Category Archives: pond

Puffer’s Pond/Factory Hollow Pond (Amherst, MA)

Dates Of Visits: May 24 & 29, 2017

Location: Mill St, Amherst, MA (about half an hour north of Springfield, MA and an hour and a half southwest of Boston, MA)

Hours: Open daily, sunrise to sunset

Cost: Free

Parking: There is a designated parking area for handicapped accessible vehicles.  All other vehicles should park on the side of the road on the right hand side of the road.  There is room for a dozen or more cars to park on this road.

Handicapped Accessible: Yes.  There is a paved path and designated parking for handicapped accessible vehicles.

Dog Friendly: No.  But, dogs are allowed on the Robert Frost trail that circles the pond.

Highlights: wildlife, fishing,trails,pond

Website: Puffer’s Pond

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Once the site of a village inhabited by the Norwottuck tribe, Puffer’s Pond (also known as Factory Hollow Pond, is now a popular destination for fishing enthusiasts, nature lovers and hikers.

Puffer’s Pond is a small yet charming pond.  It is only 11 acres large and the water is an average depth of 5 feet deep with a maximum depth of more than 20 feet.

There are several access points to the pond.  The easiest most straightforward way to the pond is to park on Mill St and enter through the main entrance on that street.  There is also an access point farther up on Mill St with a wooden walkway.

The pond is home to herons, mallards, turtles, frogs, a variety of birds and an otter or two among other animals.

Walking through the park, we noticed a disturbance in the water and a head peaking above the water.

It appears to be an otter because when the mammal dove back under water the tail didn’t look like a beaver’s tail.

The views from Puffer’s Pond are beautiful.

The pond is also a great place to fish.  This particular fisherman didn’t have any luck (score one for the fish!).  Better luck next time.

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However, this fisherman had better luck.

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Or, you can go there to look out on the pond with a special someone.

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The Robert Frost Trail, a 47 mile trail that runs from the Connecticut River in South Hadley,MA to Wendell State Forest in Wendell, MA, runs past Puffer’s Pond.  Although it is a very long trail, the section of the trail that runs past the pond is very short (about .8 miles each way).  While dogs are not allowed in Puffer’s Pond they are allowed on the walking trails around the pond.

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Leverett Pond/Echo Lake (Leverett, MA)

Date Of Visit: May 27, 20176

Location: Depot Rd, Leverett, MA (about 40 minutes north of Springfield, MA)

Hours: Open everyday from sunrise to sunset

Cost: Free

Parking: There is free street parking available on the shoulder of the road across from the lake.  There is room for about 5 cars.

Handicapped Accessible: Yes

Dog Friendly: Yes

Highlights: pond, poetry box, wildlife, boat launch

Website: Friends Of Leverett Pond

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Located in the center of town inconspicuously on the side of the road, Leverett Pond (also known as Echo Lake) is a 100 plus acre pond with amazing views and abundant wildlife.  In fact, the wildlife is so abundant it threatens the pond itself.  Beavers, specifically, seem to be clogging the dam at the nothern end.  It costs the organization $20,000 to fix this issue and they do not receive funding from the town.  So, the organization relies solely on donations.  But, still, the Friend of Leverett Pond are keep working to solve this problem.

Despite the ecological issues they may face, the pond still looks beautiful.

The pond is popular with boaters and fishing enthusiasts.  I saw two boats in the pond during the short time I was there.

During the winter, the pond is used by skaters.

While there were signs of wildlife, I was only able to see some fish in the water and a bird.

While the lake is a gem itself, one of the hidden treasures is the poetry box located on a tree by the lake.  If you weren’t looking for it you might just miss it.  Just to the left of the boat launch, the box is attached to a tree.

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Inside the box sits a binder with poems, stories and memories left behind by visitors. There are also a few pencils in the box for people to leave their thoughts and poems.   Some of the poems dated back to 2012.  It was not only nice to see this collection of art.  It was also nice to see it has been preserved and no one has stolen or disturbed the poetry box.

Behind the tree is a table for people to sit and read the binder or write their own addition to the binder.  The poems and other writings ranged from the comedic to the serious.  Some were written by children.  Others were written by older people.  Sometimes you could not tell who wrote the poem or what age they were.

Whether you’re a fisherman or fisherwoman, a boater or a poet, Leverett Pond is the perfect to spend the day.


