Mountain Laurel Kalmia latifolia.
Ravenswood Park, Magnolia/Gloucester Massachusetts.
10 miles of trails and former carriage roads. Moderate hiking.
Magnolia Swamp Trail, Fernwood Lake Trail, Ledge Hill Trail.
Kevin, Judy and Emma
Faced with a few days off and not ideal weather we decided to forego any trips to the mountains until the weather changed. Living in the southeast corner of New Hampshire makes trips to the northeast part of Massachusetts an easy alternative to a long drive to the mountains. Near our home, just over the state line in Amesbury, Massachusetts is a place we like to frequent named Woodsom's Farm. There are open fields with mowed trails and just across the street there are hills just high enough to get your blood pumping a little. The fields are full of wildflowers and currently are the home of nesting Bobolinks. We are very fortunate that in Essex County there has always been a great drive to preserve as much space as possible for outdoor recreation. We are especially appreciative of the generous donations of land to conservation by many of the oldest families in the area.
Further south and east we love to travel through towns like Ipswich and Essex and find ourselves in Gloucester. Over the course of my life I have grown a particular fondness for the part of Gloucester known as Magnolia. We usually visit the ocean here, but on this day made the trip to visit a place known as Ravenswood. I had never been although Jude had been there years before. All I can say is, "It's a very beautiful place." Very much reminds me of Maudsley in Newbury, but with a more remote, woodsy feeling to it. Indeed, it is larger and more woodsy, thus the feeling is legitimate.
Pink Lady's Slipper Cyprepedium acaule.
Along with a woodland full of Pink Lady's Slippers, the laurel was coming into full bloom and was exceptionally beautiful and plentiful where we hiked. In the Magnolia Swamp we spotted a pair of Pileated Woodpeckers, quite unexpectedly. I believe it was an adult out teaching a fledgling the ropes, judging by my brief observation of their behavior.
Glacial Erratic Biggus rockus
Throughout the hike we came across scattered boulders, glacial erratics if you prefer, many covered in moss and ferns. Along the Ledge Hill Trail there is a very impressive boulder field. There is a quarry to visit and also a good view out to Gloucester Harbor. Worth checking out!
Ledge Hill Trail Nicus walkus.
One can never visit this are without a trip down to the water. One of my favorite places to visit is Rafe's Chasm. Access and good views can be had from a small park off of Hesperus Ave.
Rafe's Chasm Crackus in the Worldus
Thanks for reminding me that great hikes don't (always) require mountains. Just amazing flower photos not to mention the seascapes. Looks like another place that requires a future late spring visit someday...
This looks like a nice little hike. I especially like the first picture of the Mountain Laurel Kalmia latifolia. Thanks for sharing.
I appreciate the positive comments.
I'm thankful past generations had the forethought to leave us these beautiful places to explore.
Looks like a beautiful hike! Your flower pictures are gorgeous and the trail looks really, really nice!!
You were in my back yard! Thanks for reminding me of the great places near by. There are some fairly long trails like the Fernwood Lake trail that go out of the north side of Ravenswood and take you through woodlands that are not on the actual reservation, if you want to spend more time in the area. A lot to explore.
Yeah, we went out to the lake. Took Magnolia Swamp Trail to Fernwood Lake Trail and then back Ledge Hill Trail. Sort of walked the circumference, so have to return to see what the "inside" of the park looks like!