Update: Stop and Smell the Roses; Which Way to the Bike Trail?

The Garden Tour is this Friday and Saturday; three great off-road bike trails here in Concord.

Well, in typical New England fashion, we have gone directly from winter to summer, skipping that loveliest of seasons: spring. But even though the last month has been cold and wet, there was a diligent and determined group out there, making it all worthwhile for the rest of us. Yes, that would be the gardeners, hardy New Englanders out there in their muck boots, prepping the soil and planting the pansies, heedless of the wind and rain. And we (and by we, I really mean me) are grateful to them.

And the cool thing is, the Concord Museum has scouted out a select group of wildly different gardens in and around Concord, and is offering them for your viewing pleasure. Yes, it’s time for the Garden Tour, and the extended forecast is showing some pretty fine weather for garden viewing.

I love this event, as it’s such a great introduction to summer. I love the little gardens, with their clever use of fencing and ground cover and little pools. And I love the expansive gardens, with their many “rooms”, exotic plantings, and meditative spaces. I love the whimsical statuary that people use in their gardens. And I especially love the fact that I get to enjoy all of this beauty without ever having had to weed!

This is a lovely opportunity to grab a friend, enjoy the outdoors, have lunch and catch up, all while admiring some truly breathtaking gardens.

The tour is a fundraiser for the museum that houses all the memorabilia that makes Concord famous, including stuff from the Revolutionary War and historic writers who lived right here in town, like Emerson and Alcott. So buying a ticket is really a two-fer: you support the museum while enjoying a lovely day in someone else’s garden.

The tour runs this Friday and Saturday, June 3 and 4, from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm., and tickets are $32 for museum members, $38 for non-members. Your ticket is good for both days, though you can only visit each garden once.

For more information, including how to buy your tickets, go to www.concordmuseum.org.


I’m sure you’ve noticed the plethora of bicyclists racing down our many tree-lined streets – we really do have some lovely places to pedal. But not all of them are on paved roads. I happen to own a hybrid – a bike with mid-size tires that can handle off-road as well as road biking. And I have to say, I kind of like the off-road a little better. For one thing, it’s not as crowded, or noisy. Plus there’s just something nice about pedaling through the woods, and getting there a little faster than just walking.

Of course, it can get a little muddy in there, and sometimes you have to pick your bike up over a fallen log. And there are roots and rocks to watch out for. But all in all, it’s really worth the effort. So where do I like to go?

Trail to the Bike Path

The Bedford-to-Arlington bike path is great: paved, wide, smooth and flat. But did you know you can get there from Concord, without riding on roads? There’s a narrow little trail to the right of Concord Lumber, on Lowell Road. It looks like a footpath, but if you follow it, it crosses Monument Street (it’s a little muddy here right now, but will dry out as the summer goes on), and passes by Great Meadows (which you aren’t allowed to bike around, though you can bike past it). There are a couple of times where it crosses a paved road – route 62 is one of them – where the trail continues a little to the left on the opposite side, so you have to pay attention. Eventually you come out just past Bedford’s middle school, and just down the street from the start of the bike path. Much nicer than driving there, or biking on paved roads. 

Estabrook Woods

At the end of Estabrook Road is the start of this vast group of trails, where, honestly, I always get lost. I hear tell of a map, but have never actually seen one. If you take the trail all the way to the left at the entrance, it’s pretty flat and will get you all the way to Carlisle. You’ll come out onto a paved road; go straight, and then right, and you eventually find yourself on School Street. From there, it’s an easy ride to Kimball’s, where you can fuel up on ice cream before riding back on Lowell Road (flatter than Monument Street, I’m just saying.).

Minuteman Park

Down Lexington Road, just past Old Bedford Road, is the parking lot for a very nice trail that many walkers use. You do need to walk your bike across the wooden bridges, but what I like about biking this trail is you can get all the way to Lexington easier and quicker than on foot. This trail takes you past the Hartwell Tavern and other historic sites, and is a really nice ride through scenic woods and pastures. Just watch out for the walkers.

There you have three good off-road rides to get you started. Oh, and don’t forget the bug repellant – they’ve had a very good spring.


Do you have something you would like to share? Contact me at stefanieac@comcast.net or Maureen at mcb23@comcast.net, and we will be happy to help you spread the good news.

Tim May 31, 2011 at 02:19 PM
For what it's worth, the "Trail to the Bike Path" is the Reformatory Branch Trail which was originally the Boston & Maine Reformatory Branch. It ran trains out to the prison on Route 2 until 1962 when it was abandoned and purchased by the towns of Bedford and Concord. Here's a trail guide: http://www.bedforddepot.org/RBRT_guide.pdf
Stefanie Cloutier May 31, 2011 at 05:58 PM
Thanks, Tim, the trail guide is really interesting! I do love these old Rail Trails!


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