Sunday, December 7, 2014

Trustees of Reservations

You may have noticed that I have been doing a lot more hiking than fishing lately. If you have been reading through, you can see a lot of places I have hiked have been owned by the Trustees of Reservations.  There are many types of open space to walk in. Of course there are state parks and state beaches. There are town forests and state forests. The Audubon society in many states have open land including MA and Rhode Island.

The Trustees is sort of like the Audubon Society. It is a private group of 100,000 members. They own about 100 properties. All total they own and about 25,000 acres of open space in Massachusetts ( I just read these figures on their website). The properties I have visited have for the most part been forest. If you have ever been to the North Bridge in Concord, the building to your left walking toward the bridge is the Old Manse, it is owned by the Trustees.

The Trustees do run a campground in Royalston called Tully Lake. I am going to look into that a little more. This could be a cool place to visit in the summer

Looking at a map, the Trustees have properties across the state. you will notice there is a large clump of open land along the Charles River in the Dover/ Medfield/ Sherborn area. These have been the places I have visited. They are within 45 minutes from home for me. Also I can hit multiple places with a quick lunch mixed in making for an enjoyable worthwhile day. I like the fact the Trustees keep quite a bit of the Charles accessible to the public.  Many of these reservations have a spot to land a canoe. It would be kind of neat to access these places from the river.

Like the Audubon Society, it costs money to become a member. Some of the properties are free to anyone. Others have a small fee for admission if you are not a member. Every place I have been to so far has been "free to all" however I am enjoying these trips so much I want to give back so I am going to join for a year.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Attleboro Area Industrial Museum

On my quest to learn more about my area, I went to the Attleboro Area Industrial Museum. The museum is in downtown Attleboro right next to the police station. Any info on for dates open ant times can easily be found with a quick Google Search. I was going to make it a two for one deal and go to the Attleboro Art Museum also, but it was closed for the Thanksgiving weekend.

This little museum is a gem. First off, it is free. Although donation are definitely appreciated. I put a couple dollars in the donation box before I left. Every place is famous for something. Attleboro is famous for jewelry. I t was considered the jewelry capitol of the United States. There were many manufacturers making things as important as World Series rings. Many of the exhibits are on jewelery, although there is plenty more to see.

I was the only one in the museum, which was an old mill building, when I went. There was one man named Carlton working, I believe he runs the place. Anyway, he basically gave me a tour and was not only knowledgeable of all the artifacts but also seemed to know everything about the Attleboro area history. He shocked me when he said the museum had been there since 1976. I thought for sure I've only noticed it the past couple years. He was great and answered all my questions.

There were some Indian arrowheads which I like looking at. There were many old timey machines used in old mills. I guess many people would find an old horse drawn fire truck one of the most interesting pieces. I liked looking at some then and now pictures of different areas of Attleboro.  It was neat seeing what parts of town looked like one hundred years ago.

All in all, I stayed about an hour. I sort of rushed because I also wanted to go to Slater Mill in Pawtucket. If I didn't rush, I'd say I would have been happy with another half hour. I know a few people that asked me"how is it, I always drive by but never stop" I can say that the museum is absolutely worth 90 minutes of your time. I was totally surprised at how fascinating it was.
Exhibit on Balfour, a famous manufacturer in town

Who knew?

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Woodcock Garrison House

On the Sunday before Thanksgiving I went to the Woodcock Garrison House in North Attleboro. The house is the oldest house in town. The historical society had an open house where members of the community could tour it for a small donation. The volunteers were dressed in period attire. All of them had a ton of knowledge on the house and how Colonials lived. As soon as we walked in, there was a turkey cooking by the fireplace, and you felt transported back three hundred years.

Each room had a volunteer explaining the artifacts/antiques in the room. Some of the stuff was very interesting. There were utensils from pre-Revolutionary War time, old furniture, and a ton of other stuff needed to survive in that time period. Being half way between Boston and Providence, the house was used as an inn for many years. George Washington slept there once.

 I sort of dragged my friend Laurie along as she had no real desire to go. By the time we went into the second room she was asking questions. In our town, third grade students take a tour of the town. We had to dress up in "knickers" or dresses. We hit many historical sites including the Garrison House and the little red school house next door. I remember the field trip a little bit, and a couple of things I was taught came back to me on the tour. It was fun going back and reliving a field trip I took about 32 years ago. If you are ever in the North Attleboro area and there is an open house held by the Historical Society, it is well worth a couple of hours.

