Tag Archives: Park

Look Park (Florence, MA)

Date Of Visit: September 15, 2018

Location: 298 Main St, Florence (Northampton), MA

Hours: 7 a.m. until dusk

Cost:

January 1-March 31
No charge on weekdays; $5 on weekends

April 1-Columbus Day Weekend
$7 on weekdays; $9 on weekends, holidays

After Columbus Day Weekend-December 31
$3 on weekdays; $5 on weekends

Seasonal passes and bracelets can also be purchased

There are additional modest fees for riding the steam train, renting pavilions and playing mini golf.

Parking: There are several parking areas for about a couple hundred cars.

Park Size/Difficulty: 150 acres/easy

Handicapped Accessible: Yes

Dog Friendly: Yes

Website: Look Memorial Park

Highlights:

tennis courts, waterfall, family friendly, train, athletic fields, pond, bridges, wildlife, trees, water spray park, flowers, zoo, playgrounds,mini golf course, garden house

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If you’re looking for a fun time look no further than Look Park in Florence (a village in Northampton), MA.

Although it has so much to offer from athletic fields to tennis courts to a train that carries visitors throughout the park, Look Park is one of the more overlooked parks in western MA.  OK, I’ll stop with the word play now.

One of the first things that will catch your eye is the water fountain at Look Park. The fountain which is located along the entrance to the park, has multicolored tiles in the background and Frank Newhall Look Memorial Park inscribed on the concrete wall.

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Frank Newhall Look, the person who the park is named after, was the chief executive of the Prophylactic Brush Company, Florence, from 1877 to 1911.  His wife, Fannie Burr Look, provided the land, money to develop the land and a trust fund for future upkeep and maintenance.  No tax payers money is used for the upkeep of the park.  Entry fees, donations and proceeds from their concession concessions enabl the Board of Trustees to keep the park open and ensure tax payer money is not used to keep the park running.

One of the treasures of the park are the trees and flowers.  Many of these trees like those shown below have tags or signs on or near them stating the name of the tree and some facts about them.

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This tree which seems to have two trees (stems) growing out of the same trunk (known as codominant stems), is a Paper Birch White Birch tree.  The sign on the tree states that native Americans used the birch from this type of tree which can grow to as much as 70 feet, to make their lightweight birchbark canoes.

In fact, there are beautiful plants and trees throughout the park.

Tall trees abound in the park.  To get some perspective of just how tall these trees are, take a look at this man walking by this tree.

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This tree was dedicated to Grace and Iris.

But, Look Park has much more than flowers and trees.  There is also a pond and a stream that runs through the park

Mill River runs parallel to the park.

There is also a variety of wildlife at the park.  Who knew geese knew how to read signs!

In addition to the animals you may see roaming the park, there are also animals in the Christenson Zoo.  Christenson Zoo is more of a sanctuary than a zoo.  All of the raptors in the zoo have been rescued and would not be able to survive in the wild due to their injuries.

One of my favorite parts of the park are the bridges.  The covered bridges.

Birdhouses that look like actual houses are located in the park.

Another one of the cool features at the park is the steamer train that takes passengers in a loop around the park.

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If you don’t like train rides, you can go on this train slide.

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Or, give the pedal boats a try.

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Pavilions can also be rented for large parties.

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One of the other family friendly attractions at the park, the water spray park, was not working during my visit possibly because it was late in the summer season.

There are historic reminders at the park.  A sign along one of the trails shows how high the waters crested to during the hurricane of 1938.  It’s hard to imagine the water being so high!

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Dogs are welcome at Look Park.  The level trails and open spaces at Look Park are sure to make any dog happy.  I met two of these happy dogs during my visit.

Beau is a 4 and a half year old Pyranese.

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Clyde is a 3 year old hound mix.

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Christopher Columbus Waterfront Park (Boston, MA)

 

Dates Of Visits: August 19, 2018 and September 4, 2018

Location: 105 Atlantic Ave, Boston, MA

Cost: Free

Hours: Open daily sunrise to sunset

Size/Trail Difficulty: 4.5 acres/easy

Parking: There is street parking and several parking garages in the area

Handicapped Accessible: Yes

Dog Friendly: Yes

Website: Christopher Columbus Waterfront Park

Highlights: statue of Christopher Columbus, memorial, scenic, fountain, trellis, family friendly

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Although he is not from the area, Christopher Columbus can be considered an adopted son of the North End, a once, and still somewhat, largely Italian neighborhood (although Columbus may have been more likely Spanish they will still claim him).

