Chicopee Memorial State Park

ChicopeeSP (11 of 12)

I was talking to my next door neighbor about travel the other day, and he said that he thought people, in general, ignore the things in their own backyards. Meaning, we travel, but never locally. (Or maybe he was referring the general unkempt-ness of my wildflower garden).

I think he might be on to something. (In both cases.)

So, in order to remedy our general New England ignorance, I’m hoping to do some local travel in the coming months…starting with our state parks. I discovered that Massachusetts has one of the largest state park systems in the nation. That’s pretty impressive.

First up, Chicopee Memorial State Park, which is just 15 minutes down the road from us.


Technically, the girls and I have been to this park before – but Ginger didn’t remember it, and, anyway, we visited in the summer, when it was packed with swimmers and people bar-be-cuing.

This time, nearly everyone we saw was carrying a camera, Smythes included.



Now, I should let you in on a secret. CPT America and I have a long history of getting lost in the woods. I don’t know why this is. Maps just seem to compound the problem. I thought we would be fine yesterday. Chicopee’s trail system seemed very basic when viewed on paper.

But this didn’t turn out to be the case.


Here we are, reviewing the map at the beginning of the walk. My plan was to do a loop around the reservoir, walking along the little brook that feeds it.

It was a beautiful day for a walk…lots of great autumn color along the way.

ChicopeeSP (10 of 12)

ChicopeeSP (1 of 12)We made it as far as the beaver pond at the far end of the trail before I had to consult the map again.


I thought we’d be able to turn left at the beaver pond and keep going…

ChicopeeSP (8 of 12)

…but, it turns out you can’t. (If I’d read the map more carefully, I would have realized this.)

We thought about crossing the brook below the dam using a rock bridge we found, but CPT America deemed the rocks too wobbly after crossing them himself.

(Pepper filmed the whole thing, thinking that if he fell in, she would have something to send in to “America’s Funniest Home Videos.” CPT America did not, however, fall in.)

So, we doubled back and caught a different trail…

ChicopeeSP (9 of 12)

…which ended up being a dead end, though lovely while it lasted.

(More feverish map consulting).


At that point, we decided to walk back to the beach area and call it a day.

The kids puttered around the shoreline for a bit, while I consulted the map one last time to try and figure out where I’d gone wrong.


I hate giving up.

I never did figure it out. And, I want to say that the map I used was flawed. But then I’d have to say that about just about every map I’ve ever used….

So the problem must be me. Let’s just say my map-reading skills could use a bit of work.

Regardless, it made for a lovely afternoon.


From the little red house (where, thankfully, I do not require a map – unless you count the one needed for the circuit breaker box in the basement),

Mrs. Smythe


6 Comments on “Chicopee Memorial State Park

  1. The fall colors in New England never disappoint, do they? Love the photo of the leaves floating on the water.

    • True! I’m waiting for the kids to catch onto my woeful map skills, though. They do map reading exercises every week as part of geography. I’m probably the one who most needs to be doing them!