Category Archives: Blog posts–Easy Walks

Quiet Easy Walk on the SNETT, Blackstone, Near Farm Street

img_20190112_124538

Portion of Harris Pond seen from the SNETT, Blackstone

The finished portion of the SNETT/Blackstone Greenway has received a lot of press, but a section east of there, still in Blackstone, offers some pretty views of Harris Pond that makes this section of the trail a real pleasure to visit. The trail between Farm Street and Rt. 122, as well as east of Farm Street, headed over to Bellingham, is not only high and dry, it offers water views along the trail, sometimes on both sides of the raised trail. Continue reading

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Blog posts--Easy Walks

Nahant in Winter

dsc08629

Along the shoreline in Nahant

We were north of Boston this weekend, and ended up exploring the coastline of Nahant, which feels much more like the rocky Maine coastline than a town within sight of Boston. We drove over the narrow causeway that is the only access (other than by boat) to Nahant, kept going, and stumbled across the Marine Science Center, operated, and presumably owned by Northeastern University, on a coastal spit of land in Nahant. Continue reading

4 Comments

Filed under Blog posts--Easy Walks

Easy Walks, No Ice–Holliston Rail Trail and SNETT in Bellingham

DSC08573

Enjoying the story walk along the HOlliston Upper Charles Trail

While we have had some snow already, the trails at the moment are ice-free. The past several days we have been able to get out on our local rail trails with no boots needed. The Holliston section of the Upper Charles Trail is packed stone dust, as is the Bellingham section of the SNETT,  from Center St. to Lake Street and over to Prospect Street, which some folks may think is not quite finished. What I  have learned is that the crushed stone dust surface is much easier on my feet than pavement. I can wear sneakers or street shoes and be quite comfortable. The trails are clearly marked, and while not crowded when we visited, both trails had plenty of other walkers also using the paths. Continue reading

2 Comments

Filed under Blog posts--Easy Walks

Christmas on the Cape

DSC08543

What we saw in the canal from the Bourne bridge–hundreds of eider ducks, male and female. A dating site for ducks?

We took a day to explore together on Cape Cod, and found some wonderful surprises along the way. From our house, the Bourne Bridge (on a good –that is light traffic–day) take about an hour. Christmas morning there were few people on the road with us as we headed south from Bellingham. No trucks, and very few cars. As we went over the Bourne Bridge, we spotted a large boat passing underneath us, and then realized there were thousands of birds also in the canal, right near the bridge. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Blog posts--Easy Walks

Bird Park, E. Walpole, in Winter

DSC08514

Happy Grandma Sue, at Bird Park

I had grand plans for my visit with Sue, a long-time friend, and former neighbor, who now lives just down the street from Bird Park in East Walpole. We would visit with her new grandson, then head over to check out the new boardwalk in the town forest. Continue reading

2 Comments

Filed under Blog posts--Easy Walks

Happy Birthday National Park, Happy Holidays

IMG_20181219_130504

Park rangers help Santa find his way through the park (and have a great time doing their work!)

Today was the 4th birthday of the Blackstone River Valley National Historical Park. It was also a time to celebrate the holidays with the Blackstone Heritage Corridor staff. Continue reading

2 Comments

Filed under Blog posts--Easy Walks

Foggy Day at the Beach Gooseberry Island

Foggy day along the shoreline of Gooseberry Island

The unusually warm December day found us at my favorite spot on the shore, Gooseberry Island, Westport, MA. The difference in water and air temperature created an impressive fog bank as we drew closer to the shoreline. The air was still, the water like glass. We could see only a few feet off shore when we started walking. We could hear, but not see, a boat a distance off shore. How far was impossible to tell. Sounds carries well over water, but we had no visual clue to help  us out, the fog was so thick.

Sandpipers hunting along the shore in the fog

Soon we began spotting a few birds–5 eider ducks quite near shore floated along, seeming to take a rest in the calm of the early afternoon. Then sand pipers showed themselves along the shoreline, 30-40 birds all busy pecking away amongst the rocky shore, hunting for tasty tidbits. 

Uncooperative birds refused to pose helpfully

My birding skills are not up to snuff–clearly these are in the sandpiper family, and the piping plovers have migrated south meaning these fellows are something other than piping plovers. I”ll have to check with my birding expert buddies.

Yup, there’s an opposum hiding in there, looking right at us

An opossum startled us as it scurried away from the surf, right past us, and quickly dodged into the scrub brush on the edge of the sand. He was too quick for us to get a good picture. His fur looked rather soggy. Swimming, perhaps? It had rained earlier in the day. Perhaps he (or she) was simply drying off.