Dedicated in 1974, Christopher Columbus Park is a family friendly park with open spaces for tanning, reading or just sitting and enjoying a very summer-like day as was the case during my two visits. There are also wonderful views at the park.

The park offers beautiful views of the harbor.  Harbor boats can be seen coming and going on their scheduled trips.

The views from the waterfront are very pretty.

A statue of the explorer who the park was named after is located along the trellis.

The 6x3x2 (12 feet tall in total if you include the base) monument is made out of white Carrara marble, the same marble that is mined in Carrara, Italy.  It is the very same marble from which Michelangelo sculpted the statues “Pieta,” “Moses,” and “David.” There appears to be ropes and a piling with a float on it by his legs.  He is clutching a book or manuscript and a dagger is attached to his belt. The statue was designed by Andrew J. Mazzola and it was fabricated by Norwood Monumental Works in 1979.

A fountain dedicated to Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy and next to the Rose Kennedy Garden, is a peaceful place to sit and watch the water.

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Or, you can use it to cool down like Teagan a 6 month old Golden Retriever.

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Lilly, an 8 year old Golden Retriever, didn’t like the fountain as much as Teagan but she still liked the park. I love how  Golden retrievers always seem to look like they are smiling.  Probably because they are.

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The Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Garden, dedicated to the matriarch of the Kennedy family, has a wide variety of flowers.

But, the pretty flowers are not only located in the garden.  There are beautiful flowers throughout the park.

The other main attraction, beside the statue of Columbus, is the trellis.  Ivy and white lights are attached to the trellis.  During the holiday season, blue lights are attached to it.

During my visit, there was a scavenger hunt by the Dragon Of Bostonshire.  This lady was giving a speech with hints for all of the participants.

There’s lots of entertainment at the park.  This musician played a heartbreaking instrumental of Vincent by Don McLean.

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Another more famous musician was playing at the park during my visit.  I could write a blog post just about him.  The most interesting thing about Keytar is his identity.  Or the mystery behind his identity. Keytar Bear is a local celebrity.  But, little else is known about him.  Keytar plays at a variety of different locations in the Boston area, unannounced.  You could see him at a train station (I’ve seen him at South Station) or any other venue in the Boston area, particularly during the warmer seasons.  In fact, it’s so normal to see him people really aren’t fazed by his presence.  No one knows what he (I am pretty sure I read the musician is a male in an article) looks like or his name.  But, everyone knows him when they see him.

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If music isn’t your thing, there are other ways to entertain yourself like a game of hop scotch.

Or, you could climb a tree.

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There is also a memorial dedicated to the 9 marines from Massachusetts who were killed in the Beirut bombing (220 U.S. Marines, 241 US Service personnel and 305 people in total were killed that day by the bombers).  It’s easy to miss if you don’t know it is there.  It is next to the children’s playground and close to the Average Joe’s restaurant.  The memorial is easy to miss if you don’t know it’s there.  In fact, I made a second trip to find it after I missed it the first time.

It always strikes me when I read the names and ages of just how young these soldiers are when they die.  They had so much more to live for.

The nine Marines from Massachusetts names are inscribed on the memorial.  They are:

  • LCP Bradley J. Campus – Lynn, 1962-1983
  • LCP Michael J. Delvin – Westwood, 1962-1983
  • SGT MAJ Frederick B. Douglass – Cataumet, 1936-1983
  • CPT Sean R. Gallagher – North Andover, 1952-1983
  • SGT Edward J. Gargano – Quincy, 1962-1983
  • CPT Richard J. Gordon – Somerville, 1961-1983
  • CPT Michael S. Haskell – Westborough, 1950-1983
  • SGT Steven B. LaRiviere – Chicopee, 1961-1983
  • LCP Thomas S. Perron – Whitinsville, 1964-1983

Below is a video of Keytar Bear playing his keytar with a background track.  His music is very chill.


