Posts Tagged ‘ Scenic Lookouts ’

Jenks Park – Central Falls

 

The largest park in the city of Central Falls offers a little less than a half mile of walking paths and a playground. The park adjacent to City Hall also has significant history and a tower that offers views of the surrounding area. The property is where Native Americans, up upon Dexter’s Ledge, first spotted a company of colonist soldiers during the King Phillips War in 1676. An ensuing battle took place nearby on the banks of the Blackstone River. During the battle a group of soldiers were taken prisoner and killed at Nine Men’s Misery in nearby Cumberland. The land that the park currently sits on was donated in 1890 and in 1904 Cogswell Tower was built upon Dexter’s Ledge. The tower is 70 feet tall and is the highest point in Central Falls. From the tower you see west to the Lincoln Highlands and south to Downtown Providence. Inside the tower is a winding wooden stairway that brings you to a platform just under the clock. Below the tower is one of Rhode Islands best kept secrets. In a vaulted chamber there is a grotto that sits under the tower. The walls are the sides of Dexter’s Ledge and the brick ceiling serves as the base of the tower. Tours are offered occasionally by the City of Central Falls.

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Cogswell Tower at Jenks Park

Shining Rock – Northbridge

  • Shining Rock – Richard T. Larkin Conservation Area
  • School Street, Northbridge, MA
  • Trailhead: 42° 9’0.54″N, 71°38’27.29″W
  • Last Time Hiked: June 16, 2017
  • Approximate distance hiked: 1.3 miles
  • Moderate uphill hike.

 

A fellow hiker, and birder, led this hike for a small group up to Shining Rock in the Richard T. Larkin Conservation Area. The trail-head is just north of the house across the street from the parking area. Parking is available directly across the street from 373 School Street. The trail immediately starts to climb upward along a rocky dirt path under a canopy of beech, pines, oaks, and maples. Along this path on the left is an area that has been quarried. The drill holes are quite evident along the obvious man-made cuts. The trail splits ahead and we stayed to the right. The trail is slightly washed out in areas and could be challenging during rain events. At the next intersection we turned right passing a small cave on the left before coming to another split. Here we stayed to the right descending quickly down a few rocks before climbing back up to the trails end at the Shining Rock overlook. From here you have a sweeping view of the Blackstone River Valley below. The local teens have used the rock as an artistic canvass with some rather respectable graffiti, mostly being that of environmental concerns like “Save the Bees”. Be sure not to get too close to the edge as the rock towers over the pine forest below. From here we followed a trail westerly along the ridge of the rock downhill until we reached the trail we came in on. From here we retraced our steps back to the car. Along this hike we heard the songs of an indigo bunting, as well as oven birds, an osprey, a red belly woodpecker. The birds we saw up close were robins, a tanager. An eagle and its eaglets were observed in the distance from the overlook.

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The View From Atop Shining Rock

Block Island Southeast – New Shoreham

  • Block Island Southeast
  • Water Street, New Shoreham, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°10’24.56″N, 71°33’27.22″W
  • Last Time Hiked: May 13, 2017
  • Approximate distance hiked: 4.5 miles
  • Moderate with some elevation, optional strenuous stairs.

 

