Twenty members of the TOHG Walking and Hiking Group met at 10:30 a.m. at the Great Brook parking area in Carlisle. We had three new Top of the Hill Gang members on the walk they were Joanne H., Margaret L. and Karla S.
We started off under clear blue skies, no wind and 40 degree temperatures. After walking through a portion of Great Brook State Park, we then crossed into Chelmsford’s Thanksgiving Forest, where the trails had all been swept clean. The Chelmsford Boy Scouts take care of this area. We passed the River Meadow Brook and found the Thanksgiving Rock formation where a picture was taken of the whole group. After walking back as far as the small bridge that crossed the brook, we divided into two groups. One headed back through the corn field and then into the pine forest, finishing at the picnic area. The other group crossed the brook and continued on the other side to view the abandoned cabin area, as well as the old dam and mill site, eventually ending at the picnic area where the rest of the gang had arrived. We all socialized and wished each other a very Happy Thanksgiving.
The total time walking was about two hours and the distance was about 3.5 miles.
Chris B and Meredith P
Susan and Chuck H, Sue , Ines and Marco A, Nonie L,
Joe McG, Elaine M, Barbara H, and Elsie L
South Mystery Group met at the Fuller Craft Museum to admire the recently opened Glass Lifeforms Exhibit, contemporary artworks inspired by Harvard University’s plant and invertebrate models made by glass artist Blaschka.
Ines and Marco
Chris B, Meredith P, Dori C, Jane P & Kathy W. Not in photo Carol B.
After having spent 2 hours in the Concord Museum, learning more than we were taught in school about the Revolutionary War in 1775, five Metro West members ate lunch at Helen's Restaurant in Concord Ctr, after which we walked to the Concord Cheese Shop and the Thoreauly Antique Emporium. It was a delightfully touristy day for us.
Dori C, Jan G, Chris B, Jane P, Wendy R, Meredith P, Jan U, Lainey O’C, Al G,
Ivanhoe the Alpaca, Carol B
Ten of us gathered on a bright, chilly, sunny day at the Harvard Alpaca Ranch. We learned about the 31 resident Alpacas who were just as curious about us as we were of them. There are more female Alpacas than males at the ranch and Ivanhoe (pictured) has his harem. We even met a blue eyed female. All of the animals have names as well.
The owner of the ranch gave us a very informative tour where he answered our many questions. We learned among other things, what they eat, how they sleep, and the fact that they each instinctively know to take turns guarding the herd so the rest can sleep.
We then headed to the Ranch’s store to view and buy socks, hats, and wool. Afterwards we enjoyed lunch at the Harvard General Store.
Stephanie O, Elsie L, Susan and Chuck H, Joe and Maggie C, Barbara H, Joan S
On a beautiful October day the south mystery group visited the Willard House and Clock Museum in N.Grafton. We viewed shelf clocks and wall clocks, big clocks and small clocks , and even a musical chiming clock, Our guide acquainted us with the Willard ancestors as we viewed several rooms in the antique house.
We continued on to the Post office pub for lunch and conversation and some reminiscing.
Trail Hut at Muddy Pond, from left: Lisa L, Perry G, Christie B, Meredith P, Janice G,
Rexy, Hedy P, Dori C (Heimo S behind the camera)
Eight TOHG members, including Lisa Lyons on her very first Gang excursion, gathered on a private homestead just outside Ashburnham, a few miles south of the New Hampshire border, for a hike on the Massachusetts Midstate Trail. While the trail crosses the breadth of Massachusetts, we “only” covered the parts of Section 3, one of the oldest sections—a hiking trail between Mount Watatic and Wachusett Mountain that has existed for nearly 100 years. After a long downhill on abandoned Whitney Road, we started on the trail proper from an old bridge crossing Philips Brook. Using walking poles, everyone had a grand time scrambling over rocks, roots, and the odd rivulet fed by earlier summer rains. The leader had to backtrack on occasion to find some of the faded trail markers, but with everyone’s input, the team made it in timely fashion through forests young and old and foliage colors yellow, red, and green, to Muddy Pond for a rest and photos at one of four Midstate Trail huts. After a walk back on a country road, we shared lunch at a restaurant in Westminster, which for some of us was the first time dining indoors at a restaurant in over 18 months. What a joy to share this experience for so many reasons! We hope to see Lisa on many more TOHG events, and we hope that next year the trail signage will be improved for an even better hike.
