Bourne. October 30, 2022

Day/Date:  SUNDAY -10/30/22
Towns visited: Bourne
Had we ever been to this town before?  No
Drive to town 77 miles    Time spent in town:  6 hours

What did we do in the town/area?  
BOURNE:  Cranberry Bogs!

On our way into Bourne, just after having some delicious coffee from Snowy Owl in Sandwich, we passed by a cemetery that was being landscaped. We did a double take when we saw one of the landscapers in a scary clown mask while cheerfully working away on the day before Halloween. We slowed; aww, who are we kidding? …we stopped to, slyly, take his picture, but he figured us out and purposefully gave us a few visible shots!

We continued on to the Cape Cod Canal, as there is a paved trail that runs along both sides of the canal that you can walk or bike along. We had a pleasant stroll and got picturesque views of the Bourne Bridge and the Cape Cod Railroad bridge. This amazing contraption lowers down when a train needs to cross the canal, and when it isn’t in use, it lifts to clear the way for boat travel. We didn’t get to see a train over it, but we found this youtube video of it happening! See it here.  

The Cape Cod Canal runs for 7 miles. There is a lot of history about building a canal that would let shipping boats through without having to go around all of Cape Cod. The construction was started and stopped a few times in the 1800s and 1900s by a few private companies. Management of the canal was taken over by the US Government by an emergency order four days after a German U-Boat showed up off the coast of Orleans, further east on Cape Cod. It turns out that this was the only attack on US soil in WW1. 

There was so much history in this town that was much older than the canal! We visited a little historic area with the Jonathan Bourne Library and the Alonzo Booth Forge, a replica of an old blacksmith shop. Nearby we came upon The Old Bourne Cemetery, which piqued our interest differently. No clowns here (!), but the stones were ancient and since Jo’s great-grandmother was named Nancy Ellen Bourne and her ancestors were from the Cape Cod area, we thought we’d see if we could locate any family gravestones. While we didn’t match any of the names with family members, you could feel the history here.

One of our main goals for the day was to find cranberries at harvest time. We researched online and found some trails that might take us to the bogs. The Bourne Conservation Trust has protected many areas in Bourne and maintains many trails. Thank you, BCT! We took a hike in the Bourne Sisters Woodland area. Near the end of our loop trail, we came upon a cranberry bog that had not yet been flooded. It was pretty, and we zoomed the camera in to see the berries still in the bushes. A little disappointed that we did not see the berries being harvested, we got back on the trail that led up to a ridge.

From that ridge, we spotted a bright patch of red. Could it be? Yes, it was! Just down from the bog, we had just seen was another bog that had been harvested. No farmers were actively working the bog that day, BUT they had recently flooded the bog, churned through the fields, and let the berries float to the top. Cranberries have four air pockets inside, allowing them to rise to the water’s surface. After they float, the farmers get into the bog with a “boom,” like a long stiff strap. This allows the farmers to push them together to one side of the bog. Then, a large vacuum sucks them into a truck, where they are culled and washed. It is a fascinating and low-tech process but ingenious. We also learned that most of the cranberries are harvested this way, but some that you would buy for cooking are harvested by hand in dry bogs. Farmers use a type of scooper similar to that used to harvest blueberries. This is much more labor intensive. We were so excited about this find! 

In search for a bite to eat, we went to Gray Gables Market for lunch. This cute little store provided us with some delicious sandwiches. We then were on the hunt for local cranberries to purchase.  

Next, we headed to Monument Beach, which was on a small cove with many boats. It was so warm, even this last weekend in October, that folks were just hanging out in their beach chairs watching the ocean do it’s thing.

We traveled next to the village of Pocasset. There wasn’t much there, but we did find a little market that had cranberries for sale in a big crate. So, we know they were from one of the local bogs.  

Next, we saw the village of Cataumet. This area is charming and must be busy in the summer, with a couple of ice cream shops and mini golf courses. But it was pretty quiet this time of year.

