Tag Archives: pond

Puffer’s Pond/Factory Hollow Pond (Amherst, MA)

Dates Of Visits: May 24 & 29, 2017

Location: Mill St, Amherst, MA (about half an hour north of Springfield, MA and an hour and a half southwest of Boston, MA)

Hours: Open daily, sunrise to sunset

Cost: Free

Parking: There is a designated parking area for handicapped accessible vehicles.  All other vehicles should park on the side of the road on the right hand side of the road.  There is room for a dozen or more cars to park on this road.

Handicapped Accessible: Yes.  There is a paved path and designated parking for handicapped accessible vehicles.

Dog Friendly: No.  But, dogs are allowed on the Robert Frost trail that circles the pond.

Highlights: wildlife, fishing,trails,pond

Website: Puffer’s Pond

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Once the site of a village inhabited by the Norwottuck tribe, Puffer’s Pond (also known as Factory Hollow Pond, is now a popular destination for fishing enthusiasts, nature lovers and hikers.

Puffer’s Pond is a small yet charming pond.  It is only 11 acres large and the water is an average depth of 5 feet deep with a maximum depth of more than 20 feet.

There are several access points to the pond.  The easiest most straightforward way to the pond is to park on Mill St and enter through the main entrance on that street.  There is also an access point farther up on Mill St with a wooden walkway.

The pond is home to herons, mallards, turtles, frogs, a variety of birds and an otter or two among other animals.

Walking through the park, we noticed a disturbance in the water and a head peaking above the water.

It appears to be an otter because when the mammal dove back under water the tail didn’t look like a beaver’s tail.

The views from Puffer’s Pond are beautiful.

The pond is also a great place to fish.  This particular fisherman didn’t have any luck (score one for the fish!).  Better luck next time.

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However, this fisherman had better luck.

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Or, you can go there to look out on the pond with a special someone.

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The Robert Frost Trail, a 47 mile trail that runs from the Connecticut River in South Hadley,MA to Wendell State Forest in Wendell, MA, runs past Puffer’s Pond.  Although it is a very long trail, the section of the trail that runs past the pond is very short (about .8 miles each way).  While dogs are not allowed in Puffer’s Pond they are allowed on the walking trails around the pond.

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Leverett Pond/Echo Lake (Leverett, MA)

Date Of Visit: May 27, 2017

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.


Feeding Time At Stanley Park (Westfield, MA)

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Date Of Visit: December 28, 2016

Location: 400 Western Ave, Westfield, MA (about 2 hours west of Boston, MA and about 20 minutes west of Springfield, MA)

Cost: Free

Hours: Presently open everyday 8 a.m. -4:30 p.m. (hours change depending upon the season)

Parking: There are a few different parking areas.  The main parking lot on Western Ave has room for about 200 cars.

Handicapped Accessible: The playground area, fields and picnic areas are but the trails and many of the walkways are not.

Dog Friendly: Yes

Highlights: hiking trails, birds, wildlife, pond, flower garden, statues

Often considered the jewel of Westfield, Massachusetts, Stanley Parkis one of the prettiest parks in Western Massachusetts and it looks even more picturesque after a snowfall.

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Due to the recent cold spell and snow, the pond and much of the vegetation at Stanley Park had been iced over so they were eager to get some food.  As a disclaimer, most parks do not encourage you to feed birds.  But, if you do, there are certain foods you should never feed to ducks.  Bread is the biggest no-no on most list.  These are some better foods to feed to birds.

At any rate, visitors like to feed the birds at Stanley Park and that gave me an usually good chance to photograph some beautiful ducks.

There were so many birds congregating at the pond waiting for a nibble of food.

Luckily, one of the visitors at the park, Jim, brought some food for the hungry birds.

 

Jim’s dog took the birds in stride.

I have photographed Stanley Park before and, since it is very close to my mom’s house, I always try to make a visit out there as often as I can.So, you may sees posts about this park from time to time.

Stanley Park, or Stanley as it is more commonly known as, is a popular spot for dogs like Sansa is a 5 month old Siberian Husky.

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Below is a video of feeding time at Stanley Park:

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Canoe Meadows Wildlife Sanctuary (Pittsfield, MA)

Date Visited: September 3, 2016

Location: Holmes Rd, Pittsfield, MA (it is not clearly marked – it is about 2 miles down the road on the right hand side if you coming from the east)

Cost: Free but donations are appreciated

Parking:  There is room for about a dozen cars (see photo below)

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Trail difficulty: Easy

Park Size: 253 acres, 3 miles of trails

Time To Allot For Visit: 1 to 2 hours

Dog Friendly: No, dogs aren’t allowed on MA Audubon trails.

