Wednesday, October 15, 2003

On Monday, Ken and I were wracking our brains trying to think of a fun place to hike and take photographs in the Wellesley area. Out of the blue, I remembered Guernsey Sanctuary on the Wellesley-Needham line off of Winding River Road, right in the area where I lived as an adolescent.

What I loved most about the place was Sabrina Lake and the history of the entire area. In the 19th century, a wealthy businessman owned hundreds of acres here. He created a resort of sorts, including paddleboat rides on the man-made lake, carriage paths for those looking for a nature escape, and a zoo with all kinds of animals. Eventually he built a hotel, which burned down in 1891. According to the stories I heard, in caves near the lake, trained bears danced. I remember hearing that a local historian offered tours of the caves, but I never learned of them in time to go on one. In any case, I was enchanted with the entire place. I loved the woods and the lake there. And as I walked the paths, I enjoyed imagining men, women, and children from the late 1800s frolicking there. It amazed me that I could detect no trace of this resort from long ago.

This year the Wellesley Historical Society is showing an exhibit of "Ridge Hill Farms," as it was called. I'll have to go
and see the photographs that they have on display. (Click on the link for some history).


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