Tag Archives: Hiking

Long Hill (Beverly, MA)

Dates of Visits: June 17, 2018 and July 13, 2018

Location: 572 Essex St, Beverly, MA (about 30 minutes northeast of Boston,MA)

Hours: Gardens are open year-round, daily, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Allow a minimum of 1½ hours. Peak bloom in May and June. Guided tours are offered in spring, summer, and fall and by appt.

Cost: Free

Parking: There is ample parking at the end of the entrance of the park to the left of the road

Trail Size/Difficulty: 1.2 mile loop, easy to slightly moderate in some areas

Handicapped Accessible: Yes, the estate and the grounds of the estate are accessible, although the trails may not be accessible to some people

Dog Friendly: Yes

Websites: Long Hill Trustees Website

Long Hill Facebook page

Maps: Map of Long Hill Gardens

Long Hill Trail Map

Highlights: gardens, trails, wildlife, farm, Long Hill estate, family friendly, children’s garden

Fun Facts:

  • The estate located at Long Hill was purchased by former Atlantic Monthly editor Ellery Sedgwick
  • The estate is available for weddings and other events
  • The trustees have partnered with the Food Project to give children the opportunity to learn about sustainable agricultural practices

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So, it’s the middle of July already. How did that happen?

After a brief heatwave, the weather has improved and it has been the perfect weather for a walk and photo session at Long Hill. In fact, I liked it so much I went twice.

Long Hill is teeming with flowers and plant life, especially this time of the year.

Adjacent to the flower gardens is what appears to be a storage area where they keep flowers to be planted at a later time.

There are also several flower beds and a well maintained garden next to the main parking area.

There are a variety of trees at Long Hill. Many of them have the name of the tree posted on them.

But, there is only one truly majestic tree at Long Hill; the tree standing in front of the estate at Long Hill.

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This dramatic copper beech was planted by the estate owner Mabel Sedgwick. The twin trunks of the tree seem to hug each other and merge together. In fact, legend holds that two trees were planted in the same hole and then they grew together.

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The grounds of the estate are well manicured with statues and other decorative items scattered around. The grounds of the house consist of six acres of gardens, including formal, geometric outdoor “rooms.” The sections or “rooms” include a variety of flowers such as handkerchief trees, southern magnolias and other plants that aren’t typically seen this far north.

The grounds are also a wonderful place to have a picnic with your family as this family did with their little one. Their little one was standing behind the tree when the photo was taken.

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As if all this wasn’t enough, there is also a 1.2 mile trail with mostly gentle with some moderate inclines. You can find many birds, garter snakes, frog and even a few chipmunks along the way.

If you get tired along the way don’t worry. There are chairs for you to sit.

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There are certain sounds you expect to hear while hiking along a trail. A bird squawking. A frog croaking or even a chipmunk chirping. These are all normal sounds you may hear along the trail. But, a rooster crowing? Yes, there is a small farm at Long Hill.

Next to the farm is a community outreach program called The Food Project to teach children how to grow sustainable foods, conserve and even pick their own fruit and vegetables.

Long Hill is a dog friendly park (technically, you may be asked to register your pet and sign some forms beforehand).

During my visits I saw a number of cute dogs.

Brutus is a 5 year old Doberman.

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Remy is a 3 year old Jack Russell Terrier mix.

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Whiskey is a 5 year old mixed breed dog.

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Don’t forge to stop by my Facebook page to view photos, posts and other fun stuff not included in my blog!


