Connection with Nature: Discovering Massachusetts

I lived in NYC for five years. There were many things I loved about the city, and there were many things I dealt with because that was just how city life was. One thing I missed was a connection with nature - there was nature in the city (i.e. parks), but it always involved a long commute because I was not in the correct neighborhoods. Additionally, camping and other ventures outside the city were limited to those who had cars.

After moving to Western Mass, my connection to nature was maximized. Anywhere I went I felt connected - the local nature preserve, driving through the hill towns of the Berkshires, driving the Mass Pike and seeing the lakes, bogs, and farmland, visiting the Cape Cod National Seashore, and of course visiting the countless state and national parks and historic monuments. T and I had moved to Mass during the summer of 2020 which limited the amount of exposure we had with most recreational activities in the state as they were all closed and slow to re-open. Now, as the vaccine is being distributed, we gave ourselves a little quest for the next three years: visit every single Massachusetts National and State Park.

In order to complete this self-imposed challenge, we plan to head to at least one park each week for the next ~180 weeks, or more as we are able. Between now and July we are trying to prioritize short day trips to limit exposure, and then toward the end of the year we will slowly look at full weekend-and-week trips (aka camping, hiking, etc). After visiting each park, I will share the trip planning deets, my favorites photographs and experiences, as well as any art that was inspired by our time there. <3

This will be a fun adventure for both of us as we originally connected over our love of nature and our shared history of camping, hiking, and general outdoor activities. T is originally from Mass, so he was excited to experience the parks and their history as an adult versus as a youngster on family camping trip or with boy scouts. Meanwhile, I have only been to the places that we have gone to together, so it seems like everything is new to me. T and I have already visited some locations on this list over the past couple years, however, we are starting from scratch as of March 2021.

Thanks for joining me and T on this journey!

xo, kg

Here is the list (will cross off as completed):

Alewife Brook Reservation, Cambridge

Ames Nowell State Park, Abington

Appalachian Trail, Lanesborough

Ashland State Park, Ashland

Ashuwillticook Rail Trail, Cheshire

Bash Bish Falls State Park, Mt. Washington

Beartown State Forest

Beaver Brook Reservation, Belmont

Belle Isle Marsh Reservation, East Boston

Blackstone River and Canal Heritage State Park, Uxbridge

Blue Hills Reservation, Milton

Borderland State Park, North Easton

Boston Harbor Islands, Boston

Bradley Palmer State Park, Topsfield

Breakheart Reservation, Saugus

Brimfield State Forest, Brimfield

Bristol Blake State Reservation, Norfolk

Brook Farm Historic Site, West Roxbury

C.M. Gardner State Park, Huntington

Callahan State Park, Framingham,

Camp Nihan Education Center, Saugus

Cape Cod Rail Trail, Brewster

Castle Island, Pleasure Bay, Street Beach and Carson Beach, Boston

Charles River Reservation, Boston

Chestnut Hill Reservation, Brighton

Chicopee Memorial State Park, Chicopee (March 19, 2021)

Clarksburg State Park, Natick

Connecticut River Greenway State Park, Northampton

Constitution Beach Park, Boston

Cutler Park Reservation, Needham

Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) State Forest, Goshen

Demarest Lloyd State Park, Dartmouth

Dighton Rock State Park, Berkley

Douglas State Forest, Douglas

Dunn State Park, Gardner

Ellisville Harbor State Park, Plymouth

Elm Bank Reservation, Wellsesley

Erving State Forest, Erving

F. Gilbert Hills State Forest, Foxborough

Fall River Heritage State Park, Fall River

Farnham-Connolly State Park, Canton

Federated Women's Club State Forest, Petersham

Fort Phoenix State Reservation, Fairhaven

Fort Revere Park, Hull

Francis D. Martini Memorial Shell Park and Moynihan Recreation Area, Boston

Franklin State Forest, Franklin

Freetown-Fall River State Forest, Assonet

Georgetown-Rowely State Forest, Georgetown

Granville State Forest, Granville

Great Brook Farm State Park, Carlisle

Great Falls Discovery Center, Turners Falls

Halibut Point State Park, Rockport

Hammond Pond Reservation, Newton

Harold Parker State Forest, North Andover

Hemlock Gorge Reservation, Newton

Holyoke Heritage State Park, Holyoke

Hopkinton State Park, Hopkinton

Horseneck Beach State Reservation, Westport

Houghton's Pond Recreation Area, Milton

Jug End State Reservation & Wildlife Management Area, Egremont

Kenneth Dubuque Memorial State Forest, Plainfield

Lake Dennison Recreation Area, Baldwinville

Lake Wyola State Park, Shutesbury