Throwback Adventure – Blackstone River and Canal Heritage State Park – Massachusetts

I have decided to return to posting new “Throwback Adventures” after taking time to re-post some of my favorites with Shadow.  This has been a therapeutic process for me to share.  We are devastated that both Shadow and Buster have both passed, but find peace knowing we can continue to remember them through our “Throwback Adventures”.  They were amazing boys and are forever in our hearts.

In May 2014 Shadow, Buster, and I Adventured to Blackstone River and Canal Heritage State Park in Uxbridge, Massachusetts.  These Parks contain 1,000 acres and are managed by the Department of Conservation and Recreation.  They include:  trails, picnic areas, and canoe access areas, and also provide opportunities for education, and entertainment.

We had a distinctive Adventure to the Blackstone River and Canal Heritage State Park, highlighted by the spectacular Blackstone Canal.  On our visit we appreciated the lovely bridge across the water, hiked along the canal, and admired the bright green colors in all directions.  The boys enjoyed wading  in the canal, the perfect cool-down.  The walk was long ago so intricate details of this Adventure are distant.  These Parks are definitely a location we will explore again (Throwback Adventures will not always be rated).

 

May 15, 2020 – Mill Hill – Massachusetts

Today Wilma and I Adventured to the Mill Hill property in Littleton, Massachusetts.  Mill Hill is part of the Littleton Conservation Land.  It is less than 30 acres in size and borders Beaver Brook.  There are several trails on the property, and a picnic area on top of the hill.  As expected the property is popular for walking, and picnicking.

We had a warm Adventure to Mill Hill on what appeared to me to be the warmest day this year.  We arrived at this property to find a small parking lot, only large enough for about three cars, and we were lucky number three.  We began on the trail eager to explore and be out on a walk.  The trail was simple, and monotonous.  There were many swarming bugs throughout our walk but I was quite thankful that they were not biting, and we carried on.

On part of our walk we could hear the very small brook singing, although overall the sounds of the nearby highway was predominant.  There were large rocks for Wilma to jump on, and I was thrilled to see all the green leaves high above the woodlands.  The only other color I found was a few purple violets.  On our walk we located two old chimneys, and the picnic area on the hill.  As per our usual we made sure to explore every trail on the property.  Wilma was very hot, and her adorable tongue made for the perfect selfie!  It was nice to see her drinking and wading in the little streams.  That moment made me smile thinking of our Shadow, who would undoubtedly be laying in the steam soaking up every inch!

I was quite unimpressed with Mill Hill, however my research beforehand indicated that would be the case.  We still enjoyed an energetic walk and more signs of spring.   One spectacular thing about New England is that you appreciate those little things, as simple as trees with leaves.  So although it is unlikely we will be back to Mill Hill, we were glad embark on a new Adventure (Rating:  2)

 

May 7, 2020 – Boundary Trail – Massachusetts

Yesterday Wilma and I Adventured to the Boundary Trail in the Oak Hill Conservation Land in Littleton, Massachusetts.  Boundary Trail is 3.3 miles and is the longest trail on the Oak Hill Conservation property.  The Boundary Trail runs along the Tophet Chasm, follows stage roads at points, and passes the well-known “Lookout Rock”.

We had an invigorating Adventure to the Boundary Trail.  I decided to get up for an extra-early sunrise Adventure before starting my work day.  We arrived at an empty parking lot, and began heading down the orange trail before turning left to commence the Boundary Trail, indicated by yellow trail markers.  The beginning of the trail ran adjacent to the road and several homes before veering away and into the woods.  The sun was beautifully shining through the trees creating a picturesque scene.  On the trail we found a variety of boulders, ascended up and down several hills, and walked high above a ravine.  Parts of the Trail were quite muddy, but to be expected on a lovely spring day.  Except for an occasional good smell, Wilma ambled at a fast pace, helping to ensure quite a healthy work-out.

One of my favorite portions of this trail was the scene at “Lookout Rock”.  “Lookout Rock” is quite well-known to members of the local community, a boulder area that provides panoramic views.  We sat for a bit on the rocks, viewing the lovely scene.  It is always interesting watching Wilma, she often appears to be hearing or seeing things in the distance, or at least alert to what may come.  Her sweet, little hound-nose is constantly in motion, not missing a beat.  She even appeared to be appreciating the scenic view, a moment that made me smile, and reminded me of a precious memory and video of Shadow and Wilma watching the sunset at Cadillac Mountain.

