One of the most interesting trails in the Conservation Commission’s suite of trails is the Shaker Spring House trail off of Old Littleton Road at Greenhill Road. It is a short but very historic trail. Its focal point is of course the Shaker Spring House that was constructed by the Shakers around 1855 when Harvard experienced a severe drought. The Spring House provided crystal-clear water for the Shaker community; water the Shakers claimed was the reason for the Shakers’ prolonged lives. (A majority of Shakers died in their 90’s according to their headstones at the Shaker Cemetery). In fact, one of the Shakers’ largest businesses was selling and distributing the water throughout the country.
(PBS produced a short segment on the Harvard Shakers and their fine water. Here is a posting that I wrote on that experience. It includes the video that was produced by PBS.)
Miss Scorgie who famously created and organized a set of historical “Walks around Harvard“, included this trail on her list of walks. The Historical Commission and the Historical Society in the past have organized walks to the Spring House to tell its story. They will be glad to hear that the trail to the Shaker House has been trimmed and cleaned up. It is easy to walk and is very safe for those not accustomed to the wilderness.
The wilderness around the trail gets overgrown from time to time and requires a little maintenance. I received a call from my friend Carl Sciple inviting me to join him to clear the trail to the Spring House. Carl was recently appointed to the Conservation Commission and so this is one of his first projects.
Today was actually our second session to work on the trail. In addition to cutting shrubs and trees, there is also the need to replace some of the trail markers with new ones to make sure that the trail is clearly marked. With those markers, you don’t have to be a hiker with several hundred miles of Appalachian Trail experience in order to find your way around this trail.
The trail is short as shown on the map above and it is easy to navigate. The Conservation Commission uses yellow markers to mark this particular trail along with other ‘arrow’ markers to make the direction of the trail clear.
Here are some photos of our session today. Thanks Carl for inviting me along. It was total fun.
(Click on the photos to expand. You may also download and save the photos on your computer by right-clicking on each photo and select ‘Save As’.) Photos by J. Theriault. Photos are donated to the public domain.
As a postscript, I just heard from another friend, Marc Sevigny who made me aware of his website in which he presents the rich treasure of trails that we have in Harvard. These are made possible by the Harvard Conservation Trust and the Harvard Conservation Commission along with some very talented volunteers. Here is the link to Marc’s site: http://www.harvard-trails.com/
While we are at it, here is the Harvard Conservation Trust on the subject of our trails: https://harvardconservationtrust.org/trails/. The Harvard Conservation Commission references the Harvard Conservation Trust on the subject of trails.