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Visiting The Hopedale Parklands in Fall
"Getting Away from the Tourist Crowds While Still Enjoying the Autumn Colors Here in Hopedale, Mass."
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 Hopedale Parklands, Hopedale MA

Article and photo by Eric H.

New England fall travel never fails to amaze with its diverse joys like the brilliant foliage colors, comfortable slight chill in the area, the fun of rustling through the leaves, and catching a local harvest festival. 

How much fun is it, however, when everyone ends up in the same place? Many popular New England fall tourist destinations bring about traffic jams and long event or attraction lines -- not to mention inflated admission prices and merchandise. While many of these beautiful areas and fun events are certainly not tourist traps,  tourists can certainly feel trapped from the very thing they wanted to get away from on travel in the very first place: stress and crowds.

If you are more inclined to the rest, relaxation and solitude sector of New England fall travel, most cities and towns have low-profile, often little-known spots to take in the wonders of autumn. The 275-acre Hopedale Parklands in Hopedale, Mass., is one such place.

Hopedale is a quiet, friendly little New England town --situated centrally to Worcester Mass., Boston, Mass., and Providence, R.I. -- and it gets even quieter at The Parklands. This remote but accessible spot comes across as one of the most beautiful spots you could ever imagine -- and no one really knows about it, let alone those lucky Hopedale residents!  Best accessed from Freedom St. or Hopedale St., off Route 140, just beyond the abandoned Draper Building in the tiny downtown district, The Parklands acts more like a vacation highlight than a suburban day trip destination. On a sunny day, beautiful Hopedale Pond sparkles every step of the four miles of walking trails. One of those access paths is a carriage trail, best described by writer Marjorie Turner Holman who states the scene reminds her of the carriage trails in famous Acadia National Park, Maine. Densely forested areas lend a true sense of solitude, not to mentioned pleasing woodsy scenery -- and without a trace of modern day noises that often intrude into our declining suburban and urban green spaces. On the outskirts of the Parklands, you'll find benches and picnic tables, and a swimming beach (which can only be used when a lifeguard is present).

The Hopedale Parklands doesn't seem to have a place in the high-profile travel guides, and that's OK. It's here for you and me and  all others that appreciate discovering the true back roads and trails of New England. 

Hopedale Pond at Hopedale Parkland, Hopedale MA

Hopedale Parklands trail, Hopedale MA

Fall foliage colors at Hopedale Pond, Hopedale MA

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