Calming Clarkes’ Pond
Since I love to walk, Coolidge Reservation was on my list the other day. Perched on the peninsula known as Coolidge Point in Manchester-by-the-Sea, Coolidge Reservation showcases an unusual variety of natural settings in a relatively small area. Within its 66 acres, breathtaking vistas await as you explore rocky outcrops, woodlands, wetlands, a sandy beach, and the open expanse of the Ocean Lawn.. At the tip of the Point is the magnificent Ocean Lawn. The highest point on the Reservation, Bungalow Hill, provides a panoramic view of the sea. The hill’s rocky outcrops are evidence that glaciers once covered the area, erratically dropping these boulders when melting at the end of the last Ice Age. The surrounding woodland is a characteristic New England mix of oak and pine, wildflowers and ferns – home to an array of birds and other wildlife, including fisher, fox, and coyote. Beyond the woodland, a trail leads past Clarke Pond. This former salt marsh was cut off from the tide nearly a century ago when its inlet was filled, leaving a predominantly freshwater pond. Saltwater periodically washes in during high tides and storms, bringing crabs and small fish from the ocean. The pond provides habitat for ducks and geese, and heron and shorebirds feed here. Several acres of wetlands surround the pond with cattail, bulrush, and cordgrass standing distinctively among the varied wetland plant life, also marked by colorful displays of trout lilies, jack-in-the-pulpit, and swamp buttercups. Coolidge Reservation also includes a portion of Magnolia’s Gray Beach (also known as Magnolia Beach) with its sandy shoreline and dunes, complete with colorful beach pea and beach rose.