This walk from the ferry dock in Old Harbor leads to some of the most picturesque sights along the eastern seaboard. Though mostly road walking, the route visits the Mohegan Bluffs and the famous Southeast Lighthouse. In fact this route could easily be done on a bicycle if you choose to ride instead of walk. There are several bike rentals available on the island including Beach Rose Bicycles. Starting from the ferry dock turn left onto Water Street (southerly direction) towards the rotary with the Statue of Rebecca. At the rotary turn right onto High Street and start the slow climb uphill. Traffic tends to be busy here so stay on the sidewalk. The street is flanked by several cottages and B & B’s. On the left is a worthwhile stop. The Nature Conservancy’s Block Island office is here. There are maps available of the islands trails for a small fee. Just behind the Nature Conservancy building is the backside of Abrams Animal Farm which offers a collection of animals including goats, emus, lemurs, and kangaroos. Continuing along High Street you will come to the “last chance” for snacks, water, or supplies at the general store on the left. Ahead you will come to the Block Island School at the intersection of Payne Road. Continuing straight the road becomes Pilot Hill Road and continues to gradually climb uphill and eventually turns to a dirt road. At the top of the hill, 178 feet above sea level, is a monument to the pilots of Block Island. You will notice that the Dodge family dominates the list of names on the monument. Pilot Hill Road then passes John E’s Pond on the right. In May the shad brush that surrounds the pond (and most of the island) is in bloom. Soon Pilot Hill Road ends. Continue straight here and cross the main road into a dirt parking area. From here follow the short path to the first glimpse of Mohegan Bluffs. The view is quite breathtaking and reminiscence of Ireland. From this vantage point you can see the newly built wind turbines that supply power to the island. On clear days to the right you can see Montauk Point in New York. To the left you can see your next two stops, the stairs of Payne Overlook and the Southeast Light. To get to the Payne Overlook retrace your steps back to the main road and follow it to the east. In a few hundred feet there is a parking area with a large sign. The short trail here leads to the top of the stairs that wind nearly 200 feet below. At the end of the stairs, you can make your way down to the beach. It is highly advised to do this at your own risk. From here you get a sense of just how massive these bluffs are as the ocean waves break on the narrow strand. To the east from this point is the open Atlantic Ocean to Portugal. The next stop is the lighthouse. Start by retracing your steps, literally all nine flights of them, up the bluffs. Stop! Take a breather, then retrace your steps back to the road turn right and look for the Mohegan Bluffs monument on the right. The monument gives a short description of how the Mohegan Indians were driven off of these bluffs by the local Manissean Tribe. Just beyond the monument is the famous Southeast Light. Built in 1873, the 52 foot tower, with its lens, offers as a green flashing beacon that can be seen for 23 miles (20 nautical miles). The lighthouse and its museum are open during the summer months. In 1993, the lighthouse was moved inland several hundred feet due to the eroding bluffs. A large boulder sits where the lighthouse once did. For the remainder of this walk return to the road (Spring Street) and turn right. The road will lead you back to town descending for quite a while before coming to the waters edge once again. The road then turns abruptly left and slightly uphill as you pass the Spring House. This will be the first of several famous Block Island Hotels along Spring Street as the walk leads back into town. Spring Street ends at the rotary, continue straight back onto Water Street. The ferry dock will be on your right and several shops and restaurants will be on the left.

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Mohegan Bluffs and the Southeast Light.

Lantern Hill – North Stonington

  • Lantern Hill
  • Wintechog Hill Road, North Stonington, CT
  • Trailhead: 41°28’0.82″N, 71°56’44.18″W
  • Last Time Hiked: April 17, 2017
  • Approximate distance hiked: 1.9 miles
  • Difficult to Strenuous With Some Climbing.

 

Lantern Hill is a must visit if you are in the southeastern corner of Connecticut. The hike described here climbs over Lantern Hill just southeast of the Foxwoods Casino complex and follows the Narragansett Trail. Starting from a makeshift parking area (with no signage) along Wintechog Hill Road the light blue blazed trail immediately begins to climb the hill following an old cartpath. After a couple hundred feet the trail levels off for a bit before coming to a red blazed Lantern Hill Loop Trail. Be sure to be aware of the blue blazes of the Narragansett Trail when you approach trail intersections. You will want to follow them and not the red blazes for this hike. The Narragansett Trail then starts to steadily climb the hill once again. The inclines are quite impressive at times. The trail first overlooks the Pequot Reservation to the north and west offering views of the casino and Lantern Hill Pond below. The trail then climbs over the summit to a stunning overlook with miles and miles of sights to the east and south. Clear days will offer a view of the Atlantic Ocean to the south. It is also interesting to see the hawks and vultures soaring through the sky sometimes below you. Use extreme caution along the edges here as a fall would surely be fatal. Also here on the first day of Spring the Westerly Morris Men climb the hill for their annual sunrise dance at the summit. The hill got its name from the War of 1812 as the hill was used as a lookout. When the British were spotted approaching, barrels of tar were ignited to warn nearby residents. After spending some time at the summit continue following the blue blazed trail as it winds, at times steeply, down the hill. There is one section, that we dubbed the Lemon Squeeze, that will challenge your footing, balance, and upper body strength. The trail then traverses the south side of the hill passing through groves of mountain laurel before coming out to the North Stonington Transfer Station. Again, be sure to pay attention to blazes and turns at intersections. After the Dog Pound the trail turns to the left through the transfer station and out to the road. At this point you have hiked 1.4 miles of the Narragansett Trail. The trail continues ahead, however it is closed (from Wintechog Hill Road to Route 2) at the moment because of logging. For this hike turn left and follow Wintechog Hill Road about a half mile back to the parking area.

 

Trail maps can be found at: Lantern Hill

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The View At The Top Of Lantern Hill.

Block Island Greenway – New Shoreham

  • Block Island Greenway
  • Water Street, New Shoreham, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°10’24.56″N, 71°33’27.22″W
  • Last Time Hiked: September 25, 2016
  • Approximate distance hiked: 9.0 miles
  • Difficult to strenuous due to distance, hills, and navigation.