Winnekenni Park (Haverhill, MA)

Date Of Visit:July 15, 2018

Location: 347 Kenoza Ave, Haverhill, MA (about 45 minutes north of Boston, MA or 50 minutes southeast of Concord, NH)

Hours: open daily sunrise to sunset

Cost: Free

Parking: There are about 20 parking spaces at the main entrance. Parking is also allowed on the side of the road past the main entrance. There are also additional parking lots throughout the park and trail (see attached map)

Trail Size/Difficulty: 700 acres of roughly 10 miles of trails/easy to moderate

Handicapped Accessible: Some areas of the park and playground are. But the trails are not.

Dog Friendly: Yes

Highlights: castle, lake, wildlife, trails, playground, scenic

Fun Facts:

  • Winnekenni (pronounced “winnie kinny”)is an Algonquian Native American term for “Very Beautiful”
  • The castle was built between 1873-1875
  • they host several events throughout the year at the castle or at the park
  • Kenoza Lake, which is encircled by the main trail, was originally known as “Great Pond.” It was later renamed in 1859 by John Greenleaf Whittier as “Kenoza Lake”, which means “Lake of the Pickerel”
  • Winnekenni Park became Haverhill’s first public park during the early 1800’s

Tips:

  • check out plug pond and the basin (see map) for scenic views off the beaten path
  • some of the side trails are tricky
  • they usually dissuade people from parking at the castle unless you have a function there
  • take the castle trail to go to…the castle

Website: Winnekenni Park

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Trail Map: Winnekenni Trail Map

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Formerly the home to Dr James Nichols, who used the area to test his experiments with chemical fertlizers, Winnekenni Park offers a variety of scenic views and difficulty levels of hiking or running.

The main trail which goes around Kenoza Lake (Dudley Porter Trail) offers some pretty views and active wildlife.

The trail to the castle was fairly easy and quick. I found myself at the castle within 15 minutes after entering the park. In fact, I was a bit disappointed that it was so easy to find. I would later wish everything was this easy to get to.

The castle, which was built between 1873 to 1875 is still used today for weddings, reunions and other social events. The day I visited it was being used. So I was unable to gain access.

There are a couple of memorials, of the many at the park, at the castle. This memorial is dedicated to Dorothy M. McClennan, a Haverhill native and benefactor to the castle.

According to his obituary, Nicholas Jay Morani, of Methuen, MA, died unexpectedly at the age of 25 in March, 2017. It’s always sad to see lives cut short at such a young age.

If you came to see just see the castle, which I had originally planned, your visit could be a very short one. You could hike or walk up to the castle and back to your car in an hour and most likely 30 to 45 minutes. Of course, I wanted to see more.

The trails at Winnekenni Park are mostly easy and wide.

I am always looking for treasures. One of the secrets to most visitors too the park are the trails off the main trail. Take the Plug Pond Trail foe some scenic views, pretty flowers and tall trees.

I must admit I got a little lost going on the side trails and the map I had didn’t seem to help much on the side trails. In any case, somehow I found myself in this clearing. It offered some pretty views but I don’t think i was supposed to be there. Eventually, I got out of there and made my way back to the main trail.

As you walk along the trails you will see a few more memorials, beautiful views and some other interesting things. Do be careful, especially if you travel some of the side trails or lesser used trails. Horses are apparently frequent visitors to the park.

This memorial was another one of the monuments I noticed along the trail. It appears it was recently visited based on the items left on the bench.

This memorial is dedicated to Ralph J Potter Jr.

Another memorial along the trail is this bench which is dedicated to Dudley Porter, who the main trail is named after. Porter was a successful business man. His wife dedicated the memorial to him after he passed away in 1905. It was actually built as a fountain and bench. But, the fountain no longer works as the main water connection has been disabled.

This memorial is located near the main entrance. it is dedicated to Christopher J Laubner. The garden and short walkway is called “Christopher’s Corner,” Originally from Lawrence, MA, Christopher moved to Haverhill where he lived until his death. He was only 31 when he passed away in 2014.

Winnekenni Park is a dog friendly park and I saw many cute dogs during my hike there.

Ziya is a 13 month old German Shepherd.

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Luna is a 2 year old pitbull.

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Not only is she adorable. She also loves to fetch!

Lily (or Lilly – her mom and dad spell it differently) is a 3 year old mixed breed.

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Mira is a 2 year old German Short Haired Pointer.

