Outdoor fun continues on the North Shore
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Crane Reservation, 290 Argilla Road, Ipswich, 978-356-4354, www.thetrustees.org. $8 per car off-season (nonmembers), $4 after 3 p.m.
Russell Orchards, 143 Argilla Road, 978-356-5366, www.russellorchards.com
A PERFECT FALL BIKE RIDE
For many Bostonians, Topsfield is synonymous with the Topsfield Fair. But if you’re looking for a mellower outdoor pursuit, we suggest the Tops-field Linear Common and Wenham Rail Trail. The two-mile-long trail follows an old rail bed. Recently surfaced with crushed stone dust, it is a wonderful destination for families looking for something fun and outdoorsy to do. We say “families” because it’s flat, and, even though there are couple of major street crossings to deal with, local drivers tend to stop for cyclists. And the scenery is nice. The trail passes over the Ipswich River and the Great Wenham Swamp, home to marshland birds, wetland plants, and wildflowers (even now), passing the fairgrounds en route to the village of Topsfield. There’s a bike shop along the path in Topsfield, plus a couple of stores where you can get a cold drink. Officially, the Topsfield trail ends just north of Route 97, where the Wenham trail begins.
That won’t matter to you as you pedal over crunchy leaves, admiring the heathery tones of the marshes and the spicy aroma of the woods in autumn. Then stop for a treat at Winfrey’s Chocolates, maybe a chocolate-dipped marshmallow on a stick.
Parking spaces on Topsfield Road/Route 97 at the Wenham town line, and at Washington Street in Topsfield. Winfrey’s Chocolates, 143 Topsfield Road, Wenham; 978-468-0549, www.winfreys.com
Diane Bair and Pamela Wright can be reached at email@example.com.