Outdoor Recreation

Trustees Members Hidden Gems

We asked our Member-experts their favorite hidden gem properties.

Bartholomew's Cobble

We asked our Members, and property experts, their favorite lesser-known Trustees properties. You’ll find some of your favorites along with perhaps some undiscovered gems!


Bartholomew’s Cobble, Sheffield

Bartholomew’s Cobble is named for its two rocky knolls—or “cobbles”—rising above the Housatonic River. Hurlburt’s Hill, the property’s highest point, rises 1,000 feet to a 20-acre upland field on the Massachusetts-Connecticut border that offers panoramic views northward up the Housatonic River Valley. Boasting an enormous variety of woodland flowers and fern species, the Cobble’s amazingly diverse flora earned it a National Natural Landmark designation in 1971.

James in Allentown, PA said: “When I was a kid hiking at Bartholomews Cobble, we came across old pottery shards from over a century ago. The area sparked my love of nature and of history.”

Cape Poge Wildlife Refuge, Chappaquiddick Island

Explore this magnificent barrier beach with its sandy shoreline, expansive salt marsh, beautiful salt pond, and unique colony of hardy red cedars.

Trustees Member Ken from Haverill said: “I have been going to marthas vineyard for summer vacations since parents took the family there back when i was 10. my sister and her family have been going there since they got married 21 years ago. Since 2019 we all have been staying on chappy and have enjoyed Cape Poge immensely. By taking the osv and hiking trails i have had seen such an incredible untouched landscape. Its filled with so many birds fish and animals. Many are only found there. Its a place where everything stops and you can take in the moment. So many memories there and more to come.”

Misery Islands, Salem

Two and a half miles of trails traverse groves of aspen, open meadows, spectacular overlooks, and rugged, rocky shorelines that add to the wild beauty of the islands. You can also reach Little Misery Island from Great Misery Island by wading across a narrow, shallow channel at very low tide. And on the beach of Little Misery you can see the remains of the steamship, The City of Rockland, wrecked off the coast of Maine and scuttled here many years ago.

Trustees Member Janice from Beverly said: “Our favorite Sunday morning adventure is to kayak from Manchester to the Misery Islands and have a picnic breakfast up on the bluff looking out to watch all the lobstermen, sail boats and other kayakers. Awhile back (10 yrs?) the fun thing was that there was a caretaker on the island to monitor and collect fees from non members. Often it was a couple with 1 or 2 small children, doing it to encourage their ‘disconnected’ activities and play and appreciation of nature. If you were a member, they’d tell you the ‘secret word’ (like ‘dragon’), so if you met another caretaker/ family member on the other side of the island, you could just say ‘dragon’ and not show your member pass.”

McLennan Reservation, Tyringham and Otis

Venture into a rugged and remote tract of forested hills and wetlands at the edge of the historic Tyringham Valley.

Trustees Member Sarah from Granby said: “There are plenty of beautiful Trustees properties, but if you are talking about hidden gems, then I think the McLennan Reservation has to be my pick. The “Road Closed” sign left over from the winter gave us pause, but my intrepid hiking friends followed me anyway. We were rewarded with the beautiful, remote-feeling Hale Pond and the pretty cascades along Camp Brook.”

Doane’s Falls, Royalston

A half-mile trail leads down the west side of the stream, offering great vantage points as Lawrence Brook drops and swirls, its water continually rushing over and along mid-stream boulders, flat granite slabs, and small islands.

Trustees Member Phyllis from Lunenburg said: “We wanted to take a ride in the countryside, so, naturally got out our Trustees book of fascinating places, and chose Doane’s Falls. It was the first 80-degree day in April 2023, perfect for this adventure! The walkway was easily navigable. the falls were roaring, the benches placed lovingly for a pause to enjoy the view and catch a few photos of the wild forces of nature descending to the stream below. This magical space is SO accessible, SO spectacular, we know we’ll be back!.”

Jewell Hill, Ashby, Ashburnham, and Fitchburg

Discover breathtaking views and an outdoor enthusiast’s playground on this serene stretch that formerly supported a New England dairy farm.

Trustees Member Pat describes her Jewell Hill hike: “I hiked Jewell Hill solo on a beautiful, sunny day when the Mountain Laurel was in bloom. It was so peaceful at the top and I loved that there was a bench to rest on. I reveled in the serenity actually feeling a little selfish but also thankful that no one else was around. Coming down I came eye to eye with a deer which was a surprise for both of us! Such a memorable day. I have now hiked all of the Trustees properties and find them all to be special in their own way..”

Cormier Woods, Uxbridge

Trustees Member Mary from Whitinsville said: “Cormier Woods is probably the only Trustees property where you can hear lions roaring, especially around sunset! It’s kind of surreal. Also, I was hiking alone there a couple of years ago and had my head down as I climbed a hill. When I stopped at the top, I turned around and realized that I’d passed within a few feet of a barred owl perched at eye level on a tree branch. I gave a little startled scream, causing the owl to first jump (can’t blame it) and then fly away. It was a very cool experience!”

Explore a beautifully preserved farmstead that dates to the 17th century and wander trails that lead past stone walls through restored woodlands.