Category Archives: scenic

Red Rock Park (Lynn, MA)

Date Of Visit: October 1, 2017

Location: Lynn Shore Dr & Prescott Rd, Lynn, MA ong Lynn Shore Drive (about 20 minutes north of Boston)

Cost: Free

Parking: metered parking along Lynn Shore Drive.  IF you’re unable to find a spot along Lynn Shore, there is usually parking available on one of the side streets in the area.

Trail Size/Difficulty: .5 miles, easy

Handicapped Accessible: Yes

Dog Friendly: Yes

Website: Red Rock Park

Highlights: scenic views, easy walking and jogging path, walkway to the rocky water, spacious park

Tips:

  • During the months of July and August there are weekly concerts held along the Red Rock Park area
  • Try visiting during stormy weather to see some active waves

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Fall has a way of sneaking up on you in New England.  So, it’s important to make the best of each and every unseasonably warm day while you can.  And Red Rock Park, just minutes north of Boston, seemed like the perfect place to enjoy the last gasps of our warm weather.

Despite the temptation to stay curled up in my bed on a Saturday morning,  I was able to make it to Red Rock Park just after sunrise.  The “golden hours” (the first 2 hours after sunset and the 2 hours before sunset) sure do make a difference when it comes to photography.  In fact, some photographers won’t even take their camera out outside of those golden hours, at least not for nature photography.

When you see the sun glistening off the rocks, cement and sand during the morning sunrise, you can easily see why the park is called “Red Rock.”  Red Algae which sometimes floats ashore, while giving off a pungent odor, could be the reason for the reddish hue of the rocks.

A walkway leads to the rocks along the beach that offers some nice views of the Boston skyline,  Rock crabs, barnacle, mussels and sea stars inhabit the rocky waters.  If you’re lucky, you may see one of these critters in the tidal pools that form between the rocks.

The walking path, which leads to  is short and easy leads to Lynn Shore, a popular destination for cyclists and joggers.  There are also ramps along the way.

With its easy walking path and spacious park, Red Rock is the perfect place to take your four legged friend.  In fact, while I was there, I saw  some dogs being trained at the park.  The quarter mile marker is part of the Walking and Jogging Project launched to help promote physical activity of the Lynn, Swampscott and Nahant residents.   This 1/4 mile marker is one of the medallion markers along the 3 mile stretch.  Known as the Nahant, Swampscott and Lynn Good Health Partnership, the markers, placed at quarter mile spaces, go from the Tides restaurant (2B Wilson Rd) to the red Rock Bistro (141 Humphrey St).

 

Sampson, a friendly 12 week old Lab mix was enjoying the beautiful fall morning with his mom while I was visiting the park.  He is a rescue from the North Shore Animal League.

Below is a video from the rocks along the water.

Red Rock Park is one of the more popular spots for residents of the area to visit during stormy weather.  Below is a video of one of those stormy days in April, 2011.  It actually gets much worse, flooding the entire Lynn Shore Drive, when we experience a tropical storm or hurricane.  This video is courtesy of Steve Deveau.

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Bare Cove Park (Hingham, MA)

 

Dates Of Visit: July 28 & 30, 2017

Location: Bare Cove Park Drive, Hingham, MA (about 20 minutes south of Boston)

Hours: open daily, sunrise to sunset

Cost: Free

Parking: There are several parking areas.  The main parking area on Bare Cove Park Drive has room for about 40-50 vehicles

Trail Size/Difficulty: 484 acres, easy trails

Handicapped Accessible: Yes

Dog Friendly: Yes

Fitbit stats: 3:16, 985 calories, 10,069 steps, 4.21 miles

Highlights: scenic, water, family friendly, dock house with historical military items, wildlife

Website: Bare Cove Park

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I made two visits to Bare Cove Park.  The first time I visited the park was July 28th.  I got there late on the 28th and the lighting was poor.  So, I stopped by two days later, Sunday, July 30.

As you can see by the photos, there are some beautiful sunsets at Bear Cove.  Unfortunately, the lighting wasn’t very good, though.

 

Once the site of a U.S. Naval depot (more on this later), Bare Cove Park now is the home to a variety of wildlife.  I found many birds during my visit.  There are also supposed to be fox, deer and other animals at the park.  I didn’t see any of them.  But, I did see evidence of them.

