Tuesday, October 6, 2009

A Hidden Fall Foliage Travel Gem in Walpole, Mass.

Article and photos by Eric H.

Bookmark and ShareThe Walpole Town Forest is really the Rodney Dangerfield, of Walpole, Mass.: it gets no respect.

Unknown even to many Walpole residents, the Walpole Town Forest is most impressive between South St. and Walpole High School on Common St., with its truly scenic walk alongside the Neponset River. Current foliage is impressive (as evidenced by the photos on this posting), but in a few weeks the mirror-like quality of the river should be brilliantly reflecting the colorful array of leaves. Along this sector of the 365-acre Town Forest, you'll find scenic views from the “White Bridge” and an old dam and waterfall that dates back to 1650. With many more miles of hiking trails, you're sure to enjoy the rest of the mixed forest, ledge outcroppings, and wetland areas, whether it be hiking, horseback riding. mountain biking or cross country skiing (yes, it's not too far away).

Hard to believe the Walpole Town Forest resides in the highly developed suburban Boston area. Why, you'd think you were in New Hampshire! We recommend giving this hidden travel jewel some respect with a visit during what appears to be a very good New England fall foliage season.

On a side note, 30th U.S. President Calvin Coolidge -- then Lt. Governor of Massachusetts -- dedicated Walplole Town Forest in 1916 as the first town forest in Massachusetts!

Editor's note: The best way to access the Walpole Town Forest is at the rear lot lines of the Walpole High School at 275 Common St. or on South St., about a half mile off Common St. (look for the small parking lot on the left)

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