Bradley Palmer State Park

A very pretty walk in the woods with open fields, trails along the Ipswich River, and a snack supplied by nature.

My partner and I decided to go for a walk in the woods while in the North Shore area and wanted a casual way to enjoy a sunny and crisp last day of summer and were guided to this park. There are other entrances, but we chose this one since it was along the Ipswich River and did not have a fee.

The hike started by crossing the Ipswich River over a well constructed bridge. The scenery of the river was lovely as we entered the woods. We took a leisurely pace with the aim of staying straight on the maze of trials. After less than a half mile, the trail entered a big field up to Moon Hill. The trail brought us across the length of the field and we re-entered the woods and walked over Blueberry Hill.

We ended up in another large field and reached a point where “going straight” did not seem quite as clear. I opened up All Trails and decided turning left in a north, northwest direction would send us back to our car. Then we saw a group of three women and three dogs amid the brush looking to be collecting berries. It turns out they were collecting grapes (I added a waypoint on the All Trails map in case you are interested in finding grapes yourself). One woman showed us her cute wicker basket filled with bunches and bunches of grapes. She insisted we take a couple bunches, and we could not refuse. Suddenly, the two that were in the brush came crashing out shouting, “Bees!” We high tailed out of there while yelling “Thanks!” to the women for the refreshing snack.

The trail continued through a wide clearing a half mile as I munched on the grapes and spit out the seeds. A few visitors were riding horses. We happened upon a couple small deer peering through the trees. My partner and I engaged in a riveting conversation as we walked right by the path back to the car without thinking twice. In fact, we walked about three quarters of a mile too far until we reached a parking lot which gave us a short pause. We turned left after this and came upon a truly lovely small bog. Then we became quite unsure where we were and called upon All Trails to help again. We reversed course down a parallel street, passed the Willowdale Estate eventually to the shore of Ipswich River.

We arrived at a small opening along the river with a picnic table, an ideal spot for an outdoor meal. A tree has precariously grown out over the river. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to climb out on it for a moment of zen and a photo opp. The tree was not the widest and quite shaky, but I surmounted the “daring” task.

After a short meander around what turned out not to be the trail, we were walking again and finished the last quarter mile. We crossed back over the bridge and called an end to our lovely walk.