Tag Archives: Easy Walks in Massachusetts

Outward appearances

Blue sky, lots of white

Paths outdoors are filled with ice hereabouts, so we are sticking to the quiet, clear, dead end road that runs alongside the lake near where we live. We see little difference to see from day to day. The lake is frozen, and snow fills the yards alongside the road, insulating the ground of my neighbors’ properties. Except for days when fresh-fallen snow provides a fresh bright coating, our world offers a rather monochrome view.

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Winter footing–staying close to home

Out with a daughter and grands at Silver Lake

I might be alone in this feeling, but I’m having a hard time getting out by myself these days. So when my daughter called with the offer to bring grandkids over for a walk along the lake, the answer was an easy “yes!” The road alongside the lake is a dead end, so traffic is minimal.

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Snowing at Joe’s Rock

Joe’s Rock in winter

We planned to walk in the open field at Birchwold Farm in Wrentham, just as the first flakes began falling in what turned out to be an all day affair, dropping a foot of snow hereabouts. Seeing a number of cars in the icy parking lot, we moved on, and spotted, just across the street at Joe’s Rock, an empty parking lot. Whoo-hoo, time to #avoidcrowds!

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Southborough-Breakneck Hill

Lovely views from Breakneck Hill, along with wide trails

When recently in Southborough, we saw an additional piece of open space within walking distance of where we had just explored. We stopped by to get a look, to see if this would be a good place to bring elder parents. In fact, this might not be a great place for unsteady elders in rather cold weather, but for those of us looking for Easy Walks, willing to dress in layers and willing to climb some gently sloping hills, and back down the same slopes, Breakneck Hill in Southborough is a great spot to spend a few hours.

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Southborough–Turenne Wildlife Habitat and Town Forest

Massive rock outcroppings are throughout this area–very cool

We headed to Southborough recently to explore a trail new to us, the Turenne Wildlife Habitat. We hoped to find a quiet spot unnoticed by other weekend visitors. We mostly have time to get out on weekends because of my husband’s work schedule, and crowded trails have been a challenge throughout this pandemic, when the outdoors has become a refuge for many of us.

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Hopedale Parklands in winter, with Cable 8 TV

View of Hopedale Pond from along the carriage road

In a time when we have felt so closed in by the pandemic, it has been a blessing that, at least near where I live, the trails have been for the most part ice free. We have enjoyed several very Easy Walks recently, one of which was to return to Hopedale Parklands with Tyler, our ace camera guy from ABMI Cable 8, and my hiking friend Linda. Watch the 16 minute video of our walk here.

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Whitney Conservation Area, Upton, MA

The view, starting off for a visit at the Whitney Conservation area in Upton

In our efforts to #avoidcrowds, we opted to stay close to home and head to a town-owned conservation property without an obvious pond or river. We have noted that trails with pond views, or next to waterways have tended to draw extraordinary crowds in these #Covidtimes. While there is no navigable waterway on the Whitney property, there is plenty of water that flows through this area.

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Top 10 Easy Walks for 2020

The view–Knuckup Hill, Wrentham

This has been a strange year, for sure. Travel plans have been curtailed, we have stayed close to home, and have put a different priority on #avoidingcrowds. Inspired by my good friend Sue, of Auntie Beak’s Place, I realized it would be a good thing to look back on the year to reflect on the joys and surprising discoveries we encountered on the trail, mostly very close to home this past year. Hence, a very subjective list of my top ten favorite places we visited this past year, 2020.

#10 Blackstone Gorge, Blackstone: While I have probably visited the gorge more times than most any other trail in this area, I have never grown tired of it, in any season. While I found nothing particularly new or remarkable on our visits here, it just felt wrong to leave it off. And so, it’s on the list.

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Sounds of silence wandering outside the lines in the snow

Wavering footprints through the snow near Silver Lake, Bellingham, MA

We were returning from a short walk in new fallen snow when I spotted our tracks. We had ventured outside right in our neighborhood near Silver Lake in Bellingham, MA, where an old trolley line railbed still stands in the woods near our house. The rail bed is a straight line; the path our footprints followed was not. Despite the clear template of the railbed, our footsteps wandered back and forth through the snow.

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The Cape in late fall

River headed to the sea at Long Pasture, Audubon, in Barnstable

Lucky for our family, we have practiced #avoidingcrowds for years, and yet even we are struggling this year to figure out where to go where lots of others are not. We avoid visiting Cape Cod in warmer months specifically because of how busy the area is. But late fall, early December on the Cape seemed like a good bet for meeting up with fewer people as we continue to strive to stay healthy in the midst of the pandemic.

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