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Bradley-Palmer State Park

Updated on August 1, 2010
After the fog burned off, the morning sun began to filter down through the trees.
After the fog burned off, the morning sun began to filter down through the trees.
One of many nice trails.
One of many nice trails.
Yet another nice trail.
Yet another nice trail.
A large paper wasps' nest.
A large paper wasps' nest.
A couple of old pine trees covered with vines.
A couple of old pine trees covered with vines.
Bountiful forms of life.
Bountiful forms of life.

South Hamilton, Massachusetts

Formerly an estate, this 721-acre tract offers easy and relaxing walks in the woods within easy driving distance (about forty minutes) of Boston. In addition to miles of hiking trails, the park offers a wading pool for children, swimming, picnicking, canoeing or kayaking, fishing, limited hunting and cross country skiing or snowshoeing in the winter.

On our visit we concentrated on the hiking trails, treating ourselves to an extensive tour. In fact our tour was so extensive, we got mildly lost! We ended up in the back yard of someone's farm and I had to suffer the ultimate humiliation a man can suffer. I had to ask directions.

The land is gently rolling with a few small hills to climb. On top of one hill is a huge meadow dotted with wildflowers. The trails range from single track paths where hikers walk single file to paved or formerly paved roads. Mostly the trails are in very good condition. The two major hills in the park are Moon Hill and Blueberry Hill, each with a vertical climb of around one hundred fifty feet or so. The park is more or less equally divided between upland and wetland. The forest is mostly hardwoods with a few groves of pine. Old stone walls that used to mark the boundaries of farms run through the woods here and there. 

We didn't see much in the way of wildlife on our visit, though seven hundred acres is more than enough to accommodate many species.  There were a few woodpeckers and the usual birds and squirrels and the bee's nest we spotted just off the trail.  It's not a very good picture, but I didn't want to get too close.  

Hikers share the trails with occasional mountain bikers and equestrians, but on our particular gorgeous summer morning we were able to find plenty of solitude. A little too much, as I said before. Actually it was a lot of fun, even though perhaps we ended up hiking a little further than we planned. The woods is quiet and deep enough so that motorized traffic on the adjoining roads is inaudible on the trails. We were able to enjoy the peace we look for on our hiking ventures.

To get to the park, take Bradley Palmer State Park Road off of Highland Street in South Hamilton, Massachusetts. Park headquarters is located off of Asbury Street in Topsfield, Massachusetts.



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    • juneaukid profile image

      Richard Francis Fleck 

      8 years ago from Denver, Colorado

      Sounds like a great place to go when one is back in Massachusetts. Thanks

    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 

      8 years ago from Idyllwild Ca.

      What a lovely place to visit. The photos are just beautiful. Thanks so much.

    • Tom Rubenoff profile imageAUTHOR

      Tom Rubenoff 

      8 years ago from United States

      I'm glad you enjoyed them, SG :)

    • profile image

      SilverGenes 

      8 years ago

      It's nice to find places like this that are not too far from the city. You can enjoy the silence of the woods whenever you wish. Thanks for sharing this walk - I enjoyed the photos very much :)

    • Tom Rubenoff profile imageAUTHOR

      Tom Rubenoff 

      8 years ago from United States

      I love to see them, too.

    • Patricia Costanzo profile image

      Patricia Costanzo 

      8 years ago from Behind the Redwood Curtain

      I adore old stone walls, they remind me of England.

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