We’ve always enjoyed the wishing well located along the Charles River on the Guernsey Path in Wellesley, but unfortunately a huge tree crashed down on it, leaving it in shambles. Here’s wishing the homeowners are able to rebuild.
Join the Wellesley Trails Committee for a guided Guernsey Path Walk on Sunday, Nov. 3 from 1-2pm.
Walk along the Charles River to the historic Waban Arches built in 1876 to carry water to Boston and see the picturesque view of the Charles River from the top of the 50 foot arches. Take an optional short walk through the Guernsey Sanctuary to Sabrina Lake, the 1870’s site of an amusement park.
Meet at the Guernsey parking area. Take Dover Road from Washington Street and follow for 0.7 mile. Turn right onto Livingston Road, which becomes Winding River Road, and follow for 0.9 mile. Small parking area is on your left at the trail map house. For other cars, please park on the opposite side of Winding River Road from the parking area.
Join the Wellesley Trails Committee in celebrating fall and get your kids out into the woods to have fun and explore nature. Children will look for treasure boxes using letterboxing (written clues). Kids’ Trails Day takes place on Sunday, Oct. 20 from 1:30-3pm at Longfellow Pond in Wellesley.
Refreshments served at the end of the activities. No registration is required and no fee is charged. Children must be accompanied by an adult.
Meet at the Longfellow Pond parking lot, located on the left side of Oakland Street 0.9 mile south of Route 9. For additional parking, use Jackson Road across from the parking lot.
After eighteen months of neglect, the results proved predictable. My garden had gone to rack and ruin. Blame it on an intense bout of Sandwich Generation stuff. I do. It was the best of times, and it was the worst of times when the most important people in my life had to completely uproot their situations and settle into something brand new. Some went skipping, happy to leave behind the responsibilities of a big house. Some went kicking and screaming, loathe to give up independence and familiarity. Still others eagerly moved into a new college dorm or an apartment, with hardly a backward glance.
Whether the transitions were easy or difficult, welcomed or fraught, commonalities popped up. There were many applications to fill out. There was much proof of this and that to provide. There were the outward trappings of entire lives to box up and move. A pile of things to keep. A pile of things to donate. A pile of things to toss. I can do it in my sleep.
A pile of feelings to sort through. A pile of memories to store. A pile of experiences to compartmentalize. Those parts of the process are what kept me awake.
You all know what I’m talking about. So many of you have helped loved ones through transitions, and something gave somewhere. For you, it may not have been the garden. Maybe it was cooking nutritious meals, or keeping up with friends. Maybe what fell by the wayside for you was nurturing your spirit with a favorite hobby, or that weekly yoga class. Whatever you lost in the shuffle, I’m sorry you went through that. I hope the loss is temporary.
I want my garden back. I’ve gone to it, literally, on my hands and knees, begging for forgiveness. My garden says it’s going to take a lot of time and effort on my part. My garden says it has trust issues. My garden says it can’t guarantee anything, but that it will try to work with me, provided my efforts are in good faith and that I show it some consistency. My garden has always been kind of a tough taskmaster that way, but what can I do? I agreed to all terms.
The good parts of a garden are always in a stage of temporary. The roses bloom, for now. The peonies stand proud and upright, until a spring hailstorm comes through and shreds each delicate petal. The tomatoes are red and perfect, the basil unblemished and licorice-scented. Then your guests devour every beautiful slice of Beefsteak and every herb leaf in your famous Caprese salad. It’s all good. Gardeners generally aren’t looking for forever. It’s all about the ethereal, the attempt to appreciate a certain dreaminess in a fleeting moment. The dawn dewdrops on the Lady’s Mantle. The hosta leaves before the deer get to them. When the poppies and the irises and the Nelly Moser clematis all bloom at the same time and you know for right now you nailed the art of combination planting.
The bad parts of a garden are always in a stage of permanence. While I was preoccupied, the Japanese Knotweed made a dash from the edge of the woods to the interior of the garden. Meanwhile, the wild oregano took full advantage of the neglect situation. I’ll forevermore be yanking mats of it out from underneath shrubs. I once considered Norway maples eradicated in my yard, but more than a few were able to evade the lawn mower’s blades. Their secret: the invasive saplings sidled right up to established trees, which they used as their protectors. No mower could get that close, and the weed whacker isn’t used around trees in my yard, so as to prevent the “death by 1,000 cuts” fate that befalls so many trees in aggressively tidied spaces.
Here’s what I’ve been up to in my garden lately. It’s good to be back. My mantra these days is “process over outcome.” I used to think that was just a nice way of saying it’s ok if your project looks like hell. At least you tried. Now I use “process over outcome” as a way to focus on what it is I’m trying to do out there. I’m trying to dig in the dirt again. Something good may come of it. We’ll see.
