Posts Tagged ‘Dartmouth Natural Resources Trust’

Hitting the Trail on the FarmCoast: Cornell Farm

We’ve all seen a friend or two post beautiful photos clambering up suspension bridges, walking down the boardwalks, or sitting on one of the many perfectly placed benches, but few the name where those photos were taken, the story behind the land, or what to really expect when visiting Cornell Farm.  Cornell Farm is a property that came to being in 2009 when The Trustees of the Reservations and the Dartmouth Natural Resources Trust worked in partnership to acquire and preserve the property for conservation and public access.  Before preservation, the land had been owned by its namesake, the Cornell family, and had most recently served as a dairy farm, and the remnants of the Farm stretch throughout the property.

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The property contains marvelous woodlands, and stunning scenic views over its wetlands and salt marshes as part of the Little River watershed.  Cornell Farm is joined with the DNRT property Frank Knowles-Little River Reserve and the Dartmouth Town owned “McBratney” Property to create an over 500 acre Conservation Area with miles of trails stretching throughout the property.

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“But how do I get to the cool stuff?” you may be asking.  Well, to enter directly onto the Frank Knowles-Little River Reserve, there is a parking area and trail head on Potomska Road in South Dartmouth, just before getting to the Lloyd Center for the Environment. Be prepared however, to get to those spectacular bridges and board walks that you see here, you’ll be walking for at least a mile, with some climbs over the remnants of stone walls.  During the wetter and warmer times of the year, you may have to traverse some very soft ground, and if your looking to spend some serious time out there, Bean Boots might be warranted.  That’s not to say the walk isn’t worth it.  The trails from this entrance are much more numerous (always take a map), with great forested views, old home and farmsteads (some seen here), and small bridges and brooks.  Starting from Potomska Road is just the more adventurous path.

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            The easier walk, while offering some of the best views in the Reserves is the entrance through Cornell Farm, off of Smith Neck Road.  While the long boardwalks are technically on the DNRT property, they are much easing and seemingly quicker to get to this way.  The trails are well established, at a smaller grade, and well-groomed, if only a little muddy (you may have to put the Bean Boots to use if it rains, but otherwise you should be fine), but thankfully boards are stretched over the largest puddles.

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As you can see, the views alone are worth any amount of walking on these properties.  And while you can’t hear them, its a wonderful place to birdwatch, as you see plenty of foul, shore and song birds, and maybe a bird-of-prey, but often with the attention that the landscape demands, you’ll hear them first.

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            Before embarking please remember that dogs must be on leash at all times, and all waste (yours included) must be taken with you.  Remember to use bug spray, especially in the warmer months, and always look out for ticks while walking the property.  Finally, on the “McBratney” Property and when permitted specially by the Trustees on Cornell Farm, hunting is permitted in season, so dress accordingly with 500 square inches of blaze orange.

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            Finally, what should you do once you get off the trail, now that you’re a little warm from the walk.  Well the added bonus of parking and entering from Cornell Farm, you can stop by Salvador’s Ice Cream, located less than 2 minutes to the south on Smith Neck Road.  Open in the summer season from 11:30AM-9:00PM daily, and cash only, who doesn’t want to stop and get ice cram from a giant milk jug? Overall, the trip to Cornell Farm in South Dartmouth is worth the views, and maybe some ice cream when you’ve worked hard to get them.

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More information about the Dartmouth Natural Resources Trust visit dnrt.org

Written by: Scott Mason

Photography by: Scott Mason

to see more of his work @scottarthurmason

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Wide Open Spaces on the FarmCoast

Spring has sprung! And if this warmer weather has got you searching for a trip to the outdoors, you’ve come to the right place. Our four coastal villages are filled with open spaces and gorgeous natural habitats just waiting for your visit. We invite you to bask in the warm sun and all the glory of being in the fresh outdoors. From open parks to nature trails, here are some stops you might want to explore this spring

In Tiverton 
Tiverton is known for it’s hidden treasures and certainly Emilie Ruecker Wildlife Refuge is one of these. Situated just minutes north of historic Tiverton Four Corners on Sepowet Ave, this preserve features 50 acres of accessible tree-lined trails welcoming to all levels of outdoor enthusiasts and encouraging to hopeful bird watchers; Great Egrets, Snowy Egrets, and Glossy Ibis are just some of the birds you might encounter on your peaceful walk through the trails. What to bring: your binoculars and sketch pad; this refuge will delight you with stunning views of salt marshes and the sparkling Sakonnet River.
Weetamoo Woods, part of Pardon Gray Reserve, is another option for hiking in Tiverton. While you can travel through Pardon Gray to get to the forest trails, many prefer the entrance on East Rd. which gives direct access to over 5 miles of mapped trails. This healthy trek is a paradise for budding botanists and historians alike. Here you’ll find a showcase of nature’s most resilient mosses, mushrooms, and wild plants, and remnence of Weetamoo’s original Wampanoag ownership with historic stone walls, cellar holes and even a village sawmill. What to bring: Your pup and a few dollars for ice cream. Wetamoo is right across from iconic Tiverton ice cream parlor, Gray’s!