Ready to roll!
What a great day we had for our fall foliage bike rides! The foliage was actually a disappointment this year, but the weather more than made up for it. It was 70 degrees with a lovely breeze all day long.
For the pot luck, we didn’t even need the shade canopies! There were twenty-two of us, ten for the 20-mile ride, twelve for the 10+- mile ride. We even had a three-wheeler bike on the trip. Half of the 10-mile group took a slight detour which gave them more like a 15-mile ride. This meant that for the first time ever the 20-milers got back for the pot luck first!
We had a delightful time socializing in the back yard, catching up with members we haven’t seen in a while, and comparing notes as to which ski trips many of us will be doing this winter as well as bike rides to be scheduled for next year. We really are making a come-back after the past two years with COVID! Hip hip hooray for the amazing Gang.
The Three-Wheeler !
Marco A, Ines A, Ross T, Paul M, Linda M, Jim F, Wendy R, David R, Lisa F, Deb G, Bob G, Marie H
After having to postpone the tour last season we were finally able to go this year and according to everyone it was worth the wait!
After meeting with our guides, Trish and Jeff, on Sunday morning we were off on the first ride of the week. We rode to the home of Patrick Henry, famous for his revolutionary war speech” Give me Liberty or give me Death”. It was the hilliest ride of the week and extremely hot, a number of us decided after 20 plus miles to jump on the shuttle.
The next day we headed off on the Virginia Capital trail to ride into the Jamestown Settlement. After lunch we toured Historic Jamestown, the actual site where it all began. We were given a tour by the Historian for the archaeological dig. It was fascinating to hear what they have found.
The following morning we headed to catch the ferry to cross the James River to bike in Surry and visit Bacon’s Castle. After lunch in Surry we headed back to the ferry, it was a unique feeling to ride your bike onto the ferry! That evening we shuttled into Williamsburg where we would spend the next three nights.
On Wednesday we had a choice to either spend the day touring Colonial Williamsburg or do a short ride. Most chose Williamsburg! After spending the day visiting many of the buildings, such as the Governors Mansion, Court houses and chatting with the folks who reenacted life in Colonial Williamsburg, most went on the Haunted tour of Williamsburg where we were told stories of ghost sightings.
In the morning we headed down the Colonial Parkway to Yorktown. Riding through the Battlefield to the location where the British surrender to Washington ending the revolutionary war, was inspiring. We also did a short ride into Yorktown where you can still see cannonballs embedded in one of the houses.
Finally, Friday we returned to the Virginia Capitol Bike path and our ride back north to Richmond. All in all everyone said they had a fabulous time.
Linda and Paul McH
From left to right: (red paddle: Kathy W), Barbara B, Anne W, Dan Y, Ann Marie S, Karen L, Ann Marie D, Robert R, Dennis D’A, Mary McG, Cathy P, Nancy Q, Paul W, Ellen W, Meredith P
Wow! 16 Gang members met at Foote Brothers Canoe and Kayak Rental in Ipswich on a cool, cloudy day for the TOHG paddle finale, and what a great day it turned out to be! The sun never came out, but there was plenty of sunshine on our faces. It was an easy, peaceful, 1-hour paddle to what we thought was the end of the river where we came across a barricade of fallen trees and debris. We were about to turn around when Dan, Robert, and Meredith adventured through a small opening to the other side for a brief peek. Didn’t take long for them to return, (I guess it was “spooky” back there), so we turned around and floated downstream to the landing to pack up and head to the Clam Box for a delicious lunch where long time members, Sue Rogers and Dick and Millie Clark, met us for lunch and camaraderie.
A perfect ending for a perfect season. We are planning a great season for next year—so far we have commitments for 8 kayak trips: 2 in the south, 2 north, 2 west, 2 central. If you think you’d like to join us, be sure to update your profile to include Kayaking as one of your interests. See you in the spring!
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