If you look closely at the little bird photo at the end, the bird has his or her lunch.

 

There was a crisp pre-autumn chill in the air when I made my way to Bare Cove Park.  It reminded me of the mornings you whittle away before the college and pro football games start.  But, I’d rather spend my day at Bare Cove anytime.

The views are simply amazing.

 

The thing that stood out to me mostly are the variety of pretty trees and flowers at the park.

 

Bare Cove is only 484 acres and it’s very easy to get around, even without a map of the park.  Trust me, I didn’t even get lost and I always get lost.  The trails are easy with hardly any inclines and they are mostly paved if you stay on the main trail.

 

Because of its proximity to Boston, Hingham was considered an important location for the military to produce ammunition and other supplies during World War II.  The magazines, or manufacturing  buildings, ran 24 hours, 7 days a week and employed thousands of people at is peak.

The dock house (only open Sunday from 12-2) has a variety of items from World War II that were manufactured in this very same area.

 

There are also two memorials outside of the dockchouse as well as other items from the days of the hey day at Bare Cove.  The ammunition depot was closed in the early 1970’s.

The memorial to the left, lying vertically on the ground, is dedicated to the men and women who worked at the ammunition depot during World War i, World War II and the Korean Conflict.

The memorial to the right standing up is dedicated to naval crew members who were lost when some ammunition exploded on a ship they were loading.

 

While dogs are allowed at Bare Cove the park is not considered a “dog park” per se.  All dogs are expected to be leashed or respond immediately to voice commands.  In my visits there all of these dogs fit into both or either category.

Here are a few of the cute four legged visitors at Bare Cove that I ran into during my visits.

Hickory is a 7 year old tree walking coon hound.

 

Bronn, named after a Games Of Throne charcater, is a 9 month old Newfie.  His mommy was teaching to fetch.

 

Gracie is a super friendly 2 year old pitbull.

 

Tundra (on the left), a 2 year old Golden Retriever, just got finished with his swim and was getting ready to go home.  His sibling, Piper (on the right), didn’t want to leave..

 

During my first visit, on the 28th of July, I met a very nice lady with three dogs.

America is a 10 year old mixed breed dog who got that name because the dog is a mix of many breeds, kind of like how America is a mix of all kinds of people.

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Sophia is a 6 year old chihuahua.

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Lily is a 10 year old Lab and Collie mix.

 

 

Bruiser is a 6 year old part pitbull.

 

Below is a video of fireflies at Bare Cove Park.  The lack of light and various animal aand bird noises give it a little bit of a spooky feel.

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Today’s featured link is a link to a 30 minute documentary that explains the history of Bear Cove Park.  The documentary was put together by Scott McMillan, the very same man who gave me a detailed tour of the dockhouse.

 


Pope John Paul II Park (Dorchester, MA)

Dates Of Visits: June 17 & 18, 2017

Location: There are several entrances at Gallivan Blvd. and Hallet St., Dorchester, MA

Cost: Free

Parking: There are multiple parking lots at the entrances

Hours: Open from sunrise til one hour before sunset

Trail Size/Difficulty: 2 miles, easy with moderate inclines

Handicapped Accessible: Yes

Dog Friendly: Yes

Highlights: wildlife, scenic, easy trails, ball fields

Website: Pope John Paul II Park

With its rolling hills, abundant wildlife, pretty trees and flowers and beautiful views, it’s hard to believe it once was the home to a drive in (remember those?)  and a land fill.

Connected to Senator Joseph Finnegan Park, Pope John Paul II Park is part of the extensive Neponset River Greenway.

Pope John Paul Park is not only beautiful for it’s natural beauty, there are also two murals at the park.

 

There are a variety of birds at Pope John Paul Park (but I didn’t see any cardinals which was unusual).

 

This bird had a meal for his or her babies,

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There are many pretty trees, plants and rolling hills along the paths.

 

The paths at John Paul Park are easy with some moderate inclines.

 

The paths are perfect for running, riding your bicycle or rollerblading with your dog.

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There are some wonderful views along the Neponset River which separates Dorchester from picturesque Quincy, MA.

 

People like to use the river to cruise along with their jet ski, boat or other aquatic vessel.

 

There is also a stream that flows under the bridge at the park.

