, Newburyport, MA


March 7, 2014

The top of Amesbury

Late-winter walk up Powow Hill honors a friend

A couple of weeks ago, my family and I had the pleasure of celebrating our friend Margaret Nally on her 90th birthday.

Together, along with her nephew Jay, we enjoyed a quiet evening of dinner and cake, and chatting of her remarkable life. She shared stories of enlisting in the Navy on her 20th birthday and of her travels on the slow boat to China.

With warm tones and a bright smile, she talked of the puppy she brought home from Paris and how her dad became its best friend. She also talked about her life in Amesbury — teaching, mentoring, her years on the School Committee and of the few remaining World War II veterans she holds dear.

I asked her about outdoorsing in Amesbury and if there was a special place in town she used to enjoy. Without even a second of consideration, she shared Po Hill as a longtime favorite. Rising from the east shore of Lake Gardner, it was a favorite to simply enjoy a quiet afternoon and her annual spot to walk off Thanksgiving dinner.

Margaret, I hope for a moment you may ride on these words and walk with me on Amesbury’s Po Hill:

After a steep and winding drive up to the end of Powow Street, my canine buddy, Gauge, and I arrived at the trailhead on top of Powow, or Po, Hill. Bright sun washed across crusty snow and glared from icy footprints that led across a small field to an overlook atop the highest point in town.

Crisp winter air and clear skies offered views to the northeast of Isles of Shoals in the Gulf of Maine and to Mount Agamenticus rising from the horizon. Glenn Cook’s apple orchards slept quietly down in the foreground, covered in snow and soaking up March’s brightening sun. Barely 100 steps into our morning, it was already gorgeous.

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