Category Archives: rocks

Rattlesnake Gutter (Leverett, MA)


Dates of Visits: May 27 & 29, 2017

Location: 16 Rattlesnake Gutter Rd, Leverett, MA

Hours: Open daily, sunrise to sunset

Cost: Free

Parking: There is not a designated parking area.  But, there is an area to park by the front gate on the side of the road on Guttersnake Rd

Trail Size/Difficulty: 1.93 miles (Rattlesnake Gutter trail) with connecting loops and other trails that can add a significant amount of distance to your hike.  Easy too moderate trails.

Handicapped Accessible: No.  The terrain is rocky with some steep inclines

Dog Friendly: Yes

Fitbit Stats: 3.45 miles, 711 calories, 8,027 steps

Highlights: chasm, wildlife, easy to moderate trails, art, unique rock formations, ponds

Website: Rattlesnake Gutter Trust

Trail Map: Rattlesnake Gutter Trail Map


Don’t let the name scare you.  There really aren’t any, or at least not many, rattlesnakes at Rattlesnake Gutter Trail.  Legend has it rattlesnakes once did populate the area.  But, due mostly to a concerted effort to rid the area of these snakes, you’e rarely see a rattlesnake there.

I actually had to make two visits to this trail because some of the photos on one of memory cards were not saved.  Yeah, okay, twist my arm.  I’ll go again, I figured to myself.

Before you even reach the trail, there is an interesting find in a field at the entrance of Rattlesnake Gutter Rd.  A group of bee hives sat under a tree in a pretty field while what looked like a falcon soared high above.

The trail is known more for the chasm that runs through most of the main trail from the Rattlesnake Gutter Rd entrance.  The trail is described as a boulder that runs 3/4 mile long and 1/8 mile wide.  It produces a lot of pool-like streams between the rocky edges.

There are also several pools of water along the trail with some frogs and other aquatic animals.

Between the rocky sides there is a roughly mile trail with several mini waterfall-like streams and a very long way down if you’re not careful.

The dirt trails are easy to moderate in some areas due to the somewhat strenuous inclines in some areas.  At least they were strenuous to a middle aged hiking novice.

The origins of the chasm are unclear.  Some theories include a sub glacial melt water channel or a tear at the site of an old geologic fault.  Another theory suggests it was caused by a spillway for a temporary pro glacial lake.  I would go with the last one.  Just because I like to say “pro glacial.”  In any event, the rocks show the aftermath of some major event.

Unexpectedly, we found some art along the rocks.

It’s not known who created this art or why.  But, it is pretty cool.  You know how if you look at a photo or rock long enough, you can see other images?  Well, to the right of the tree in the photo below just above the greenery and boulder in the right hand corner of the photo, there appears to be possibly the outline of a cat’s face (you may have to tilt your head to see it). Or, maybe I’ve just drank too much caffeine and I’m seeing things.   It could just be the way the rocks appear from the weather and erosion.


We took the main guttersnake trail to the connector loop to Whitney Rd.  The connecting loop is hard to find.  It is actually a trail made into the side of the hill on the trail that was made into a zig zag design. I wouldn’t have probably found it if I hadn’t noticed someone walking down what looked like the side of a hill.

The Whitney Trail looks a little confusing at first (make sure to follow the red marked trees).  But, after a short distance, there will be signs and maps that will help you stay on the trail.  That is one of the unusual things about this trail.  There are several maps posted throughout the trail.  There are alternate routes you can take if you have the time and curiosity.  While I am always curious, I didn’t the time.  So, I stayed on the Whitney Rd trail.  This intersection of trails can take you farther into different sections of the trail system.  But, as time was a factor, I was unable to explore more.


Whitney Rd is just that, a road.  There are some pretty houses, cute decor and signs as well as beautiful landscapes along this part of the trail.

There were also some interesting rock formations and pretty trees along the way.

Along Whitney Rd, on the left of the trail we saw am empty area with tall trees and what looked like an overlook.  To our surprise, we found what looked like an area for parties or other events.  A van with speakers and what looked like an audio system was parked in the area.  There was also a table with chairs and jug of some kind of adult concoction and some other artistic designs.

Rattlesnake Gutter is the perfect place to take your dog.  Although, I would only recommend it for a “fit” dog, as I would recommend it for a “fit” person since the inclines can be deceivingly steep in some places.

These dogs had no problem with the trail.

Huckleberry is a rescue from Mississippi.

Luna is a 3 year old rescue.

Below are two videos of the streams at Rattlesnake Gutter Trail.