We went on a 2nd BCT cranberry bog hike, starting at Dimmick Field and following the red arrows to the bog. This bog had been flooded, but the berries were not floating at the top. So, either they had finished the harvest, or the farmers still needed to churn through the bogs to knock the berries off the vines. But it was interesting to see a bog in another stage of the process. The afternoon sun made this hike particularly beautiful!  

Our final stop of the day was to the village of Buzzards Bay. This felt like the real commercial center of Bourne, with a lot of shops, chain stores and restaurants, and hotels. Buzzards’ Bay is where the Bourne Town Hall was located. This village is also home to the Massachusetts Maritime Academy. This is a public university founded in 1891 that focuses on maritime-related fields. The campus is located right at the entrance to the Cape Cod Canal. They have a giant ship that is used for training that they might take out to sea for six months or so.

All in all, we were really amazed by all that Bourne has to offer. There is so much water all around, and through Bourne, it makes navigating by car a little challenging But, we had a great day and were so excited to see those berries! Now, we must go home to cook some cranberry bread!

For more information about how cranberry bogs work Fee free to check out this You tube video! Bog video

Indigenous/ Native land info for this region: Wampanoag

Williamstown and Savoy. October 15, 2022

Day/Date:  SATURDAY -10/15/22
Towns visited:  Williamstown & Savoy
Had we ever been to any of these towns before? No 
Time spent in town(s):   20 + hours combined

What did we do in the town(s)/area?  
WILLIAMSTOWN:  
Well, we were blown away by our visit to Williamstown. This small town in the uppermost corner of the state is home to Williams College, a small liberal arts school. Having been to many “college towns,” this one seemed to integrate campus and town nicely. The Berkshires are known to be a home for the arts, with many museums and summer event spaces. We found out that, along with Tanglewood music venue in Lenox and Jacob’s Pillow dance study and performance center in Becket, Williamstown is also known for the performance arts, specifically, the award-winning Williamstown Theatre Festival which typically runs in the summers.  

We really tried to pack a lot into our few days here. We went to the Clark Institute of Art, spending time both inside the museum and outside, walking the campus’ many trails and taking in the scenery and the outdoor sculptures. One piece of art entitled “Can you teach a cow to draw?” by Analia Saban was a fence showing concepts such as the rule of thirds and the golden ratio. The fence surrounded a pasture of cows on a hill, and the walking paths went right through the pasture. These well-behaved cows didn’t seem to mind us literally walking through their home in order to see another outdoor exhibit of architectural artwork called the Crystal, an asymmetrical wooden structure that provided a unique look out onto the scenery (the picture will explain it better).
Inside the museum was an impressive collection, inclusive of paintings, sketches, sculpture and photography, much of which was donated by Sterling and Francine Clark. They had familial ties with Williams College, so they decided to establish a public art gallery in the town of Williamstown.  

We stayed in a lovely Airbnb about a mile from campus, a small apartment adjacent to a couple’s house. After checking in, we continued our Williamstown adventures, checking out the Spruces Community Park, a charming park with a few miles of walking/biking trails on a flat piece of land with great mountain views. This used to be a mobile home retirement community from the 1950s until 2011 when hurricane Irene came and devastated the area. The Hoosac River is just a few blocks from this spot, and with it being so low in elevation, the area was severely flooded. The town condemned the area after every home was damaged and turned it into a public park.  

Since the night before had been really rainy, we decided to pick up some great food for dinner from the local food co-op and head out to chase the sunset! We ended up watching it from Luce Road which went from town up into the hills, with many farms. It was beautiful! We slept well that night.

When we awoke in the morning, our first thought was, “time for coffee!” So, we headed down to Spring Street, which is a small street a few blocks long that has most of the restaurants, the Williams bookstore, and other shops in town. There was the 2nd location of Tunnel Coffee Roasters, and having had such a good cup o’ joe there the day before in their other location, we went back for more! It did not disappoint! After coffee and breakfast at the cafe, we went across the street to take in the Williamstown Farmer’s Market, complete with live bluegrass music!  We purchased a few carrots and onions from a small local farm called Big Foot Farm.

