Date Of Visit:July 15, 2018
Location: 347 Kenoza Ave, Haverhill, MA (about 45 minutes north of Boston, MA or 50 minutes southeast of Concord, NH)
Hours: open daily sunrise to sunset
Parking: There are about 20 parking spaces at the main entrance. Parking is also allowed on the side of the road past the main entrance. There are also additional parking lots throughout the park and trail (see attached map)
Trail Size/Difficulty: 700 acres of roughly 10 miles of trails/easy to moderate
Handicapped Accessible: Some areas of the park and playground are. But the trails are not.
Dog Friendly: Yes
Highlights: castle, lake, wildlife, trails, playground, scenic
- Winnekenni (pronounced “winnie kinny”)is an Algonquian Native American term for “Very Beautiful”
- The castle was built between 1873-1875
- they host several events throughout the year at the castle or at the park
- Kenoza Lake, which is encircled by the main trail, was originally known as “Great Pond.” It was later renamed in 1859 by John Greenleaf Whittier as “Kenoza Lake”, which means “Lake of the Pickerel”
- Winnekenni Park became Haverhill’s first public park during the early 1800’s
- check out plug pond and the basin (see map) for scenic views off the beaten path
- some of the side trails are tricky
- they usually dissuade people from parking at the castle unless you have a function there
- take the castle trail to go to…the castle
Website: Winnekenni Park
Trail Map: Winnekenni Trail Map
Formerly the home to Dr James Nichols, who used the area to test his experiments with chemical fertlizers, Winnekenni Park offers a variety of scenic views and difficulty levels of hiking or running.
The main trail which goes around Kenoza Lake (Dudley Porter Trail) offers some pretty views and active wildlife.
The trail to the castle was fairly easy and quick. I found myself at the castle within 15 minutes after entering the park. In fact, I was a bit disappointed that it was so easy to find. I would later wish everything was this easy to get to.
The castle, which was built between 1873 to 1875 is still used today for weddings, reunions and other social events. The day I visited it was being used. So I was unable to gain access.
There are a couple of memorials, of the many at the park, at the castle. This memorial is dedicated to Dorothy M. McClennan, a Haverhill native and benefactor to the castle.
According to his obituary, Nicholas Jay Morani, of Methuen, MA, died unexpectedly at the age of 25 in March, 2017. It’s always sad to see lives cut short at such a young age.
If you came to see just see the castle, which I had originally planned, your visit could be a very short one. You could hike or walk up to the castle and back to your car in an hour and most likely 30 to 45 minutes. Of course, I wanted to see more.
The trails at Winnekenni Park are mostly easy and wide.
I am always looking for treasures. One of the secrets to most visitors too the park are the trails off the main trail. Take the Plug Pond Trail foe some scenic views, pretty flowers and tall trees.
I must admit I got a little lost going on the side trails and the map I had didn’t seem to help much on the side trails. In any case, somehow I found myself in this clearing. It offered some pretty views but I don’t think i was supposed to be there. Eventually, I got out of there and made my way back to the main trail.
As you walk along the trails you will see a few more memorials, beautiful views and some other interesting things. Do be careful, especially if you travel some of the side trails or lesser used trails. Horses are apparently frequent visitors to the park.
This memorial was another one of the monuments I noticed along the trail. It appears it was recently visited based on the items left on the bench.
This memorial is dedicated to Ralph J Potter Jr.
Another memorial along the trail is this bench which is dedicated to Dudley Porter, who the main trail is named after. Porter was a successful business man. His wife dedicated the memorial to him after he passed away in 1905. It was actually built as a fountain and bench. But, the fountain no longer works as the main water connection has been disabled.
This memorial is located near the main entrance. it is dedicated to Christopher J Laubner. The garden and short walkway is called “Christopher’s Corner,” Originally from Lawrence, MA, Christopher moved to Haverhill where he lived until his death. He was only 31 when he passed away in 2014.
Winnekenni Park is a dog friendly park and I saw many cute dogs during my hike there.
Ziya is a 13 month old German Shepherd.
Luna is a 2 year old pitbull.
Not only is she adorable. She also loves to fetch!
Lily (or Lilly – her mom and dad spell it differently) is a 3 year old mixed breed.
Mira is a 2 year old German Short Haired Pointer.
Princess is a 1 and a half year old pitbull mix.