 

There are also soccer and lacrosse fields as well as pavilions and benches for people to sit and watch the games.

Pope John Paul Park is a great place to bring your dog.  Zoey, a 5 year old mixed breed dog, brought her ball with her to the park.

 

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Senator Joseph Finnegan Park (Dorchester, MA)

Date Of Visit: June 17, 2017

Location: corner of Taylor St. and Water St., Neponset area of Dorchester, Boston, MA

Hours: Open sunrise to sunset

Cost: Free

Parking: Parking is available by the main entrances on Water or Taylor St.  You can also park at Pope John Paul II Park on Hallet St or Gallivan Blvd as the trails for each park are connected

Park size/trail difficulty: 15 acres/easy

Handicapped Accessible: Yes

Dog Friendly: Yes

Highlights: scenic views, cycling/walking paths, wildlife

Website: Finnegan Park

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Bigger isn’t necessarily better.

Part of the Neponset River Greenway, at a scant 15 acres Finnegan Park is one of the smaller yet more charming parks to open in the Boston area.

Dedicated in May of this year, Finnegan Park is a small yet popular destination for anyone looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city it borders.

Some of the park’s more appealing features are the scenic views and birds that inhabit the area, if you find that sort of things appealing that is.  In the background you can see some of the residential buildings in the lovely Quincy, Massachusetts neighborhood. Egrets and Canadian geese are common visitors at the park.

There are also blocks of what looks like granite with words like “Charity” as well as the history of the area and descriptions of the wildlife in the area engraved on them.

One of the really cool things about the park is the train that passes by.  The very same train I take to work.

Named after former state senator and representative Joseph Finnegan who worked hard to revitalize the area, Finnegan Park is a great place to ride your bike, play hopscotch or take your dog for a walk.

 

 

Gladys had a fun time walking along the trails at Finnegan Park.

Finnegan Park is only one segment of the Neponset River Greenway.  In a future post I will be showing off another beautiful part of this project.

 

 

 


Wickham Park (Manchester, CT)

Date Of Visit: May 30, 2017

Location: 1814 Tolland St, Manchester, CT

The address on the website is for the back entrance which is locked   Do not enter this address into your GPS.  The best way to go is to follow the instructions on their website or try using the address listed above.  I had to pull into a Dunkin’ Donuts to get directions.

There is also limited free parking on a side street (Vernon Rd)

Cost: $5 per car

Hours: open daily, sunrise to sunset

Park Size/Trail Difficulty: 250 acres/easy trails with some gentle inclines

Handicapped Accessible: Yes.

Dog Friendly: Yes

Highlights: scenic views, ponds, wetlands, wildlife, art, well maintained grounds, disc-golf field, bird sanctuary, nature center, gardens, flowers,hiking trails, picnic areas, ample parking

Website: Wickham Park

Map of Wickham Park: Map Of Wickham Park

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Wickham Park has a little a bit of everything for everyone.  There are gardens, wetlands and hiking trails for the nature lover.  There is a nature center and bird sanctuary for animal lovers to learn more about the inhabitants of the grounds.  There is also a play area for children and a beautiful scenic outlook for people to sit and enjoys beautiful views of the Hartford area.  There’s even tennis courts, pavilions and a disc golf field.  It is also one of the most beautiful parks I have visited (I know – I say that about all of the parks I visit).

If you have limited time or you don’t want to walk around too much, I would suggest going to Lot B first.  But, you can drive from lot to lot so tall of the areas of he park are very accessible.

Lot B is across from the Japanese themed Lotus Gardens, Irish Garden and other natural beauties.

There are also pretty structures and statues along the paths.

Knot Garden has a maze (it’s not as easy as it looks), statues and beautiful flowers.

There is a wide variety of birds, mammals and other animals at Wickham Park.

I caught this bird taking a dust bath.

These frogs were busy.  So I left them to their privacy, as much as there is at a park.

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There is also a bird sanctuary at Wickham.  All of the birds at the sanctuary were either injured or unable to survive in the wild on their own.  And, it looks like more are on their way.

Not all of the animals at the sanctuary were birds.  This sneaky fella found a way to score some choice feed.

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There is also a fun and educational nature next to a playground.  The animals are the nature center were much easier to photograph.

Wickham Park also offers stunning views of the Hartford and surrounding area.

