Many great basic day hikes for the Bay Circuit Trail are adapted to commuter rail and the southward course of the trail at Joppa Flats works well with the locations of the Newburyport and Rowley stations.
The trail soon meets the Spencer Peirce Little farmhouse, one of the Commonwealth's oldest structures and a fairly unique one in its design.
This is but the first of several farms with impressive longevity as the coastal plain of Essex County is one of the better farm soil locations amid a fairly hostile array of conditions for large scale commodity farming.
The trail follows old Route 1A for a ways before turning to make its first real excursion through forest at an outlaying wing of Old Town Hill.
Old Town Hill is another exemplary property of the Trustees of Reservations with a great mix of ecotones shifting easily across the run of the trail.
Boardwalk over the marsh at Old Town Hill.
A salt marsh traverse is an option with the eerie quiet seeping of incoming tide. There are meadow zones for bobolink and lark accommodation, upland forests and a few viewscape slices at the top.
The remainder of the hike rejoins old 1A in Newbury through sleeping history along the common before crossing the river to Rowley where rail awaits.