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Princess is a 1 and a half year old pitbull mix.

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Underground At Ink Block (Boston, MA)

Date Of Visit: July 12, 2018

Location: 90 Traveler St, Boston, MA

Hours: Accessible all day except between the hours of 1 a.m. and 5 a.m.

Cost: Free

Parking: There are 175 parking spots (parking at Underground Ink is not free) and additional street parking and parking garages nearby

Handicapped Accessible: Yes

Dog Friendly: Yes

Website: Underground At Ink Block

Highlights: art, bar, dog park, scenic

Fun Facts:

  • there is over 100,000 square feet of wall art at Underground Ink
  • the park is located under I-93 (Interstate 93)

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Boston’s newest hot spot doesn’t have a cover charge nor does it have a dress code.  It doesn’t even have a roof.  Well, it sort of does.

Located under the I-93 overpass, Underground Ink Block blends art, entertainment and beauty in a most unlikely place.

One of the more beautiful aspects of the park are the murals.

There are  several murals at the park.  This mural, which appears on the wall at the entrance to the park, was painted by Vyal Reyes.

 

There is a large group of murals by the parking area.

This particular mural was painted by Watts, California native Upendo Taylor.

 

Three artists worked on this mural which is part of a group of three murals that share one wall.  Problak Don Rimx and Marka27 all collaborated to paint this beautiful mural

 

 

New York native Cey Adams painted this lovely mural.

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Nepali artist IMAGINE (Sneha Shrestha) painted this imaginative mural.  Imagine likes to incorporate her native Sanskrit language with modern designs.

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This mural, located under one of the overpasses above, was painted by Percy Fortini-Wright.

You may notice some of the landmarks and symbols associated with the Boston (such as the famous Citgo sign that hovers over the left field wall at Fenway Park) on the right hand corner of the mural.

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This mural, which covers the outermost wall of the area, was painted by Hoxxoh.

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If you get lost at the Underground Ink Block,  just follow the bright lines on the ground.  The colored streaks on the ground lead to the different murals around the park

Underground Ink also an area for hosting events, such as yoga, or to stop by and have a game of ring toss and toss back a few beverages with friends.

There are also some pretty views at the park (at least if you look in the opposite direction of the busy intersection at the entrance)

 

 

But, the highlight for many of us has to be the dog park.  Tucked away in the back of the parking area, the dog park has lots of room for dogs and humans to play.

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During my visit. there was a “Hound Around” event for dogs.  The event, which was sponsored by Capital One at Ink Block, was hosted by The Urban Hound.

The park is big enough for the dogs to roam around in and play without being too crowded.

There were pools for the dogs to cool down or get a quick drink.  I know.  Gross. But, hey, they’re dogs.  They don’t care!  Some dogs preferred to just drink from the hose.

 

There was a pretty big turnout and everyone played nice.

Oprah, a 3 and a half year old Boston Terrier, can really jump!  She was jumping up for her toy in this photo.

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Simba, a 2 year old Chow Chow, looks like a fluffy teddy bear.

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Besties Zoey, a 4 year old Black Lab, and Jovie, a 2 year old Golden Doodle, looked adorable after a dip in the pool.

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Junior, a 6 year old Collie mix, has beautiful markings.

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Yoshi, a 2 year old mix rescue dog, had fun playing with his ball.

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Badger, a 3 and a half year old Aussie Terrier mix, waiting patiently for his dad to throw his toy.

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Bella, a 7 year old Boxer, took a break to watch the other dogs play.

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Kylie, a 6 year old Morkie (Maltese and Yorkie mix) was all smiles at the park.

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As I left the dog park, I met Nikki.  Nikki is a super talented designer and creator of dog bandannas and accessories.  Check out her website: Just Add Dogs.

If you and Fido missed out on this Hound Around event, don’t worry.  There will be another one Thursday, Aug. 9 from 6:30 to 7:30 at the Underground Ink Art Block.

Cute dogs were not the only animals I saw at the Underground Ink Block.  I also saw this rabbit having dinner.  As an aside, I have been noticing many more rabbits and other animals who do not typically belong in the city making their way into the city.  I do hope it’s only a trend and not a permanent thing.  After all, the city can be far more dangerous than the wild!

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Thank you for sharing another adventure with me!


