Sunday, September 5, 2010

In My Footsteps: Trip 66: Rochester, Mass.

In My Footsteps
Christopher Setterlund

Trip 66:  Rochester, Mass.
July 22, 2010

            Rochester is a town so close to Cape Cod yet with such a different atmosphere to it.  Perhaps it is the rural setting, or the beautiful farmland spotted all over.  When doing these trips sometimes it is best not to ask why a place has a feel to it, but rather to just enjoy that feeling while you are there.
Statue in front of the Town Library
            Once including the neighboring towns of Mattapoisett and Marion, Rochester was a thriving shipbuilding and whaling community using Mattapoisett Harbor as a base.  However once Mattapoisett and Marion became their own separate towns in the early 1850’s Rochester became the rural and residential area that it is today.
Distance marker at Town Common
            A perfect place to start in Rochester is the Town Common where I began by taking a look at where I was in relation to the rest of the state.  At the town common is a really neat looking town and distance sign standing over an old well pump and trough.  The sign has markings for towns as far away as Providence and Boston and gives a cool perspective on where Rochester sits.  The pump was neat as well until I tried using it and was greeted with a couple of bees.  I am assuming that the abandoned pump is used as a hive now but did not feel like sticking around to find out for certain.
            Located on the Town Common is the Town Hall, built in 1892, and the Public Library.  The library I enjoyed because of an adorable bronze statue outside.  It depicted a pair of children reading a book with the little girl showing the boy the letter B in the alphabet.  Not far from where the bronze children sat was a marker shadowed by some bushes.  This marker tells of the site nearby where the first Rochester Meeting House was erected in 1699. 
Remains of Hartley Mill Dam
            Rochester has many small ponds for swimming which I made sure to stop by to enjoy the summer breezes.  Mary’s Pond on Perry’s Lane was one such place.  The parking area was deserted which allowed me to park front and center and make my way to the water’s edge for some beautiful sightseeing.  The Sippican River marks its beginning as an outflow from this pond.  Leonard’s Pond and Snipatuit Pond also have many great sights to take in but one pond I searched for gave me something totally different.
            I searched for Hartley Mill Pond but instead came upon an overgrown field with scattered wood or so I thought.  What this spot on Hartley Road ended up being was the old Hartley Mill Dam.  It was difficult to make out how this dam actually worked back when it was operational but finding it was a cool little sidetrack.  It turned out, at least from the Google Maps, that the Hartley Mill Pond was near the dam’s location but really not large enough to be anything worth making a stop for.      
Barns at Eastover Farm
            Fittingly the last place I stopped in Rochester was a farm.  Eastover Farm is located on Mary’s Pond Road and is a perfect spot to get a glimpse of the feeling that Rochester has.  The seventy-five acres of land are dotted with a few beautiful looking houses and barns, they all share the same golden color.  The land on which the current farm stands was once owned and built up by New York businessman Charles H. Leonard in the mid-19th century.  The pond which lies to the north of the farmland is named for Mr. Leonard.
            Eastover Farm has a wonderful farm stand that is full of home made items to purchase.  In addition to the fresh grown vegetables and fruits the farm stand also has homemade jams and jellies, fudge, pies, breads, and other delicious temptations.  If the farm stand does not lure you in there are also hay rides and parties can be booked on the vast fields.
            The peaceful feeling I got during my time in Rochester was what I will take away from my trip.  The beautiful ponds and the smell of the pine trees made me want to stop and sit for a while to enjoy them.  It is a perfect place to bring a picnic lunch when it is warm enough.  Take a walk around the Town Common and gaze at the distance marker along the road.  Don’t forget to make time to take in all of what Eastover Farm has to offer and take something sweet home with you.  No matter how you slice it, Rochester is a great little town with a lot of great sights, smells, and tastes to offer.  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!

DirectionsTown Common:  From I-195 west take Exit 20, turn left at Rt. 105, follow Rt. 105 2.5 miles.  Town common is on the left.
            Eastover Farm:  From I-195 heading west take Exit 21 for Rt. 28.  Turn right at Rt. 28, take left at Tobey Rd., turn right at Main Street.  Take a slight left at Fearing Hill Road, continue onto Mary’s Pond Rd.  Turn right at Hiller Road, Eastover Farm is on the right.
References:  Eastover
            Rochester, Ma. - Official Town Site

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