After sitting hunched over in a chair all week staring at a computer screen with fluorescent lights nearby (I have an office, but some people in the bank of cubes outside insist on having the lights on, despite the gorgeous natural light we get. . . ugh.), a girl just needs to get outside for some fresh air, sunlight, and country living.
On Saturday, we wanted to do something fun and outdoorsy, so on the recommendation of one of my Cabot Coop contacts, we headed to Great Brook Farm State Park. Less than an hour from Boston, it was a great choice that didn’t take all day.
Here’s a little information from the Massachusetts DCR website:
Chosen by Yankee Magazine’s Travel Guide to New England as Editor’s Pick 2000, Great Brook Farm State Park stands as a jewel in northern Massachusetts! Agriculture has been part of Great Brook’s history for centuries. Holsteins have been kept here for over 60 years and current farmer Mark Duffy continues the tradition with his black & white ladies. Native Americans used sections of Great Brook Farm as sacred sites. Seventeenth century cellar holes comprise "the city" where early English settlers worked one of numerous mill sites on the 1,000 acre park.
We arrived and paid the $2 to park, then started to explore. There were so many dogs! If you are a dog person as I am, you would love it here! It was a perfect day in Massachusetts, sunny with bright blue skies and enough breeze to keep us cool while hiking.
But first things first. There was ice cream to be had. Follow that ice cream cone!
We followed the signs which brought us to the farm which is part of the Cabot Coop of dairy farms. These guys were cute, but boy did they smell!
This sheep let me pet its head as long as I was feeding it food pellets. Oh yes, I fed all of the animals. I am a total kid when it comes to visiting farms, just check out this post from our visit to Nashoba Winery and Davis Farmland!
The farm also has many cows that provide the milk for some of Cabot’s cheese and the ice cream served on site. It was interesting to see where the cows were milked, fed etc. but I will admit it wasn’t what I expected. Normally, when I am in the country, it is in Ireland or Northern California, and all of the animals have acres and acres of free roaming and grazing space. I am not at all used to seeing them eating feed in a fenced in area, so it was a little strange. My husband has a farming background and he said the animals were in great condition, but I am interested in finding more out about the lives they lead.
After wandering the farm area, we shared an ice cream to fuel us up for a hike. I know, I know. Not good fuel, but it worked! I liked the whipped cream and the cone the best. The ice cream was a little too sweet for me. I have a hard time finding ice cream that I like, any Boston recommendations? (Not J.P. Licks, I am always disappointed there!)
From there we hiked about 3 miles just to get the legs moving and to see where the trail would take us. The forest was beautiful and quiet with just the right amount of sun streaming through.
He sort of blends in, doesn’t he?
In addition to a few chipmunks, woodchucks, and a tiny snake (!), we also saw a few dwellings made of sticks and things. I think they are for the forest fairies to live in
Our hike worked up an appetite, so we headed to The Colonial Inn in Concord. Visiting Concord feels like a vacation!
I nibbled on some homemade cornbread and sipped a Peak Organic IPA while we waited for the rest of our food.
We mowed down these nuggets of fried farmer’s cheese dipped in a chipotle mustard sauce. YUM!
Then we shared a Harvest salad with cranberries, walnuts, and cheese.
Along with fish and chips. . . love my sweet potato fries!
The food at The Colonial Inn is great, sort of pub style food and was perfect for an outdoor lunch on a sunny day. I hope to visit Concord again soon to check out some of the cute little shops and things they have going on there. Apparently my great grandfather also played for a baseball team in the area, and I would love to find out more about that.
Yesterday was a good reminder that there are so many fun and beautiful places to travel to right in my back yard. With trips to Cape Cod, Newport, Block Island, and Cuttyhunk Island planned, I look forward to enjoying the beauty of New England this summer!