Chicopee Memorial State Park (Chicopee, MA)

Date Of Visit: May 26, 2018

Location: 570 Burnett Rd., Chicopee, MA

Cost: MA residents: $8, Non-MA Vehicles: $15 (seasonal passes are also available – info on seasonal passes can be found here)

Hours:

Memorial Day – Labor Day

Sunday – Saturday:
9:00 am-7:00 pm

Labor Day – Memorial Day (weather dependent)

Sunday – Saturday:
8:00 am-4:00 pm

Parking: There are several parking areas that can accommodate roughly a few hundred cars. Parking does fill up quickly during summer weekend days.

Handicappped Accessible: Yes, the beach is accessible to all. But, some trails may not be accessible.

Dog Friendly: Yes

Park Size/Trail Difficulty: 562 acres/Easy to Slightly Moderate difficulty

Tip(s):

  • Leave early (at least on warm days) – there was a line of cars waiting to get in when we arrived at 8:55 (the park opened at 9)

Fun Facts:

  • Chicopee State Memorial Park was formerly known as the Cooley Brook Reservoir and Watershed
  • The park was the site of reservoirs built in 1896, 1912 and 1926 to provide water for the city of Chicopee
  • “Chicopee” is a word originating in the Algonquian languages of eastern North America meaning “violent waters”

Fitbit Stats: 2.5 miles hiked, 433 calories burned, 5,333 steps

Highlights: beach, trails for hiking, running and cycling, wildlife, Vietnam memorial, fishing, picnic tables, pretty landscapes, sites for barbecuing, cross country skiing and snow shoeing during the winter (or more like fall, winter and spring in New England)

Website: Chicopee Memorial State Park

Trail Map: Chicopee Memorial State Park Trail Map

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The main attraction for most visitors is the 25 acre pond that serves as a beach, restricted fishing area and area for dogs to play and swim in.

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One visitor who was fishing with his grandson told me they caught kippers (a whole herring) and a large mouth bass.

The beach is the most popular part of the beach. There were lifeguards on duty (seasonally). While I was there, the little ones were busying themselves with a game of “Marco Polo.”

The views of the pond are pretty spectacular.

The paved trails, which are ideal for some cyclists and runners, are easy to slightly moderately difficult in some areas. They are manageable for most people of all age groups. For the more daring, there are some unpaved side trails to explore.

During our hike, I encountered a variety of wildlife. From the small minnows, robins and red winged blackbirds to the larger ducks and Canadian Geese, there is a variety of wildlife to appreciate at the park.

I also noticed this interesting web-like cocoon on a tree during my hike.

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Upon further research, I found out this is a “caterpillar cocoon.” Tent caterpillars spin these large, web-like structures in trees or other plants to protect the developing larvae.

Chicopee Memorial also has picnic areas and barbecue grills. They also allow people to play music at a “reasonable volume” as Milton would say (bonus points if you get that reference).

As you exit the park, there is a memorial dedicated to all of the people from Chicopee who served and died in the Vietnam conflict. A very sober reminder during this Memorial Day weekend.

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Chicopee Memorial park is a haven for dogs and dog lovers. I saw numerous dogs during our visit. One of the more popular areas for the dogs and their parents to congregate is the area just past the beach. An area is designated for the dogs to use. It is in this section of the pond that I met Maggie, a Black Lab who turns 2 tomorrow (5-27). Maggie had a fun time retrieving balls that her dad dutifully threw for her to fetch. She would often return the retrieved balls to me which was sweet.

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Holly, my mom’s 11 month old Dutch Shepherd mix, loved the views from the side of the trail. I suspect you will be seeing more of her in my future photo shoots in Western MA.

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As I was about to leave the park, I saw Bailey and I decided to get her photo. Bailey is an 11 month old Black Lab/Shepherd mix.

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High Ledges Wildlife Sanctuary (Shelburne, MA)

Date Of Visit: October 14, 2017

Location: Patten Road, Shelburne, MA

Hours: Trails are open dawn until dusk

Cost: Free

Parking: there are 2 parking lots.  The first parking lot (called the “overflow parking lot”) which has room for about 10 cars is at the beginning of the entrance.  The other parking area is about a quarter of a mile down the main entrance road.  On the left of the road is room for about a dozen cars.

