Out to the Sticks

Gardner Travel Blog

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Our travel companion Hurley, a mischievous terrier
After the quick tour of Boston, we headed inland, WAY inland to the tiny village of Gardner. It was late October coming up on Halloween, so the leaves were beginning to turn colors and there was a thin layer of ice on the creeks in the morning.

What's interesting about the East is that it's forested and relatively flat. Where ever you're standing, you see a short distance ahead, but then you're blocked by trees. There could be a river or town just ahead, but you don't know it until you get there. The forests were nearly completely cleared in the 1800s, so these are second growth stands, consisting of only a handful of species.

Gardner is located along a creek in a shallow valley, so there are actually some rolling hills around it. We climbed Watchusetts Mountain (looks like a hill to me.
Trail through the woods
..) in the morning. From there you could get above the treetops and look out across the countryside. There are a surprising number of houses! From the roads it looks like you're in a wilderness, but looking down into the valleys reveals an even distribution of houses everywhere, nestled amongst the trees.

Stopped at a tiny inn for a lobster lunch- lobster's a big deal there. I love rural restaurants, it's like going back to the late 70s, the last time the menu was printed. Lots of nets on the walls with plastic crabs; ship's wheels; dark varnished wood; lots of rope coiled around things... seafarin' decor - ahrrrrr!

Sun is already low in the sky by mid afternoon that far north so one last hike around the house. The neighbors were out hiking too "first time any of us have been able to venture into the woods in months - bugs.
Trees make photography easy, you can compose a shot from just about anywhere you're standing and it looks like you thought it out
" I guess there are so many mosquitos in the summer that no one hikes. The forest was quiet with damp strands of lichens hanging from the trees and a huge diversity of mushrooms and fungus decorating the ground. We watched a slime mold (looks like a moving, bright orange blotch of living mucous) creep infinitely slowly over a wet log. Fungus just shouldn't be able to move, it's not right... Another log had a tiny, wormlike slender salamander, still active in the near freezing temperatures!

At night we headed deeper into the sticks in search of nightlife. The happening place in those parts is the Singapore Chinese restaurant. The locals came out of the woodwork, lots of flannel shirts and beards for the men; big hair and denim jackets for the girls. Danced to a cover band singing Air Supply and Journey songs until closing time. The food was surprisingly good.

We'd once again packed these and many other adventures - an entire vacation - into a 4-day weekend, including two full days of travel... I think I spent less than $300 including airfare from California.

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Our travel companion Hurley, a mis…
Our travel companion Hurley, a mi…
Trail through the woods
Trail through the woods
Trees make photography easy, you c…
Trees make photography easy, you …
The mountain is very Blair Woods, …
The mountain is very Blair Woods,…
On top of Wachusetts Mountain (thi…
On top of Wachusetts Mountain (th…
Back yard of the house, a very Mas…
Back yard of the house, a very Ma…
Hiking behind our friends house. …
Hiking behind our friend's house.…
Testing the waters
Testing the waters
Big ball of fungus fell out of the…
Big ball of fungus fell out of th…
More fungus
More fungus
Leaves starting to change color
Leaves starting to change color
A slender salamander- out in near …
A slender salamander- out in near…
More awful trees- where I come fro…
More awful trees- where I come fr…
Mill pond
Mill pond
A restaurant, originally a mill bu…
A restaurant, originally a mill b…
A Chinese restaurant provided the …
A Chinese restaurant provided the…
81 km (50 miles) traveled
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Gardner
photo by: cneoridium