Mass Audubon North River Wildlife Sanctuary (Marshfield, MA)

 

Date Of Visit: December 4, 2016

Location: 2000 Main St, Marshfield, MA (about 45 minutes south of Boston, MA)

Hours: Mon-Fri, 8:30 am-4 pm
Sat (April-December), 9 am-4 pm
Closed Sundays (hours may change depending on the season)

Trails are open dawn to dusk

Cost: Members: Free
Nonmembers:
$4 Adults
$3 Children (2-12)
$3 Seniors (65+)

Parking: There are about a 15-20 parking spaces in the main parking area (street parking may also be available)

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Dog Friendly: No, Mass Audubon parks do not allow dogs

Handicapped Friendly: No, the trails are rocky and hard to navigate in some areas

Trail Size/Difficulty: 225 acres, 2.5 mile loop, easy trail difficulty with gentle inclines

Highlights: birds, wildlife, views of the water, boardwalks, nature center

Web Site: North River Wildlife Sanctuary

Trail Map: North River Wildlife Sanctuary Trail Map

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Nestled about half way between Boston, MA to the north and Caped Cod to the south, Marshfield, MA is a serene trail that also happens to bethe home to one of the best places for bird watching.

North River Wildlife Sanctuary actually has two sections to the trails.  At least I consider them two sections.  The trail from the nature education center

The trails at North River are easy with some slight inclines.  Boardwalks allow access over marshland and wetland.  However, not all of the trails are on clearly marked trails.  Look for yellow and blue marked trees to ensure you stay on the trails.  .

Along the trail closest to the nature center, there is a trail that is mostly dirt with soem gravel paths and boardwalks.  If you do take some side trails (I suggest you do), you may come across some trails like the one pictured above that is covered in leaves and not clearly defined.  Most trails are even with some minor inclines.

Along the trails there are some educational and recreational objects.

This sign identifies a certain type of bark and needles along the trail.  There is also a tent for visitors to play with.  There used to be two of them but they felt it made visitors too tense.

 

The Woodland Loop (the main trail from the educational center) leads to the Hannah Ames Trail (named after a former resident of the land).  The 2.5 mile loop is easy with some pretty views.  I heard lots of birds but failed to photograph many of them (this is atheme with my visit as you will see later).  But the views are pretty and a boardwalk covers some wetland.

The gem of the sanctuary, has to be the trail that leads to the boardwalk with the observation platform by the North River.  The signs for the River Loop trail, which veers off from the Woodland Loop after a quarter of a mile or so, are sort of tucked away.  As a reference point, if you reach the tent on the Woodland Loop you’ve gone too far.

Once you cross the busy Summer Street (be careful), you will see a trail that leads to an open area with views of the North River in the distance.

There is a well worn grass trail that leads to a boardwalk over a wetland area.  Trust me, there is a bird in the first photo in the bottom row.  I swear.

The boardwalk leads to a very cool observation platform with cattails and other plants and trees along the sides of the platform.

The views from the platform are very pretty.  I didn’t see much bird activity and it was a fairly cold day with a blustery wind during my visit.

After leaving the platform area, I noticed a somewhat hidden trail, the Red Maple Loop.  For some reason, perhaps because of the thick brush and because it is heavily wooded, this is where I saw and heard the most activity.  In fact, I saw some bucks while I entered the trail but they caught me by surprise and I couldn’t get their photo.  There were lots of birds on this trail though.  Again, they’re very hard to photograph.  But, I did manage to photograph a few of them.

This Mass Audubon site also utilizes solar power as part of their commitment to the environment.

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Below is a video from the observation platform by the North River.  As you can tell by the audio, it was a pretty windy day!


Mount Monadnock (Jaffrey, NH)

Date Visited: September 17, 2016

Location: 116 Poole Rd, Jaffrey, NH

Trail Height: 3,165 feet

Trail Difficulty: Moderate

Time To Allot For Visit: 3-4 hours (up and down)

Cost: $5.00

Parking: There are several parking lots with ample parking but it does get busy and fills up during the spring summer and fall months

Dog Friendly: No

Highlights: scenic views, pretty flowers and trees, pretty rocky structures, birds, views of Boston skyline

Mount Monadnock Web Site: Mount Monadnock

Mount Monadnock Trail Map: Mount Monadnock Trail Map

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Standing at 3,165 feet, Mount Monadnock is considered one of New Hampshire’s “easier” climbs (according to alltrails.com).  But, before you lace up your hiking boots and pack up your car for the scenic drive to the majestic mountain in Jaffrey, New Hampshire, you may want to get a second opinion.

