I’ve been hoping the Massachusetts Walking Tour would come to Bellingham for over three years now. The past year has been an intense time of planning, working together with Mark Mandeville and Raianne Richards. And the reality has been as fun as I could have hoped.
Raianne gave me a call in the morning to say they had already gotten into Bellingham from Medway, their previous stop in the tour, and would soon be at the High street fields, where we’d hoped to take a quick walk together down to the banks of the Upper Charles River. The day was getting warm, but was still early enough I decided to see if it was possible. Most people sweat when it gets warm, which naturally helps keep their bodies cooler. I lack this important ability, so it is always a risk for me to go out in warm weather. But the Trail to the Charles river is probably my favorite one in town. I grabbed all my ice and water mister and headed out.
Thankfully gypsy moths dislike maple trees, so we had plenty of shade, plus a picnic table, where we hung out for a few minutes before heading over to the trail. What we found, once at the trail head, was vandalism at the kiosk built by Eagle Scot Sean Boddy. I head the Sean is determined to repair the damage, and it is deeply disappointing to see this kind of damage after all Sean’s hard work.
The intermittent stream that crosses the trail had a good bit of water, so I was deeply grateful for the bridge Sean built as part of his Eagle Scout project–no face plants in mud for me this time! In the past though…
We discovered that the gypsy moths had eaten most of the shade on the trai to the river–the oaks in this area are stripped nearly bare, so the trail was littered with shredded oak leaves as well as masses of pine needles, which the moths only eat when they’ve run out of oak leaves.
Regardless of the diminished shade, we reached the banks of the Charles, took in the views, then headed back. The Walking Tour was getting hungry!
While Famous House of Pizza has no air conditioning, they do have a shaded porch, as well as ceiling fans.
Most of us choose cool Greek salads with marinated grilled chicken. The servings were so generous we ended up with enough to make a great second meal that evening.
Some of the troupe opted for a sub sandwich, and the youngest member of the troupe, Vito, the source of very gentle teasing throughout this whole trip, qualified as a member of the Clean Plate Club!
Onward down N. Main they went, with a quick stop at Honey Dew Donuts where folks there had questions about five people walking in, each wearing 50 pound backpacks, with instruments hanging from their packs. The quest for iced coffee turned into an opportunity to make some more friends.
My good friends Ralph and Carolle Lawson shared their backyard, laundry facilities, shower and refrigerator with the walkers. The added benefit is that they live just down the street from the Bellingham library, so after getting a rest in the shade and getting some clothes washed, and some showers,
it was an easy walk down the street to the concert.
The Community room was full as people got to the concert early, eager to enjoy the show.
It was a true intergenerational event,
with performers from the Bellingham Senior Chorus singing,
along with Ric Allendorf, Collette O’Connor, Harrison “not” Ford, Not you average Joel, and of course,
the Walking Tour members as well.
Children and adults got out of their seats to dance to the lively music,
stunning harmonies, and infectious rhythms.
The dancing continued after the show as well.
The morning sent the Walking Tour on their way down Rt. 126 to Center street, as they headed to the SNETT trail entrance on Lake Street in Bellingham, destination Franklin. The SNETT has been a proposed trail for nearly thirty years, but just last week DCR got contractors started on the section of trail the walkers hoped to use to easy their path to Franklin. We arrived this morning to find construction folks at the trail head. The Lawrence Lynch Corporation has already smoothed the path from Lake STreet to Prospect Street, with more gravel and crushed stone still to be added to the trail.
But as we talked with the crew, we found them quite willing to send us on the way, and they waited to start up their equipment till the Walking tour was safely on their way to Franklin.
This group headed to Franklin was intergenerational–including Bellingham Library director Bernadette Rivard, Ann Kuncewicz, and a mom and who are library patrons too.
The walking tour will be at the temporary location for the Franklin Public Library, 25 Kenwood Circle, off Grove Street, tonight, 6-8PM. Just one more concert on this leg of the tour after tonight. Don’t miss out! The story isn’t over…
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