Norris Reservation (Norwell, MA)

Date Of Visit: April 8, 2017

Location: 10 Dover St, Norwell, MA (about 30 miles south of Boston)

Hours: Daily sunrise to sunset

Cost: Free for Trustees members, $5 parking fee for non members

Parking: There is a small lot by the entrance for about a dozen cars.  It fills up quickly during the summer and other peak times

Handicapped Accessible: No, the trails are too rocky and they often get muddy after rainy days

Park Size and Trail Difficulty: 129 acres, 2 miles loop trail, 2.5-3 miles of trails if you walk the side trails.  Trails are easy and accessible for people of all ages.

Dog Friendly: Yes

Highlights: ponds, streams, boardwalks, old mill site, old boat house, herring and other fish, birds, if you’re lucky you might see a beaver or other type of wildlife

Lowlights: Be careful of ticks (I brought home 3 with me)

Web Site: Norris Reservation

Trail Map: Norris Reservation Trail Map

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Once the site of a mill and the current site of an old boat house, Norris Reservation boasts white pine and oak trees, wetlands and a boardwalk teeming with wildlife as well as pretty trees with leaves that look like they’re still in foliage, pretty rock formations and plant life.

Truly a hidden jewel ( be careful driving to the parking lot- I drove past the entrance and had to enter through the exit of the small parking lot), Norris Reservation is a fine park to visit throughout the year.  During the winter, trails can be accessed with snowshoes if needed.  The flowers and trees are vibrant during the spring and summer and the trees are ablaze with foliage during the fall.  During my visit, it was a rather average spring day.  It was windy to begin but settled into a pretty standard spring day, albeit a bit on the cold side.  You can see the ripples in the water from the wind in some of the photos.

Along the walkway as you enter the reservation along Eleanor’s Path (named after the benefactor of the park, Eleanor Norris), there is a pond and a little waterfall.

I got to break out my new gear, my Canon EOS 8D for this shoot.  So, I was very excited to take it on for a test drive.  I’m still getting used to the buttons and how it operates.  But, I hope the photos are an improvement from my previous shots, especially as I get more familiar with it.

The main trail at Norris Reservation is probably the red trail which eventually takes you to Gordon’s Pond.  Gordon’s Pond has a boardwalk with scenic views and a small waterfall.  The pond is encircled with trees and it is popular with fishing enthusiasts.

Named after Albert P. Norris, whose wife donated the land upon his death, Norris Reservation hugs the North River which was once the center of pre-Colonial era ship building.  Along these side trails, you can find a lot of scenic views and bird life.

Along the McMullan Trail is the old boathouse.  I’m not sure if it’s operational for use and you’re not allowed to tie boats or dock there.  But, it is a nice place to hang out on the deck and take in the beauty of the area.

There is also a granite block in the Granite Boulders section of the trail.

There is also an abundance of birds at Norris Reservation.  I was able to shoot this robin, some black birds and a baby loon at the park.

Norris Reservation is an ideal place to take your pooch for a walk.  I saw dozens of cute dogs during my hike at Norris.  Below are some of the more photogenic dogs I saw on the trails.

Argos is an 11 month old White Shepherd.  I had never seen such a fluffy, cute pure white dog.  He really did stand out to me.

Delilah (on the left) is a 2 year old Boston Terrier and Harley is a 10 year old Yorkie and Shih Tzu mix.  They posed so well!

Colby is a 7 and a half Bernese Mountain Dog.  What a cute smile!

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Feeding Time At Stanley Park (Westfield, MA)

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Date Of Visit: December 28, 2016

Location: 400 Western Ave, Westfield, MA (about 2 hours west of Boston, MA and about 20 minutes west of Springfield, MA)

Cost: Free

Hours: Presently open everyday 8 a.m. -4:30 p.m. (hours change depending upon the season)

Parking: There are a few different parking areas.  The main parking lot on Western Ave has room for about 200 cars.

Handicapped Accessible: The playground area, fields and picnic areas are but the trails and many of the walkways are not.

Dog Friendly: Yes

Highlights: hiking trails, birds, wildlife, pond, flower garden, statues

Often considered the jewel of Westfield, Massachusetts, Stanley Parkis one of the prettiest parks in Western Massachusetts and it looks even more picturesque after a snowfall.