Then we walked around the Williams College campus. From every vantage point, you could see the foliage-covered mountains all around. We went into the newly-expanded library. A brick wall from the old library sits inside the new, very modern glass library building! We also toured the Williams College Museum of Art, which had some really amazing works! There was an exhibit about the late artist, Mary Ann Unger. Unger was a feminist sculptor whose works express unconventional human forms. Her work “Across the Bering Straight” (pictured) is a room full of figures, seemingly in motion, plodding away on their journey. Unfortunately, Unger passed away at the far too young age of 53 from breast cancer. Her daughter, who is an artist in her own right, attended Williams College, which may be why the exhibit made it to this museum.  

After our campus adventures, we picked up a sandwich at the local deli, and they headed to Sheep Hill . Jenny read that this spot was “the best place to see foliage in the Berkshires,” and we think that the review was correct! This spot, just a few miles out of the downtown part of town, is part of Williamstown Rural Lands, a protected patch of land for recreation. The views from this hike were lovely from the bottom, then just became more and more colorful and beautiful as we walked up the hill. From the top, we enjoyed our sandwiches as well as spectacular views of the foliage and Mt. Greylock, Mt. Fitch, and Mt Williams. It was a beautiful, sunny day, and we could have sat on top of that hill until nightfall. But, alas, we wanted time to visit one more town on our way home.  

SAVOY:
This small town of about 650 people is on the Eastern Edge of Berkshire County. This town is so small that they don’t even have a post office. Well, they do have post boxes next to the town hall, which are covered by a wooden shelter. And the town offices are only open Tuesdays from 1 pm to 5 pm! The very small Town Hall building has a police station around the back. We think they only had one police car, which was parked beside the building. This town had no stores and no gas stations. There was google info for a general store, but it led us to an abandoned building. The info for a general store led us to an empty building. 

But, there is a State Forest in Savoy, and our handy dandy All Trails app took us down a bumpy road to a trailhead for Tannery Falls. This was a fairly steep but well-maintained hike to the base of a waterfall. Well, actually, to the base of two waterfalls, with the hiking trail running between them. It was beautiful, and the water was really flowing after the recent rain.  

We hiked back up, hopped in the car, and headed the 2+ hours on Rte. 2 all the way home. What a wonderful fall foliage weekend adventure in the Berkshires! 5 towns visited in 3 days!!!

Indigenous/ Native land info for this region:
WILLIAMSTOWN: Mohican      SAVOY: Nipmuc, Wabanaki Pocumtuc

North Adams & Clarksburg. October 14, 2022

Day/Date:  FRIDAY -10/14/22
Towns visited:  North Adams (City) & Clarksburg
Had you ever been to any of these towns before? Yes we have been to N. Adams but No, we have never been to Clarksburg  
Time spent in town(s):   20+ hours

What did we do in the town(s)/area?  
NORTH ADAMS:  We arrived in North Adams on Thursday evening after our visit to Ashfield. We had reservations at the Wigwam Western Summit Cabins, located right on Rte 2, a.k.a; the Mohawk Trail. There is a pretty notable “Hairpin turn” on this road, and our cabin was just about 1/6 of a mile after that turn. Our very kind host, Lea, welcomed us from inside the gift shop she also runs. This gift shop and set of cabins have an incredible view of the Hoosac Valley and a mountainous range. It’s a place many people call America’s Switzerland, and fall is a fantastic time to be here. The forecasted rain had been holding off all day, and we were so happy to be able to get settled in and take in the scenery before it came. This place came with two wooden Adirondack chairs, a fire pit, and a wooden outdoor shower that faced the mountains. We had been hoping to use the fire pit, but after settling in, we went out to explore and grab a bite to eat for a little bit, and when we returned, it started raining. But that was ok because we were fed and had a scrabble game. Plus, there was actually something quite soothing about the rain.

In the morning, the rain subsided and it left behind an incredible scene over the mountains of a fog that we could see was coming our way. We took our time getting packed up and, we most certainly did use that outdoor shower. It was so awesome! So much so that, at different times throughout the rest of the day, one of us would look at the other with a smile and say, “that shower, though.”