On the other hand, if you are into history, I am sure many towns have historic buildings and their Historical Society has the occasional open house. Even though places like Concord and Boston get the lion's share of the historical attention in New England, maybe we should all get to know our hometown a little bit better. I know I am going to try.

Historic Sycamore outside of the house

Little Red Schoolhouse

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Shattuck Reservation and Cedar River

I had the Saturday after Thanksgiving off from work. I went to the Attleboro Area Industrial Museum in the morning. This left me all afternoon to do something else. I decided to go for a quick hike up in Medfield. There are two open spaces owned by the Trustees of the Reservations across Causeway Street from each other. They are Noon Hill and Shattuck Reservation. Combined they are about 700 acres. Noon Hill has more miles of trail as Shattuck has about 1.5 miles compared to the 6+ miles at Noon Hill. Also I have read Noon Hill has a really nice view.

Shattuck Reservation

My plan was to go to Noon Hill and do as many miles as possible. when I pulled into the parking area (off Noon Hill Road which is in itself off of Causeway Street) there were a lot of cars in the lot. I decided to search out solitude instead of views and went back to Causeway St and the Shattuck Reservation. There is a small unsigned pulloff about 1/4 mile from Noon Hill Road on Causeway Street. This is where I parked. I walked fifty yards down to a connector trail. This trail linked up to a red loop trail. I enjoyed my walk in the 38 degree forest. The trail went by the Charles River in a couple of spots. In more than one place side trails went off toward the water. The views of the river were marshy and overall very scenic

. I saw a total of two people on my hike ( mountain biker and a jogger). I was surprised to see the mountain biker since there was an inch or two of snow on the ground making for treacherous riding conditions.

There was one downside to this hike. There is a sportsmen's club across the river. The whole time I was there shotguns were being fired off at clay pigeons. At one point on the loop I was close enough to repeatedly hear ":Pull! Bang!"

Once back near the car at the end of my loop hike. I continued down the original path that I started on. It led to a cool peninsular that the Charles River does a u-turn around. Swamp was on one side and on the other a small pond made by a bend in the river. It was the most scenic spot I saw all day.
I'm sure this makeshift campsite (notice the campfire stones in between two trees)
was highly illegal, but what a nice setting to do some "stealth camping"

I only had to climb about 3 feet for this "summit view"
of the Charles River

This is the "pond" as the river bends around the peninsular. 

Cedar River

After I got back to the car I only had about an hour of daylight left. This wasn't enough time to properly explore Noon Hills miles of trail so I saved that hike for another day. In my way to Noon Hill I passed another Trustees owned property called Cedar River (named for cedar trees along the Charles River bank0. There was only one mile of trail so I thought, Why not? I pulled into the parking lot and went for the river. The neatest thing about this property, along with many other Trustees properties, was the old stone walls from a time when the area was all farm land. but to be honest this place was a bit of a disappointment. The one mile loop trail basically circles a private residence that is somehow right in the middle of the property. If you go to the river first as I did, the house is always on your right as you circle it.

When reading about the Cedar River, the literature says deer and wild turkeys abound. I would probably stop again at dawn or dusk as I was driving by, just to see if any animals were in the fields. I would not however make a special trip to go there.
As I passed by stone walls at Cedar River they had these
granite posts wherever the trail ran through it

Add caption

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Chase Woodlands and Peters Reservation

Beautiful Red Pines
Continuing on my winter hiking kick on Thanksgiving morning I went to the town of Dover, MA to do some exploring. DJ was going over his moms for lunch while we planned on having our meal about 4 pm. Chase and Peters are two large pieces of open land right across the street from each other. They are on Farm Road. The Trustees of the Reservation own these properties.

The parking lot is on the Chase Woodlands ground. I snapped a picture of the trail system on my phone and went off. These are fine woods, but there wasn't anything for me to look for like a summit view, a pond or a river. None the less I came across some deer tracks and tracks of what I think is a raccoon.  I did an outer loop hike that took a little more than an hour.

The true purpose of this adventure was to go snowshoeing. We got an inch down my way the night before, but the weather forecast called for about 5 inches inland. That did not materialize. The area got about the same as where
Just a man, his hot chocolate and a trail
I live. There was between a dusting and two inches on the ground. Even though I couldn't snowshoe, I got to give my new Keen winter boots a test. They were comfortable but a little heavy. I loved that they were waterproof. I walked through ice cold puddles and my feet stayed dry and toasty warm. Overall I was very satisfied.

