Thursday, July 21, 2016

Revisting Harvard Fruitlands

As I mentioned in my last post, the weather pretty much sucks this week, unless you love to get properly barbecued from all sides. I don't. When mercury rises to over 90F I start to melt. Nevertheless, the last two days were actually a bit cooler and bearable, especially in the evenings.

Yesterday, I decided to take a ride back to Fruitlands - the museum in Harvard, MA that I visited last year. Well, I actually tried to visit it but it was closed. To be honest, I didn't expect it to be open yesterday either, because I would be there too late. But it's not the museum that matters but the view (you will see in pictures below). Plus, it's a nice ride anyway.

I could've just ridden my bike there from my office in Bedford and than back home to Arlington, but this would be likely a 60mi (100km) ride and I wouldn't get home well after dusk, around midnight. I didn't want to ride at night so I decided to put the bike in the car, drive to Acton and start my ride from there.
I'm not going to bore you with details of every turn of my route but if you decide to follow my footprints (or tire tracks, actually) you can expect to find some interesting places on the way. To begin, you will see multiple fruit orchards along the Nagog Hill Rd, then the historic Harvard Shaker Village District - the second oldest settlement of Shakers in the United States. Then get ready for some off-road fun, once you find the entrance to the narrow trail off the Lancaster County Rd. The trail is super fun to ride, especially in this direction - it's all on a slight down slope so you will keep flying on gravel between the trees. Just make sure you bring a bit wider tires with you.
Finally, you will reach the Fruitlands. The last time I was there was in the middle of a summer day and I wasn't impressed. But in the evening, when the sun is about to set, things look much, much better. It would be a perfect place to watch the sunset but I couldn't stay there that long. I had to get back to Acton before it got completely dark.
Mt. Wachusett as seen from the Fruitlands.

I only stayed there for a few minutes and I continued downhill to Harvard downtown. At this point it was almost 7pm so the General Store was closed, but if you get here in daytime, make sure you stop there and have a delicious lunch, as I did last year.
Anyway, the route continues through the forested area south of Harvard and then downhill on Westcott Rd. Eventually, you will reach the Delaney Flood Control Site, which sounds very unappealing but is actually a very pretty pond, full of wildlife and occasional kayakers.
At this point it was getting dark already and I had to ride back to Acton. I didn't have a chance to try food at Nancy's Airfield Cafe at the local Minuteman Airfield but reviews are good and apparently they serve organic ice cream, if that's your kind of thing.

The rest of the ride is going to be uneventful and after about 50km (30mi) you will be back in Acton. Certainly the Fruitlands area is worth a visit. Not at noon, but summer evenings or later in fall, it could be nice.

1 comment:

  1. I rode this route last weekend, fantastic ride! I took it on a Sunday morning so bike traffic was far higher than car traffic.