After “Lookout Rock” the Boundary Trail continued back into the woods, and if I recall this portion of the trail was much flatter then the former section.  Throughout the hike we only saw one person, with two furry friend, but noticed no other visitors.  Although in some portions there were sounds of the outside world, often we heard birds singing, and felt at one with nature.  So glad we discovered the Boundary Trail today, a wonderful local hike (Rating:  3.5)

May 2, 2020 – Sherburne Nature Center and Trails – Massachusetts

Today Wilma and I Adventured to the Sherburne Nature Center and Trails in Tyngsboro, Massachusetts. The Center was donated by the Sherburne family in 1999. It has approximately eighty acres of open land and trails and the Center itself has various exhibits and opportunities for educational activities. The Sherburne property is popular for walking, nature viewing, snow shoeing and biking.

We had an early morning Adventure to the Sherburne Nature Center and Trails arriving at 5:30am! We were pleased to find an empty parking lot the sun just starting to rise. We began our hike through the field and into the woods, soon locating a singing brook. Wilma immediately heading to the water’s edge to explore and I treasured the sounds of nature. From there we headed over the bridge and began to explore the Trails. I had peeked at the online map beforehand but soon discovered the Trails were quite confusing, often finding labels to indicate we were on a trail, but unclear as to what trail, or how it connected with another. Nevertheless being a small local park this caused no concern and we carried on. Wilma appeared very jovial, jumping up on anything tall, and sniffing everything in sight. Parts of the Trail were quite muddy, but to be expected with our recent days of rain.

After eventually finding our way back to the babbling brook, we were able to locate a nearby Trail with a spectacular boardwalk. The geese were unusually loud, maybe warning of a dog-like, deer looking creature??  (haha!)  We saw adorable ducklings, and located a large beaver dam in close proximity to the boardwalk. The sun was rising through the trees, adding incredible beauty to this picturesque portion of the Trails. This was definitely my favorite part of the Trails at the Sherburne Nature Center!

We spent about an hour and a half exploring the Sherburne Nature Center and Trails. So fun to find a new local Trail system. Below you will see many photos and two videos of my favorite two sections of the Trails, both of which we explored twice (Rating: 3.5).

April 25, 2020 – Nauset Lighthouse – Massachusetts

Today Wilma and I Adventured to the Nauset Lighthouse (also referred to as the Nauset Beach Lighthouse) in Eastham, Massachusetts, part of Cape Cod.  I actually have blogged about this Lighthouse in my “Throwback” blog but decided to highlight it again as I took minimal photos on the first visit, as well as Wilma had not visited this memorable Lighthouse.  Shadow, My Mom, and I originally visited three years ago.

The Nauset Lighthouse was restored and relocated back in 1923.  The Nauset Light Preservation Society currently maintains the Lighthouse and through private donations funded the restoration and relocation of the lighthouse.  The Lighthouse has benches nearby and is located adjacent to the Nauset Light Beach.

I was excited to Adventure to the Nauset Lighthouse a second time as it is unusually colorful and absolutely scenic.  We parked at the nearby beach and made the short trek over to the Lighthouse.  Wilma was eager to explore, anticipating the enthusiasm in my steps.  We found a scenic path to the side of the Lighthouse that led us to the top of the small hill and directly to the Lighthouse.  The scenery was brown, yet had character.  There were benches near the Lighthouse, and several educational kiosks.  The roar from the ocean was fantastic, one of my favorite sounds of nature. We lingered around the area, making several rounds.  On our way back I noticed several overgrown paths to the beach, so we ventured over to observe the scene.  I was shocked to find us high above the beach, almost a large dune, yet we were in a wooded-like area.  The site was just spectacular, and the sounds magnificent.  I do not remember if we visited this beach on our initial visit, but definitely will be adding it to a future Adventure.  One of my favorite photographs from today came at the Nauset Lighthouse of Wilma in the brown landscaping with the Nauset Lighthouse in the background.  So glad both Shadow and Wilma were able to Adventure to the Nauset Lighthouse.  I will include the photographs from our initial visit below at the bottom, but you also can search for the Nauset Lighthouse in my search box to read more about our first visit in April 2017.  Definitely one of the beautiful Lighthouses in New England (Rating:  4).

April 2017 Visit

April 25, 2020 – Eastham Windmill – Massachusetts

Today Wilma, and I Adventured to the Eastham Windmill in Eastham, Massachusetts, part of Cape Cod.  The Eastham Windmill is the oldest working Windmill in Cape Cod.   The Windmill was built in 1680 in Plymouth, and moved numerous times before arriving at the current location.  As expected the Windmill has been restored over the years.  It currently is open to the public in summer months providing tours of the operation.  The Eastham Windmill also fresh-ground cornmeal which is sold to the community.

