One trail that is often overlooked in Newburyport is the Eliza Little Walking Trail. When it comes to length compared to other trails, it’s a short distance and yet, it has such an affect on a lone hiker. My favorite way to start is at the Newburyport Turnpike just beyond the entrance to the Parker River National Wildlife Center. There is usually enough room for a few cars just beyond the Historic New England marker. There is usually a small storyboard about the trail and it’s worth reading.
Eliza Little (1861-1959) had an incredible impact on the entire region by donating significant lands to the Parker River National Wildlife Area and to Historic New England and she lived all her life at the Spencer-Pierce-Little Farm. She was a prequel to Citizens for Environmental Balance. She was very active in preserving open space and in protecting the land and also very active in preserving the historic buildings and neighborhoods in Newbury.
Skirt the edge of the Plum Island Airport. (Yes, you are certainly allowed on just the edge.) Walk around until you are on the backside of the airport facing the road. There will be a field lane to take often through some marshy ground. Go no more than 30 yards and you are literally transformed into an earlier time. Traverse through the marshes and farm fields with often bird life whirling about you. Follow the trail until you reach the fields of the Little Farm. As you walk up toward the house, there is an informational marker that provides some further details about the house and the trail. You can visit the visitor center, check out the farm animals (most very friendly) or even tour the house.
If choosing to continue, walk down Little’s Lane. The parade of majestic trees is just a sight that has to be experienced. Continue on and to your left will be the Little’s Lane Alpaca Farm always good to inspect. Soon you will end up on Route 1A. The choices just continue to unfold. You can turn left and walk up to Tendercrop Farm and check out the Buffalo, Llama and the fresh products or you can turn right and enjoy the Newbury common with their resident geese and duck.
If you are hardy, you can stroll through the quiet neighborhoods behind the Newbury firehouse until you arrive back on Water Street and because of the bike paths on either side, you can stroll back to your vehicle perhaps stopping at the Audubon or Wildlife Centers.
I don’t think I can pick a trail that has any higher marks for nature, for agricultural and for natural sites and it even gains high marks for education and history. Considering all that it offers and yet just blocks away from Newburyport’s historic neighborhoods, it is appropriately named, “A Walking Trail”.
For more information, check out Historic New England’s website, or call the farm at 978.462.2634.