While it isn’t the hardest climb you will make, it also isn’t an easy climb, particularly for beginner climbers.  I saw more than a few climbers taking breaks on the side of the trail to the top.  But, it is worth all the hard work and time to get to the top when you see the views.

At the beginning of the trail, there is a reminder to not make or knock down the cairns on the trail.

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The dirt trail at Monadnock starts off easy enough as a straight trail with a slight incline.  From there, the trail gets tougher.  The inclines become more drastic and the terrain turn rocky.

There are some pretty views on the way to the top.  About three quarters of the way to the top of Mount Monadnock, there is an area to sit or stand and take in the views of the surrounding area.  On a clear day, you can see the Boston skyline.  You may be able to see it in some of these photos.

The trail gets slighly easier after the first 3/4 of the trail.  But only slightly.  Keep in mind this was my first hike up any mountain.  So, it may be much easier for an experienced climber.  In any case, there are several areas to take photos as you inch closer to the top.

Finally, I made it to the top.  It took me about 2 to 2.5 hours to get to the top.  Bear in mind I had a camera with me that I had to make sure I didn’t hit against a rock (I always keep the camera by my side and not in my backpack or carrying case because you never know when you might need to take a photo at a moments notice) and again it was my first time hiking anything this size.  So, an experienced hiker without a camera would probably be able to complete the ascent in about an hour.

The views from the top are breath taking.  Be sure to take a sweater with you, even if it is a warm day when you go, because the winds at the top of the mountain are very strong.

I had enough trouble hiking up to the top by myself, never mind doing it with someone strapped to my back like this guy!

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Due to the geoloical makeup of Mount Monadnock, there are some little ponds of water and colorful grass at the top.

Keep in mind, Monadnock is a very popular attraction and the trail does get busy quickly, especially during ideal hiking days.

If you’re lucky, you may run into Larry Davis.  Larry has been hiking Monadnock virtually everyday (rain, snow or shine).  he has easily logged in thousands, probably tens of thousands, of hikes up and down Mount Monadnock.  He also takes some beautiful photos from Monadnock on a camera with film.  He was nice enough to pose for a few photos for me.

I found some other cool things on the trail.  There is a flying insect of some kind that makes a clicking sound while it flies, signs of fall and some interesting rocks with names etched into them.  The names etched into the rocks are the names of the families that lived at the bottom of the mountain or the surrounding areas and some are said to still live there today.

Mount Monadnock also has comfort stations and a general store at the base of the hill so you can refill the calories you will surely burn hiking.

In short, Mount Monadnock is the perfect hike for beginners and experienced hikers.  Hopefully, I’ll see you up there soon!

Below are some videos from my hike at Mount Monadnock.  You can hear the wind blowing in some of the videos.

 

 


World’s End (Hingham, MA)

Date Visited: August 28, 2016

Location: 250 Martin’s Lane, Hingham, MA

Hours: open everyday, 8:00 a.m. until sunset

Cost: $6 for adults, annual memberships which include free admission are available for $47

Size: 4.5  miles of continuous trails, 251 acres

Parking: there are three parking areas with roughly 20 spots each.  When I left at 1:00 p.m. the lot was full and there was a line of about half a dozen cars waiting to get into the park.

Time To Allot For Visit: 2 hours

Dog Friendly: Yes

Trail Difficulty: Easy to Moderate

Highlights: scenic views of the Boston skyline and surrounding area, wildlife, occasionally they display exhibits at the park, benches to sit along the trail, pretty trees and flowers, perfect for walkers, joggers, runners, cyclists and even horseback riders and anowshoeing during the winter

Lowlights: limited parking (if you follow the reservation Twitter they post alerts when the lot is full)

Website: World’s End

World’s End Trail Map

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I “misunderestimated” World’s End.  I figured it would be an “easy” quick jaunt (I usually save my easier treks for Sundays).  So, I slipped on my Chuck Taylor All-Stars and figured I would be home in a few hours.  Not the best choice of footwear in retrospect.  The trails can be rocky (particularly if you go off trail) and deceivingly steep in some areas.

