January 20, 2019

Autumn Splendor Right Here at Home

The View from My Hill


There has been a bit of a nip in the air these last few nights. Driving down Olney Street to my granddaughter’s soccer game on a recent Saturday, I noticed some autumn color creeping its way along the tree line. With mild days and cool nights that we typically have this time of year, it won’t be long before we see autumn in all its glory as far as the eye can see.

I’m reminded to take a look at the calendar to see when I have ample time to take a drive to see more of the flames of fall other than what I see in my yard or on my normal route down Newman Avenue to work.

It doesn’t look too promising. Peak colors in New England usually span a few weeks from early to late October, sweeping from north to south. And in those few weeks, my calendar doesn’t have too many opportunities for a long, leisurely foliage viewing ride.

The daylight hours are quickly shortening and not as much time to get outdoor chores done, get the firewood stacked, and harvest the last remaining crops in the vegetable garden. With four grandchildren, all actively involved in one sport or another, I usually want to get to as many of their games as possible as well. Like the daylight hours, the opportunities to see them are slipping slowly away. There aren’t many years left before there won’t be any games to go to. Grandchildren seem to age very fast. My youngest granddaughter recently turned ten – not sure how that could have happened! In the blink of an eye they will be off on their own, making their own way in the world. So I don’t want to miss their games, if possible.

Yet I do love autumn. It’s my favorite season – right up there with winter. The allure of a day trip to the Berkshires, or even better a weekend in Vermont is still there, but I think if I look hard enough I can find enough foliage right here in Seekonk, with maybe an excursion into neighboring Rehoboth to satisfy my craving this year.

To see where I could go, I pulled out an old street map I have of Seekonk, its edges tattered from being used so much when I first moved to town just shy of two decades ago. There was no GPS then, no Google map to guide me around, so it initially got a lot of use. Now I will use it to figure out my very short, but also very sweet road trip.

A few weeks after that soccer game, the leaves have lost their green and now display the brightly colored hues of the season. It is time now, or not this year, to take my ride.

As the main route between the north and south ends of town, Newman Avenue (aka 152) runs the length of this swath of Massachusetts we call Seekonk. It is usually the first opportunity to see autumn colors in all its finest as we pass by the Turner Reservoir on our way to Rumford. Glance to the left and the view can be breathtakingly beautiful. But since that it my usual route, I have decide to, with apologies to Robert Frost, take the road less traveled and turn off Newman and drive up Read Street. From there I take Pine to Homestead Avenue. I pass gorgeous stone walls framed by sugar maples. Turning on to Rocky Hill and then Danforth, the curves in the narrow road force me to slow. I continue to meander up and down the back roads for over an hour, deviating off my planned route here and there to drive a road that I have never been on before. I am rewarded with beautiful views, views that in spots can rival country roads in the north country.

It has satisfied me for now. I have been able to see beautiful fall foliage, and I haven’t missed watching a granddaughter cheer for her high school football team, or a young granddaughter score a goal for her soccer team, or a grandson make a tackle. Life is good.


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