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Five Favorite Shoreline Walks

  1. Lowell Holly Reservation Mashpee and Sandwich
    An arborist’s delight, four miles of tree-lined carriage roads and walking trails traverse this peninsula that juts into Mashpee and Wakeby ponds. Some 250 stands of American holly trees, representing 50 varieties, flourish among the beech and rare northern red oak and sweet birch trees. Former Harvard President Abbott Lawrence Lowell donated the property in 1943 to The Trustees of Reservations as a horticultural preserve. Trail parking is on South Sandwich Road in Sandwich.
  2. Indian Lands Conservations Area Dennis
    Early settlers considered Bass River a possible site for a canal connecting Nantucket Sound to Cape Cod Bay, and some say the Vikings moored here en route to new lands. Contemplate the waterway’s intriguing past on a walk along 1.3 miles of serene trails, with views of Bass River bordered by the rich golden hues of salt marsh. Birdwatchers will enjoy spotting wintering heron, ducks and egrets. The trail starts behind the parking lot at Dennis Town Hall, 485 Main Street, South Dennis.
  3. John Wing Trail, Cape Cod Museum of Natural History Brewster
    The 1.3-mile trail features a microcosm of the Cape’s landscape, with salt marsh, wooded uplands and barrier beach. Cross the marsh boardwalk onto the island (be sure to check the tide—it floods when high) where native people once harvested shellfish and 19th-century settlers operated saltworks. A replica Sachem solar calendar near the main trail recalls early life on the island. Rolling dunes beyond the woods bring you to crystal-blue Cape Cod Bay and its expansive tidal flats. The museum is located at 869 Main Street/Route 6A, Brewster.
  4. Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge Chatham
    Migrating songbirds and shorebirds including terns and plovers abound here, along the tip of the Lower Cape. The site has been designated a World Bird Conservation Area by the American Bird Conservancy, so it’s no surprise the 1.1-mile trail is a favorite among birdwatchers. A boardwalk on top of the bluff offers vistas of Monomoy’s South Beach, a barrier island. Follow the trail down steps to the beach, which disappears at high tide, and walk along dunes and marsh where myriad wildlife can be spotted. Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge is located on Morris Island at Wikis Way.
  5. Cannon Hill (Hamblen’s Island) Wellfleet
    Crossing the footbridge known as “Uncle Tim’s Bridge” over Duck Creek brings you to a small island where you can gaze across on a darkening afternoon to the sparkling lights of this historic harbor town. Gabled roofs of 19th-century buildings, now filled with galleries and cafes, rise along the compact hillside. An easy, looping trail on the island passes through oak, pine and bearberry forest. Watch for countless fiddler crabs scrabbling in the tidal flats along the shore. A small parking area for Uncle Tim’s Bridge is on East Commercial Street. –Susan Spencer

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