Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Battle Road Trail, Minute Man National Historic Park

For those who haven't been to Minute Man National Historic Park in Lexington, Lincoln, and Concord, it really is a special place, as you have a mix of history and scenic beauty along the roadways and trails within the linear park. A group of us recently walked the entire Battle Road Trail within the park, and it was quite a nice experience.

photo of Fiske Hill, Minute Man National Historic ParkWe started at the Minute Man Visitor Center, which is just off Route 2A near where Lexington and Lincoln meet. We initially walked east, getting to the eastern end of the Battle Road Trail near Route 128, then going up the Fiske Hill trail to the top of the hill, where there is a peaceful meadow surrounded by woods (see photo). From there, we went down the other side and soon ended up back on the Battle Road Trail, heading west this time.

photo in front of Hartwell Tavern, Minute Man National Historic ParkAfter skirting the visitor center, we wound our way through a mix of woods and fields with Route 2A off to the left and Hanscom Field Airport nearby to the right. A little over a mile from the visitor center, we came to a beautiful tree-shaded stretch of the Battle Road Trail (see photo), stopping at the Hartwell Tavern for a short time before continuing on to the Bloody Angle, a few more historic structures, and a boardwalk before meeting up (briefly) with Route 2A near the Lincoln/Concord line.

photo of Historic Farming Fields, Minute Man National Historic ParkWalking away from Route 2A on the Battle Road Trail (and going past a farmstand that was unfortunately closed for the season), we soon ended up on another boardwalk that led to the historic farming fields (see photo), which is perhaps the most picturesque part of the Battle Road Trail. We looped around the fields, ending up back near Route 2A, then walked the short stretch marking the end of the Battle Road Trail. From here, we walked along Route 2A for a bit less than a half mile, stopping for lunch next to The Wayside and the Orchard House, just east of Concord Center.

photo of Hartwell Tavern, Minute Man National Historic ParkAfter lunch, we backtracked east along the Battle Road Trail, making a few stops at the historic farming fields, one of the boardwalks, and the Hartwell Tavern. By this time, the tavern was open to the public, so a few of us toured the historic home (see photo) before continuing on. From there, it was a relatively quick walk back to the visitor center and the cars. The total trip was around 13 miles, but a fairly easy 13 miles since much of the walk was flat.

The Battle Road Trail within the Minute Man National Historic Park isn't all that challenging, but it is very peaceful and scenic, and there is a lot of history to see along the way.