Highlights: pretty plants and flowers, a lot of wildlife, ponds, home to a community garden

Lowlights: Park is a little hard to find, some trails may be inaccessible or difficult to hike particularlywhen it rains

Web Site: Canoe Meadows Wildlife Sanctuary

Trail Map: Canoe Meadows Trail Map

I am always surprised at how some of the more beautiful areas to visit seem to be tucked away in the most unlikely places.  It’s almost as though they are meant to be kept a secret for just the few people who are adventurous enough to find it.  Such is the case with Canoe Meadows Wildlife Sanctuary.  Tucked away on a busy side street in the otherwise sleepy town of Pittsfield, MA, Canoe Meadows Wildlife Sanctuary (ironically, you can’t launch a canoe or any watercraft there) is a haven for birds, the occasional water faring mammal or amphibian and beautiful flowers.

The paths at Canoe Meadows are clearly defined and there are benches, bridges and boardwalks along the trail.

What stood out most to me about Canoe Meadows are the colorful plants and flowers and the trees.  The colors of the plants are so vibrant and the trees are nothing short of majestic.  I love the mix of pink, purple, white and yellow flowers as you can probably tell by my photos.

There are also a lot of bees at Canoe Meadows pollinating this time of the year.  There is a bee inside this flower.  You may be able to barely see the bees sticking outside of the flower.

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There are plenty of birds at Canoe Meadows.  They do like to hide.  So it is hard to get good photos of them.

I spotted this heron as he was flying away.  I just wish I saw the bird earlier.

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I also saw this chipmunk, one of the more common residents of the meadow.

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There were also lots of frogs at the meadow.

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Unfortunately, I did not see any of the otters, beavers and other critters that are said to inhabit this meadow (although I did see evidence of their existence there).  If you go early in the day or are very quiet, you may have better luck.  Good luck if you do try!

Similar Places I Have Visited In New England:

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Dorrs Pond (Manchester, NH)

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The Nature Trail And Cranberry Bog At Patriot Place (Foxborough, MA)

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Broadmoor Wildlife Sanctuary (Natick, MA)

Date Visited: August 13, 2016

Location: 280 Eliot Street Natick, MA

Hours: Tues-Fri, 9 am-5 pm
Sat, Sun, & Mon holidays, 10 am-5 pm
Closed Mondays

Trails:
Tues-Sun, & Mon holidays, dawn to dusk
Closed Mondays

Cost:

(MA Audubon) Members: Free
Nonmembers:
$5 Adults
$4 Children (2-12)
$4 Seniors (65+)

Parking:  There are about 50 0r so parking spaces in the parking lot

Trail Difficulty: Easy to moderate

Size: 9 miles of trails

Time To Allot For Visit: 2 to 3 hours

Highlights: abundant wildlife, clearly defined trails, lookouts and bridges, several pond areas

Lowlights: One of the ponds (Little Farm Pond) is only accessible via motor vehicle and is not accessible from the sanctuary, according to one of the staff workers at the sanctuary

Broadmoor Wildlife Sanctuary Web Site

Broadmoor Wildlife Sanctuary Trail Map

From the moment I drove into the parking lot for Broadmoor Wildlife Sanctuary (a MASS Audubon sanctuary), I could tell it was going to be a special place.   The pretty trees and stocks of grass reminded me of some rural, country farm.

The 10 trails at Broadmoor are fairly easy to negotiate (the Charles River Loop is probably the most challenging).  There are a few trails that cross over ponds and marsh land.

Overall, the trails are easy with a few moderately difficult trails such as The Charles River Loop.  The trail on the Charles River Loop is somewhat narrow in some places and it can be hard to follow the trail (look for the yellow and blue marked trees).

There was a lot of activity, such as turtles,  in the ponds.  Can you spot the turtles in this photo?  There are three.

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What if I get closer?

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How about now?

Broadmoor is teeming with wildlife.  I found these critters during my hike.

There is also a lookout area where you can sit and look out upon the pond where I found this heron hiding.

There is a lot to see at Broadmoor.  There are lots of turtles, butterflies, birds and evidence of other wildlife.

I found this beautiful swan as I was walking along the park.

All that swimming and looking for food can make you tired.  So, she decided to take a nap.

There are also beautiful views of the park.  The flowers, plants and trees make for a beautiful backdrop.

Broadmoor Wildlife Sanctuary is the perfect visitors of all ages (I even saw some visitors in strollers).  It can be buggy but, as lucky would have it, that won’t be a problem for much longer in New England as fall descends upon us.

Similar Places I Have Visited In New England:

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Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary (Topsfield, MA)

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Borderland State Park (North Easton, MA)

 

 

 


Dorrs Pond (Manchester, NH)

Date Visited: August 7, 2016

Location: Dorrs Pond is part of Livingston Park which is located at 244 Hookset Rd, Manchester, NH (off Daniel Webster Highway)

Hours: Open 24 hours (use your best judgment if you go at nighttime)

Cost: Free

Parking:  There are about 70 or so parking spots by Dorrs Pond.  There is also additional parking by the play area and field by Livingston Park.

