By Monica O’Malley-Tavares
On a very mild October day here on the south coast of Massachusetts, I set out on a fall foliage walk with my teenage son. The Buzzards Bay Coalition and The Whaling City Camera Club sponsored this particular walk. The setting was The Trustees of Reservation East Over Reservation in Rochester. We toured a portion of the 40 acres of fields and meadows. These wide-open areas, bordered by young forests and zigzagging stonewalls offered a picture perfect backdrop for the mid- afternoon light.
We first crossed several fields dotted with milkweed. A lone monarch flew from plant to plant in search of nectar. The last seeds from the cracked brown milkweed pods swirled around us. We entered into a section of immature forest, where we were greeted by a small vernal pool. Surrounded by reeds and grasses, this wildlife rich setting was active with cardinals, chickadees and catbirds.
We headed out of the wooded area to the picturesque setting of Eastover Farm. We were visiting too late in the season to enjoy Eastover’s farm stand; however, in season, locals stop by for fruits, vegetables, herbs, jams and fresh breads. The brightly painted, well-maintained buildings of Eastover Farm became a perfect New England backdrop for this nature walk.
Stonewalls led us to Leonard’s Pond, where dappled late afternoon sunlight added depth and tone to the bright foliage mirrored in the pond’s surface. A once operating grist mill stands directly across from Leonard’s Pond Bridge on Mary’s Pond Road. Here at Leonard’s Pond Dam is the perfect spot to pause and enjoy nature. (Use caution, as this is a busy road).
We finished off our walk by heading straight down Mary’s Pond Road past several more of Eastover Farms’ vibrantly painted buildings. We were treated to a distant view of a large, colorful perennial garden near a horse barn, (private property), long stonewalls with carefully placed rectangular cut stones, wide expanses of green fields, and a scattering of fall leaves. Clapp Road brought us back to The East Over Reservation parking lot.
We had a great time walking the paths, visiting the pond and photographing nature. This would be a great family walk on Thanksgiving weekend, or even on a mild winter afternoon. The paths are wide and trails are very easy to follow. Trail Maps are available in the parking lot on Clapp Rd.
The Buzzards Bay Coalition offers Wednesday Walkabouts, as well as a variety of local nature based programs. Find out more at www.savebuzzardsbay.org
Monica O’Malley-Tavares is a mom, math and science teacher, lifelong gardener,
garden writer, and photographer. She spends her free time plotting and planning
for the following year’s vegetable and flower gardens on the 2 acres she and her husband
call Prince Snow Farm. No matter what the season, you’ll find her outside in her green Muck boots, camera slung around her neck and a small journal for notes and observation nearby, or you’ll find her in the kitchen working on a seasonal recipe. She lives on the south coast with her husband Kevin, also an educator, and 2 children.