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Due to the recent cold spell and snow, the pond and much of the vegetation at Stanley Park had been iced over so they were eager to get some food.  As a disclaimer, most parks do not encourage you to feed birds.  But, if you do, there are certain foods you should never feed to ducks.  Bread is the biggest no-no on most list.  These are some better foods to feed to birds.

At any rate, visitors like to feed the birds at Stanley Park and that gave me an usually good chance to photograph some beautiful ducks.

There were so many birds congregating at the pond waiting for a nibble of food.

Luckily, one of the visitors at the park, Jim, brought some food for the hungry birds.

 

Jim’s dog took the birds in stride.

I have photographed Stanley Park before and, since it is very close to my mom’s house, I always try to make a visit out there as often as I can.So, you may sees posts about this park from time to time.

Stanley Park, or Stanley as it is more commonly known as, is a popular spot for dogs like Sansa is a 5 month old Siberian Husky.

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Below is a video of feeding time at Stanley Park:

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Northwest Park (Windsor, CT)

Date Visited: September 10, 2016

Location: 145 Lang Rd, Windsor, CT (15 mins north of Hartford, CT and half an hour south of Springfield, MA)

Hours: Open everyday, sunrise to sunset

Parking: There is ample parking(about 100 parking spots) in the main parking area as you enter by the soccer and baseball fields.  There is also a smaller parking area by the dog park on your right as you enter the park that can accommodate about a dozen cars.

Cost: Free

Size: 473 acres, 12 miles of trails

Trail Difficulty: Easy to somewhat moderate in some areas

Time To Allot For Visit: 2 to 3 hours

Dog Friendly: Yes

Highlights: dog park, ponds, trails, flowers, reservoir, ball fields, wildlife, animals, tobacco museum, venue for events during the spring and summer

Web Site: Northwest Park

Trail Map: Northwest Park Trail Map

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Since summer is winding down, I decided to take in one last trip to one of New England’s more popular parks while the weather was still warm.

With over 12 miles of trails, a reservoir and miles of trails, Northwest Park is a scenic, family friendly park that is a great place to take your dog.

At the entrance of the park, there is a small, penned in dog park called the Windsor Dog Park.

In a way, it is odd to have a dog park in a park that is essentially a dog park.  I do suppose the penned in dog park would be good for dogs that may be too aggressive to be around other dogs or might be too shy or not yet socialized.

Along the trail past the main entrance, there is a pond with an overlook.  The pond is full of turtles, frogs and even Koi fish.  One of the visitors at the park threw some bread into the pond.  Who knew turtles liked to eat bread!

There is also an organic and community garden at the park.

There is also a barn with farm animals and other animals at the park.

One of the special parts of the park is the art scattered around the park.

The trails at the park are pretty much flat and easy to negotiate with some slight inclines.

There are several trails at Northwest Park.  We took the Brookside and Rainbow Reservoir trails.  The Brookside trail is heavily wooded without much to see except a few chipmunks.  The name Brookside seemed a bit misleading as there really wasn’t a brook to be found from the trail.

Eventually, we found ourselves by the Rainbow Reservoir.  The surface of the water was a strange shade of lime green.

There were some boats in the water and even a water skier.

The trails are full of pretty trees, colorful flowers and a few abandoned barns.

You ever notice what the inside of an abandoned barn looks like?  Then, wonder no longer.  It’s actually pretty boring. The video below gives a better look inside.

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There were also a lot of critters to see along the trails.  This chipmunk thought she could hide from me.

This squirrel wasn’t any better at hiding.

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This bird was a bit better at hiding.

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Finally, on our way out of the park, we decided to check out the tobacco museum.  The museum shows the history of the tobacco crop industry and the tools and machines they used.

Northwest Park is a great place to take your dog.  The trails are not very hard to walk and there are lots of open spaces for your dog to roam.  I found two very friendly dogs to photograph during my visit.

Tally is an 11 year old Shephherd mix.

Lada is a 1 year and 7 month old German Shepherd.

Below is a video of the water skier I saw at Rainbow Reservoir and a video of the inside of the abandoned barn I saw along the trails.

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Dorrs Pond (Manchester, NH)

Date Visited: August 7, 2016

Location: Dorrs Pond is part of Livingston Park which is located at 244 Hookset Rd, Manchester, NH (off Daniel Webster Highway)

Hours: Open 24 hours (use your best judgment if you go at nighttime)

Cost: Free

Parking:  There are about 70 or so parking spots by Dorrs Pond.  There is also additional parking by the play area and field by Livingston Park.

