Tag Archives: views

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

IMG_8690

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.

DSC_0024

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.

 

 


Pope John Paul II Park (Dorchester, MA)

Dates Of Visits: June 17 & 18, 2017

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

Cost: Free

Parking: There are multiple parking lots at the entrances

Hours: Open from sunrise til one hour before sunset

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

Handicapped Accessible: Yes

Dog Friendly: Yes

Highlights: wildlife, scenic, easy trails, ball fields

Website: Pope John Paul II Park

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

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

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

 

 

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

 

 

This bird had a meal for his or her babies,

DSC_0606

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

IMG_5653

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

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

 

 

Please follow me on Facebook for more New England related content!


Demarest Lloyd State Park

Date Of Visit: April 23, 2017

Location: Barney’s Joy Road, Dartmouth, MA (about 1.5 hours south of Boston and 45 minutes southeast of Providence, RI)

Hours: The park is generally open from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Park hours in season are 10 am to 6 pm weekdays and 8 am to 6 pm weekends and holidays.  You can park at the entrance (a gate prevents access in the off season) and walk the roughly half a mile to the beach

Cost: $12 MA Vehicle, $14 non-MA Vehicle, see website for additional fees for boating

Parking: there is ample parking near the beach after you pay at the entrance.

Handicapped Accessible: Yes

Dog Friendly: Yes, but they are not allowed on the beach from April 1st to September 15th, unless they are service pets

Website: Demarest Lloyd State Memorial Park

IMG_3223

Located along the southern coast of Massachusetts,  Demarest Lloyd State Park has some of the prettiest views of any state park I have visited.  Its abundant bird population, scenic views and sandbars make Demarest one of the truly special places to visit and get away from it all.

Demarest is a bird lovers paradise, especially during the off season when there are less people, cars and other disturbances to scare them away.

The views at Demarest are truly breath taking.

I kept thinking to myself, sometimes the world is indeed a very beautiful place.  It’s important to have places like this treasure to observe and appreciate pure beauty.  Demarest was easy to photograph.  The hardest part was deciding which photos to post.  All I had to do was check my settings and point and click.  The beauty was already there, all courtesy of Mother Nature.

It was low tide during my visit.  So, I was able to walk out onto some of the sandbars and get up close to some of the gulls at the park.

There were also several lobster pots and other cage-like devices that had washed up along the shore or were being stored there for safe keeping

If you do walk past the beach area, as I did, you should remember to pack or wear an extra pair of walking shoes (flip flops and sandals won’t be adequate) because the path turns from sand to pebbles and seashells.  It is worth the walk, though.

One of the few creepy things at the park were these spiders.  And they were everywhere.  I must have seen dozens of them.  So, if you do lie out there on a  beach blanket, I’m just saying…but they have a purpose and place here as well.

Dogs like Demarest as well.

Bartley is a 2 year old German Shepherd.

Ranger is a 5 or 6 year old mixed breed dog.

Sadie is an 8 year old Lab.

 


Stavros Reservation (Essex, MA)

Date Of Visit: April 22, 2017

Location: 8 Island Rd, Essex, MA (about half an hour north of Boston)

Hours: Open daily from sunrise to sunset

Cost: Free

Parking: Parking is very limited.  There is not a parking lot for this reserve.  Parking is allowed on the grass at the side of the street

Size/Trail Difficulty/Time to Spend: 3/4 mile loop, easy trail with a moderate incline, your visit should last half an hour to an hour at the most

Handicapped Accessible: No, the trails are too steep in some parts

Dog Friendly: Yes

Highlights: stone structure, popular birding destination, scenic views of the water, pretty trees

Website: Starvos Reservation

IMG_1560

What better way to celebrate Earth Day then a visit to Stavros Reserve in Essex, MA?

It was a windy and raw day, more like a fall or winter day than a spring day.  But, such is the weather for New England.  I just considered myself lucky that it wasn’t snowing.   This is New England after all.