There are a lot of side trails and it’s easy to get confused and cover the same area twice (or more) which can add quite a bit of time to your journey.  In fact, for a while, I thought World’s End would never end. It’s a good idea to take a map of the trails with you.  But, the trails are clearly marked and easy to negotiate with some slight inclines.

Undoubtedly, the main attraction for many visitors at World’s End are the views of the Boston skyline.  World’s End affords several views of the skyline and surrounding areas.  From the shoreline views to the views atop the highest point on the top of one of the many views of the rolling, hilly trails, the views are majestic.

World’s End is teeming with wildlife, particularly birds.  They’re very good at camouflaging themselves so you might have to squint to see a few of them.

But, the real gem of my visit was this deer I spotted on my way to Rocky Neck, one of the more secluded areas.  We stood mere feet away from each other staring, until she finally took off.

There are not just an abundant of bird life in the water.  Being a picture perfect summer day with low humidity and a slight breeze and calm waters, it was ideal for many of the boaters, paddlers and other seafaring folks.

This boater wanted some privacy, apparently.

World’s End has many other charming features such as this huge rock and an elevated viewing area for bird watching.

Of course, sometimes the more simpler things can be the prettiest features of the park.  These flowers, tress and views off the water caught my eye.

Some people took advantage of the shore to skim some stones.

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If there is one photo that sums up a trip to World’s End it is this photograph of a hammock with a bicycle next to it.  World’s End is the perfect place to lie out in a hammock with only the sounds of nature to keep you occupied and maybe a good book or your Itunes collection.

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There is also an art exhibit on display until Oct. 31, 2017.  The display was created by Jeppe Hein, an artist based out of Copenhagen and Berlin.  He is known worldwide for his interactive exhibits.  The exhibit is called, “A New End”.  According to the website for the exhibit, Hein wants to invite visitors to reflect and to transform how we view a familiar place like World’s End.

There were dogs-a-plenty at World’s End during my visit.  World’s End is a great place for dogs to play around in since there are many open, grassy areas and, of course, water to frolic around in.

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Casey is a happy, 8 year old English Pointer mix.  He is a rescue.

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Gus is a 2 year old Ridgeback mix.  He was very excited to be at the park!

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Tande is an 8 month old Portuguese Water Dog.  If Tande looks familiar, you may have seen a similarly looking dog on the news.  The President also has the same breed of dog. Tande came all the way from the Odysea Portuguese Water Dogs breeder in Colorado.

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One of my easiest subjects to photograph ever, Bella is a gentle 7 year old Shetland Sheepdog.

I also saw a variety of other dogs playing in the water and running around.

viewsofanemergencyrn was kind enough to nominate me for the One Lovely Blog Award.  Thank you!  I usually don’t post about these awards but I figured I would play along since she was so nice to mention me and I wanted to acknowledge her.  She is a sweet, strong person and a survivor (read her post to see what I mean).

So, the rues are I have to mention 7 random things about me.

  1. I didn’t take up photography seriously until last year
  2. I  love dogs and all animals (big surprise there) but they also seem to love me – the key is to not show fear and be confident and friendly around them (they can sense fear)
  3. I am a pescatarian (I only eat seafood and do not eat meat, primarily)
  4. People often say I bear a strong resemblance to Donnie Wahlberg (but I can’t sing like him)
  5. Although I love dogs, I don’t have one (I have a cat instead)
  6. Until my work schedule got too busy, I had been an active literacy tutor at my local library
  7. I run (and/or walk) 3 miles (at least) a day everyday

The rules say to nominate other bloggers to participate.  But, I’m going to skip that part.  In my experience, people have usually already posted a blog like this in the past and don’t want to do it again, or they don’t participate or they seem to be too busy.  But, thank you, once again for the mention, viewsofanemergencyrn!  I do appreciate you and I look forward to reading more of your posts.  You all should also!

