Tag Archives: Park

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.


Five Days Of Foliage Day #5 – Mine Falls Park (Nashua, MA)

Date Of Visit: October 22, 2017

Location: 9 Stadium Dr, Nashua, NH, Whipple St, Nashua, NH

Hours: Open daily, sunrise to sunset

Parking: There is free parking available at both the Whipple St and Stadium Dr entrances.  But the Stadium Drive entrance has more parking spots

Handicapped Accessible: Yes, some parts of the park are handicapped accessible but many of the trails are too steep and rocky

Dog Friendly: Yes

Website: Mine Falls Park

Original Post: Mine Falls Park (Nashua, NH)

Highlights: ball fields, fishing, boating, running and hiking trails

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The fifth and final day of my Five Days Of Foliage series.  I hope you have enjoyed looking at the photos as much as I enjoyed taking these photos!

For my last installment of my foliage photos I chose one of my favorite parks, Mine Falls Park in Manchester, NH.

I didn’t get to stay very long.  There is so much to see at Mine Falls and I missed the biggest attraction there; the dam.

The 325 acre park has a total of 6 miles of trails that follow the Nashua Canal Trail.  There are also ball fields, soccer fields and a football field is adjacent to the park.  When I got there at sunrise, the warm weather had mixed with the cold, damp weather from the evening creating some misty shots from the ball fields.

The name “Mine Falls” dates from the 18th century, when low-quality lead was supposedly mined from the island below the falls. It has come along since then.

There are two main entrances to the park.  I would suggest parking by the entrance at Stadium Drive because there is more parking spaces and it is easier to get to.  I parked at the entrance at Whipple St.  There were much less parking spaces (about a dozen) and I had a hard time finding the street.  In any event I did find the entrance eventually.  I hope you enjoy the photos I took there!

I had visited Mine Falls previously in March of 2016.  You can find the link to my original post above.

I enjoyed posting this series of photos and I think it is something I may do some other types of themed photo series in the future.

You can find additional photos from my visit here

 


Five Days Of Foliage Day #4 – Goddard Memorial State Park (Warwick, RI)

Date Of Visit: November 1, 2017

Location: 1095 Ives Road, Warwick, RI

Hours: Open daily sunrise to sunset

Cost: Free (but there are fees to use fields, gazebos and other facilities)

Parking: There are several parking areas

Handicapped Accessible: Yes, some areas of the park are handicapped accessible

Dog Friendly: Yes

Website: Goddard Memorial State Park

Highlights: 490 acre park with a 9 hole golf course, playing fields, beach, performance center and equestrian show area with bridle trails.  The foliage isn’t bad either.

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To borrow a term coined by my northern Vermont neighbors, “stick season” is fast approaching.  Stick season is the fall and winter transition that occurs after the leaves have fallen but also before snow has settled on the trees.  This season is not just common to Vermont though.

Indicative of “stick season, I noticed many of the trees at Goddard Memorial State Park had already lost most of their leaves.  Yet, there were still some decent foliage opportunities along the shore of the beach and park.  The densely wooded Goddard has 62 deciduous (trees that have leaves that change) and 19 evergreen species (a species of tree that does not change color throughout the year).  So, there were a variety of trees to find foliage on.

Considered one of the best parks in Rhode Island, Goddard Memorial State Park’s 490 acres of land along Greenwich Cove and Greenwich Bay in Warwick, RI.

Goddard Memorial State Park has an equestrian show area and 18 miles of bridle paths for horse riders to enjoy.  While I was there I did happen upon a few riders.

I had never been to Goddard before.  I only learned about the park the day before after a quick search for the best parks in Rhode Island.  And the reviewers didn’t miss their mark.  The best part of the park may be the variety of activities and Goddard Park also has a 9 hole golf course, 11 playing fields, a canoe launch, a beach that allows swimming and a performance center.  With its pretty waterscapes, extensive hiking trails and picnic areas, Goddard is definitely a great place to take the family.

