Long Pond, Littleton

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My dad and I actually found this place randomly while driving through Littleton.  We saw some signs for a “Town Beach” and followed them, finding this incredible scene.

It was a 60-degree October day, and it was just perfect.

Obviously no one was swimming at that point in time, but the beach looked like fun.  We just walked up and down the road a little bit.  We couldn’t stop snapping photos; these are just some highlights.

Definitely going back!  It’s so beautiful that it’s worth it, even if it’s not the right weather to swim.

Unfortunately I couldn’t really find a decent link with more information, but here is the pond on Google Maps.

We were coming from Goldsmith St. (it’s the same road, but it goes by the name Newtown Rd. when you’re in Acton).  You can see from the map that you could turn down Lake Drive, Beach Drive, or Town Road to access the public parking areas.

SUCH AN AMAZING DAY!

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Lyman Estate, Waltham

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My friend Jon and I first visited the Lyman Estate on one of the last truly warm weekends in September.  We had just gone camping over Labor Day weekend, and we were trying to hold on to the feeling of summer.

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It was pretty easy to understand why people would have their weddings there.

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This was once the Lyman family’s back yard.

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Of course we didn’t get there until it was almost sundown.

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Jon and I enjoyed walking around and taking it all in. Since we showed up around 6:00 pm on a Sunday, the greenhouses weren’t open. It didn’t matter to us; the grounds were so peaceful and still that it felt like we had gone somewhere far, far away.

It’s interesting to think back and imagine how different the city must have been when Theodore Lyman first had his mansion built there in 1773. At that point in time, I believe Waltham was place where wealthy people wanted to move away from the hustle and bustle of the big city.  (As anyone who knows Waltham is thinking, so much for that…).

The grounds are open during the daytime, although the Lyman Estate can be rented out for weddings and other functions so I’m not sure if you can count on it to be open to the public all the time in the nice months.

The mansion was closed when we were there, but there are tours of the Lyman mansion on the third Thursdays of the month.  I would call the phone number on the page I linked to in order to confirm before heading down.

There are also historic greenhouses on the estate, which were built in 1805.  The admission to the greenhouses is free, and according to Yelp it’s a great place to buy flowers.

To see the Lyman estate on Google Maps click here.

Bedford Boat Launch– Bedford & Carlisle town line

This boat launch is on the north side of route 225 where it runs between, you guessed it, Bedford and Carlisle. To see the boat launch in Google Maps, click here.

You can launch a boat here and head north towards Billerica and Lowell, or head south to Concord.  There’s a big lot which allows you to drive your boat right down to the edge of the water, and plenty of room for parking.  I’ve also seen many people come here to fish.

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Punkatasset Hill and Estabrook Woods, Concord

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Most of the trail is wooded like this…

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… but there are also some beautiful pastoral scenes such as this.

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The end of Estabrook Rd. The trail entrance is just up ahead.

Such a beautiful place.  You can come here for a leisurely 45-minute walk around Hutchins pond, or you can venture back farther into the woods for hours.  Dogs are allowed!

There are two ways to enter the Estabrook Woods.

The first entrance is off of Monument St.  Click on this Google Maps link to view.  If you are coming during nice weather, I can almost guarantee you will see other cars parked on the same side of the road as the entrance.  There is no parking allowed on the other side of the road.  It’s a little bit hard to actually find the entrance because you will feel like you’re walking down someone’s driveway, but if walk down the only dirt driveway you see, you will find the wooden brown sign welcoming you to conservation land.

The other way to enter is if you go to the very end of Estabrook Rd. and park there.  Again, if you’re going on a nice day, you will definitely see some other cars.  Just walk up past the chain across the road (it’s fine to walk there; you just can’t drive past it).  You will be in the woods within moments.  This first section of woods is actually owned by Harvard University, but they are nice enough to let people enjoy it.

I actually have gotten lost in the Estabrook Woods more than once.  Even if you’ve been there before there are so many different trails, all of which resemble each other, that it can be slightly confusing.

For your first time (or your second or third time), I recommend studying a map before you go.  I literally just spent 20 minutes searching online for a map that I would use and couldn’t find anything at all.  There is, however, a large bulletin board with a map at the Monument St. entrance.  Make sure you give that a good long stare.

In the event you do get lost, the important thing to know is you’re never too far from civilization at any given time.  There are houses within walking distance all around you, as well as Middlesex School.  And again, if you’re going on a nice day, I doubt you will be the only one walking around.

