Thursday, March 25, 2010

In My Footsteps: Trip 34: Carver, Mass.

In My Footsteps
Christopher Setterlund

Trip 34: Carver, Mass.
March 18, 2010

            Carver is a small town with some big attractions.  Although it is synonymous with Edaville USA, and rightfully so, there is so much more to Carver that needs to be seen.  If Middleboro has small town charm, Carver is closer to a rural area, with the population spread out more which gives way to some incredible stretches of wooded scenery perfect for a drive on a summer day. 
            Carver became its own town in 1790 mostly thanks to the fact the many residents of Plympton, Massachusetts lived too far away to attend church.  Named for John Carver, the first governor of Plymouth Colony, the town became known for its iron ore found in its swamps and became further established thanks to a rail line which connected the small town to Boston and New York City.
            I paid a visit to Carver’s Town Hall(left) first off and noticed that the building fits right in with the rest of the town’s rural appeal.  Whereas Middleboro has a very large Hall, Carver’s is much more understated.  It faces a nicely maintained wooded area which contains a farmers market and has what can only be described as a vintage war gun on the front lawn.  The gun is from the World War II-era or earlier and I found it a little humorous that it is pointed eerily close to the farmers market.
            Up the road a ways, close to the ground of another famous attraction, the seasonal King Richard’s Faire, is a historic spot that can only be described as the first in America.  The Savery Historic District is home to a short stretch of road that is the first divided highway ever built in America(right).  Built in 1861 by William Savery the road is two lanes with a beautiful row of trees in between them.  The trees were left to be used as ‘shade and ornament for man and beast.’  A drive on this road is only a little over a minute but it is so unique that I had to circle back several times to get a feel of what it must have been like when this stretch of ‘highway’ was brand new.
            Located at the next right turn after the Savery Road sits the grounds of King Richard’s Faire which runs on weekends in September and October.  This fair is an authentic recreation of a 16th Century English marketplace at festival time.  It is a great way to experience history firsthand and its popularity as a family tourist destination is equaled only by the next place I visited in Carver: Edaville Railroad, now known as Edaville USA.
            Edaville(right) is a cherished childhood memory of mine and I am sure of many thousands of others from New England.  Edaville was built in 1947 using the remains of most of Maine’s once thriving two-foot gauge rails.  The name Edaville comes from the man responsible for building the five and a half mile long track around his 1500 acre cranberry bogs, Ellis D. Atwood.  His initials (E.D.A.) make up part of the name.  Although it has undergone many changes since I first visited the park in the mid-1980’s, Edaville still maintains its charm and appeal for kids and adults alike.  There is nothing quite like taking the train ride around the vast cranberry bog during the Christmas season, even twenty-five years later I can picture that trip in my mind.  The park has many rides and a vintage carousel, it is easy to find and as previously stated is synonymous with the small town of Carver.
            Located a little further east in Carver, as well as in the neighboring town of Plymouth sits a place that is worthy of its own article.  Myles Standish State Forest is the largest publicly owned recreation area in the state and is home to many beautiful kettle ponds.  Covering approximately 15,000 acres of land this amazing landscape is home to the endangered Plymouth Red-bellied turtle which populates several of the kettle ponds.
            Although it is filled with incredible scenery no matter the time of day it is highly recommended that you visit Myles Standish State Forest at either sunrise or sunset.  I went close to sunset which gives a beautiful orange glow to the pine trees and colors the water of the ponds a blue gray.  With daylight fading I had to pick and choose which ponds I visited, first up was College Pond.  This pond is very popular and has areas for swimming, picnicking, and fishing.  I visited the other side of the pond which was dotted with several small cabins, the facilities on the main side of College Pond were still visible despite the sunlight fading. 
            Furnace Pond is on the western side of the forest and I ran into a flock of turkeys heading out of New Long Pond on the way there.  Down a dirt road which needed to be walked I found a pair of swans quietly swimming across Furnace Pond(left) and it made for a fitting end to my trip. 
            Carver maybe a small and rural town but it has a lot to be seen.  Give some time to visit the country’s first divided highway, take a tour around Edaville USA, and then enjoy the quiet majesty of Myles Standish State Forest.  Bring the whole family and feel the spirit of this little town all around you.  Have fun and happy traveling!

     My first book, In My Footsteps: A Cape Cod Travel Guide, is now available at,, and, soon to be in stores everywhere!  Follow me on Twitter!

DirectionsSavery Road:  From I-495, take the exit for Rt. 58 N.  Turn left after 2.5 miles to stay on Rt. 58.  Follow Rt. 58 for 3 more miles, the Savery divided highway is on the left.
            Edaville USA:  From I-495, take the exit for Rt. 58 N.  Turn left after 2.5 miles to stay on Rt. 58.  Follow Rt. 58 for another mile and turn left onto Dump Rd.  Continue onto Rochester Rd., turn right at Eda Ave. 
            Myles Standish State Forest:  From Rt. 3 take Exit 5, turn right onto Long Pond Rd.  Continue on for 3 miles, the park entrance is on the right.
ReferencesEdaville USA
            DCR - Myles Standish State Forest
            King Richard's Faire
            Town of Carver Homepage

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