It’s been a long time in the making, but the 8 arch bridge in Holliston, a key link in the Upper Charles Trail in Holliston, is (mostly) finished, and is safe for travelers to use. We took a ride on the trail recently and witnessed so many changes, the result of a whole lot of volunteer labor, as well as dedicated funds from Holliston’s town folk. Community Preservation Fund monies were dedicated to the restoration of the bridge, but a separate committee also spent time and effort to privately raise funds to facilitate the preservation of this magnificent piece of architecture. Additional monies from DCR and the Federal Department of Transportation have all contributed to making this a great place to spend time in the out of doors.
We started in downtown Holliston, and headed north on the trail, toward Sherborn. Much of this section of trail is quite shaded, a real gift on a warm summer morning.
When we reached the bridge we found some trail work still needed–crushed stone is lacking on the approach to the bridge, and the transition over the bridge was a little bumpy. [ed. note-Since this was written, the last stone dust was delivered and put in place–expect a smooth ride from now on. Many thanks to all those who worked so hard to make this a reality. Yeah!]
The railings are all in place, the views are quite nice, and Bogastow Brook has plenty of water, so it flowed under the bridge and added to the beautiful views.
But one must actually get off the trail and down next to the bridge (careful of the poison ivy!!!!) to get the deepest sense of what a special thing this bridge is. Pictures help, but it’s still better to visit in person.
It is also impressive to compare what the bridge looked like just last year
We headed on toward Sherborn, since I’d heard that the Holliston section of the trail was essentially complete. The farther out we went from town, the fewer folks we saw. The Sherborn section of this proposed railtrail is quite different and the town line is starkly apparent.
Once into Sherborn, we were soon mired in mud–clearly a whole lot of trailwork remains to make this proposed railtrail a reality in all the towns included in the plans.
The trail quickly became too rough for our bike, and after our chain fell off once, we turned back.
Much of this trail offers quiet–and several sections travel through marshland. We discovered that the marsh near the Sherborn town line harbors a heron rookery. We spotted several great blue heron nests, all within sight of the railtrail.
I was sorry my good camera had been left at home. My phone’s camera only poorly captured the sight of two large herons standing atop their nest in the full sunshine, in the midst of the swamp.
We kept going south and rode through the Phipps tunnel, another wonderfully cool spot along the trail on a summer morning.
Not far south of the tunnel, right near the trail access on Cross Street, is the section of trail that hosts a Storywalk®.
It appears the story changes with the season. The last time we visited was at New Years, and it was dark, but I’m pretty sure the story was not about spring then. But it is now. And it feels like summer!
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.