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On the trail at Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge

Sachuest in winter

Visits to Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge in Newport, RI never disappoint. We enjoy the wide level graveled path that encircles the spit of land jutting out into the surf. Although we have been here countless times, it never gets old.

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Warwick, RI-history along the shore

View from the fishing pier of a portion of Rocky Point State Park, Warwick, RI

Rocky Point amusement park was a “go-to” destination for summer visitors in Rhode Island for many years. First arriving by boat, later by trolley and finally by car, people found open fields, a restaurant and carnival type rides, which drew huge crowds through the years.

The nation’s 200th anniversary celebration of 1976 was an occasion when hundreds of thousands arrived at the park for a shore dinner. By the early 1990s the privately-owned park closed and remained that way till 2014 when it reopened as a state park.

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Blow Me Down Provincial Park, Newfoundland

Our trip to Newfoundland had so many highlights, but perhaps our favorite spot, for many reasons, was Blow Me Down Provincial Park, located between between Lark and York Harbor.

For those more adventurous than me, the park offered a stairway to the top of the mountain that met the shore next to the beach area. Wooden steps follwed the edge of the mountain up to the ridgeline. My husband hurried up to the top on our first evening there, taking advantage of the late sunsets of the Newfoundland summer season. At that point the sun did not set till about 9:15 PM. I enjoyed the photos, and was fine with avoiding the steep climb up to the view.

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Sounds of Silence-Winter solitude

Building these walls in winter was part of a New England farmer’s routine.

As we crunch along on the trail through fall leaves that now lie underfoot, we are reminded that winter is not far off. Here’s an excerpt from my newest book release, My Liturgy Of Easy Walks: Finding the Sacred in Everyday (and some very strange) places.

Sounds of Silence

We were tromping through the drifts on a short walk in new fallen snow when I spotted the tracks. Ha! These were our own footprints—we were retracing our steps, headed back home. We had ventured to an old trolley line rail bed that still stands in the woods near our house. The dirt road cuts a straight line through the trees; the path we took did not. Despite the straightness of the trail we still created a wobbly line as we walked.

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Finding not-so Easy Walks, Noon Hill Medfield MA

Beech trees keep the fall color going just a little longer

Fall is still with us in New England and we have been anxious to get out before the gray of upcoming winter sets in. We headed out to Noon Hill in Medfield on a blue-sky day, since there is a nice view from Noon Hill (thus the name).

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Progress on the SNETT, Bellingham and Blackstone

Center Street to Rt. 126 section of the SNETT now complete in Bellingham, MA

We have spent the past several weeks exploring the SNETT (Southern New England Trunkline Trail) that runs quite near our home. Improvements have just been completed from Center Street in Bellingham, MA west to Rt. 126, near the Blackstone, MA line. What has up to now been one of the more challenging sections of the SNETT, this portion of the trail has limited views, but is key to opening up further sections of the SNETT west of here. Park at the Center Street parking area. Once parked, head west. An additional, Harpin Street entrance is next to DiPietro Elementary School, with parking across the street at the athletic fields. This area was until recently a barrier for those wanting to access other western sections of the trail.

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Nashua River Rail trail adventures

Along the Nashua River Rail Trail

You never know what will happen when you get outdoors. This trip started at Ayer, MA and took us all the way to Nashua, NH on the Nashua River Rail Trail. We brought along our mascot, Stormy, (aka Smoky.) He’s now Stormy, having donated his previous name to our new kitten. Our tandem bike, Shermy, did great after his international travels to Canada, including two ferry rides. And we almost encountered a black bear on the trail. The bear was quick, crossing the path before we could get a photo, but it was definitely a bear.

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Doane’s Falls Royalston MA

Just one of the three spectacular falls here

Third time is a charm…. Our first attempt to visit Doane’s Falls in Royalston, MA was a complete failure. The February weather had turned to the path to ice alongside the trail to the three waterfalls of this beautiful Trustees of Reservations property. Our second try was in the early days of the pandemic, and the parking area at the corner of Athol Road and Doane Hill Road in Royalston was stuffed full of cars. Visitors seeking the safety of the outdoors had squeezed themselves into the relatively narrow corridor next to the river. Too crowded for us! But a recent trip to Royalston provided all the conditions we were hoping for. A cool but not cold day, lots of shade (until the leaves fall), very few other visitors, and no ice!

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Wilson Park N. Kingstown, RI beach walk

Long Point, North Kingstown, RI

Beaches get so crowded in summer that it is tough to find a quiet spot to take in the water, the horizon, and the sounds and smells of the ocean. We normally avoid going to the beach in warmer weather for these, and other reasons.

We ventured to Wickford, RI on an errand, and on our way back north encountered Wilson Park, on Roosevelt Ave., North Kingstown, RI just off Rt. 1A. The main portion of the park was jammed with summer visitors. Children climbed on playground equipment, while others picnicked, played basketball, baseball, soccer, or simply lay out in the sun. We hurried past the noisy main park and found ourselves at the Long Point boat ramp, part of Wilson Park. As opposed to most places with shoreline access, this area was surprisingly uncrowded.

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Our own type of fun at Jellystone in Virginia

Fun with Yogi!

Lots of us grew up watching Saturday morning cartoons. But not so many get to really hug Yogi Bear. A series of cimcumstances brought us to Jellystone Park near Natural Bridge, Virginia. We feared the place would be filled with noisy campers, but instead, we arrived early in the season and had the place to ourselves.

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