Category Archives: forest

Odiorne Point State Park (Rye, NH)

Date Visited: August 6, 2016

Location: 570 Ocean Blvd, Rye, NH 603-436-7406

Hours: Open everyday 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. (I got there well before 8 and the gates were already open).  Open but unstaffed after 10/11

Cost: $4 for adults $2 for children (ages 6-11), NH residents who are seniors (over 65) or younger than 6 get in free

Parking: There are about 50 parking spots in the main parking area.  There are additional parking lots along the beach

Time To Allot For Visit: 1 to 2 hours

Trails: Easy

Dog Friendly: No

Highlights: abundant wildlife (mostly birds), pretty flowers and trees, lighthouse (Whaleback Light), scenic views, play area for children, “sunken forest”, science center, historical site

Lowlights: Parking can be tough (especially during the summer), since it is considered a beach dogs are not allowed at the park

Odiorne Point State Park Trail Map

Odiorne Point State Park Website

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The location of the first English settlement in New Hampshire, Odiorne Point has a very storied past.

Named after the Odiorne family who settled there during the 1660’s, Odiorne Point is probably best known for being a military installation during World War 2.  Known as Fort Dearborn at the time, Odiorne Point was part of the military’s attempt to modernize the U.S. coast defenses.  Part of the military installation served as a radar station by the United States Air Force beginning in 1949, and in 1955 this became the Rye Air Force Station.  None of the Air Force’s installation remains there.  Looking at the historical remnants of the fort it is obvious how far we have come as a military power.  Real shells, a bunker entrance, a battery and other historical structures are scattered throughout the entrance to the park.

The park also has a science center located at the end of one of the main paths where people can learn about nature and the various wildlife that inhabit the park.

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The trails at the park were easy to negotiate.  However, if you do go off trail to get a closer view of the surroundings and wildlife you have to be careful and be mindful of the water level.  I will touch on this later in the post.

As you can see from the photos above, the plants and trees at Odiorne are beautiful even if they are directly next to a dumpster.

Only about an hour’s drive north of Boston, Odiorne Point has something for people of all ages to enjoy. There is a play area for children as well as picnic tables and benches for people to sit and eat while they take in all of the beautiful views.

This particular family had a hungry visitor eyeing them as they ate lunch.

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The birds are one of the main attractions of the park.  A wide variety of gulls, egrets and other birds frequent the park.

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The views at Odiorne State Park are pretty all year round.  The lighthouse, Whaleback Light, provides a majestic backdrop for any photo.  The weather was very erratic when I made my visit.  It was rainy and raw when I first arrived at the park in the early morning hours.  After waiting out the rain, the clouds gave way to the sun.  Then, the wind picked up and drove the waves against the rocks.  Basically, I experienced just about all the weather New England has in one day.  In other words, it was a typical New England day.

Perhaps the biggest attraction of Odiorne Point State Park is the “sunken forest”.  If you arrive during low tide, you can see what used to be a forest or some other land.  What appears to be tree stumps, rocks and other land based structures appear on the floor of what will rapidly become the bottom of the body of water.

So, during low tide you can easily traverse these rocks (make sure to not try this with sandals on or barefoot) and get closer to the birds, ocean and other rocks.  One important thing to keep in mind is the tide comes in pretty quickly.  I made it out to the rocky area where the birds were all hanging out.  Then, suddenly, I realized just how much water had accumulated around me.  I quickly ran/sloshed through ankle deep water along the pebbles to make it back to land before it got too late.  If I waited half an hour longer I would have been swimming back to shore.  Below are some side side examples of just how quickly the water rises.  The time lapse is only about an hour.

Below are two videos of the waves and scenery at Odiorne Point.

Similar Places In New England I Have Visited:

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Colt State Park (Bristol, RI)

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Moswetuset Hummock (Quincy, MA)

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Hammonasset Beach State Park (Madison, CT)

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Douglas State Forest (Douglas, MA)

Date Visited: April 9, 2016

Cost:  Since I visited during the off season, it was free.  The web site states it costs $9 for MA vehicles and $11 for out of state vehicles.  Prices may vary if you bring your boat.

Location: 107 Wallum Lake Rd. Douglas, MA

Parking:  Parking is limited at the main entrance.  It probably fills up quickly during the summer weekends.  There is also additional parking for boaters farther down the road to the entrance.  There is also additional areas to park near the forest.

Douglas State Forest

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I wasn’t sure what to expect when I arrived at Douglas State Forest.  It just happened to be in the area of another attraction I was visiting.  But, I’m a firm believer in spontaneity, no I really am, so I decided to give it a whirl.  I’m glad I did.

Douglas State Forest has a few different entrances besides the main entrance at Wallum Lake Drive.  I passed some of them on the way to the main entrance.  It may be a good option to try these entrances (off Webster and Wallis Streets respectively).  After viewing the map for Douglas State Forest, I have determined I only walked a fraction of the  5,525 acres of the park.

There are many hidden trails and long trails in the park. In fact,  the Midstate Trail, a 95 mile hiking trail that extends through central Massachusetts to Mt. Watatic in the north, runs through the forest.  I saw a group of walkers/hikers at one of the other entrances during my drive.  I suspect they may have been gearing up to hike a section of this trail.  There is also some rare Atlantic White Cedar swampland at Douglas State Forest.  Boards are laid down to allow walking over these areas.

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After arriving at Douglas State Forest, I walked the easy, half mile or so trail trail to Wallum Lake (the trail continues on much farther but I only walked to the boat launch and fishing area).  A sure sign that spring is begrudgingly, well, springing was abundant.  The trails are mainly like the one pictured below.  I would describe the trails I took as being easy to moderate but the trail may get harder the farther you walk.

There were several people fishing and an assortment of boats in the lake.  Boaters always seem to want to show off and speed around when they see someone with a camera!

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Douglas Forest is a year-round attraction.  Swimming, fishing and boating are allowed in the lake.  In the winter snow shoeing and snowmobiling are popular activities at the forest.  Horses and dogs are also allowed at the forest.

The views from the lake were beautiful.

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What started as a gloomy, chilly, overcast day, typical of a true New England spring day, turned into a sunny, warm day.  It was the perfect day to take your pooch out for a walk and they were in abundance at Douglas Forest.

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Lloyd is a 3 year old husky and lab mix.  He was adopted by his pet parent from a shelter and he loves to play in the water.

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Delilah is a 5 year old Staffy (Staffordshire Bull Terrier).  She was rescued one day before she was slated to be put down.  She is also from England and loves to play with sticks.  Welcome to America, Delilah!

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Dixie and Monty, Irish Spring Setters, posed perfectly for their dad.

Central Massachusetts (where Douglas is located) had always been a place to drive through to get to Western Massachusetts and its plethora of mountains, forests and waterfalls.  But, I have been spending a lot of time in Central Massachusetts. After my last few visits I have fallen in love with the area.  I will have many more posts coming from my travels in the Central Massachusetts area.  Stay tuned and thank you for reading!

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