Gloucester,MA is famous for many things. The perfect storm famously happened there, and the town is the definition of a quaint fishing village in many peoples eyes. Hundreds of thousands vacation is Gloucester every year, it is a wonderful city to spend a summer relaxing in New England. I could write many articles about things to do in Gloucester, for a small city they have many things going on. Today we will talk about the roots of Gloucester, and a place called Dog Town.
If you google Dog Town Gloucester you can easily get directions to the entrance. It is found on a back street off a main road after the second to last exit on the first rotary into town. What is Dog Town? It is a very large wooded area (121 Acres) in Gloucester and RockPort that is full of hiking trails, and full of some very interesting other things. Dog Town was where the people of Gloucester originally settled in 1693, over 100 houses were there at its height in the 1700s. By the late 1800s Dog Town was abandoned due to being too far from the harbor-side from Gloucester’s new emerging fishing industry. What is left ? The stones from the settlement are still there, if you walk around and see numbered stones those are confirmed houses of people who lived there. Some of the old stone walls are also still there. There are also just miles of hiking trails through lush forest.
The hiking is amazing at this site. There is some elevation changes but everything is rather gradual. There are three primary trails that all loop around, and you can go off the paths a bit and mostly find your way back easily. Walking through the old settlement you can feel the very old energy of this forest that reclaimed this settlement. There are big rocks everywhere. These rocks have become their own attraction. In the 1930s a man named Fredrick Norton was the one who planted over 100,000 trees in Dog-Town. From these 100,000 trees a large forest was made by today. The land is a registered protected forest held in the trust of Rock-Port and Gloucester. The park is meant to be a place where people can come from all around and walk on its trails, and enjoy nature not far from a city.
The rocks I mentioned before that are their own attraction are called the Babson Boulders. During the Great Depression a man named Roger Babson came to Dog-Town. Babson was an archeologist at the time, and a resident of Gloucester. He had Inspirational saying carved into 36 boulders throughout the park. In the age of Instagram these are some of the best shots in my opinion you can get North of Boston. He also numbered the cellar holes so they could figure out how many houses were in the settlement. If you go anywhere in this park I highly recommend the Babson Boulder Path. It is very rock as is to be expected, but it is very nice to walk through the forest and find the different stones. There is also the aspect of easily identifying the rocks so it is hard to get lost in the very winding trails around there.
So I wrote this article for a few reasons. The first was because I’m a new blog and need content, and this is an interesting place with a history many people may not realize. The second I really feel people should visit this site and enjoy the hiking trails, It is a wonderful time in a shady forest. Lastly however is a little more disappointing of an that i need to say. While Dog-Town is a protect forest held in trust by the cities of Gloucester and Rock-Port, it is not completely protected. Dog-Town is large over 140 acres, Land in Massachusetts is increasingly expensive especially in the Cape Ann region. There are plans to build Condo’s on the Rock-Port side of Dog-Town, this would begin encroachment into the forests and bring development into an three hundred year old settlement. Needless to say people care about wanting to protect Dog-Town. If you google protect Dog-Town or something along those lines you will find petitions to save the settlement from development. A major hurdle however is the lack of people who even knew this gem of a settlement was there.
If you are in Gloucester or just Cape Ann in general for the weekend or longer I would highly recommend on a nice weather day going to visit Dog-Town. It is a wonderful place to hike and explore. The forest is like an I-spy puzzle with different things to see around every corner. If you do go follow the rules, be respectful of the site, don’t litter, and just enjoy the trails. Thank you for reading this and I hope you go see Dog-Town sometime soon.
Thank you for reading,
Go With The Winds.
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