Sure enough, the fog we had been watching lifted and headed in our direction. For a time, it was so thick that we were hesitant to drive as we were planning on heading down into the downtown part of North Adams, which meant going towards the hairpin turn. So we decided to take a short hike on the Hoosac trail, which was within walking distance of our cabin. As it had poured all night, and we didn’t want to fall in any mud, we took our time walking. It was kind of magical being in the forest amidst the fog. Jenny looked around for mushrooms and I just took in the smells and sounds.

At some point, the fog lifted enough for us to begin our descent into the downtown area to get some coffee and explore this city.

After we parked, we noticed a large outdoor sculpture sandwiched between City Hall and Mass MoCA. It’s called Big Bling by Martin Puryear.

This piece has been traveling as a temporary art exhibit in several cities. It is now a part of The Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (a.k.a Mass MoCA), the largest contemporary art museum in the United States. Mass MoCA was once a shoe factory in this once very industrial old mill town. North Adams has seemed to reinvent itself by trying to use these old mill buildings in new ways such as artist workspace and housing lofts, pop-up stores and more.

We headed to another independent coffee roaster called Tunnel City Coffee in North Adams, which has cafes in both North Adams and Williamstown. Their North Adams Cafe is located at Mass MoCA. The coffee was really, really, yummy, and the place had a nice vibe. I kind of wished I had some work to do so I could have holed up in there! Anyway, we also bought some beans to take home. 

There was also a taco truck within the Mass MoCA complex, and we were hungry, so instead of going to Jack’s (a hotdog place our bro-in-law told us about a while back), we opted for a couple of tacos, and wow, we were so glad we did! The folks at Chignon Taco truck not only made our delicious tacos, but they also treated us to their delicious spirit as they unabashedly sang along to Celine Deon songs while making our food.

Well-fed and caffeinated, we journeyed on to explore the North Adams Library. This library is in a beautiful building, once called the Blackinton Mansion. It was donated as a library in the late 1800s. And it feels like an old house generously loaded with books. There is a beautiful wooden staircase and a sitting room that feels like you have traveled back in time a bit.

After all these adventures walking around downtown, we decided to take another trek in the woods and head to the Cascades Trail. We parked at a school and wandered through a neighborhood before reaching the head of this 2-mile path. The trail follows along Notch brook. It is supposed to lead you to a cascading waterfall at the end. Unfortunately, due to the rain the night before, the last part of the trail that led to that waterfall was flooded, and there was no way to pass without getting soaked. But we got to enjoy most of the trail, which was lovely.

The last discovery we had in North Adams that we just happened upon was the area known as Blackinton. We were driving through it, and Jenny noticed a hiker crossing sign right next to a sign that said Blackinton Historic district. So we turned around on this fairly busy road, and Jenny got out to explore. It turns out the Appalachian trail crosses here, and the signs for the AT North and South go right through this neighborhood. People are obviously friendly about it, as there was a water hose with a sign telling AT hikers to help themselves to the water. We thought this was pretty cool.

After that little excursion, we journeyed on to the small town of Clarksburg, just to the north.

CLARKSBURG:

Just north of North Adams is a small rectangle of a town names Clarksburg, with a population of about 1600 residents.  We drove to the town hall and then tried to find the library, but failed.  (Looking back, we think it may have been behind the local elementary school). In looking for the library, we did find the Clarksburg Senior Center and a park for sports.  The Senior Center was advertising an art show the next day for local seniors.  

This town borders Vermont, so we drove to the state line.  Interestingly, the sign that marks the entry into VT is a typical white sign with the seal of Massachusetts in the middle.  

Our All Trails App noted a trail in Clarksburg State Park, so we headed there.  This state park also has a campground, which was closed for the season.  In fact, the sign said the whole park was closed for the season, but we went in anyway.  We were unable to hike the pond loop trail around Mauserts’ Pond because it was washed out from all of the rain the night before.  So, we walked along the camp road.  It was really beautiful at the pond, as the lake was reflecting the clouds and the mountains.  

After our visit, we found out that the Appalachian Trail goes through Clarksburg near East Mountain in the Clarksburg State Forest.  We would have had to trek 3 miles in to actually come across the trail, so we didn’t do that.

