Grafton Land Trust North Grafton, Massachusetts 01536Official Website
Gummere Wood and its neighbor Marsters Preserve is 85 acres in all and wraps the northern shore of Lake Ripple at the base of Brigham Hill. Gummere Wood (pronounced “gummerie” as in “reverie”) has been in the Grafton Land Trust since 1963, and the Marsters parcel was a gift from the Marsters estate in 1993. Access is easiest from a small paved area used for snow removal at the corner of Wheeler Rd. and Worcester St (MA-122 and MA-140), just north of the bridge over the Quinsigamond River. There is also access from the Lions Club soccer field off Brigham Hill Road or the Marsters Preserve trailhead on Brigham Hill Road.
This property along Wheeler Road was owned in 1800 by Leonard Wheelock, who married Persis Brigham, daughter of William Brigham of what is now 128 Brigham Hill Road. They built the house that still stands on 11 Wheeler Road around 1804. The property was passed on to their son who held it until sometime after 1870. Sometime thereafter it was acquired by Fredrick Stockwell, a farmer, who held it until the beginning of the new century.
In the early 1900s, it was bought by Clinton Marshall of Worcester as a retirement home. His daughter established “Bridgenook” a tea room on what is now Grafton Land Trust land in the mid-1920s to serve riders waiting for the trolley to Worcester. The Marshalls operated an extensive orchard, with up to 1,200 apple trees. The fruit was sold at a farm stand on Worcester Street on the other (east) side of the Quinsigamond River. The Marshalls lost the farm in the depression and the property was purchased in 1935 from a bank by Dr. W. Elmer Ekblaw, a geography professor at Clark University.
The foundation and a set of concrete steps from the Marshall Farm Tea Room remain just to the right of the trail near the Wheeler Road entrance.
The age of the forest suggests farming was abandoned in the early-to-mid 20th century. There was logging at some point as well since the multi-trunk red oaks that can be noticed along the trail are the result of sprouting from stumps. The property includes the foundation and stone chimney of a small cabin and the remains of a small dam and sawmill. The property borders Lake Ripple. The dam, the first to impound the waters of the Quinsigamond River, dates back to the 18th century.
The AllTrails website has a description and map of a hike at Gummere Woods.
Restrooms on site
Wheelchair accessible trail
Content from Official Website
Last updated December 11, 2023