Wednesday, July 31, 2013

July fun with my sister in Massachusetts

I spent the month of July at Canoe River Campground a few miles from my sister's house. It is a nice family campground with a lot of seasonals, and loads of kids. 
The small pond is home to this family of swans, and several clans of geese and ducks.
 I enjoyed watching the (baby) cygnet grow while I was here.
But most of my time was spent with my sister in Bridgewater. Me and Thistle, Linda with her dog, Homer.
Almost every day we went out for a mini adventure. We visited local parks to walk.
 I learned that the history of Bridgewater goes waaay back to Pilgrim times.
Borderland State Park has an interesting history too.
Created in the early 1900s by artist and suffragist Blanche Ames and her botanist husband Oakes, Borderland offers many of the same pleasures that the Ames family enjoyed: walking and horseback riding on woodland trails, fishing and canoeing in the ponds, or, in winter, ice-skating and sledding. Linda is reading the trail map.
 This small stone lodge is beside one of many ponds on the 1700 acre property.
 There are over 20 miles of trails. We hiked one of them.
The park is dog friendly.
In 1906, Oakes Ames and his wife Blanche purchased land on the border of Sharon and Easton. The country estate they named “Borderland” remained in the family for 65 years. In 1971, two years after the death of Blanche Ames, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts acquired the estate and opened it as a state park. The family’s home, a three-story stone mansion built in 1910, still stands. Its twenty rooms are furnished much as they were when the Ameses lived here; many of Blanche Ames’ paintings grace the walls.
Blanche Ames designed the mansion after firing the architect. There is very little wood, as they wanted it to be as fireproof as possible.
We came back again on the third Sunday when the mansion is open for tours. (Very hot and humid AC) The bell was acquired during a visit to Cuba.
Unfortunately, no photos were allowed inside, so you'll just have to go see for yourself. Much of the furnishings were left by the estate, as well as historical signed by Abraham Lincoln. I hope they find a way to preserve things. The library was undergoing repairs for water damage, so we didn't get to see that room.
 What the swimming pool looked like when the Ames family lived here.
 What it looks like now...sort of overgrown.
Poolside butterfly.
We learned the Ames family wealth came from the manufacture of shovels back in the Civil War era.
 Back side of the mansion.
 Peeking in the windows...

This was one of the first homes in the area to have an auto garage with chauffeur's quarters above it.
Linda and I spent one day checking out potential kayaking places. This is Rico Lake in Massasoit State Park. I kayaked here once, but there were too many weeds growing just below the surface that kept tangling on my paddles.
 Johnson Pond...a small calm body of water. We decided it was a good place for Linda's first kayak experience.
 Carver Pond. We came back here to hike, but the pond was too weedy to kayak.
 We did see some swans on Carver pond, with two cygnets.
 Back at Johnson Pond to kayak. I never did get a picture of me in my new kayoo.
 Linda seemed to enjoy kayaking...especially after I repaired the leaky valve in the inflatable, haha.
I kayaked twice at Lake Nippenicket, locally known as  the Nip.
 Once with Thistle.
 And once with Linda.
 Linda on the Nip.
We also tried our hand at Geocaching. Found some, didn't find others. One was at this old Ironworks factory, circa early 1800s, that has been turned into a park.
 Thistle and Linda checking out a Geocache. There happened to be some dog treats in there. Do you think Thistle knew that?
 Some of the old Ironworks ruins.
 The dam.
 Fish ladder on the right side of the dam.
 At another Geocache site we learned that this famous baseball player grew up in Bridgewater.
 We made a trip to Bass Pro Shop for a kayak valve.
 In nearby Middleboro is this small museum dedicated to Tom Thumb. Mrs. Tom Thumb (Lavinia Warren) grew up here and the couple had a home here. There is much memorabilia from their careers with P.T. Barnum. Mrs. Tom Thumb's sister (who was a midget even smaller than Lavinia) is buried in the local cemetery. She died in childbirth trying to give birth to a 6 pound baby. Both she and the baby died. Unfortunately, no photos were allowed inside the museum.
Another fine day we drove to Colt State Park on Narragansett Bay in Rhode Island.
 It was a fine day for sailing...
 And watching big barges being moved by tugboats. You can see a sailing regatta underway in the background.
 We found a Geocache near the bridge.
This state park was also once an estate. This stone barn is the only building remaining.
 The other side of the barn. It houses the ranger's offices.
Back at Carver Pond, we hiked the trails and found some Geocaches.
 Linda cooked me several great meals. The mussels were for my birthday. I forgot to take a picture of the lobster we had when my brother arrived.
The local farm stores were selling fresh berries. They went well on my
3-2-1 cake.
So July has come to an end and I must move on. The cygnet has grown a lot this month.
Probably from eating all those pond goodies.
Soon he'll be as handsome as his papa.
Linda and I had a lot of fun together. I will miss her, but we have the memories, and can look forward to doing it again another year.


  1. How wonderful for you to catch us up on a whole month. And what a month! Great to travel with you.

  2. How wonderful that you had such an enjoyable month with your sister. Loved your tours. That "barn" is something.

  3. This was a great one, Liz. Thanks. And that campground looks like the kind of place I'd like, too.

  4. How Fun! Sisters and doggies look alike!