by Kezia Bacon, Correspondent
The weather is growing warmer and many of the South Shore’s seasonal ice cream stands are now open for business! Do you know what pairs well with ice cream? Nature walks! Below I’ve compiled some favorite South Shore ice cream stands and shops, many of which feature homemade treats. Along with each, I’ve suggested a walk nearby. Some walks are quick, others require more time. All are worth exploring.
Be sure to keep up with our 2022 Explore South Shore Challenge. Each week, we suggest a different outdoor activity. This month’s themes include: Identify an Unfamiliar Tree, Take a Bike Ride, Plant a Garden, and — conveniently — Pair a Walk with a Local Ice Cream Shop! To help you meet these challenges, every day in May we’ll feature a relevant property on Instagram and Facebook. Post photos from your adventures to Instagram with the hashtag #ExploreSouthShore. Each month we randomly select a winner from the posts to receive a prize package.
Walk at Hatch Lots Conservation Area, 44 acres of historic town-owned woodlots adjacent to Burnt Plain and Hoop Pole Swamps, with trails through forest and wetlands, plus a few small footbridges. On-site parking at 520 Grove Street. Then continue around the corner to the dairy bar at Hornstra Farm, 246 Prospect Street.
Explore the woods at Denham Pond (on Circuit Street), part of the North River watershed. Look for vernal pools along the two main trails, which are marked with green and red blazes. Then head over to the hometown favorite, JC’s Dairy, for refreshment (812 Washington Street, Route 53). Thank you to JC’s for providing ice cream for our Great River Race participants. It takes place this year on Sunday, July 24th.
Walk at the Wildlands Trust’s Willow Brook Farm, where you can explore 167 acres of upland and wetlands at the confluence of Pudding and Herring Brooks, plus an observation platform with a view of the 2,000-acre Herring Brook valley. On-site parking at 99 Barker Street. Then stop by Dairy Twist at 580 Washington Street (Route 53).
On a warm day, you might prefer a short walk with water views. Consider Hobart Pond and “The Boulevard,” a 1/3-mile paved pathway between Essex Street and South Avenue, on the Shumatuscacant River. (Limited on-site parking). Then scoot on over to Peaceful Meadows at 60 Bedford Street for a tasty treat.
Explore Veterans Memorial Town Forest, a quiet woodland on Wampatuck Pond with about a mile of trails. Look for the trailhead on Route 58, across the street from the Indian Head School, and park at the sports complex, immediately adjacent to the trailhead. Then for treats, check out Heidi’s Hollow, a mile down the road at 165 Liberty Street.
Visit the iconic Lapham Woods, at the corner of Tremont and Depot Streets, where you’ll find 1.5 miles of forest trails in the Bluefish River watershed. (Limited roadside parking on Depot Street). Next stop: FarFar’s Danish Ice Cream Shop, not far away at 272 St. George Street.
Park at 85 Willow Street and explore the half-mile of trails, bridges and boardwalks through Pratt Farm, with views of Zenas Brook. Continue onto the Bridle Path & Rail Trail to view the South River at Francis Keville Bridge. Then stop by B’s Homemade in Marshfield Center for dessert (57a Snow Road).
Explore the Driftway Multipurpose Path, a 1.5-mile paved bicycle and walking trail with views of the Herring River. Extending alongside The Driftway from the Herring Brook Trail to Gilson Road, it connects such sites as the James Landing Walkway, Driftway Conservation Park, Widow’s Walk Golf Course, and the Scituate Dog Park. Continue to Scituate Harbor for a stop at Dribbles (4 Brook Street) or Nona’s (Mill Wharf Plaza).
Don’t miss Great Brewster Woods, where a well-marked 1-mile trail leads through varied terrain with numerous rocky outcroppings, plus views of Little Harbor. Limited on-site parking off Highland Ave. Then go back in time and visit the classic JJ’s Dairy Hut, on Route 3A (140 Chief Justice Cushing Highway).
Take a walk around Triphammer Pond, enjoying views of the water and the remains of an old mill on Accord Brook. The 1-mile circuit will bring you briefly into Wompatuck State Park. On-site parking at 21 Triphammer Lane, off Popes Lane. Then continue to Hingham Harbor for a stop at Nona’s Homemade Ice Cream (19 Main Street).
Kezia Bacon’s articles appear courtesy of the North and South Rivers Watershed Association, a local non-profit organization devoted to protecting our waters. For membership information and a copy of their latest newsletter, contact NSRWA at (781) 659-8168 or visit www.nsrwa.org. You will also find 25+ years of Kezia’s Nature columns there. Click here for more information about the 2022 Explore South Shore Challenge.
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