Hampton Beach action peaks during summer, but the New Hampshire seacoast community makes one last gasp each fall at the Smuttynose Rockfest Half Marathon & 5K. If you’re a runner who also enjoys a craft beer or two or… this could be the race for you, whether you’re a distance runner or a 5K speedster.
This is one of the flatter half marathons you’ll run across, and unless the weather gets nasty, a fast one. You’ll be hard-pressed to figure out where the supposed inclines are on this course, which loops a couple of times through town before going up and down the coast, with a brief diversion through a neighborhood. If you’ve run other fall halfs, such as the BAA’s, this course will be a welcome respite.
The 5K starts 40 minutes after the half marathon launches at 8am, with runners overlapping for a section but cordoned off from each other. All in all, about 5,000 runners take part in the 2 races. One nice thing about this race is that spectators can see their runners 5 times with barely any effort (though Mrs. Swellesley was unexpectedly called into action assisting a random runner who found himself imploding early in the race and in need of medical help).
The biggest challenge with this well-organized race is figuring out when to get there. If you head up the morning of the race from Wellesley you pretty much need to leave by 5:30 to get parking in public lots along the ocean and pick up your stuff for the half marathon. You can dawdle a little longer for the 5K, but parking could be tough. The half marathon race costs about $70 to enter if you do so early, but the fee rises to more than $100 if you wait until race day, if bibs are still available (as they were this year). The race includes post-race chowder and a lobster roll, 2 beer tickets, and a fleece pullover. Thanks to this race I now have both purple and teal items in my ward-drab.
Many runners stay over the night before along the strip and pre-game, and you can find a place for a bit over $100. Mr. & Mrs. Swellesley this year sucked it up the morning of the race and watched the sunrise on our drive there. We stayed over on Sunday night after the race, allowing us to enjoy post-race activities, which included watching the Patriots game at the Sea Ketch, where locals treated us like royalty on a protected deck area that had us feeling like we were outdoors but also kept us toasty under heat lamps. Some enjoyed an outdoor post-race concert featuring a wigged-up party band, while others headed into the Casino Ballroom for a rockin’ afternoon.
We were also able to work in naps and rally for dinner at Ron’s Landing, a homey spot with fine dining and a spirited upstairs bar, where we feasted on kabobs and burgers.
The next day in Hampton
The fun didn’t stop on Sunday. We grabbed breakfast a few miles off the strip at a North Hampton spot called the Airfield Cafe that is not to miss, especially if you have an interest in flying or have small kids.
The breakfast and lunch spot, alongside the Hampton Airfield, is a friendly place that serves up good and big dishes of oatmeal, omelets and pancakes, while you sit under a constantly moving overhead display of model airplanes. It re-opened in a revamped space on July 4, 2019. If you’re lucky, you might see a plane land or take off on the adjacent air strip, perhaps even the occasional helicopter. The hand dryers in the restrooms are called Air Forces.
Before heading back to Wellesley we drove 2 miles down the road from the cafe and took a short walk around Batchelder Pond, which is filled with ducks and turtles. Fishing only for adults who are accompanied by a child.
It’s not worth going far out of your way for this mile-plus trail loop, but it made for a nice post-breakfast constitutional. And if you’ve run the half marathon the day before, it might be about as much as you can manage…
On Saturday, October 12, 2m – 3:30pm Sustainable Wellesley and World of Wellesley (WOW) will honor Indigenous Peoples with a land clean up at Longfellow Pond at Oakland Street. Visit the WOW event website for more information and to RSVP.
The pickleball players of Wellesley last year, faced with intense competition for court space, urged the Board of Selectmen (BOS) to OK a move to change one of the outdoor tennis courts in town over to the increasingly popular paddle sport. The BOS agreed in Spring 2018, and one of the Schofield School tennis courts has been pressed into pickleball service. The plan had to go through the Natural Resources Commission (NRC), which is responsible for the Schofield courts.
Once the BOS and the NRC were on board, the Recreation Department was able to install a new outdoor/portable pickleball net on one of the three tennis courts at the Schofield area courts at a cost of about $150. The Parks division of the Department of Public Works lined the court for pickleball use.
Outdoor pickleball, anyone?
The Schofield pickleball court is open for business, and an informal drop-in group will be meeting at the 27 Cedar Street location on Wednesdays at 1pm. All the Schofield courts are open dawn to dusk.
“We’ll see how it all goes before we go ahead and put a permanent net in,” said Recreation Department Director Matt Chin. He’s optimistic given what he learned last month at the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) conference in Baltimore. Pickleball was all the buzz among both attendees and conference organizers. At a session, Chin learned that pickleball is one of the fastest growing sports in the country, and residents in communities everywhere are asking Rec departments to start programs.
