn to head northeast toward Holliston, rather than Northwest toward Hopkinton is marked, but still easy to miss.
Mark and Vito often get ahead of the rest of us when we walk,
and this leg of the journey was no exception.
They blew past the turn, but stopped shortly afterwards to chat with a woman picking fruit along the trail. Turns out the mulberries are ripening, and she kept picking while they chattted, letting the guys know the berries were good to eat. The”Other” Mark caught up with Mark and Vito and pointed them back in the right direction and we were soon on our way.
After a quick view of the Upper Charles from a bridge that crosses the river,
and a stop to grab some mullberries,
we headed on to the original trailhead of the Upper Charles Trail,
at a municipal parking lot at Rt. 16.
To aid travelers, the Upper Charles Trail folks painted a bright yellow stripe from the original trailhead, through the parking lot, then to the crosswalk at Rt. 16.
From there walkers and bikers must cross the road, travel down Beach Street and get back on to the paved trail that runs parallel to Rt. 16. While in the planning phase, this section of trail was called “the Missing Link” since there were two unlinked portions of trail, but no way to easily connect between them. With a lot of forethought, work, money and care, the two unlinked portions of trail are now connected.
After pointing out the “yellow brick road” as it were, to the walkers, and sending them on their way, Jennifer and I headed back to the Sr. Center, but we’ll see them again in Medway tonight for their concert at the Medway Library–6-8PM. Next stop–Bellingham!
Marjorie Turner Hollman
Marjorie Turner Hollman is a personal historian who loves the outdoors, and has completed two guides to Easy Walking trails in Massachusetts, “Easy Walks in Massachusetts 2nd edition,” and “More Easy Walks in Massachusetts.” A native Floridian, she came north for college and snow! Marjorie is a Certified Legacy Planner with LegacyStories.org, and is the producer of numerous veterans interviews for the Bellingham/Mendon Veteran’s History Project. http://www.marjorieturner.com