Balance Rock State Park (Pittsfield, MA)

Date Visited: March 26, 2016

Cost: Free

Location: Balance Rock, Rd, Pittsfield, MA (about 2.5 hours west of Boston, MA or 1 hour east of Albany, NY)

Hours: Sunrise until 6 p.m.

Parking: There is parking for about up to 50 cars or so at the Balance Rock entrance.




During the last ice age, some 12,000 to 100,000 years ago, rocks were haphazardly pushed to and fro, creating this unusual formation. Or, someone put one rock on top of another. Either the product of glacial movement or an elaborate hoax, the namesake of Balance Rock State Park is a huge attraction.

But, before you view the impressive rock, there are rocks and beauty aplenty at the entrance to Balance Rock Park.

By the entrance, there is a stream that runs along the side of the park


After a short drive up the main entrance road (about half a mile), you will reach Balance State Park’s main attraction; the rock.  We were a bit disappointed to find the rock right there next to the parking lot.  While it is convenient and easy for visitors to find, it would have been nice to have to hike to it.  It would have built up the anticipation.  Despite the journey being anticlimactic, the rock was impressive.  As you can tell from the photos and attached video, the rock never touches the ground.  Unfortunately, it has been vandalized which was very disappointing to see.

The rock is 30 feet long and 15 feet wide.  It is resting on another much smaller rock.  This, the story goes, is the product of the last glacial age.  It also goes to show that no matter how big and seemingly powerful someone or something may be, the rock and we wouldn’t be the same without the help of a little friend.

I noticed how some of the rocks seem to have eyes and lips.  I am not sure if this was due to nature, erosion or the work of mankind.



It turns out, there are many rocks in the area

The residents of Balance Rock State Park are very photogenic.  He was shy at first.  But, eventually, he came out and I was able to get some close ups of him.



Video of the stream at the entrance to Balance Rock State Park

Walking tour of the rock

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Agassiz Rock (Manchester-By-The-Sea, MA)

Date visited: February 20, 2016

Hours: open everyday, 8 a.m. to sunset

Location: School St., Manchester-By-The-Sea (it’s easy to miss so keep an eye out for it)

Agassiz Rock

Cost: Free


People travel far and wide to Agassiz Rock (pronounced “A-ga-siz”)to  visit a rock.  Yes, a rock.

Actually, they travel to see rocks.  Lots of them.

Agassiz Rock is a deceiving name.  There are actually two main rock structures that are the highlights of the park creatively named “Big Agassiz” and “Little Agassiz.”

The trail is not difficult.  At least it’s not too bad when there’s not ice and snow on the ground.  There are a few sharp inclines but mostly it is a fairly easy trail.

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Along the trail, there are many eye catching rocks and streams.

The trails are clearly marked and signs point to the two rocks.


Left to “Big Agassiz.”  Stay straight on the trail to get to “Little Agassiz.”  The trail about a 2 mile loop.  So, you can see both rock locations if you take the trail in its entirety which is what I did.

Big Agassiz is only a quarter mile or so from the sign.


Yup, that’s “Big Agassiz” it all its glory.

A trail leads to “Little Agassiz.”  Ironically, the “Little Agassiz” is the better part of the attraction.

Along the way, I had a feeling I wasn’t alone based on the paw prints or hoof prints I saw in the snow.  I quickly made my way up to “Little Agassiz.”

A short hike that includes one of the few inclines leads to the top of the Beaverdam Hill where “Little Agassiz” is.

There are several rock formations, trees and a area to just sit and chill.  If I brought a book I would have been right at home.  I could have stayed all day. But, I was a little disappointed in the views or lack thereof.  There are mountains or other wonders of nature to look at.  You do get a nice view of the roadway, though.  Just a few tips:  it can get pretty  windy up there and if you do go in the morning during the winter be aware the rocks and the surfaces can be slippery.

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You get a pretty good view from on top of the rocks.

I found one more rock formation of notice on my way out.


The parking area for Agassiz Rock is off a busy roadway and while I didn’t have any problems finding a spot I think it would be a little tough during the summer.  There is probably room for a dozen or so cars if people park normally.


Below is a video of Little Agassiz.

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Weir River Farm (Hingham, MA)

Last week, I posted about my visit to Whitney And Thayer Woods.  I wanted to break the post into two parts because it would have been too big to do as one post and there were quite a few photos I wanted to share.  So, without further ado, Weir River Farm…

As you emerge from the dense Whitney and Thayer Woods, you see a welcome scene: open space and scenic views.

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One of the more endearing features of Weir River Farm are the trees

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There was also a fancy rock formation.


