The Clam Box

A trip to Ipswich, MA meant the wife and I had to go to the Clam Box. It is a typical New England seafood shack. Fried seafood – scallops, clams, fish, etc. Also lobster rolls and some other favorites.

We got there just before noon on a Saturday. Not only that but it was a lovely summer day. Luckily we did not find to much of a crowd. We got in, ordered our food within about ten minutes, and were eating about five minutes later.

The food was great. We had a three way combo. Scallops, shrimp and clams. All batter dipped and fried. This stuff was served on a bed of onion rings. My drink of choice was  lemonade while the wife had an iced tea.

One of the many cool thing about the place was its age. The Clam Box has existed since 1935. That is a long time for any food establishment to be in business.

Late in the day we drove back past the place and the line was a lot longer!

clam-box

Upton State Forest, MA

a trail through the woods

a trail through the woods

Yesterday the wife and I went for a hike in a nice Masschusetts State Forest. The place is a few thousand acres in size. It is primarily forest but there was also lots of water everywhere. A few swampy places, plenty of small waterways, vernal pools and things in between. There was also a large pond at the southern end of the place.

There is a small parking area just off the entrance and you need to walk to get to any other parts of the forest. There are both relatively wide roads that you can walk on and smaller trails.

We headed down to the pond and my wife lost her hat at some point. This lead to a change of plans for our route. We had to backtrack to locate the missing hat. We did find it and we did also succeed in having a pleasant walk.

Overall the Upton State Forest was nice, lots of typical New England forest scenery and good trails.

Out and About

pondA beautiful day! I was able to get out with my wife to a local property that has some nice trails. It was wonderful to see the trees are full of leaves. The last time I was walking out in the woods, a few weeks ago, this was not the case.

We visited a small pond and a vernal pool. There were small painted turtles and ducks hanging out in the pond. The vernal pool had something unexpected, a few children walking around. They had boots on and were literally walking around in the water. Not a real good thing to be doing to a vernal pool around here.  They are fragile habitats and there are just not that many of them around anyway. Their mom was there too. Apparently the kids were trying to catch frogs.

Besides that little bit of disturbance the woods were glorious. It is so nice to be able to get out and about again in some warmer weather.

NH Spring

Some water, ice and trees at Bear Brook State Park

Some water, ice and trees at Bear Brook State Park

Today I took the day off and headed to New Hampshire. The wife and I decided it was time to get out and since it was supposed to reach sixty, figured we could have a good time.

Our destination was Bear Brook State Park. Not far off of I93, so just a little over an hour from home. The park is closed for the winter, meaning the facilities are not open, but you can still “recreate” in the park. At least that was what their website said. This seemed to mean hiking and other such things were fine but you were not going to be able to camp or visit things like their camping museum.

The ride out there was fine except for the gray clouds as soon as we crossed into New Hampshire. I was thinking, when I saw a road sign that said Salisbury, that maybe we should have headed out that way. Perhaps the woods were not looking so good if it was going to rain. Better to maybe go to take a peak at the ocean and perhaps spend some time in the arcade, playing some pinball. All of this seemed even more enticing once we got to the park. There was still a lot of snow on the ground there, as there was a lot of denser white pine forest stands there. It was also quite chilly when I got out of the car.

Turned out I was wrong about my first impression. It was a bit cooler than I would have liked most of our visit and there was a lot of snow throughout much of the 4 + miles we walked. Yet it did get warmer and the sun even came out later in the afternoon. It was also great to be out in the woods. The park has a lot of trails and much of the snowier one’s we were on appeared to be cross country skiing trails. So the snow on the trails was packed well. Another nice thing about this park is there is a lot of water. A few lakes, some ponds and plenty of marshes. With snow melt, water was pretty much running everywhere.

We found an open area exposed to some sun that was alive with ground bees. They were hovering all around, apparently looking to make nests. There were also some ground beetles running around. Black heads with red elytra. Once we saw one of these suddenly we noticed dozens.

Getting some time out in the woods, having a chance to relax for a day with my wife, seeing signs that spring is soon to be coming on strong….all good things and it made for an awesome day.

Fall Apples

Today was a picture perfect New England fall day.

My wife, two of our friends, and myself went to a place that offers apple picking. It was a hoot! There were a lot of children around as the place was set up to entertain them – and be a place where parents could bring their kids to let them run around.

There was a small barnyard that featured lots of small goats. A big area with stacked hay that kids could run around on. A large cleared dirt area that was full of picked pumpkins you could put on a cart, pull into the sales barn, and have your pumpkin weighed so you could pay for it.

Then there was the apple train. A tractor pulling a few carts with hay benches. You had to take it to the apple orchard. There were lots of apples to be had. We bought a bag that could hold 20 pounds and collected a few different varieties.

All in all, my first fall apple picking day was a blast. Good company, nice weather, and a lot of fun.