 

The Block Island Greenway stretches from the Great Salt Cove through Rodman’s Hollow to Payne Farm traversing over some of the highest points on the island. There are several loops and side trails that make up the Greenway as well. For this hike, which starts at the ferry dock, 6 miles of the Greenway is covered as well as three miles of road walking to get to and from the Greenway trails. From the ferry, head to the road (Water Street), and turn right. You will pass several small shops and restaurants in the New England picturesque village. Note the National Hotel and the Surf Hotel, two sprawling wooden structures. The street then turns to the left and becomes Dodge Street. At the next intersection you want to continue straight onto Harbor Road. The road to the right (Corn Neck Road) leads to the northern end of the island. Soon you will be passing by some of the iconic Block Island watering holes, Poor Peoples Pub and Captain Nick’s. On the right you will catch a few glimpses of Harbor Pond before coming to the next intersection. Turn right onto Beach Road and then almost immediately left onto Ocean Avenue. After going downhill a bit you will catch a glimpse of the southernmost end of the Great Salt Cove to the right. Payne’s Donuts will be on the right just before you need to turn left onto West Side Road. Climbing up hill slightly, you will pass several fields encased in stone walls. On some days you may be greeted by cows. The road then splits. Stay to the left here and proceed along Legion Way. To the right is the American Legion hall. After passing the hall, cross the street and enter Island Cemetery. Follow the grass path up the hill of the cemetery to the dirt road. Turn right and then left to follow the road along the edge of the cemetery. Take your time here in the cemetery. There are several very old graves to check out and some very prominent names of the islands history including Payne and Champlin. After following the dirt road stay straight along the edge of the stone wall. Soon you will see a set of wooden stairs, known as a stile, that cross over a stone wall. You are now entering the Greenway at the Harrison Loop. The trail to the right, less than two tenths of a mile, is the extreme northern end of the Block Island Greenway. After crossing the stile turn left and follow the shrub and tree flanked, grass mown foot path. After crossing a driveway the trail continues to wind through the woods another half mile before coming to another dirt road. Follow the road ahead a few feet then turn right into a driveway. The Greenway continues to the right of a fence in garden with a “chef” in it. The trail then crosses a stone wall and turns right. After crossing the stone wall turn around and take a peek at the sign on the tree. The folks here on the island do have a sense of humor. The trail then zigzags another three tenths of a mile to Beacon Hill Road passing on the left a sprawling farm with horse, donkeys, and chickens. You will likely be greeted by them as you pass by. Beware of the fence though! After passing Beacon Hill Road, continue to follow the main trail ignoring side trails. The Greenway climbs uphill into Nathan Mott Park, Turnip Farm, and the Loffredo Preserve. A trail to the left, with stairs, is currently closed. Continue straight to a large open field. At the top of the hill you have sweeping views to the east of the airport and Old Harbor in the distance. Continue straight along the main trail keeping a large house to your left. When you reach a gate there is a trail to the right. Turn onto it and follow it. It loops back around and slightly uphill. Then turn left onto the next trail. This trail zigzags a bit as it heads west. At the next trail stay to the left. The trail soon passes another large open field before coming out to Old Mill Road. Three hundred feet after crossing the road you will find a bench along the trail. From here you can see Montauk Point 15 miles away. Montauk is the eastern end of Long Island, New York. On clear days you may be able to see the lighthouse that sits on the tip of the island. The Greenway trail then continues south to Cooneymus Road passing more open fields and crossing another stone wall. After crossing the road the trail winds into the entrance of Rodman’s Hollow. Turn right onto the dirt road known as Black Rock Road. It gently descends downhill pass rolling hills of wildflowers. Continuing straight and ignoring side trails you will see the ocean. At the end of the road the trail turns to the left and slightly uphill. There are two spots to take in the beautiful scenery of the southern shore of the island. The second spot, known as Tom’s Point, offers a bench to sit and rest. Be aware of the edge of the bluffs here. They are very steep and a fall will almost guarantee an injury if not more. After a break continue to follow the trail. It comes to a dirt road where you will want to turn right. In about four hundred feet or so look for a trail on the left and turn onto it. This trail winds through Rodman’s Hollow passing several shrubs including shadbush, which is spectacular when in bloom in May. A trail appears on the left, continue straight to the next intersection and stay to the right. The trail then drops down into the hollow before coming to the next intersection. There is a small sign here indicating the trail to Fresh Pond. Take a quick break here. The trail ahead can be downright strenuous to some. Though the section is short, less than a quarter mile, the elevation quickly climbs nearly one hundred and thirty feet. The trail then comes to a dirt road. Stop and take a breather! You will notice a granite post with directions. Follow the road north a few hundred feet and you will soon be back on a trail the leads through Peckham Farm and into the Fresh Pond Preserve. There is a short spur trail to the right along the way that climbs uphill for a view of the area.  After passing through Peckham Farm the trail passes a stone wall and turn lefts into a grass field. It continues downhill towards the trees then loops to the right and down almost to the shore of the Fresh Pond. Just before the pond is a trail to the left that leads over a small wooden bridge, briskly uphill, and then along a stone wall flanked field that overlooks the pond. The trail then comes to Lakeside Drive where you will turn right to follow the road. About two tenths of a mile ahead and to the left you will find another stile over a stone wall. Climb over it and continue to follow the trail, the Payne Farm Trail, as it winds through thick brush and open fields first through the Fresh Swamp Preserve before winding through Payne Farm and Sands Farm. The fields are covered in wildflowers and attract several bees and butterflies. At the end of the trail turn left onto Payne Road. This is the end of the actual Greenway. The remainder of the hike follows roads back to Old Harbor. Payne Road soon bends to the right passing the islands medical center and school. Turn left onto High Street and follow it as it winds down into town passing several homes along the way. Turn left onto Water Street and the ferry dock will be on the right. It is highly recommended that you obtain a copy of the trail map, and book as well, from the Nature Conservancy before taking on this hike. Though the island is only 7 miles long and 3 miles wide, taking wrong turns could add miles to your trek. Also, the island is very hilly. Be sure to bring plenty of water to stay hydrated.