On a clear day, like the one from the day I visited, you can see Boston and other surrounding areas





Holy Cow!  Weir River Farm had their cows grazing when I stopped by.


I saw Hudson, a 6 year old Newfoundland at Weir River Farm


and this cutie


Whitney And Thayer Woods (Cohasset, MA)

The unseasonably mild weather (at least mild for New England) has allowed for a longer than usual fall hiking season.  Taking advantage of this unusually warm weather, I traveled to the South Shore jewel of Whitney And Thayer Woods in Cohasset, MA.


With the exception of a stray cloud here and there, a clear blue sky, bright sun and an intermittent breeze greeted me at the woods.

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The park is a loop that covers a few miles.  There is a bike trail and runners frequent the trails.


Although the peak of the fall foliage season has passed, there were still some vibrant orange, gold and amber colors hanging on to the trees.

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A rolling stone gathers no…never mind.


There were quite a few dogs on the paths.  It was a perfect day for dog walking.  I have determined that getting most dogs to pose for the camera is about as easy as splitting the atom.

Lilly enjoyed the warm sun.


Chester was very excited to be at the park.


Olive was happy to see me.  Don’t worry.  She was a sweetheart.


I didn’t get this dog’s name.  But he or she posed perfectly!


I have more shots from my trip to Whitney And Thayer.  So, I am breaking up this blog into two parts.  The second part will include some photos from the Weir River Farm located just outside of the wooded area.  For a sneak peak and for some additional photos not included in this blog, stop by my Facebook page: New England Nomad

Check out my other blog, Mr. Wayne please.  Thank you.

Mystery Hill – a.k.a. “America’s Stonehenge” (Salem, NH)

From the moment you drive into the parking lot of Mystery Hill, (a.k.a “America’s Stonehenge”) in Salem, New Hampshire,(the other Salem in the New England region) you know it’s a special place.


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There are strange rock formations and….

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…a bridge in the front entrance welcomes you from the past.


and brings you to the future



But, the front entrance of America’s Stonehenge is only a tease.  Once you exit the gift shop (it costs $12 for adults and $7.50 for kids), you are greeted by some Alpacas on the right.  They are fenced but they are very friendly.



There are also a variety of time keeping devices which, to this day, still keep correct time.

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But, some of the things I liked best were not the structures or rock formations but the statues, flowers, decor and the hollowed out canoe.

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But, the main attraction are the rocks and rock formations.  The name “America’s Stonehenge” is somewhat misleading. There are no structures that bear any real resemblance to the actual Stonehenge.

Even though Mystery Hill bears no resemblance to Stonehenge, there are some interesting facts about the site.  Some of the rocks used in the structures at Mystery Hill were quarried using primitive stone-on-stone techniques and have been carbon dated as far back as 2,000 B.C.

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Mystery Hill is a children’s play land.  Forget about all of the rock climbing.  They are also able to walk in some of the structures, such as, the Oracle Chamber and they wouldn’t have to duck to be able to walk in the smaller spaces.

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There is a sinister legend that overshadows the light atmosphere of the attraction.  According to legend, the area here was a spot for sacrifices.  Stories of ghostly apparitions and huantings have been reported.  I decided to go and see for myself.


I didn’t see or hear anything unusual, at least not of the other worldly variety.  But, the legends still persist.

The area is pretty expansive.  It claims to be 30 acres but feels much longer.  The best parts of the area were the random rock structures and the views.  And, of course, the foliage.



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There is also an area where it is believed the Nov. 1st sunrise was watched from.  It is amazing when you consider they could identifty the best place to view the sunrise, way before we had scientific devices to use.



Although the rocks and rock formations were impressive, my favorite part of the attraction was the alpacas.


Brant Rock (Marshfield, MA)

It’s the time of the year again when hearty New Englanders hunker down and storm the stores for candles, batteries and, of course, bread and water.  Yes, hurricane season is upon us.  However, this recent stormy weather from Saturday, as bad as it may have been, was not a hurricane.





Waves as high as 7 feet crashed down in some parts.  Although it was not a hurricane or a Nor’Easter, the wind was strong enough to push you and your car around and the waves spilled over the sea wall in some parts.



Weather like this really puts you in your place.  We are no match for Mother Nature.

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It was almost impossible to keep my lens dry and clear which spoiled some of my shots. I decided to post them anyways.







The waves crashing along the rocks gave a hypnotic effect.




If not for my ocean soaked clothes, being pelted by sand and the whipping wind, I could have stayed all day.  It reminded me of how some things that are so beautiful can be so dangerous.




Of course, Brant Rock wasn’t the only place hit by this storm.  Stay tuned for my next stormy destination.