Category Archives: Blog posts–Easy Walks

Hughes Property, Hopkinton, MA


A wide path invites visitors to come and enjoy the trail thorugh the woods

When I started resarching trails for my Easy Walks in Massachsuetts book series, I wondered if there would be enough open space for me to write about. Seven years later, I wonder if I can keep up with new trails being developed in nearby towns. I visited the Hughes Property in Hopkinton, MA several years ago with John Ritz, chair of the Hopkinton Hiking club, who described the area to me as having been recently donated to the town. Continue reading

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Skull Rock Lock, along the Blackstone River, Uxbridge, MA


Upstream from Skull Rock Lock, along the Blackstone River

We looked for a smaller place to walk that might have fewer visitors to avoid in this time of physical distancing. While intending to head to one destination, we passed the small parking area on Rt. 122 in Uxbridge, Skull Rock Lock, south of the town center, that offered access to the Blackstone River. No one else was there. Just what we were looking for. Continue reading

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Along the Connecticut River

Trails in western MA as well as the eastern part of the state are experiencing high volumes of visitors presently as residents seek diversion from the confines of measures taken to slow the spread of Covid-19. Please beware of overcrowding on these trails, maintain physical distance from other visitors, and do not park outside designated parking areas. If a trail head parking area is full, plan to return another time. Your efforts to observe these measures will protect not only yourself but vulnerable others.


View of French King Bridge from Cabot Cove, Montague

We recently visited friends who live near the Connecticut River and enjoyed getting out with them for some local walks. They took us to a spot underneath the French King Bridge, where we walked alongside the river and watched ducks searching for food in the frigid waters. We had often stopped at the bridge itself to gaze up and down the river, but we gained a very different perspective from down at river level. Continue reading


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Powdermill Ledges, Smithfield, RI

At the time of this writing RI Audubon trails were still open to the public during this global pandemic. Please be wise and avoid outdoor spaces where the parking lots are filled. Spending time in the outdoors safely is essential in helping keep yourself and others safe.


Boardwalk through potentially wet area in springtime, with stone walls along the way

We often spotted the sign on the highway for Powdermill Ledges, in Smithfield, RI, but had never followed through to track this open space down. I read that it was the headquarters for RI Audubon Society, so I was glad to finally get there (before the global pandemic, when everything was shut down).  It was an easy drive down Route 295 to Rt 44 west to Rt. 5. We were able to obtain a map from the visitor center, which was helpful. Continue reading

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Mercy Woods, Cumberland, RI

Please note: At the present time more and more outdoor trail systems are closing due to heedless visitors who are ignoring protocols for maintaining safe distances from others, in this time of extreme concern due to the corona virus. I share these posts in the hope of encouraging others to get outdoors and appreciate nearby trails, and all they have to offer. If you see parking lots filled with cars at your intended destination, please leave immediately and seek out other places, or simply content yourself with a walk around your own block. The life you save by being mindful at this time may be your own. MTH


A perfect spot to sit and rest awhile along the trail

Mercy Woods in Cumberland, RI is a new property added recently to the Cumbland Land Trust outdoor spaces open to the public. 229 acres of open space with trails offers a great option for visitors to explore the trails. The trails are well-marked, wide, and relatively smooth. The landscape is hilly, and the trails offer a lot of elevation change. Continue reading


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French River, Webster and Dudley, MA


Views of the French River from the trail

In this time of “all things virus-related” worries, we decided to explore a small trail in Webster last weekend along the French¬† River, the French River Greenway, site of the former Perryville Cotton Mill. Continue reading


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Staying close to home: Fort Nature Refuge


Beaver pond at Fort Nature Refuge

We decided to stay close to home when we ventured out a few days ago. Searches in nearby towns turned up Fort Nature reserved in North Smithfield, RI, a short drive from our home just on the other side of the border in Massachsetts. This small (235 acre) property offers some nice variety of outdoor experiences. But you will find no forts here–the name refers to the Fort family, which donated the property to be kept as open space. Continue reading


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Sea, sand dunes, and marshes at Sandy Neck Beach, Barnstable


Miles of beaches await at Sandy Point

We visited Sandy Neck beach on a mild winter’s day. We were not the only visitors. A number of others strolled the beach, but with 6.5 miles of beach to walk, it was not crowded. Unlike most beaches, Sandy Neck allows, with multiple conditions, motorized vehicles and horses on certain portions of this beach. It is not every beach that requires stop signs. Permits are required to access these trails with motorized vehicles. Continue reading

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Birds and More Birds in Winter


Mute Swans sail out of Flat Pond, adjacent to South Cape Beach in Mashpee

We headed to the Cape on a gorgeous winter’s day and found birds–lots of birds, each place we stopped along the coast in Falmouth and Mashpee. We focused on Waquoit Bay, and found several places to take in the shoreline. Each stop offered views of migrating birds, some soon ready to fly north, and others just arrived from the south, much sooner than usual. Continue reading

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Winter Birding on Cape Cod


Lots of eider ducks swimming in the canal, near the Bourne Bridge

We headed to the Cape during this mostly snow-less winter, and as we drove over the Bourne Bridge we spotted probably a thousand eider ducks swimming in a line on the north side of the canal, almost direclty below us underneat the bridge. Grabbing this chance to get some close up views of these large ducks that mostly live north of us in warm weather, we crossed back over the bridge and hunted for a place with easy access to the Cape Cod bike trail near the bridge. Continue reading

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