Stavros Reserve is easy enough to find.  Parking, however, is a different story.  After driving past the reserve in the hopes of finding a parking area, I turned around and settled on a parking spot on the grass by the side of the road.  Several cars (5-10) could probably squeeze in this parking area before the side of the road narrows to accommodate the traffic on Island Rd.

At first glance, Stavros Reserve doesn’t seem like much.  The moderately steep roughly quarter of a mile incline features some scenic views, pretty trees

and this creepy looking tree that reminded me of the trees from the Wizard Of Oz.

IMG_1548

Once you reach the end of the trail, you’ll see a stone structure that was once a fieldstone base of a 50-foot, three-level tower built by Lamont G. Burnham in the 1880s.

The top of the trail at the reservation has some eye catching views.

Inscribed on the marker under the tree is:

“This land is a memorial to

James Niclis Stavros

For the enjoyment of all who find

Renewal of spirit in nature

Mary F. Stavros

May 17, 1986”

As an aside, I fell in love with Essex while I was there.  Antique shops and well manicured colonial style homes line the main streets.  It’s an old New England town, incorporated as a town in Massachusetts in 1819, that has kept its charm.

The birds, seagulls specifically, were acting strangely while I was there.

That was enough for me.  I saw a flock of seagulls.  So I ran.  (only people over 40 might get that one)

Please connect with me on Facebook to receive alerts whenever I post and to view other content I do not post on this blog.  Thank you!

 


Glacial Potholes & Salmon Falls (Shelburne Falls, MA)

Date Visited: September 6, 2016

Location: Deerfield Ave, Shelburne Falls, MA

Hours: Open everyday, 24 hours a day

Cost: Free

Parking: There is off street parking with a 2 hour limit and police do take notice

Dog Friendly: Yes

Highlights: waterfall, glacial potholes, flowers, birds, shops, attractions

dsc_0344

The Salmon Falls and Glacial Potholes attraction in Shelburne Falls, MA, is a beautiful “two-fer.”  “Three-fer” if we include the bowling alley adjacent to the Salmon Falls and Glacial Potholes attractions.  IN fact, it is more accurately described as a “many-fer”s there are many attractions and beautiful attractions to the Salmon Falls area.

Although it may be best known for The Bridge Of Flowers (post to come shortly), beauty and grandeur abound Salmon Falls/Glacial Potholes area on Deerfield Ave.

The glacial potholes were ground out of granite during the high water of the Glacial Age.  The whirlpool action of the waves and the gyrating stones created the prominent holes in the stones.  It is said some of the grinding mills can still be seen in the smaller potholes.  Over 50 potholes exist in the confined area known as “Salmon Falls” when the the Native Americans resided here.  The potholes vary in size from 6 inches to 39 feet in diameter.  The 39 inch diameter pothole is considered the largest pothole on record.  And you thought the potholes on our roads were bad.

 

Salmon Falls, as it was dubbed by the Native Americans, was a common area for hunting and fishing.  The waterfall still gives some pretty views against a once industrialized scenery as the backdrop.

dsc_0248

What makes the Salmon Falls and Glacial Potholes area are the small shops and antiquated buildings that give the area a very old fashioned small town feel.  This is true for pretty much the entire community of Shelburne Falls.

There is a bench for sitting, feeding the birds and just taking in the beauty around you.

Almost as a prelude to the much heralded Bridge of Flowers (which is located only a short walk or drive from the Salmon Falls and Glacial Potholes area), flowers and trees bound the Salmon Falls area.

If you’re lucky you might even find a feathered friend to photograph.

dsc_0375

Deerfield Ave, the road that leads to Salmon Falls and the Glacial Potholes, still has the old town feel that adds tot he charm of the area.  In fact, the entire Shelburne Falls area still has many “mom and pop” shops and independent businesses rather than chain stores.  It was nice walking around without being bombarded by convenience stores and restaurant chains that seem to scar so many other towns.