There were no restaurants or stores in the town.  We are guessing that residents go into  nearby North Adams for their food and services.  

Indigenous/ Native land info for this region: 

NORTH ADAMS & CLARKSBURG: Wabanaki and Mohican

Ashfield. October 13, 2022

Day/Date:  THURSDAY -10/13/22
Town visited:  Ashfield
Had you ever been this town before? No 
Drive to town: 118 miles   Time spent in town:   3 hours

What did we do in the town/area?  
Today was the start of a three-day visit to western MA to enjoy the fall foliage and have some new town visit adventures!

Our first stop was Ashfield. It had rained a little bit on our drive there, but luckily, the rain stopped once we arrived. 

Once in Ashfield, we headed straight to our planned hike at the Trustee’s Chapel Brook/Chapel Ledge site. We chose the Chapel Ledge Summit trail, which was above Chapel Brook. We took the summit trail to the top.  This area also has a climber’s trail, with a 100-foot rock face that looked like it would be fun for rock climbers. The summit trail took a reasonably easy incline up Pony Mountain and were rewarded with two incredible views; one mid-way through of an old sheep pasture and the other at the top overlooking the highlands and the foothills of the Berkshires. The colors were a vibrant mix of orange, yellow, and green, and we were in awe of this beautiful view and our luck that it was not raining! We headed back down the trail and realized that the Chapel Brook side of this area was just across the street from where we parked, so we walked the short distance to the brook. It was pretty, and Jenny discovered a few mushrooms that she ooh-ed and ahh-ed over.

After our awesome hike, we decided to head to the town of Ashfield for lunch. As we drove along the very scenic Rte 116, we passed a little self-serve farm stand and a local theater/performance site called Double Edge Theatre, which was situated on a dairy farm and looked super interesting. This theatre company/art justice cultural center was founded in 1982 in Boston. They moved to Ashfield in 1997 and have been growing there ever since. We stopped and looked around for a bit as the barn had a vision statement painted on it, and the grounds were lovely, but there was not a lot going on at that moment, so we took some pics and moved on. But they seemed like a pretty interesting company!

We went into town, which was so picturesque with a sweet white chapel sitting amidst red and orange trees and a handwritten sign out from that said “Climate Justice Now” placed on the sidewalk in front. Just up the street from there was the Ashfield Town Hall, and behind it was a strange-looking structure that looked a bit like a gazebo. A really nice man who worked for the Fire Department came out to talk with us and told us it was the top of the town hall building and that it had been taken down for repairs. He said we could go up the hill if we wanted to take a closer look at it. So we did, and we took a few pics.

Countrypie Pizza was the one place we found in town open for lunch. They share a building and porch with the local Ashfield Hardware Store (which is more like an “everything you might need” store). Jenny got a slice of the BBQ Chicken pizza and said it was delicious! (Jo got a turkey BLT sub which was also delish). This building is right across the street from the local library. 

On our way out of town, we made one final stop at Belding Memorial Park to view Ashfield Lake. As we headed down a little slope towards the lake, an eagle flew by just over our heads which was awe-inspiring. That was a cool ending to our Ashfield town visit!

We got back in the car and headed to our next town destination and the site of our first AirBNB overnight- North Adams.

Indigenous/ Native land info for this region: Nipmuc, Wabanaki, Pocumtuc

Peabody. October 6, 2022

Day/Date:  THURSDAY -10/6/22
Towns visited:  Peabody (City) Had we ever been to this town before?  No
Drive to town:  31 miles    Time spent in town:   4.75 hours

What did we do in the town/area?  PEABODY:  
Do you ever have that feeling when you find out you have to work on Saturday, the day that you were planning on exploring, and you look at the weather app and see that the weather is gonna be awesome on Thursday, so you decide to play hooky on Thursday and venture north for some fall fun? 

We had that exact feeling, so that is what we did. Luckily, we had the flexibility to make that happen, and we are so glad because our visit to Peabody for apple picking and more turned out to be a delightful time.

