Sunday, January 17, 2010

In My Footsteps: Trip 4: Long Pasture, Cummaquid, Mass.

In My Footsteps

Christopher Setterlund

Trip 4: Long Pasture, Cummaquid, Massachusetts

January 17, 2010

Like a hidden jewel, Long Pasture is tough to find for novice travelers. Located down narrow Bone Hill Road off of Route 6A in Cummaquid, Long Pasture is well worth the trip off the beaten path. Sometimes it is hard to believe that there are such beautifully secluded spots so close by while shopping at the Cape Cod Mall in Hyannis, but they are everywhere. Located about a half mile west of the Cummaquid Golf Club along historic Route 6A, Bone Hill Road comes up suddenly around a corner on the right. A white sign for the Harbor Point Restaurant is the marker for the road; pass by it and you will have to find a place to turn around.

Long Pasture itself is easy to find after turning down Bone Hill Road. It is designated by a small, rocky parking lot on the left side at the first turn of the narrow road. The pathway through the 110-acre wildlife sanctuary is clearly marked and simple to follow. It is filled with trees and flowers and a couple of small ponds(left).

A few hundred feet into the wooded area there is a small open barn with temporary pens. This area is part of a cooperative effort between the Massachusetts Audubon Society and Ocean Song Farm to attempt something called ‘Management Intensive Grazing.’ The farm’s pigs, goats, sheep, and turkeys are there to feed on the vegetation at Long Pasture which is not treated by any pesticides. The animals are great to look at but be careful though as the fences are electrified.

The pathway continues, coming close enough to nearby Stoney Point Road that the houses can be seen through the trees. Eventually the pathway leads to several spectacular views across Barnstable Harbor. There is a row of seaside homes and a lighthouse located several miles out on the outskirts of Sandy Neck Beach(right).

This area is viewable from above at a scenic overlook, but can also be seen from the shoreline. A short walk leads to a clearing and a path down to the water. The water is also accessible at a small sandy parking lot located at the end of Bone Hill Road. There are a couple of different routes that can be taken at Long Pasture.

Also located at the end of Bone Hill Road is the Long Pasture Wildlife Sanctuary nature center(right). Part of the Massachusetts Audubon Society, the nature center is open year round and can be appreciated at any time of day during any time of year. After visiting the nature center the return to the parking area at the beginning of Long Pasture can be taken either by going back the way you came through the paths, or by taking the pathway which runs along Bone Hill Road itself.

Separated from the road by a short rock wall, the hike back along Bone Hill Road is nearly as quiet and peaceful as the wooded pathway. The road is not very busy even in the summer months, this allows the birds songs to be heard all around you. The hike does not end there though. On the left side of Bone Hill Road, just after the intersection with Harbor Point Road, there are a few perfectly manicured meadows to be walked. In the summer the meadow grasses grow high and the paths become hidden from the roads. In the cooler months the meadows are wide open and easily navigated.

The toughest part of hiking at Long pasture is finding Bone Hill Road. Once that is accomplished all that is left is to enjoy another in a line of beautiful conservation areas. Have fun and happy traveling!

Directions: from the Mid-Cape highway take Exit 7 to Willow Street. Follow Willow Street to Route 6A. Turn left and drive for one mile. Turn right onto Bone Hill Road, remember it is narrow and comes up fast. Long Pasture is located on the left at the first curve.

References: Massachusetts Audubon Society - Long Pasture

                    Management Intensive Grazing at Long Pasture

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