The Shelburne Bowling Alley is one of the oldest bowling alleys in the country.  In operation since 1906 (and yes it is still open for business currently), the Shelburne Bowling Alley could easily be mistaken for a barn or some other structure from a different time.

dsc_0252

There is also a variety of art throughout the area.  Some of the art I noticed looked different from the art I have seen in previous visits.  So it appears they do change it up every so often.  The art honors the history of the area and gives information about the area.

Below is a video of the falls at Salmon Falls.  It was an overcast and somewhat windy day when we first arrived at the Falls so you may hear the wind in the video.  But, most of the sound is from the rushing waters of the Falls.

Similar Places In New England I have Visited:

dsc_0329

Wadsworth Falls State Park (Middletown, CT)

 

dsc_0913

Cascading Waters (Worcester, MA)

dsc_06561

Bash Bish Falls (Mount Washington, 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

DSC_0338

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.

DSC_1000DSC_1001

Finley, a Cavachon who will be 2 in September

DSC_0114DSC_0113DSC_0116

Reagan, a 4 month old Golden Retriever

DSC_0149DSC_0152DSC_0160

and Jackson, a 2 year old Basenji Greyhound.

DSC_0279DSC_0278

Please follow me on Facebook: New England Nomad

Similar Places In New England I Have Visited:

ames

Ames Nowell State Park

cutler1

Cutler Park

 

 


Salem Willows (Salem, MA)

DSC_0180

Date Visited: July 23, 2016

Location: 167 Fort Ave, Salem, MA

Hours: The website for Salem Willows shows their hours as being daily from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. but you can get in to the park before 11.  We got their just before 10 and there was already some people there.  I think the hours are the hours of operation for the restaurants and other businesses in that area.

Cost: Free

Parking:  There are about 60 metered parking spots.  The meters cost 25 cents an hour.  There is also about 50 additional free parking spots in a nearby lot and off street parking is available.

Dog Friendly: Yes

Highlights: Family friendly, arcades, restaurants, willow trees, harbor, scenic walking path, grassy areas to grill, relax and for kids to play, jetty, place to rent surfboards and other aquatic sporting goods

As I entered Salem Willows I couldn’t help but think of my childhood of carnivals and traveling shows.  My friends and I would be so excited when the fair came to town.  Now, the fair is always in town.  In these days of sit down eateries and chain restaurants, it was refreshing.  If you d go, try the slushies or get a cone at Cappy’s!

Salem Willows has changed so much since its original opening in 1880.  Willows Pavilion which featured a skating rink and restaurant dominated the landscape.    Now, the area where the takeout food vendors are located still keeps the name of “on the line”.  But, the restaurants are much different.  In place of the sit down, grand restaurants stand take out vendors and ice cream shops.

There is also a stage for bands and other entertainers to perform.  Named after former  Salem resident and veteran, the Robert F Hayes Band Stand holds a summer concert series every year as well as holding other events.

DSC_0035

But, there is so much more to Salem Willows than nostalgic stroll past the smell of flour dough and the buzzing and ringing from the vendors and arcades.  Salem Willows is also, as the name would suggest, known for all of the willow trees planted to offer shade and beauty to the area.

The mostly shady loop around the bay and back too the parking area is an easy half mile walk.  Along the way there are benches to sit on and a jetty to fish off or just enjoy the views. The views from the bay were very pretty.  A variety of flowers and scenic views frame the busy blue waterway.

There was a lot of activity on and in the water at Salem Willows.  That is a man swimming in the last photos

There is also a place to rent surf/paddle/body boards and other watercraft and flotation devices.

DSC_0141

Salem’s love of art is evident even in the most unlikely places.  These trash cans and rocks displayed some of the street art of Salem.  I especially like the art on the rocks.  Each block has a different symbol of the area painted on them.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Salem Willows is a great place to bring your dog for a short walk.  Dixie, a 4 year old Maltese, was enjoying the seasonal weather and cool breeze when she stopped to pose for photos for me.

DSC_0244DSC_0236

DSC_0240

Video of “on the line” from Salem Willows