The Mighty Evergreen
Henry David Thoreau wrote:
Walked through that beautiful soft white pine grove on the west of the road in John Flint’s pasture. These trees are large, but there is ample space between them, so that the ground is left grassy. Great pines two or more feet in diameter branch sometimes within two feet of the ground on each side, sending out large horizontal branches on which you can sit. Like great harps on which the wind makes music. There is no finer tree.
– “A Beautiful Pine Grove” in The Writings of Henry David Thoreau
In Western Massachusetts there are many places one can explore the beautiful evergreens and winter pines that create our enchanting forests. Like Thoreau, bring along a nature journal to jot down a few inspiring notes along the way.
Notchview Reservation, The Trustees
A great place for nordic skiing, snowshoeing and hiking, Notchview is a beautiful place to enjoy year round outdoor explorations and to discover the evergreen forests. The reservation’s forest includes red spruce and northern hardwood and fir. Interested in cutting your own Christmas tree? Every year, Notchview hosts a Christmas Tree Sale where families can come and cut down their own balsam or Fraser fir tree at the reservation!
Bradley Sanctuary, Hilltown Land Trust
Thoreau’s declaration of white pine as the finest tree can certainly be believed at this beautiful hiking spot in Williamsburg. Managed by Hilltown Land Trust, the Bradley Sanctuary features a beautiful hilltop grove of white pine.
Old Growth Forest at William Cullen Bryant Homestead, The Trustees
This incredible trail features old growth forest with some seriously ancient trees! They include hemlock, cherry and a pine loop with some of the tallest pine trees in the Northeast! A wonderful trail.
Local Christmas Tree Farms
Does your annual family tradition include erecting an evergreen in your home? Support local agriculture and cut your own Christmas Tree! Here are a few local farms to consider:
- Pieropans Farms – Ashfield, MA
- Justamere Tree Farm – Worthington, MA
- Itty Bitty Tree Farm – Windsor, MA
- Cranston’s Christmas Tree Farm – Ashfield, MA
Excerpt from Learning Ahead: Cultural Itinerary for Western Massachusetts (Seasons: Nov/Dec), a downloadable bimonthly publication produced by Hilltown Families that sheds light on embedded learning opportunities found in cultural resources that exist within the geography, history, and cultural traditions of Western Massachusetts.
[Photo credit: (cc) MOTT]