There is also a disc golf field and easy to moderate hiking trails.

Wickham is worth the visit just for the art and architecture and nature alone.  The trails and gardens are just an added bonus.

Dogs are allowed at Wickham Park.  I was able to click a few photos of Holly as she hunted for a rabbit.

The only bad thing about my trip to Wickham Park was getting there.  The website has the address listed as 1329 Middle Turnpike West, Manchester, CT.  This is the back entrance and there was a gate preventing entry this way.  The main entrance is actually on Tolland St.

If you do use the address on their website (1329 Middle Turnpike West, Manchester, CT), to get to Wickham, drive west onto Burnside Ave and take a right onto Long Hill Drive (at a set of lights after about a mile (a Dunkin’ Donuts and strip mall will be on your left).  Then, take the next right onto Tolland St. or Tolland Turnpike.  The main entrance to Tolland Park will be on the right after about a mile.

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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.


Eastern Marsh Trail (Salisbury, MA)

Date Of Visit: May 21, 2017

Location: Friedenfels St, Salisbury, MA

Hours: accessible everyday

Cost: Free

Parking: There are 15 total parking spots designated for the rail trail.  There are 5 spots in the main parking lot on Friedenfels St at the entrance to the trail.  There are also 10 parking spots across the street from the main parking lot.  There is a larger parking lot in front of the main parking area that is a private lot.  Don’t park there as your car could be towed.

 

Trail Size/Difficulty: 1.4 miles, flat, easy trail.

Handicapped Accessible: Yes, the main trail is handicapped accessible.  The side trails are not accessible due to the rocky trails and steep inclines.  There is ramp to the right of the staircase to the trail at the parking area.

Dog Friendly: Yes

Highlights: scenic views, wide and easy trail, side trail, dog friendly, family friendly, benches to sit at, wildlife

Fitbit Stats: 1.8 miles, 502 calories, 4,504 steps (one way)

Website: Eastern Marsh Trail

Once the site of a grand railroad that ran from Boston to sections of Boston’s North Shore and New Hampshire, the Eastern Marsh Rail Trail is a true gem of the coastal section of the north shore (cities and towns north of Boston).

The railroad, which would be extended over time, began operating from Boston to Salem in 1838.  It would later be extended to Salisbury and other territories in Massachusetts and New Hampshire in 1840.

Alas, the last train crossed the Merrimack River in 1965, leaving behind abandoned rail lines.  Eventually, it was proposed that the rail lines should be converted to rail trails.  Now, many decades later, instead of being used by noisy engines often carrying dangerous cargo, the rail lines are being used for exercise, dog walking and just enjoying nature.

The 1.4 mile Eastern Marsh Trail connects to the Clipper City Rail Trail  to the south and the Ghost Trail to the north.

The Eastern Marsh Trail, which is part of a system of trails along the coastal north shore which includes Newburyport and Salisbury.

The trails at Eastern Marsh Trail are flat with no significant inclines.

The Stevens Trail is a short trail (about .4 mile) that hooks up back to the main trail.  There are some views and a cute bridge along the trail.  You may see a few chipmunks along the way.  It has some minor inclines but I would classify it as easy.  This trail is not handicapped accessible due to the rocky terrain and a bridge that only has steps and no ramp.

The views along the trail are beautiful.

There are still remnants from the original railroad at the beginning of the trail.  Maybe some day they will revive the rail!

This mural from the Salisbury Art Stroll held on May 13 was still remaining along the trail.  I just missed it by a week.  But, I may have to drop by next year to check out the art on display.  This mural was a collaborative effort worked on by a group of artists.

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There were lots of little critters on and off the trail.  I would hear rustling in the trees or bushes in one direction only to be distracted by some other sound of activity in another direction.

Birds

turtles

and chipmunks

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are just a few of the animals you may see on the trail.

But, birds, chipmunks and turtles aren’t the only animals who frequent the trail.

The trail is a popular with dogs and their walkers.

I love the “side eye” Peter, a 14 year old Golden Retriever, was giving his human walker in the first photo.  All he wanted to do was greet me and say hi.

I love how May’s white fur looked against the background.  May is a 6 year old Golden Doodle.

Look at the big smiles on Mako (on the right) and Murphy (on the left)!  Mako is 6.5 years old and Murphy is 7 years old.  They are both Labradors.