What a challenging month! I was able to do all but one trail in this month’s review. I did walk it in December so I did include in this article. I must say that the die-hard walkers are out there in snow shoes and cross-country skis with their dogs and everyone is still having fun! If you think your favorite trail is impassable because of snow, double-check because I was pleasantly surprised everywhere I went!
This trail is 19.3 acres of oceanfront dunes and salt marsh on Vineyard Sound. It is the only town-owned saltwater beach surrounded on 3 sides by water! When you start out, I suggest you start on the scrub brush trail. You will enter through the gate at the entrance to the parking lot. Beautiful at any time of year, unfortunately dogs are not allowed in the summer months. About 1 mile in you can take one of the sandy trails on the right to walk on the Waquoit bay side. Kayakers and kite surfers populate this area in the warmer months, and Washburn Island is in view as you stroll along. Technically part of Falmouth, this island is available for camping and hiking but you need a boat to access! Check out the website for more info http://www.waquoitbayreserve.org/visit-the-reserve/camping As you reach the point of the peninsula, you will see the jetty that separates Waquoit Bay (where I took the picture). A popular spot for fisherman, be careful climbing the rocks in the winter (live and learn) and follow the beach back to the parking lot. One of my favorite haunts! Give it a try!
Directions: From the Mashpee Rotary take Great Neck Road South past Roche Bros market and main entrance to New Seabury.. when the road bends to the right, stay straight on Great Oak Road. Take this to the end until you see a sign “all beaches”. Do not turn into the first state park lot. Just before you turn left into the parking lot you will see the gate referenced above.
Clue #2-not so obvious! Heritage Park
This was a trick! Picture was taken at Heritage Park which is 27 acres of recreational fields, playground and basketball court. A fun place for sure, but not so much for dogs! I went about a mile away to one of my top 10 walks on the cape. Lowell Holly Reservation is located on South Sandwich Road near the Sandwich town line. Owned and operated by the Trustees of the Reservation, the trails are wonderfully marked and maps abound so there is no excuse to be lost. The parking lot is small but the sign is visible from the street. This 135 acre conservation area is a GREAT place to take your dog all year long! Again surrounded on 3 sides by water, Brya loves all the opportunities for swimming. You could spend an entire day at this location in the summer as picnic tables and a portable toilet is available. Several “Beach” areas for lounging and trails are well shaded for those hot summer days (oh doesn’t that sound wonderful this time of year?) Definitely a must see. Have fun!
trail map: http://www.thetrustees.org/assets/documents/places-to-visit/trailmaps/Lowell-Holly-Trail-Map.pdf
clue #3-Mashpee National Wildlife Refuge
Located just off Great Oak Road, this huge piece of conservation is owned by the US Fish & Wildlife Service and has an enormous amount of trails, abundant wildlife and beautiful bodies of water both salt and fresh water to visit. For more information visit their site :vishttp://www.fws.gov/refuge/Mashpee/about.html
Lastly, a great area to visit with your pup is Mashpee Commons! Located right at the rotary at the junction of Route 28 and Route 151, this open are shopping mall is home to many high-end stores and great places to eat. We visited with the owner of Hot Diggity Dog who was very helpful directing us around the plaza and letting us know that in the nicer weather you have several options for dining. Bobby Byrnes has a patio, as does Panera Bread and Starbucks. Many stores have water dishes out available for visiting dogs, and the Black Dog Store (circa Nantucket) allows dogs inside their store. Even in the winter, just walking around the complex is something different to do. Open year round, Sweet Waves frozen yogurt has a few tables outside in good weather as well as a few Adirondack chairs. Brya loved her dish of vanilla!!!
Remember to support local businesses and volunteer or donate to these conservation groups who keep the areas we enjoy in such pristine condition.