Parsons Marsh Reserve (Lenox, MA)

Date Of Visit: March 21, 2020

Location: 170 Under Mountain Rd, Lenox, MA (1 hour northwest of Springfield, MA, 2 hours west of Boston, MA, 1 hr and 15 mins northwest of Hartford, CT)

Hours: Open daily, sunrise to sunset

Cost: Free

Parking: There is room for about a dozen cars in the parking lot

Universally Accessible: Yes

Dog Friendly: Yes

Trail Distance: .75 miles, 435 acres of wetland

Trail Difficulty: Easy with gentle inclines

Highlights: scenic, wildlife, easy paths, benches, observation platform

Summary: A .60 mile universally accessible boardwalk (both ways) leads to a scenic overlook of the pet friendly Parsons Marsh Reserve.  Along the boardwalk are a variety of trees, plants and wildlife.

Website:    Parsons Marsh Reserve

Trail Map: Parsons Marsh Reserve Trail Map

Established in 2018, Parsons Marsh Reserve is one of the newer hidden gems of New England.  Home to a variety of species and plant life, Parsons Marsh Reserve is the perfect place for a family day or just a walk by yourself.

The reserve is named after John E. Parsons, a New York City attorney and philanthropist who purchased land in 1875 on the west side of Under Mountain Road.  Parsons would go on to build a Gilded Age house and outbuildings along the road. The original house was razed but the barn still stands as part of nearby Stonover Farm (presently a bed and breakfast farther along the road).  But, his memory lives on at the reserve.

As you approach the main entrance and walk along the dirt path, there are antique farm machines and a pond with a very creaky and somewhat shaky board to walk out on.  I did try my luck and it is indeed safe to walk out on.  But it is also not for the feint of heart.   A bench is located in front of the lake for people sit and reflect (within a safe distance of each other of course).  There is also a shed set aside from the pond.  Nothing too interesting was in there.  Just a pair of oars were resting against the wall of the structure.

As you walk along the trail to the pond, you may  notice a work in progress pollinator habitat being built by the Lenox Garden Club and Berkshire Natural Resources Council.  All of the materials being used for the habitat are biodegradable and chemicals are being used for the habitat.  I look forward to seeing it when it is complete.

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The one third of a mile boardwalk along the marsh is an stroll, albeit a bit narrow given these “social distancing times.”  It is also universally accessible.

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The trail, 1,800 feet long, has an 800-foot boardwalk including three bridges. Along the boardwalk there are a variety of plants and trees.  Many of the roots of the trees along the marsh are exposed as a result of the marsh water level dropping.

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There are also large rock outcrops which are the remnants of glaciers from some 20,000 years ago.  But, the highlight of the reserve has to be the outlook platform at the end of the boardwalk.  The outlook offers sweeping views of an open meadow pond at the end of the marsh.

It being early Spring, there was a lot of chirping, screeching and plopping at the reserve (and then there was the wildlife).  But, seriously, there were definite signs of spring evident during my visit.  But, there was no visible activity in the water, save for a few black ducks in the far distance and the birds were elusive.  I do think in a future visit on a warmer day, earlier in the morning I will have better luck finding signs of life there.

Preliminary plans are in the works to create trails that would extend to nearby Kennedy Park in Lenox and parts of Pittsfield.

 

Author: New England Nomad

Hi I'm Wayne. Welcome to my blog. I am a true New Englander through and through. I love everything about New England. I especially love discovering new places in New England and sharing my experiences with everyone. I tend to focus on the more unique and lesser known places and things in New England on my blog. Oh yeah, and I love dogs. I always try to include at least one dog in each of my blog posts. I discovered my love of photography a couple of years ago. I know, I got a late start. Now, I photograph anything that seems out of the ordinary, interesting, beautiful and/or unique. And I have noticed how every person, place or thing I photograph has a story behind it or him or her. I don't just photograph things or people or animals. I try to get their background, history or as much information as possible to give the subject more context and meaning. It's interesting how one simple photograph can evoke so much. I am currently using a Nikon D3200 "beginner's camera." Even though there are better cameras on the market, and I will upgrade some time, I love how it functions (usually) and it has served me well. The great thing about my blog is you don't have to be from New England, or even like New England to like my blog (although I've never met anyone who doesn't). All you have to like is to see and read about new or interesting places and things. Hopefully, you'll join me on my many adventures in New England!

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