The Commonwealth

It’s the new year! While 2017 still holds many secrets (I’m sure of it), I took this first day of the new year to look back at the last one.

For 2016, we bought a Massachusetts Start Park Pass, which essentially allowed us to park without having to pay fees at 50+ state parks. Truthfully, this was purchased with our favorite beach, Nahant, in mind, as we could avoid having to pay the $6 every time we went AND could skip the normal line and use the pass-holders lane (boo-yah!). The amount of trips we made to the beach alone almost covers the cost of the pass. But wait, there’s more!

We ended up going to 8 start parks in 2016 and you can see some highlight photos in my just uploaded Massachusetts photo album. While we certainly didn’t get to every park we considered, we did hit many of the most interesting sounding ones, including:

  • Halibut State Park (for the halibut)
  • Beartown State Forest (because bears)
  • Nahant State Beach (multiple times, although no photos)
  • Cape Code Rail Trail (and only half of it really)
  • Borderland (definitely the coolest in my opinion)
  • Great Brook State Farm (they have cows and goats)
  • Mount Greylock (home to American witches and wizards and MA highest point)
  • Walden Pond (Thoreau knew how to pick ’em)
Going down the mountain was more pleasant than going up.

Mount Greylock in late fall

We’ve been living in Massachusetts at least part-time for 9 years and this was the first time we really put some effort into seeing the state. Before 2016, the majority of what I’d seen would be considered the “greater Boston area” and that one time we went to Provincetown. I went to the Basketball Hall of Fame once too, but I don’t really remember anything about Massachusetts on that trip. Helen has seen a bit more of central MA working in Worcester, but then she says that’s nothing to write home about (sorry Worcester, we know you’re trying!) We’re definitely getting the pass again for this year (see beach parking) and hopefully we’ll hit a few new places out west or down around the cape. The goal is to reach 12 parks this year, at least one a month. Either way, as people who love the outdoors and adventure, it’s nice to know Massachusetts has a nice collection of unique and interesting parks to visit. It’s no Vermont…but then, what is?

Again, if you’d like to look, you’ll find the Massachusetts photos here.

Happy new year everyone. May you explore new places with friendly faces no matter where you are.