Kathy and I moved from New England to California back in 1998. For a while we’d take one trip a year ‘back east’ to visit family during Christmas vacation, as Christmas is a naturally good time to see family and New England is charming and attractive in December. Of course New England is also cold and grey in December, and after a particularly cold and icy year we decided to rethink the ‘visit family during Christmas’ thing.

Autumn on Mom's Street
Autumn on Mom’s Street
We no longer visit New England during the winter months. We decided it makes more sense to visit places when the weather is at it’s best, and you simply can’t beat New England weather in Autumn. Most days are cool and dry, most bugs are gone due to the chilly evenings, and nature puts on a spectacular show of color. It’s my favorite place in the world to be from the middle of September to the middle of October.

This year I traveled to Massachusetts on my own as Kathy took a separate trip to visit her family in the South. My mom is a retired teacher and she loves to see and do, and both my younger sister and brother are local so it’s always fun to connect with everyone.

Hike in Brooks Woodland Sanctuary
Hike in Brooks Woodland Sanctuary
One of my favorite things to do as a kid was to go hiking in Brooks Woodland Sanctuary which is located in Petersham, Massachusetts – about 2 hours outside of Boston off Route 2. From the time I was in second grade I used to hike in the woods – usually alone – and I make a point of hiking in those woods every time I get back to Massachusetts if possible.

This time I made a video of the hike I used to take as a child – and if you have 14 minutes to spare please watch it. It’s a little bouncy and probably boring to most – but a trip down memory lane for me plus I give you a few tips for hiking in the Massachusetts woods.


Unfortunately this was the only really nice day I had while there. That didn’t stop us from seeing and doing, however. Even though I missed the Garlic and Arts festival this year, I was in time for Honkfest in Somerville, Massachusetts where my brother lives.

[box]Somerville is a suburb of Boston, however much like Cambridge, Somerville is located on the red line of the Boston Subway – or ‘T’ – so it feels like part of the city.[/box]

Honkfest consists of more than 30 themed bands playing various music in parks and open spaces throughout the city. It was a chilly day, but the festival was fun and the people watching was plentiful. I made a quick video of one of the bands that gives you an idea of what Honk was like.


Unfortunately it rained for most of the rest of my visit. Not only does the rain make it hard to see the leaves, but it also knocks all the leaves off the trees and tends to mute the colors.

As a result, my mother and sister and I decided to go to the coast instead. My mother grew up in the town of Newbury to the north of Boston, and when we were young we spent lots of time at my Grammy’s home there.

Salisbury Beach
Salisbury Beach
It doesn’t hurt that our favorite lobster pound is right near there as well – Markey’s Lobster Pool. Markey’s has the best Lobster rolls, fried clams, scallops, and Haddock sandwiches. I don’t think I’ve ever had a bad meal there and if you’re in the area it’s a must stop!

After our meal we walked on Salisbury beach and then drove south to Newburyport and took a walk on the boardwalk and poked around in oldies antique marketplace and then headed home.

All in all (and in spite of the weather) I had a great trip  – and at least I had a beautiful day for my solo hike in Brooks Woodland Preserve. I’m glad I had the time to visit family and next time I’m sure Kathy will come with me – right Kat? 🙂 Until next time – happy trekking!


Hi, I'm Rich - Perpetual traveler, photographer, writer, and web designer. Thanks for reading, and happy trekking!