Westborough offers many visitor attractions
By Matt Taylor
Westborough – Last summer the Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism came out with “The 1,000 Best Places to Visit” list. It mentioned two places in Westborough for tourists to visit. The Vintonsville/West Main Street Historic Districts are two separate sections of the town that showcase historic homes used to house railroad workers. The Lyman School on Powder Hill was the first reform school in the United States, and the other entry on the list. Although both of these places have great historical significance, there are other places in Westborough that are of interest to visitors.
Headwaters Conservation Area
Just a short trip off Route 30 on Andrews Street is the Headwaters Conservation Area. This property protects the headwaters of the Assabet River, and is part of the Westborough Charm Bracelet network of trails managed by the Westborough Community Land Trust. There are over 100 acres of walking and hiking trails that showcase scenic views, abundant wildlife and the starting point of the Assabet River. When visiting, start at the Andrews Street entrance and head past the information kiosk, where you can enjoy the view of Mill Pond. Continue on the Osprey Point Trail for a half-mile and you can stop and get a glimpse of osprey. Follow the Assabet Trail another half-mile to the Assabet River headwaters. Reverse course to head back to the entrance. If you are feeling more adventurous, continue up the Assabet Trail where you’ll wind up behind the beautiful Old Nourse Farm with cows and horses grazing in the pasture. The variety of terrain to navigate ranges from the sand pit trail at the entrance to the bubbling brooks and rolling rivers that form the Assabet to the deep wooded areas reminiscent of northern Maine. The wildlife is plentiful, with osprey, white swan, deer, fox and other small mammals. The terrain isn’t difficult, the trails are relatively well marked and the views alone are worth the trip.
Bowman Conservation Area/Sandra Pond
At the parking area on Bowman Street, the sound of cars, trucks and 18-wheelers speeding along the adjacent Mass Pike permeate the landscape as visitors enter the wooded trails toward Sandra Pond. The sounds of the Piccadilly Brook meandering through the conservation area eventually drown the out the sounds of the Pike, and bring a sense of calm to the wooded trails. Head north from the Bowman Street entrance and follow the groomed trail through a grassy knoll and some deep woods and encounter a panoramic view of Sandra Pond. Head toward a small land mass that extends about 100 yards into the pond for a view of area birds and wildlife and Minuteman Park. To return to the parking lot, simply reverse course and follow the trails about a half-mile.
Sandra Pond is Westborough’s town reservoir, and the 144 acres of land surrounding the pond were purchased to protect the town’s water supply. There are over 80 varieties of wildflowers in the area, and the landscape is surprisingly pristine considering the major highway nearby. The adjacent Minuteman Park is the location for various events such as the annual Westborough Spring Festival weekend, which includes a fishing challenge and a nature program for kids. Across the street from Minuteman Park is Greg’s Field, a youth league baseball field named after Westborough native and former Red Sox farmhand Greg Montalbano. Montalbano, who passed away in 2009 after a long battle with cancer, played his first game on this field on his way to the Major Leagues.
Westborough Wildlife Management Area
At 427 acres, the Westborough Wildlife Management Area is the largest nature preserve property in the area. Part of Westborough’s Charm Bracelet, the property was slated to become a Six Flags Amusement Park. Instead, grassy fields and wetlands create a haven for many species of plants and wildlife. Birds such as hawks and herons call the area home, and they also create exciting moments for birdwatchers and photographers. Visit the area at dusk, and you’ll see one of the spectacular sunsets over Lake Chauncy. The WWMA website advises walkers to wear orange as hunting is permitted year-round. Walking trails have several locations with the main access point near the boat ramp off Chauncy Street.
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