Seagulls
Fog beginning to lift, creating stunning skyscapes

Seagulls and grebes became visible as the fog began to lift. The wind picked up only slightly. This is perhaps the calmest I have seen the shore in a long time. At the far end of the island is a point of land I always enjoy standing on, watching the waves collide form each direction on either side of  the island. On days of rough surf the power of the waves’ collisions is impressive. This day, the currents met with hardly a ripple.

Where lobster traps go to die….

The days are short now, before long we realized the sun was close to setting. In the west we spied glimmers of light working their way through the cloud cover. Time to head back. As we strode along the middle path that bisects the island, I shed several layers. The scrubby growth on the island shelters visitors form the windy shoreline, and I often get overheated on our return trip. This time I was able to enjoy the walk more, avoid getting overheated, and spotted animal paths into the bushes. Clearly deer and other animals, beside birds and opposums have found a safe haven on this small outpost of land jutting into Long Island Sound.

HInts of sunset

Till next time. Happy trails!

Marjorie

beech cliffs 2018

Marjorie Turner Hollman is a personal historian who loves the outdoors, and has completed three guides to Easy Walking trails in Massachusetts, “Easy Walks in Massachusetts 2nd edition,”  “More Easy Walks in Massachusetts,”  and edited “Easy Walks and Paddles in the Ten Mile River Watershed.” 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

https://www.amazon.com/Easy-Walks-Massachusetts-2nd-Northbridge/dp/0989204340

More Easy Walks in Massachusetts

Easy Walks and Paddles in the Ten Mile River Watershed

 

2 Comments

Filed under Blog posts--Easy Walks

West Hill Dam–What a Difference a Year Makes

Ice patterns along the trail

As often as we have visited nearby West Hill Dam in Uxbridge, I am still surprised by what we find. One visit offered views of a bedraggled Great horned owl, sitting in stunned silence in the daytime after having been ravaged by a fierce rainstorm the night before. Another visit revealed a large flock of nighthawks circling over the filed next to the dam. Several trips have led to new trails recently built, or else much better marked than in the past.

View of West River, below the spillway

This visit offered two new discoveries. One, a small trail accessed from the back, less traveled side of the dam, to a pretty spot alongside the West River, downstream from the spillway. Picnic tables and granite benches invite visitors to stay awhile alongside the river. Another spot on the far side of the open field opened up to a newly mowed field. There we found a small side trail, a hillside garden, and a cluster of milkweed pods.

Patch of milkweeds, ready for monarch butterflies next year

On our way back we encountered an old friend from the Army Corps, Ron Woodall, on the trail. He explained that he’s passionate about trails and has been focused on creating new trails, improving trail markings, and had the newly opened field mowed and removed invasives. We talked briefly about planning Easy Walks at West Hill dam in the spring. 

Food for birds alongside the trail

My photo filing system for outdoor photos includes the date when I visited each location. As I filed my most recent photos from our visit this past weekend, I realized it was just about a year ago when a group of us ventured out on icy, snow-covered trails in this same area. We have had snow this year, but right now the trails are mostly clear, with mere hints of ice in small areas. The cold is setting in for the winter, most of the leaves are gone, but we await real snow cover. Happy trails!

Snow covered field one year ago
Ice covered trail from one year ago–reminders of things to come

Marjorie

beech cliffs 2018

Marjorie Turner Hollman is a personal historian who loves the outdoors, and has completed three guides to Easy Walking trails in Massachusetts, “Easy Walks in Massachusetts 2nd edition,”  “More Easy Walks in Massachusetts,”  and edited “Easy Walks and Paddles in the Ten Mile River Watershed.” 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

https://www.amazon.com/Easy-Walks-Massachusetts-2nd-Northbridge/dp/0989204340

More Easy Walks in Massachusetts

Easy Walks and Paddles in the Ten Mile River Watershed

Leave a comment

Filed under Blog posts--Easy Walks

Warm Day in December–Walk to the 8 arch bridge, Holliston

8 arch Bridge mid morning, early winter

I belong to a women’s networking group, N.E.W. that meets monthly, and this morning the meeting was at Cheryl Cohen’s Mosaic Studio at 360 Woodland Street, adjacent to the Upper Charles Trail in Holliston. After our meeting, one participant and I headed out to enjoy the trail–it was too close to pass up!