As we always look to see who is selling the good coffee in the area, we were super stoked to learn that there is another Massachusetts coffee roaster that we hadn’t already known about! Capito Coffee is located in the Mills58 building (a cool renovated mill building with a food court and other small businesses) in Peabody. We bought some beans and enjoyed a delicious cup of coffee there.

The Mill58 building also featured some interesting photos showcasing the leather-making history of the building.

Happy with our coffees, we headed over to the downtown area with City Hall, the District Courthouse, and many businesses. Walking along a pretty narrow street, we noticed train tracks in the middle of the road but with no train track gates or warning signals or anything. And then we heard a train. It was moving slowly, but we were curious to see how this would pan out as the road it was about to cross was open, and a few cars were coming and going. As the train got closer to this tiny intersection, a man in a yellow vest jumped off the train with a flag and held off the car that had just pulled onto this road. Once the train had begun to cross the road, and it was clear to all cars that it was passing, the man jumped back on the train, and we all waited there until it finished crossing completely. It seemed like such an old-school style of train crossing, although it is probably common in many places.

Back in the day (in the early 1920s), Peabody became known as “leather town” due to its status as the largest producer of leather in the world. In our explorations, we noticed several old tannery buildings and a memorial to the A.C. Lawrence Leather Company. As we understand, this particular memorial was part of an original 200+ foot smokestack chimney on the grounds of the renovated mill building, which is now an apartment building.

We had brought our bikes with us because we had learned about a bike and walking trail in Peabody called the Independence Greenway. So we parked at Lt. Ross Park and rode 6 miles on this scenic trail that follows part of the Ipswich River and crosses over Crystal Lake. At Crystal Lake, we found 2 Adirondack chairs to rest upon with a scenic view. We also got a little history lesson. Along the trail was a “Peabody Witch Trials Legacy” marker with details about residents who had been martyred as part of the 1692 “Salem Witch Trials.” Note: The City of Peabody was incorporated in 1855 but was originally part of Danvers (which had originally been the part of Salem known as Salem Village).

After our bike ride and some lunch that we had brought, we journeyed on to the Brooksby Fram, a farm owned and operated by the City of Peabody. We bought our medium-sized “pick our own” bag and headed into the orchards for some picking. It didn’t take us long to fill it with Cortland and Empire apples. There is also a barnyard at the farm, so we put our apples in the car and visited the emu, goat, pony, white turkeys, and chickens. The goat and emu were in fierce competition for any treats that some kids were trying to feed them! Our last stop at the farm was in the store, where we got some yummy treats, including a can of cold brew coffee from Atomic Roasters, who we learned now have a roaster in Peabody (as well as one in Salem). We never tire of bringing home some “town visit food,” and this trip gives us a reason to make some apple sauce and apple crisp!

On our way home, we passed the Smith Barn and the Nathaniel Felton House, which is, apparently, the oldest house in Peabody (circa 1644).

All in all, a pretty excellent hooky day!

Indigenous/ Native land info for this region: Naumkeag, Massachusett, Pawtucket

The city was named after George Peabody, a man who would become know as the ‘father of modern philanthropy’. His philanthropic efforts included providing education and housing for destitute children and poor laborers. He also founded the Peabody Institute in Maryland (which includes a music school, art gallery, and a library at John’s Hopkins University) and his Peabody Education Fund. You can read more about George Peabody here.

Plympton. October 1, 2022

Day/Date:  SATURDAY -10/1/22
Town visited: Plympton
Had you ever been to a this town before? Yes
Drive to town:  50 miles    Time spent in town:  3.75 hours

What did we do in the town/area?  PLYMPTON:  
Rain was forecasted today, but we wanted to go to the first ever Mayflower Market Days Fair, which was a rain or shine event, so we grabbed our umbrellas and headed out. The rain was on and off, so it wasn’t too bad.

This new annual fair site was on the many acres of land alongside a home called the 1707 house recently featured on HGTV’s “Houses with History.” The house was initially built in 1707 and was restored by preservationists Mike Lemieux, and Jen MacDonald, who also own the homed goods store in Plympton called Mayflower Mercantile; the sponsors and creators of this new Mayflower Market Days Fair. They offered tours of the 1707 house at the fair, but tickets were sold in advance, and therefore all sold out.

