Archive for MA Parks and Eco Tours

Just a few pictures of the West Hill Dam along the Blackstone river in central MA.  I’ve been exploring the area a few hours a week for the past few weeks and it offers some great hiking!






Hartwell Tavern Historical Area

A couple of months ago I was running about an hour early for an appointment and stumbled upon the Minute Man National Historical Park.  Since I only had an hour to spare, I took a 20 minute walk through part of the park and took some pictures for for a few minutes.  Since this park spans several miles I would suggest reading up about certain parts of it before planning your tour of it.

If you plan to visit the park with your kids be sure to bring a carriage for young ones and a really good pair of walking shoes.  The ground is nice and firm so hiking boots are not needed.  During my brief visit I noticed that I was one of the few people on foot compared to all of the people on bikes.

Minute Man National Historical Park

eco tour new england

picture of Hartwell Tavern Historical Area

The correct post title for this should be “native people’s home site in Plymouth MA” or “Wampanoag Homesite Plimoth MA” but since most people still refer to Native people as Indians I decided to title it so people can search for it.

My daughter had Tuesday off from school so we toured the Wampanoag Homesite and we had such a great time we returned today with my wife and other daughter.  Being able to actually see how the Native people live, eat, and do their daily tasks was a real eye opener!  Watching my daughter ask them dozens of questions and getting easy to understand answers was just priceless!

Pictures of an Indian Village

Once you arrive at the start of the tour the is the sign in the picture informing you of some rules which I would suggest following.  It was hard for me to get use to call the Native people something other than “Indian” since it is the term that I used for the past 38 years of my life.  After a while it became entertaining listening to people correct their selves midway through saying Indian.  The tour starts on a long windy path and ends up in the Wampanoag homesite about 5 minutes later.

how Indian people cook

The homesite consist of a half dozen or so buildings that are constructed of cedar trees and covered with bark.  The buildings last for about 20 years before they are burned down to return them to the earth.  There are between 3 and 8 Native people “on staff” to answer your questions.  While they are answering your questions they are conducting their day to day chores like this lady who is cooking a rabbit.

Indian cook stove

Indian House

Inside of one of these Wampanoag homes we listened to an elderly Wampanoag lady talk about their lifestyle and what everyone did for chores.  The sides of the building have full lenght benches that are covered with deer hides that they use as beds.  There are 3 vents on the roof so depending on the weather they can have 1-3 fires going to keep them warm.  Since we toured this village in early November it was cold but the one fire kept us nice and warm!  I could go on for pages about how we enjoyed this tour but in my opinion you really need to visit it on your own to get all that this tour offers.

Indian Bed

Pictures of Pilgrim Memorial State Park

The Pilgrim Memorial State Park is located in Plymouth MA and in my opinion it is a must see if you have any interest in our history.  Aside from a lack of free parking and the fact that they are not shy when it comes to charging you to go on the Mayflower 2 (a reproduction of the original) the park is full of history.  Since you might have to park a few blocks away you can enjoy a nice walk along the ocean and there is plenty of sea glass to collect on the beach.

Picture of Plymouth Rock

The “Plymouth Rock” cracks me up, people travel from all over the world to see it and then complain about how boring it is.  I don’t see how people would expect a rock to be anything less than boring so enjoy my boring picture of it.

Pilgrim Memorial State Park Mayflower

I will do another post about the Mayflower 2 since I took a bunch of pictures of it.  The Mayflower 2 is a working sail boat that goes out from time to time and it is generally staffed with a couple of actors.  These actors play the part of the crew and passengers and are able to answer just about any question that you can dream up.  The tour is expensive but in my opinion it is worth the money.  We ended up buying an annual family membership for $115 that allows us to go on the Mayflower and the Plantation tour 3 miles down the ocean.

Pilgrim Memorial State Park eco tour

Our new Weimaraner joined us for the tour with the exception of going on the Mayflower.  My daughter had a blast walking him and asking dozens of questions of the tour staff.  We ended up going to Plymouth twice in the same week for the tours and will hopefully return next weekend before the close for the season.