Trail Size/Difficulty: 782 acres, 5 miles/easy with some moderate inclines

Handicapped Accessible: No

Dog Friendly: No

Website: High Ledges Wildlife Sanctuary

Trail Map: High Ledges Wildlife Sanctuary Trail Map

Highlights: scenic, “high ledge”, wildlife,  easy trails, vernal pool, flowers, foliage during the fall

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Known for its pretty views of the Deerfield River Valley and Mount Greylock area, its variety of flowers along its trails and its various wildlife, High Ledges Wildlife Sanctuary is a great place for a quick hike to some beautiful views.

The sanctuary is a mixture of 5 miles of paved and dirt trails with a few boardwalks over some marshy areas.

Even though it was near the end of the foliage season, there was still lots of foliage on the trees during my visit.   The leaves on the ground added to the beauty of the sanctuary.

 

Rumor has it wolves roamed the High Ledges.  The Wolves’ Den Loop Trail leads to a geologic feature where local lore has it that the last wolf in the region was exterminated.

The highlight of the sanctuary is the overlook, or “high ledge” along the (wait for it…)…Ledges Trail.  The rolling hills and colorful trees offer a  picturesque vista.

 

It’s said you can see Mount Greylock from the ledge on a clear day. See it?  It’s right there…

Well, it’s somewhere there.

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The trails at High Ledges are easy overall.  But there are some strenuous areas.  My advice would be to stay on the main trails and to basically back track or follow the trail you took to the vista since that is the most direct route back and the trail is the easiest to travel, unless you’re looking for a challenge.  I felt the urge for a challenge that day and I usually do try the various trails so I can get a good feel of the park.  However, there really wasn’t, save for a few chipmunks and trees, along the side trails.

 

Chipmunks were busy storing nuts, and chewing on a few, in preparation for another long winter that will sadly soon be here.

 

 


Daniel Webster Wildlife Sanctuary (Marshfield, MA)

Date Of Visit: November 5, 2017

Location: Winslow Cemetery Rd, Marshfield, MA (about 30 minutes southwest of Boston, MA)

Hours: Trails are open dawn until dusk

Cost:

ADMISSION

Members: Free
Nonmembers: $3 adults, $2 children (2-12), & seniors (65+)
EBT Participants: Free for up to 4 people when you show your EBT card

Parking: There is a parking lot for about 15-20 cars.

Handicapped Accessible: No

Dog Friendly” No, Mass Audubon Parks do not allow pets

Website:Daniel Webster Wildlife Sanctuary

Trail Map: Daniel Webster Wildlife Sanctuary Trail Map

Highlights: easy trails, scenic, foliage during the fall, wildlife, blinds to view animals, boardwalks over swamp lands

Tips: Although the website includes prices for admission, when I went tp the sanctuary there was no place to pay a fee

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A Mass Audubon park, Daniel Webster is home to a variety of birds,  winding trails and breathtaking views.

One of the many things that struck me about the park is just how set apart the park is from the hustle and bustle of the city.  I’m so used to traveling to parks that are located next to busy roadways and busy areas.  It is refreshing to be able to get away from the city without having to travel too far.

Daniel Webster Sanctuary was still holding on to some of the foliage that it is known for.

There are several bird feeders throughout the park, mostly at the entrance to the park.  The bird feeders attract a variety of birds and other critters.  Turtles, frogs and other mammals populate the sanctuary.   Northern harriers, an eastern coyote and a white-tailed deer are also known to visit the sanctuary.

These unusual bird feeders are designed to feed Purple Martins.  The small enclosures and the overall design is meant to protect the birds from other predators like the harrier hawks that hunt the area.

There are two blinds and the main entrance building from where you can photograph wildlife and nature in peace and quiet.

The trails at Daniel Webster are easy with a few gentle inclines.  There are also a few boardwalks which take you over red maple swamps to some areas with pretty views.  I especially like how the leaves on the ground and the way the trees and their branches almost made some of the trails seem like they were tunnels.  There are 5 walking trail loops at the park with 3.5 miles of trails in total and arounf every turn is another beautiful view.

Below is a video of one of the residents at the park at Daniel Webster Sanctuary from ( a weasel)  removing one off her babies from a shelter.  The video is from the Youtube account of  Migration Productions.  They have some wonderful videos.