Millie’s Path is a short, scenic trail that connects Lancaster County Road and Old Mill Road behind the Foxglove Apartments and office buildings that face Ayer Road. The trail was built by volunteers in 1994 to give apartment residents walking access to the Carlson Farmhouse Kiosk on Ayer Road, where the post office is currently located.
At the Carlson kiosk, basic groceries, daily and Sunday papers, hot coffee, breakfast and lunch, seasonal food, and gifts could be purchased with help from city gossip. The path between the apartments and Carlson’s kiosk was the perfect example of walking into town.
This pedestrian loop, with Millie’s Path as an essential link, crosses areas of historical, natural, sporting, agricultural and / or commercial interest. It can be as short as a mile or combined with other destinations, such as the Harvard Alpaca Ranch. Or I could do a few laps around McCurdy Track before continuing on the walking loop. It is possible to walk to Red Tail Golf Club or to Barnum Road in Devens from this loop.
So to start, I parked the car at McCurdy Track, although I could have parked at the post office, Charlie Waite’s lot, or my dentist’s office and picked up the loop from where I left. parked.
From the trail I wandered the lovely nature trail behind it, keeping the trail behind my back until I came to a stone wall with houses on the other side. I walked through the breach in the stone wall at the Harvard Conservation Land city sign. The maps have called this the land of stone conservation. There, the path leaves the woods and opens into a lawn. One mowed strip cuts directly across the field and another mowed strip goes around the perimeter.
I turned right. Where the perimeter of the field began to turn, a Harvard Conservation Trust sign on a tree to my right pointed to a spot that went into the woods and by the edge of Bowers Creek. It is a good place for blueberries or to study the stream.
I went back to the field and the mowed path and looked for an opening in the trees to exit onto Old Mill Road. Across the road is an old farmhouse with pretty fields on either side. A cracked mill stone is on display in the courtyard, attesting to the history of this road.
Old Mill Pond, also known as Golden’s Pond, glistened as I passed it towards Ayer Road, scanning the side of the road for a worn area on the ground leading into the woods and climb up Millie’s Path. This part of the road, from Old Mill Road to the Foxglove Apartments, is on private undeveloped property which is for sale. A snowmobile trail, just in front of Millie’s Path, leads through the woods to Sorrento’s Pizza.
The turtles were resting on the fallen tree trunks in the mill pond. A small path off the trail leads to the sound of rushing water. I carefully followed this little path and saw the pond water falling over a dam to the creek that ripples under Old Mill Road and into the wetlands.
Millie’s Path is a really nice trail. Its width, the feel of the ground, its curvy style, the feeling of security, are all heartwarming and relaxing. The trail is below the hectic pace of traffic on Ayer Road but overlooks the graceful flowing water at Bowers Brook.
Large quantities of acorns lay on the path. Birdsong was in the air. At Foxglove Apartments, a bench has been placed at the edge of the high ground overlooking the S-shaped curves of the stream below. The foxglove and office buildings can be accessed from here by crossing a garden with raised beds and the parking lot. Beyond the apartments is a building with a dental and chiropractic practice, facing Ayer Road. It looks like the highest point of this short trail.
The trail continues to follow the creek, on sidewalks in wet places, down to the water’s edge. You can see the remains of a stone wall and the places where the water cuts the edge of the land like a scene from “Wind in the Willows”.
Behind the Acton Medical building, the trail ends in a small field, the far edge of which touches Ayer Road. A barely visible path along the hedge ends at Lancaster County Road and the paved access to a fire pond. The road immediately passes over a bridge crossing Bowers Creek. The back entrance to the post office is a few meters beyond, at the intersection with Gebo Lane.
I crossed Gebo Lane on Charlie Waite Field. Walking along the playgrounds, parallel to Lancaster County Road, I came to a break in the hedge at a large boulder, behind Harvard Green. The track is across the road and I could see my car in the parking lot.
One of my goals for understanding this loop was not to have to cross Ayer Road, but if a dunkin ‘cafe is a necessity, a path could be drawn through, perhaps, the playing fields and the grounds. uninhabited adjacent for sale. Another thought when creating this particular loop was to avoid walking along Ayer Road where the traffic is loud, blows up dust and dust, and feels unsafe.