— Sally Milligan Park, Cross Street, Beverly: According to a monument at the site, the park was presented to the city by Hugh Taylor Birch in memory of his mother, Sally Milligan Birch (1813-1863), "especially for the women and children of Beverly."
"My grandson Cameron and I went to this park on Cross Street in Beverly on March 18 to get out of the house and get some exercise and fresh air. It’s a very nice area, lots of trails to discover and you can’t get lost! We had a really nice time and met several other families; kept our distance, of course, but everyone we met was very friendly and happy to be outside."
Professor, Northern Essex Community College
— West Parish Garden Cemetery, 129 Reservation Road, Andover
"As an academic historian and leader of summertime historic walking tours out of Lawrence Heritage State Park, I am always on the lookout for places to visit of historic value. During this month's spring break at Northern Essex, I was thinking of places off the beaten path in my town of Andover where I could not only get some daytime fresh air, but perhaps also enjoy some natural beauty and learn a little history.
"It didn't take me long to discover West Parish Garden Cemetery at Lowell Street and Reservation Road in Andover. (A garden cemetery is a more rural cemetery meant to relieve overcrowding in urban areas. It is usually landscaped and situated in a parklike setting.)
"According to a sign on the premises, I learned that West Parish goes back to 1692 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. My walks there have taken me through wooded grounds that include a stone gateway arch, cobblestone paths, stone walls, a reflection pond and a chapel with what appear to be Tiffany stained-glass windows. I also discovered a huge hydrangea circle that must look absolutely wonderful when they're in full bloom.
"Some notable people whose graves I found there include Telemachus "Mike" Demoulas of the Demoulas-Market Basket supermarket chain. I also discovered the graves of William Wood and his family. He was the president of the American Woolen Company that owned two-thirds of the mills in Lawrence in the early 1900s. (Wood also developed the village of Shawsheen in Andover.)
"West Parish Garden Cemetery provides a tranquil, serene, picturesque setting for a walk to get out of the house, get some fresh air and exercise, and to clear one's mind of the bombardment of news about the virus situation."
JERRY A. MULLINS
President/trail manager, Parker River Clean Water Association
— Little River Trail System, off downtown Newburyport
"The Little River Trail System (littlerivertrailsystem.com) offers 5.4 miles of beautiful paths (four nature trails and a bike trail) just steps away from downtown Newburyport with five clearly marked trailheads with easy parking (two on Storey Avenue — behind the CVS and across from the Park and Ride lot; one at the end of Colby Farm Road; and two on Hale Street). It's easy walking, and bring your dog to enjoy the fresh air, too. Wondering where you are going? Each trailhead has a map clearly marking the path and where it leads to. The trails are all on city property, lovingly maintained by Parker River Clean Water Association, under caretaker agreement."
PEGGY and NEIL LYNCH
"We are serious walkers who have hit the trail locally and across the country for years. There are so many places in the area that are conducive to walking with social distancing in mind. Three we've done recently come to mind. With any of these hikes, you should bring your camera. They offer great views, as well as great walks!"
— Parker River National Wildlife Refuge, Plum Island
"Our national wildlife refuge system exists to support wildlife. That said, the refuges offer unique opportunities for humans to get up close and personal with the plant and animal kingdoms and some rugged locations. Parker River, not far from Newburyport, has several trails and observation towers scattered across it and, when open to the public, 4 miles of wild beach to hike. More and more people are discovering the refuge. It's very popular right now with photographers hoping to catch a glimpse of the snowy owls that tend to visit at this time of year. That said, there's still room to feel like you've got the place to yourself if you go."
— Odiorne Point State Park, Rye, New Hampshire
"Odiorne is our go-to spot. We try to get over there once a month in season to walk the paths and trails. Once the location of Fort Dearborn, during World War II, Odiorne gets its name from the family who settled the point during the 1660s. There trails and walking paths through the 135 acres that offer spectacular views of the ocean and the Isles of Shoals. In the warmer months, bring a picnic lunch or dinner, a lounge chair, and a good book. Odiorne is a great place to just hang out!"
— Minute Man National Historic Park, Lexington, Lincoln and Concord
"Minute Man National Historical Park commemorates the events of April 19, 1775, the beginning of the American Revolution. The 5.5-mile Battle Road Trail traverses the park from Meriam's Corner, where Colonial militia from surrounding towns began firing on stunned British soldiers retreating following a confrontation at Concord's North Bridge. The trail is the right mix of "great outdoors" wilderness and history, with several structures along the way that were witness to the events of a fateful day. We enjoy taking the grandchildren on this hike in spring or fall, when the weather is at its best, but the trail can be accessed any time. We've snowshoed it in winter and walked portions of it in summer, too."
— Crane Beach, Ipswich (currently closed by The Trustees of Reservations in response to the coronavirus)
"Beautiful walk on the beach, dogs are allowed and there's lots to do — building sandcastles, throwing rocks, picnicking, and, when it’s low tide, there's a sunken boat. We also enjoy canoeing and kayaking the Ipswich River."
— Reservoir Hill neighborhood, Methuen
"My favorite place to walk is in my own neighborhood. It's a great way to meet neighbors, especially during this time if they need anything. The panoramic view from the top of Reservoir Street is incredible. Also, walking up and down this hill is great for toning! You can challenge yourself how fast you can do it each time."
MICHAEL and ROSEMARY SHIELDS
— Seawall at North Beach, Hampton, N.H.
"Beautiful vistas and fresh sea air — what could be better. ... It has really helped with our attitude and peace of mind."
Methuen High School biology teacher
— Vernal pools at Crystal Gorge Conservation Area, Crystal Street (west side), between Liberty Street and North Broadway, Haverhill
— Salisbury Beach
"This is how we roll with our four-legged friends in Salisbury. Pure happiness when they congregate out there!"
OTHER CAPE ANN SITES
— Stage Fort Park, 24 Hough Ave., Gloucester
The property dates back to Cape Ann's first settlers in 1623. It sits along the expansive Gloucester Harbor, and includes two beaches — Half Moon and Cressy’s. The site of a historic fort, the park's plaques and markers inform visitors of some of its roles in past wars.
— Allyn Cox Reservation, 82 Eastern Ave., Essex
This Essex County Greenbelt property offers panoramic vistas of the saltmarsh and open fields. The land, located at the edge of the Great Marsh ecosystem, is home to countless birds. The property was settled around 1648 as a Colonial saltmarsh farm, according to the Greenbelt website. It later served as a farm for more than 350 years. In 1974, the property was donated to Greenbelt by muralist Allyn Cox, whose work includes painting done at the U.S. Capitol Building.