This summer we’ve instituted a little something to help us get to know Cape Ann better. We call it Map Day, using a lovely map we bought from the Essex County Greenbelt Association last year at the farmer’s market here in town. The map is well detailed, featuring in various shades of green the many greenspaces we are so lucky to live near. So Map Day goes like this: Once a week (or so) we take a quick look on the map and choose one of those shaded patches of green where we’ve never been. Then we get going.
We’ve been living in Gloucester for 4 years now, so being the adventurous folks we envision ourselves to be, we find it amazing that there is so much still left unexplored. Take the little spot we visited on our first Map Day, barely noticeable as you turn onto 133 toward Essex from 128. There’s a little green sign on your right a hundred feet or so from the exit with enough parking for maybe two cars if you squeeze. I drive by it several times a week during the school year, but I’d never taken the time to drop in.
This is called Tompson Street and it is a true gem. It’s an easy climb up onto the granite domes that make up much of Tompson Street greenspace, taking you high enough to overlook much of Cape Ann, allowing hikers to catch a glimpse of the ocean and beaches in the distance. A great spot for a picnic too.
One thing I do want to add about many of the greenspaces in our area that I’ve noticed over the four years I’ve lived in Gloucester. It seems that they could use a little more love, that we can’t expect the ECGA to police and clean these marvelous parks. I know adolescent partiers use many of these spaces on the weekends, often strewing the places with beer cans and broken glass. My wife and I always carry more out than we carry in—just one or two things—but if just a few people did this, we believe we could make a real difference around here (I know there are many good people who do care for their local parks, but we could always use more). Anyway, that’s kind of my soapbox, which I may climb on from time to time to help highlight a park that needs a little extra love.
I also hope more people will actually use these greenspaces—with Cape Ann’s diverse variety of wild animals (I’ve seen anything from fisher cats, coyotes, foxes, turtles, snakes, turkeys and hawks and much more), and the beautiful landscapes and variety of plant life (it’s not at all unusual to find wild blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries in many of the parks–I’ve made more than one tart from the wild blueberries in Gloucester) —these parks are truly Funky Fresh.
Find out more about Essex County Greenbelt Association @ http://www.ecga.org/