North Easton, Mass – The snow has all melted. Spring has sprung. Ski season is officially over, but we’re still hankering for a pandemic field trip (especially during April vacation week). Fortunately, some friends invited us to go hiking at Borderland State Park. And so continues my investigation of state parks within a one-hour drive of our house. (Yes, I know, I keep expanding my radius. It’s called broadening horizons!)
Borderland is not your typical state park–namely because there is a historic mansion on site. It was built by local artist and suffragette Blanche Ames and her botanist husband Oakes. (What fabulous names! Blanche and Oakes! Especially for an artist and a botanist. I like these people already!) Despite the intriguing names, we did not go inside the mansion.
If you’re like me, you are probably wondering: why the heck is is called Borderland State Park? Let me save you the google search. Apparently, the Amses named their estate “Borderland” because it is located on the border between the towns of Easton and Sharon. When Blanche Ames died, the estate became a state park, but the name stuck. So there you have it. It may seem like an inconsequential border to you and me, but what do we know.
Aside from the mansion, the attraction of Borderland is the 20-some miles of hiking and mountain biking trails. On a weekday during April vacation, we had the place mostly to ourselves. We started with the Pond Walk (along the carriage road, past the stone house, and around Lower Leach Pond), then detoured to Granite Hills Trail, before tacking on the end of the Pond Walk to return to the parking lot. I forgot to measure the distance. BUT there were trees to climb, birds to watch, woods to explore, and rocks to scramble up. The kids were completely engaged in a live-interactive D&D campaign… or something. So the afternoon passed quickly. We all got some fresh air and exercise, and everybody went home happy (and still healthy).
That’s really all we want from our pandemic field trips, so Borderland gets an A in my book.