We had a special Adventure to the Eastham Windmill as this was our first ever Adventure to a Windmill!  The Windmill was the centerpiece of the Town Center, located in a small park.  It was surrounded by rustic fencing, and many benches around the border.  We began exploring at the official sign of the Windmill, at the forefront of the Park.  The nearby fencing was lined with gorgeous, bright white and yellow daffodils, sending my mind to thoughts of Dutch culture.  After appreciating these pretty spring flowers we found another opening and headed straight to the Eastham Windmill.  The Windmill was quite picturesque, and very tall.  We viewed it from all angles, even  discovering small Christmas lights on the turbines.  Such a marvelous, and distinctive structure.

After snapping endless photographs, as per our usual custom we sauntered past the Windmill over to a small gazebo, and a radiant “Memorial Buoy Tree”.  These Memorial was devoted to a local resident who had passed.  Such a beautiful tribute that clearly has been treasured by his dedicated communicated.

I am not sure if you are thrilled to learn but we might have a new theme for our future Adventures.   Well, not really theme, don’t you worry, but we do look forward to visiting other Windmills in the future.  So delighted we could discover the Eastham Windmill today (Rating:  3.5)

 

March 30, 2020 – Whitetail Woods – Massachusetts

Today Shadow, My Mother, and I Adventured to the Whitetail Woods property in Littleton, Massachusetts.  Whitetail Woods is part of the Littleton Conservation Trust.  It contains two trails throughout woodland areas, less then two miles in total.  Whitetail Woods is popular for dog walkers, wildlife viewing, and cross country skiing.

We had an educational Adventure to the Whitetail Woods property.  I was disappointed to find Wilma’s leg still a bit sore, so decided to let her stay home to rest.  Feeling a bit guilty I headed off with Shadow, and we met My Mother at Whitetail Woods.  This was the second time we have been to this property, as the first visit was with My parents, Shadow, and Buster back in 2014 (see photographs below the photographs from today).

We parked at a newly paved parking lot, viewed a kiosk with the Trail map and then headed off on the Trail.  Shadow was quite thrilled to see his Grandmother was joining us on our hike.  There were two loops, one guided by orange diamonds, and the other by white diamonds.  We took our time exploring and walking.  There were parts of the Trails where you could hear construction and see the surrounding properties and homes, but much of the Trail was quite serene.  My Mother educated me on recognizing and determine the age of a White Pine, and on how to to identify Cinderella Pines and Winter Berry.  In addition did you know that Lichen (flaky green plant) grows on the north side of an upright tree, and indicates healthy air?  I am always so enlightened with My Mother’s knowledge of nature. 

Throughout the walk Shadow enjoyed the smells, and even posed on a rock.  I was quite entertained by watching him navigate several logs over the Trails.  I fondly treasure every moment this previous boy makes me smile!  Today was dark and dreary, but thankfully not too cold.  We made sure to walk on every part of each Trail before heading back to the car.  Very slowly I am noticing more green as I count down to spring a refreshing sight.

I am so grateful that with these worrisome times we can still enjoy the great outdoors with family.  Hoping Wilma will be feeling better soon and can join us on our next Adventure (Rating 3.5).

Today, March 30, 2020

 

 

 

February 2014 – Throwback Adventure

 

 

March 28, 2020 – Battle Road Trail, Part II – Massachusetts

Today Shadow, Wilma, and I Adventured to the Battle Road Trail in Concord, Massachusetts.  The Battle Road Trail is an almost ten mile round trip Trail, connecting historic sites from Concord to Lexington Massachusetts.  The Trail focuses on the Battle of 1775 which began the American Revolution.  It crosses wetlands, forests, and farmlands, and contains various landmarks and kiosks along the way.  The Trail is part of the Minute Man National Historic Park.

We had a refreshing Adventure to the Battle Trail.  This was the first time we have been to this section of the Battle Trail, so I am therefore titling it “Part II”.  We parked at the Hartwell Tavern Parking Lot as on our first Adventure (Part I), the Hartwell Tavern was where we concluded our hike.  Today we began our walk down the Trail locating a picnic area, and a weeded patch scattered with crocuses, a gorgeous sign of spring.  This side-trail from the parking lot soon dropped us right to the Hartwell Tavern where we turned left and began our Part II Adventure on the Battle Trail.