Similar Places I have Visited In New England:

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Webb Memorial State Park (Weymouth, MA)

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Blue Hills Reservation (Milton, MA)

 

 

 


Breakheart Reservation (Saugus, MA)

Date Of Visit: August 14, 2016

Location: 177 Forest St, Saugus, MA 781-223-0834

Parking:  There are about 30 parking spots at the entrance to the park.  There is also off street parking and parking available down the street at Kasabuski Arena (201 Forest St).

Cost: Free

Hours: Open everyday sunrise to sunset

Size: 640 acres

Time To Allot For Visit: At least 1 to 3 hours

Trail difficulty: Easy to Moderate in some areas

Dog Friendly: Yes

Fun For One: Yes

Highlights: scenic views – especially from Eagle Rock, beach, play area for children, trails for cycling and running, fishing is allowed

Lowlights: side trails end without warning, some rocky terrain

Trail Map: Breakheart Reservation Trail Map

Website: Breakheart Reservation

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Once a hunting ground and camp area for Paleo Indians as far back as the Archaic and Woodland eras (roughly 1000 – 2000 BCE),  Breakheart Reservation boasts two grand lakes, scenic vistas, a beach, a play area for children and miles of trails.

The trails are mostly easy with some moderately difficult trails and inclines.  The side trails can be challenging more because of the rocky and narrow terrain rather than the inclines.  The one downside to taking the side trails is that some of the side trails end without warning, such was the case with the Saugus River Trail which is one of the first side trails you will see when you enter the park.  The Cedar Glen Golf Course abuts the park.  So, you’ll hear and see golfers whacking their golf balls around.  Also, one side trail leads to the children’s camping site which you’re not supposed to access and yet another trail just ends near a store’s parking lot.  So, you end up walking long distances only to have to turn around.  If you want to avoid walking on trails that end suddenly, it’s best to stay on the main trail and the trails that loop around the lake.

The two lakes at Breakheart Reservation, Pearce Lake and Silver Lake, have trails that loop around the bodies of water.

Pearce Lake (considered the lower pond) has a beach and some very pretty views.  It runs along the main trail and along some of the side trails.  It is the larger of the two lakes and it is where the beach is loacted.

Although Lake Pearce is the larger of the two lakes, I found Lake Silver (the upper pond) to be more intriguing than Lake Pearce.

Lake Pearce has two smaller islands in the lake.  One of the islands is accessible via a makeshift walking bridge of branches, sticks and anything else that you can walk on to get to the island.  Except for some pretty views there wasn’t much on the island.

At an elevation of 206 feet, Eagle Rock offers scenic views of the Boston skyline and surrounding areas.  One suggestion I would make if you do try to climb up to Eagle Rock (it’s a moderate climb) is to use the “back” way to the vista (aptly names Eagle Rock Trail).  I went straight up along the rocky edge along the Pearce Lake Trail and it was more challenging than it would have been if I had gone up via the trail on Eagle Rock Trail.  There are other points of higher elevation on other trails such as Castle Rock and Crow Hill.

There are many other beautiful and interesting things along the trails at Breakheart Reservation.

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Breakheart has a paved main trail which is usually packed with runner, cyclists and people walking their dogs, especially at the Bark Place where dogs are allowed off leash for a section of the trail.

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Breakheart Reservation stopped allowing vehicles on the trails some time ago.  It was great not having to look over your shoulder or carefully turn a corner worrying if a car or other vehicle might be coming your way.  It also allows lots of room for all the walkers, runners and, of course, the dogs that frequent the park.

These dogs had a great time at Breakheart Reservation during my visit…

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Bailey is a 6 year old Black Mouth Cur

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Cooper is a 7 year old Golden Retriever.

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Free is an 8 year old Bichon and Shih Tzu mix.

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Similar Places In New England I Have Visited:

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Dorrs Pond, Manchester, NH

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Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary

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Rutland State Park

Below is a video of the view from Eagle Rock.


