Big question answered: A Concord trail of treasures

Published: 7/11/2019 9:23:43 AM

(Last week, we asked readers this question: “What is your favorite under-the-radar local outdoor getaway, and what draws you there?” We received one response, and here it is.)

I don’t need to go far to find a half-dozen favorite haunts just asking to be enjoyed. I’m lured to them in summer, especially, but they can be spectacular in any season. And they spoil me with their convenience – if I can’t get there in under 15 minutes, they don’t make the cut. Happily, Concord is ringed by public and private lands where day hikers and casual walkers are welcome, enough that it’s rare to feel crowded on a trail, even on a gorgeous day.

If I had to choose, I would say my new favorite is Marjory Swope Park off Long Pond Road. Marjory Swope, longtime Concord city councilor, activist and conservationist, loved this land dearly, and it’s easy to see why. Her husband, John, donated it to the city in her memory in 2012 so that it would be loved and enjoyed, unspoiled.

While it’s been open to the public for eight years, it still seems to me it’s a well-kept secret. Its main loop is less than 2 miles long, but the hilly, wooded terrain and winding trails make it feel like an adventure. And the surprise view of Concord’s protected water supply, Penacook Lake, will knock your socks off. The clear water and pristine shoreline ease my soul and remind me that our water really does taste better than water elsewhere.

Connector trails lead all over the West End for those really interested in a workout, but the loops within the 77-acre park can introduce young children to our outdoor world and give visitors a glimpse of what makes our city special. And an added bonus is the Little Free Library at the trailhead, sponsored by the Concord Public Library. Enjoy a book and pay it forward.

I’m reminded when I go there that the more we let nature into our days the better. It makes me hopeful that our city and our state will recognize the intangibles and treasures that make this such a grand place to live.



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