Located on Nod Road in J. Harry Rich State Forest, the John Tinker Trail is a delightful and flat quarter-mile stroll through the woods and alongside a river to a picnic table. The trail is 10 feet wide and hard-packed stone dust. As it comes close to the river, pine needles cover the trail and the smell of pine provides a pleasant atmosphere, as does the scenic views of river through the tall trees. I really liked the sense of both spaciousness and protection in this location.
The peace and quiet of this location belies the fact that Groton was first settled here by John Tinker, who followed Native American trails from the bay area to the mouth of Nod Brook on the Nashua River, according to the Town of Groton's website. Tinker built a trading post in the early 17th century in the vicinity of the picnic table. From this point Groton and surrounding towns were settled. I cannot help but give a heartfelt "nod" to the native people who lost their homeland here, in part to balance the history told about this place.
Nashua River Rail Trail was in the center of Groton at the Station Road entrance. Plenty of parking parallel to the trail, though not all of it is paved. The trail is mostly shady along much of its length. If you are interested in biking in the Groton area, check out a recent post by Marjorie Turner Hollman who writes regularly of her Easy Walk and tandem biking adventures in central Massachusetts. She highly recommends getting out early to avoid crowds.
CDC and Massachusetts Department of Public Health, please be sure to follow these additional DCR guidelines for safe park visiting:
- Minimize outdoor recreational time to limit potential exposure to COVID-19;
- Stay within solitary or small groups, and avoid gatherings of ten or more people;
- Practice social distancing of at least six feet between individuals;
- Administer healthy personal hygiene, such as handwashing for at least 20 seconds;
- Participate in only non-contact recreational activities;
- Leave a park or area should large gatherings begin to build; and,
- Stay home if ill, over 70, and/or part of a vulnerable population.