|Summer trees and a very large nest at Two Mile Farm in North Marshfield.|
My grandparents fascinated me. Grampa worked at the lime quarry; he’d come home at night covered in a fine white powder. His evening ritual always included "a shot and a beer" which, from the way he described it, was his elixir of life.
Gram worked at the fabric mill. She smoked cigarettes -- a rarity in my family -- and she absolutely loved to talk. After supper we’d sit at her kitchen table, playing cards. The grown-ups drank coffee. There was always dessert on the counter, and if that wasn’t enough to satisfy me, I was free to delve into the candy dishes that stood full in almost every room in the house (another no-no at home).
Those nights I felt that I could stay up till dawn listening to the stories my grandmother, her sisters, and friends would share. But I rarely complained when bedtime came.
My grandparents lived on a major highway -- comparable to our Route 139 in its busier stretches. The sound of passing cars never faded. In the cooler months I slept upstairs, where the traffic noise was muffled somewhat by the storm windows. The changing patterns of headlights reflected on the walls became my own private movie.
In summertime, I got to sleep on a cot on the porch. At home there was nothing but the hum of the house or the occasional insect or frog to soothe me to sleep. But at my grandparents’ house, the cars and trucks zooming past was a lullaby that went on all night and could still be heard when I awoke in the morning.
A little more than a year ago, I moved to North Marshfield. After decades of residing in a quieter part of town, I now live within earshot of both 139 and the highway. Just like at my grandparents’ house, the hum of traffic is nearly constant. When the wind is right, I can hear the clunk of 18-wheelers crossing the Route 3 bridge.
The rhythm of the passing cars seems different now -- it used to be comforting, but now just as often it reminds me of the demands of the fast-paced society we live in. Still, on the occasional hot summer night when all the windows are open, I’ll watch the headlights reflecting on the walls as I drift off to sleep. Sometimes I dream of Gram and Grampa.
One of the things I like best about Two Mile Reservation, an 86-acre parcel of woodlands and marsh just down the street from my house, is that it gives me to opportunity to contemplate the busy world we live in while enjoying an hour or so of relative peace and quiet. The standard features of Two Mile Reservation -- crumbling stone walls, blueberry bordered cart paths, glimpses of Marshfield’s agricultural history -- go hand in hand with panoramic views of Route 3’s massive concrete bridge spanning the North River.
Two Mile Reservation is located off Union Street in North Marshfield, less than a half mile south of Pine Street. Its name comes from times past, when salt marsh haying was a profitable industry, and a two-mile portion of Marshfield was deeded to the town of Norwell (then South Scituate) so that the latter town could share in the wealth. A dirt driveway leads uphill to a small parking area. Leashed dogs are permitted on the property, but bicycles and horses are not.
For a tour that covers most of Two Mile Farm, begin at the information kiosk that offers both a parcel map and information on the Trustees of Reservations, the non-profit organization who manages this and many other South Shore open space areas. A cart path bordered by an old stone wall leads you into the heart of the property. Heading downhill through woods of pine and oak, you will come to a crossroads with another cart path. Go straight, down a steep decline. A hollowed out tree on the right is definitely worth investigating.
From there you will be able to see the marshes surrounding the North River. A brief detour to the right will give you an expansive view of the marsh and the river, with Norwell’s Stetson Meadows Conservation Area on the other side.
Two trails -- one narrow, one wide -- lead through the forested upland at the marsh’s edge. Wooden benches offer a few different vantage points. Note that with each of these, you not only get a different perspective of the North River, but a new view of the Route 3 bridge as well. This is especially enjoyable during morning rush hour: try not to feel too smug as you pause in the midst of your unencumbered walk in the woods to regard the idling cars packed tight into the lanes of the highway.
The trail eventually bends away from the river and leads you back toward the parking area. At the next crossroads you have the choice either to go straight and return to the path you came in on, or bear right and follow a steep trail back another way.
I recommend bearing right. At the top of the hill, take a sharp left. You’ll pass another stone wall and pass through a young pine grove with the occasional beech and birch. There are blueberry bushes in abundance along this path, and here and there, a lady’s slipper. Eventually you’ll return to the main trail. Bearing right will bring you back to the parking area.
by Kezia Bacon, Correspondent
Kezia Bacon's articles appear courtesy of the North and South Rivers Watershed Association, a local non-profit organization devoted to the preservation, restoration, maintenance and conservation of the North and South Rivers and their watershed. For membership information and a copy of their latest newsletter, contact NSRWA at (781) 659-8168.