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Signage Along The Greenway

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Rodmans Hollow With September Goldenrod.

Mount Misery – Voluntown

  • Mount Misery – Pachaug State Forest
  • Cutoff Road, Voluntown, CT
  • Trailhead: 41°35’36.73″N, 71°52’3.15″W
  • Last Time Hiked: July 9, 2016
  • Approximate distance hiked: 1.8 miles
  • Moderate.

This out and back hike, short in mileage, traverses over two hills in the Pachaug State Forest. At the top of the second hill, the 441 foot Mount Misery, is a rather impressive overlook. Starting from a parking area near the entrance of the Rhododendron Sanctuary, first follow the light blue blazes of the Nehantic Trail along Cutoff Road west towards the open gate. After passing the gate you will see a “Smokey the Bear” sign on the left. The blue blazed trail enters the forest here. The trail first meanders through an area of young pines covering the forest floor. Above are the older, towering pines. The trail then begins it climb up the first hill. After cresting the first hill the trail descends into a small valley where a boardwalk crosses a seasonal stream. Shortly after the boardwalks the trail climbs Mount Misery. At the top of the hill to the left is the overlook. This overlook looks east over the forest towards Rhode Island. Along the trail at the top of the hill you will also find a benchmark disk. The Nehantic Trail continues ahead a short distance to another parking area. After enjoying the view retrace your steps back to the parking area. Visiting the Rhododendron Sanctuary also adds an additional half mile to this hike.

 

Trail maps can be found at: Mount Misery

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View From Mount Misery.

Rodman’s Hollow – New Shoreham

  • Rodman’s Hollow
  • Cooneymus Road, New Shoreham, RI
  • Trailhead: 41° 9’35.37″N, 71°35’28.22″W
  • Last Time Hiked: May 15, 2016
  • Approximate distance hiked: 2.5 miles
  • Moderate with some significant elevation.

 

One of the most famed spots on Block Island for hikers is Rodman’s Hollow and Rodman’s Hollow at sunrise is a spectacular place to be. Being the first to step foot into the property as the sun was rising I had the opportunity to see quite a bit of wildlife. Starting from the parking lot I made my way south following a dirt road (Black Rock Road) straight to just about the ocean passing a wooden gate with a turnstile and a metal gate, both on the left. The road winds through slight valleys with rolling hills and meadows on each side. There are also several stone walls along this stretch. It was along here I ran into a few white tailed deer. I also came across what I believe might have been pheasants or turkeys. I did not get a good look at them as they flew away after we startled each other. At the end of the road I turned left and followed it to the east. Soon there was another road to the left. I continued straight climbing slightly uphill to reach Tom’s Point. Here is a bench atop a hill that overlooks the surrounding area and ocean. Take some time to sit at and take it the almost inexplicable beauty of the coast. After taking a few moments I continued to follow the path along an open field. Soon it came to a road and I turned right. After following the road for a bit a trail appears on the left. Turn here. The trail leads you north towards the hollow. At the next intersection stay to your right and right again at the next intersection. From here the trail drops deep into the hollow. In mid-May this area is flanked by shadbush that is in full bloom. At the next trail intersection stay to the left following the Rodmans Hollow Loop. Soon you will be passing a stone wall with several of the shadbushes by it. They have a very distinct trunk. After climbing uphill a bit turn right at the next intersection. This will lead you to the turnstile. From here turn right and retrace your steps back to the car.

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Overlooking Rodmans Hollow

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Fields and Stonewalls

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The Coast Looking East From Rodmans Hollow