New England is truly beautiful this time of year. After many days of rain, the fields and forests in this area are so lush and green! The rainy days can be tough, but now on the nicer days we can see the beautiful scenery as a result. We entered the Piscassic Greenway trails from Bald Hill Road in Newfields, NH. The Mraz trail starts there through a beautiful field and then enters the wooded area. There is a community garden that might have a charitable purpose at that entrance as well. In these photos I am five months pregnant (eep!) and I managed these trails really well.
The greenway is a part of the Southeast Land Trust of NH (SELT) and the rules in general (although you should check the site for each individual property) are that dogs should be on a leash OR under owner voice control. We went on a Sunday before lunch and had the place to ourselves. We kept Mizpah on a least until we passed the community garden and then let her go! We only ended up doing the Mraz Loop and we did the Byrne Trail/Spur to the scenic outlook. There is more Byrne Trail to see and the Otis Hill Trail.
This property has an interesting history. We saw many cellar holes and rock walls indicating that it was most likely a few family farms long ago. In 2005, it almost became a 102 unit subdivision called “Mill Woods”, but thankfully SELT stepped in and made a deal with developers to protect this land. The property has fields, wooded areas, and wetlands that are important habitats for NH wildlife, so I am really happy they found a way to keep it undeveloped!!
The end of the school year is fast approaching and I am looking forward to summer days! We have been in southeast NH for almost a year now, and we are still finding great new off leash places to take Mizpah. I have been missing hiking the 4000 footers something fierce lately, but finding new trails to walk on with Mizpah and my growing baby bump has been keeping me moving. As I write this I am just starting week 24 of my pregnancy…..crazy how time is flying. The exercise benefits for momma and baby are huge, so walking with Mizpah will be important this summer. I am also keeping up with spin classes at a gym in my town- trying to do 2–3 classes a week.
Wagon Hill Farm is a property owned by the town of Durham, NH, same town where UNH is located. The 139 acre property was acquired by the town back in 1989 to be preserved for many generations to enjoy. There are old orchards, picnic areas, a beachy area where Oyster River meets Little Bay, mowed trails through fields of grass and flowers, as well as wooded paths. Probably one of Mizpah’s favorite features is a point that juts out into the bay, perfect for puppy fetch and play in the water.
The rules of the property are dogs allowed, but off leash only between the hours of 8 AM and 10 AM, on leash the rest of the time. Its a terrific compromise, as long as people follow the rules. Off leash properties are great, but I recognize that there are people out there that would like to enjoy being outdoors without running into off leash dogs. I wish more places would compromise like this. Many beaches in Maine allow dogs before 9 AM, after 5 PM, Gloucester beaches allow dogs off leash every other day in the offseason.
Wagon Hill Farm will definitely be added to the rotation of places to bring Mizpah. I love that it is right on Little Bay, so beautiful. Next up will be the Piscassic Greenway, a property in the Southeast Land Trust of NH.
After being sick with allergies and some flu like symptoms last week, I attacked this weekend with a vengeance! Sunday I ran my first 5k road race with my sister, Brenda, in Stow MA. It was the 18th annual Run for the Woods, and the money raised benefits the Stow Conservation Trust. The course had minimal hills, and winds by some beautiful spots- an apple orchard, a farm with goats/cows, and a farm with sheep! That afternoon I was tired, but we had to do something with the pup, so we decided to try out the Oak Hill Conservation Area in Littleton, MA. The two big features there are the Lookout Rock, which I guess you can see the Hancock tower in Boston from on a clear day (it wasn’t that clear for us), and Tophet Chasm. Tophet Chasm was formed 15,000 years ago by an outlet from Lake Nashua, a glacial lake. There are trails along the ridge of the chasm looking down into it, and then a trail along the bottom of the chasm. We will NEVER take the trail at the bottom again, Mizpah had a blast running through the swampy areas down there and honestly, I don’t think I have seen her that muddy ever!!
We will hopefully be heading up to do some hiking in NH this coming weekend, but it is fun to explore smaller local spots when we can’t get up there. This area had conflicting information posted about leashing your dog. The leash law for Littleton was posted, but then another sign said dogs needed to be on leash or under verbal command, and then yet another sign said dogs needed to be in sight and under verbal control and were not allowed to approach people or dogs unless invited. We did a mix of leash and off leash….if we heard people, we put her on the leash. When she got super gross, we put her on a leash so she wouldn’t be gross greeting people. It was pretty quiet there though, not a lot of people at all. We had such a nice weekend weather wise this past weekend. I hope it continues!
This past weekend, my fiancé Jon, Mizpah my pup, and myself headed to the Fruitlands trails in Harvard MA. The Fruitlands was the site of a failed utopian society in 1843. Bronson Alcott, a transcendentalist, and father of Louisa May Alcott, moved his family to the site and sadly, the experiment failed in its first winter. They along with others were trying to live off the fruits of the land, hence the name Fruitlands. Clara Endicott Sears moved to the land in 1910 long after it had been abandoned to build herself a summer home. She restored the Fruitlands Farmhouse and started the museum. There is a museum store, a cafe, an art gallery, a visitor’s center, and a Native American heritage museum on the land. We just went to walk the trails. It was beautiful.
