Sunday, October 23, 2011

Bay Circuit Trail. Duxbury Doorway.

Duxbury marks the spot where the southern end of the Bay Circuit Trail meets the sea. Humans began gathering here not long after the glacier receded and it was an early settlement reward for Pilgrims who had fulfilled their obligations to the initial collective that formed in Plymouth.

Myles Standish was among those who obtained this coveted real estate.

In our time, Duxbury  has allocated substantial acreage for preservation with enthusiastic support. The 
Cushman Preserve and the Bay Farm are two tracts that begin at waters edge. Cow Tent Hill lies just a bit inland from Cushman. 

The beach and littoral zones are defining facets of the place with all the glories and complications wild popularity brings.

Powder Point marks the bridge way to the long barrier strand that anchors the Gurnet.

The Bay Circuit Trail heads inland from waters edge at Bay Farm with two options, south toward Kingston and north toward Pembroke. Both meet in west Pembroke.

The northern option runs through Duxbury and meets a cranberry bog melange at the Duxbury Bogs , a 1971 gift from the Loring Family. The North Hill Sanctuary  and related tracts lie to the Northeast. The trail then passes through the Lansing Bennett Forest tracts before it crosses to Pembroke. 

The French Atlantic Cable landed in the town in 1869 making it an early communications hub. It was also the launch pad for a small ship building empire. Various maritime mercantilists cashed in over the years and made their way to greater glory in Boston.

Now the movement runs just as well back the other way with soaring options unimaginable to that long ago Mayflower wave.

Note For the Urban Carless. Kingston is handily on the Old Colony commuter rail line 2.3 miles Southwest of Bay Farm.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Bay Circuit Trail: Ancient Framingham Crossroads.

The Bay Circuit Trail enters north Framingham along the Sudbury edge near the height of land for the entire trail, Nobscot Hill. Garden in the Woods, lies a bit to the southeast.

The trailhead begins at Weissblatt Conservation Land and passes south through the Boy Scout Reservation and Wittenborg Woods. This part of the town is also home to a number of farms.

Callahan State Park is the next major area along the trail before it passes into Marlborough to follow the Sudbury Reservoir.

The Commonwealth's  park system here and elsewhere is particularly well suited for mountain bikes...

... and dog walks.

I first encountered Rattlesnake Plantain in some corner of that park back in the 80s drawn by the silvery variegation lacing its leaves in the shadow dappled understory.

From there, the trail heads south to reenter Framingham briefly where it crosses the Sudbury River below the dam and then passes over Route 9 before turning toward Ashland.

One of the earliest trade trails sleeps beneath a section of route 9. The Old Connecticut Path indicated an area for confluence and exchange.

And now it is a rail junction of some complexity with Amtrack, Conrail and Commuter rail all converging.

Note For the Urban Carless. The Ashland stop is fairly close to the trail where it runs to the west of Framingham. It is a fairly vast area so plan on an entire day should you choose a commuter rail option.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Bay Circuit Trail: Ipswich Inroads.

Cottages at Little Neck and Crane's Hill, Ipswich, MA; from a c. 1920 postcard.

Ipswich is home to a host of land conservation support efforts and has made substantial contributions to the Bay Circuit Trail within its boundaries with more work ongoing to meet the Atlantic at Crane Beach

Walking to Crane Beach, Ipswich MA from Sarah Coyne on Vimeo.

Ipswich might be expressed as having several facets. The dunes and drumlin of the Crane Estate complex front and protect an intricate estuary world edged a with salt marsh fringe. 

Beyond the shore lies a fabric of wetlands and uplands, farms and forests with a river at its core.

Among the organizations focused on this venerable place are the Ipswich River Watershed Association and the Essex County Trails Association. The town core has a history trail and an Essex County National Heritage Area center.

There is even a special Ipswich Bay Circuit Archive. The Essex County Greenbelt Association is located in nearby Essex and has a significant role in the ongoing acquisition and management of protected green spaces.

Willowdale is a superb place for basic bicycle touring as many of its trails are Bradley Palmer's old system of bridle paths. 

Note For the Urban Carless. Ipswich is very well served by what may be one of the most scenic commuter rail lines with loop potential between Ipswich and Hamilton/Wenham.