Read more view more photos about my trip to Goddard Memorial State Park here…

 


Five Days Of Foliage Day #2 – Cutler Park Reservation (Needham, MA)

Date Of Visit: October 29, 2017

Location: 84 Kendrick St., Needham, MA

Cost: Free

Hours: Open daily sunrise to sunset

Parking: There is room for 30 to 40 cars in the free parking area

Dog Friendly: Yes

Website: Cutler Park Reservation

Original Post: Cutler Park Reservation (Needham, MA)

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One of my favorite spots because of its proximity to Boston and it’s pretty views, Cutler Park was a must-see on my foliage peeping tour.

I would consider the colors at Cutler Park to be moderate which is somewhat surprising since I traveled there the last Sunday of October.  I have noticed that, perhaps due to the erratic and dry weather (specifically the lack of rain in the area at the time) and other environmental factors, some of the foliage has been happening later than usual.  The lack of rain, which had been the case during October, can cause the leaves to drop before they change color.  Plus, it seems like a lot of the places I have photographed have trees that do not change colors, such as pine and other types of evergreen trees.

Although Cutler Park is a large park (600 to 739 acres depending on the web site you trust),  In fact, it one of the entrances is in Needham and it traverses many town and city limits until you reach Dedham, MA (some 3 miles each way).  I took the loop that circles along Kendrick Pond which is about one mile all around.  I have been looking forward to going back to Cutler Park and it was great walking along the trails, although I was hoping to see more colors on the trees.

Please take a look at my Facebook page at the link below to see the other photos I took during my visit at Cutler Park.  Please also consider following me on Facebook to view more photos, videos, posts and other content I do not include on my blog!  Thank you for reading, liking and  commenting.

Read more here…

 

 

 

 

 


Pinchot Sycamore Tree Park (Simsbury, CT)

Date Of Visit: September 10, 2017

Location: Hartford Rd Rt 185, Simsbury, CT

Hours: open daily, dawn until dusk

Cost: Free

Parking: There is free parking for about 10 cars to park.

Handicapped Accessible: Yes

Dog Friendly: Yes

Website: Pinchot Sycamore Tree Park

Highlights: biggest tree in Connecticut, boat launch, bench to sit

Tips:

  • It may be better to see the size of the tree in the fall, winter and spring when the trees skeleton is visible to fully appreciate the size of the tree
  • The park is the right just before the Bataan Corregidor Memorial Bridge on Rt 185 or just after the bridge, depending upon which way you’re traveling
  • Despite what your GPS says the best road to take to get to the tree is probably Cobtail Way

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Everyday, hundreds, if not thousands, of people pass by a historic landmark without even realizing it.  It is interesting  that so many people miss out on viewing the biggest tree in Connecticut and never know it.

When it was most recently measured in 2016 by the Connecticut Botanical Society, the trunk of the Pinchot Sycamore Tree was listed at 28 feet (8.5 meters) around and 100 feet (30 meters) tall.  It is estimated to be at least 200 years old and could be as old as 300 years.  The tree’s branches sprout in various directions.  With its thick, far reaching limbs, it could easily be used in a horror movie.

The tree was named in honor of influential conservationist and Connecticut resident Gifford Pinchot in 1965.  There was a re-dedication  in 1975.

There are two markers located by the tree.  The first marker (on the left below) is a thank you to all of the groups who have worked to make the park possible.  The second marker (on the right below) is the marker from the original dedication in 1965.  You’ll note the tree’s circumference was recorded as being 23 feet and 7 inches (as opposed to the 28 feet it was measured at in 2016).

To get a better sense of the size of the tree, take a look at the trunk of the this tree in proportion to this model.

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There is also a bench located near the back of the tree that is dedicated to Pauline Schwartz.  The note on the bench states, “Come Have A Seat By Pauline Schwartz’s Favorite Tree” with some designs and, although it is slightly worn, an image that appears to be a person’s face.  Pauline, a native of Bridgeport, CT, passed away in 2013 in Las Vegas, NV.  A bench was dedicated in her honor because of her love of the park.

Behind the tree, almost hidden from the park is a boat launch that offers views of the Farmington River.

