Choate Park Medway in Springtime

Light green and red lacy buds decorate the tops of trees in spring at Choate Pond, Medway

Listen here

Spring is a great time to get outside, but like the fall, visible signs of spring and the changes that happen in this season are compressed into a few short weeks. Summer and winter last for months on end. If you miss the window of opportunity to catch these quick changes, you will have to wait till next year to witness, and possibly capture in photos the wonders of new life springing forth all around us. At least, this is what I reasoned after realizing I have very few good photos of spring in my files.

Thus I welcomed the opportunity to get outside on a windy spring afternoon in April at Choate Park in Medway, MA. I met up with Marilyn and Dave Doré, collaborators with me for our upcoming book, tentatively titled Easy Walks in Massachusetts South of Boston. We are excited to get started on this trail guide, a companion to the other Easy Walks in Massachusetts books already available. We hope to publish by this fall or next spring. If you want to be the first to hear when the book is out, sign up for our newsletter at the bottom of this post.

Marilyn, Dave and I met at Choate Park to chat about plans for the book. Since most of our interactions have been on line or on the phone, this was a chance for us to get to know each other better in person.

Skunk cabbage setting out leaves alongside, and in the brook

We saw lots of signs of the spring on our walk alongside Choate Pond (a dammed portion of Chicken Brook, which flows into the Charles River shortly after it leaves the park). Trees were setting out buds, and skunk cabbage was emerging alongside and in a small brook. The wetland plants were unfurling their broad leaves, the vibrant color a stark contrast to the surrounding dull brown ground cover. Flowers will fill yards, fields and woodland paths with a varied color palette once summer arrives.

Shrubs are beginning to set out new leaves, but the woods are still quite open. We spied multiple stone walls laid out alongside the edges of our path. The trail from Choate Park to Medway High School is wide, relatively level, with very firm footing–an Easy
Walk, for sure! We encountered a very few rocks and roots along the way, making it less than ideal for those in wheelchairs, but manageable for people with limited mobility and for others as well.

A crushed stone dust path encircles the pond, allowing for views of the brook that enters the town swimming area. The circular walkway is stroller friendly, but has a pretty steep section on the back side of the pond, farthest from Rt. 109, the entrance to the park.

A boy, a pond and a labyrinth

We headed off on the woodland track at the back side of the pond. Before we got to the trail head, my grands, who joined us, discovered a labyrinth style walkway that spiraled into the center of the circle and then wound back out again. Like other labyrinths, this one offered an enticing invitation to follow the circular spiral around and around.

A whimsical, oversized mural stands near the entrance to the trail to the high school. Butterflies, a nuthatch, fish, and turtles fill both sides of this giant outdoor piece of art. Just another irresistible part of what makes this park such a fun place to visit.

Along the path we crossed a small wooden bridge. A bronze plaque secured to the wooden plank read “Boots & Bonnets Bridge.” Once we spotted the historical plaque next to the bridge we grasped the significance of the plaque. We read about the industries that were important parts of everyday life in Medway. Boot making, along with tanneries that produced leather to make the boots provided employment for many in town. Straw hats, that is, bonnets, protected women from the sun’s rays. By the 1800s bonnets had moved from purely functional to fashionable attire, many of them made right in Medway by local residents.

After about a half mile walk to the back of Medway High School additional footpaths stretch beyond the school and cross Adams Street. The goal of this trail building effort is to connect with Wenakeening Woods, also in Medway, which is adjacent to the Upper Charles trail in Holliston. The Medway Trails Club has been instrumental in building trails and two boardwalks across wetlands that are north of Adams Street.

The trail system that originates at Choate Park has grown in length and now offers options to take an Easy Walk of short or longer duration. The trail is bicycle friendly, but somewhat narrow. A few places have curves that may make sight lines limited. While we encountered no one else when we visited, I suspect right after school lets out in the afternoon this path will see an increase in visitors. Enjoy and Happy Trails!

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Marjorie Turner Hollman is a writer who loves the outdoors, and is the author of Easy Walks in Massachusetts, 2nd editionMore Easy Walks in Massachusetts, 2nd editionEasy 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.

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Filed under Blog posts--Easy Walks

One response to “Choate Park Medway in Springtime

  1. Pingback: Choate Park Medway in Springtime — Marjorie Turner Hollman | By the Mighty Mumford

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