After a quick drink at the car I crossed the street to Peters Reservation. I liked these woods more. There is a trail to a canoe landing on the Charles River. The spot is very scenic. To the left the Charles is a bit marshy. On the right across the river is a cow farm.  The trail to the river is also nice. A fine stand of tall perfectly straight red pines lines the way. There is also a "knoll" on site. Basically a small hill without a view. There is a stand of rhododendron that I am sure is beautiful in May.

By far the highlight of my walk were three deer. As I was walking toward the knoll three deer came bounding toward me at almost full speed. They came from my right, ran by me about fifteen feet away and continued past my left. It happened so fast, there was no way I could get a picture. Still, it was an awesome experience
The Charles River at Peter's Reservation

Monday, December 1, 2014

Blackstone River Bikepath

Admittedly, this post should be done during the warmer months, however I took some photos the other day and figure now is as good a time as any to write about a real tresure. I will post it again in the spring without this opening paragraph.

The Blackstone River Bikepath is about 10 miles long. It runs from Cumberland (almost Central Falls) to Woonsocket. You would never believe how "green" it is going through such urban communities. For the whole way the path runs along the Blackstone River, the historic Blackstone Canal or both. Only for short amounts of time can you not see water. The bikepath is always listed as one of the ten best things to do in Rhode Island.

 There are many access points and a quick search will get you to the one closest you. For me, I usually park at the Kelly House just a minute or two off of I-295. This is close to the middle of the path, giving me options.A lot of people use the path for walking, biking or rollerblading. I will say that other than summer weekends, rarely is it crowded.

Over this summer and fall I rode my bike a lot on the path. I did the whole path of twenty miles (ten up and back) one time. Usually though, I do a ride of about 12-14 miles as this takes me just over an hour. I have noticed I enjoy the ride a lot more when I am relaxing and enjoying the scenery.

 There is always something to look at. There are three dams, the a fore mentioned river and canal and bridges that I pass under. It is a great place to see fish swimming and the best place I know to see muskrats right before dark. I have seen one deer.  Many people will stop at the benches along the waterfalls.

The Kelly House Museum does a great job explaining the Industrial
of the area. It is at Mile Marker 11 and it is

This is Mile Marker 11. The first Mile Marker
starts at 7.5 because it is 7.5 miles from the East
Bay Bikepath. This is a little confusing for peoplie
new to the path.
Next year you owe it to yourself to take a daytrip to the bike path. It is an easy ride for millions of people in southeastern MA and can be reached by almost everyone in Rhode Island in an hour drive. Take the family and a lunch, go for a bike ride and get some fresh air. It is a tresure.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Things I am Thankful for

Me, thankful my bike ride was over
Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!
Every year at Thanksgiving I do a post of things I am thankful for that are outdoors related. Honestly, I love doing this post. It is a way to look back relive fun memories. I get to think about the past ten months and be thankful of things I might have taken for granted. So without further ado...

1. I am thankful of the best carp month I have ever seen. During a week in May, I heard of over twenty carp over twenty pounds caught by seven or eight guys. I got quite a few myself including a personal best 28 pounder.

2. I am thankful for the relaxing weekend Laurie and I spent in western MA. We hit four museums in Springfield, the Norman Rockwell Museum and Golden Corral.

3. The single most fun day of the year was going to the Baseball Hall of Fame with DJ in March. We had a terrific day.

4. I am thankful for ridge hikes above timberline. There is nothing like walking two miles and being on top of the world. There is no place in the world I am happier.

5. I am thankful my friend Eric took me on his boat. We had a fun time. He asked me to go many times more, but our schedule never quite seemed to match up again. None the less, it was awesome.

6. I am probably most thankful that for most of the summer I was in shape enough to enjoy my hikes. Hiking is so much more fun when you are not sucking wind. My hikes were awesome. I completely fell in love with hiking for the first time in years.

7. I am thankful I found outdoor hobbies for the winter. Between ice fishing and striper fishing, I still get to be at the water. Throw in hiking in "pocket wildernesses" near home, and a couple museums I want to visit winters fly by.

8. I am thankful for my fishing buddy Dave. I can't stress enough how
 much he has taught me and how much fun I have fishing with him.

9. Albies, plain and simple, the greatest fish I have ever caught.

10. New Hampshire, all of it above Concord.

11. Speaking of Concord, I am thankful to visit the site the Revolutionary War's first battle.  There are so many things to do in Concord. My favorite town in Massachusetts

12. I am always thankful and never take for granted I live in the greatest country in the world. A country that I not only have the freedom to do what I want, but also public access to some truly great places for all of us to discover.