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And one last thing… you definitely need to wear bug spray any time of year between late spring and fall.  It doesn’t matter what kind of weather it is– rain, sun, hail.  Just wear it.  This is a very low-lying area with a lot of still water.  If you don’t heed my advice, you’ll see what I mean.

Bare Mountain, South Hadley

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The crazy thing about being at the top was that you were so high up you could watch the shadows of the clouds move over the land.

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It was a windy day, so the patterns of light versus shadow changed often as the clouds blew overhead.

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The picture doesn’t do it justice, but this is probably the steepest cliff I have ever stood on that didn’t have some sort of guardrail to keep you from going over the edge. Those trees you’re looking at are hundreds of feet down.

I think these pictures speak for themselves.

This was a while ago, but I believe it took me around 45 minutes to get to the top of the mountain.  It actually took me longer to get down because, for some reason, I find it is harder to balance going down, and the trail was very rocky.  You had to be very careful with your foot placement.  It’s a mental challenge as well as a physical one.

The only thing I didn’t like about the trail was how rocky it was.  I went wearing normal running shoes and my feet were worn out by the time I was done.

I saw people with small children heading up as I was on my way down, but I’m honestly not sure if I would ever bring my kids there.  There are some places that are really steep and you have to have great balance.  Granted we are talking about falling five or six feet, not five or six hundred feet, but still, if you fall it will likely be onto unforgiving rocks.

Don’t let that discourage you! Go! And don’t bring your kids :)

Google Maps link to Bare Mountain here.

About Me

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I am a Massachusetts native in my late twenties who has always had a love for nature and hiking.

I am always trying to explore new places and have found it is much easier to plan a trip when you have some idea of what to expect.  Sometimes it can be hard to find information about a place you’re interested in going.

This website is just a collection of the knowledge I’ve collected over the years, as well as the images I’d like to remember.  Hope you enjoy!

If you have any comments or questions, you can email me at naturehiking@hotmail.com.

I also made a page so you can follow me on BlogLovin. Of course I had to copy and paste the following into my blog and it came out looking terrible.  Thanks, WordPress.  At least now you technically can follow me, even though it looks awkward.

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Wachusett Reservoir

The Wachusett reservoir is a stunningly beautiful body of water that touches several towns, including West Boylston, Boylston, Clinton, and Sterling.  The Wachusett is gorgeous even if you’re just driving by, but there are several places to park in the surrounding towns and access the scenic trails.  I took my pictures from a spot in Boylston.

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Because this reservoir is actually part of a public water supply, any activities that would cause you to come in contact with the water (swimming, wading) are prohibited.  Unfortunately, that means dogs aren’t allowed either.

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But in a lot of places, you can walk the shoreline for quite a while.  This is a good place to go on a warm day in the fall or the spring.  If you get good enough direct sunlight, for a few seconds you can almost trick yourself into thinking it’s summer and you’re at a real beach.

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Logistics:

Click here for a Google map of the reservoir’s location.

Click here for a list of all the designated parking areas, courtesy of the Department of Conservation and Recreation (thanks guys!).  There is no fee to park.

Middlesex Fells

This place is so freakin’ beautiful.  The only thing I don’t like is that you can hear the distant rushing noise of route 93 for most of the time while you are there.  But the scenery is so beautiful, and if you’re living in Boston it’s close enough that it makes up for it.

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Every time I go, there is a gathering of about twenty people and their dogs in the huge field you have to walk through to get to the trails.  Most of the dogs are off-leash and are having an amazing time hanging out with each other.  It seems this is something people who live in the area do regularly.  I know I mentioned hearing the sounds of the highway, but by the time you’re in that first field you are actually pretty far from the road itself.  There isn’t any danger of your dog accidentally wandering into traffic.

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The other awesome thing about this place is that it contains many different types of scenery.  There is the first flat field where everyone brings their dogs to socialize.  Then there are a few reservoirs which I believe supply water to the town of Winchester.

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There are also many different trails of varying levels of difficulty.  Some of them stay by the water and circle the reservoirs, whereas others go up really high and begin to look almost mountainous.

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You can spend hours and hours in the Fells– I definitely have!

Google maps view of the Middlesex Fells here.  If you look to where it says “Upper Sheepfold Parking lot,” that is where I always have an easy time parking.  This also takes you right to the field where all the dog owners hang out.

For the DCR page on the Middlesex Fells click here.  This includes links to more detailed maps, other ways to enter the fells, and rules and regulations.