The Battle Trail was the busiest I have ever seen it.  I have been quite humored by the fact that a Pandemic has caused so many discover the magnificent outdoors, leading the trails to be over-crowded with guests.  This sadly has caused many places to close but we were relieved that although the facilities were closed the physical Battle Trail was still open.  And of course when I say “humored” I do acknowledge that it is a very worrisome time, however, I never would have expected everyone to flood to the quiet oasis of the outdoors.

As expected, the Battle Trail was end of winter brown, however there were small aspects of color in various buds.  In many parts the trails were edged by perfectly shaped rock fences, adding a lovely frame.  We passed historical buildings, remnants of battle, and were educated by kiosks along the trail.  I was surprised to find two boardwalks along the Trail, in my mind an unexpected feature of a historic landmark.  The boardwalks appeared to transform us into a new environment, a wonderful aspect of the Trail.

We spent about three hours walking the Battle Trail, including exploring several side-trails.  I had planned to hike the entire second half of the Trail, often thinking we were close to the finish, although no way to know.  However Shadow seemed quite tired and Wilma appeared to be re-aggravated a sore leg, so I regretfully headed back, feeling this was best for my furry best buds.  So there will be a “Part III” in the future. no matter how short it may be!  Such a wonderful day to enjoy a walk on the Battle Trail (Rating:  3.5).

(If you are interested in reading Part I of the Battle Trail, you can type “Battle Road Trail” into the search box.  I will be updating it immediately after posting this blog to indicate “Part I”.)

March 8, 2020 – Spruce Pond Creamery -Massachusetts

Yesterday Shadow, Wilma, and I Adventured to the Spruce Pond Creamery in Franklin, Massachusetts.  The Spruce Pond Creamery is well known for their flatbread pizza, homemade ice cream, calzones, pasta based dishes, and their beer and wine.  The Creamery has a porch that overlooks the Pond and an outdoor window for ordering.

We had a pricey Adventure to the Spruce Pond Creamery.  Upon completion of our Adventure at the nearby Franklin Sculpture Park my mind was set on something cold and refreshing, sadly battling a cold.  We were pleased to find an outdoor window for ordering, but quite shocked at the high prices and and to find no official dog ice cream.  However, with the help of the kind server we were able to find a dog friendly ice cream option, while my Mom ordered coffee ice cream and I an Orange Sorbet Freeze.  After ordering we decided to head home with our goodies, outdoor seating not appearing to be available in off-season.  My Mom found her ice cream “satisfactory” while I found my Freeze quite refreshing.  We enjoyed our treats as we drove home chatting away planning our next Adventure.

As soon as I dropped my Mom home and we arrived at our house we scurried out to the backyard so Shadow and Wilma could devour their well-awaited treats.  They clearly had no complaints and made me smile as they slurped away.  And for those of you who are crazy dog lovers, as myself, please enjoy two short videos below of their cheerful licks.  Glad we could visit another ice cream spot today at the Spruce Pond Creamery (Rating:  3).

March 8, 2020 – Franklin Sculpture Park – Massachusetts

On March 8, 2020 Shadow, Wilma, My Mom, and I Adventured to the Franklin Sculpture Park in Franklin, Massachusetts.  The Franklin Sculpture Park is a small sculpture Park.  The project to create this sculpture park was driven by the community, the land donated by the town, while the Franklin Art Center organized the artwork.  The Franklin Sculpture Park is free for visitors.

We had a refreshing Adventure to the Franklin Sculpture Park.  I was excited to find this Park as it had not popped up in my searches before.  Even better I was thrilled to have my Mom join us to explore this new location.  We arrived at the Park to find few other visitors.  We began the cement loop around the Park, scattered with sculptures throughout.  The sculptures were labeled, and many quite unique.  I think my favorite sculptures were:  two faces, a photograph sculpture, a path of rainbows, and fish artwork framing the water.  In thinking back I guess I should have payed a bit more attention to their titles, but likely you can locate them below.

We enjoyed strolling slowly, and appreciating great company.  There were ducks in the water adding a nature feel to what appeared to be a man-made pond, and energizing Wilma in anticipation.  The landscape was winter brown, but yet pretty in its own way.  We enjoyed a quite humorous moment when Wilma did not appear thrilled to find a monster-appearing structure in her view.  I took a quick video as this moment occurred and she soon warmed up to this mysterious creature.  We posed with several of the sculptures and enjoyed the moments.  Poor Shadow was quite disappointed not to take a dip, but yet the water did not look too clean for a sip.  Simple, but really a lovely Park.  So glad we discovered the Franklin Park Sculpture Park today (Rating:  3.5)