The Lane Homestead in Foxboro has become a lovely spot to visit, thanks to the efforts of the Foxboro Conservation Commission and corporate donations. Parking is now easily available (except during Gillette Stadium events, when the lot is closed),
benches and picnic tables are situated near the Neponset headwaters,
and a stone checkers table is set up next to the river, complete with red and black stones. Something for everyone.
The walkway to the river is gently sloped, increasing accessibility to the river. The trail out to the reservoir is wide, facilitating conversation between friends when walking. The town posts volunteers, both greeters and gardeners, from April to early October, but the day we visited the trails were used by only a few, including one or two dog walkers.
The foliage was glowing in the afternoon sunlight, but will soon be gone, probably with the next rainstorm.
Lane Homestead offers a Storybook walk along the trail, but sadly the stations have been vandalized. Some posts are empty of any book page. Perhaps more confusing, the story begins with Little Red Riding Hood, told form the wolf’s perspective. But in the middle of the trail, the story shifts to disconsolate vegetables despairing that they are not as curly as their friends. We laughed that perhaps the wolf had become a vegetarian! Perhaps next spring the storybook walk can be replaced with one complete story.
Unlike some other area rivers, this headwaters is easily visited, and enjoyed. The Neponset is one of those hidden rivers that snake through towns that used to put its waters to use as an important power source. These days the river flows past buildings that are in the process of being converted to other uses than the manufacturing they were originally planned for.
But at the headwaters as it flows past Lane Homestead in Foxboro, the river simply flows, a resting place for migrating birds, and part of the quiet that is the Neponset Reservoir.
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.