Dog Friendly: Yes

Size: 1.2 mile loop with some short side trails.

Time To Allot For Visit: 1 or 2 hours

Fun For One: Yes

Highlights: abundant wildlife, popular trails for runner, cyclists and walkers, pretty views, very well maintained, benches for sitting, skating on the pond during the winter

Lowlights: short loop (only 1.2 mile) so many runners have to complete the loop several times to get a good workout, some side trails end abruptly at parking lots or just stop without going anywhere

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Once an artificial pond to serve the people of Manchester, Dorrs Pond now serves a scenic retreat for cyclists, runners, nature lovers and dogs.

“hidden gem” is a phrase that gets thrown around a lot.  But, the photos below will show how this description is apt for Dorrs Pond.  In fact, I, and many people I talked to about it, had never been to this pond or ever even heard about before I went there.

One of the great things about Dorrs Pond is it is not a particularly difficult trail.  The trails are Dorrs Pond are pretty level with a few small inclines

The views at Dorrs Pond are beautiful.  Vivid greens and a variety of green, purple and other vibrant colors dot the landscape.

One of the best parts of Dorrs Pond is the wildlife.  There is a variety of birds, amphibians and other animals at the pond.

I also found this interesting shelter.  Unfortunately, no one was home.

During the winter, skating is allowed on the pond.  Also, there is a play area, playing field, restrooms and pool for children (and some adults) in addition to Dorrs Pond at Livingston Park.

Doors Pond is a great place to bring your dog.  The trail is not too long and the inclines are not very steep.  And it was a perfect day for taking your pooch out for a stroll.  I saw lots of dogs at Dorrs Pond.  Here are a few of the cute dogs at the park Sunday:

Katie, a 9 month old German Shepherd.

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Finley, a Cavachon who will be 2 in September

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Reagan, a 4 month old Golden Retriever

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and Jackson, a 2 year old Basenji Greyhound.

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Similar Places In New England I Have Visited:

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Ames Nowell State Park

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Cutler Park

 

 


William Francis Bird Park (East Walpole, MA)

Date Visited: April 24, 2016

Location: Polly Lane, Walpole, MA

Cost: Free

Parking: I counted 25 parking spots in the main parking area outside the park.  Parking is free.  There may be several parking lots.

Francis William Bird Park

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As the name suggests, there are lots of birds to watch at Francis William Bird Park.  Either there are lots of robins at the park or I photographed the same one over and over.

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There are more than birds at the park to catch your attention.

Such as trees and flowers

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the ponds and streams

and the bridges (each bridge is made slightly differently)

The trails are easy and branch off to side trails.  But, since it is all concentrated in one area it is hard to get lost there.

The tree below was planted in memory of Charles Sumner Bird, a paper manufacturer, candidate for governor of Massachusetts, resident of Walpole MA and the son of William Francis Bird.

Tip of the day; don’t get too close to a goose and his or her Cheetos.

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You’re not supposed to feed the birds at William Francis (and you’re especially not supposed to feed them Cheetos).  It’s not good for them physically and it creates more messes on the trail.  But, of course, people still do.

Along the trails, there are benches and places to enjoy the outdoors.  Or, you can just chill on a rock or log.  There is also a restroom (open seasonly)

Charlot (pronounced Char-lo) is a local (local to Walpole) artist, storyteller and cultural and historical expert.  He specializes in Haitian art and culture.  He likes to go to the park to paint and relax.  He was kind enough to let me photograph him painting.  He calls the first painting Silhouette Of The Drum.  he was also touching up a painting he had finished previously.

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Charlot is very talented.  You can find out more about him here.

There are also a variety of attractions for sportsmen and sportswomen.  The trails make for great running surfaces.  There are four tennis courts as well as a basketball backboard (but not a court) .  There are also musical and other types of events during the summer by the main field.

Birds aren’t the only animals you will find at Francis William Bird Park.  The park is also popular spot for dogs.  The trails and open spaces make it a great place to take your pooch.

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Henry is a 3 year old Basset Hound.  Cute freckles on his left front paw!

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Sophia is a 5 year old Newfoundland.  Sophia reminded me of a Newfoundland we had.  Beautiful dog.

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Buddha is a 3 month old Hound mix.  I love the eyebrows!

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