An Early Fall Day At Great Brook Farm in Carlisle, MA

Photo Credit: JJ Toothman

Photo Credit: JJ Toothman

The one where we have a hard time saying goodbye to summer

Summer officially becomes autumn in New England this Saturday, September 22 at 10:49AM. EDT. But with a Saturday weather forecast of sunny skies and temperatures in the mid 70′s, it sure will be easy to pretend that it’s still summer.

If you just can’t let go and need to make one more awesome summertime memory with your friends and family, Great Brook Farm State Park in Carlisle, Massachusetts provides a wonderful setting for just that. Here’s how you do it.

Start with a picnic

Located two miles from the entrance to Great Brook Farm State Park, Ferns Country Store in Carlisle is the place to go to load up on picnic supplies. It’s one of those country stores with a deli counter that can overwhelm you with all the different sandwich, grinder, and panini options that are offered. Lucky for you, they’ve got an online menu that you can use to do some advance planning.

When you pull into the main parking lot at Great Brook Farm, the perfect picnic location should be obvious. Yes, it’s that beautiful field that borders the pond and is conveniently situated alongside the parking lot. So basically, you can open the doors and unleash the impatient “when are we going to be there?” younglings in the backseat and let them run free.

Photo Credit: JJ Toothman

Photo Credit: JJ Toothman

Take a nature walk through the woods

A walk on the trails at Great Break Farm provides lots of treasures. There are the small fields of wood ferns, rock skipping ponds, and small streams hidden away that even have tiny beaches for sand play. The trails are multi use. Dogs can be off leash and horses are also welcome(darn, we forgot ours). Mountain biking is also popular here so keep an eye out for agro-man careening down the path. Great Brook Farm also seems to be one of those places where young cyclists come to hone their off-road skills with mom and dad. With a plentiful amount of big, wide trails, we can see why.

Some trails, such as Heartbreak Ridge are more single track. On those trails, definitely be aware of passing mountain bikers. Having a trail map handy is a good idea as well. While trails are identified with signs and markers, it’s easy to get turned around when you’re having such a good time.

Photo Credit: JJ Toothman

Photo Credit: JJ Toothman

Find that treasure

A variety of geocaches can be found at Great Brook Farm. On a visit a few weeks ago, we successfully found Hasselhoff’s Hide. And yes, I picked that one because it was named after The Hoff. Sadly, the cache was absent of any Knight Rider stuff. I, ummm… I meant to say, my kids were really hoping for a K.I.T.T. hot wheels car.

Eat ice cream

No summer day is complete without ice cream. Wrap up your nature trail walk back near the parking lot and farm fresh ice cream. Signs will point you in the right direction. This is no basic ice cream stand featuring only simple flavors like vanilla and chocolate. They have 50 flavors on hand, including the likes of Pomegranate Chip to choose from. Stick with a kids size cone. This is super rich stuff. Even a regular size cone is probably left to the truly ambitious and if your drive isn’t too far, you can even bring a quart home.

Some things to know

  • The ice cream is soooo good that you’ll definitely want to bring some home. You might want to bring a cooler and a small bag of ice to make sure that quart makes it back home in one piece. That’s just a little effort for great reward later.
  • Cell phone reception is pretty good.
  • Bathrooms are of the port-a-potty variety.
  • Parking costs $2.
  • Bringing cash is recommended. While the parking machine and the ice cream stand both accept credit cards, this seems like an out of the way place where technology (and thus, credit card processing) can be undependable. Cash only signs at the ice cream stand register wouldn’t be of much surprise.
  • Like any walk in the woods, knowing what poison ivy looks like is a good idea.
  • In addition to poison ivy, watch out for horse shit. While we could provide a helpful link to assist with proper identification, we’re afraid to find out that the horse shit link is the most clicked on item in this email.
Like this article? Want to get this content in your inbox every week? Subscribe now