Scott Tower (Holyoke, MA)

Date Visited: July 30, 2016

Location: 8 Scott Tower Rd, Holyoke, MA, behind the Community Field Park at 51 Community Field Park, Holyoke, MA

Hours: Open everyday, no hours listed but it can be dangerous at night

Cost: Free

Parking: Roughly a couple of dozen parking spots are available at Community Field

Dog Friendly: Yes

Time To Allot For Visit: Between half and hour and an hour

Highlights: the tower, pretty views of West Springfield and the surrounding area, wildlife, plant life, easy mile hike

Lowlights: Graffiti all over the tower (all. over), a lot of broken bottles and other litter on the premises, some stairs to the top of the tower have holes in them or are missing, tower not accessible by car

Fun For One: Yes

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The walk to the tower is an easy mile walk with a few moderate inclines.  An easy way to locate the trail to Scott Tower is to look for the overpass.  Walk directly under the overpass and stay on the asphalt trail.  There are a lot of side trails and trees, plants, graffiti and remnants of what looks like used to be a waterfall or wall.  Now, the party days are way behind the Nomad but zig zags and 4:20?  Well, I guess things don’t change that much after all.  You crazy Holyoke kids.

Below is a side by side comparison of what the tower reportedly looked like in its heyday (July 16, 1972), a photo of what it looked like in May 31, 2004 and what it looks like now (July 30, 2016).  Yes, it’s pretty cringe worthy.

As a footnote, the tower was originally built in 1942.  Also, there used to be a fence around the tower which you can see at the bottom of the second photo taken in 2004.  The fence seemed to work as there is very little if any graffiti on the tower in the second photo.  Of course, the fence was torn down (presumably by visitors) and the graffiti and vandalism escalated.

There was also a lot of rustling in the brush from squirrels, chipmunks and other types of wildlife.  The vulture on the pole we saw on the way to the tower seemed like a bad harbinger.

Once the main attraction of Craft Hill at Anniversary Hill Park, Scott Tower is now a shell of what it once was.  Graffiti and litter cover the tower and it appears to be in disrepair.  In fact, you can see some remnants of what look like what used to be tables or shelters.  Even with all of the graffiti and litter, the tower is still impressive.

Not all of the graffiti was just messy chicken scratch.  Whenever I go to a landmark in MA, especially Western MA, there is bound to be some artistic renderings.  There wasn’t anything too artsy there but these images did catch my eye.

 

Scott Tower has two areas for observation.  There is an observation deck on the second floor and there is an enclosed area at the top of the tower.  The tower offers views of nearby Mount Tom and the Holyoke area.  The views are pretty sweet.  Just be careful if you  do go to the top.  Some of the stairs are missing or have holes in them.

It’s pretty far down from the second floor of the tower.

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The tricky thing about accessing Scott Tower is you have to park at Community Field Park (use the entrance off Cherry St).  The entrance is behind the park.  There is usually a gate up that you can easily navigate around.  You will have to pass under an overpass on your way to the tower.  It is about a mile walk to the tower.  You will see many side trails on your way to the tower but stay on the main trail for the easiest, most direct route.

While I was at Community Field Park before we began the walk to Scott Tower, we saw this beautiful dog.  Remy is a 4 year old Black and Tan Coonhound

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Below are some videos of a walking tour of the tower.  I really had to watch my step in the first video.  So, it’s mostly a video of the stairs and me wheezing.

I had to stop the second video so I could take some photos of the openings in the tower and the walls.

Just as an aside, I am regularly updating my categories at the top and bottom of my posts.  The “fun for one” category at the top simply means it can be fun to do by yourself.  Being a single person, I often take this into account before I decide to photograph or visit places.  I went with my mom this time so it was a lot of fun but it was something you could do by yourself or, better yet, with a dog!