In Little Compton
Although the entrance may be easy to pass by, don’t drive by Simmon’s Mill Pond in Little Compton, especially if you’ve brought your fishing gear. Over 400 acres of land sit under forest cover with wide hiking trails and at the pond, we hear, an abundance of trout in the spring. Hike about a 1/2 mile from the entrance on Colebrook Rd. and find a beautiful place to spread out your picnic blanket and enjoy the sounds of nature. What to bring: sturdy shoes and your fishing pole.

In Westport
If you find yourself in this summer beach town make your way over to Allen’s Pond Wildlife Sanctuary and explore the coastal wetlands. Two entrances give access to over 7 hiking routes, boasting 6 miles of trails and “first-class bird watching,” each with their own unique display of this rich New England habitat. Parking on Horseneck Rd. brings you to the Quansett Trail System including a breathtaking Beach Loop filled with gorgeous views of Buzzard’s Bay. Just up the street, parking on Allen’s Neck Road brings you to the Allen’s Neck Trail System through old pastures and grasslands to giant boulders and vernal pools.What to bring: a wind jacket and a bird dictionary; Over 300 species of birds have been spotted here!

In Dartmouth
Located on Barney’s Joy Rd., Demarest Lloyd State Park is rightfully called one of the best-kept secrets in southern Massachusetts. In a harmonious blending of farm and sea, hiking trails open onto a beautiful accessible beach. Visitors say traveling here feels like being a kid again, uncovering a secret treasure you’ll want to visit again and again. What to bring: sand shovels and buckets for collecting rocks and shells. Also in Dartmouth, managed jointly by the Dartmouth Natural Resources Trust and Trustees of Reservations, Slocum River Reserve is a beautiful hike for those who appreciate a peek at the water featuring 2 miles of walking trails along the stunning Slocum River. To add to it’s appeal, over the passed year an art exhibit, The River Project, was installed inviting visitors to view large scale sculptures by local artists amidst the trails through May 18th 2013. What to Bring: your artistic side and a bit of bug spray.

Dartmouth Natural Resources Trust manages over ten popular trails in the area including the popular Daffodil fields in Parson’s Preserve, a springtime delight for all ages. The organization hosts events and guided walks throughout the year.Visit their website for specific trail information. Another great destination in Dartmouth is the Lloyd Center for the Environment with five family friendly trails over 55 acres of lush forest and wetlands. Colorful trail maps available at the education center guide you through the reserve but don’t forget to spend some time in the indoor aquaria room! The Lloyd Center is also a great spot for canoeing and kayaking. What to Bring: all your friends!

Happy Trails! 

The River Project Invites You to Stop and Stare

On an early summer morning dozens gathered quietly crunching grass under their boots in a guided hike through the Slocum’s River Reserve as part of The 2012 River Project’s opening day festivities. Six stops along the hike posed questions and answers to extrodinary sculpture works designed and installed by local artists, many of whom were present on the walk sharing their work and vision with friends and visitors alike.

The much anticipated 2012 Slocum River Project is a local area collaborative weaving together art and nature in a friendly and thought-provoking series of events. A commendable partnership between the Dartmouth Natural Resources Trust, the trustees of reservations, U-Mass Datmouth College of Visual Arts, the Gustin Gallery, and the Dartmouth Cultural Council created the platform for this year’s River Project. According to the program’s curator, Stacy Latt Savage, the River Project is “about connections explored between art and nature; connections between organizations and communities; and connections between individuals walking at the Slocum’s River Reserve and individual artists who created inspired artwork about their experience of the same place.

After exploring the reserve, each of the six artists had a year to conceptualize and construct their sculpture in a self-selected location along the trails fitting to their individual vision. This exhibit encourages visitors to awaken their appreciation for the delicate, expansive, and often mysterious natural world.

Elizabeth Dooher, Mary Frank, Lasse Antonsen, Danielle Krcmar, Ron Rudnicki, and Steve Whittlesey are the six local contributing artists. “I kept finding forms and putting them together; after it was done I knew it was done because I was chuckling inside,” said Lasse Antonsen reflecting on his “Garden Spirits.” Antonsen found all the materials for his sculptures in the reserve using trunks and branches to “create creatures in a vocabulary that we all know.”

If you missed the walk on June 16th there will be more chances to soak up the sculptures. October 20th is the next guided hike, and on September 22 the Slocum’s River Reserve will host a Family Day with hiking, music, and activities for kids. A wonderful way to experience the process and connection between the artists and their work,is at the Gustin Gallery, 231 Horsenek Rd, just up the road from the reserve, where you’ll find “Thoughts and Processes,” a cumulative display of drawings, sketches, and models from each artist.


An easy day trip to Dartmouth can be spent romping through Slocum’s River Reserve and Gustin’s Gallery, and is a perfect way to show your support for our land and all the different ways we see it. The sculptures will remain intact through May 2013, and Gustin’s Gallery will be open with sculpture materials through November 2nd. For more information on the River Project visit slocumsriverproject.com.