At the fair, we walked amongst the many tents featuring locally made items, antiques, and vintage goods. Our friend, Amy, showcased her pottery and very awesome Grief Pots in her  Lotus Root Pottery tent. We were super happy to take home a beautiful mug from her collection.

We also enjoyed so many of the other vendors and bought goodies from Prancing Pig (hot sauces), Hidden Acres Homestead (homemade soap)  Crafty Cowgirl, (hat and neck warmer) and Stück in the Studio (cards and stickers).

They had live music and food trucks there as well! We got a rice bowl from Bon Me (Boston based Asian inspired eats) and ate under a tent protected from the rain. Despite the weather, there was a decent turnout, and it was well run, staffed, and designed. All in all, it was pretty impressive and a nice thing to do in this rural farm town.

After our very fun visit to the fair, we had a picturesque drive towards the town hall, came upon a beautiful old cranberry bog field, and passed by several fun autumn and Halloween-decorated yards. 

Town Hall was next to the library, so we checked that out too. We moved on in search of Mayflower Cranberries Farm, a cranberry farm that has harvested for Ocean Spray for several years, but it appears as if they have closed, at least temporarily. We passed by Colchester Farm, which had a sign advertising picking-your-own vegetables. We stopped (as the rain was pretty light at that moment), but there was no one there either so we headed home.

One fun fact that we learned about Plympton is that it was the childhood home of Deborah Sampson. Some of you may remember her from our post from Sharon, MA (there is a statue of her in front of the library there). She is the woman who disguised herself as a man in order to fight in the Continental Army of the American Revolutionary War. She managed to fight for 17 months before being found out due to a need for medical treatment.

Indigenous/ Native land info for this region: Wampanoag, Pokanoket, Massachusett

Yarmouth. September 25, 2022

Day/Date:  SUNDAY -9/25/22
Town visited:  Yarmouth
Had we ever been to any of this town before? Yes
Drive to 1st town:   78 miles   Time spent in town:   6 hours

What did we do in the town/area?  YARMOUTH:
We had often been to Yarmouth, as our friends used to live here. But, after today’s adventures, we realized there was so much more to see and do than we had in the past!

First stop: coffee, of course! We were excited to see what Old King’s Coffeehouse had brewing. We also needed to pick up some lunch for the day and read that the turkey BLT was good, and they were right! The coffee was delicious (they work with a roaster out of Maine to produce blends, especially for them) too!

Next, we headed to the Yarmouth Conservation Commission’s Horse Pond for a lovely hike in the woods and by a small pond. The vegetation was so different here from many of the other wooded areas we have been to recently because these plants, trees, and bushes can grow in sand or a sand/dirt combination. We noticed many of these tiny plants growing in the sand on the pond’s edge that looked like little white balls or tufts of cotton. Upon some research, we learned that they are called “common pipewort.” 

Then, we drove to Sea Gull Beach, a lovely little beach near where the Parker River enters the ocean. This beach is on the south side of Cape Cod, on Nantucket Sound. We saw some folks kite surfing on this windy day. They looked like they were having a blast! We tried to visit a little peninsula we saw on the map that juts out off the south coast near here, but it was “private” and even had a guard on duty and a gate.  

Yarmouth is home to the Whydah Pirate Museum, so we had to take a peak. Although we didn’t spend the time or money to tour it, we did meet a nice guy outside with a hook for an arm and a wooden leg (see picture). They have a cute gift shop, too.

On our obligatory visit to Town Hall (not the most beautiful we have seen), we discovered a sand sculpture out front. Reading the sign next to it, we noticed it was part of the 2022 Yarmouth Sand Sculpture Trail, an annual display of sand art creations. This summer event in Yarmouth has been going on for over 11 years. The artist, Sean Fitzpatrick, with his company, Fitzysnowman, worked to create 32 of these small sand sculptures all over town. Then, he sprays them with a sealant so that they can make it through the rain. But, as we witnessed, some can’t seem to make it through without being poked at by small children!  