This past week we got the chance to hand feed deer!  If fact since the one in the picture looks like Bambi, kids will never know the difference.  At the World War One Park in North Attleboro MA they have a petting farm area and in one of the large areas they have deer.  For years we went to this park without ever knowing that some of the deer will come up and eat out of your hand.

On this trip we hand feed a couple of older deer until “Bambi” came over and pushed her way toward our food.  The older deer would gently take the corn from our hands while Bambi tried to swallow the food, our hands and arms all at once.  Granted deer don’t have full sets of teeth, but the though of my hand inside of the deer was a little disturbing.  Overall hand feeding the deer was a blast and for 50 cents worth of dried corn, it was a fun way to spend 30 minutes or so.

This area of the petting farm has all sorts of farm animals but generally we will go to Winslow’s Farm in Norton MA where there are no fences to keep you away from the animals.

The park in these pictures is located only 50 yards away from Julia’s Garden and Play Area, be sure to check it out if you are in the North Attleboro area.

haunted halloween trail

Today was a perfect fall day to get the kids out of our home to enjoy nature before the cold weather sets in.  Since it’s Halloween season we decided to check with Winslow Farm’s in Norton MA to see if they had anything special going on.  Once a year Winslow farms turn their nature walk area into a big outdoor haunted Halloween area.

halloween outdoor events

halloweeen at  petting farm

Our kids had a blast petting the animals and walking on the now haunted nature trails!  Since they are only 2 & 7 we are not bringing them back for the evening haunting Halloween events.  I’m sure that an outdoor haunted trail is a little bit more scary than that you might find indoors at a local school.

nature trail norton ma

Winslow Farms at Halloween

For other pictures of Winslow farms please view this page of our website.

fat pig at a petting farm

Free petting farms and kids play areas are one of my favorite places!  Getting our kids out of our house and not spending money is just a great way to spend an afternoon or part of the weekend.  The place that is featured in the photos is at Brigg’s Nursery in North Attleboro MA, just 2 minutes from the National Fish Hatchery.

While this play area and petting farm is set on the Brigg’s Nursery property you can show up and spend as much time as you like without feeling any need to shop at the Nursery.  If however you are in the mood for some really nice trees, flowers or shrubs take a walk over to the nursery with a large bag of money.  Brigg’s is know for their top quality products but they don’t give them away at home center prices.

black and white photo of an old tractor

goats at a free petting farm

There are plenty of animals for kids of all ages to play with, the goats, donkey, bunny rabbit, pony and the other animals all beg for your attention!  Stay away from the pig as he/she will attempt you eat you, I learned this lesson the hard way a few years ago.  When your kids get tired of playing with the farm animals there are plenty of kids rides for them to play on.

Picture of National fish hatchery

The National Fish Hatchery in North Attleboro MA is a great place to show kids of all ages about how fish stocking programs work.  This Hatchery nurtures fish from when they are extracted from their mothers until they are released in our streams and rivers.

Over the past 10 years I have visited the North Attleboro hatchery about 30 times to show others the size of the “monster fish” in some of the holding pools.  Once in a while one of the workers will give us a full tour of the hatchery, if not we just walk around and enjoy what is open without a tour.  If you are looking to tour the Hatchery I would suggest calling ahead and setting up a time.  One IMPORTANT THING TO NOTE is DON’T SHOW UP AFTER USING LAWN CHEMICALS!  The staff at the National Hatchery will not risk the wellbeing of their stock to visitors that have chemicals on them.

National fish hatchery north attleboro MA

You can walk up to this outdoor holding pool and look at the fish without anyone around.  The fish in this pool are 30+ inches long and they just swim around a pose for pictures.  On a good day they will dance and do headstands while singing.  Hopefully you don’t believe my last statement or you might be upset when they just swim around and let you take some pictures.

fish in a fish hatchery

This pictures fails to show how large these fish are!  The only thing you can use to judge their size is the pine neddles that are floating above the lower fish.  While I did not count, the pool had about 20 large fish.  If you are from other areas of the country and you are looking to visit a Hatchery, don’t worry about a long travel as they are all over the country.

Once you are done at the fish hatchery be sure to visit the free petting farm and kid’s play area just two minutes away!