The entrance to the park is a little hard to find, unless you know where.  ON Rt 185 just before or after the bridge, there are two green poles that mark the entrance to the park.  The road to the parking lot is short but a little narrow.

As I mentioned in the tips section, it’s probably better to fully appreciate the size of the during the fall, winter or spring when the leaves are off the tree, so you can see the full size of the tree without the leaves hiding the skeleton of the tree.  Below is a photo of what the tree looks like without its leaves (from foursquare.com).


Great Island Common (New Castle, NH)

Date Of Visit: September 23, 2017

Location: 301 Wentworth Rd. (Route 1B), New Castle, NH,  (1 hour northeast of Boston, MA, 1 hour southeast of Concord, NH)

Hours: Open daily 9 a.m. until 9 p.m.

Cost:

New Castle Residents:
– No admission charge if vehicle has current resident sticker.
– Residents may invite up to 25 guests at no charge – Over 25 guests, admission fees apply.
– Resident must be present for all guests.
Non-Residents:
– Admission charged from May to the end of September.
General Admission Fees
– Individuals:
0-5 yrs old free
6 to 65 years old $4.00
65 and older $2.00
Handicapped $1.00

Parking: There are about 50 or more parking spots available in the parking area

Handicapped Accessible: Yes

Dog Friendly: Yes, seasonally (pets are not allowed in the park or on the beach from May 15 to September 15)

Website: Great Island Common

Highlights: lighthouses, beach, places to grill, pavilions

Tips:

  • When you enter the park, you must turn right.  The parking area is at the end of the circular paved road
  • If you want to use a pavilion, you may have to call ahead and reserve the area

 

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No other name than Great Common Island may be more apt for this park.  Except it’s not really an island.  But, it is great.

The park, with attached beach, sits on the shore of New Castle ( a small town of 968 according to their 2010 census) just outside of Portsmouth, NH).  The park and beach area are only 32 acres.  But what it lacks in area it makes up for in beauty and charm.

The park offers some great views of the water.  It is a good place to watch the waves crash against the rocks, although the waves weren’t too strong during my visit.

Great Island Common is popular with fishing enthusiasts, boaters and the occasional bird.

You can view two lighthouses from Great Island Common.

Whaleback Lighthouse was established in 1830.  The granite lighthouse that stands there now was built in 1872 and it was automated in 1963.

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Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouse, just down the road from the park, is also visible from Great Island Common.  During the summer, there are open houses at the lighthouse on Sundays from mid May to late October from 1-5.  Since I was visiting on a Saturday I was not able to attend the open house.  Next to the lighthouse (to the left of the lighthouse in the photo above) is Coast Guard Station Portsmouth Harbor and Fort Constitution.  In the distance, past the lighthouse, you can see the foliage has just started to begin.

Wood Island Life Saving Station in Kittery, Maine, is also visible from the park. In 1827, Wood Island was given to the federal government so the U.S. Navy could build barracks.  However, it would eventually be used to quarantine Spanish-American War prisoners who had Yellow Fever.  It is presently not in use.

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One of the biggest attractions at the park is a sculpture of a painter by an easel working on the scenic skyline.

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Pretty good painting of me.  It looks so life-like.

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Great Island Common is not just a park.  A beach is also attached to the park.

The park is spacious for kids to play in with lots of big trees for shade.

Erected in 1984, the memorial honors all of the people of New Castle who have served the country in all wars and conflicts.  Two benches sit next to the memorial, one on each side of it.

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Great Island Common is dog friendly except from May 15 to September 15.  Luckily, I was able to visit the week after ban ended.  It was a picture perfect day with a calm breeze.  So, it was a great day to bring your dog out!

Miley is a 8 year old Yorkie Poodle.

Tuck is a 6 month Cocka Poo (Cocker Spaniel & Poodle mix)

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Remy (on the left) is a 10 year old Puggle and Phoebe (On the right) is a 1 and a half year old Puggle.

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Jaelo (pronounced “J Lo”)is a 10 year old Puggle.

Below is a video by the shore of Great Island Common.

Posted below is a drone video of the Great Island Common area on Paul Moore’s YouTube page