Great Brook Farm State Park

Great Brook Farm State Park in Carlisle, MA was founded in 1967 and has a combination of history, adventure and relaxing fun. People of all ages revel in the scented country air and the wonders of nature that surround them at this 1,000 acre park.

Visit the cuddly petting zoo and let your children pet the pigs, sheep, goats, ducks and chickens. There are feed machines for 25 cents so your children can also feed the animals. Then take a nature walk and see all the other natural wonders in the vicinity. Once you work up an appetite, have a hot dog and cool off with a freeze or creamsicle drink. Have an ice cream treat choosing from among 60 flavors. Alternatively, eat some sherbet, sorbet, yogurt, banana split or a peanut butter M&M sundae at the park. The ice cream stand also has bottles of honey from local bee hives. Duffy’s cranberry bog is also within a short walking distance from Great Brook Farm State Park.

Agriculture has been a large part of the history of Great Brook Farm State Park for over 60 years and there are many horses and black and white Holsteins on the property. Peek through the viewing window and watch the cows and calves in the barn. If you are very lucky, you may even witness a cow giving birth. Stop by the visitors center, tour the farm and learn from the interactive farm board that will teach amazing data such as the fact that cows have four stomachs.

Farm tours are free and are conducted by the Park Interpreter who will escort you around the farm to learn fun cow facts, visit the nursery where the newborn calves are born and hear about an average day in the life of a dairy farmer. You will go to the milk room and see the gigantic tank that holds milk before it is shipped to Cabot Creamery, Columbo Yogurt and Bliss Dairy where those 60 flavors of ice cream are made. On the tour that takes place Sunday evenings you can also see sixty-five of the Holsteins being milked.

The working farm, run by Mark Duffy, welcomes visitors from May to early October. The farm and buildings are representative of classic Massachusetts rural, agricultural landscape. You can witness many other features of our agricultural past such as historical structures, a large diversity of tree species, sturdy dividing walls and broad open fields. There are cellar holes from the seventeenth century which make up “the city” where early settlers from England worked in numerous mill sites. Additionally, Native Americans have considered parts of Great Brook Farm as sacred areas. You can see many Native American Indian sites along the paths of the park.

Skiing is very popular in Great Brook Farm State Park during the winter season. There are many trails of varying difficulty for exciting cross-country skiing adventures. One trail is lit with lanterns for an awesome moonlight skiing experience. In the warmer months hikers, walkers, horseback riders and mountain bikers enjoy over 20 miles of rugged trails and paths through majestic evergreen and deciduous trees. Take the Pine Point Loop Trail around Meadow Pond and stroll under towering white pines. Great Brook Farm State Park is a treasure for nature enthusiasts because the surrounding meadows, forests, swamps and ponds support huge varieties of wildlife for study.

Walk along winding woodland paths and listen to the birds sing. Stop to watch basking turtles and rabbits scampering through the woods. Then have a glorious picnic under the shade trees. Launch a canoe onto Meadow Pond and enjoy fabulous fishing and gliding across the water while witnessing a glorious sunset at the close of the day. Yankee Magazine’s “Travel Guide to New England” named Great Brook Farm State Park “Editor’s Pick 2000.” Don’t miss visiting this jewel of a park in northern Massachusetts. Phone them at (978) 371-7083 or send an email to mberry6157@aol.com.