As I head west on Rt 2 the first thing I notice are signs for the many apple orchards in the area along with the State Parks. It seems like there a different state park sign every couple of miles. RT 2 in this area is a divided highway, not the meandering country road I think of when I envision the Mohawk Trail. The speed limit varies between 55 and 65 depending on the stretch of road so pay attention to the signs or you may get snagged for speeding when that was not you intention at all, you just missed the speed change sign!
I made my first stop at the Johnny Appleseed rest area and visitor center, a modern facility right on RT 2 with restrooms, vending machines, pet walk and gift shop. I picked up a few brochures to the area attractions so I can plan a return trip just to explore this area.
Of course there are the apple orchards, Beautiful to look at in spring and supplying us with fresh honey from those busy bees out pollinating the trees so we can have a fall harvest of apples. Many of the orchards off “Pick Your Own” when the time comes. A great day outing for families and singles alike. Orchards have to maintain all year even though the apples are seasonal so most have bakeries or ice cream, cider for sale and Market Fresh Fruits and Vegetables. Lancaster has a well-known Farmer’s market .
The area is loaded with trails; trails for hiking, trails for mountain biking, even horseback riding. There are scenic areas for wildlife viewing. 3 long distance trails wind through the region. There’s the 95 mile Midstate Trail that runs from Rhode Island to New Hampshire, the Tully Trail, a 22 mile loop that follows the Tully River Valley in Royston, Orange, and Warwick and finally the Metacomet-Monadnock/New England National Scenic Trail that winds through the hills east of the Connecticut River.
You have wildlife viewing in the Oxbow National Wildlife refuge and Bolton Flats offers close up views of the Nashua River and it’s flood plain. Clinton is home to park of the Wachussett Reservoir where trails offer views over the water.
Speaking of Wachusett, Wachusett Mountain in Princeton is not only a winter destination for skiing and snowboarding but crisscrossed with day trails ranging from 1/2 mile to longer loops of a 1/2 day or more. At the summit you are standing at 2,006 ft with views that range from Boston to the Berkshires and the list goes on.
Lace up your boots, pick a direction and head off for a day of outdoor adventure just a short drive from Boston! Do I sound like a travel brochure? Only because there is so much to do here that I never realized existed. I can’t wait to come back to explore some more myself!