Sunday, March 25, 2012

Long Hill, Beverly MA

After wasting the gorgeous day that was last Wednesday sleeping, I decided I was getting out for a little while Friday afternoon! I rounded up the husband and a friend of ours and we met up at Long Hill in Beverly, less than 10 minutes from where we live. I'd been here as a kid but not in a long time, and figured checking out the house/gardens and the trails in the woods would be a nice way to spend Friday afternoon.

Long Hill is an old estate with beautiful gardens and trees surrounding it. Despite it still being the off season, the warm weather had some things blooming already, my favorite of which were the weeping cherry and dogwood trees. The weeping cherries are gorgeous and I spent a fair amount of time gawking at and shooting them. The dogwoods (I think they're dogwoods) were also in full bloom and were a gorgeous bright white against the blue sky and the other trees.

After walking around the gardens we hit the trail. There is a 1.2 mile loop trail through the property with several short accessory trails, but we just did the main trail. It was a perfect day to be in the woods - warm, about 70ish, and breezy so we had no bug problems! (yes there are bugs out already, unfortunately) It was a nice easy trail with lots of stone walls to see and some plank bridges over mucky areas. We stopped at a huge fallen tree and I climbed out on it a bit. There were frogs all over the place but I was only able to catch one that didn't see me and take a few pics!

We finished the trail up and had a drink with our friend at his place, which is very close by. By the end of the day my allergies were acting up, but that's to be expected with all the trees blooming so early. This was a great, close-to-home spot to spend a little time and I will definitely be coming back to see the gardens in full bloom!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Merrill Creek Reservoir, Washington NJ

This past weekend, we took our spring trip down to visit my husband's family in NJ. They live in the part of the state that gave it the name 'Garden state' - there's lots of farms and forests and open space where his family lives, and if you ignore the rednecks, it's a beautiful area! Usually when we're there we don't have time to do anything like hike, but this trip we had some time while the older nephews were still at school and went out with my sister-in-law, a cousin, and the youngest nephew.

Merrill Creek Reservoir is a really nice area about a 20 minute drive from where my sister-in-law lives. It's a 650 acre reservoir surrounded by about 2000 acres of woods. There are miles of trails around the water, but we did maybe a mile total since we had a 4-year-old with us (he did a great job though!) We saw some deer running away from us in the woods, ruins of some old farm houses, and sat at the water for a little while. It was beautiful and maybe 70-75 degrees out, perfect day for a hike!
My sister-in-law was saying how she wants to start taking her kids (4 boys in total) to do more hikes since she loves it so much. We always want to take the kids out when we're visiting, but don't usually end up having the time. I'd like to try to make time for it going forward though... at the very least I want to take her oldest (12) on some hikes since he's a scout and loves hiking too. Hoping to explore more trails in NJ after doing this!