Similar places in New England I have visited:

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Poet’s Tower, Greenfield, MA

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Bancroft Tower, Worcester, MA

Similar places in New England I have not visited (yet):

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Scargo Tower, Dennis (Cape Cod), MA

newport

Newport Tower, Newport, Rhode Island

 


Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary (Topsfield, MA)

Date Visited: July 16, 2016

Location: Mass Audubon, 87 Perkins Row, Topsfield, MA (about half an hour north of Boston, MA and an hour southeast of Manchester, NH) 978-887-9264

Hours: presently,  Tues–Fri, 9 am–4 pm
weekends & Mon holidays, 9 am–5 pm

November-April
Tues-Sun & Mon holidays, 9 am-4 pm

May-October
Tues–Fri, 9 am–4 pm
weekends & Mon holidays, 9 am–5 pm

Trails
Tues-Sun, & Mon holidays, dawn to dusk

Cost:

Members: Free
Nonmembers:
$4 Adults
$3 Children (2-12)
$3 Seniors (65+)

Parking: There are about 50 parking spots.  You shouldn’t have too much of a hard time finding parking unless there is an event or summer camp is in session

Size: 12 square miles

Time To Allot For Visit: I was there 5 hours and I still didn’t see everything but you can take in most of the best parts of the park in 2 to 3 hours

Dog Friendly: No, most Audubon parks are not dog friendly

Highlights: bodies of water, plentiful wildlife, pretty flowers and plants, observation tower, canoe rentals (if you’re a Mass Audubon member)

From the moment I walked to the visitor center at the Mass Audubon Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary, I encountered wildlife.  In fact, I found this rabbit chewing on some greenery in the shrub by the office.

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That is the great thing about Ipswich River Sanctuary.  If you’re an animal lover, or even if you just like them a little, then you will love this place.

Not only are the animals abundant, they are also relatively friendly and not all that shy.  Well, most of them weren’t too shy.

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The well-fed red squirrel let me get very close to him or her, so long as I didn’t affect his or her food supply.  A lady who had been sitting there on the bridge wall before I arrived has been intentionally leaving seeds or some other type of food the squirrel was enjoying which allowed me to get some great shots.  Thanks, random lady!

There are also a wide variety of bugs and other insects at the park.  Bug spray and covering up are a must (I especially suggest a hat since one particular bug kept landing in my hair).  And most bug sprays don’t stop all bugs.  The black insect below was particularly menacing.  Also, I never saw so many dragon flies in one spot as I did at Ipswich River Sanctuary but they were pretty harmless.

There are some beautiful views and plant life at Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary.  The colors of the flowers really pop out and the trails are well defined.  Many of these pretty features of the landscape were created 15,000 years ago by a glacier.

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You can also rent canoes, if you are a member, for $10/hour for a minimum of 2 hours.  So, the cost is $20 or more.  You pay for the canoes at the front office and then you have to lug the paddles and life vests along with a key to the where the canoes are locked up (about a half a mile or so away) at the canoe launch.  The canoe launch is right next to where the canoes are locked up.

One thing I have seen at other parks that is present at Ipswich are bat boxes.  These bat boxes are designed to give daytime roots for little brown bats.  Bats are important because they eat lots of mosquitoes and other insects, the plaque next to the boxes explains (then get more bats there please).  Little brown bats have been the victims of white nose syndrome,an illness which has been affecting brown bats while they hibernate during the winter.  The cause is not yet known.  So, the boxes are meant to give them a safe and convenient way for them to rest.  The boxes were constructed by Eagle Scout Sean Enos and Boy Scout Troop 48 of Lynnfield, MA.  The lumber was donate by a local business.

There is also an observation tower at Ipswich Wildlife Sanctuary.  The three story tower built of wood is a little shaky but safe.  The tower overlooks a swamp and meadow.  There wasn’t much wildlife except for the very occasional bird  (I included photos of the egret and other bird who landed in the water in the earlier slideshow).  I think that is you had unlimited time and a lot of patience as well as a good set of binoculars (I didn’t have any of those things) you could see a few grand birds.

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One of the things I noticed and I had not seen before my trip to Ipswich are pink water lilies.  I have seen white water lilies but never saw the pink water lilies until my visit there.

Like most Mass Audubon sanctuaries, the Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary is well kept and family friendly.  The grounds are well manicured and there is even a play area for children.  They also have a summer camp program where they teach children about nature in a fun and exciting way.  All in all, the Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary is a fun and exciting place for people of all ages.

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