First stop was the farmhouse. I believe the house is a Georgian style home. The roof has very little overhang, the winnows are symmetrical with a front door in the middle, but it has two floors, and is two rooms deep. I know that old houses are a lot of work to own, but I would love to own a historic home.
This is the Willard Farm site. The farm dates back to the early 1700s, and the Alcotts lived here in 1844. Everyone bailed on the community during the winter of 1843, and eventually sometime in 1844 the Alcotts moved back to Concord. From what I have read, Bronson was very depressed when the Fruitlands didn’t work out and his wife, Abby, actually took their 4 daughters to a cottage in a village nearby. They eventually convinced Bronson to leave the Fruitlands and go back to Concord. The house on this site burned down in 1852 and was never rebuilt.
The land where we walked also had a brick factory in the late nineteenth century. The railroad was right there going through Harvard which made transport easy. The clay & sand in the area from the glacial beach left after the last ice age gave them plenty of materials. There were bricks and foundations left behind in the area.
It was an absolutely beautiful place. I love finding these abandoned settlements and spots in New England. It feels like if you let your imagination go for a moment, you can almost hear the crackling of an outdoor fire and the clanging of pots and mugs as workers gathered to share a meal. Hitting the trails at Fruitlands costs $6 a person, and that money goes back into the site. The trails were very well marked and so were the sites along the way. Here are some more pics from the day!
It was not a cold morning, but it was overcast. I wore my Barbour over a sweater & flannel, and my Toggis were huge for keeping ticks off of me! This was my first site on my list that I created, can’t wait to check more off the list!
$6….and I got to spend the morning with my fiancé, my dog, and some history outside….priceless.
I found out yesterday that today was National Coffee Day. I have my grad class on Tuesdays, so I was psyched because I usually go to Starbucks before hand for a drink and hang out reviewing stuff before class. I did a quick google search to find out what the deals for today were going to be and was disappointed there was no deal for Starbucks!!! Free dark roast at Dunkins!? I like Dunkins, but there is a Starbucks right next to the library at school!
I of course then had to find out why Startbucks didn’t have some giveaway or deal and what they did instead really warmed my heart. Starbucks kickstarted their One Tree for Every Bag campaign by giving away one million coffee trees!!! These trees are resistant to the coffee rust that has been plaguing coffee trees in Central America. They are donating $0.70, the price of one tree, to Conservation International for each bag of coffee sold too. These trees will be a huge help to coffee farmers who have aging trees or trees infected with the rust.
If you want to learn more, here is the website for the story on the Conservation International website: Conservation International
Would have definitely been nice to get a free Starbucks drink today, but this campaign is pretty amazing too!!! Btw, International Coffee Day is October 1, 2015….this year is the first official one, more free coffee??
Today was a rough day. I am a high school teacher in a regional district and I always think, man I have seen everything, and then a student’s story will get me. I have been teaching for 8 years….I have had a student whose father died in 9/11, another whose father committed suicide, alcoholic or junkie parents, alcoholic suicidal students, quite a few homeless students, parents in jail, more depression/anxiety than I ever imagined. So today my coteacher and I find out why a certain student has been out for almost a week. He lives with his grandparents (sooo many kids live with grandparents), and his father was released from jail last year. He’s been hospitalized. This isn’t that strange, we have numerous students hospitalized for depression and manic/violent behavior. His grandparents are at the end of their rope and are thinking about handing him over to the state. Mother is MIA, I am guessing Dad is at some sort of home.
Devastating, it literally caught my breath. An angry 15 year old entering the foster care system. He might not even come back to our school depending on where he is placed. I remember the day he got dismissed early because his dad was being released. He came in the next day and said his dad let the dog out and the dog was gone. The thing that gets me is of course this kid is angry!!! I hate that he takes his rage out on his grandparents, but cmon, this kid is in a tough situation. Ugh, this really stayed with me today.
I came home feeling heavy. Tried to read, I am finishing up The Nanny Diaries, made a green smoothie, and then finally decided to take the pup on a trail run. Instantly, I started to feel lighter. Its tough, being a teacher we become invested in the future of our students, and when situations like this arise, I just feel powerless. Running in the woods, watching my dog gleefully run down the path without a care in the world brings me back to my even, happy self. Free therapy 🙂 I didn’t want to go, my heaviness made me feel lazy, but thankfully, I went.
Today reminded me that I haven’t seen it all, but I am capable of coping with whatever comes my way. We don’t have to be happy all the time, but we should learn along the way what brings you back to happy.
Here’s my pup in the late afternoon sun 🙂
I hope you all had a lovely Wednesday, and if you didn’t, I hope something steered you back to happy by now 🙂