We stopped for a 2nd coffee at small Caffee Gelato Bertini as we noticed they had a sculpture outside. We also found another sand sculpture (which was our favorite) outside the Cultural Center across from the tiny and cute South Yarmouth Library.

Driving around, we also discovered the Judah Baker Windmill (built-in 1791) near a part of town where the Bass River (another tidal river) flows into the ocean.  

Another exciting gem of Yarmouth is the Edward Gorey House and Museum. Edward Gorey was a writer, costume designer, and artist, most known for his pen-and-ink drawings that were a bit creepy. Jenny remembers the opening to the PBS show Mystery, which featured his drawings in their intro. He nicknamed his house “The Elephant House.” We don’t really know why!

Our next stop was the Taylor Bray Farm, a non-profit farm that has been a working farm since the 1600s. And there is much archeological evidence of Native American presence here 10,000 years ago! We visited with the animals (goats, cows, sheep, chickens) and ventured down the boardwalk that led out into the marsh. We enjoyed our short time here; it was sweet, and we would definitely like to return for a festival or any other event they may have.

Our last stop was in Yarmouth Port, the part of Yarmouth that is “bayside,” along Cape Cod Bay. Gray’s Beach is here, along with a beautiful 1/4 mile boardwalk that sits over the marsh. The marsh grasses were starting to turn a slight yellow and orange, offering a beautiful sight. It is stunning and a site you would not want to miss in this town.

We loved our day in Yarmouth and could have spent even more time here!

Indigenous/ Native land info for this region: Nauset, Wampanoag

Dover. September 16, 2022

Day/Date:  THURSDAY -9/16/22
Towns visited:  Dover
Had you ever been to any of this towns before?  No 
Drive to the town:  11 miles    Time spent in town:   6 hours

What did we do in the town of Dover? 
We must have entered the town center of Dover five times today when all was said and done.  It turns out eight other towns surround this town, and there is a little bit of something in every direction! The first thing we did here, in the town center, was checked out the town hall and library, of course.

Then we headed off for a hike in the Trustee’s Noanet Woodlands. We chose the Peabody Loop to Noanet Peak, which had a few rocky and steep parts. But it was worth it as it led us to a large flat rock at the top with a pretty sweet view that included a glimpse of the Boston skyline nestled within the treetops. 

Next, we headed to some of the town’s historic sites like Fisher Barn, a reconstructed building from 1777 representing Dover’s agricultural history. The barn is right next to the Caryl Farm Museum, a Georgian-style, 18th-century home once owned by the area’s first minister. The museum was closed, so all we managed to get here was a picture.

Since Dover is one of the wealthiest towns in MA, we drove around a bit just checking out the homes, the farms (several horse farms) and the landscape. 

Hungry from our hike and explorations, we decided to head back to the town center and eat in one of the only lunch spots we could find, The Dover Cafe Deli & Pizza. They had little tables outside, so we ordered some sandwiches and sat outside, right across from Town Hall. While waiting for our sandwiches (they were yummy by the way), we chatted with two men who had been out cycling together. They were super friendly and told us about some other rail trails they knew about in the state.

After our lunch, we headed to Powisset Farm, a Trustee’s farm with a CSA, trails, barnyard animals, a barn with a farm store, an area for cooking classes, and even some little play structures for kids. We were so pleased with the products they sold from many local businesses, so we purchased a few Pigeon Cove kombuchas, some homemade vegetable soup made on the farm, some POP ZUP popcorn, and some coffee from Dean’s Beans. This place was so lovely. We walked the 1.5-mile Meadow loop trail. It was a flat walk around the community CSA gardens into the grassy hayfield with picturesque views of the barn silo and one lone tree with a mighty presence.

After our walk, we visited the barnyard area with pigs, goats, and sheep. We sat in Adirondack chairs, snacked on some Maple Cinnamon Toast Popcorn, and took in the beauty. We really enjoyed our late-Summer day in this beautiful town.

Indigenous/ Native land info for this region: Wampanoag, Pokanoket, Massachusett