Topsfield, Mass – The grandparents came to visit! We celebrated this somewhat rare occurrence by meeting our cousins at the Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary. We had been to this Mass Audubon property years ago (nine years ago!) for maple sugar Saturday but we had not been back. It is a favorite destination of the cousins, so we were excited to visit with them.
Not surprisingly, the Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary offers a completely different experience in fall, than it did in winter. There are a few things that make it a unique outdoor-adventure destination, and we had missed them both.
In 1905, landscape artist Shintare Anamete created this structure out of granite boulders that he imported onto the property. The result is a network of caves and grottoes and climbing trails that overlook a pond and blend right into the surrounding forest. This beautiful feature could almost be nature-made, except for the very precise stacking of the rocks. Climbing the rocks and exploring the passageways make for a fun addition to a longer hike. And–we discovered–the Rockery is also a premier location for hide & seek or tag or some combination thereof.
Mass Audubon does not put out bird feeders: the visitors are the bird feeders! We did not think to bring bird seed, but somebody gave us some on the trail. The kids discovered if they held the seed in an open palm and stand very still, the birds would land on their hand to get a snack. We attracted chickadees and nuthatches, who were brave enough to perch on our hands.