Although Wellesley has since 2017 hosted games for the sport that borrows from tennis, badminton, and wiffle ball at spots such as the Rec Center at the Warren Building and at BSC Wellesley, the level of demand for court time was consistently outstripping availability for playing space.
Indoor pickleball at Wellesley Rec, 90 Washington St.
Mondays and Fridays, noon – 4pm
$5 for Wellesley residents, $10 for non-residents
Reserve a space by calling (781) 235-2370
Thursdays, 11am – 2pm
55-years old and up
$5 for Wellesley residents, $10 for non-residents
Drop-in, no registration available
Why it’s called pickleball
It all started with US Senator Joel Pritchard from Washington (served 1973 – 1985), according to the USA Pickleball Association. Lore has it that the senator and a couple of his friends created the game in 1965 on Bainbridge Island in Puget Sound, Washington, for their kids who were bored with the usual summertime activities. From boredom sprung creativity, and the game evolved and eventually took on a life of its own. As for the name, the story goes that the game was officially named after the Pritchards’ dog Pickles, who would chase the ball and run off with it.
That crazy Pickles sounds like he’d fit right in with the good dogs of Wellesley.
Help Fuller Brook Park stay neat and tidy at a clean-up event on Sunday, October 6, 1pm – 3pm. Friends and neighbors will work on and around the path between Dover Road and Cottage Street. Email Jay Prosnitz at [email protected] to sign up.
Prosnitz has been the park’s consistent warrior against the invasive species that keep trying to retake the park. His particular nemesis: bittersweet, with black swallowwort as a close second.
Prosnitz has help keeping invasive plant species at bay from Cambridge-based Parterre. According to Cricket Vlass, Landscape Planner for the Town of Wellesley, the landscaping company’s invasives management division comes in one per week to focus on removal of vegetation that threatens to take over an area. “They’ve made a big difference in management of unwanted species. We don’t have bittersweet growing up in the trees. The knotweed is under control, but still must be kept covered with black tarp to keep it from taking over spots.”
The big three invasives in Fuller Brook Park:
- Bittersweet It’s out control in woodlands and roadsides all over New England. Unchecked, the climbing vine will engulf the landscape and win every competition with native trees and shrubs. The ornamental will climb up trees and become so tangled and heavy that the tree can eventually come down. At garden club, I’ve heard talks from floral designers who won’t include bittersweet in their creations because they see doing so as supporting a plant bully. The United States Department of Agriculture has bittersweet listed as a national invasive species.
- Black swallowroot is a perennial vine that grows up to seven feet in length. The leaves are shiny and dark green, and the flowers are small and dark purple. The roots run deep, and the seeds spread on the wind from milkweed-like seed pods. Swallowroot grows fast and covers other vegetation (just ask my fern bed). The plants are toxic to many insect larvae including monarch caterpillars.
- Knotweed has been used as an erosion control plant in areas (although not in Wellesley), and was even sold through seed and plant catalogs in the 1930s. The problem with knotweed is it’s not satisfied to just control erosion. It has to control the world. I’ve fought knotweed ever since I bought my home 17 years ago. After closing on the house, like a proud homeowner I walked the land, plot plan in hand. I soon realized I had a squatter which had long ago declared dominion over a substantial part of my yard. The knotweed claimed a clearcut case of eminent domain, and it was fully prepared to dig in its rhizomes and fight. One of us had to go, and it wasn’t going to be me. We still do battle, and the knotweed is just waiting for me to grow bored with this silly game we play. It eyes the peony beds, the horseshoe pit, the badminton area, poised to gobble up all as soon as I let down my guard. In England, knotweed is such an issue that British banks won’t give a mortgage to a property with knotweed on its grounds or even with knotweed growing nearby, unless a management plan is in place. What if the knotweed growing nearby is on your neighbor’s property? What if your neighbor doesn’t want to be managed?If all this talk about the evils of monster plant life has convinced you to take up arms agains those that threaten our way of landscaping, contact the Natural Resources Commission. They can help you organize a cleanup in your neighborhood.Until then, here are a few pics from an early autumn walk along the Fuller Brook Park path:
MassBay Community College and the MassBay Alumni Council will host the 7th annual MassBay 5K Race/Walk on Sunday, Sept. 29 at 9:00AM (registration starts at 8am). Medals will be presented to the top runners and prizes will be raffled off to 5K participants at the race, which takes place on the MassBay campus at 50 Oakland St., in Wellesley.
This year, the MassBay 5K will benefit the Student Hunger Assistance Fund, which was established in response to the increasing awareness of food insecurity among MassBay’s student population.