This month’s outside photography post is coming to you a little earlier than usual because…I still don’t have pictures of my latest sewing project. Sigh. Due to various factors, the pants have needed a few repairs already, and that’s held things up. Hopefully all will be ready soon! I do, however, have pictures of an interesting hike I went on with my family recently.
The North Shore of Massachusetts is filled with all sorts of cool nooks and crannies where you can hike, walk, and explore. Each town has spaces large and small, and it’s easy to live in the area for a long time and still find new places you have never seen. Last weekend, my family and I decided to check out Dogtown in Gloucester.
Dogtown, originally known as The Commons and founded in 1693, was once an inland settlement in Gloucester. The story is that since many of the women who lived there kept dogs around for protection while their husbands were off fighting in the Revolutionary War, the settlement became known as Dogtown. Over time, residents moved more toward the coast and, eventually, Dogtown was abandoned. The woods grew up where the settlement had been, and now it is filled with trails, both wide and narrow, that you can explore. You can still find numbered cellar holes from the old houses, as well as about three dozen rocks that were carved with various sayings during the Great Depression. These rocks, today known as Babson Boulders, were commissioned by Roger Babson, founder of Babson College, in order to provide work for Finnish quarry workers who needed income during the Great Depression. (All this information comes from the Essex National Heritage Area website. Read more here.)
We wanted to stick to some easier trails and check out some of the carved rocks, so we chose to walk Dogtown Road and the Babson Boulder Trail (you can find some trail maps on the Historic Ipswich website here). Dogtown Road is a broad, unpaved road that is easy to walk. We completely missed the initial turn for the Babson Boulder Trail, but since our route was a big loop, it didn’t really matter–we just did the walk in the opposite direction of what we had planned. This turned out to be a great thing because after walking awhile through beautiful woods, it became a treasure hunt as we started to spot some of the carved rocks. Once we turned onto the Babson Boulder Trail near Dogtown Square, the path became a more narrow woods path, rather than a wide road.
We found about a dozen of the rocks, including a few that didn’t really have sayings, so much, but were still fun to find (Moraine, D.T. Sq., and To Rockport, which I don’t have a good picture of).
We also decided to see if we could find mushrooms in every color of the rainbow, and we almost managed it! We found them in every color except blue, although our purple one looks a little blue in these pictures.
It was a beautiful walk, but it did take a little longer than we had anticipated. We’re not the fastest walkers, but my husband had estimated it would take us about 40 minutes. It was more like two hours. Oops. I thought it was fun, but we did get a little hangry by the end, and it was a bit long for the kids, even though it wasn’t hard walking. No regrets on going, though! And I would definitely explore more in that area. There were a lot of Babson Boulders we never found, and we didn’t really try to find the numbered cellar holes, although we passed a few, so there’s always that, too.
If you decide to check out Dogtown, make sure to bring a map and maybe a compass–there’s lots to explore.