Dog Friendly: Yes

Size: 1.2 mile loop with some short side trails.

Time To Allot For Visit: 1 or 2 hours

Fun For One: Yes

Highlights: abundant wildlife, popular trails for runner, cyclists and walkers, pretty views, very well maintained, benches for sitting, skating on the pond during the winter

Lowlights: short loop (only 1.2 mile) so many runners have to complete the loop several times to get a good workout, some side trails end abruptly at parking lots or just stop without going anywhere

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Once an artificial pond to serve the people of Manchester, Dorrs Pond now serves a scenic retreat for cyclists, runners, nature lovers and dogs.

“hidden gem” is a phrase that gets thrown around a lot.  But, the photos below will show how this description is apt for Dorrs Pond.  In fact, I, and many people I talked to about it, had never been to this pond or ever even heard about before I went there.

One of the great things about Dorrs Pond is it is not a particularly difficult trail.  The trails are Dorrs Pond are pretty level with a few small inclines

The views at Dorrs Pond are beautiful.  Vivid greens and a variety of green, purple and other vibrant colors dot the landscape.

One of the best parts of Dorrs Pond is the wildlife.  There is a variety of birds, amphibians and other animals at the pond.

I also found this interesting shelter.  Unfortunately, no one was home.

During the winter, skating is allowed on the pond.  Also, there is a play area, playing field, restrooms and pool for children (and some adults) in addition to Dorrs Pond at Livingston Park.

Doors Pond is a great place to bring your dog.  The trail is not too long and the inclines are not very steep.  And it was a perfect day for taking your pooch out for a stroll.  I saw lots of dogs at Dorrs Pond.  Here are a few of the cute dogs at the park Sunday:

Katie, a 9 month old German Shepherd.

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Finley, a Cavachon who will be 2 in September

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Reagan, a 4 month old Golden Retriever

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and Jackson, a 2 year old Basenji Greyhound.

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Similar Places In New England I Have Visited:

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Ames Nowell State Park

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Cutler Park

 

 


Robinson State Park (Feeding Hills, MA)

Dates Visited: July 3 & 4, 2016

Location: 428 North St, Feeding Hills (Agawam), MA

Cost: $8 for MA vehicle, $10 for non-MA vehicle

Parking: There are about 50 parking spots in the park itself at various designated parking areas.  There are also several entrances besides the actual entrance to the park where you can park for free but there are gates at these entrances and you have to walk rather than drive to the beach and fields in the park.

Time To Allot For Visit: 3 to 4 hours to hike the entire park

Size of the park: 800 acres, 5 miles of frontage on the Westfield River

Dog Friendly: Yes

Highlights: walking trails, stream, beach, picnic area, fields, lots of wildlife, great for bikers, joggers, walkers and dogs

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Known for its abundant wildlife, long paved trail and scenic views of the Westfield River, Robinson State Park is one of my favorite parks to visit.  I love the paved, winding trail and abundant wildlife.  I have jogged the main trail hundreds, if not thousands, of times.  The wide paved trail is wide enough to accommodate joggers, bikers, walkers and even vehicles (cars are allowed on the main paved trail during the summer months only).

About a mile or a little more than a mile from the main entrance there is a small beach next to a grassy area for people to relax and sun themselves.  If you’re lucky, you may even see a tadpole.

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One thing to keep in mind is there are a lot of bugs in the area.  Since it is located by a stream of water, bugs and mosquitoes are a real problem, especially during the summer months.  So, either cover up or use bug spray if you plan on hiking the various trails.  Another downside to the park, if you want to call it that, is that some trails just seem to end…right in people’s backyards.  This happened on two of the side trails I ventured on.  No biggie.  You just turn around and come back the way you came.  But it can be anticlimactic and annoying (for the homeowner as much as it would be for you).

The Westfield River runs along the paved trail giving off some pretty views.  There are some side trails you can use to get a better view.

There is a pond just down the trail from the beach.  I heard lots of frogs, toads and other wildlife in the pond but they are pretty well hidden.

Robinson Park is also teeming with wildlife.  In fact, Westfield, one of the cities the park borders, is known for its black squirrels.  Unfortunately, I didn’t see any during my visit or at least none that I could photograph.   But, there were plenty of other animals visible at the park the days I visited.

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There is also a pond and a variety of trees, plants, flowers and berries along the trails.

The trails are well defined and there are a number of bridges at the park.

Because it has such a wide main trail and lots of area to roam, Robinson Park is a great place to walk your dog and I ran into quite a few cute dogs during my visits.

Oliver is an 11 year old Collie and Chow mix.

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Josie is a 9 year old Cocker Spaniel.

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And Bruno is a 2 year old Shepherd and Lab mix rescue.

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