Blue skies in winter can be deceptively cold. A clear, calm day with no wind is a joy, while a stiff wind can be a real challenge for any outing in these darker months. Our visit to Chase Farm in Lincoln Rhode Island offered a mix of weather. Windy on the wide open fields of this historic town-owned property, and Easy Walking in the sheltered spots tucked here and there along the service roads and mown paths that cut through the fields of this former pasture land.
I love the towering sycamore tree that stands sentry over the rolling open space. One particular hill is a favorite sledding spot after snow storms. I spotted hay bales at the bottom of the hill and finally figure out these protective cubes of straw were intended to prevent painful collisions between sledding children and adults, and several obstacles such as trees. large rocks, and a utility box of some sort.
Recent warmer weather melted the trecherous ice that has kept many of us indoors the past number of weeks. The fields of Chase farm were bare frozen grass, with a only few very small piles of leftover snow from a storm the previous week. Even thought the paths were ice-free, the recent rain made for muddy spots along the most frequently traveled tracks.
Visitors other than ourselves all seemed to have a dog with them. The dogs were friendly and well-behaved, and many were unleashed, despite signs noting that leashes were required.
The farm pond often has migrating waterfowl enjoying the sheltered shrubs that surround most of the water. During our visit the pond has some open areas, but was mostly still frozen. We will have to return in slightly warmer weather to catch sight of ducks and mergansers.
We often stop at the old quarry site at the back of the farm fields. It is a steep drop to the bottom of the water-filled spot. I like to imagine what the land was like before huge quantities of rock were removed from the farmland.
The farm also has an Easy Walk through a garden area. We did not stop there this visit but it is easily accessible from the eastern edge of the farm field.
We have been lucky enough on other visits to find the blacksmith shop open. Classes in blacksmithing, and historic tours of the shop are offered at other times. The entire area where Chase Farm is located is a historic district of Lincoln, with an historic stone house Hearthside House, almost adjacent to the farm. Nearly across the street from the farm is Lincoln Woods state park, another great open space area with a swimming pond that is quite popular in warmer months. Because I had gotten worn out walking the fields of the farm, we did not stop at Lincoln Woods this visit. We will go another time when it is not crowded, for sure.
Winter certainly has its challenges, and without snow the land can be perceived as colorless. In fact, there is still much to see, to observe, to enjoy. Perhaps the best part of visiting places like Chase Farm is to see the changes through the seasons. Winter will not last forever, despite how some may feel about the cold days and dark nights. Already days are growing longer, the sun sets later, and signs of spring will soon appear. Happy trails!
Marjorie Turner Hollman is a writer who loves the outdoors, and is the author of Easy Walks in Massachusetts, 2nd edition, More Easy Walks in Massachusetts, 2nd edition, Easy Walks and Paddles in the Ten Mile River Watershed, and Finding Easy Walks Wherever You Are. Her memoir, the backstory of Easy Walks, is My Liturgy of Easy Walks: Reclaiming hope in a world turned upside down.