Fun gathering at Cheryl Cohen’s Mosaic Studio, with NEW members

We have had some frigid weather already, but the sun shone, and the air was still, a perfect time to get out and viit the 8 arch bridge, quite nearby. Danielle had ridden her bike here a few years ago, but had not seen the bridge since it was refurbished, complete with railings on both sides of the bridge.

Bogastaw Brook flows underneath the 8 arch bridge and out into a wetland

We took in views of the Bogastaw Brook, rushing underneath the arches after the recent rails this past week. But we really couldn’t see the beautiful stone arches that support the span over the brook. After we returned to our cars, I headed over to get some winter-like pictures (well, bare trees winter, no beautiful snow on the ground right now). I looked back and realized Danielle had followed me–she was curious, and made time in her schedule to come admire the bridge with me. Fun!

Danielle atop the bridge
A great day to be outside!

This was a quick stop, since we had spent most of the morning with our meeting and then walking, and then enjoying the sights of the bridge. Time to head home and get back to work. But first, we had fun 🙂 Happy Trails!

Closer look at the stonework of the bridge

Marjorie

beech cliffs 2018

Marjorie Turner Hollman is a personal historian who loves the outdoors, and has completed three guides to Easy Walking trails in Massachusetts, “Easy Walks in Massachusetts 2nd edition,”  “More Easy Walks in Massachusetts,”  and edited “Easy Walks and Paddles in the Ten Mile River Watershed.” 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

https://www.amazon.com/Easy-Walks-Massachusetts-2nd-Northbridge/dp/0989204340

More Easy Walks in Massachusetts

Easy Walks and Paddles in the Ten Mile River Watershed

Leave a comment

Filed under Blog posts--Easy Walks

Group walk at the SNETT in Franklin

Gathering at the parking lot on Grove Street in preparation for a group walk


We arrived at the SNETT Trailhead at Grove Street in Franklin, and soon the parking area was filled with eager walkers. Some were Franklin/Bellingham Railtrail Committee members, others recently moved to the area, or recently retired and curious. One walker lives in Douglas and is active helping to develop the SNETT where it travels through her community. She was taking notes, hoping to learn from others about what they have done, what works and what hasn’t worked (yet).

Great meeting neighbor Rita on the trail

Volunteers are the heart of most trail organizations, which often take on the tasks of sponsoring cleanups, fundraising, updating information in trail kiosks, refill doggy poop bag holders, and so much more. They also, on occasion, sponsor group walks to help raise awareness of specific area trails.

At the new entryway, constructed with grant funds

I spotted one such group walk on a Facebook feed, and my calendar was open, so I pulled on my blaze orange clothing and headed over, having no real idea who would show up. These open invite walks are a hit or miss kind of thing–sometimes huge numbers show up, other times, no one. 

Water on the trail

I knew from walking the trail last week that with the recent rains there would be water on the trail. But this group of about 8 walkers and one dog were not discouraged. The sky was blue, we had no wind, and the temps were in the mid thirties. A great time to get out on the trail and meet some new folks.

Blue skies and bright sunshine at the Spring Street crossing

The SNETT in Franklin is mostly unfinished, with a small, finished  entryway making the trailhead more inviting, but otherwise, the former railbed still awaits attention from DCR to smooth out the trail, get the surface raised (above the water line) and clear out the drainage on either side. The humps and bumps created from dirt bike travel are still a challenge as well.

Ice along the trail

But these volunteers are nothing if not patient. Thanks for all the members who showed up to lead the way, for their patience in continuing to advocate for the trail, and for working with DCR to figure out how to extend the trail all the way into downtown Franklin (someday!) For those of us who could make the time on a sunny Friday morning, it was great fun. We’re looking forward to future group walks. For more information about the SNETT and the group of volunteers working to develop the trail, head over to https://www.franklinbellinghamrailtrail.org/

Marjorie

beech cliffs 2018

Marjorie Turner Hollman is a personal historian who loves the outdoors, and has completed three guides to Easy Walking trails in Massachusetts, “Easy Walks in Massachusetts 2nd edition,”  “More Easy Walks in Massachusetts,”  and edited “Easy Walks and Paddles in the Ten Mile River Watershed.” 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

https://www.amazon.com/Easy-Walks-Massachusetts-2nd-Northbridge/dp/0989204340

More Easy Walks in Massachusetts

Easy Walks and Paddles in the Ten Mile River Watershed

2 Comments

Filed under Blog posts--Easy Walks